Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Wednesday word, 14 Feb 2007
Ss. Cyril & Methodius, Memorial (14 Feb 2007) Gn 8. 6-13,20-22; Ps 116; Mk 8. 22-26
Before mass: Today the Church remembers Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs. Gradually, their efforts found reward: deep faith among the Slavic peoples of Europe.
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
First Person, Then Mission
Within creation things routinely unfold gradually Even things which appear suddenly to our eyes develop in stages. We might say that the earth’s forces are pregnant and give birth to floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and the like.
God worked through God’s creation and still does. It took 40 days and nights of rain to destroy the earth Noah knew. God worked through the nature God created. The waters receded gradually, too. It all touched God’s heart: God promised never to doom the earth because of humans...nor ever again [to] strike down all living beings. Instead, God swore to live by the covenant Noah renewed with God.
People after Noah failed on their side of the covenant. The Creator’s heart held us dear, which is the story of Messiah Jesus saving us.
The human side of being saved is conversion. It, too, is gradual. Mark’s gospel depicts that in the healing we heard. The man was physically blind. The apostles were blind to appreciate and to understand Messiah Jesus and the gospel he proclaimed. Believers with eyesight can still be blind. As Jesus often asked his disciples, “Do you not yet...comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?” Conversion, like creation, is a gradual, growing, brightening truth. The blind man first saw indistinctly before he saw clearly.
Our conversions are gradual healings, turnings from not comprehending to comprehending, from hard hearts to supple ones. Though we’re never totally converted, our first conversion is to Jesus’ person, the next is to his mission. Talk of gradual: we nourish conversion all our lives.
Icon of Cyril and Methodius is in the public domain.