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Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
Jesus came home. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Opening Prayer: Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will. In today’s Gospel I see your commitment and self-giving. You are so generous with your time and your life. You are always present to all who need you. Help me to see and understand that the way you sacrifice and give yourself to the crowd is the way you sacrifice and give yourself to me.
- Total Self-Giving: Jesus went home, but even there he was not able to rest or eat. Jesus was human just like us and had the same human needs that we do, but here we see how he was ready to give up everything. His family members thought he was crazy. But this was God’s answer to man’s need. God gives us everything. Sometimes there are so many demands in our lives that it seems like following Christ is crazy. Yet, as his disciples, we willingly follow his example and give everything we have.
- A Prefiguring of the Passion: This brief snapshot in the daily life of Christ prefigures what will happen in the culminating moment of his life. Men will crowd in upon him, constantly demanding more and more until they take his very life. Those who loved him did not want Christ to die on the cross and would have tried to find an escape, but that is not why God became man. He became man to give of himself for our sake. On the cross, that self-giving was made complete. Our daily self-giving is not a prefiguring of Christ’s passion but a fulfilment of that passion in our own life.
- A Prefiguring of the Eucharist: Even today, Jesus gives everything to those who press around him and demand his attention and his love. We experience this in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is all of God given to us, to be taken into our little hearts and bodies. What a gift from God! “When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the sacred Host, you understand how much Jesus loves you now” (St. Teresa of Calcutta). Christ doesn’t calculate or measure; he gives us all of himself. When we receive Christ in the Eucharist, he enables us to give everything, just as he does.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. I can see your boundless love in this short anecdote from your daily life. Every moment of your life was lived with this generosity. You gave all on the cross, and you give us that all you are in the Eucharist. Thank you. I never want to forget your love and generosity. Please keep me always close to you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will not be like those who try to limit Jesus’s generosity and self-giving. I will go to you many times during the day in prayer to ask you to heal me, to save me, to simply be with me. And I will spend ten minutes before the tabernacle in your Eucharistic presence.
For Further Reflection: But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be, passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:11-15).
Father John Studer, LC, is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently the Director of ECYD in Mexico City.