Homily September 30th, 2023

Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time – Lk 9:43b-45

            Today’s Gospel is quite short, at two and a half verses, but nonetheless we can find a number of teachings that can be applied to our lives. It’s important to bear in mind the context of the passage. In Luke’s Gospel, this scene takes place after a number of miracles: in this same chapter, we’ve had the 12 Apostles go out and perform many healings and exorcisms themselves, the multiplication of loaves and fish to feed five thousand, the Transfiguration, and, immediately before this, the healing of a boy with a demon, an event which ends with the words (actually the first half of verse 43): “And all were astonished by the majesty of God.”

            Yet, in the midst of their astonishment and wonder, Jesus gives the second prediction of His passion, which is lost on the Apostles. It’s here that we can consider three points that the fathers and the doctors of the Church have brought up.[1]

First, Saint Cyril notes that, although Jesus seems amazing and wonderful right now, He knows that His Passion and death will scandalize His followers, and that they’ll wonder if they were right in thinking that He was the Messiah. Thus, Christ warns them, and Cyril notes the importance of the words “Pay attention to what I am telling you” (or, in Cyril’s translation, “Let these sayings sink down in your heart”). Commenting on this, Cyril writes: “That [the Apostles] might know then what was to happen to Him, [Christ] bids them lay up in their minds as a certain deposit the mystery of His passion, saying, ‘Let these sayings sink down in your hearts.’” This announcement is a “deposit of the mystery of Christ’s passion.”

Secondly, the bishop Titus of Bostra focuses on the amazement of the people, and notes that “while all thus were wondering at the miracles, [Christ] foretells His passion. For miracles do not save, but the cross conveys the benefit.” Miracles don’t save the soul, at least not the multiplication of loaves or the expulsion of demons. What saves is the passion.

Lastly, another father comments on the reaction of the Apostles. They didn’t understand but, oddly enough, they’re too afraid to ask what Jesus means. This father comments: “Mark also the reverence of the disciples in what follows, ‘And, they feared to ask him of that saying.’ For fear is the first step to reverence.” In other words, unknowingly, the Apostles had taken a baby step towards a proper understanding of the mystery of redemption.

So, what lessons can we take away from this? We need to remember that our lives, too, are marked by ups and downs, by moments of consolation and desolation. The remembrance of the miracles and graces that we’ve received can serve us as a sort of deposit in times of desolation, as Saint Ignatius tells us. When in consolation, we can consider how great God’s workings have been and are, and thus we will not waver in moments of difficulty.

Likewise, we need to bear in mind that the cross is what saves; no life is free from difficulties or challenges, and hence we should thank God when we have difficult moments, because they are as many ladders to reach heaven.

            Lastly, we should recall that God is always much bigger than our understandings and our plans. What He does is always for the best, even if we don’t understand it. Trust in God, and a healthy “fear of the Lord,” meaning, a filial fear that loves God and wants to serve and please Him, helps us to remain faithful.

            Today, let us pray for the grace, through the intercession of Mary, Queen of all Saints, for the grace to remember and embrace the cross in our daily lives, and thus imitate Jesus and His saints.

[1] These are quoted in the Catena Aurea.



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