THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Fourth Sunday in Lent
26 March 2017
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The setting of today's Gospel account is near the approaching Sacrifice of Jesus upon the Cross. It is the festival time of the Passover. The third and last one in the public life of Jesus. As Jesus approaches His last days in this manner, it is appropriate for us to consider our own last days. Jesus has taken His apostles out into the desert to instruct them and a great crowd has followed them seeing and seeking the miracles that He was working.
The apostles have nothing to give of themselves, but they are instructed by Jesus to give freely of what little they do have what has been given to them by Him. With the blessings of God, we see that the little is more than enough to feed everyone. Origin gives us a mystical interpretation of this Gospel; and suggests to us that the Word of God is given to the Apostles and as the Apostles share and distribute this Word among the people, the Word is increased and multiplied so that no one is left hungry and there is even more than they began with.
As we give of ourselves, we are not decreased nor do we loose anything, on the contrary, the more that we give of ourselves, the more do we grow the stronger we become. It is like the skillful pruning of fruiting trees and vines. This cutting away does not harm, weaken or lessen the tree or vine, but rather, increases its strength and vigor, and it produces much more and better quality fruit than if it did not give up some of its vegetation.
The apostles have received the teachings of Christ, not only for themselves, but rather for the people. As long as they held these to themselves the Word of God did not develop, mature, or grow. However, the moment that they begin to share this with those around them, the Word that they have received began to increase and develop within them. The more they gave the more they had to give. What they gave was not from themselves, but from God.
Many today, are still looking for the material miracles that Jesus performed. They are attempting to measure the blessings of God in terms of material wealth and progress. In this, they are greatly deceived. Jesus has pronounced a woe upon the rich of this world. He has called the poor in spirit blessed.
It is time for us to mature in the Faith that has been given us. God does not want us laboring for the things of this earth as if these were what we were made for. He has called us to work for the Kingdom of God. In the work of God, we must sacrifice many things of this world, but we should do so freely and willingly because He has promised us greater things in eternity. Let us stop seeking as the world does for material blessings and gifts, but rather, seek the graces and life of the soul.
In looking into our souls, we may see that there is little of the life of Christ within us. We must not fear, but be willing to share this little with everyone around us who is in need. As we share the gifts of God, we do not loose our gift, but surprisingly see that it grows and becomes stronger. Our beneficence towards our fellow men actually redounds to our own benefit.
The Word of God is an everlasting fountain of grace and wonderful mysteries for us to continually uncover and discover as we advance in the Spiritual Life of Christ. This Life of Grace within us is inexhaustible, as long as we do not hide it away, but rather bring it out into the light and use them for the benefit of one another. The sacrifices of love that we make for one another, do not lessen our love, but create ever more love. The mutual bestowing and receiving of love creates more love than ever before. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Let us not fear then, to love and to sacrifice, and to give for the benefit of each other in the Name of Jesus Christ. We lose nothing, but gain a great deal more than we ever had before. The grace within us may always be increased as long as we live on this earth. We make it grow in giving or sharing with each other. Our degree of glory in Heaven is determined by the amount of treasures (graces) that we have accumulated while we were on earth. God gives these graces freely and abundantly as long as we labor as long as we employ them for the love of Him. We make an investment and an increase of them when we share them seeking to increase the Kingdom of God here on earth. We die to ourselves so that others may find life in Him. In this dying, we obtain eternal life. Let us not fear of ever running out of God's graces. There will always be more than enough a superabundance for all.
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