Published on:

2nd Apr 2020

Doing things doesn't make me valuable - Lent5 Thursday

In today’s readings, God combats the temptation we can have to activism.  Fr John Hardon SJ defines activism as Preoccupation with activity instead of reflection...Activism is part of the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism, which holds that the main purpose of thought is not to discover and contemplate the truth, but to change reality, especially social reality, in the world.  A consequence of this is the idea that for me to be valuable, I must be useful, I must be producing something.  

And we see this all the time.  Examples include being unable to sit quietly by ourself doing nothing, bragging about how busy we are, filling out time with work, and being unable to remove ourselves from behind a screen.

Of course, the idea that to be valuable I need to produce something is complete nonsense.  My value, and my happiness do not revolve around production. My value is based on how God values me, and the reality that he loves me infinitely and that nobody can ever change that.  And my happiness depends on my union with God - the more united I am with him, the stronger my participation in beatitude.

This is the Lord’s point today.  The whole First Reading is all about what God wants to do for Abram - and for us.  You shall no longer be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham...I make you father of a multitude of nations. I will make you most fruitful. I will make you into nations...your issue shall be kings...I will establish my Covenant between myself and you...I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land you are living in...I will be your God.’

So happiness and value is not all about us.  Or about us doing things. This is an especially important message for all of you at home, frustrated about the things you can’t do.  Life and happiness is not firstly about that! It’s about the action of God, and allowing him to do what he wants with us. Let us use this time to practice, first of all, to abandon ourselves daily totally to his will.

Let us pray:

Be near, O Lord, to those who plead before you,

and look kindly on those who place their hope in your mercy,

that, cleansed from the stain of their sins,

they may persevere in holy living

and be made full heirs of your promise.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Show artwork for The Furnace

About the Podcast

The Furnace
The Furnace is a free brief daily homily podcast by a priest of the Emmanuel Community for the Archdiocese of Sydney. The aim of the podcast is to proclaim the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the "glowing furnace of love" (St Gertrude the Great).
Why The Furnace? Quite simply because most people in Australia, and the
world, can no longer get to Mass, or even into a church. The point of these
podcasts is to bring people a share of the Mass in the Word of God and prayer.
But why the name? Because the Heart of Jesus is a “Furnace of love”. This
is how St Gertrude the Great describes it. As she prays:

O Sacred Heart of Jesus,
fountain of eternal life,
Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love.
You are my refuge and my sanctuary.
O my adorable and loving Saviour,
consume my heart with the burning fire
with which Yours is aflamed.
Pour down on my soul those graces
which flow from Your love.
Let my heart be united with Yours.
Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things.
May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions.

The point of these homilies is first of all to share this with everyone - to
share the love of God’s heart with every human heart. There is nothing original
about that. This is, basically, all priests are ever trying to do. And it’s the only
real point of the Catholic Church: invented by Christ to share Christ, starting
from his pierced heart on the cross on Good Friday. It’s only fitting that at this
time each of us are being refitted with slightly larger crosses that our creator
comes to meet us from the cross with his own heart pierced and broken.

There is so much I could say about the Heart of Jesus - but I would have
to go on forever, because his Heart is infinite. So I’ll finish with the invitation of
another of the great saints of the Sacred Heart, St Claude la Colombiere:
May the Heart of Jesus Christ be our school! Let us make our abode there . . .

Let us study its movements and attempt to conform ours to them.
My friends, lets enter Jesus’ heart together.

It’s not just me recording it, or just you listening to a recording.

I rely on your prayers, and as I write and talk I am praying for each of you. And
in any case, there is no such thing as a Christian doing something by themselves:
like the Trinity, where one is, the others are. So let’s enter together, for Jesus is
standing in front of us now, with his heart wide open, to enter and experience
his love, his healing, his teaching, authentic freedom - and eternal life with him.