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

August 18, 2018

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

19th Saturday in Ordinary Time
Ezekiel 18: 1-10, 13b, 30-32; Matthew 19:13-15

The prophet Ezekiel reminds us of God’s desire for our salvation. He calls out to us in the name of God, “Return and live” (Ezek. 18:32). As a part of the unfolding plan of salvation, the church continues to proclaim the Good News of salvation to every creature. In its mission to the world, the church brings the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church. Our God is merciful but He is also just. Even though man was enslaved to sin, God did not leave him to himself. Rather, He predestined every human being to be conformed to the image of His Son. God’s offer of salvation is a gift of love that requires our free acceptance. The same love that mercifully bends down and draws near to each human being with a gratuitous offer of redemption shows unconditional respect for each person’s freedom.

Christ is the image of the invisible God and in Him all things came into being and are sustained in existence. Even before the foundation of the world, the Father predestined us to be His adopted children. In carrying out the Father’s will, Our Savior Jesus Christ emptied Himself of the grandeur that was His as God and clothed Himself in our lowly human nature. As a man among men, He invited all who had ears to hear to follow Him as He journeyed to His Father’s house. By His obedience to the Father’s will, Christ gave us an example, inviting us to obey the great commandment of love. In His great act of self-emptying, by being lifted up on the cross, He drew all to Himself who were willing to take up their cross. It is in the shadow of the cross, that we live and move and have our being. It is essential that we cling to Christ because without Him we can do nothing.

Christ invites all who are weighed down with the burden of sin to come to Him. Lifted up on the cross, the Lord Jesus bows His head towards us and breathes out His life-creating Spirit. In the depths of our heart, the Lord speaks to each of us: “Receive the Holy Spirit and allow yourself to be created anew, with all your sins washed away.” To those willing to receive the Good News, the Father grants fullness of life in the Son. The gift is freely given and must be freely received. For those who live in Christ and Christ lives in them, there is no need to fear damnation. All who wholeheartedly respond to the Lord’s invitation will receive forgiveness of their sins and find peace and joy in their hearts. May we be totally conformed to the Son who receives his being as a gifts from the Father and who offers his flesh and blood for the salvation of the world. As we enter into communion with the Risen Lord, we will come to know our true identity; that we are from Love, and of Love and for Love.