Dear Family of Mary!
March 18, 2015 “Dear children! With a full heart I am asking you, I am imploring you children: cleanse your hearts of sin and lift them up to God and to eternal life. I am imploring you: be vigilant and open for truth. Do not permit for all that is of this earth to distance you from the true cognition of the contentment in the communion with my Son. I am leading you on the way of true wisdom, because only with true wisdom can you come to know true peace and the true good. Do not waste time asking for signs of the Heavenly Father, because He has already given you the greatest sign, which is my Son. Therefore, my children, pray so that the Holy Spirit can lead you into truth, can help you to come to know it, and through that knowledge of the truth that you may be one with the Heavenly Father and with my Son. That is the cognition which gives happiness on earth and opens the door of eternal life and infinite love. Thank you.”
Fr. Bill Elder:
It begins with this stupendous scene; the scene of the four thousand hungry people. And, St. Mark tells us that Our Lord said, “My heart is moved with pity.” So, this scene begins with the revelation of God’s Mercy. The Heart of God, which is also – and this is the mystery – it’s also the human heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, is moved with pity for the crowd. They are hungry. And, of course, we know, and the Gospels tell us, they are hungry, and we are hungry, for more than physical food. But they are hungry. And the Lord performs a miracle. He multiplies the bread and the fish; and they are fed. A great miracle! A revelation of God’s Mercy and Love; and the feeding of all these people.
In St. John’s gospel, these types of miracles are referred to as “Signs.” Immediately after – and St. Mark constructs this chapter in a very clear way – immediately after this Great Sign – this revelation of God’s Mercy and His power to feed us, to take care of us – immediately after, the Pharisees come forward (yesterday’s gospel) and say, “We want a sign.” And, from a human point of view, we can just imagine Our Lord’s human nature saying, “Excuse me? What did I just do for you? What was this?” And it was very clear to Him that they were not the least bit interested in anything He would do for them, because their hearts were hardened.
And now we see, in a very human way – but also, it is a reflection of the Divine reality in Our Lord’s Being – we see Our Lord just getting angry; just getting angry. Remember yesterday’s gospel, a very short gospel. The Pharisees come forward, they begin to argue with Our Lord – right after this miracle – they begin to argue with Our Lord and they demand a Sign. And His reaction is, St. Mark tells us, He sighed from the depth of His Spirit. He sighed from the depth of His Spirit. The anger; I think it was just the Anger of God, at this, just, absolute rejection by the Pharisees. He sighs from the depths of His Spirit and says, “Why do you seek a Sign? I’m not giving you any Sign.” “I’m out of here,” is essentially what He says. And St. Mark tells us, He left them, got into the boat again, and went off all the way across the Sea of Galilee to the other shore. He couldn’t get far enough away from them; He was so upset.
Today’s gospel, we’re in the boat going to the other shore of the Sea of Galilee. And, in the confusion, the disciples realize, they didn’t have enough bread, ironically, after Our Lord had just fed the crowds. They only had one loaf with them in the boat. So, they go to the Lord, “We need more bread.” And you can see from a human point of view, Our Lord’s reaction must have been something like, “Bread? You mean, leaven? Watch out for the leaven of those Pharisees!” He’s still fuming at the Pharisees! “(Guard against) Watch out!” he says, “Guard against the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod!”
And what is “the leaven?” Leaven is a little substance that transforms the whole mass of dough. The leaven of the Pharisees is this attitude of hardness of heart; this refusal to allow their hearts to be open to the reality of God in their midst. The leaven of the Pharisees: It keeps one’s heart closed.
And Our Lord is so upset about this. He is more upset about this than anything else. He tries to do-He does! – so many things for the crowds. He does so many things for you and for me. And yet so often, our hearts are closed. And He goes on to say now, to His own disciples, “You, too?! Do you not yet understand or comprehend?! Are your hearts hardened?! Do you have eyes and not see? Ears and not hear?” (quoting the Prophet Isaiah) And then He says, “Remember these miracles? Remember the five loaves for the five thousand; how many wicker baskets you picked up? The seven loaves for the four thousand?” And then He says, “Do you still not understand? I’m revealing to you who I am. But your hearts are hardened.” It’s not just the Pharisees; it’s His own disciples. It’s not just the Pharisees; it’s you, and it’s me.
