The liturgical year offers us a cluster of threads to tie together each day. Today (April 17, 2012) in the first reading we are told that the early Church shared all their possessions in common. The Gospel reminds us that we must recognize the presence of the divine in this world so we can be ready to receive the fullness of heaven.
On top of that, we have a lesser-known saint to honors, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, the patron saint of the homeless, who left his studies for the priesthood to spend the rest of his life as a pilgrim, begging for his needs.
This article weaves together these liturgical threads, and models how we are to look deeply into what our Church offers us each day through the liturgy so we can see with eyes that are whole and holy-focused.
Today’s readings focused on applying the Kingdom of God to how we live our lives on Earth, so we can be prepared for heaven. Acts 4:32-37 highlights, for a second time in recent Mass readings, how the early Church shared all possessions in common, for the common good. This reminds us of the principles of charity, self-sacrifice, and our mission as Church.
The Gospel passage highlights how we “have to be born from above.” (John 3:7) With that rebirth we learn how to live our lives in this world. Moreover, once we “get it” about how to live here on Earth, then we will prepare for heaven:
If you do not believe me when I speak to you about earthly things, how will you believe me when I speak to you about heavenly things? (John 3:12)
St. Benedict Joseph lived in the midst of the 18th century. He was preparing for the best education possible, on path to the priesthood, when he dropped out. Instead he lived the rest of his life as a pilgrim, begging to meet his most basic needs. He is the patron saint of the homeless. Clearly, he took the teachings that he learned and tried to live them out fully in his life, living in the world, but not of it.
Putting it all together in one day of the Liturgical Year
Today is Wednesday, which the Church dedicates to St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers and providers. We read of the work of the Church in sharing all, and in the work of one saint who gave up all earthly possessions to live a life of outward pilgrimage. When we are “born from above,” we learn in the Gospel today, we are prepared to hear the teachings on Earth, and learn from them to prepare for heaven.
All this takes place within the month of April, which is dedicated to the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit. These visible sacraments reflect an invisible reality, which form us in this world to do the work God calls us to do, and which prepare us for heaven.
What a day in the liturgical year reveals: the Mass readings, the saint of the day, the daily devotion, the monthly devotion and the liturgical season! By reflecting on the whole of the liturgical year, in any given day, you see how our Church weaves together all the threads of the daily liturgy to blanket our days and pave us with a path to holiness on Earth and heaven above.