14th Sunday O.T. (C).
INTERIOR JOY AND PEACE ARE CONSEQUENCES OF
GOD’S GRACE, APOSTOLATE AND INTERIOR STRUGGLE.
Dear brethren in Christ, today’s Sunday readings underline a very important idea in our Christian life:
INTERIOR JOY AND PEACE ARE CONSEQUENCES OF GOD’S GRACE, OF BRINGING SOULS CLOSER TO CHRIST AND ONE’S INTERIOR STRUGGLE.
- In the 1st reading, (Is 66:10-14), Isaiah stresses that the JOY OF THE SPIRIT is a sign of the messianic times.
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; Exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! … For thus says the Lord: Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.
When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bodies flourish like the grass; The Lord’s power shall be known to his servants, but to his enemies, his wrath.”
- With the Messiah’s coming, JOY WILL FILL THE NEW JERUSALEM, that is, the CHURCH, and ALL THOSE WHO LOVE AND WORK FOR HER for she will be a source of supernatural gifts −, HOLINESS, JUSTICE, JOY, HAPPINESS, COMFORT, FORGIVENESS, MERCY AND FUTURE GLORY −, given by God to the FAITHFUL MEMBERS OF HIS BODY, THE CHURCH.
- This authentic interior joy and peace could be gleaned in today’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-12. 17-20) which recounts the experience of the seventy-two disciples who were sent by Our Lord Jesus Christ “as lambs among wolves” with the mission to EVANGELIZE, to BRING JOY and to SOW PEACE to every town and place he intended to visit FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND, that is, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is with us to bring salvation to the entire humanity. BRINGING SOULS CLOSER TO CHRIST, PREACHING HIS GOSPEL AND SOWING PEACE IN OUR SURROUNDINGS, ALL LEAD TO INTERIOR JOY.
“The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.’ Jesus said, ‘I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.’”
- Previously, Our Lord told his disciples that to those who welcomed them, the disciples were to cure the sick and proclaim the Kingdom of God. To those who rejected them, Our Lord told them to warn the unbelieving that: “it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”
- It is important to note that Our Lord Jesus Christ insisted that the real motive of joy and happiness is the assurance of ONE’S SALVATION and not the efficient fruits of one’s APOSTOLATE.
- By virtue of our Baptism, all of us are called to APOSTOLATE: to be sowers of peace and joy and to preach the Good News handed to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, through His Body, the Church, first, through the oral Tradition handed to us by His Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, and later put down into writing as the Sacred Scriptures, or the Holy Bible. Irenaeus explains the mediation of the Church in the transmission of the Gospel:
“The only true and vivifying faith is that which the Church hands to Her children, having received it from the apostles. For, indeed, the Lord of all things entrusted the Gospel to his apostles, and through them, we have come to the knowledge of the Truth, that is, of the doctrine of the Son of God. The Lord said to His apostles: “He who hears you hears me…” (Lk 10, 16). We have not come to the knowledge of the economy of our salvation if not through the Apostles who have transmitted the Gospel to us. They preached it, and then, by God’s will, they handed it to us in the Scriptures, for they were the pillar and foundation of our faith (1 Timothy 3: 15) “(St. Ireneus, Against the heresies 3, 1, 1-2).
- Finally, St. Paul teaches us in the 2nd reading (Gal 6:14-18) that this INTERIOR JOY IS NOT REACHED BUT THROUGH THE CROSS. PEACE AND JOY ARE FRUITS OF THE CROSS, OF THE INTERIOR STRUGGLE TO LIVE CHRIST’S LIFE FOR LOVE.
“Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world… Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.”
- Paul encourages us not to be afraid of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ but rather bear its marks in our body for this is the only way to be one with Him.
- TO EMBRACE CHRIST’S CROSS IS TO EMBRACE JESUS AND HIS DIVINE WILL. TO FOLLOW, TO LOVE CHRIST DEMANDS THAT WE REJECT ALL THAT IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH CHRIST’S LIFE IN US −SIN, EVIL, PRIDE, ENVY, LUST, GREED, VANITY, ANGER, SLOTH…− AND THIS REQUIRES A DAILY STRUGGLE against our self, the devil and the “world”.
- ONLY THEN, WHILE WE STRIVE TO LIVE CHRIST’S LIFE IN OUR LIFE, AND ALL THAT IT ENTAILS, and if we lovingly persevere till the end through God’s grace, shall we possess the never-ending JOY, PEACE AND HAPPINESS which God has reserved for those who are faithful to Him.
O God, who in the abasement of your Son have raised up a fallen world, grant your faithful holy joy, that those you have rescued from slavery to sin may know eternal gladness.
-Opening Prayer of the Mass
Have a Blessed week ahead! Fr. Rolly A., priest of Opus Dei.
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: Diego Velasquez, Cristo Crucificado in https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d7/Cristo_crucificado.jpg