We read the writings of St. Paul often. Can you imagine what it must have been like to hear him speak? I conjure up images of Paul as a passionate orator, able to convince people that he was speaking the truth. In today’s first reading from Acts 13, we see one of Paul’s great speeches, this one at the synagogue in Antioch. Remember, Saul was a Pharisee, and a respected one at that. I imagine his words carried much weight, as they do even today.
In the Gospel reading from John 13, Jesus is in the upper room for the Passover feast. He has just finished washing the feet of the disciples. And He says to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” To reiterate, when we receive the one that Jesus sent, we receive Jesus. And when we receive Jesus, we receive the Father.
This has some interesting nuances to it. We know that Jesus has sent us. And that He has sent others, perhaps even into our lives to give us a message. How do we receive that? Are we able to look at others and acknowledge that maybe they have been sent by Jesus, especially when we’re not particularly fond of their message? I think these days, this is especially true of the successors of the Apostles, who have been sent in a special way. If we don’t like what the magisterium is teaching, we tune out. Could it be that we are not receiving Jesus? Something to think about.
Father, help us to always receive Jesus, in the many ways that He chooses to come to us. Help us to always be faithful to the teaching of the Apostles. Amen.
Yes, “Something to think about.” (As I am thinking about what I said yesterday and why it was not posted.)
“Could it be that we are not receiving Jesus?” Yes, and that is my fear – and the fear/concern of many of the faithful ho have a genuine desire to do God’s Will. The confusion I mentioned yesterday was not intended to throw stones or judge anybody, but a sincere confusion about whom (related to clergy) to “follow.” This is something that been the subject of a number of discussions (sometimes quite heated) in my men’s prayer group. I am referring to the problems we have within our Church today and how some feel they are the result of Vatican II; a couple even suggested the problems stated with Vatican I; and still others that Vatican II did not go far enough to “keep up with the times.”
Granted, there are many who only follow the practices that suit their needs and throw out the teachings that do not fit too well with their lifestyle. However, if learned theologians disagree about some of Christ’s teachings, might the tuning out you refer to be due to the conflicting messages?
In closing, I offer an example – a true story. My wife and I have been facilitating Pre-Cana for over 20 years. We encountered a couple who wanted to have a Mass instead of just a ceremony, but were concerned that they could not because the priest they met with told them they could not have one. The young man had been baptized Catholic in his native country, but never received any other sacraments after his family migrated to the US. Since my wife was preparing second-graders for their First Holy Communion, it seemed like something that could be easily rectified – but a priest had already said “No.” A second priest explained that, according to Canon Law, the young man needed to attend RCIA and receive his other sacraments first.
As God would have it, our saw our pastor after a Mass and he asked “So, how are things going at Pre-Cana?” I told him I was sad and shared the situation with him (a former professor of theology at the seminary) and he became livid. He said he did not want to know the name of any clergy who said that Canon Law prohibited such a thing as they were “totally and completely wrong.” He explained that, as a baptized Catholic, all that was necessary was that the man understand that he is receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord and that he was willing to go to confession. Since we had discussed this with the couple in question, I assured him that he understood Who he would be receiving and would have no problem going to confession. He asked me to have them contact him so that they could both go to confession a week before their wedding “and he can make his First Holy Communion of his wedding day. How great is that?!”
Sorry for the lengthy post, but wanted to be clear about where I am (and was) coming from.