Celebrate Jubilee Year Like Martha, Mary
By Father Leonard Kostka, C.PP.S.
We all remember the gathering described in the Gospel where the sisters, Martha and Mary, made two very different choices when Jesus came to visit (Luke 10: 48–32). Martha was bustling around preparing a meal while Mary sat listening at the feet of Jesus. When Martha complained, Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
There’s no doubt that we need both Martha and Mary as we prepare for our big celebration on August 15, to mark the bicentennial of the C.PP.S. Continually, I want to pull our minds and hearts back to that which is central to our Community, the Precious Blood of Jesus. We can’t let the busy-work of the celebration get in the way of what is really at the heart of everything we do.
One drop of the most Precious Blood is ransom for the entire world. That is a belief I have carried with me throughout my life as a priest and Missionary. Imagine that: at the Mass, when you take a sip of the Blood, that sip is more than enough to cleanse the world.
I’m 100 years old, and soon may be 101 years old, God willing. I have a lot of time to think. Lately, an image that has been mesmerizing to me is that of the angels looking down on the earth and seeing a million chalices raised during the Mass every day as a sign of Christ’s love for us.
That’s what we’re celebrating this year: that sacrifice, that holy ransom, that infinitely pleasing gift that Jesus gave to all of us. We have to keep our eyes on the Most Precious Blood no matter what we are doing, but especially during this year.
We need to be reminded of the great sacrifice that is so central to our faith. Walk into any Catholic church, and what do you see on the walls? Fourteen statues that portray the passion—and they look pretty gruesome. Yet they remind us that Jesus himself, no less than the son of God, equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit, suffered and died for us.
Our celebration should call to mind this great act of love; love is what it’s all about. And how do we know that he loved us? We know because of his ultimate sacrifice for us. We cannot grasp it fully, of course. We are dealing with a truth that far surpasses our ability to understand. Yet we are called to contemplate this great act of love.
These days, my attention is drawn to my mission cross, given to me so many years ago. I used to wear it on my cassock. Now I hold it in my hands and contemplate it. Why did Gaspar use the cross during his parish missions, which were in some pretty tough neighborhoods? He thought that the cross would change our lives for the better.
We still believe that, 200 years later. So let’s celebrate our bicentennial in the best possible ways. Celebrating is good and appropriate because it reminds us again of something we’ve known from our earliest days: God loves us to the point of suffering, dying and rising for all of us, for every human being, wherever they are. Let’s pray about Jesus’ great sacrifice for us, reflect on it, and then live accordingly.