Monday, May 18, 2015

The Place to Be

There is a one sentence description of Judas in today's reading which is very powerful: “Judas turned away from this apostolic ministry to go to his own place.”  He turned away from where the living exalted Lord would be found to go to where only despair and death awaited.  The second reading and the Gospel describe the Church in a way so different from the cold, frozen eternal deathlike existence that Dante would later describe for Judas.  Judas turned away from a united community of love and joy in God to go to his own place of lonely misery.

The first letter of St. John, roots the love of the community members in the fact that God first loved us and that by remaining in love of God and neighbor, love is brought to perfection in us.  This is not seeking our own place, like Judas did, but seeking the place God has given us in his plan of salvation in Jesus, the Savior of the world.  Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God.  What better place is there to be?!

The “place” that God is giving to us is a place that is in the world, but one that does not belong to the world.  Here, by “world” the author of the Gospel of John means all forces that are opposed to God, to the work of Jesus and his Holy Spirit.  The world hates us in this place that God has given us.  It is the place of divine communion and joy.

We experience this “place”, this joy, this protection profoundly in the celebration of the Eucharist. Our communion in this sacrament further consecrates each of us and all of us together.  Beyond simply protecting us in the safe place of the Father's love for us, our communion in both God's Word and Sacrament consecrates us to the mission of spreading the Gospel of God's love in Christ into that place to which Judas turned in despair, to which we turn in faith, hope and love--that place called “the world.”

The Abbey belltower viewed from a distance; photograph by Brother Casimir. Excerpts from Father Luke's Sunday Homily.