On the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Priestly Ordination of Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz, Torreciudad, Spain (August 20, 2021)
In the first reading we heard Isaiah’s prophecy announcing the coming of the Redeemer, of Jesus, giving him a very special name: Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Truly God is with us, our Lord himself (we have him here, in the Tabernacle, in the Eucharist); and the Trinity is with us: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in our soul in grace. Truly Jesus loves us so much that he wanted his very Name to mean he is with us.
In the second reading, from St. Paul, we heard that we are children of God (Rom 8:16). He is not only with us: he is with us as a Father, as a Father who loves us, as a Father who wants us to be identified with his only-begotten Son, with Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. This should give us great hope and great confidence in our relationship with our Lord, in our prayer.
And along with confidence, also gratitude. May we be persons who are grateful to our Lord. Also on special occasions, such as the anniversary of being ordained to the priesthood, for me and for many other priests. Each of you will also have special moments for spontaneously giving thanks to God. But our thanksgiving to God has to be something constant. Many years ago, on the eve of January 1, St. Josemaría suggested to us a possible resolution, expressed in Latin: Ut in gratiarum semper actione maneamus! which means let us always be giving thanks. We must always be giving thanks, knowing how to recognize the good that God gives us directly in our soul and also the good that he gives us through so many people in our family, at work, in our friendships.
Knowing how to recognize the good in order to be grateful. To always be giving thanks. But sometimes not everything seems so good: we confront suffering, sickness, setbacks, misfortunes. But there too we can be grateful to God; we can give thanks because, as St. Josemaría said in The Way, our Lord then lets us “share in his sweet Cross” (no. 658). It is a question of faith, being able to discover God’s love even in suffering. This is only possible with faith and by looking at the Cross of Christ, striving to identify ourselves with him. Faith gives us light on this marvelous truth: God is truly Love. God loves us madly, with a “madness” that led him to the Cross to save us.
St. John, in one of his epistles, summarizes his own experience, the experience of the apostles, in their dealings with Jesus: We (he was referring to the apostles) know and believe the love God has for us (1 Jn 4:16). If at times we lack somewhat the faith needed to discover God’s love, let us ask Jesus for it, as the Apostles did: Increase our faith! (Lk 17:5) We also need faith to have the certainty that, above and below us and in the midst of every event, our Father God is present, who takes care of us, even if we often cannot understand it.
Our Lord wants us to be happy, also here on earth, despite the difficulties we may encounter. He told the apostles, in that special moment of the Last Supper, as if expressing his deep desire, That my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (Jn 15:9-11). This is Christ’s wish for us: that we may be happy. But we need faith. Let us ask our Lord: increase our faith, today and now, increase our faith, in order to have the strength not to focus on our own concerns, on our difficulties, with our soul more open to others.
In the Gospel, we have just heard that scene [the wedding at Cana], like so many other surprising ones, in which our Lady is the first and only one to realize the needs of the people there (Jn 2:1-11). Not even those in charge of organizing the wedding were aware of it. Our Lady notices that there is no wine. Let us ask her to help us to discover the needs of the others, to help us to forget about ourselves a bit more, because then we will be happier. For there is no surer way to be happy than to give ourselves to others, to be concerned about them.
As St. Josemaría also said: “To give oneself sincerely to others is so effective that God rewards it with a humility filled with joy” (The Forge, no. 591). May our Lady help us to have a firmer faith that we are sons and daughters of God, beloved by God, and may she give us the assurance that in all the circumstances of our life we are accompanied by God’s immense love for us. So be it.
Romana, n. 73, July-December 2021, p. 43-45.