It is true that while it is this month of June, and the first day of summer is tomorrow, the readings seem to be about Lent. In the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Zechariah, the Father wants to pour out His grace and love upon the house of David and on all the children He loves, His chosen ones in Jerusalem. While the city of David is Bethlehem, his birthplace and that of the Anointed One who descends from His royal lineage, the ark of the covenant and David’s kingship resided in Jerusalem. The Father bestows grace on the house of David who will be Jesus His “only son,” whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem will pierce and there will be great mourning and lamentation. However, while there will be pain and suffering for the innocent Holy One of God, His Precious Blood will merit for us redemption and a fountain of purifying grace will wash away the sin and uncleanness from Jerusalem and the world. Zechariah is prophesying the coming of the Messiah, whom we need due to the fall of original man, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Our human existence does not begin with original sin. It begins with original innocence, unity and holiness. We are inherently good, Created by God in His image and likeness. The fall of our original parents only tarnished the likeness and damaged us, but not beyond redemption. Jesus, from the House of David, redeemed us to the Father on the Cross of Calvary.
Through the Sonship of Christ, we became adopted sons and daughters of the Father and through this faith, St. Paul tells us in his Letter to the Galatians, we are “baptized into Christ” because you have “clothed yourself with Christ.” This is why the little baptized children are given little white garments or bibs to wear after they are baptized as a symbolic gesture of putting on Christ. We need this new garment called baptism, this sacrament, when heaven pours out its grace on you, because the pierced One, merited this grace for you on the Cross. Are we listening to the voice of God telling us we are his beloved little ones whom He loves? Do we hear His voice and follow Him, but only at a great distance due to our fear to be pierced for Him, by rejection and hatred from a world that is increasing hostile to Jesus, Hi Church and Christians in general.
Ask yourself very honestly, who is Christ to me? Do you think He’s just a good teacher, a prophet, like some religions do? Or do you truly believe and live that He is the Anointed Son of God, who suffered and died for us and rose for us to redeem us? Do you truly believe what He said and what the Church infallibly teaches, that He is truly Present in the Holy Eucharist and all the sacraments of the Church? Or are we just more interested in the celebrations that follow? Do you love Him enough to be “pierced” for Him, rejected for Him, even die for Him to witness to the world as the martyrs did and are doing all over the world? Are you willing to deny your creature comforts, to deny living a comfortable western Catholicism, and take up your cross and follow Him closely, and not from a distance. Are we “thirsting” for the living God in our lives or thirsting for wealth, power, fame, and influence?
St. John Paul II taught in Theology of the Body that we are not the sum of our sins and that the Theology of our bodies and our sexuality mean something good and how we live our lives should reflect what we believe. All creation, St. Paul tells us, is yearning and groaning awaiting the redemption of our bodies, the Second Coming of Christ. How we treat our bodies and those of other people matters, they are God’s creation and cannot be re-created in our mind, based on cultural whims and feelings. Our souls are truly yearning and thirsting for our spouse, our loved one, who wants to pour His grace upon us, are we open and willing to deny the whims of this culture and truly hear His voice and follow Him. Praised be Jesus Christ-now and forever.
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.