Are our hearts hardened? Our Lord is doing so many things for us all of the time. I remember years ago, I was here in Medjugorje and I heard a talk by Father Slavko. And Father Slavko was getting, like Our Lord himself, kind of impatient with people seeking signs. And he referred, almost sarcastically, to people who would say – I remember his demeanor now, and those of you who knew Father Slavko would remember his demeanor – and he said, at one point, “Well, sometimes people come to Medjugorje, and they say, ‘Oh, I saw the sun spin.’ And they get all excited, and they start crying, and all of that.” And he was almost – not really, but almost – lampooning them.
And then he pointed out to us that the greater miracle is, the fact that the sun exists. The greater miracle is the fact that we exist. The greater miracle is the fact that there is creation. God is all around us. He is doing things for us all of the time. We have to be very careful about being too selective about the ways in which we will allow the Lord to speak to us. He’s speaking to us all the time with many things in our lives.
Humorous situations in our lives; humor – genuine humor, good humor – comes from the Lord. Watch out in your life for situations of gentle humor. I have found in my life that very often that is the Lord speaking to me, in a very gentle way, pointing out something to me, a little bit ironically. And I begin to get it. I was asking the Lord yesterday to guide me about certain things, and then at one point, I said, “But I’m not asking for a sign! I want that clear; I’m not asking for a sign!” Because I realized I was going to be speaking about that precise problem. But the Lord shows us in so many ways; people in our lives – just gentle ideas, even, that come to us as we are praying quietly in front of the Blessed Sacrament, or just quietly, even, in our own rooms or wherever. The Lord is asking us to allow Him to speak to us.
What is Our Lady saying here in Medjugorje? “Open your hearts!” That’s what Medjugorje is all about in a nutshell. Open your hearts, to the reality of God’s presence in your lives. Open your hearts, to all that the Lord wants to say to you. Open your hearts, to all that the Lord wants to do for you.
And it’s not the easiest thing in the world, to open our hearts. We might think we have hearts that are opened, but things get in the way. We get so preoccupied with all the problems in our lives, sometimes; that it’s hard for us to calm down, and listen, and begin to understand what the Lord is saying to us, and how the Lord is present in all of this. And sometimes, quite frankly, like the Pharisees, and some others, quite frankly, sometimes, we’re not particularly interested in what the Lord wants to say to us. We might have our own ideas. We might be involved with some kind of sin. And so, we don’t want to hear what the Lord has to say.
But the Lord wants us to have open hearts. So, what do we do? The first thing we need to do, regularly, frequently, is, go to Confession! What a tremendous gift Our Lord has given to us, this gift of healing! This gift that just clears us out. So many times in my own life, I’ll find that I’m confused about things, I’m kind of down about things. I won’t be conscious – with God’s grace – of any really grave sin; but I know things are not the way they should be. I’ll go to Confession, and there’s peace.
Go to Confession. Our Lady asks us for something that’s very traditional in Catholic practice, to go to Confession at least once a month. When I was a child, that was the norm for just average Sunday Catholics. And if you were striving for something more, you would go to Confession more often than once a month. But at least once a month. It’s, I think, it’s the key to everything else. After Baptism, we need Confession, to renew our Baptism. We need Confession, to clear us out, to clean us out; so that we can be open to Our Lord’s presence. So that we can have hearts that are truly open to all that He says to us, and all that He wants to do for us.
Let’s ask Our Blessed Mother, as we are continuing our pilgrimage here – or for those of you who are blessed to live here, as you are continuing your lives here in Medjugorje – let’s ask Our Blessed Mother to help us, day by day, to be open to all that God says to us, and all that He does for us, by not looking for spectacular signs and wonders, but looking for the Lord’s presence in the ordinary circumstances in our own lives. (English Mass Homily – February 18, 2020 – Fr. Bill Elder https://marytv.tv/english-mass-in-medjugorje/ )
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2020