THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for May 9th, 2014
Friday of the Third Week of Easter
Flower springing up after a forest fire
ALL must appear lost. All must appear as if evil has won. The grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die…. and only then does it bear fruit. So it was with Jesus… Calvary… the Tomb… it was as though darkness had crushed the light.
But then Light burst forth from the abyss, and in a moment, darkness was vanquished.
…the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)
How strong is the temptation to despair, to read this week’s Now Word and give in to the temptation that all is negative, all is gloom, all is a free-fall into the abyss once again. But it is only true insofar as it is precisely out of this present and coming purification of the earth that the greatest of triumphs, unseen since the days of Noah, are to come.
It was the Lord’s will that… we who have been redeemed by His precious blood should constantly be sanctified according to the pattern of His own passion. —St. Gaudentius of Brescia, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol II, P. 669
The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, 677
The head of wheat that springs from the hidden grain, the flowers that emerge from the burnt forest floor, the green grass that rises from the manure, the butterfly that flies from the cocoon, the sun that rises after darkest of nights… in all of nature, we see this pattern. But the greatest miracle is that of Divine Mercy in the soul—that God can take all of my sins of the past, all my failures, all my faults, and transform them—change me—into something beautiful for Him.
…between Me and you there is a bottomless abyss, an abyss which separates the Creator from the creature. But this abyss is filled with My mercy. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1576
How great is the story… the love story… of St. Paul. A man who persecuted the Church so brutally, that even when Ananias hears the Lord’s voice commanding him to go to Saul, he is fearful.
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel…” (First reading)
Why didn’t the Lord choose Phillip? Or James? Or John? Because the most heartfelt writings of the New Testament would otherwise have not been born, words that to this very day give hope where there seemingly is none. Because it is precisely the beauty of the flower of St. Paul’s new life in Christ, against the backdrop of his hellish past, that others who feel utterly lost and damned, can find hope.
So they glorified God because of me. (St. Paul; Gal 1:24)
Don’t give up on those who are the most fierce of persecutors. For they may become the most powerful of saints through the fiat of your love toward them. Is this not the message of the Gospel all week? Jesus gives His Flesh as life for the world. One Man dies… and since then, billions have been nourished on the Bread of Life.
Never give up on a soul, especially the most difficult ones. We are no longer here to build our own Kingdom, but Christ’s. And the reward for your faithfulness, especially in persecution, may only be fully understood, with utter joy, in the life to come… when you look back and see a world scorched by sin beginning to be covered by the new flowers of souls whom you converted through your prayers and witness, in union with the mercies of Christ…
For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever. (Today’s Psalm)
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