16th Sunday in Ordinay Time
Doom to the shepherds who allow the flock to scatter and be destroyed
Doom to us shepherds! I’m keenly aware that I’m responsible for you before God. It’s not that you don’t make your own choices but I have a duty of care to make sure those choices are well informed.
The Church teaches there are five things to help us make good choices, guaranteeing we’ll act in the right spirit, share in the life of God and grow in charity. The 1st precept is that we are required to participate in the Eucharist where we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection every Sunday (or the Saturday vigil). Not only do we hear the Gospel and gather as one, but we cement our personal relationship with Jesus who desires to commune with us. From the Lord’s perspective this is a meeting of lovers.
The other precepts are (2) you shall confess your sins at least once a year (3) you shall receive Holy Communion at least once a year (4) you shall keep the holy days of obligation which are the feast days that honour the mysteries of the Lord, Our Lady, and the Saints (5) you shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
In the Gospel, Jesus gives the example of teaching. It wasn’t because the people were stupid or that he was clever. It was because his taking responsibility for them, made him think in a different way. This holds true for the Church’s teaching Magisterium. This also holds true for me. Because I love you and I am responsible for you, my thinking is about protecting you by helping you to make the right choices.
Out of love for you I want to speak about one choice that people are often getting wrong which affects their whole life and the way they live their life. This choice is an omission and has to do with the 1st precept. This choice is omitting to be faithful to Jesus.
The mystic souls understood that Jesus is an intimate lover. In the greatest act of intimate love Jesus yearns to commune with you. One day he said to Sr Faustina “My great delight is to unite Myself with souls. Know, My daughter, that when I come to a human heart in Holy Communion, My hands are full of all kinds of graces which I want to give to the soul. But souls do not even pay any attention to Me; they leave Me to Myself and busy themselves with other things. Oh, how sad I am that souls do not recognise Love! They treat Me as a dead object.”
I just want to get across one point today and I can only teach that point from the way I live my life. I am driven by love to receive Jesus and be united with him, to be intimate with my God. I have received Jesus pretty much every day since I became Catholic. Before I was a priest, everywhere in the world that I travelled the 1st thing I did was to find the daily Mass whether it was in Russia, Siberia, England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Bosnia, Montenegro, Chile, etc. Love drove me and love kept me faithful to Jesus. Similarly love gets me to Confession regularly.
From my life I can teach you that keeping the 1st precept of the Church – to go to Mass every Sunday – depends solely on how much love we have for Jesus. You can’t say “I love you Jesus” and then abandon him like an unfaithful lover whether your excuse be family sporting activities, distance, having young children, whatever. Think of how Jesus feels when he is abandoned just because people do not have enough love to put him 1st.