- Genesis 28.12.
- John 1.51.
- Paul never forgot it yet from it grace freed him. 1Corinthians 15.8-10.
- 2Corinthians 5.18-19.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Daily word, 29 Jun17
Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul (29 Jun 2017)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J. closing 8-day retreat, Guelph, ON
Jesus echoed the stairway-image Jacob had dreamt: a stairway rested on the ground with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s angels were going up and down it.1 On waking Jacob identified the place where he had slept as visited by God.
Jesus used the stairway-image to name himself to a skeptical disciple: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”2
Jesus and his contemporaries breathed and dreamed the scriptures. With scripture Jesus named himself. To that skeptical disciple Jesus deftly identified himself as the Holy Place where people encounter God and the one descended from God who would again enter God’s presence. Jesus is no stairway-to-nowhere; Jesus leads all who welcome him into God’s presence. To enter God’s presence is personal but never private: as we enter we invite others.
We learn that from Jesus: joining our humanity he invites us to join him, to go on mission with him. Jesus supplies what we need to go: from courage and strength to keener vision. Even our imperfections can serve Jesus’ mission—he called us with them! Ending retreat and returning home to our daily living are opportunity to join Jesus’ mission afresh. Exemplary missionaries intercede for us: Sts. Peter and Paul.
Jesus called Peter to be one of his Twelve Apostles. Peter learned Jesus and his mission by walking with Jesus. His learning matured when Peter encountered risen Jesus. Risen Jesus met Paul while Paul sought to exterminate the mission of Jesus one Christian at at time. On Jesus’ part their meeting was gracious; for Paul it was life-changing. Forgive him he knows not what he does: the words were not spoken but their truth was communicated when risen Jesus’ first visited Paul.3 Reconciliation became Paul’s mission.4
In what ways has risen Jesus visited you? renewed you? invited you to rejoin his mission? In what ways were we aware we were in God’s presence? How has risen Jesus graced us to be our true selves? Even if someone is only now aware of risen Jesus that is grace. Nothing is lost on retreat, especially time I thought was empty or that God was silent, Jesus absent or Holy Spirit dispirited.
As you savour the graces of your retreats you may notice they point you forward. What summary grace has God in Jesus by Holy Spirit offered me? To name a summary grace by no means trashes individual graces. A summary grace helps me live from the organic unity my annual retreat is for me. Early in his apostolic ministry Peter described his abiding grace as being set free: Now I know for certain the Lord sent his angel and rescued me. Paul recognized that during his apostolic life the Lord stood by me and gave me strength. What may each of us name?
God desires we own what God has graciously given each of us. A summary grace not only names the organic unity of one’s retreat; it paves one’s way forward on mission with Jesus into God’s presence with others.