THE LAW WITHIN US/ ST. JOHN MARY VIANNEY: 4TH AUGUST 2022, WEEK 18, YEAR II
JEREMIAH 31:31-34; PSALM 51; MATTHEW 16:13-23
In the First Reading of today, God promised to make a new Covenant with the house of Israel. In this Covenant, the law would not just be on tablets but in their hearts. In us, this is fulfilled through the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:22:
He has set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
The Holy Spirit now speaks in us. He speaks through our conscience, tells us what is right and what is wrong and convicts us when we have done something wrong. He teaches us to know the mind and will of God.
It is this same spirit that enables people to understand and confess accurately who Jesus is, because He leads us to the truth. The Gospel of today teaches us to always learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. When Peter was attentive to Him, He was able to know the mind of God. He made a confession of faith and Jesus was quick to confirm that the knowledge of Peter was not carnal but divinely revealed. When Peter allowed his sentiment and natural impulse to direct him, he earned a rebuke. Jesus accused him of thinking in a carnal way.
Perhaps, we should think again about what Jesus told Peter. Jesus said, “… the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.”
Do we reason and judge people, our situation, our actions and life generally in a carnal way or do we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our judgement and our thoughts?
Today is the memorial of St. John Mary Vianney.
He was born on May 8, 1786 in Dardily, France. He had serious intellectual challenges preparing for the priesthood but his piety compensated for his ignorance and he was ordained in 1815. In 1818, he became the parish priest (curé) of Ars.
His pastoral and priestly work brought radical spiritual transformation to the community and its surroundings. He became the patron saint of parochial clergy.
Whilst he was in the seminary, a professor told John that there was no way he could become a priest, that he was just a dumb ass who knew nothing of theology. John replied “Samson killed one hundred Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. What do you think God could do with a whole one?”
This same John Vianney, who was called an ass but who refused to be beaten down, became an inspiration for all pastors. He wrote many spiritual books used for retreat and formation of clergy and lay faithful.
No one who is open to, led and taught by the Holy Spirit is useless and fruitless. They may be fragile and broken clay but they hold an eternal treasure in them.