Scripture: Lectionary 223. Feb. 27: Jeremiah 18:18-20. Psalm 31:5-6.14.15-16. Matthew 20:17-28:
Tomorrow, Benedict XVI will begin his retirement in a monastery within the Vatican walls. He will be spending his days in prayer, contemplation, probably some theological writing, and in retreat. The Gospel for today fits him perfectly in this transition. He is a person of profound faith, kindness, and love. His encyclical on hope and love are a treasure for us who grow within our baptismal commitment that brings us the gifts of faith, hope, and love. These are to be developed as Benedict has shown us not only in his writings but also in his sermons, his noon day reflections, and his meetings with so many different groups, assemblies, etc. He has lived the message of today’s gospel from Matthew in a remarkable way. His past eight years have been a service to the Church as he, the servant of the servants of God, brought the Good News of the Gospel to us in so many ways.
Jesus in his humanity (Son of man) came not to be served but to serve and offer his life as a ransom for many (in Latin this can mean “all.”) Benedict XVI has followed closely in Jesus’ footsteps and has experienced many of the sufferings ofthe Lord .
We join with him in this time of transition to a new service for the Church, that of prayer and retreat. More things are wrought by prayer than we ever dream could happen. We, as the faithful, trust more in the Holy Spirit than in the rumors we hear and the misunderstandings of many leaders that are voiced concerning the new pope. We have in our history knowledge of 265 popes who have continued to live in the spirit of the Gospel albeit it with many human limitations. The Spirit has guided us through these 2000 years and is not going to stop now as we approach a new conclave of cardinals meeting in Rome. The Spirit will be there in ways that are not fathomed by the human minds of the cardinals. The guidance of this Holy Spirit will certainly be there at the conclave this March.
Benedict XVI understood well the message of the first part of the Gospel for today. He continues to live out the Paschal Mystery of Christ (his sufferings, death, and resurrection) in the Eucharist each day. His life of prayer and meditation continues for the Church and will be a new way of contributing to the Mystical Body of Christ, the People of God, the Church. His example of faith, humility, and fidelity are his gifts to a world of people searching to find its way to peace, justice, and reconciliation. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.