Thursday, 10 March 2016

4th Sunday in Lent 6 Mar 2016 Sermon

4th Sunday of Lent 6.3.16 Christ in us

If we were to spend time with the world’s best tennis player, or golfer, or singer, we could learn some tips from them. But they cannot transfer to us that touch of genius which makes them unique in their field.

However, if we spend time with Jesus Christ, He can transfer His ‘talents’ to us.

What is His special talent? Simply being good. (No doubt He could be good at all the other things, but the most important talent, if not the most sought after, is simply being good.)

When we approach Jesus in prayer, or sacrament, we are implicitly asking him to feed us with Himself; to live inside us; to transfuse His goodness into us.

From Him we do not just learn about Christianity, but begin to think and feel as He does.

So our tuition with Him is a very practical matter. He guides us, not just from without, as other teachers do; but from within us. He gives us the thoughts to think, the words to say, the deeds to do. Above all He plants in us a desire to be good.

This is what we call the workings of grace – that mysterious process by which God interacts with us, and transforms us.

Grace will work best in those who are most humble and submissive – such as Our Lady.

He dwells in us; takes over our mind and heart. It could sound threatening; but we retain our own identity. We can always break away if we want. But that would make us worse off.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. We do not want to break free from Him once we have discovered the delight of this particular captivity.

Holy Communion is the strongest point of contact we have with Our Lord. Here we understand that He enters us and dwells within.

Or, it can be said that we enter Him. We are immersed into the identity of Christ, and therefore all His qualities.

When people say Christianity is too hard they are missing a very important point.

Our faith is never just words or theory. We need to be told what to do – that much give us light.

But we also need the heat, the motivation and the power to do what we must. Both the light and the heat come from Him.

So He tells us, for example, to forgive our enemies. We say, Too hard! He demonstrates the process. Still too hard for us. He puts inside us His own ability to forgive. Now we can do it.

Christ be with me, within, behind, before, beside, beneath, above me (as St Patrick expressed it)

This is our prayer too – that we be surrounded by Him, immersed in Him.

We have so much power available to us, and we are not using it. We are like someone who still rides a horse when cars are available. We are doing this when we still operate as though Christ had not come. We are no better than the Babylonians and the Assyrians and all those pre-Christian people.

Maybe we can be the first generation to get this right. Every generation has the same chance.

From the epistle, we are sons of the free woman. We are not slaves of our own desires. We can control our behaviour, even words, even thoughts. If only we let Christ dwell within us, or we dwell within Him.

This is something to rejoice about (Laetare); a real liberation, better than being set free from physical captivity.

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