Königstein – Aid to the Church in Need
3 December, 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday of the first week of Advent 2014
(Is 25:6-10 Sol 22 Mt 15:29-37)
Just a few words, dear friends, because my schedule is tight and pressing, but having just arrived, it is a joy for me to share with you the interior warmth that comes to us from the word of God. Let us warm ourselves up on this word, so that we can then radiate its warmth in the places where we live and work, in short, all around us.
In the heart of every man there is a great desire for happiness, and God, who has placed this desire within each one of us, promises to satisfy it.
In the readings from today’s liturgy God promises great happiness; he promises the end of suffering. He will destroy death for ever, he will tear away the veil of mourning, he will wipe away every tear, he will take away our shame – for he has promised this! And he will give us an extraordinary happiness, symbolised by the banquet of fine wines and choice meats. God therefore wants us to aspire to happiness; it is the gift that he gives us, a happiness that comes from him, a happiness that we will enjoy perfectly in his presence. For “Goodness and kindness will follow me … and in the Lord’s own house will I dwell for ever and ever”.
The Church revives our hope in true happiness, which consists in union with God. The Gospel tells us what are the conditions of this hope. In order to be able to embrace hope, we need to accept that at present we are lacking something, we do not have everything we desire – for someone who is already satisfied no longer hopes. In the Magnificat, the Virgin Mary proclaims the fact that God fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty… In order to be able to hope, we have to accept that we are not yet rich; we have to be willing to renounce immediate gratification in order to be able to wait for the true happiness that comes from him. The great human temptation is to seek an immediate happiness, to not want to wait, to run headlong after those satisfactions that seem to fill our minds and hearts, yet which cannot truly give us that profound and intimate joy, for they leave the heart empty and are a barrier to hope.
The Gospel passage from today, which is the account of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, suggests to us that this miracle is a promise. The Church reminds us of this in order to revive our hope in the help of the Lord for each and every day of our lives, and our hope in the final happiness without end, with God, when he comes to find us.
Miracles are called “signs” because they are indeed full of significance. A miracle is not simply a marvellous gesture by Jesus on a particular occasion, but it is at the same time a prophecy, a revelation of the intention of God, of what God intends to do, what Jesus has already done and will do again. Hence the mystery of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, this gesture of tender mercy by Jesus, is something we can understand by seeing in it a sign of so many of his other gestures. And since we are in Advent, we can see in this miracle the symbol of the Incarnation itself. Jesus has come because he took pity on men, he wished to feed them and he asked Our Lady to give something, so that he could assuage the hunger of such an immense crowd – to give her own consent, her own life, to give him flesh and blood, so that he could become food and drink. In the Annunciation the Blessed Virgin Mary is asked to serve, just as later Jesus will ask the apostles to serve, to give what they have so that he can multiply their humble abilities and so respond to the great problems of the world
What Jesus did in the multiplication of the loaves, he wishes to continue to do in our days also, and always he opens our hearts to the needs of the great multitude, he shows us so much need in this world of ours and asks us, “How many loaves do you have?” In other words, he calls on us to place at his disposal our few possessions, or rather our poverty, but to be truly available to serve, so that he can continue his work of salvation, of authentic liberation.
During this time of Advent, which among other things is the most theologically Marian time, let us strive to make our own, in the deepest sense, the attitude of Blessed Mary in her “Yes” of the Annunciation. “Yes”, let it be done to me according to thy word – “Yes!”
It is from this attitude of complete self-giving to the always salvific will of God – from this “vertical” attitude – that the “horizontal” consequence emerges of charity to our fellow men, and to Aid to the Church in Need!
Königstein – Aid to the Church in Need
4 December, 12:30 a.m.
Thursday of the first week of Advent 2014