Sunday III in Paschal Tide
18 April 2021
A Call to Conversion
Our friend Père Louis Bouyer was scathing in his remarks about Ronnie Knox’s book ‘Enthusiasm’, but the first chapters dealing with the Corinthians do throw a light on one of the pitfalls of early Christianity: the enthusiast’s inclination to antinomianism. The victory of Christ overwhelms our understanding, and the accompanying feeling of elation can loosen the hold that the moral law has on our weak minds and wills. It should be no surprise to us that each of the readings of the Mass today includes a call to conversion. We should not look on these reminders of the fundamental requirement of our baptism as disciplinary demands; rather, they are implications of the renewal of the grace of our baptism at Easter inviting us to show the first fruits of the Spirit in our daily conduct. They are to assist us to keep up our guard so that our progress in virtue and growth in the knowledge of God, in love of God and neighbour, and our hope of glory is not interrupted. If we love our Lord we shall keep his commandments.
Listening to the Lesson of Easter
The Word of God himself opens our minds to understand the Scriptures. He invites those who have ears to hear. We listen and our hearts burn within us as he teaches us the things concerning himself: how the Christ and the Christian must suffer in order to enter into glory. We have to suffer in order to follow the One who is our Leader to life. So often in the Gospel the disciples failed to understand what it was Our Lord was teaching them, especially with regard to the parables and the prophesies of the passion. That teaching was their formation as disciples and it is ours also.
The Work of the Two Hands of God
We know that we were redeemed by the outstretched hand of God as Israel was. We know that the hand of the Lord was on the prophets inspiring and guiding them, and that the Holy Spirit is at work in us even more decisively. Just as the Father fashioned humanity from the first by the creative word of the Son and the breath of life which is the Holy Spirit, the two hands of Father, so now we are being refashioned by those same hands, redeemed and brought gradually to perfection according to the eternal plan of the Father.
Obedience in Faith
To hear, to listen with open heart, to obey: these are all important stages in the response of love to the Shepherd’s choice and call: we await the promised clothing with power from on high so that we may obey with a will out of love. Our training through Lent, guided by the holy Spirit, assists our victories over self will. As we lay down our lives day by day the Holy Spirit, who clothes us with power also, refashions us in the likeness of our Saviour. What was formerly difficult, what seemed impossible is now possible, easy, a joy to accomplish. It is all a preparation for our prompt obedience to that last imperious command and call to what is totally impossible without divine intervention: our resurrection to eternal life: ‘Awake thou sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will give you life’.
Dom Gregory Corcoran