Summary: "we will know the missionary joy of sharing life with God’s faithful people as we strive to light a fire in the heart of the world."

Thursday of Thirteenth Week in Course

Joy of the Gospel

This incident on the Mount of Moriah, which Jewish tradition holds to later be the Temple Mount, is one of the critical Old Testament passages that looks forward to the New. Remember that St. John and St. Paul later would see the cross of Christ as His royal Throne. Remember also that they both look to Abraham, our father in faith, and his willingness to give his only son as the precursor event to God giving His only Son, and not holding Him back from death so that we might live. Because Abraham believed that even if He allowed the slaying of Isaac, God would nonetheless somehow fulfill His promise, God made the irrevocable promise not just of land, but of redemption of all the world by Abraham’s descendant, Jesus.

The Holy Father has been helping us understand how to spread this Good News to everyone we contact, and he has challenged us to become part of their lives, even of their sufferings: ‘Sometimes we are tempted to be that kind of Christian who keeps the Lord’s wounds at arm’s length. Yet Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others. He hopes that we will stop looking for those personal or communal niches which shelter us from the maelstrom of human misfortune and instead enter into the reality of other people’s lives and know the power of tenderness. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated and we experience intensely what it is to be a people, to be part of a people.

‘It is true that in our dealings with the world, we are told to give reasons for our hope, but not as an enemy who critiques and condemns. We are told quite clearly: “do so with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet 3:15) and “if possible, so far as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all” (Rom 12:18). We are also told to overcome “evil with good” (Rom 12:21) and to “work for the good of all” (Gal 6:10). Far from trying to appear better than others, we should “in humility count others better” than ourselves (Phil 2:3). The Lord’s apostles themselves enjoyed “favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47; 4:21, 33; 5:13). Clearly Jesus does not want us to be grandees who look down upon others, but men and women of the people. This is not an idea of the Pope, or one pastoral option among others; they are injunctions contained in the word of God which are so clear, direct and convincing that they need no interpretations which might diminish their power to challenge us. Let us live them sine glossa, without commentaries. By so doing we will know the missionary joy of sharing life with God’s faithful people as we strive to light a fire in the heart of the world.’

What, we might ask, is the biggest need of modern humans? It’s not a cure for cancer and heart disease and AIDS or any other human ailment. It’s not a fix for global warming. No, what we need is a cure for our biggest problem, and that is sin. Sin separates us from God and from each other. Sin is the disease, and the cross of Christ is the cure. It’s that sacrifice of Jesus that we make present every time we celebrate Eucharist together. Let’s work and pray so that all human beings may be blessed by the sacrifice of Christ.

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