April 29, 2021 – The Feast of St. Catherine of Siena
(Acts 13: 13 – 25; Ps: 89; John 13: 16 – 20)
In Psalm 90, we chant: “Show forth your work to your servants; let your glory shine on their children.” This is exactly what St. Paul did when he addressed the people in the synagogue in Antioch. While showing forth the work of God through the ages, he became a means by which God’s glory now was shining on them.
Paul spells out the evidence of God’s existence, His work; he gives proof of the Divine Reality even for people who were themselves God-fearing believers. Paul, I believe, discerning their desire to be led deeper into the Divine Mystery, traces out the work of God in their history and so leads and encourages them in their faith journey. By his witness he strengthens their belief – God does exist and is present.
His words are truly a litany of Divine Presence, a litany of God’s glory seen and experienced: God chose our ancestors – Led them out of Egypt – Gave them Canaan as an inheritance – Raised up Samuel, Saul, David – And now has brought to Israel, a savior, Jesus whose coming John heralded. As Paul spoke, with conviction and passion, the saving Presence of God both surrounded these God-fearing people and surely filled them, these God-fearing people who yearned for God.
Paul sets an example for us who are God-fearing, who have and do experience the Divine Presence. To trace in our own lives, to sound out in our journey of faith the Hand of God, the Work of God – where, how, when have I experienced His mercy, His providence – and we all have. How can one live in God’s world and not be touched by Him?
At the end of the Gospel, Jesus speaks of a kind of messenger “…whoever receives the one I send, receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives the One who sent Me.” In looking into our journey, in desiring to see God’s work in us, for us – we become that kind of messenger to ourselves, a messenger who receives the Lord Himself. We can pray, “Show forth your work to me, your servant; let your glory shine on me.”
With St. Catherine of Siena, we can pray, “Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, You could give me no greater gift than the gift of Yourself. For You are a fire burning and never consumed.” (The Dialogue)