Thursday, November 23, 2006

33rd Thursday in Ordinary Time (II)
Memorial of Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, Jesuit Martyr
Opportunities for True Happiness

Readings: Revelations 5:1-10; Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b; Luke 19:41-44

We all want to be happy. And we spend much of our lives seeking happiness. Yet isn’t it the case that, hard as we try, happiness often seems too elusive for us to grasp? Doesn’t it sometimes seem as though that which we seek is locked up in the scroll we heard about in the first reading, the one so tightly fastened with no less than seven seals? And no one is able to open it – neither the smartest genius nor the richest tycoon nor even the most powerful king.

Indeed, isn’t the central message of our faith precisely that there’s only One who is fit to open the scroll, only One who is worthy enough to reveal the secret of happiness, the message of peace, that scroll contains? This One is a king – the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David. But not just any king, for this One is also a Lamb. And not just any lamb, but the Lamb who was slain, the One who was sacrificed, and by whose blood we were all bought… for God.

Isn’t this what our faith continually reminds us: that the path to true happiness lies in joining the Lamb’s line of kings and priests to serve our God in the very concrete circumstances of daily living? And isn’t this what Jesus is referring to in the gospel when he speaks about the need to recognize your opportunity when God offers it? Isn’t this the experience of the martyrs whom we celebrate these several days? Blessed Miguel Pro, for example, was able to recognize and seize the opportunity to follow the Lamb even to the point of exclaiming, as he was being executed by firing squad, Viva Christo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!). How were the martyrs able to make the ultimate sacrifice at the crucial moment if not by continually seeking and recognizing the opportunities for service that God presented to them each day?

Indeed, what opportunities are being presented to us today to join the martyrs in humble service and joyful exclamation: Viva Christo Rey!?

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