Bishop Morneau's Column|
"Reflection on the Readings"
|Bishop Robert Morneau
The truth flows from the person of Jesus
To know everything we must be constant learners in the ways of the Spirit
June 4, Feast of the Ascension
By Bishop Robert Morneau
Questions for reflection:
1. How much do you know about the love of God?
2. Why is a little knowledge a dangerous thing?
3. How do you grow in the knowledge of God's love and forgiveness?
TO KNOW EVERYTHING
A grandmother told me this story about her four-year-old grandson. On Good Friday, the grandson informed his grandmother that he knew everything. Impressed, the grandmother responded: "Tell me something!"
"Well," the grandson said, "Jesus died for us today and, you know what, grandma, he was killed by the airport guy!" Stunned, the grandmother asked: "The airport guy?" "Yes," the grandson said, "pilot killed him."
And to think, that the grandson is not yet a sophomore.
The Gospel today reminds us that the truth, the knowing of everything, flows from the person of Jesus. He came to consecrate us in the truth, a truth that is grounded in his life and teaching. Part of that truth is that Jesus died for us, that Pilate was involved in the Lord's death, that the resurrection mystery would triumph over death. We, like the grandson in the above story, must learn these truths for they will set us free.
In the first reading today we see the early Church's concern that the apostolic ministry of teaching would be carried on. Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. We also witness in the scripture readings during the Easter season how Peter and the other disciples grew in their knowledge of their vocation and mission. They did not know everything; they were constant learners in the ways of the Spirit.
Even St. John exhibits a marvelous humility: "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us." It sounds as if, for some time, he was not aware of the depth of God's love and forgiveness in his life. Our growth in knowledge and, indeed in love, is a gradual affair, like the growth of a redwood tree. And part of that growing process is conversion and humility, a change of heart and an awareness of our limitations.
The truth is consoling: "I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord. I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice." To know this is to almost know everything, at least, everything worth knowing. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a lifetime to appropriate this wisdom and to express it by living lives of discipleship.
The end of the story. The grandson, on that Good Friday, did not have a good day. His grandpa told me that the grandson was a holy Terror (small h on holy, capital T on Terror). Putting the grandson to bed that Friday evening that grandfather expressed concern about the day's behavior. The grandson innocently replied: "Oh, don't worry, grandpa, Jesus has forgiven me."
Maybe the grandson knows more than we give him credit for.
(Bp. Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese.)