THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for September 30th, 2014
Memorial of St. Jerome
Liturgical texts here
ONE man laments his sufferings. The other goes straight toward them. One man questions why he was born. Another fulfills His destiny. Both men long for their deaths.
The difference being that Job wants to die to end his suffering. But Jesus wants to die to end our suffering. And thus…
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem. (Today’s Gospel)
Perhaps you are tempted to complain as Job did. You see the world coming apart and rapidly descending into chaos and you ask, “Why was I born in these times? Why couldn’t these things happen a hundred years from now?”
You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit, into the dark abyss. Upon me your wrath lies heavy, and with all your billows you overwhelm me. (Today’s Psalm)
I know as I watch my eldest children leaving home, begin courting, talk of weddings, the first grandchildren… I find myself saddened that these things may be overshadowed by the Great Trials that are already here. But the truth is, like Jesus, you and I were indeed born for these times. We have been chosen by the Father for a purpose, a special mission. What the Father asks of you and I, then, is to be resolute like Jesus. He did not turn away from the Cross, but embraced it. He did not flee from His persecutors but delivered Himself into their hands. Why? Because He knew that His mission was to save them. This was the joy that was set before him…. and now us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2)
Jesus wants us to also thirst for souls, to feel compassion for the lost, to make reparation for them (prayer, fasting, First Saturday’s, etc). In today’s Gospel, when James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven to consume His enemies, Jesus rebuked them. For His mission was not to rain down justice, but mercy. Likewise, Jesus is not asking you and I to build cement bunkers and pray for “three days of darkness” cf. Three Day of Darkness and A Response to wipe out the world… but to become vessels of mercy and intercession for the world’s conversion.
Brothers and sisters, let us courageously give all to God, holding nothing back. Let us resolutely determine to journey to Jerusalem with Jesus knowing that we have the incredible honor and privilege of suffering through, with, and in Him for the joy set before us.
Be prepared to put your life on the line in order to enlighten the world with the truth of Christ; to respond with love to hatred and disregard for life; to proclaim the hope of the risen Christ in every corner of the earth. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Message to the Young People of the World, World Youth Day, 2008
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