Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Desert Place

And he said to them: "Come apart into a desert place, and rest a little. For there were many coming and going: and they had not so much as time to eat" (Mar 6:31 DRB). Once again, our Lord is sending His people into a desert place, a waste place, a desolate place. They have not eaten, yet He does not tell them to take food. The desert place is a place without the frills of the world; hence, there is an absence of distractions. They have left their cell phones at home; they have left their iPads and iPods at home; they even depart to an area devoid of beauty, of excitement, of pleasure. This is the place they are to rest—with God, the Son. It is in a desert place, a desolate place, a waste place, that they are to find rest.

"Woe to the shepherds who…scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD…You have scattered my sheep and driven them away." How do the shepherds scatter the flock of the LORD’s pasture, driving them away? By misleading them. How do they mislead them? By deceiving them. They tell the flock that the pleasures of the world are from God, that they are His blessings because He is pleased with them, because they belong to Him. In actuality, God is displeased. We can see Eve and the Serpent in the Garden. Satan scattered Adam and Eve, driving them away from God. It is the same today. Protestant preachers are crying out, “God wants you to be healthy and wealthy; He wants to prosper you with riches here on Earth! He wants to make you happy with riches!” They tell people that the Catholic Church tries to “keep their people under their thumb,” scattering the flock, driving them away. As with the false prophets, they reach out to “itching ears,” telling people what they desire to hear, not what they need to hear.

The LORD drives us into the desert, where He will be our Shepherd, where the wasteland becomes a verdant pasture because He is the pasture. He leads us, in this desert, beside restful waters—in which He is the waters. In this desert place He feeds us His body, giving us His blood to drink. Hear our Blessed Mother saying, “Behold the handmaid of the LORD; be it unto me according to thy word.” Behold the priest when he offers the host, saying, “The Body of Christ.” Our “amen” essentially means, “Yes, I belong to Christ; be it unto me as You wish, not as I wish.” We consume Jesus Christ, the Person—body, blood, soul, and divinity—desiring to be as He is.

The Lord, the gracious, the merciful, has made a memorial of His wonders; He gives food to those who fear Him. Behold, I stand at the door and knock, says the Lord. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with Me.

…On every bare height shall their pastures be. They shall not hunger or thirst, nor shall the scorching wind or the sun strike them: For He who pities them leads them and guides them beside springs of water—Jesus Christ crucified, buried, and risen—the Eucharist. TT

This theological reflection courtesy of the parishioners of St Paul Catholic Church in Pensacola, Florida: stpaulcatholic.net