What a busy week! I had hoped all week to be able to read and do a bit of writing but for some reason that daily schedule would simply not allow it. Having looked at the daily readings though, I did get that opportunity to at least think of what I might have written had time been available. For within the gospel daily readings is Jesus exclaiming that one does not conceal a light, and there was the memorial of Padre Pio, and then Jesus instruction to the apostles to “take nothing with them.” To round out the week is Herod’s wondering who Jesus is, and Jesus question “who do you say I am.” That is a busy week scripturally too. Each gospel passage would have given so much to expand on. Perhaps though, not being able to contemplate on each day’s readings does have its rewards. It places a focus on looking at the week’s readings as a whole rather than disconnected parts. For instance that reading about not hiding a light perfectly describes padre Pio’s approach to spreading that gospel message. Such was his zeal for spreading the gospel, his was a life of bringing that message to others. His feast day also blends with that gospel instruction to the Apostles, “take nothing with you.” That message on the surface can be seen as the Friars vow of poverty: they do leave much behind for the sake of Christ. But the message can also be interpreted in a slightly different way. To take nothing with you is to take nothing that is not part of you. That Christian message is not something like luggage, or a cloak, or an appendage to one’s life. It is an incorporated part of you, likened to a breath. That particular point comes to light through Rosh Hashanah, the feast of trumpets. It is the trumpet Shofar that emphasizes breath. In the way padre Pio preached, the message was delivered with his every breath, and not something he pulled out of a hat. His stigmata was more than those wounds on his hands, every action of his life was marked by Christ. Christ was truly part of him, Christ was not something he taught but someone he lived.
To move through the week is to look at Herod’s fear of Christ followed by Christ’s question “but who do you say that I am?” Herod was all about destroying anyone that got in his way. His fear is documented from the Nativity to the crucifixion. His fear of course was that someone would take away his power. Christ though was not about taking away, but to the contrary was about giving. One answered the question “but who do you say that I am?” “An evil” the other “A savior.” Today also there are people that answer that question like Herod, and there are those that answer like the apostles. One group today see Christ as a threat to a false freedom and personal liberty, and there are those like the padre that see Christ as the way to survive the very real threats of life. To see the Herod’s one only has to recall the black masses they have performed in the recent days. Again that light is not hidden, it is carried high to illuminate the darkness. Imagine the trouble of the world today if folks did not carry that light of Christ. Imagine a world consumed by the darkness of people like Herod, those that view the Christian message as a threat. There are two ways of answering that question “Who do you say I am?” Be glad that people like padre Pio answer it with a loud voice to destroy darkness. Be glad they do not place that light beneath a bed or bushel. What a busy week!