More Than Just Us

In his April 19th homily at Domus Santa Marta Pope Francis talked about our paternity in relation to God. He said that no one is an orphan, but we risk becoming one by closing our hearts and not letting ourselves be drawn by the love of God.[1]

God is always here, always urging us forward on the path to home; always showing us the way; but we need to allow His help to guide us.  It takes two to bring us to heaven; He is doing His part, how about us? And this has more impact than on just us.  Our response to our Father does more than just help us home; it helps others as well.

In the readings today we see that Elijah implores God to bring life back to a young man.  Elijah’s persona, known to the young man’s mother, was one of holiness; but at a moment of crises she doubts and blames Elijah. Elijah reaction is one of calmness, patience, acceptance of his situation, and total submission to the will of God. The outcome was an amazing witness of the love of the Lord – the boy was brought back to life. “Now indeed I know that you are a man of God. The word of the Lord comes truly from your mouth.” [2] the mother exclaims to Elijah. God didn’t favor Elijah for his own sake, didn’t even favor the dead boy for his own sake – no, God worked through Elijah and the boy to bring His Gospel of Love to more people, to the multitudes.

Saul of Tarsis, the vicious pursuer of Christians was shown a great act by God, and he was converted. But this act was more than just God working on one man to change him. Through this great miracle of blinding and curing the whole Mediterranean region is awakened to the Gospel. St. Paul tells the Corinthians about this miracle: ‘For I did not receive it from a human being, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.’[3] He told them, not to brag about his gift from God, but spread the gift to those he met. God didn’t work on Saul for his own sake – no – God changed Saul to Paul so others would be made aware of the Gospel of love.

Christ, also, went about performing signs and wonders; not so much to heal and cure those He helped, but more so to announce with these signs the wonderful news that lay behind His actions.  God brought the young man back to life; and the crowd – well: ‘they glorified God, crying out “A great prophet has arisen in our midst, “and “God has visited his people.”’[4]  And their surprise and wonder and joy didn’t end in the city of Nain; ‘This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.’[5]

Elijah and St. Paul both could have gone another way. They could have hedged their bets with this unseen God and not thrown their whole beings into serving Him; but they didn’t, they let themselves be drawn by the love of God[6]. Brothers and sisters, their part of this ongoing story has ended here on earth; it is now our part in the story.  Do we sit back deaf and blind to the actions of God around us so that we aren’t responsible for our part in His family; or do we follow the examples of Elijah and St. Paul and the countless other saints throughout history and allow God to work through us to bring the saving news of His love to those around? Orphans don’t have familial responsibility – but we do.

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[1] April 19th Homily at Domus Santa Marthae by Pope Francis – as reported in L’Osservatore Romano pg. 14 English edition.
[2] 1 KGS 17:24
[3] GAL 1:12
[4] LK 7:16
[5] LK 7:17
[6] See footnote 1

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