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from fathers desk

Dear Siblings in Christ,

Although we take a hiatus from the Bread of Life Discourse this week, we remain focused on God’s invitation. We are invited in so many ways by our good and loving God. Throughout the discourse (John 6), Jesus has been leading, coaxing and teaching the crowds what it means to encounter him, to meet him and come into communion with him, our Savior, our Lord, our Bread of Life.

So far, we have focused first on the invitation to Communion, then to Fulfillment, by way of Transformation, and now in week four we attend to the destiny of our pilgrim journey as we spend time pondering how we are, “Invited to Glory!”

Today we center on the end of Christian life. That word “end” has multiple meanings. First, consider “the end” written on the screen as the credits roll, signifying the conclusion. Or, “dead end” meaning a boundary or limit to the road. But in our case, “the end” can also mean the finality, the telos, the direction and destination. It is the arrow plunged into the bullseye. After a long car ride, when we pull up to the log cabin, get out and stretch, having arrived at our end, our destination with gratitude for the journey but greater satisfaction at its conclusion. See how these meanings can overlap somewhat?

So the end of the Christian life is not its conclusion or limit but its telos and destination. We are made to be in communion with God and as adopted children through Baptism, our true end is heaven. The arrow of our life hurled through space and time passing through myriad interactions and relationships with creation and humanity finally arrives at its end when we enter the wedding feast of the Lamb and celebrate with our sisters and brothers in Christ.

The trajectory of our arrow matters immensely. Off just a little and we miss the mark.

Mary shows us the true Christian trajectory. Mother Mary is the model Christian. Mary is our exemplar, as well as being the archetype of the Church. Her life hits the bullseye with a resounding thud! A consequence of Mary being singularly blessed and full of grace in order that of the immense gifts and blessings God shared with her none were lost. No grace wasted, all received in a perfect life that magnified the Lord with every breath, glance and gesture. Hence, Mary herself sings in the Gospel: “My soul magnifies the Lord,” or, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!” The unfolding of her life of grace is not for her glory but for the greatness of our God. Her life makes evident how good and loving God is.

Since Mary is our exemplar and the model Christian, we are called to echo her. Our lives are meant to be a reflection, a mirror, a magnifying glass of the goodness and blessings of the Lord. And when we live lives of true discipleship, true communion with God and neighbor, our lives become deeply and truly fulfilling, and the arrow of our life targets the bullseye.

Last week we focused on our invitation to transformation, how our Lord seeks to make us into disciples, followers, ever more fully the likeness of God, the one we consume in the most blessed Sacrament. Now we relish the end of that divinizing process. We see Mary assumed into heaven and crowned beside her Son. Mary’s end is the end God desires for all his chosen, all those He has graced and favored with adopted sonship and fed with the true food and true drink. If the manna was food for the Exodus journey then the Eucharist is our food for this Christian journey. And the Promised Land is not Israel, not the Holy Land, but the ultimate Holy Land of heaven.

In order to arrive at our end, we must embrace our calling, and become magnifiers of God’s love in the world. The love, the gifts, the grace God shares with us must in turn be poured out into the world, just as Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces.

Next week we are Invited to Mission. Join us!

Your in the Lord, our Bread of Life,
Fr. Joel Wilson