Memorial of Saint Peter Claver

2019 Devotions Daily Devotions

Col 1:24-2:3; Ps 62:6,7,9; Lk 6:6-11

Another way to translate “only in God” is “in God alone.”  From this translation a sign has been made for the entrance to a monastic garden; it silently proclaims, “God Alone.”  Indeed monks are summoned by their vocation to be with God, alone. However, these words are taken from a Psalm that invites all people to trust in God at all times and to pour out your hearts before him.  This kind of radical dependence upon God alone is nothing less than the journey of faith from purification, through enlightenment, and into union.  Only in God can our soul be at rest; only in God can we trust at all times, only in God alone.  The Almighty is your rest, hope, rock, salvation, stronghold, refuge, safety and glory.  In God alone even suffering is not just pain.  Saint Paul summons his fellow believers in Colossi to rejoice in suffering to find delight in the mystery of the cross of Christ.  It is this same Christ the Lord who violates the Sabbath by curing the man with the withered hand.  Indeed, we come to know the mystery of God’s compassion for us in the ministry and sacrifice of Christ.  In the Eucharist, alone, do we find all the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

Saint Paul did not disguise or hide the essential mystery of union with Christ.  If we are one with the Lord Jesus we will share in the mystery of his cross.  If we are in union with God through Christ and in the Holy Spirit we will rejoice in suffering for the sake of the brothers and sisters.  Indeed, Christ-in-us is our only hope of glory. If this new life in Christ is so rich with wisdom and knowledge can we want anything else for those we love?  We too willingly and with great delight labor and struggle in accord with the exercise of Christ’s power working within. What is this power?  It is the strength to pour ourselves our in loving service to anyone in need.  Not just those we already care about, not just those who can pay us back, not just those who are like us, but anyone we meet to whom we can offer any service. His power within us is the power of the cross and the glory of the resurrection.  Like Saint Paul and all the saints we cannot wait to embrace the next opportunity to fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of the Church.  Here, Christ is referring to the whole body of Christ or the Church that still suffers and shares in the dying and rising of the Lord Jesus, our head.  Here, the mystery of God in Christ or in us is the mystery of our embracing the injustice of our world and by such a loving sacrifice transforming injustice into a revelation of the mystery of God.

 

The Lord Jesus willingly took on the injustice of the scribes and Pharisees who were enraged by his compassionate healing on the Sabbath.  Christ even tried to reason with his unjust accusers when he asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than destroy it?”  This striking question did not penetrate his audience.  They were not interested in why the Lord Jesus cured the man with a withered hand; they were only concerned with the fact that the Lord Jesus did cure him, and he did so on the Sabbath.  How could he work a miracle on the Sabbath?  How could he command the man to do something on the Sabbath, something he could have done any other day?  Making someone’s need more important than the customs surrounding the Sabbath observance was completely out of the question.  The Lord Jesus is quite willing to suffer the rejection and persecution that would result from this miracle.  He brought a whole new understanding of religion into the world. This treasure of wisdom and knowledge about the Father and his will for us was regarded as a threat to and total disrespect for the way the scribes and Pharisees understood God and his ways among us. It was this conflict that found its ultimate resolution in the mystery of the cross.  God, in Christ, rejoices to suffer for us every injustice and insult that could thrown at him.  It is at this Liturgy that we are summoned to offer nothing less.