We are invited to pray towards this week’s Eucharistic celebration for the grace to accept the “holy person” each of us is. Holiness is a “cleany” word. We have “dirty” words we do not speak or like to hear. “Holy” is too up-there beyond us and so it is too clean a word for our “dirty” old selves.
Living the Eucharistic mission, sending, distributing, is how the holiness we receive in receiving the Eucharist means to be “holy.” We pray to believe in Christ’s really being present in us and through us. We are invited to welcome Him and his holiness into our lives, picking up his cross and celebrating his Resurrection in the manner in which we live.
We hear a “feel-good” story in today’s First
Reading. Elisha is a wandering prophet and receives hospitality
from an elderly couple each time his journey takes him near their
home. They welcome him and even add a rooftop bedroom for him to
stay in, each time he visits.
Matthew is presenting Jesus in his teaching clothes. He is instructing those he will be sending to proclaim the Good News. The words sound harsh and can lead us to examine how we are doing on his team. Well we love our parents We love family and friends deeply and feel affection for them more than we feel for Jesus. (Not doing too well)
We are told to pick up our crosses every day, hmmmm, that means all the time. We are encouraged to lose our lives and not try to find them. (still not doing too well)
Then we hear about welcoming the Elisa-types and giving them kind care. (doing a little better on that one)
Stop that!!!! No rating, comparing, giving ourselves a number or degree of holiness!
There are all kinds of personalities and some of them just seem to be more conformable to trusting, being generous and welcoming, accepting crosses, and trusting in promises. It would not be a loving God, sending us Jesus and then telling us that holiness depends on your personality profile, your number, your animal, or under what zodiac sign you were born. The first twelve seemed to represent most of the popular varieties of personality types. The men with whom I entered the Jesuits and certainly the ones with whom I live here in our small community in north Omaha, form new categories still undefined in all psychology books. I smile now, remembering how sometimes after celebrating a liturgy or giving a retreat, a person might say something about my being so holy. Funny... I never have heard myself referred to as holy within any Jesuit circles. So I wonder who’s right!
Elisa was known as a holy man, but those two who welcomed him year after year manifested some kind of holiness in being generous and trusting in the promise. Holiness has many sides and many faces. There is a holiness of doing and a holiness of receiving. There is a holiness in accepting the who of each of us. There is a holiness in dealing out what has been put in each of us by God.
God is infinitely holy and we are each a refraction of that holiness. Do we do something holy so we can feel holy? Holiness is so much more than a feeling. We do something to be nothing more than what we are a glimpse of the holiness of God. Bob, Jim, Robert, Mike, and even myself form our community of holiness, but believe me, it is a matter of pure believing, and that is the real and essential truth.
As we believe in the Eucharistic presence of the Holy Body of Christ, we are challenged to believe in the holy presence of Christ in each other, even when we do not feel it about ourselves personally or each other. The woman believed the promise that she would bring forth a sign of blessedness by having a son. Each of us is invited to believe that the very holiness of God is coming to birth within us personally and communally. It might take more than a year though.
“O, blessing the Lord, my soul, and let
all that is within me bless His holy Name.” Ps. 103,
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