- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

September 3, 2016

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

22nd Saturday in Ordinary Time

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great
1 Corinthians 4: 6b-15; Luke 6: 1-5

We just heard these words which Saint Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth: “We are fools on Christ’s account” (1 Cor. 4:10). We who have been called to follow in the footsteps of Christ have no cause to be proud. All we have, all we are, all we do that is good and praiseworthy is a gift of God’s grace. In a world that is self-asserting, we are called to be Christ-asserting. If we believe that all we have is gift, we cannot be other than Christ-asserting. In the eyes of image-builders, such talk is foolishness. Even though we are fools for Christ, if we follow the call of the Good Shepherd, we will be granted moments of light and insight.

In the late 70’s, a miniseries entitled Jesus of Nazareth was aired on prime-time television. As I was preparing these reflections, I recalled a scene from that series. Some of you may remember it: Jesus is inside Matthew’s house, telling the parable of the prodigal son. All the while, Peter is standing outside the open door, refusing to go. During the narration, Peter is granted a moment of light and insight: Jesus is the all-loving and all-forgiving Father, Matthew the prodigal and he (Peter) the older dutiful son. Overwhelmed by this insight, Peter enters the house and walks directly to the Lord. With tears streaming down his face, he slowly and deliberately declares: “Forgive me, Master. I’m just … a stupid man.” Recalling this moment, I am reminded that Jesus is the Savior of mankind and even though I am less than nothing in his sight, He loves me. In a success driven society, such talk is foolishness.

We may be fools, but God uses us to bring about the building up of His kingdom. Though cast off and rejected as worthless by power-driven secular society, we are precious to God. Though poor in the sight of the world, we are rich in grace because of Him who became poor for our sakes. As fools on account of Christ, we walk in conformity to His will and bear His cross with which we can overcome the world and contribute to the building up of the heavenly kingdom. As companions of the Lord of the Sabbath, we are called to celebrate God’s provident care for us. We need to listen to the voice of the creator of the Universe as He calls out to us: “My house is your house. Come right in! Come in and feast upon the Meal I have prepared for you.” Gathered around the Table of the Lord, may we lift up our hearts and offer Him praise, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.