Bulletin – September 2017

September 2017
“So the faith was planted: so must it be restored”
Eight Pond Place – Oyster Bay, NY 11771

God’s Familiar Complaint
Taken from a sermon by The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
Copyright © 2005 The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly

 

“There met Him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. . . . He said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. . . . as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God: and he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks: . . . And Jesus answering said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine?” (Luke 17:12-17) These words are taken from the Gospel of St. Luke. Here we see Our Lord going up to Jerusalem. He passes through Samaria, and ten lepers meet Him. They had heard of His coming, and they waited along the road. By law they were forbidden to approach Him, so they stood at a distance and cried out: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”

The compassionate Heart of Jesus had mercy on them. He said: “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” They obeyed, and on the way they were cured. When they were cured, one of the lepers was so moved with gratitude that he immediately went back to thank the Divine Physician. He did not walk back. He ran back, and when he got back, he fell down at the feet of Christ. St. Luke says: “And it came to pass, as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God: and he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks: and this was a Samaritan.” Nine of the lepers were Jews. One was a Samaritan. Nine were members of the chosen people. One was a Samaritan outcast. Yet, it was the Samaritan who returned to give thanks. To this grateful outcast Christ said: “Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? [Was] There . . . no one found to return, and give glory to God, but this stranger.” (Luke 17:14-18)

Was there no one found to return and give glory to God? This is God’s familiar complaint about the human race from the beginning. It is His complaint in the Old Testament and now in the New Testament.

In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy we read: “Is this the return thou makest to the Lord, O foolish and senseless people? Is not he thy father, that hath possessed thee, and made thee, and created thee?” (Deut. 32:6)

In the book of Psalms, we hear Our Lord’s complaint on the lips of David spoken as prophecy: “My heart hath expected reproach and misery. And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.” Again, anticipating His own crucifixion, the Son of God says through the mouth of the prophet: “And they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Psalm 68:21-22) And still again: “Instead of making me a return of love, they detracted me: . . . And they repaid me evil for good: and hatred for my love.” (Psalm 108:4-5)

In the book of Isaias, we read these words: “Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken. I have brought up children, and exalted them: but they have despised me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood.” (Isaias 1:2-3)

In Zacharias we read another prophecy about Our Lord: “And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me.” (Zach 13:6)

In the New Testament we hear a similar complaint. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [Our Lord said with tears in His eyes] thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not?” (Matt. 23:37)

Yet, after Our Lord’s death, resurrection and ascension, the earth abounded with the love of grateful hearts. St. Alphonsus tells us that God was loved more in the few short years after the Ascension of Our Lord into Heaven than He had been loved from the beginning of human history up to the coming of Christ. But as the centuries passed, the fires of love among His people began to go out.

In modern times the hearts of men have grown cold in spite of all their talk of love. To remedy this, Our Lord in His goodness gave the world the devotion to His Sacred Heart. Thus, He declared to St. Margaret Mary that it was a last effort of His love for man that induced Him to reveal to them the treasures of His Heart. Our Lord said He would use her to spread this devotion to His Sacred Heart throughout the world. He appeared to St. Margaret Mary many times. He revealed His Sacred Heart to her sometimes burning as a furnace and sometimes torn and bleeding on account of the coldness and sins of men. He revealed to her the immensity of His love for men and the immensity of His desire to be loved. He revealed His Sacred Heart with all Its treasures of love and mercy, of sanctification and salvation.

Thus, St. Margaret Mary wrote: “Jesus Christ, my sweet Master, presented Himself to me all resplendent with glory, His Five Wounds shining like five suns. From His Sacred Humanity issued flames on all sides, but especially from His adorable Breast, which resembled a furnace, and which was open and disclosed to me His most amiable Heart, the living source of these flames. He revealed to me at the same time the ineffable marvels of His pure love, and the excess of His love towards men. He complained of their ingratitude, and said that He felt this more sensibly than any other pain in His Passion. ‘If they made Me a return,’ He said, ‘all that I have done for them would appear but little to My love. But they entertain only coldness towards Me, and the only return they make to My advances is by rejecting Me.

Do you at least give Me the consolation of supplying for their ingratitude as far as you are able.’ . . . He gave me to understand afterwards that it was the great desire He had to be perfectly loved by men that had made Him form the design of disclosing to them His Heart, and of giving them in these latter times this last effort of His love, by proposing to them an object and a means so calculated to engage them to love Him, and love Him solidly, opening to them all the treasures of love, mercy, and grace, of sanctification and salvation which It contains, in order that all who should wish to pay and procure for Him all the honor and love which they can, might be enriched in profusion with the divine treasures, of which It is the fruitful and inexhaustible source.” (Rev. George Tickell, S.J., The Life of Blessed Margaret Mary, (New York: P.J. Kennedy and Sons,) pp. 170-171, 184-185.)

What is our response? We are lepers too. Mortal sin, the leprosy of the soul, is the affliction of man now. This disease is washed away by the Precious Blood of Christ. Without that saving Blood we would die an eternal death in hell. What is our response? Do we avail ourselves of the grace and mercy of the Sacred Heart in the sacrament of Penance? What do we think when we hear the complaint of Our Lord? Are we included in the nine? Let us be like the Samaritan and show our gratitude by avoiding sin and the occasions of sin and by making the nine first Fridays. “There met Him ten men that were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. . . . He said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. . . . as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God: and he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks: . . . And Jesus answering said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine?” Yes! “Were not the ten made clean. And where are the nine?”

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