The Paschal Dynamic Leads to the Fullness of Life -18th Sunday

By: Father Jim Donohue CR, posted: 2014-07-27

Often in our search for happiness, we are tempted to satisfy our desires with what we think will be lasting solutions, only to discover that our thirsts and hungers have not truly been quenched.   While we may temporarily fill ourselves with food and drink, with material possessions, with the high praise of others, or even with those substances that dull our desires altogether, at the end of the day we can still experience an emptiness or restlessness that something more lies beyond.  The readings this Sunday assure us that there is “something more” that is worth pursuing and this “something more” will satisfy our deepest desires.


The first reading clearly calls anyone who searches for the fullness of life to approach God and to listen.  Through this listening, the person will be renewed with an everlasting covenant.  This listening takes some dying to self, creating a space in our noisy and busy world to hear God’s voice speak to us about our true needs and how they might be met.  Only in such space can we allow someone else to be the Lord of our lives.  “Be still and know that I am God,” proclaims Ps. 46:10.  In other words, we are called to remember that we are not “gods” and that we are called to trust in the One who truly knows us and what will bring us true happiness.  In contrast to the many words of our world, the words that this One speaks are words of everlasting life!   


These words, based on the overwhelming love of God for us in Christ, can transform us.  The second reading is a powerful reminder of the “something more” of God’s love.  Assured of God’s love in Christ, we are set free to be God’s people in the world, each in his or her own way, carrying out God’s mission to transform the world into God’s kingdom.  Only the assurance of God’s love—the “something more” that we can never be separated from despite anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, or peril—will set us free to assist others to discover the fullness of life. 


This is a lesson that the disciples need to learn.  In the gospel, they are in a desert place but they are distracted by the crowds.  They need to hear Christ’s voice reminding them that they are called to be of service to others.  Letting go of their need to control the situation by sending away the crowds, they begin to cooperate with Christ and “all who ate were satisfied.” 


The Resurrectionist’ Mission Statement includes this sentence: “We assist the laity in their own efforts to become prophets to the world and to transform it by providing them with a deeper experience of the Paschal dynamic in their lives.”  Through the prism of this Sunday’s readings, the Paschal dynamic is to die to ourselves by finding the space and time to listen to God and to discover the ways that we need to be satisfied by his everlasting word.  This is what will equip each of us to continue to transform the world, bit by bit, into the kingdom of God.