Do we sacrifice and carry crosses with Jesus? Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Written by Bishop Robert C. Morlino   
Thursday, Mar. 12, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear Friends,

I pray that your Lent continues to be fruitful and full of hope!

Here below, I want to extract one short line from our readings this past week and reflect upon it very briefly.

I know that many of you did not receive much in the way of a homily this past weekend because many of our pastors wisely decided to shorten or even forgo their homilies due to the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) and the parish request that took place this week.

Before I go further, though, I wish to offer a word or two in that regard.

Thank you for service, support

The first word I have to offer is my thanks. With every ounce of sincerity, I thank you for all that you’ve done in the past, are doing this year, and may continue to do into the future, in service to our diocesan Church.

So much of the good that we do as a Church relies upon our united effort and our cooperation in and with the Spirit. While I would not stop trying to carry out the mission I have been given, no matter what, we certainly could not be as effective without your prayerful support.

As far as the ACA is concerned, just as with any family, keeping our diocesan family’s “Mission of Charity” going, day-in and day-out, has its own costs, and we have to address them.

So, here we are. The way we conduct the ACA has been tremendously effective in getting the word out as widely as possible.

To this point, so many of you have responded -- each according to their own means. And to this point, we’ve been able to continue doing what we do as a diocesan Church (always looking to improve, no doubt)!

So, we may not always enjoy it, but we get through it -- like so many of us with our medications -- with the hope that the outcome will continue to be one of continued health and vibrancy!

So now, to make up for your lack of a homily this weekend, here is one point on the readings, and it comes from the very last lines of the Gospel.

Jesus did not entrust himself

There the writer says, “While He was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in His name when they saw the signs He was doing. But Jesus would not trust Himself to them because He knew them all and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He Himself understood it well (Jn 2:23-25).”

John said many came to believe in Jesus because they had seen signs. These people came to believe in Jesus in a sense, but they were kind of along for the entertainment. They found Jesus entertaining or compelling because of the signs He worked.

But, John continues, “He would not entrust Himself to any of them.” They believed in Him because of the signs, but He would not entrust Himself to any of them!

And then John goes on to say, He needed no one to tell Him anything about human nature. He knew well what was in human nature. He knew well what was in the human heart.

This is a reality that has been in the Church since its very founding -- a lot of people say they believe, say they are going to follow, but so often they have been moved but for a moment, by something spectacular that Jesus has done. They are along for the entertainment and for the feelings.

And we have that nowadays -- sad to say -- people frequently choosing which parish they will attend based on the entertainment provided. They might say, “I don’t get as much out of it over here as I do over there!”

Giving the most at Mass

Where is the real measure for where you go to Mass? It is where you give the most, not where you get the most.

Go to where you give the most. Go where you go to offer sacrifice. Offering sacrifice is never an entertaining or feel-good experience, obviously.

So, the fact that some people said they believed in Jesus because of the signs didn’t “fire His rocket,” really, because He knew what human nature was all about.

He knew how tortuous the human heart is and how the devil can twist it to bring about something that looks good but underneath is so fleeting.

And we see the way this played out in Jesus own life, and we will experience it as we proceed along the way to Easter.

We see the number of people gathered around Jesus after His signs and wonders, we see the great rejoicing that takes place when He enters Jerusalem, and how the crowds lay palms at his feet and shout “Hosanna!”

Supporters at crucifixion

Then we fast-forward from those crowds of shouting, dancing adorers, to the scene of the Cross -- who remains? “Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala . . . and the disciple there whom he loved (the Apostle John) (Jn 19:25-26).”

Were there others? Perhaps. But these are the ones mentioned in John’s Gospel, and there are certainly no crowds of people mentioned (except for those who stood along the way to spit at Jesus and mock Him).

Our sacrifices with Christ

So this is a question for us, as we continue our Lent. Are we here only for the “signs and wonders” of Jesus? Do we spend time in prayer and at Mass to be entertained or simply to ask for miracles? Or do we come to sacrifice, with Him and like Him, to re-present His sacrifice, so that we might carry our crosses with Him?

That is the way God intends your heart -- to be a heart ready for sacrifice in His love.

And yet it is so easy for our hearts to be tortured and troubled and to incline in the wrong direction.

The devil is so clever! Be true to the heart intended by God for Him alone and put to death whatever in the heart that would place God in second rank to something else -- whatever that might be.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! Praised be Jesus Christ.