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Blog: September 19, 2021

Fr. Jeff and others share reflections on the Sunday readings.

September 19, 2021


Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist,

there is disorder and every foul practice. 

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure,

then peaceable, gentle, compliant,

full of mercy and good fruits,

without inconstancy or insincerity. 

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace

for those who cultivate peace.”

“They had been discussing among themselves on the way

who was the greatest. 

Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,

‘If anyone wishes to be first,

he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.’”

We are incomplete. None of us is an island, whole unto itself. There is something missing and, whether we acknowledge it or not, the longing to be whole drives us. We hunger, thirst, itch, crave, gasp, lunge, sprint, lust, and dream to be complete and whole. Some of us grasp at any straw to fill the void. Pleasure, popularity, possessions, potency, power, prestige, and privilege, to name a few, are enticing paths open to us. We may pursue these in socially acceptable or self destructive ways, but we yearn for more. We want acceptance, connection, approval, control, acknowledgment, creativity and the list goes on. We want it all. The well of our desire is deep. More than deep, it is infinite. In the love of another, we may come close. For those of a certain age, you may remember the final scene of Jerry Maguire, “I love you. You complete me.” Yet, if we are honest, it is a burden no one can, or should be asked, to truly bear. Although we are a profound mystery created by God, we are not infinite and cannot satiate the infinite desire of another, no matter how wonderful it feels to be in love. On a purely natural level, we can never fully complete another person. The unity of two is real, but we still need more. The two are not complete in themselves. They need another (and I don’t mean children, as profoundly miraculous, meaningful and significant as they are). We still need more. 

We were made for more. God made us with this desire, this hunger, for more. We were made with the yearning to be complete. It is the need for God, for the infinite. It is not an abstract infinite something, but infinite love. God is love and he completes us. St. Augustine famously said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” The only one who can fully fill our void is God. It may be a bit pithy or cliché, but our hearts have a God shaped hole. The infinite well of our desire can only be filled by the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a spring of living water, water from a rock, restful waters by which the good shepherd leads us. We are filled, completed, by divine love. Jesus is the living water. We will never be thirsty again. He opens for us a whole new horizon. It is the horizon of infinite love, the horizon from the peak of being whole and complete. It is the horizon of being loved, the beloved of God. 

From this peak there is no jealousy or selfish ambition. We are loved. There is no haggling over who is greatest. We are loved. Our ambition is simply to love as we have been loved. We are first in love. We are the beloved of God!