Ave Maria Meditations
At his birth Jesus lacked even the cradle of a poor child. At times with his disciples he had nowhere to lay his head. He will die in absolute poverty, with his very clothing stripped from him. But when his dead Body is taken down from the cross and handed over to those who remain close to him, to those who cared for him, it is treated with veneration, respect, and love.
Joseph of Arimathea will buy a fine new linen shroud to wrap the body in, and Nicodemus the spices they need. Saint John, perhaps surprised, tells us of the lavish quantity of these spices: about 100 pounds weight. They did not bury him in the common graveyard but in a garden in a new tomb, probably the one Joseph had made for himself. And the women saw the tomb and saw where he was laid. When they returned to the city they prepared more spices. When the body of Jesus is in the hands of those who love him, they rival one another and showing the greatness of their love for him.
Jesus is alive in our tabernacles just as he was in Bethlehem or on Calvary. He surrenders himself to our love to be cared for, to be looked after with the very best we can offer, at the cost of our time, our money, our effort, and in fact, of our love.
Reverence and love will be shown and generosity towards everything that refers to worship. We cannot fall short in charity forgot even under the pretext of charity for our neighbor. Generosity to the poor, who are images of God, is not worthy of praise if it is at the expense of decorum in the worship of God himself. Even more so will this be the case if it is unaccompanied by any personal sacrifice.
If we love God, our love for our neighbor will grow in deeds and in truth. It is not a question of putting a price on things. It is not a question of justifying extravagance but rather a question of our love of God. This love should be expressed in a material way. Does it make sense to spend money on places for leisure and recreation, using good or even luxurious building materials, and yet for divine worship to provide only not just poor but miserable buildings that are cold and poorly constructed?
Let us ask Our Lady to teach us to be a generous as she was with God, and big things and little things, and use and in maturity. So that we can offer the very best that is available to us at any given time and it all circumstances in our life.
Fr. Francis Fernandez