5-8-2022 Reflections

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

There was one scene broadcast worldwide at the height of the war in Ukraine that will forever be etched in my memory. It was a small but significant march of Ukrainian men heading back from safe homes in neighboring countries to their homeland to take up the fight along with their fellows.  How to explain it other than courageous patriotism mixed with love. The combination acted as a certain magnetic energy drawing them from comfort to confidence in their cause.

Although it is certainly quite different in context and meaning, I daresay there is in the Easter event a certain magnetism that draws us as believers into the lifelong battle with spiritual evil, personified in the devil.  We too have a cause, namely to make Jesus and His teachings known and loved throughout the world.  Easter clarifies His identity once and for all.

The battlefield for the struggle is not on foreign soil by any means, but takes place on two fronts, the deeply personal and the wide reaching interpersonal.  First we must be armed with knowledge of Him whom we champion, as well as of His actual teachings, as presented to us by the teaching office of His Church.

We will be ineffective at our task if all we have is a superficial knowledge of Jesus. Childhood portraits, well-meaning as they may have been, will tend to repel hardened adults.  A superficial acquaintance of Jesus will soon give itself away as having no basis in the Scriptures.

Equally important is articulate sharing of what Jesus and His Church teaches.  No flimsy understanding based on magazine articles, media presentations, or the pompous posturing of misinformed “talking heads” will substitute for familiarity with the official Catholic Catechism or authorized journals and other official sources.  We have to know what we’re taking about or else we set the cause back some or many measures.

If the Church is indeed a family, there is added attraction built into it that makes it easy for us to incorporate even a secular celebration like Mother’s Day. The magnetism of the Master certainly derived from the wonderful woman who birthed Him.  Among Our Lady’s many honorific titles is “Mary, Mother of the Church.” So saying, we acknowledge her as our Mother too, bequeathed to us from Her Son on His cross.

Whatever we cherish in our earthly mothers is inevitably linked with that same virtue in Mary. In her we see that goodness raised to its highest level.  Well did her own prayer begin with the words “My soul magnifies the Lord.”

Meanwhile, she supports all our efforts to make her Son known and loved, so we need not fear being alone with the task.  In addition, she knows the best road home for us soldiers of the Lord.  Forever shall she be as the poet Wordsworth described her: “Our tainted nature’s solitary boast.”  Happy Mother’s Day!

God love you, give you His Easter peace.

Reading I:  Acts 13: 14, 43-52: Certain Jews, jealous of Paul and Barnabas’ popularity, stir up a persecution of the two Apostles and expelled them. The preachers move on to Iconium, “shaking the dust from their feet” as they did so.

Reading II:  Revelation 7: 9, 14b-17:John’s vision of the Lamb on His throne, who will shepherd the flock, will also banish their sorrows.

The Gospel:  John 10: 27-30: Since God has given the sheep to Jesus, no one else can take them away. The unity of Father and Son draws in the community as well and gives them eternal life.