Thursday, June 7, 2012

Perseverance and the Paschal Mystery

The end of the school year is so close! The finish line is in sight. This time next week, I will be packing up and heading off to Greece!

But in the meantime, much perseverance is needed. And so I was very grateful for the readings this morning at Mass:

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:

If we have died with him

we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself." 2 Tim. 2: 8-15

We all know of my strong affinity for St. Paul :) Here he is giving us a dose of reality, but also hope, as only he can do! Sometimes, living the Gospel means suffering and we feel chained by it. We think of all the things we "can't do" because of what living the Gospel can mean. But that is NOT the reality of the Gospel: "the word of God is not chained" and we bear with everything for the sake of others and the hope that His unchained Word brings.

I needed to be reminded of this today as we near the end of the school year. Why have I been running this race in the first place? It is because of the Gospel, the Paschal Mystery- the suffering, death, Resurrection, and Ascension- that I teach but also that we can all relate to in our own lives.

Most recently our diocese has experienced a suffering and death. We have lost a youth minister that was very involved in the Workcamps that I help with in the summer. This summer is going to be very strange and different. The death was somewhat sudden, and the ministry community is feeling this loss. Please pray for the teens he worked with and for the ministry of our diocese. Also please pray for the repose of his soul. He was a joyful and faithful servant and I'm sure he his enjoying the company of the Lord now in heaven.

The Gospel today was also a hopeful reminder to me of why we do what we do as Christians: The Greatest Commandment (s):

"One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!

The Lord our God is Lord alone!

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind,

and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.

And to love him with all your heart,

with all your understanding,

with all your strength,

and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions."
Mark 12: 28-34

As the year has drawn on, I have somewhat forgotten this basic truth: it is all about Love. We follow the Gospel because of Love. I teach the Gospel because of Love. God is Love and all He wants is US. He wants to love us and be loved by us. I want my students to know that they are loved by God and He just wants to love them back.

In the past month, I have not been as faithful to going to daily Mass, spiritual direction, and my prayer as I have been in the past. I'm hoping that summer will allow me the time and energy to get back "in line with the Resurrection" (to quote a favorite phrase from our latest Kairos retreat :). I also hope and pray for the many people who are experiencing a suffering or a loss right now and that we might all unite in the hope and joy of the Resurrection.

RIP, Ronnel. We miss you.

1 comment:

Jeremiah 29:11 said...

My prayers are with you. I hope to see you soon after your trip to Greece! Miss you! XO