Friday, April 15, 2011

The Master is Here...

A stained glass window from the neo-gothic chapel at
Kilmore Abbey, Ireland

A passage from Dom Mark Daniel Kirby's homily on the Gospel for this previous Sunday, The Raising of Lazarus. First of all, I have to say that St. John's Gospel is my favorite Gospel. St. John's Gospel is the Gospel of the Theologian. There is a reason why he is symbolized by an eagle - because his gospel soars above the others in its beauty and depth. (I am not trying to belittle the other Gospels though - each has their own unique purpose and beauty about them in their portrayal of the saving work of Christ). This is one of my favorite passages in St. John's though, and in Scripture as a whole. I think it is partly because of its use in Dostoyevski's novel Crime and Punishment. In a poignant scene in the book, the heroine Sonya reads the Raising of Lazarus to Raskolnikov in the hopes of awakening him to his need for repentance, to his need to be awakened from the spiritual death of grave sin to the life of grace in Christ. There are so many little moments, though, within the story that are overlooked as we pay attention to the climax of the narrative when Our Lord calls to Lazarus to come forth. Here are a couple moments Fr. Kirby speaks of in his homily:
"There is much in today's Gospel that solicits my attention and almost begs to be preached. There is, for instance, the message sent to Jesus by Martha and Mary,
the model of all intercessory prayer: "Lord, behold him whom Thou lovest is sick."
How like the prayer of the Mother of God at Cana is this prayer of two women, friends of Jesus,fully confident in His response even before He gives it. "They have no wine." (Jn 2:3) "Lord, behold him whom Thou lovest is sick." There is no need to say more. A prayer of intercession patterned after this prayer cannot fail to touch the Heart of Jesus.
I could also linger over the message that Martha whispers into Mary's ear: "The Master is here, and calleth for thee." (Jn 11:28) This is the very message that everything in our churches whispers to the believing heart: the doors of the Church says it, the Holy Water at the entrance of the Church says it, the flicker of the sanctuary lamp says it,
the centrality of the tabernacle says it. "The Master is here, and calleth for thee." (Jn 11:28) How can you or I remain indifferent to such an appeal?"
-Dom Mark Daniel Kirby.

No comments: