Eleventh Sunday of Ordinary Time at Mississippi Abbey

Words like us tend to wear out with age.  A few years back – that’s a phrase that changes as you get older – a few years back can mean 30 years ago! So, a few years back about 1969 the phrase “Salvation History” was powerful and used to explain the Scriptures. You never hear of it anymore. On the other hand, some words gain in strength over time. The word dysfunctional still holds weight. To say your community is dysfunctional hits home. There is the story of a convention for all those who were raised in a dysfunctional family and everyone in the world showed up.

There is one word however, that never lost its power and when used in a phrase can change your world. It is love. If someone says to you and says in all sincerity and honesty, “I love you” it can change your world forever.  

When the Scriptures are proclaimed in the liturgical assembly it is really God speaking to us. So, what is God saying to us today?  First of all, in the entrance verse we say, “O Lord, hear my voice. Hear my voice, for I have called to you; be my help.” We begin each Office with “O God come to my assistance, make haste to help me.” And if we follow Cassian, we repeat this verse all during the day. We are constantly calling for help either for ourselves are for others. But for now, let’s keep this personal.

How does God answer our call? In our first reading from Exodus God tells the Israelites and to each one of us, “I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself”. Sisters, we like to think we brought ourselves here which we did but underneath this truth is another more important truth, the truth within the truth, to use Merton’s definition of contemplation, we were brought here by God, and for what reason?  I can say to be with God but it is more intimate than that. I brought you here God says, to myself. Jesus says it in john’s Gospel. I go to prepare a place for you and when it is ready, I will come and take you to myself.

Jesus brought you here to take you to himself. How does he do this? No doubt each of you could speak on this but it is too personal. Right now, at New Melleray we are reading the book of Joshua at Vigils and this morning we had a commentary by Cardinal Newman where he says Joshua did not complete his job but left it for another generation to complete taking over the promised land, just so did Jesus leave his job incomplete and left it for each one of us to complete it by living his passion death and resurrection in our life. All the trials and tribulations all the joys and sorrows of life are ways Jesus takes us to himself. When Jesus says “I go to prepare a place for you and when it is ready, I will come and take you to myself” I used to get the image of a place in heaven – even a mansion since Jesus says there are many mansions in heaven. Now I think of it differently. Jesus is preparing a place for us as we relive the mysteries of his life in our life and this is his way of taking us to himself until the morning star rises in our hearts and we are no longer sojourners but citizens of heaven.