Monday, May 08, 2006


With unrelenting repetition, the 97th Psalm permeates the Easter liturgies. As we approach Pentecost Sunday and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Introit for the Fourth Sunday after Easter again repeats the refrain: “Sing a new song to the Lord, Alleluia. He has revealed His justice in the sight of the Gentiles.”
Jesus is the Light of the World Who came to separate us from the darkness of sin. Jesus, the Great High Priest, washes us clean from sin in the cleansing waters of Baptism. Being born again in Christ Jesus, the “new song” that we must sing is a life of grace and the practice of the Christian virtues. Yet, left to our own resources, we could never succeed. Thus, the Lord Jesus gives us the means to attain the “Universal Call to Holiness,” as Vatican II calls it. That means is none other than the holy, Roman Catholic Church.
In Baptism we are cleansed from sin and incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. It is the Church that we find the Priesthood of Jesus Christ that brings us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, we have the infallible guidance of the Holy Father and the Bishops and Priests in union with him. We know with infallible certitude, that the faith and moral teachings of the Church are transmitted to us, in truth.
Saint James sums it up in the Epistle: “For of (the Father’s) own will, He has begotten us by the word of truth so that we might be some new beginning of His creature.” Saint James tells us to be swift to hear and slow to anger. Cast away impure actions and all wickedness, he exhorts us, and with “meekness receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Saint James the Less, as He is called was Apostle who was greatly to be admired. He was the “cousin” of the Lord and the first bishop of Jerusalem. Due to his endless hours of prayer, his knees became calloused “like a camel’s hoof.” The style of his epistle is simple, straight to the point and eminently practical.
Saint James begins by exhorting his flock to practice the virtue of Patience. “Esteem it in all joy, my brethren, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the trying of your faith begets patience. Let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.”
Each of us could reap great spiritual growth by heeding the words of Saint James. A few, calloused knees, might also be of great help.

Father Richard J. Rego, S.T.L.


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