Memorial St. Francis de Sales (24 Jan 2007) Hb 10. 11-18; Ps 110; Mk 4. 1-20
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
The priesthood of Jesus Christ, which the Letter to the Hebrews is concerned in a most sustained and explicit way, sanctifies us. In liturgical celebrations “[our] sanctification...is manifested by signs perceptible to the senses.”/1/ The Letter to Hebrews states our High Priest’s sanctification establishes a personal relationship with God, who in Christ, fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds. This is the covenant.
Covenant in the bible is always initiated by God. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds. A human response always completes God’s covenant-initiative. God puts and God writes patiently. That is important to remember and so easy to forget. Jesus’ parables this week focus on seeds. Seeds, as we know, emerge slowly, more slowly than we may like, and they need our patient care. Our response to God’s covenant is often seed-slow.
If God is patient with us, we can take heart that being patient with one another and with ourselves is a godly thing. St. Francis de Sales offered advice which is as current today as when the 17th-century bishop-saint recommended it:
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but constantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew.”Perhaps our wisest approach might be this: to treat ourselves as God treats us--as God’s precious seeds, whom God desires to come to full flower every day. We do well to consider our limitations and imperfections but not to obsess over them. God works through them not in spite of them. Remember how God worked through the limited human body and human life of Christ his Son, our High Priest!
1. Decree on the Liturgy, para. 7, The Second Vatican Council.
Photo by tanakawho; used under this Creative Commons Attribution License.