April 30, 2015
Thursday, 4th Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 13:13–25
Gospel: Jn 13:16–20
After Jesus had washed the feet of the disciples he said. “Truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than he who sent him. Understand this, and blessed are you if you put it into practice.
“I am not speaking of you all, because I know the ones I have chosen and the Scripture has to be fulfilled that says, The one who shared my table has risen against me. I tell you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen, you may know that I am He.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever welcomes the one I send, welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the One who sent me.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
One who is sent represents the sender. The more he assumes the spirit and charism of the sender the more he becomes true to that representation. The best representative even goes to the extent of sacrificing his personal identity if only to perfect the representation. He becomes the ideal messenger. But when he pursues his own motives, he throws the monkey wrench into the whole mission. For this reason a representative must be selfless and capable of self abnegation for the sake of the mission. It follows, then that a proud person cannot be a messenger for long. Humility is the outstanding characteristic of one who is sent.
The same virtue stands out among Jesus’ representatives on earth. The Pope who stands in the long line of successors of St. Peter, the rock foundation of Christ’s Church, exercises this virtue by being “Servus Servorum Dei” (Servant of the servants of God). It was Pope St. Gregory (590-604) who first used this title to distinguish himself from John the Faster, the Archbishop of Constantinople, who declared himself as the “Ecumenical Patriarch”. This title which John the Faster assumed was a title of superiority intended to overshadow the Bishop of Rome. The use of the more humble title by St. Gregory was supposed to be a lesson on humility for John the Faster.
The Church, admittedly, has not always shown a good example in the exercise of humility. This has been the source of many abuses in the hierarchy. This weakness humbles the church that has remained human albeit holy, catholic and apostolic. The good news is that in her weakness the Church has always enjoyed God’s abiding presence as promised by Jesus when he said, ‘I will be with you until the end of time” (Matthew 28:20).
But while it is true that Christ supplies for the inadequacy of his Church leaders, this is no cause for those leaders to continue lording it over the flock. They must cultivate the virtue of humility, or face severe sanctions in the afterlife for throwing the monkey wrench into God’s mission. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, teach us to be humble so that we may fulfill our solemn duty of building your kingdom on earth by our love and concern for one another. Grant this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Pius V, Pope. He was the initiator of the feast of the Holy Rosary. Born near Tortona, Italy, in 1504, this zealous Dominican vigorously implemented the reform of the church. Following the decrees of the council of Trent, he instructed bishops to reside their diocese, and parish priest to teach catechism to the youth. After removing corruption and nepotism from the Roman Curia, he cleansed the Papal state from brigands and prostitutes. It was during his pontificate that the new breviary, missal and catechism, were published. The Pope’s greatest success was the Naval Battle of Lepanto, fought off the coast of Greece on October 7,1571 with the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose aid was invoked through the rosary. In commemoration of that event, Pius V instituted on October 7 the feast of Out Lady of the Rosary and inserted the title Help of Christian in the Litany of the Virgin Mary. He died in 1572, and was canonized in 1712.