(11th Ordinary Sunday: Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Mark 4:26-34)
In today’s first reading, God declares, “I, the Lord, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree.” Can you hear an echo of this in a much more familiar passage?
We are thinking of Mary’s Magnificat: “He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.”
The key notion in both texts is humility, which is equally essential to the message of Our Lady of La Salette. The Beautiful Lady saw that her people had been brought low. But instead of humbling themselves, they revolted. Far from them was the attitude expressed in today’s Psalm: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to proclaim your kindness at dawn and your faithfulness throughout the night.”
Remember how the Magnificat begins. “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.” This is not as easy as it sounds. Among like-minded friends, yes, we might proclaim God’s greatness and kindness. But it is a different matter in our everyday world. It can take courage.
Twice in our second reading St. Paul says that “we are courageous,” because “we walk by faith, not by sight.” In other words, we place our life in God’s hands, and trust him to accomplish his work in us and through us, as mysteriously as he causes seeds and plants to grow. Jesus uses this image in today’s Gospel to describe the kingdom of God, to which each of us belongs.
Recognizing our own distinct role is not easy, however, because we are not always attentive to the subtle movements of the Spirit within us. Here are some questions that may help in that discernment. Who is your favorite saint? What is your favorite prayer, hymn, scripture passage?
More specifically for us, what is your favorite part of the story of La Salette? What part of the message stirs you most deeply?
The answers to these questions can help us discern the manner in which the Lord wishes us to serve him. Accepting that call will probably require courage; it will certainly require humility.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.