Sunday, August 09, 2009

Gospel for August 10, Feast: St. Lawrence, Deacon & Martyr

Monday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

From: John 12:24-26

Jesus Foretells His Glorification (Continuation)
(Jesus said to his disciples,) [24] "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. [25] He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. [26] If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him."
24-25. There is an apparent paradox here between Christ's humiliation and his glorification. Thus, "it was appropriate that the loftiness of his glorification should be preceded by the lowliness of his passion" (St Augustine, "In Ioann. Evang.", 51, 8).

This is the same idea we find in St Paul, when he says that Christ humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross, and that therefore God the Father exalted him above all created things (cf. Phil 2:8-9). This is a lesson and an encouragement to the Christian, who should see every type of suffering and contradiction as a sharing in Christ's cross, which redeems us and exalts us. To be supernaturally effective, a person has to die to himself, forgetting his comfort and shedding his selfishness. "If the grain of wheat does not die, it remains unfruitful. Don't you want to be a grain of wheat, to die through mortification, and to yield a rich harvest? May Jesus bless your wheatfield!" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 199).

26. Our Lord has spoken about his sacrifice being a condition of his entering into glory. And what holds good for the Master also applies to his disciples (cf. Mt 10:24; Lk 6:40). Jesus wants each of us to be of service to him. It is a mystery of God's plan that he--who is all, who has all and who needs nothing and nobody--should choose to need our help to ensure that his teaching and the salvation wrought by him reaches all men.

"To follow Christ: that is the secret. We must accompany him so closely that we come to live with him, like the first Twelve did; so closely, that we become identified with him. Soon we will be able to say, provided we have not put obstacles in the way of grace, that we have put on, have clothed ourselves with our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rom 13:14). [...]

"I have distinguished as it were four stages in our effort to identify ourselves with Christ--seeking him, finding him, getting to know him, loving him. It may seem clear to you that you are only at the first stage. Seek him then, hungrily; seek him within yourselves with all your strength. If you act with determination, I am ready to guarantee that you have already found him, and have begun to get to know him and to love him, and to hold your conversation in heaven (cf. Phil 3:20)" ([St] J. Escriva, "Friends of God", 299-300).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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