Blessed is Nothingness
Because It Can Be Filled with the Spirit
Fr. Reto Nay
March 28, 2011
5th Homily, Wrozlaw, Poland
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I know you are busy students, and I fully understand that you cannot study additionally theology and especially you may not be able to study the Bible. It’s an awfully complicated book so better concentrate on small portions like a good vodka. The smaller the better. So start off with one part of the Bible, and I would recommend the Gospels.
Did any priest ever tell you how many Gospels there are? And what their names are? Four Gospels. Matthew. Mark. Luke. John. MMLJ
Now don’t forget Matthew has 28 long chapters. Again, too much for an average student so just concentrate on the speeches of Christ in Matthew. And these speeches are 5. The first speech is the Sermon on the Mount. The first big speech is in Chapter 5. Now it’s your turn. The second big speech is in Chapter? 10 Ten, right.
The first sermon, the Sermon on the Mount tells us how to become Christians. We take everything we don’t have, which is a big thing, and we fill it with Christ. Like a Frenchman used to say: he said: “I give Him an egg and He gives me a bull.” We give Him nothing. He gives us everything. But we must give Him nothing. We can’t just give Him nothing. We must take it, love it, cherish it, and then pass it to Him. And we will really become new people and our complexes will be gone from one second to the other. That is what is said in the first beatitude. Blessed are the poor. Poor means empty, nothing. Blessed are the poor and then comes this following – in the Spirit. We are big zeros, but we bathe in the Holy Spirit, swim in the Holy Spirit.
Now, the second speech we have in Chapter 10 is the chapter formally called the Sermon for the Apostles because this sermon calls the apostles in and speaks to them. But for us, this sermon tells us how to move on once we have become Christians.
So it’s interesting for us to know how life continues once we have become Christians and here the text says it first. I am not sent to the pagans or to the Samaritans. I’m only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. As long as a sheep is eating grass, it’s not lost. The sheep starts getting lost when it’s in the desert and doesn’t have anything anymore and when it doesn’t go anywhere. That’s the point, the starting point of our Christian career.
So that big nothing there – that will remain in our lives, and as long as we live here we will be confronted with it. Don’t live in illusions. You can’t just become a Christian and then you kind of sing alleluia with the angels. Life remains life, and we remain the ones we are. So the experience of the desert, the experience of being smashed against the wall--that is a lasting experience and it’s time and again a good experience. So stop going to the church with great music, and you are so happy, and you get out of the church, and it’s dark, and you don’t see some obstacle on the ground, and you fall on your nose, and you say - just welcome back in life. The point is we start loving what we are not. And since this will never abandon us, we will be completely happy because we love it and we have love around us. Christ will only go to the lost sheep of Israel.
Lost sheep means they are in the desert of Israel constituted by the commandments of Moses. And that means his other sheep, who have tried to keep those commandments, will, from their own forces, fall time and again. There’s a terrible temptation in our lives--that we are confronted with our own failures and that we give in. There’s a small difficulty
and we give up. We have to take the biggest advantage we can from our sins. Now listen. Sins are not good in themselves, but we can turn them into something good anytime we take them and fill them with Christ and say to ourselves, "Christ has come to visit the lost sheep of Israel." That is the first step that will remain in our lives. We even train for this.
For instance in Lent, we have to do penance. There is nothing more frustrating than doing penance. For instance - sausages. I like them only in Lent and whatever I want to do in Lent is a complete disaster, and the moment Easter has come, I start hating sausages. So in Lent we don’t really claim to do these great big things. Lent is here to feel the desert and this wall that closes down on our lives. Our emptiness will show up when we start doing penance. We are not even able to make little sacrifices, and that is all very good. It’s excellent because we start feeling that we are lost sheep of Israel. Cherish that feeling and keep it in your lives, and when you are strong in that feeling then move on in your Christian way.
And Christ says in that 2nd sermon, "Take no gold and no silver and no copper. Whatever. The only thing you do in every town is this: you go and look for the worthy and live in their houses." At the end that’s what counts. There you will find rest in your life. The worthy are the souls. Your soul and the soul of everybody else. Your single soul and the soul of everybody else are the only worthy things in this life.
I know a doctor in Italy. He does bones, I think. He’s a good doctor, but he has done it for too many years so I think he’ll be bored with it. But he has a computer in his hospital there, and on the computer he has nice website on Our Lady. Now when the patient comes, he starts talking about bones. He gets paid for it, and he tries to fix the problem. But then he told me, as soon I can, I start talking to these people, and then I turn around the monitor of my computer and show them nice websites of Our Lady. I’m happy that he’s a doctor and we need a lot of doctors and other occupations as well, but in the end what counts is the soul. We have to reach human beings, and that’s the only thing that makes us go on in life.
And then Matthew moves on to the 3rd step. "See, I’m sending you among the wolves. But the Spirit of our Father will speak through you." That’s a very basic understatement. As long as we are in this world, we are in this world. We are not in
Heaven and don’t live in that illusion. Through many temptations, we have to enter into the Kingdom of God, St. Paul says, but at the same time the Gospel says, "Do not fear. It’s true I have brought the sword and not peace, but this is good for you. It helps you to keep a distance to the world and not to take it too seriously." You look at the world but only for one reason: To find Christ in the soul of humanity and to unite with Him and live out of that body of souls that is united in Christ.
And at the end, Christ says something quite dreadful in that context. "Now if you love your father more than me, or you mother more than me, or your son or daughter more than me, then you cannot really be part of me." And this is not as terrible as we may believe it is. Christ makes a comparison of the life we have in this world and the life we have in Christ. And in this world not everything is bad, please. Oh there are very great things. If you see love in the family, can you imagine something greater than that? You should. Because Christ says, "Compared to the love I give to you and you can give to me, the best that you have in this world fades away. Goes away. Loses color." So that is the second sermon that Christ preaches in the Gospel of Matthew. It’s the sermon that tells us how to move on in life.
And again it tells us: Don’t begin with many illusions. Don’t begin with what you think you are. But open up your emptiness for the Holy Spirit and then make something worthwhile out of your life and therefore, forget many things. Gold, money and silver. Forget them. Concentrate on the worthy and stay with them and eat what they give you. Find worth in our souls and the souls of others. That is the moment when the Church develops, and this Church is sent into a terrible battle.
"I send you among the wolves. Be clever like serpents and simple like doves, but be more simple than clever because you need to be a simple child in order to understand the Holy Spirit in you." At this point Christ will send you into the fight. This fight you will not win by fighting, but you will win it by loving. And to love this world, you need the love of God that doesn’t depend on the feedback of others, because so far we love a lot because we are loved. So our love is a result of something else. But when we love with the love of God, we love especially then when there is need of love, when there’s no love around. That’s how the Church penetrates into the world. The world pays money against money. The Church gives without money and without gold. Because we ourselves receive without paying. That is the way of the Christian in the world. It’s the way of love. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.+