Love Reaching Perfection
Tuesday, June 20, 2023, 11th Week of Ordinary Time (A1)
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today:
LECTIONARY 366 (2Cor 8: 1-9; Ps 146: 2, 5-6, 7, 8-9; Mt 5: 43-48) The Responsorial (Psalm 146) encourages us: “Praise the Lord, my soul!” and the readings give us reasons to praise based on faith and the experience of faith in action. In 2Corinthians 8: 1-9 Paul does not just praise the Corinthians for their generous contribution to the collection for the suffering Church in Jerusalem. He sees in their response another manifestation of the gift of grace in them: “you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in the love that we have communicated to you.” 1 The love the Corinthians show is a love they have learned — or better, seen — in Paul, who reminds them that we have all seen it in Jesus, who, “though he was rich, yet for your sakes became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” This is ministry: the Father’s love embodied and manifested in Jesus; Jesus’ love embodied and manifested in us. So the Spirit is revealed as present and active in us who, as Christ’s risen, living body on earth, say to the whole world with him during the Eucharistic Prayer, “This is my body, given for you.” “Praise the Lord, my soul!” In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus exhorts us, “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This is the great call that the Church is proclaiming today:
All the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of love. Every Catholic must therefore aim at Christian perfection (cf. James 1:4; Romans 12:1-2) and all, according to their position, play their part so that the Church... may daily be more purified and renewed....2
This is a call to perfection, to union of heart and mind and will with Christ, overflowing in ministry. Or we could say it is a call to ministry flowing out of union of mind and heart with Christ. The message is the same: we must work at becoming holy (one with Christ in thought, desire and deed) in order to communicate his life to others and establish the reign of God on earth. We communicate God’s divine life to others by letting the invisible life of God in us become visible in our words and actions. We are called and consecrated as priests to express our faith, our hope and our love through our bodies. We say this at every Mass, in union with Christ on the cross, uniting ourselves as priests and victims to Jesus lifted up as Priest and Victim in the host: “This is my body, given up for you.... my flesh for the life of the world.” “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.” But every minute we give to others is a minute of our life. Ministry is love reaching perfection in the gift of self to others. “Praise the Lord, my soul!” Initiative: Be a priest. Use your body to show Christ’s love to every person you deal with. 1 Jerusalem Bible translation. 2 See the Second Vatican Council; Church 11, 40; Ecumenism 4.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry