The World Is Entrusted to Christ's Disciples

Lectio Divina: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Paris, (Zenit.org) Monsignor Francesco Follo | 1454 hits

Only God has words of everlasting life

Realism is the opposite of pessimism

To whom does Jesus entrust the duty of taking the joyful word of peace to the world that is waiting for it? To the ones that then and now like Saint Peter ask: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God" (as we read in today's Gospel of the Ambrosian Rite, Jh 6:68-69).

Our experience is that all human beings have an attraction towards good, great things and excellence (for example in work, in the studies, in sports, in literature and so on). Saint Paul wrote to the Philippians, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Ph 4:8)

The greatest thing for which we can strive is love. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was so sure that the "greatest thing" for which we have been created is love (= "to love and to be loved") that she became a Missionary of Charity. She did nothing but to repeat with her words and with her life Christ's invitation to be joyful missionaries of truth and charity because our name is written in God's heart (see the ending sentence of today's Gospel of the Roman Rite, Lk: 10:20)

Unfortunately this "push" toward high is contrasted by the "push against" our sin, which removes us from the vocation to be loved and to take this true love to the harvest of the world, which aims to live in everlasting and serene peace.

Today the world searches for peace more than freedom and the only sure peace is in the love of Christ, whose yoke is sweet. To the ones who think that Christ is the prophet of the poor, the disciples of that time and of today take a Gospel that makes the suppressed greater than kings. To the ones that maintain that His religion is the religion of an ill and dying people, we must show that Christ heals the ill ones and resurrects the" sleeping ones". To the ones who say that He is against life, we announce that He conquers death. The Son of God is not the God of unhappiness. He encourages his people to be happy and to his friends promises an eternal banquet of joy.

It is required to know love[1]

Christ invites to pray that the Father send workers for the ripe harvest. We can say everything about Jesus but not that He was not a realist. Certainly He was not deluded or disappointed; He was looking at the world in a divine way. It is not enough to have this positive look to be his disciples. To be disciples that go into the houses and in the outskirts of the world (as Pope Francis often says) it is necessary that we know what love is so that we can discern true love from untrue love. It is necessary to be aware of how every one of us knows to love in the circumstances of his own life and in the there and now of our ordinary daily life.

Every definition is incomplete when we speak of love and there is always something more that we can say. We understand love and we learn it better when we encounter it. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of peace and charity, teaches: "To love is not to speak, to love is to live. One can speak about love all day long and not love even once". I had the gift of meeting her quite often and I can testify to her love and her example. Once during an interview she was asked: "Could you tell us what in truth love is?" Mother Teresa promptly answered: "To love is to donate. God has so much loved the world that He gave His Son. Jesus has loved so much the world, He has loved so much you, He has loved so much me that He gave His life for us. He wants that we love as He loved. And so now we must love until it hurts. True love is to give, to give until it hurts". Once I asked a humble nun of Mother Teresa: "Sister is it true that like the Mother, you do everything for love?" The nun turned the palm of her right hand towards the sky as to say with a humble act: "It is obvious". And with her mouth she added: "It is natural," and carried on her apostolate peeling potatoes for the soup kitchen.

Blessed John Paul II, whom I regards as a spiritual brother to Mother Teresa[2], spoke of the "law of gift" written in our human nature: human realization and happiness are reached living this "law" as he said" to be in giving ourselves".

It is a paradox ingrained in our life, if we turn to God and to our neighbor then the results are our realization and happiness. If we focus on our happiness and realization (in a selfish way, "me first") only, then we'll never reach neither happiness nor self-realization. 

Mother Teresa expressed this concept in an excellent way: "Love is one way. It distances from oneself towards the other. Love is the final gift of oneself to the other. When we stop giving, we stop loving; when we stop loving, we stop growing and only in growing we reach personal realization. If we do not love, we will never open ourselves to welcome God's life. It is through love that we meet God".

The practice of charity (the apostolic activity, the missionary activity) is within everyone's reach in all phases of life. It is the priestly and "pastoral" vocation of every Christian man and woman. Every one of us has the mission to be a carrier of Christ's love. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to say: "God loves the world so much that he gave me and gave you to love the world, to be his love, His compassion. It is a wonderful thought and a certainty that you and I can be that love and that compassion". In a substantial way Mother Teresa pointed out that the ones that have more hunger and thirst for God and for His love and the ones to whom we own more … are the ones closer to us. "How can we love Jesus in today's world? Loving Him in my husband, in my wife, in the children, in my neighbor, in the poor". In fact the ones with whom we live are the ones that need Him more. Then the open circle of our love for God and our family welcomes all the ones that God gives us as neighbors.

The ones that live in a particular way this "open circle" of God's love are the consecrated Virgins. The "appellation" of virgin more than a physical integrity expresses the completeness of a donation to God (cf Rite of Consecration of Virgins, Concluding Rite, N°36 = the Bishop says : The almighty Father has poured into your hearts the desire to live a life of holy virginity. May he keep you safe under his protection). They don't possess anything. They don't have children of flesh. They live only donating themselves and to donate. With their lives they show that it is possible to live a life free from the inevitability of the instinct. Like Mary they become ostensories and tabernacles of Christ.

For them the virtue of chastity is not a discipline that makes them owners of themselves. It is not only a physical virginity, but also a spiritual virginity that rejects every thought, every memory and affection that is not for Him: all our being consumes itself in an act of love that unites us to our divine Groom. Not only purity, not only simplicity but also humility. When one lives in the divine light it is like when at midday one wants to see the stars and cannot see them. In the light of God  I don't see myself anymore, I've lost myself, I'm nothing, only He is, only He is the Loved One.

This virtue has a face, that one of the beaming Christ that illuminates them and through them illuminates the world. 

They are evangelizers chosen not for their look but for their heart: 'God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The LORD looks into the heart" (1 Sam 16:7).

CONCLUDING RITE of Consecration of Virgins SOLEMN BLESSING

36. When the prayer after communion has been said, those newly consecrated stand before the altar. The bishop faces them and sings or says one of the following:

Let's pray the Lord that He can help us to "know" love as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux taught "The measure for loving God is to love Him without measure", and to" lift the love for the neighbor to the value of perfect justice, whose condition is to love him only in God".

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[1] To know in Latin (sapere) has two meanings: “to know” and “to taste”

[2] In this regard let think of the many saint couples of brothers and sisters in the Spirit, for instance; Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Claire, Saint Benedict of Norcia and Saint Scholastica, Saint Francis of Sales and Saint Jane Frances of Chantal

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Roman Rite

Fourteenth Sunday on Ordinary Time- Year C- July 7, 2013

Is 66:10-14; Ps 66; Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10:1-12, 17-20

Love is realist

Ambrosian Rite

VII Sunday of Pentecost

Jos 24:1-2a, 15b-27; Ps 104; 1Th 1:2-10; Jh 6:59-69

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Monsignor Francesco Follo is permanent observer of the Holy See to UNESCO, Paris.