This past Tuesday we heard from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans in the readings for the Mass of the day, specifically brothers and sisters: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us (Romans 8:18). Five minutes before Mass, I had not even looked at the first reading, focusing instead on the Gospel for the day, but I was struck when I finally looked at Paul’s words before heading out to offer the Mass.
The Scriptures are eternal and the Word of God is always pertinent for the day, just sometimes part of the Word may be more pertinent. I have talked about social media before and I will say what I’ve already said: if you are not on social media, stay off…your life will be all the better. I’ve greatly curtailed my personal presence there but I still find myself browsing around and, sadly, I’ve noticed people coming virtually undone on social media. Between the political sphere and things in the Church coming out of the recent Pan-Amazonian Synod, more people than ever appear to be loosing their minds over things in the world.
As disciples, we must engage the realities of this world and do what we can to witness to Christ and what we know to be right, good, and holy, be it in the secular or sacred realms. In engaging the world we must also be on guard against the danger of falling into despair; enter again St. Paul: the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. This present life is marred by the reality of sin, which has also felled our human nature, but there is good news. God is in the mess with us, bestowing on us with his grace and mercy, and bringing about in us the fullness of redemption.
There is a danger that exists in getting bogged-down by the challenges and crosses of this life and losing sight of the fact that we are in this world but that we do not belong to it. God is bringing about greater things and we must always keep our eyes lifted up in the hope of what is yet to be revealed. God never wants us to lose hope, no matter how upside down things may seem to be and ultimately, our trust must be in him. Only when this world in its present form has passed away will the fullness of God’s glory be revealed.
Just having celebrated All Saints Day, I will leave you with two bits of wisdom from two members of that great cloud of witnesses. It is said that Pope St. John XXIII was known to have prayed at the end of the day “its your Church Lord; I’m going to bed.” In the end, if we have done what we are supposed to do, we have to trust that God will fill in what is lacking. Finally, St. Pio of Pietrilcina (Padre Pio) says it wonderfully and succinctly: “pray, hope, and don’t worry.”
Father Christopher House is the Rector of the Cathedral and serves in various leadership roles within the diocesan curia, namely Chancellor and Vicar Judicial.