Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO
11th Friday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-30; Matthew 6:19-23
A few minutes ago we heard the account of Paul’s labors and sufferings. The apostle to the gentiles recounted these events to give glory to God who enabled him to do these tasks and to endure all these trials for the sake of Christ and the preaching of the Good News. Please ponder these assuring words taken from the Letter to the Romans: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). Paul was confident that the one who prepared a kingdom for him would give him every grace he needed to get there. With Christ as the foundation stone of our life, we can face dangers, hardships, and sufferings with patience, confidence, and joy. Paul underscores this in his letter to the Philippians: “I press on toward the goal in order to win the prize of being called to heaven in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Along with Saint Paul, we must forget the things that are past and press on to grasp the prize that lies before us. We find the reason for our confidence in the words Paul wrote in the Letter to the Romans: “If God is for us, who can be against?” (Rom. 8:31). Because God is for us, and because we hold fast to his love, we can defy all the powers of darkness with holy boldness.
We will have the strength we need to run the race so as to be totally conformed to the person of Christ who emptied himself to be united to us. Those who have heaven in their view, must press forward to it, in holy desires, clinging in hope, and straining in heartfelt endeavor. We are never completely ourselves unless we belong to a people. “Whenever we make the effort to return to the source and to recover the original freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise, new paths of creativity open up, with different forms of expression, more eloquent signs and words with new meaning for today’s world” (Evangelii Gaudium, #11).
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ instructs us to focus our gaze on the joys and glories of our heavenly homeland. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat. 6:21). There are treasures in heaven. We have Jesus’ word for it. Christ emptied himself of all his dignity as the Son of God to make us his own. Wisdom would dictate that we empty ourselves of all earthly treasures to make ours all that Christ has made his own. Anyone who loves God must be willing to give up all worldly attachment.
Dear Lord, stir up within us the faith of Saint Paul. Guide our steps and give us the courage to run along the path of your commandments. Give us the grace we need to trust You and surrender to Your will. Enlarge our hearts with a greater willingness to help those in need. Grant that we may love you always and then do with us what you will.