Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO
Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus
“You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me”, the incarnate Son of God who loved us. Here Jesus speaks of one of the standing difficulties of Christian experience. We can love those who live with us; we can meet their eyes, and recognize their voice. But with the risen Christ it is different. He makes no impression on our bodily senses. Our physical eyes do not see that he loves us. St John says as much in the first reading: “No one has ever seen God”.
But the connection between ourselves and Christ is not by way of the body that passes away, but by way of the spirit which endures. It’s a spiritual connection, and such a connection can be seriously perverted by the interference of bodily sensations. We can allow ourselves to be so caught up in what is material, that we get blunted in what Evagrius called the spiritual senses, and become incapable of loving what is not seen.
The readings this morning teach that “God sent his only Son into the world” to win our love as he won the love of Saints Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Our spiritual senses can turn all our duties into personal acts of love for him. The whole of life can become eucharistic, not just the time when we are in church for Mass. It’s easy to act well to those whom we really love, and Christ instituted the Eucharist for the express purpose of activating our spiritual sensing of his Real Presence in the whole of life.
If we remain in love after Mass, we should be able to go in peace, glorifying the Lord by our life of love.