My Writings. My Thoughts.
Both in the Garden of Gethsemane and again while being interrogated by Caiaphas and Pilot, Jesus remains the master of his circumstances. By grace, we too can overcome our feelings that may rush upon us during important moments, or may have plagued us for years. Our feelings can prevent us from giving better witness to Christ with our lives. At times, we are not unlike Peter, both for better and for worse. However, we can see how in John 18 Jesus and Peter respond to their difficult circumstances. We can learn from this and draw the grace we need from Our Lord.
During our life challenges, do we not sometimes wonder where is Jesus? Have we ever asked: ‘how is it that St. John could recline against Our Lord’s breast at the Last Supper? Does Our Lord not know that I want that life-giving closeness also?!’ In this program we contrast the choices at the Last Supper made by John and Judas in response to Our Lord’s love and trust in them. We consider some of those things that cloud Judas’ spiritual understanding and so greatly clear them for St. John.
Jesus invites us to consider him more closely in his actions during the Last Supper. We consider his actions toward all of the disciples and, in particular, with John and Judas. There are four keys to understanding Our Lord more closely in this scene and we can witness the effects. We are invited to imitate Our Lord and offer the same good to those around us.
Does the story of the grain of wheat dying (Jn 12: 24), make you wonder what choice it really had? Can we imagine it resisting nature and deciding to live?! Yet, I wonder whether we sometimes attempt this sort of thing, acting against our spiritual natures. Is there some of this in our holding to certain ideas, to our pride, or anger? St. John in his Gospel invites us to “bear much fruit”, and to do so by loving our brothers “to the end”, especially when it is difficult. This is quite an opportunity for anyone who has ever prayed for a loved one’s change of heart! In addition to the promise of “much fruitfulness”, our dying-to-self also opens our hearts to a special closeness with Our Lord. We see this particularly in John and his Gospel.
C.S. Lewis shows the danger of relativism in education. Once a person is formed in it, he suffers the loss of “will, of strength and of creativity” (1). With regard to subjects such as math, science and language arts, we know how vital they are to a professional career. However, do we recognize that there are other subjects which make possible a life that is fulfilling and satisfying? Are not these characteristics more important than having the best job? A Catholic education is not just about forming students in math, science and the language arts, but also about learning to appreciate truth, beauty and goodness. Pope Francis in his encyclical “Evangelii Gaudium” encourages this type of education to offset the fallout from growing secularism.
(1) The Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis, Chptr 1.
We are assured in Luke 6: 46 that the person who ‘listens to Our Lord’s words and acts upon them’, lays his foundation on rock. By contrast, it is proposed by powerful organizations such as the United Nations, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that a “globalist vision” is the necessary way toward world peace, sustainability and economic stability.
Who are we to believe?
Surely, the globalist ideals are laudable, but can they be achieved? What we know about foundations and Our Lord suggest otherwise. Yet, this is being proposed through radical educational reform such as the Common Core. In this scheme, traditional values will be embraced only to the extent they can be adapted to a multi-cultural, world view. Otherwise they will be jettisoned for the “harmony” of the “world community”.
Nevertheless, as during the Middle Ages, the Church can come to our aid. It can share not only the philosophical truths that bring right reason to bear, but also the good that comes through Christ’s Church founded upon Peter. Peter and those Popes following him were not the first instruments of God to propose a more solid foundation. Centuries earlier we hear Moses say:
“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers is giving you… Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations…” – Deuteronomy 4: 1, 6-8.