On Being 'in Synch' With God

"God's logic is always 'other' with respect to ours"

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 24, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Sunday before and after praying the midday Angelus.

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Dear brothers and sisters!

On our journey with St. Mark’s Gospel last Sunday we entered into the second part, that is the last trip to Jerusalem and toward the culmination of Jesus’ mission. After Peter, in the name of the disciples, professed faith in him, recognizing him as the Messiah (cf. Mark 8:29), Jesus began to speak openly of what would happen at the end. The evangelist reports three successive predictions of the death and resurrection in Chapters 8, 9 and 10: in them Jesus announces in an ever more clear manner the destiny that awaits him and its intrinsic necessity. This Sunday’s passage contains the second of these announcements. Jesus says: “The Son of man” – the expression by which he designates himself – “will be handed over to men and they will kill him; but, 3 days after his death he will rise again” (Mark 9:31). The disciples “however, did not understand these words and were afraid to question him” (9:32).

In fact, reading these words of Mark’s account, it appears evident that there was a grat interior distance between Jesus and his disciples; they were on, so to speak, two different wavelengths, such that the Master’s discourses were not understood, or only superficially. The Apostle Peter, immediately after having manifested his faith in Jesus, reproaches him because Jesus predicted that he would be rejected and killed. After the second announcement of the Passion, the disciples disputed among themselves who was the greatest (cf. Mark 9:34); and, after the third announcement, James and John ask to sit at his right and at his left, when he will be in glory (cf. Mark 10:35-40). But there are various other signs of this distance: for example, the disciples are unable to heal a boy with epilepsy, whom Jesus then heals with the power of prayer (cf. Mark 9:14-29); or when some children are brought to Jesus, and the disciples rebuke them, and Jesus instead, indignant, makes them stay, and states that only those who are as they may enter the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 10:13-16).

What does all of this tell us? It reminds us that God’s logic is always “other” with respect to ours, as God himself revealed through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, / your ways are not my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). This is why following the Lord always demands of man – of all of us – a profound conversion, a change in our way of thinking and living, it demands that we open our hearts to listen, to let ourselves be interiorly enlightened and transformed. A key point on which God and man differ is pride: in God there is no pride, because he is the complete fullness of love and is entirely disposed to love and give his life; in us men, however, pride is deeply rooted and requires constant vigilance and purification. We, who are little, aspire to appear big, to be the first, while God, who is truly great, is not afraid to abase himself and become last. And the Virgin Mary is perfectly in “synch” with God: let us invoke her with confidence so that she might teach us how to faithfully follow Jesus on the path of love and humility.

[Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted those present in various languages. In Italian he said:]

Dear brothers and sisters!

Yesterday, in the French city of Troyes, the priest Louis Brisson, who lived in the nineteenth century, was beatified. He was the founder of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. I join with joy in the thanksgiving of the diocesan community of Troyes and all of the spiritual sons and daughters of the newly beatified.

[In English he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Angelus prayer. In the Gospel today, our Lord reveals to his disciples that he will be delivered unto death and rise again for our salvation. As we reflect on the call to be “last of all and servants of al,” may Christ’s supreme act of love on Calvary always be our true measure of greatness. God bless you and your loved ones!

[Concluding in Italian, he said:]

I wish you all a good Sunday, a good week. Thank you! A good Sunday to all of you.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]