Saturday, 5 July 2014

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A

Zechariah 9:9-10; Romans 8:9.11-13; Matthew 11:25-30

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.'

The ‘learned’ and the ‘clever’ are really an unfortunate bunch mainly because they are blind. This is odd, really, since the gift they claim to have is sight or understanding. In fact, they sometimes claim to have more sight and understanding than the Church.

Jesus has no time for them at all; he prefers children: Let the little children come to me ... for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (Mt 19:14).

So what is it about our Faith that is ‘hidden’ from the learned and the clever and revealed to mere children? I would say, ‘just about everything’ – especially its truths, and the spiritual logic which binds them together.

Children have a humility which trusts that what we tell them is true. However, they also have an almost inerrant intuition which tells them if we ourselves believe what we tell them. Take for example the eleven year old boy who no longer wanted to go to Mass on Sunday. I pointed out to him how faithfully his parents had been coming all these years and his reply confirmed what I myself already suspected. He said, ‘Mum and dad don’t really believe.’

I can only guess that this is one of the contributing factors to why so many people have severed their connections to the Church in the face of the abuse crisis. They came to realise that many priests ‘don’t really believe’.

But there is a deeper humility with a deeper clarity which grasps a deeper logic and understands that the divine face of the Church, as well as her creed, is often disfigured by her human face.

It is God’s little children who effortlessly grasp the fact that truth is not destroyed by those who betray it and that it cannot it be replaced by an ‘easier’ or more popular doctrine which is less likely to be betrayed.

God’s little children understand that the sacraments are not rendered ineffective by those who merely pretend to serve them and that the lovely and radiant bride of Christ, the Church, cannot be deserted at the altar because of the sins of others.

The learned and the clever, pointing self-righteous fingers, are left standing by the side of the road in a noisy, dissident throng. The humble travel on, deeper and deeper into the heart of Christ and deeper into the heart of his Church. It is from within this heart that they hear his call: Come to me ... .

My dear fellow little children of Christ, I invite you, when you are able, when you are ready, to turn your backs on the past and the sins of others. God will deal with the past; only God can deal with the past.

Let us again allow ourselves to hear the loving call of the Master: Come to me ... . It comes from many places but, as the Church teaches, it comes par excellence, from his abiding presence here in the tabernacle.

The call ‘to come’ is always firstly a call to the presence of the person of Christ – Come to ME... .

When we leave this Church after Mass this divine and this human presence will remain. This is the difference between every other building and a Catholic Church. People have told me this church was built with ‘seconds’ bricks. I have seen lovelier churches. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ has chosen to make his home here, in this place, in this house of bricks.

Many times already, in answer to his call, ‘Come!’, I have made my way here to sit before him, to listen to him and to speak with him. For me the words of the Entrance Antiphon ring with absolute truth: Your merciful love, O God, we have received in the midst of your temple. In this place there are treasures to be gathered; precious jewels to be received.

Christ rules the world from this humble tabernacle. When I pay a visit to this church I am in the presence of the great King of the Universe. All I need, all I long for, all I want is here!

And you know as well as I do that when we come in here to be with him, to say a Rosary or a Chaplet of Mercy or some other prayer, or just to sit, from behind us there are fingers, hands, arms reaching for us – trying to drag us out – telling us, ‘That’s enough now. Three minutes is enough. Don’t waste your time. There is so much to do out here.’

If we resist these voices, the ‘unspiritual’ self St Paul mentions in the second reading, we soon find ourselves exclaiming: What a wonderful place to be – alone with the Master – the God who made me. I am his and he is mine. He wipes away my tears, he restores my spirit, he give me confidence and hope – he gives me the one thing I crave – real love!

Jesus exclaimed, ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.'

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