WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Trinitarian Communion in Lent
My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.
"Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also."
HYTHE, KENT, UK (Catholic Online) - A baby does not know how to relate or how to live. He has to first watch his parents relate to each other, that modeled after them, he would grow up into a person like them.
So it is with the final weeks of Lent.
The first three weeks, the Liturgy gave us a gift of Lent: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, pardoning, interceding, admitting one's faults, mercy, patience, suffering, healing, hoping, and a whole bunch of gifts that lead to a life more pleasing to God. However these gifts are not enough to bring forth a harvest of the graces of transformation that Lent is really about.
That is why in these final weeks of Lent, after Laetare Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent, we see a shift in the readings. Now you will see more talk about the relationships of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Gospel for today has us "listening in" on the relationship between the Father and the Son. Like a baby watching his parents, our Christian maturity requires that at some point we stop looking at what we do entirely and enter into the work of God within Himself. Jesus said, "My Father is at work until now, so I am at work." Is this the work of preaching, healing, teaching, and praying? Yes, but it is much more than that. What is greater than these is the work of the Son of simply BEING.
Being is greater than doing. That is what the Gospel teaches us today. That is what the last few weeks of Lent say to us. When in John's Gospel Jesus starts speaking somewhat lofty about his Father, it might be difficult for us to understand unless we put down our doings and just BE for a moment. Here we ask not, "What is Jesus doing?" but rather, "What is Jesus being?" Jesus is offering His eternal Sonship to the Father. This is the greatest work, the highest work - the work of being not doing.
Being a practical person, you might ask, how do WE do this? How do we live this Gospel?
We allow the Son to offer us to the Father. We shut up. Sit down. Keep quiet. And listen. Listen to the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Son. What you "hear" is the Son offering Himself to the Father.
There must come a point in Lenten prayer and sacrifice, where we come to the realization that a successful Lent cannot be about how well we fulfill our practices and observations. These are merely tools to get to the gold. The good stuff, the prize, the goal of Lent is trinitarian communion.
Because the Lenten liturgy, especially the Word of God, has shifted so the inner attitude of our penance ought to shift as well. We must stop and allow ourselves simply to BE with God and allow our hearts to listen to the Son offering us to the Father. For when we do, we will hear the goal of it all - we will hear the most longed for thing in all of human longings - the voice of Abba Father say to us in the Son - "You are my beloved."
This is what the prophets longed for, what the poetic language of the first reading hints at - the Lord cutting a road through the mountains, being guided by a spring of water, being comforted by his mercy - these all reveal the experience of us being redeemed by God and entering into intimate friendship with the tender Father who loves us.
Now this doesn't mean we stop working, we stop our penance or withhold our practices that we have pledged to God, but rather we see the reason for them. Hopefully when we BE with God we will experience the motivation of it all - the Eternal Love of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
May the prayers of the Virgin Mother of God, our oasis in the desert of Lent, bring us to the fulness of intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. May Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity guide us through the desert to the refreshing springs of new life in God.
Father Samuel Medley, SOLT, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, and is currently based in Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom. He is a speaks to groups around the world on Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Visit his homily blog http://medleyminute.blogspot.com or his blog on sexual ethics http://loveandresponsibility.org
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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