Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Will Draw Everyone to Myself

March 29, 2009

Fifth Sunday in Lent

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, S.J.

But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and kinsmen how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:33-34

Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself." John 12:30-32


Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. All I have and call my own. Whatever I have or hold, you have given me. I return it all to you and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more. (St. Ignatius, from the end of the Spiritual Exercises)


“I will be their God and they will be my people,” says the Lord in Jeremiah 15. The victory of Christ is written on our hearts. Even people who do not know Christ have been given the victory of Christ when they respond to the law of the Lord written on their hearts to do good and to avoid evil. The Lord forgives our evil doing and he remembers our sin no more when we listen to his call that is written on our hearts by the victory of Christ on the Cross. The tree of glory is the throne of Christ and his claim on our hearts. We are privileged by our faith in Christ to know who Christ is because he offered prayers and supplications for each of us with his loud cries and tears to his Father in Heaven. Christ learned obedience by what he suffered for us as his incredible love found expression in a picture of love that we will never be able to forget if we look upon him on his Cross. The picture of Christ on the Cross is the most profound expression of God’s love made flesh in the beaten body of Christ. His invitation to discipleship invites us to take up the crosses of our lives and to follow him. The vision of Christ on the cross is the picture worth many times more than thousands of words could say. We have a vision of the length and the breath of God’s love for us that while we might ignore it in our sinfulness can never be forgotten. He has won our hearts forever and we are called to serve him in each other. What we do for the hungry, thirsty, sick, naked and prisoners is how we are close to Christ. Whatever we do for the least one in our lives he accepts as done for himself.

The price of our salvation has been paid. Christ speaks the meaning of his life when he talks about the grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying. His dying produces the great fruit of our lives. Our dying by our fasting and good works does the same in the Mystical Body of Christ. The Church was defined as the people of God. The Church being the mystical Body of Christ gives us our fleshing out as real Christ in the lives of each other. In our service of the Christ of each other the Father honors us in our service of Christ. It is Christ that lives in us even as Paul claims for himself in Galatians 2, 19. Because we serve Christ in each other, the Father honors us by seeing us as his Children also. Our filling of what is wanting to the sufferings of Christ‘s body, his Church, gives us the peace and the real joy of our lives. We become part of the price that Christ pays for the salvation of all of us. Our union with him in the Purgative of our lives changes the world we live in by his love becoming realer to those we serve in his name.


Perfect love always generates a response in the recipient. We do not do what we do in the name of Christ for what we get out of it. Our Apostolic work can become repetitious and boring because it all too easy to be forgetful of whom and for whom we live our Christian lives. Christianity is not a set of rules. It is a walk in companionship with Christ. We love when we are sharers of each other’s lives. We are poor lovers if we want to different from or distant from the one we love. Love brings closeness of mind and heart. Putting on the mind and the heart of Christ is how our Study can stay exciting. Our reading the gospels of his life gives us the exposure to his mind and heart. Our practices of piety keep us close to him. Our actions are how we love. The gift given in his love does not need a return. We become one with Christ by the living out of his love in our apostolic labors. When our gifts are cleanly given when we die to what we might get out of giving even as our services spring up into eternal life in those we love. By giving our lives away in his love we preserve them. Thus we can hear the voice of the Father in our own lives as our love sprouts in the Christ lives of those we serve. Thus we get to see Jesus in each other.

No comments: