Monday, 19 May 2014

"Set yourselves close to him" (1 Pet. 2)

The reading that are presented to us over this Easter season teach us significant principles of living our lives authentically in the love of the risen Christ:

In the Road to Emmaus (3rd Sunday of Easter), we are shown the fundamental place of the Word of God, broken open and explained to the disciples, and the profound unity it has with the Holy Eucharist. Through the breaking open of the Sacred Scriptures and the breaking of the bread, the disciples recognise the Risen Lord, and are impelled to share this news. Thus, coming to Mass and participating in the sacramental life of the Church is necessary, and, as Catholics, we are obliged to. Each time we come to Mass, we encounter the Risen Lord, just as those Apostles did on the Road to Emmaus.

Last Sunday (4th Sunday of Easter), we encounter our special unique calling from God. Ultimately, this unique calling - vocation - is about our relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship with Jesus is lived out in different ways in the world. This relationship with Christ means that, like the disciples on the journey to Emmaus, we have an impulsion to respond to Jesus' invitation, and begin an exciting journey of faith; we have an impulse for action - remember those early Christian converts in the Acts of the Apostles asking, 'what must we do?' This must be our question, and so show our eagerness to live our lives worthy of our vocation! The heart of this experience is our call to conversion, listening to the voice of The Lord, allowing it to penetrate deep into our heart. 

Our Blessed Lord recognises that this is not an endeavour to be completed alone. This Sunday (5th Sunday of Easter) we hear, from the mouth of The Lord the reality that it is only through him that we are able to have a relationship with God the Father: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. None can come to the Father except through me". Our lives take on a whole new meaning! 

A consideration from from the readings of today's Mass is that all of us, whoever we are, and whatever state of life we are called to, have a special and unique calling from God. Before discerning our specific vocation (single life, consecrated life, married life, priesthood), our principle vocation is our universal call to holiness. This is something which flows primarily from our relationship with Christ. The readings today show us that holiness is not a concept for a few people only, but something by which everyone is called: St. Peter, in the second reading, calls us to 'set yourselves close to him'. This is our ongoing mission. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council have taken up this in an important way:

The Lord Jesus, the divine teacher and model of all perfection, preached holiness of life to each and every ones every condition (Lumem Gentium, 40).

If we are to answer Pope Francis' call to be missionary disciples, we have to cultivate our own interior relationship with God first. The Holy Father, in a recent homily, reminds us that 'to get to know Jesus we must pray to him, celebrate him and imitate him'. This is what the universal call to holiness asks us to do - and fruits will flow naturally and abundantly from this. Living our lives in right relationship with Him, will, in turn, encourage and enable others to consider the direction of their lives. It is true that 'holiness begets holiness' - we are attracted to that which is good and holy. The famous spiritual write Thomas Merton began a book by exclaiming that 'the only thing that can save the world from complete moral collapse is a spiritual revolution'. 

Be the change: make a difference! 

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