Gen 18: 1-10a; Col:24-28; Luke 10:38-42 Mary spends time listening to Jesus because he opens up a whole world to her. Paul calls it "the mystery hidden from ages and generations past but now revealed to his holy ones." Many people are totally closed off from this mystery; it is a world they find totally unreal. A friend of mine once told me about a challenging conversation he had with a lawyer. The man told him, "You clergymen try to convince people that they are more than animals. You try to make them believe that there is some transcendent purpose to life, that there is some kind of cosmic meaning that they can be part of. The way I see it, if we have any purpose on this earth, it is just to keep things going. We can stir the pot while we are here and try to keep things interesting. Beyond that, everything runs down: your marriage runs down, your body runs down, your faith runs down. We can only try to make it interesting." The lawyer, of course, is an atheist. He says, in effect, that what you see is what you get, and nothing more. We disagree. By our very presence here at this Eucharist, we are saying that he is wrong. There is a whole dimension of reality that escapes him. It can be seen only with the eyes of faith. We have been let in on a secret: that we are not alone in an uncaring universe that’s going nowhere. We are loved and cared for by a God who, through Jesus Christ, has shared our lot. By his cross and resurrection he has won for us a life stronger than death. Yes, things run down, but that’s not the last word. God has a plan for us, and a destiny. He invites us on a journey to a fuller life. To outsiders, we are just a group of people engaged in ritual behavior here at Mass. But much more is going on. We are in touch with the world of the spirit. We are engaged in a conversation with the living God who is not a million miles away but right here among us, as close as Jesus was to Mary. We are making present the redemptive death and resurrection of God’s own son. We are eating the bread of life--Jesus himself--as food for the journey. We have much reason to be grateful, to rejoice, to hope. Do we have anything to do? Yes. We can share the secret with those who have not heard the good news or, like the lawyer, fmd it hard to believe. How can we do that? Just by being here, in church, we are making a statement; by trying to live lives marked by justice and compassion and care; by refusing to settle for a life of conspicuous consumption, by valuing people more than things. These are signs that this liturgy is no mere exercise in empty religious formalism, but that we are truly in touch with the divine. The lawyer says, "In the end, everything runs down." St. Paul says, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered the human mind, what great things God has prepared for those who love him." And they’re happening right here, right now. James DiGiacomo, S.J.

Comments

Anonymous | 7/23/2007 - 3:09pm
Thanks very much for this article. You wrote a great deal of what I need to hear. This is my first time on the on-line magazine.
Anonymous | 7/23/2007 - 2:55pm
for once I believe that St Bernard has the better edge on this difficult topic. Saint Bernard (1091-1153), moine cistercien et docteur de l'Église 3ème Sermon pour l’Assomption (trad. Béguin, Seuil 1953, p. 1002 rev.) Marthe et Marie Qui mieux que ceux qui ont la charge d’une communauté méritent qu’on leur applique ces paroles : « Marthe, Marthe, tu te soucies de bien des choses » ? Qui s'inquiète de beaucoup de choses sinon celui à qui il incombe de s'occuper aussi bien de Marie la contemplative que de son frère Lazare et d’autres encore ? Vous reconnaissez Marthe inquiète et accablée de mille soucis : c'est l'apôtre qui a « le souci de toutes les Eglises » (2Co 11,28), qui veille à ce que les pasteurs prennent soin de leurs ouailles. « Nul n’est faible que je ne le sois avec lui, dit-il, et nul n’est scandalisé sans que je sois brûlé aussi » (v. 29). Que Marthe reçoive donc le Seigneur dans sa maison, puisque c'est à elle qu’est confié la direction du ménage… Que ceux qui partagent ses tâches reçoivent aussi le Seigneur, chacun selon son ministère particulier ; qu'ils accueillent le Christ et qu'ils le servent, qu'ils l'assistent dans ses membres, les malades, les pauvres, les voyageurs et les pèlerins. Tandis qu'ils assument ces activités, que Marie demeure en repos, qu'elle connaisse « combien le Seigneur est doux » (Ps 33,9). Qu’elle ait bien soin de se tenir aux pieds de Jésus, le coeur plein d’amour et l’âme en paix, sans le quitter des yeux, attentive à toutes ses paroles, admirant son beau visage et son langage. « La grâce est répandue sur ses lèvres ; il est plus beau que tous les fils des hommes » (Ps 44,3), plus beau même que les anges dans leur gloire. Connais ta joie et rends grâce, Marie, toi qui as choisi la meilleure part. Heureux les yeux qui voient ce que tu vois, les oreilles qui méritent d'entendre ce que tu entends ! (Mt 13,16) Que tu es heureuse surtout d'entendre battre le coeur de Dieu dans ce silence où il est bon pour l'homme d'attendre son Seigneur ! www.levangileauquotidien.org
Anonymous | 7/19/2007 - 11:08pm
Jim, Right on! As a permanent deacon I frequently preach to incarcerated men -- they have little to hope for in this life. Your statement, "Just by being here, in church, we are making a statement..." How true! The men who come to chapel make a statement -- by coming to service and by the way they live their lives the rest of the week. Please remember all God's people in your prayers, including the incarcerated, victims of their crimes, those who work in prisons and those who volunteer.