Third Sunday after Easter—3 May AD 2009
Ordinary of the Mass
Latin Mass Text-3rd Sunday
English Mass Text-3rd Sunday
Today is the first Sunday of May, the
month which the Church dedicates to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am going to
preach about something else this morning, but it is important for us to realize
that all of us are the spiritual heirs of Saint John, to whom our Lord entrusted
His Mother as He hung on the Cross: “Son, behold thy Mother.”
Our Lord is the Mediator between God and man, but His mediation is assisted by
His holy Mother—indeed, we refer to her as the “Mediatrix of all Graces.”
So always be sure to bring your prayers to Mother Mary, so that she may
intercede for you with Her Son.
“A little while and you shall not
and again a little while and you shall see Me, because I go to the
Our Lord spoke these words at the Last
Supper to convey the knowledge of two very important events to His Apostles.
He was telling them, first of all, that He would be crucified and they would not
see Him—but then He would rise from the dead and they would see Him
again—their “sorrow would be turned into joy.” We have been
celebrating this joyful event for the past few weeks.
But our Lord was also telling the
Apostles than He would, one day, ascend into Heaven, and be gone from their
sight—“a little while and you shall not see Me.” But then a little
while later, they would see Him again in the Presence of the Father. This
was probably a frightening thought to the Apostles, and many of the early
Christians were convinced that the end of the world was soon to come—indeed,
that it would come in their own life times.
With hindsight, we know that the world
did not come to an end during the first century. But, on the other hand,
it might have. And, certainly, each succeeding age felt threatened with
the prospect that the end might come in their time. The events of history
can be terrifying, and lead one to assume that the end is close at hand:
The Roman persecutions, the barbarian invasions, the rise of Islam, the black
plague, the religious wars of the 16, 17, and 1800s, the two world wars of the
past century. All of these have put man in fear of the Ultimate End.
But, as a matter of actual fact, the
world will come to and end for each of us in a highly personal way—for each
and every one of us must some day die. For some of us it will come sooner;
for others, later; but the day will come, at some unknown moment, for each
and every one of us.
The interesting thing is that the things
that we must do to prepare for our own end are precisely the things that must be
done if the world is to continue and avoid the ultimate disaster. Wise
political situations must be found, of course, but today we are speaking about
what we must do as individuals:
First of all, as individuals, we must
undergo a change of heart. We know from the Catechism that God made us
to “know, love, and serve Him in this world.” Yet so many people act
as thought they were the center of the universe. They think they are
fulfilling their duty if they get to Mass more Sundays than not—forget about
daily prayers, or fasting, or penance! They behave as though God created
them to amass fortunes, or to wield power over others. So, the first thing
that we must do is to orient ourselves away from the things of the world, and
toward the things of God. We need the goods of the Earth, of course, but
they must become secondary to the goods of Heaven. Above all, we must be
sure that we are habitually in the state of God’s grace. We can do
nothing of any merit until we are filled with the supernatural life.
The second thing we must do is penance.
We ourselves are sinners—and we live in a society of sinners. Do we
honestly expect God to look down favorably on a society of thieves, murderers,
and adulterers? If we have undergone our conversion of life, we must still
atone for our sins, and for the sins of those around us.
In 1917, at Fatima, that same Blessed
Mother to whom our Lord commended us on the Cross, told us through the young
children: “If people do penance there will not be war ... but if people do not
do penance there will be another war ... and the evils of Communism will spread
... and the Holy Father will have much to suffer.”
Can anything be more plain? The
same thing that will keep us out of Hell, and deliver us from suffering in
Purgatory is the thing that will deliver the world from God’s wrath.
So, let me exhort you to do those two
Make sure that you have turned your heart away from the
world and towards God.
Find some practice or practices of penance, and stick with
If you do these things, then our Lord
will be speaking directly to you:
“You have sorrow now,
but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice,
and your joy no one shall take from you.”