Run Time: approximately 10 and a half minutes. Gospel: Mt 16:13-20.
Regardless of the strengths or the gifts, or even the weaknesses and the shortcomings, of a particular successor of Peter, we have the obligation to preserve that communion of the Church in him who is the guarantor of that unity that Jesus prayed for…
Run Time: approximately 9 and a half minutes.
Gospel: Mt 15:21-28.
There is God, there are His people… and that’s it.
Now due to the sin of Adam, we have separated ourselves from God and each other. We think of ‘us people’ and ‘those people’ – and sometimes those people aren’t described with much flattery. … So how do ‘us’ and ‘those’ become a people?
Our own efforts and labors have been an integral part of our dignity in the image and likeness of the Creator. That’s why it is such a challenge and really such a struggle – more than just financially – to be out of work. To lose that thing whereby I express the gifts that God has given me. And we run the risk of losing sight of that participation in the creative work of God, whether it comes to my gain and benefit or simply as a living out of the blessings God has given me. That participation is more than about ‘well, how useful am I?’ And we can say this is this attitude of St. Paul – to be busy about that for which God has equipped me; is about more than just, ‘well, do you have a job?’ But even for those, for those out of work or for even those unable, there is still some call to participate in the work of God.
Children have a way of reminding parents that as much as we depend upon these things and try to attend to them, you don’t get to set the schedule. Things do not always go as planned and even the best application of parental wisdom is subject to the veto of a … well timed melt down. To some degree, we are reminded in the exercise of parenthood that even this is less dominion and more stewardship. That there is another Who calls the shots. And it’s as I say a good lesson in detachment which is a necessary condition of faith. To put it another way – that God is God and I am not. And I work and I apply my efforts and I use the gifts and the talents that God has placed at my disposal – but He is still God and I am not.
They [the apostles] used these things [Roman trade routes and Greek culture] to spread the Gospel, but not without some struggles (and it is a good lesson that not every voice in the church is of the Church – and this shouldn’t rattle us too much. There is always discernment). Of how do we best follow Christ? How do we best persevere in fidelity to what was given to us, to the Gospel that wasn’t my making or yours, but the gift of Jesus Christ to His Church. How do we best live that life of discipleship in imitation of Him? … So as to live fully in His grace?
At the end of these instructions and preparations we hear the whole conclusion in just two sentences: “So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil main who were sick and cured them.”
It just hit me how matter-of-factly all this was reported. Just like a daily work report… It’s made to sound so common, but there’s so much more grand and divine going on.
‘When I am weak, then I am strong.’ These past several weeks and the weeks to come, we’ve been talking about these apparent contradictions about terminology, these turns of phrases that are being used in the scriptures. This is another example of that and the thing is with this kind of insight into humanity and to our own existence. This kind of insight can only come through experience in life. It is hard for the young to say this, but, as we grow old, we begin to realize this truth and so even though it seems to be contradictory it should be a comfort for us. Because it means that our sufferings, our thorns – whatever they may be – are not signs that God is angry or displeased with us. God does not punish us that way. Rather they are signs that He is teaching us. Using the contingencies of life as He taught Paul, to teach us true wisdom. The wisdom of humility and trust in God.