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

Homily for November 11, 2020

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop

Titus 3:1-7, Luke 17:11-19

“He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Tit. 3:5-6). We have been brought to newness of life in Christ because God loves us. This is confirmed by the prophet Ezekiel. “As surely as I live, says the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked. I only want them to turn from their ways and live. Repent. Stop the evil you are doing. Why do you want to die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek. 33:11) God sees the mess we have gotten ourselves into and is moved with pity for us. Because of God’s great love for the world, we can be delivered out of our miserable condition. For this to happen, however, we must be willing to surrender to God’s great love and will for us.

The story is told of a vision my patron, St. Jerome had while working in the cave of Bethlehem where our Savior was born. Jesus Christ appeared to him as a child and asked him: “Jerome, when everyone presents something to me, what are you going to give me?”

“My virtues and prayers,” answered St. Jerome.

“This is good, but what else?”

“My heart, my soul, and all of myself!”

“I accept that, too, but I want something else from you as well.”

“But what else should I give You, Lord?” wondered the ascetic.

“Give me your sins!”

The Blessed Jerome began to cry brokenheartedly.

He asked through tears: “Why do you need my sins, Lord?”

Our Lord replied, “I want to take them on myself!”

Through the mystery of the incarnation “God made him who had never sinned to share our sinful nature so that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). God the Father is the fountain from which the Holy Spirit flows, to teach, regenerate, and save us; and this blessing comes to us through the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Newness of life is ours for the taking. It is a total gift. Cleansed in the life-giving waters flowing from the heart of Christ, we are brought to the fullness of life by the outpouring of the life-creating Spirit. Flowing from the Father’s Heart, the Holy Spirit is the Flame of Divine that enlightens, enlivens, and purifies our souls.

We’re never more the image of Christ than when we endure undeserved suffering and offer it to the Father. In a world wrapped in darkness and overwhelmed with anxiety, the Flame of Divine Love gives us hope. This hope enables us “to keep trying to reach the goal to win the prize offered by God’s upward calling in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). This hope gives our life meaning. “We have this hope as a sure and unshakeable anchor for the soul” (Heb. 6:19). May the Lord bring us all together to eternal life, where there is neither anxiety nor pain.