Phil 2:5-11; Ps 22:26-32; Lk 14:15-24
Even in our own day, as it was in times past if we want to renew the church, we must first renew the clergy. If the leaders of the church are not well disciplined and generous then holiness could not be preached and bear fruit among the laity. A new bishop asked on of his old priest how best he could promote priestly vocations in the diocese. Without hesitation the old priest responded, “Bishop, your canonization is the best way to invite young men to become a priest.” In the words of our psalm for today’s Mass we must be willing to fulfill our baptismal vows before those who fear the LORD. The lowly and those infected with sickness need food to eat and the Word must be proclaimed to nourish their souls. We must be willing to sacrifice wealth, high honors, esteem and influence to have solidarity with the poor. Such a life of loving service reveals the true dominion of the LORD in human history. From the beginning of the church to this day all generations have come to know the glory of the LORD and have been blessed by the justice of the Kingdom of God, alive and active in the Church of Christ.
This song of praise for the self-empting of The Christ must be at the heart of every saint. The Apostle Paul has enshrined the power of the Lord Jesus for every generation of believers. Every bishop and believer take their cue from the willing self- donation of the Lord Jesus. Though Christ was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself of the glory rightly his and became a slave to reveal the divine love that created the universe and rules over the hearts of all men and women. The Lord became the slave. The Lord Jesus not only became human; he humbled himself by a life of sacrifice. He spent himself in loving service to reveal that the only way to be fully human is to give oneself away. The Lord Jesus models what it means to be human; in his witness we find the wisdom of the cross. In this final act of sacrificial love upon the altar of the cross the Lord Jesus is exalted above all in heaven, on earth, and under the earth. He drew with cords of love every human heart to himself and offered all our sacrifices with his own to the glory of the Father and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of such a revolution of love the true reformation of the whole church is possible, and all nations on earth are summoned to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Jesus Christ is the Lord of history and the Lord of human hearts; to him we owe our very self, all our resources, all our time and all our energy. Indeed, this is the only way that human history will be transformed and every human heart caught up in the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Indeed, we are summoned to fulfill the Master’s command to go out into the highways and hedgerows to find anyone willing to join in the banquet of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the kind of apostolic urgency that must motivate bishops, priests, and religious of the Church in every age. So many of those who have been invited have found excuses to prevent their attendance. What could be more attractive than the call of the LORD? Why would anyone prefer worldly, limited, and passing glory to the eternal glory? How could a new field, five yoke of oxen, or even a new wife keep someone from the Kingdom of God? Indeed, the mystery of iniquity remains a mystery. There is no explanation sufficient to excuse such a refusal. Even now, many have been called to receive the fullness of the Lord’s glory, and they stay away. As the saints have taught by their lives and in their writings, everyone is summoned to the transforming union. Everyone is called to true human dignity, to have hearts that are merry. Yet, few respond to such a delightful invitation. Perhaps this is why it is still blessed to mourn that evil and sin survive in the human heart. In our blessed life we have no excuse for cynicism or hardness of heart. Rather we are called to pour out our hearts in prayer and penance so that all those we love and serve will come into the glory that is their inheritance. Indeed, we are entitled to sit with Christ at the right hand of the Father in the glory of the Holy Spirit. This is our only entitlement. What could keep us away from the eternal banquet of life and love?