I'm writing this teaching on my birthday, two years before you read it. So at Mass today, when I heard the passage: "The Lord called me from birth, from my mother's womb He gave me my name" (Is 49:1), it gave me chills to hear that He "formed me as His servant from the womb" (Is 49:5). For nearly twenty years, I've worked hard to lead the One Bread, One Body ministry. Yes, there are fleeting moments during this ministry when I have felt like "I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength" (Is 49:4). However, all of us in this ministry know that Jesus uses all our efforts to further His kingdom.
Jesus, the Servant of the Lord (Is 42:1; 49:3; 52:13), must have had similar moments. He gave Judas His most precious body and blood, only to have Judas betray Him and oppose His work. His chosen leader, Peter, in whom Jesus had invested three years of daily training and love, would deny Him three times. Peter issued one denial for each year that Jesus lovingly trained him, one denial for each person of the Blessed Trinity. Jesus spent his strength and love for three years only to have all of His apostles abandon Him when He needed them most (Mk 14:50).
Have you ever felt like your work for Jesus is in vain? (Is 49:4) "Fix your eyes on Jesus" (Heb 3:1), not on the results of your labors. As Blessed Teresa of Calcutta said, concentrate on "faithfulness, not success." "You know that your toil is not in vain when it is done in the Lord" (1 Cor 15:58). You are called from birth to be God's servant. "Take courage...and work!" (Hg 2:4)
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from April 1, 2011 through May 31, 2011.
†Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, XXX 11, 2011.