Rejoice Jerusalem, all you who love her.
Rejoice with the Church, the Holy Catholic Church, all you who love her. She is our Mother, and as such she is endowed forever with an abundance of grace and consolation that can never be taken from her. She is tried, often by her own children, she is persecuted both from within and from without, but the Church, the new Jerusalem, can never lose any of the divine prerogatives received from her eternal Bridegroom, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today’s epistle begins with the word “Laetare” which word has given its name to this Sunday placed in the middle of our Lenten austerities. It is there, in the desert, in the heart of trial and in the midst of our privations, that we are reminded of the superabundant joy to come.
And what is the source of that joy? We are to be filled with the “breasts of her consolation”, that is to say, with her maternal milk, a beautiful image of all the spiritual treasures of the Church that nourish the soul, each of our souls, who are like little babes in the arms of Mother Church.
For our souls are in need of nourishment, they are utterly reliant upon Divine Grace which comes to us through the sacraments. And that is why it is no surprise that in today’s Gospel, we find the multiplication of the loaves as reported by St John, event which prefigured the institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament. For just as the great numbers of the crowds could not possibly exhaust Our Lord’s power to provide, so the great number of the faithful spread throughout the world over centuries and millennia, cannot possibly exhaust the treasures of the the Most Blessed Sacrament. This sacrament, indeed, contains all the spiritual treasure of the Church, for it contains the Lord Himself, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
And so, let us, on this day, as loving children of Holy Church, revel and delight in the sweet milk that is offered to us in the Eucharistic banquet. Let us taste and see how good the Lord is. Let us spend time in thanksgiving after Holy Communion allowing the Lord, our Beloved Jesus, to console us in the midst of our sorrows, letting Him to open up for us the gate to greater hope and trust, for, whatever might be the present needs of our soul, of our Church, of our world, they can never be so great that the Lord does not have the power to bring a lasting remedy. The darker the hour, the more we must remain close to the source of light. The more famished we are spiritually, the more we need to approach the source of all nourishment.
In the Gospel, we see Our Lord putting Philip to the test to try and find a way of satisfying the needs of the crowds. Philip tried to find a solution, but had to admit it was beyond his own capacity. The evangelist stresses that Jesus knew what he would do. Today too, we find ourselves in a similar situation. We know not how the Church will be renewed and restored, how she will survive the seemingly unending trials. But Jesus knows.
We might think the future of the Church depends on our inventiveness to forge new paths, to create new methods of evangelisation, to adapt the Church’s teaching to a changing world. But Jesus knows what he will do, He has the answer, and the answer for us is always to go back to Christ, to go back to what is proven as solid and lasting. Oftentimes the path forward consists in going back, going back to what is solid, to what produced lasting fruit in past ages. The Tradition of the Church has the answers. So let us go back, and we shall find ourselves going forward. Otherwise we run the risk, under the appearance of novelty, of being deceived, of being lured into ancient errors that come from the serpent and prevent us from attaining the eternal novelty of the New Man who is created in justice and in the holiness of truth. Going back to Christ means going forward. Going forward to novelties means backsliding to the old wiles of the enemy.
Rejoice, Jerusalem, Your Bridegroom is here. Unite with Him and you will once again bear abundant offspring that will fill up our churches, repopulate our monasteries and convents, and bring everlasting light to a world now wandering in the dark.
I rejoiced when they said to me: Let us go to the House of the Lord. Jerusalem, strong city, impregnable fortress, let us go up to thee, bringing thee children and posterity forevermore. Amen