St. John Vianney: When we pray properly sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.
It’s sometime before his suffering, death, resurrection and ascension.
Thus when he says he’s going away he’s talking about a future event.
It’s most interesting though to observe the meaning he gives to his going away. His going away is not his death, but his death, resurrection and ascension, and in going away he’s not abandoning us.
Thus in the teaching of Jesus Christ death is not the final end event, but part of something much greater.We need to begin to think in this way. For the believer life opens upwardly to the splendour of God. For the unbeliever life (ultimately) must narrow downwardly to the grave!
He is going away (death, resurrection and ascension) “to prepare a place for you…” This is personal.
Have you ever noticed that you can’t really walk in another person’s shoes, that no matter how close you might be to another person, that person is always separate, uniquely other? There’s a sense in which in the end there’s only God and you in the universe!
Jesus promises that after he’s gone (death, resurrection and ascension) he’ll come back to take you with him. It’s so personal.
We tend to think of this returning as death but that misses so much of the picture – most of all it misses the joy at the heart of our religion.
The returning to take us with him is the gift of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost) through whom God enters into our lives, not in the future, but now. We’re taken up into the Divine life. We’re given a “place” in the Divine life. This is what Jesus means when he speaks of “rooms in my Father’s house” – it’s a share in God’s life. Try to imagine what happens when the Divine life begins to enter our lives; a transformation begins. Thus we find the Saints saying things like; “When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.” St. John Vianney. The all powerful God mingles his life with ours – pure joy!
This is what makes the Catholic. Without Him religion falls flat. In fact, I’ll go much further and say; this is the joy of life, never mind Catholicism!
We don’t inherit the kingdom because we’re good people. We inherit the kingdom because God has given us a place (or room) in his Divine life and God by his very nature can’t be held captive by death.
Everything needed to encounter Jesus Christ can be found in today’s Gospel.
Pope Francis, Sunday Homily, May 04 2014
Three things are needed; the desire for God, the Word of God and the bread of the Eucharist. Pursue the three things relentlessly and I guarantee you, if you’re not a Catholic already, you’ll become a Catholic – you’re inner world will start to resemble the Catechism!
Suddenly Jesus comes up and walks with two of his disciples.
Significantly, they’re discussing him, his life and the events surrounding his death and reported resurrection. They’re downcast and haven’t yet come to faith describing Jesus as “a great prophet” rather than Lord.
They’re interested in Jesus. He’s important to them. They’re looking to him and thus he comes to meet them. It’s a two way thing. This is the first requirement – interest, desire, or as Jesus put it, knocking, searching and looking because the privileges of the true Christian will never be disclosed to humankind at large.
Let’s imagine ourselves going for a walk down the promenade (a path on the banks of the River Slaney in Enniscorthy), or shopping, or our life from this moment to the next occasion we’ll gather here; how often is Jesus Christ likely to be the focus of our attention? This is the reason we don’t feel connected to God. Our hearts and minds are somewhere else. Do you know why this happens?
We accept much too uncritically the secular narrative that we need a particular lifestyle if we are to be happy – watch the soaps any evening and you’ll find that there’s a narrative running through them about what brings us happiness. It’s everywhere, it’s rarely challenged and it’s big business! We’re slow to understand that Jesus Christ bestows life on those who love him; a full measure, pressed down, shaken together and flowing over. Grace by its nature is excessive and overflows – it’s missionary!
Now look where he takes them when he begins to walk beside them. He leads them to reflect on the Word of God, the scriptures. This is the second requirement. Read the Gospels reflectively, repeatedly. There our minds will meet the mind of God, our hearts will meet the heart of God and our hearts too will begin to burn within us.
“… he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them.” They have the desire, they want him! If they’d let him go on, revelation wouldn’t have happened, they wouldn’t have been at the table with him when he took bread and they wouldn’t have recognized him. Imagine how close they’d have been but they still wouldn’t have made it. I’d say we’ve often been that close too!
This is the third and final requirement; the breaking of the bread. Their faith development reaches its climax in recognizing Jesus in the breaking of bread and suddenly he’s gone. Odd that, why disappear just then? Because he’s left them all that they need to find him. He’s left them directions – the Word and the breaking of bread, Holy Mass.
In every Mass two of the three requirements are always present; the Word and the breaking of the bread. But is the third always present; a real desire for Jesus Christ?
“Why should the privileges of the true Christian be disclosed to mankind at large?” John Henry Newman.
It’s “the first day of the week (Sunday) and still dark” and Mary of Magdala is up early to visit Jesus tomb. Why? Because she loved him. If she didn’t love him she wouldn’t be there.
Finding the tomb empty she runs to find Peter and the other disciple.
Just a few months earlier Mary of Magdala had a very different set of friends.
“They have taken the Lord” she says, using a title that she doesn’t fully understand. How can he be Lord if he ends in death? Death is Lord then! The only man worth calling ‘Lord’ is the man who overcame death – not some guy who can kick a football or host a TV show!
Jesus has brought them together – but for this man Jesus, Mary of Magdala wouldn’t be running to find Peter and the others. Their love of Jesus has bound them together, given her and given them a new set of friends, a new family – the Church.
Peter, if married, has allowed a new person into his life, a person now as important to him as his wife. Every marriage should have him! Every life! They run, they’re full of emotion, it’s a matter of love and BANG they’re allowed to see because they love him.
They see, not everyone sees, only those close to him. The majority are doing their own thing, elsewhere. So it is to this day. “Why should the privileges of the true Christian be disclosed to mankind at large?” John Henry Newman.
Without this day we have no future. Just the denial of an inevitable and approaching doom! Without this day cancer will often have the last word! Without this day injustice will often have the last word! Without this day violence will often have the last word! Without this day evil has the last word! Without this day death, always and without exception has the last word!