Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, priest
(Colossians 1:24-2:3; Luke 6:6-11)
The scribes and the Pharisees watching Jesus in today’s gospel have a counterpart in the contemporary Church. Many people waited to see what St. John Paul II would do regarding the definition of Mary as “co-redemptrix of the world.” Knowing that he had a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother some thought that John Paul would bestow on her the title. Others, realizing the title would cause some to confuse her role with Jesus’, were wary of it happening. In the end the pope never made the declaration perhaps because he did not want to alienate Orthodox and Protestant Christians who see some things differently than Catholics. However, today’s first reading gives some biblical justification for bestowing the title.
Paul claims in the passage that his sufferings make up for “what is lacking in” Christ’s. In other words, he is working with Christ for the salvation of souls. Or, it might be said, that he is sharing in the work of redemption. This makes him, in a sense, a “co-redemptrix.” Indeed, it may be said that everyone who prays for or make sacrifices on behalf of others has that role. Of course, Mary may be considered the principal co-redemptrix. Her prayers like her being excel above others’.
We regularly pray for others and it is not passé to fast or donate to charity on their behalf. Doing so, we assist Christ in his redeeming work although his death and resurrection are sufficient. It is like our fathers bringing us to work when we were young. They may have asked fold some papers for them and we thought of ourselves as partners. Christ allows us to have a role in the salvation of souls. In doing so, we marvelously contribute to our own salvation.