When I first started attending courses to learn the catechesis called Theology of the Body, sponsored by the Theology of the Body Institute, there was always a temptation to focus on how I am going to use this beautiful teaching to share with others in my ministry. This is fine, but it may miss the point that I need firstly to soak in the faith, including the Theology of the Body, for my relationship with God for my transformation. I wonder what went through the mind and hearts of the Apostles as Jesus sat them down and taught them? What were they thinking?
Maybe they were like Amos of the first reading who said: “I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.” Who am I to go out and try to shepherd and teach others? St. Paul addresses this point in the second reading to the Letter to the Ephesians when he said: “in him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will…” Yes, we are broken, but redeemed through the Blood of Jesus Christ, chosen and adopted children of the Father through the Son. Since we are “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” St. Paul says, which is the first installment of our inheritance, we are to share the TRUTH with others.
In St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body the great saint walks us through salvation history and reminds us who we truly are, as St. Paul just did in the today’s second reading. We are all endowed with powerful grace from on High through our baptism and confirmation. We were chosen by God to share the truth of Christ with the world, but first we must receive Him for ourselves. St. John Paul II reminds us of our great dignity and that we are called to be spouses of God. We are called to receive the great inheritance Jesus won for us with His Precious Blood. While some are chosen to be priests of the Sacred Order, we are all called to be priests of the common order (to consecrate), prophets (to teach) and kings (with the authority of Christ.) in our own vocations. We may feel like Amos, who am I to do this? St. John Paul II reminds us who we truly are and who we are destined to become. However, we must learn to receive as Mary did from the Father before we can go out two by two into the world. Jesus gives us the authority in light of our specific vocation and summons us to tell His Truth to the world with love, mercy and tenderness-do not be afraid!
Christ’s love through us can cure many “illnesses” and heal many wounds in our deeply wounded culture. Some may have an acute gift of healing, including a priest with the sacramental grace from Holy Orders and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, while others are given different gifts and charisms for the Body of Christ. Jesus never summons us and sends us out unless He is with us, even until the end of time. He promised this to us, and the Spirit of His Father, whom Jesus sent, dwells within us, so we shouldn’t doubt our calling due to unworthiness, like Amos, but accept who we truly are in Christ, blemishes and all – His beautiful adopted children. Remember you are all blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in Heaven. Now go and preach the good news of Jesus Christ – repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He can accomplish anything through us to the intention of His will – let it be done unto us according to His Word. Amen.
Father Tom DeSimone was ordained a priest on May 13, 2006, the Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima. He most recently served as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in White Plains, NY. He joins the staff of the Theology of the Body Institute on a three year leave from the Archdiocese of New York, to become the Institute’s first full time spiritual advisor and Director of Clergy Development.