19 June 2013

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda, ICRSS, a beautiful sermon on the need of the soul to have confidence in the Charity of Our Lord and to trust in His Word: 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation.”  The Lord is always with us as a merciful Father who is prompt to forgive our weakness and welcome us. But we are not always present in front of Him like Adam who hid himself as fearing God’s eyes after his fall.

We know our weakness.  We forget so easily grace received and benefits given.  And we have even before our eyes the remembrance of our failures and infidelities.  Then how great is our need to humbly repeat the beautiful prayer of today’s Mass:  “O Lord, forgive us our sins.  Help us, O God, our Savior, for the glory of your Name.”  Indeed, in spite of the continual help of divine grace, in spite of so many confessions and communions, we still need to acknowledge new failures every day, and daily we must begin anew.  
And yet, after all the efforts, we find our hands empty, like St. Peter’s nets.  But let us not be discouraged. Because the more we suffer due to our weakness and our sins, the more we should run to Jesus, with full confidence in the power of His redemption.

Jesus does not leave us as orphans but He has continued to be present with us in the most Holy Eucharist and His Most Sacred Heart through which He continues to remain with us in a tangible way. He is really present in the Holy Eucharist with His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.

The Introit of the feast of the Sacred Heart says, "The thoughts of His Heart” – the Heart of Jesus – “are to all generations” to deliver them from death, to feed them in time of famine” by His love.  Thus the Heart of Jesus is always in search of souls to save, to free from the snares of sin, to wash in His Blood, to feed with His Body.  And this Heart of Jesus is always living in the Eucharist to satisfy the hunger of all who long for Him, to welcome and console all those who, disappointed by the struggles, sufferings and calamities of life, take refuge in Him, seeking peace and refreshment.  

Holy Scripture says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore, have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee,” and again, “Son, give Me thy heart.”  This then, is the substance of true devotion to the Sacred Heart: to return love for love, to repay love with love.

The attitude we take in our spiritual life depends greatly upon the idea we have of God, of His love.  If we have a poor image of God, like the slothful servant, or like the mean and angry Master who is jealous of the happiness of his subjects, instead of being impelled to love him and to give ourselves generously to His service, we shall be cold, lazy, calculating and wasting the talent we have received from Our Lord. 

But once we begin to understand that God is Charity and if only we begin to penetrate even slightly the mystery of His infinite love, then everything can change because love calls love.

And the soul who wished to grasp the depths of the mysteries of Jesus Christ and to understand something of His infinite love, will find no better way than to enter within His Heart or to hide itself in the breast of its beloved.  Let us take refuge then in the Heart of Jesus, and contemplate His mysteries and His love, but seek there, too, a shelter for our interior life.  This is a place of retreat which is always at our disposal and we can retire there even in the midst of occupations and every day’s duties.  When rumors, curiosity, gossip and the vanities of the world threaten to overwhelm us, let us quickly retire by a swift interior movement to the Heart of Jesus.

In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “Without Me, you can do nothing.”  Simon and his companions had been fishing all night and had caught nothing.  And if we have had some little experience in the spiritual life, we will recognize that this is often our situation, too.

St. Peter said, “At Thy word I will let down the net. And when they have done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes. 

Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” We need to learn how to carry the Cross with Him, not alone, just by ourselves. We need to learn how to listen to His Word and then believe in Him.

Dear Faithful, Every day, relying on His word, we must begin anew.  Then let us repeat with St. Peter in a similar cry of confidence, “Lord, at Thy word, I will let down the net.”  And then may the Mysteries and all  God’s gifts which we have received purify us, and fulfill their purpose by defending us throughout the struggles, sufferings and calamities of life! Amen.

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