Sunday, July 22, 2012

Become Near

Become Near

July 22, 2012
Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time B
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock from all the lands to which I have driven them and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply.  I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them so that they need no longer fear and tremble; and none shall be missing, says the LORD.   Jeremiah 23:3-4
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.   Ephesians 2:13
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.   Mark 6:34


Piety makes it possible to gather with Jesus wherever we go.  And it is important for our piety to go apart to be with him.  Piety claims the intimacy of friendship with Jesus.  He shares with us all the Father has planned for us.  We grow up spiritually in Jesus.  He came to us in Baptism and continues to grow in us by Eucharist.  We become the living presence of Jesus in our world by our prayer and our sensitivity to the needs of our brothers and sisters.  How we go out of our way to meet the needs of the hungry, thirsty, naked, sickly and prisoners offers us the chance to grow in the presence of Christ in our lives.  Whatever we do for the least of our brethren is what we do for Christ.  He also becomes one with us when we need the members of our community for what they do for us to make it possible to be his love to the world we serve.  We need the people who need us more than they need us because it is in our need that Christ becomes one with who we are.


We study Christ’s sensitivity to the crowds that are like sheep without a shepherd so that we can learn how to minister to them.   Christ ministers to us in our loneliness and needs.  We learn how to follow in the footsteps of Christ by our study of him through the Scriptures.  He took his disciples apart after they had entered their apostolate to debrief them give them a chance to share what happened.  Even as the Apostles learned from the experiences of each other and checked themselves out by going back to Christ, we go to our companions of the journey to discover what we can do better.  Christ would teach us many things by our staying close to the learning experiences of each other.  Our best learning is in the doing of the work of discipleship with brothers and sisters of our journey.  What they have done, we can do.


Our energy, both physical and spiritual comes from the going apart to be with Christ.  Whatever we plan to do needs the help we get by taking our work to prayer.  How we encounter Christ in our work is the beauty of the examination of our consciousness of Christ in our day.  If we were to do no going apart, the Examen would perhaps give us the freedom to be workaholics in the name of Christ.  We can never do enough for him.  We are spinning our wheels when we do not work out of the energy of prayer.  It is the blood of Christ that covers us when we go to the cross of Christ to drink deeply of the love that flows from the heart of Christ pierced on the cross.  Our actions in the name of Christ follow as the answer to the three questions of St.  Ignatius that are put to us in the piety, study and actions of our lives.  Piety is the answer to what I was doing for Christ.  Study is how we examine what we are doing for Christ and action is the plan that flows out of our Examen.   We seek to discover how we can be closer to Christ.  Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Light of our journey to God.  Our actions in the name of Christ make us Christ to our world.  Our dying with him on the cross allows us to say with Paul that “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  We are Christ to our world.

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