WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Christ Leads the Papacy through the Paschal Mystery
Tomorrow, Thursday, we are losing a Pope. We are gaining a Pope. Old dies. New is born.
"They will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day." (Matthew 20:19) Lent is a time when we accept the prophecy of Christ applying to ourselves. We will suffer. We will die. We will rise.
HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - "He is strong, he will pull through," said a loving wife as she watched her emaciated husband lying on a hospital bed. However, as I clasped his hand in mine and looked into his eyes I understood the contrary. Suddenly both of us knew something. We were not only certain that he was going to die but that he would be soon with God.
I gave him the last Sacraments: confession, eucharist, anointing, and the apostolic pardon. An hour later he was dead. I dare say he is with God.
What is it like to know you are going to die?
Jesus knew it and tried to prepare his apostles. Like the admiring wife, they too, had a hard time believing it. He was so wonderful to be around, so loving, so full of grace and truth. How could he be tortured and murdered? In the gospel for today, you can almost hear their unbelief of even the One who is pure Truth and pure Light itself.
We are all going to die. This is a simple fact. Life is short. Yesterday we were born and tomorrow we will die and we have only today.
What is it like to know you are going to die?
How would you live differently? Lent is a time when we accept the prophecy of Christ applying to ourselves. We will suffer. We will die. We will rise.
Christ helps us to accept this serenely. It is he who shows us that death is merely a thin veil that separates us from the next life, and when our hour is come that veil will be thrust aside and we will see God face to face, if we live in accordance with his will in this life.
The Papacy is about to go through the paschal mystery too. Tomorrow, Thursday, we are losing a Pope. We are gaining a Pope. Old dies. New is born.
The suffering and death of Christ helps us to accept these necessary deaths that we must undergo. Not only does it help us accept these things but also but also be realistic about it.
James and John had grandiose ideas about suffering and death and the kingdom. We too initially look at the crucifix as if it is just hanging on the wall, gilt in gold or silver with pretty red paint flowing from the Lord's wounds. Just as Jesus corrected the vision of James, John, and their opportunistic mother, he corrects us. The cross IS ugly. Suffering is NOT easy. Losing a Pope? Very difficult.
Being realistic and honest about suffering, death, about the humanity of the Church is the beginning of authentic holiness and intimate communion with God. Jesus is our realism. His love for us would not permit us to labor in presumption that love is easy or without suffering. Yet his love helps us face whatever comes with authentic pure joy that comes from union with God.
May Our Lady help us not fear the truth of life, suffering, death, and resurrection. May she intercede for the Church and help us to accept whatever may come with the joy of belonging to God. May she continue to be a refuge for sinners, the oasis in the desert of lent and of life.
Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and is currently based in Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom. He is a speaks to groups around the world on Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Visit his homily blog http://medleyminute.blogspot.com or his blog on sexual ethics http://loveandresponsibility.org
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Cross, Resurrection, Papacy, Pope Benedict XVI,
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