Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blessed John Cardinal Newman: The Church Sits at the Feet of Christ Like Mary so that She Can Tend the Human Needs of Christ Like Martha

Today is the feast of Blessed John Cardinal Newman.

Listen to my homily for the day:

If you have trouble listening, click here.

Mass Readings for the Day: Martha and Mary

Blessed Cardinal Newman talks about Martha and Mary in his parochial and plain sermons (Sermon 22, The Good Part of Mary):
There remain two classes of Christians;—those who are like Martha, those like Mary; and both of them glorify Him in their own line, whether of labour or of quiet, in either case proving themselves to be not their own, but bought with a price, set on obeying, and constant in obeying His will. If they labour, it is for His sake; and if they adore, it is still from love of Him.
He doesn't say that Martha's part is wrong, but actually quite necessary, to look after the human needs of Christ takes a sensitive and obedient heart, willing to work hard and to be able to bend to whatever Christ is needing.  This means both the temporal care of the mystical body of Christ, the Church, but also the needs of the poor and the sick, in whom Christ said he waits as in disguise to receive our service.

He says rather that Mary's part is to be tended to by Christ, to sit at his feet, to hang upon his Word, to adore and worship him.  This is the very heart of the what it means to be the Church.  Without this part, the other part would loose its sensitivity and capacity to care for his human needs.

This part of Mary reveals to us our sublime vocation: to be loved by Jesus Christ.  Blessed Cardinal Newman has a beautiful Prayer on Life's Vocation which reveals that each person has a unique and unrepeatable mission, one which is not given to any other except us:
God has created me to do him some definite service
He has committed some work to me, 
which He has not committed to another. 
I have a mission. 
I am a link in a chain, 
a bond of connection between persons.
St Paul discusses this in the first reading for today:
But when he, who from my mother's womb had set me apart
and called me through his grace,
was pleased to reveal his Son to me,
so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles.
We are all called to be loved by Jesus Christ.  The place this happens is in the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, where Jesus gives us his all that we might give him our all.

May the prayers of Blessed Cardinal Newman, of Our Lady, and of all the saints help us to answer our calling to sit at the master's feet so that we might tend to his needs.

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