Immersed in Christ: May 11, 2020
Monday, Week Five of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 115) teaches us to look for the real cause of the wonders we experience: “Not to us, O LORD, but to your name give glory.”
In Acts 14: 5-18 Paul and Barnabas restore a man to the level of health and being that most humans are born with. Healing the cripple was a miracle, but the same thing could have been accomplished, conceivably, at least, by sufficiently advanced medical technology when he was born. When the crowd proclaimed them gods for it, Paul and Barnabas tried to focus them on the miracle right before their eyes that they were ignoring: on what no god, but only God as Source of being itself can do:
You should turn from these empty idols to the living God, who made heaven and earth and the sea and all these hold…. giving you rain from heaven… filling you with food and your hearts with joy.”
There is something Paul did not point out, though: if the crowd thought Paul and Barnabas were gods because they restored the cripple to ordinary human health, what should they have taken them for if they had realized that these men, through their ministry, had the power to give them divine life, life on the level of God? To make them sharers in the life of God himself?
A good doctor can bring our human health up to par. A good teacher can enable us to understand any truth available to human reason. With sufficient good will we can reach the level of heroic human love. And we can legitimately hope and strive for any good and happiness available on earth. But only Jesus Christ, and those in and through whom he acts as his body on earth, can give divine life. The power to understand Truth accessible only to God. The “perfection of Love” proper to God alone. A happiness no one but God can dream of. This is what Paul offered:
I pray that… you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations. 1
This is the glorious ministry for which we offer ourselves at Baptism. It is to this that we recommit ourselves at the Presentation of Gifts when we put our human selves on the altar as bread — “fruit of the earth and work of human hands” — to be offered and given in Christ for the life of the world.
John 14:21-26 responds to our fear to believe this is possible. The same John who wrote: “No one has ever seen God,” reports Jesus as saying, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father... Those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” More than that, “We will come to them and make our home with them.” John repeats it: “If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.” Ponder that. Then say, “Not to us, O LORD, but to your name give glory.” 2
Initiative: Accept the miracle of your being, both human and divine. Use it.
View Today's Readings Here
1 Ephesians 3:16-21. 2 John 14:9; 1John 4:12-16.