Today, in the Entrance Antiphon, we call on our Merciful God Who, in His Goodness and great Love, is ever ready to forgive our sins, should we repent and put us, spiritually, ‘back on our feet’. The Responsorial Psalm speaks first of our great longing for God’s Grace which, alone, can give Life to our souls. A soul fallen from Grace may be compared to drought-stricken land, lifeless without water but in which plants will spring into growth when rain falls and irrigates it. Through the words of the psalm we proclaim our belief that it is only by constantly drawing on the Strength that comes from God, that only by looking to Him, whose ‘…love is better than life’, will we attain the Eternal Life He has created us to live! We recognise that true happiness lies in ever drawing on the Source of Life and Help, staying close to our Father who, unlike the fallible promoters of solely material success, will never let go of us and can and will actually give all He promises!
In the First Reading we are reminded that fidelity to God’s Call does not promise Heaven on Earth as we hear the Prophet, Jonah’s lament over the humiliation he is facing from those who resist his preaching of the Truth. If one really sets one’s sights on living God’s Way, then one may well experience a ‘bumpy ride’ or even, as are many of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ in various parts of the world, be called to lay down one’s life. In the Second Reading Saint Paul underlines the Sacrificial aspect of being ‘in the world but not of it’; our priority must, of necessity, be that of loving and pleasing God, however ‘uncool’ such a way of life may appear to those for whom the world and material success are the be all and end all of life! Through our example of fidelity to God may we draw lost souls back on track!
In the Alleluia verse we call for help to be able see beyond the here and now, with its ups and downs, to the true goal of Eternal Life, often obscured by materialism.
Finally, in the Gospel we see, from the words of Our Lord, that there is no cosy alternative to self-denial in this life. As Jesus, very bluntly, reminds a well-meaning Peter, who had expressed horror at the thought of His coming Passion and Death, eternal unhappiness is the only destination of a life lived, knowingly and intentionally, apart from God. However self-sufficient our life in this world may appear, it will very definitely come to an end and we will be rewarded, “…each one according to his behaviour…”. Our eternity is, very clearly, in our hands (we have Free-Will) but, if we are to be eternally happy with God, we are personally charged with working at it! We are crew, not passengers!
On Friday we will celebrate the Birthday of Our Blessed Lady who set us a striking example of Faith, Hope and Love in embracing God’s Way over Man’s! Sinless from conception, therefore unflawed by a fallen nature, Mary was dedicated to God as an infant by her Parents, Joachim and Anne. Her whole life, untainted by personal sin, was a preparation for her mission. As a young woman she took up the challenging assignment offered her by the Father through the Archangel Gabriel and, in her Womb, ‘the Word was made Flesh and Dwelt among us!’. Mary, our Mother, is ever watchful over us.
‘…Dark night has come down on this…world…
and the tempest-tossed Church, all her eyes are on thee….’
May we never cease to implore Mary’s protection throughout our life’s journey towards Eternal Bliss with her Divine Son!
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church