Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!
Thanks be to God!
The readings today give us some clues on how we can go and live out this command that we hear at the end of Mass. It is our mission, as the faithful of Christ to live our lives reflecting the love of God that we receive in our souls into the world.
Mirror, Mirror On the Wall
In Snow White and the Seven Dwarves the evil witch has a magical mirror – and she is so vain that each day she begins her day with the chant – Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, who’s the fairest of them all?
Everything is good while her outer beauty lasts, but as her beauty fades, she discovers that her step-daughter – Snow White is the fairest, and so she plots to destroy her beauty.
I think that it would be kind of cool to have a magically mirror in my life – that way I could get up in the morning and ask the question –
Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, let us reflect Christ to them all!
Then we could begin to live an examined life, a life that is measured by an ability to understand how well we reflect the love of Christ each day. Then we could begin to truly strive after holiness and transform the world!
Transformation = Prepare, Rest, Intercede
The readings today give us some hints on how to find this magical mirror and place it in our lives so that we can reflect the love of Christ into our families, to our friends and to the world. There are three clues offered to us in the readings – Prepare our Souls, Rest in our Souls, Imitate Christ’s love through our sufferings.
First – How are we hospitable to God? In the first reading we see an extension of the actions of the Good Samaritan from last Sunday’s readings. Abraham is waiting on a hot day in his tent, and when he sees the Holy Trinity walking by in the form of three angels, he welcomes them into his tent. He prepares for them the finest bread, meat and drink to cool and nourish them. God rewards Abraham’s hospitality with the gift of new life – his son Isaac.
Prepare our Souls for Christ – Do we watch and welcome?
We can also look at this reading as an analogy for our soul – do we welcome God into our hearts, have we prepared a place for him within us. We can do this each time we celebrate the Mass when we say
“Lord, I am not worthy that you enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”.
Are we living our lives in such a way that God will find a welcome for himself within our souls? Do we sit at the entrance to our tent (soul) and wait for the Lord’s visit? – Or are we too busy / too afraid with work to welcome Christ into our presence.
Rest in Stillness – Be imprinted by Christ!
This takes us to the Gospel. In the Gospel today, Jesus comes to visit the house of Mary and Martha. Martha is anxious and worried about many things. She is distracted from listening to Christ – She is unable to be still in the presence of God.
We live in a busy world – we are always going all over the place – and the world changes rapidly. How many of us are able to practice a little bit of stillness in our lives? To prepare for this homily I tried to set aside a little bit of time each day to listen to the readings, to sit and let them soak in. That is a hard task to do – what with the busyness of work, kids, bills etc. Every time I tried to quiet myself my mind erupted with 15 different things that “had” to be done. These are distractions that prevent me from soaking in the presence of God as Mary did in the first reading. In order to be an effective mirror of Christ’s love to the world we need to set aside busy-ness and entertainment and be content to listen to the Word in our hearts – let it challenge us and transform us. This is what Mary is doing in the Gospel.
Then, after this flood of distraction entered my mind, my heart remembered the words of Christ – Martha, Martha, you are worried and anxious about many things… - It was a duh! moment – If God loves me greatly, surely he will allow me the freedom of spending a few moments resting and reflecting at the feet of Jesus.
Learning to reflect God’s Love
What Mary is doing by sitting still and quiet at the feed of Our Lord is that she is learning to reflect Christ. She has focused her entire being on learning to love as Christ is loving her in that moment. We are all called to that intensity of life, that encounter with God that transforms our souls.
St Paul – Suffering as intercession
St. Paul speaks of his encounter with Christ in his suffering – and this is perhaps the most difficult way that we are called to imitate the love of Christ – but at the same time it is the most profound way to learn to love as Christ loved in his sufferings.
St. Paul knew that Jesus expressed the fullness of his love, the deepest part of his love when he suffered on the Cross. That was Christ’s action of profound love. St. Paul tried to reflect Christ’s love in his sufferings by praying for others while he suffered.
We did not comprehend the strength of God’s love until he showed it too us on the Cross. This is at the heart of the revelation of Christ. When he suffered the most, he loved the Most.
Transform Suffering to Intercession as an act of Love
This is why St. Paul was able to rejoice in his sufferings. He saw them as an opportunity to reflect the love of God in the deepest way. This is what St. Paul says when he says that he is filling up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ – what is lacking is his choice to share in the sufferings of Christ by taking his sufferings and then praying for the needs of the Church!
Do we Welcome, Reflect and follow Christ closely enough, to allow him to share in our sufferings. This is a hard and difficult mass. St. Paul teaches that the way that we allow Christ to share in our sufferings is to pray for the needs of the Church when we are experiencing the pain, loss, and abandonment.
The offertory is a particularly powerful time to offer these prayers, as we pour into the chalice our sufferings, our pain, and our love. We ask to receive from God in this Mass the grace of his Son, that our pain can be transformed into the forgiveness of our sins.
If we can do these three things – prepare a tent acceptable to the Lord, to wait at the feet of Christ and allow his presence to imprint itself on our hearts and to invite Christ into our sufferings, so we can learn to love as he does, and pray for others to lead them to eternal life then we will be better prepared to “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!”.