"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Saturday, March 17, 2018

FR. VOIGT, "Reflection on Passion Sunday's Gospel"

FR. VOIGT, "Reflection on Passion Sunday's Gospel"

If you see the red sky at night, then you know it is a sailor's delight for on the morrow the sun will shine.  Note that if the premise is correct then the conclusion follows.  In our Lord's speech the premises matter a great deal. For instance, "If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me?" In other words the Truth is absolute which is contrary to the way of the powerful whose premise is "If I am more powerful than you, then my way dictates." Might makes right as Machievelli used to say.  But is it true? 

Jesus is the True Son of God and hence every word that He utters I want to treasure.  Recall St. Francis of Assissi who would pick up any and every paper which had God's word written on it and memorize it.  Why then did the Jews reject the truth and fail to believe.  "If one is of God he hears the word of God."
The premise is correct:  one must love God to hear His Word and keep it. How many have heard the Word of God but fail to treasure it in their hearts as Mary did (recall the mystery of the Finding in the Temple).

The premise issued a response from the heart of the Jew.  The statement is the typical manner of responding when we have no truth in us:  attack the person (ad hominem).  It has no substance and so they state that Jesus has a demon and is a Samaritan.  Jesus patiently and mildly refutes the statement of error "that He has a demon" but accept the fact that He is a Samaritan (Guardian).  He has come to guard us from error and lead us through His Truth to the Eternity promised to those who love God and keep His Word.

Next divine premise cuts through the Jewish heart.  "If any man keep my word, he shall not see death forever."  Hear this word and understand that every word of God that comes to you is a Word that is eternal and eternalizes.
Every word of God is prophetic and creative as well.  Hence in God's Word the Triune God is revealed.  Consider the seraphic doctor of the Church, St. Bonaventure, who saw the trinity is all of creation and proclaimed as his most treasured book:  The Crucifix.  St. Thomas Aquinas tells that story for it was he who requested St. Bonaventure to reveal the books in his library that produced so many insights. 

If then the Word of God does not reside in your heart, then you are not of God.  If you are not of God, then your father is the devil.  If the Jew knew the Father then they would listen to the Son.  But they do not even to this day know the Father and they seek to kill the Mystical Body.  Jesus states clearly that He knows the Father.  That is a truth you can take to the bank.
Abraham knew it and rejoice to see the Son.  The Jew's response is purely emotional:  "You are not yet fifty and you have seen Abraham."  Our Lord responds:  "Before Abraham was made, I am."

Recall the question of Moses on the mount of revelation in which Moses asked God His Name.  God's response:  "I am Who am."  The triune God is eternal presence.  This truth could not and will not be accepted by souls whose pride images their father in hell.  For those who believe these words are a confirmation of the eternal love of God for His creation.
The Jews picked up stones to kill Him right then and there but He walked through their midst for "His hour had not yet come."

There are two types of persons in this world.  First, there are those for whom the world and its pleasures and powers dictate to them their reaction to the Word of God.  Then there are those whose heart longs for the Word of God in order to live by that truth and seek the kingdom of God.  For the first the dictates of the evil one dominate their thoughts, words and deeds.
They manipulate; they denigrate; they condemn.  On the other hand, the believer loves, uplifts and intercedes for all the souls God has called into existence.  In fact the believer imitates the Master and will lay down his/her life for those who wish to "get rid of those Catholics". 

The battle lines have been drawn in the sands of the Scripture we hear on this Passion Sunday for the verdict of the Jew is clear by the stones they wished to cast at the One Who told them the Truth.  May we love the truth and follow the pattern of the Master cheerfully.  For the passion is the mark of the Father's Love for us all.

In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Fr. Richard Voigt