Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 2:10b-16; Luke 4:31-37)

An American recently wrote an article about her experience living in a community of L’Arche in Italy.  L’Arche pairs people with severe disabilities with more regularly healthy people.  The writer described being alone with Fabio, a deaf mute with a broken face and below average mental capacity.  She said that she and Fabio were in the community chapel gazing at the crucifix when Fabio opened his arms as if he meant to embrace Jesus or, perhaps, in imitation of Jesus sacrificing himself for the world.  After remaining in this pose a while, Fabio turned to embrace the writer – a gesture which invited her into the brokenness of the cross and Fabio’s own brokenness.  The writer too opened her arms and smiled back at Fabio.  She said that she never felt more whole than she did at that moment when Fabio enabled her to experience a touch of Christ’s love for the world.  St. Paul writes of this experience in today’s first reading.

The passage does not mean to criticize true wisdom.  When it speaks of the “spirit of the world,” it is referring to the competition for fame, fortune, and pleasure that drives humans everywhere.  It recognizes the futility of such pursuit and recommends a more authentic spiritual quest.  It advocates putting on “the mind of Christ” which inclines people not to worry about their own needs so much as to assist others with theirs.

Of course, we normally reel at the prospect of such sacrifice.  We want to enjoy as many of the comforts of life as we can afford.  But on deeper reflection we realize that as Christ died on the cross and rose to glory out of love for us so we will share his resurrected life the more we die to self.