Posted by: fvbcdm | May 7, 2014

Feast of Saint Rose Venerini (7 May 2014)

At every Mass this week, the third week of the Easter time, we read from the sixth chapter of the gospel according to Saint John. It is the chapter in which Saint John reports Our Lord’s words promising the gift of the Eucharist after multiplying bread and fish for a huge crowd on a hillside above the lake of Galilee.

I want to call your attention to the tremendously important statement that Jesus makes in verse 38 of that 6th chapter. “It is not to do my own will that I have come down from heaven, but to do the will of him who sent me.” That beautiful principle of Christianity cannot be emphasized too much. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, assumed human nature and became a man, a member of our own human race, a brother of ours in our human history. As God, he is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit; as man, he is inferior to them. And by his wonderful humility, he says things in the gospel like: I have come to do the will of my Father … the Father is greater than I … learn of me for I am meek and HUMBLE of heart … Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me … Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.

This eagerness on the part of Jesus to do the will of his Father is one of the greatest principles of Christian behavior. It is the obedience of the second Adam, reversing the disobedience of the first Adam. It is the submission of our Redeemer to the will of God, by which submission he redeemed the world. Submission and obedience are functions of humility. Thus, we learn who Jesus really is by meditating upon his humility, obedience, submission to the Father’s will, and eagerness that God’s will be done in all things. This is why, when we say the Our Father which Jesus taught us, we say “Thy will be done.” Nothing could be more Christ-like, more Christian, than this. A Christian who does not constantly seek to know and do God’s will is a contradiction in terms.

The opposite of humility is pride and arrogance; the opposite of obedience is disobedience; the opposite of submission is stubborn willfulness. Our entire spiritual lives must be spent in rooting out pride, disobedience, and willfulness from our relationship with God, and imitating this quality of the spiritual life of Jesus: total dedication to his Father’s will, total desire that God’s will be done.

One element in God’s will for us as Catholics is that we receive Jesus in Holy Communion frequently, hungrily, devoutly, and therefore effectively. That is why Our Lord combines these notions of obedience to God’s will and the reception of the Holy Eucharist in this 6th chapter of Saint John’s gospel.

Let us focus our entire spiritual lives upon Jesus in the Eucharist. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you, Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago

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