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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Our Jesus of Mary and Joseph, Our Brother and Friend

Notre Dame de la Garde.
Photo by Hedwig Storch via Wikimedia Commons.
Four celebrations give us wonderful insight into Jesus. They come at the end of the Sundays of the church year in the lectionary and the sacramentary: the thirty-fourth Sunday Christ the King and the three solemnities of the Lord during ordinary time—Trinity Sunday, Body and Blood of Christ, and the Heart of Jesus.

King and kingdom go together. The Child of the Father, our Jesus of Mary and Joseph, by the Holy Breath, is king. We people and angels with our earth and universe during our time and eternity are to be His kingdom, His holy family of friends, to the image and likeness of the Trinitarian Family of Friends. He gathers us his sheep who help our brothers and sisters in need, hungry and thirsty, homeless and naked, sick and imprisoned, bodily and spiritually. He is the king of the kingdom of us friends based on His truth and love. He is the Man, our human way, our merciful way. Entering His reign, He remembers us wrongdoers who have turned to Him to take us to His home (Mt 25, Jn 18, Lk 23).

Jesus is our one Lord who Is, who is the Merciful (Ex 3 and 34). He is our Lord as Child with His Father and His Holy Breath, the Trinitarian Family of Friends. He of Mary, wife of Joseph, in the fullness of time becomes our Brother and Companion and Savior, our Comrade and Champion and Revolutionary, our Friend. He is sent to us from His and our merciful Father to redeem us and He sends His and our Holy Breath from the Father in us to adopt us, His holy family of friends of Mary and Joseph, to the image and likeness of His Trinitarian Family of Friends (Gal 4). He guides us by the Holy Breath who speaks and gives what He hears and receives through Him our Jesus from the Father (Jn 3, Mt 28, Jn 16).

Jesus nourishes us, kindles us, converts us through the sacrament of His Body and Blood truly present, offered among and for and with us under the symbol of a word and bread and wine meal. He wants us to eat His Body handed over for us and drink His Blood poured out for us, to offer self for others with and like and through Him. In our hunger and thirst of heart and conscience and struggle, we need Him so that we may live radically and fully His way for us (Jn 6, Mk 14, Lk 9).

Jesus opens His Heart for us as our affectionate Friend and Savior. He, humble of heart, often rests and refreshes us who are laboring and burdened. He does this now during the time of our life and mission and forever in our eternity. He lets His Heart be pierced for us sinners. He searches and finds us lost sheep and carries us home (Mt 11, Jn 19, Lk 15).

Who is like our Jesus, our King, our Brother, Child of Mary and Joseph and our Lord with His Father and His Holy Breath? He offers himself for us. His Heart is open for us. He is the center of revelation and liturgy in our Church for our world (see the four constitutions of Vatican II). He is our hope and promise and fulfillment during our life and history, and for our eternity. He gathers and renews and sends us His family of friends and witnesses.

Jesus was at the center of my childhood and boyhood and youth in our parish and school, in my family and among my friends. He was at the center of my study of arts and sciences, of my practice of thought and expression both spoken and written and persuasion (logic, grammar, rhetoric), and of my three years of philosophy (1950-53 at the Gregorian): year one at the center of human imagining and knowing, method and content, truth and being (logic, epistemology, metaphysics); year two at the center of our earth and universe, of people and angels, of Him who Is (cosmology, psychology, natural theology); year three at the center of human feeling and willing, of us human persons and community and our attitudes and actions, religious and secular, of our concerns—domestic, cultural, economic, political (ethics).

Jesus was at the center of my theology before ordination (1953-57 at the Gregorian). In year one, He was the king of the kingdom (de revelatione, de ecclesia). In year two, He was the Child of the Father by the Holy Breath, the Beloved Word of the Lover by the Love, the Image of the Artist by the Gift, our Jesus of Mary and Joseph (de Trinitate). In year three, He was the Word Incarnate crucified and raised, our Anointed Savior, our heart, our friend (de Verbo Incarnato, de Christo Salvatore). In year four, He was the memorial word and bread and wine meal making Him truly present offering Himself among and for and with us brothers and sisters (de eucharistia).

Jesus is at the center of my eighty-seven years, of my sixty-five years as a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate (and of Joseph), of the fifty-nine years of my life and mission as a presbyter, a theologian and a parish priest. May He be at the center of my aging and death and eternity.

Please pray for and with me: Jesus of Mary and Joseph, thank you for your many blessings, especially my brothers and sisters, my friends, my family of friends. Forgive me my many sins, be merciful to me, a sinner. Help my ongoing conversion as your friend and witness.

Immaculate Conception ("DIME") statue at the University of St. Mary of the Lake via the USML website
St. Eugene, founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, died as the Salve Regina—the Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy—was prayed. Cardinal Francis George asked those present at his dying to sing this same hymn. The first Oblates leaving Marseilles, France, for the peoples of America, Asia, and Africa sang this same hymn as they watched the statue of Mary in Notre Dame de la Garde overlooking the harbor disappear to their ship moving out on the sea. In this hymn, we ask Mary, mother of mercy, that after this our exile she show us Jesus. We turn to her and her Joseph to pray for and with us to Jesus each day and especially at the hour of our death.
Dawn Eden Goldstein, S.T.D.

If all goes as designed now, my near future is to be an assistant parish priest at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mission, Texas. My heartfelt thanks to the wonderful people of the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary. During my eighteen years in the church of Chicago, this has been a spiritual and intellectual and human oasis of brothers and sisters and friends. My heartfelt thanks to the seminarians and their fellow students, their teachers, and especially their staff of office and library and security and maintenance personnel. My heartfelt thanks to my sister and friend Dawn Eden Goldstein, who urged me to share my reflections on this blog and who made this possible with her expertise and generosity.

May Jesus and His Mary and His Joseph hold us all and each, singly and together, in their hands and mind and heart, now in our time and always in our eternity.

Father Don

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