July 23, 2018: Fr. Anton

Reflections by Fr. Anton at Eucharist: July 23, 2018

Introit: O Lord, you have given everything its place in the world – and no one can make it otherwise! It is your creation – the heavens, the earth, and all they contain – You are the Lord of all!

My brothers and sisters, the poet Paul Claudel has famously said:
“God draws straight with crooked lines.”

Let us now say we’re sorry,
and ask God to draw in His one-and-only way with the lines of our lives.
I confess, etc…

The Gospel Matt 12:38-42
Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus,
“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”
He said to them in reply,
“An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign,
but no sign will be given it
except the sign of Jonah the prophet.
Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth
three days and three nights.
At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.
At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon;
and there is something greater than Solomon here.”

After the Gospel:

‘Give us a sign that we can see,
that would prove what You claim to be.’
That sounds like most of us, we’re fascinated by spectacular events.
How many Christians look for signs like miracles, voices from heaven, bleeding stigmata. I still treasure Mary’s image on a rose petal, the one I received at Brother Carmelo’s healing service, seven years ago.
But Jesus points us in a different direction, away from spectacular signs.
He has only one sign to give us – Himself after the Resurrection.
The Resurrection is not only His – it’s a gift He offers us … our own Resurrection… the gift of eternal life.
When we finally come to believe that Jesus loves us enough to give us that gift, it will involve a huge change of mind and heart,
a new way of seeing and feeling about Jesus, ourselves and others.
It’ll be a complete make-over.
Maybe that’s what St Paul means in Philippians, ‘I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse… that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection.’
It’s not that he doesn’t know the power of Jesus’ resurrection, of course he does… through personal revelations.
Rather he’s saying: ‘I want to know everything there is to know about the power of the resurrection. I want to experience it and have it change my life. I want God to transform me, take me out of the power of sin where death is, to the power of life, where righteousness is, so that I become a completely new person.’
The sign of the resurrection, greater than the sign of Jonah, that’s the sign the Lord Jesus promised to this generation.
It’s the sign of changed lives.
That’s what the power of the resurrection is all about.
So we have the courage to pray, “Yes, Lord, I will accept your gift, and I will work for it! I will suffer the loss of all things, count them as refuse… that I may know Jesus, and the power of His resurrection. Amen.”