Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.
That was part of the reading today at Mass. The full passage is 1 Jn 5:5-13.
Monsignor Yannock decided to expound mainly upon this reading (while reflecting on the Gospel passage as well, Mk 1:7-11 ) while mentioning St. Andre Bessette, today’s optional memorial. Going into today, I knew nothing about this saint (I managed to speculate on my own that he was either French or French Canadian. It’s the latter). What do I know about him now? That he devoted his life to working with the weak, the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the dying, even though he himself was known as someone weak, sick, and (pretty close to) dying.
Msgr. Yannock cut to the chase. The world tells us that owning the newest items, the best gadgets, the fanciest cars, and having plenty of money to buy them all with brings us happiness, or something like that. It tells us that when we own the world, we have victory.
St. Andre had nothing - zero possessions - and couldn’t really even say “at least I have my health”, because he justifiably didn’t. And yet he lived until he was 91 years old. He was originally rejected by the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal due to his frailty, but someone on the inside convinced them to let him enter the novitiate. He is credited with numerous miraculous healings, although he protested the credit at the time. His main devotion was to St. Joseph, and he encouraged others to pray to St. Joseph as well. When he died in 1937, a *million* people came to process past his coffin. One million people.
So, who is indeed the victor over the world? Is it the person who owns all the things they think will bring them happiness? Or is it the one who takes what they’ve been given - even if that consists of nothing but a somewhat sickly existence here on this Earth - and uses it to cause such a positive impact that one million people come to pay respects at his death?
Just something to ponder. Owning the world is not victory over the world. Perhaps renunciation of the world is then a victory for one’s soul?
it takes but one selfless person to give the world hope. to remind that there is something greater than ourselves for which to strive. to acknowledge our mortality.
we, as Christians, are called to reiterate to the cynical, broken, morally relativistic world in which we live that there is hope. the hope is not within ourselves, or within our creations, or within our successes, or within the materials for which we strive. the hope is in He who chose to be selfless, chose to obey the Father and take upon himself that which we would not bear.
Psalm 124:8 — Our help is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 39:7 — And now, Lord, for what do I wait ? My hope is in You.
Psalm 146:5 — How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God.
And therefore we persevere. We acknowledge our days on this earth as limited, but move forward as lights to this dark world. The darkness can be ever-present, and relativism… man, it’s impossible to evade. But neither is overwhelming, and both can be dispelled in the wake of hope.
Take heed, and take hope, in He who is our help.