Fr. René Butler MS - 7th Sunday of Easter -...
Making it Known (7th Sunday of Easter: Acts 7:55-60; Revelation 22:12-20; John 17:20-26) Most people cannot recite the whole message of Our Lady of La Salette, but they always remember the beginning: “Come closer, my children, don’t be afraid,” and... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 6th Sunday of Easter -...
Keeping it Simple (6th Sunday of Easter: Acts 15:1-2 and 22-29; Rev. 21:10-23; John 13:23-29) Compared to Lourdes and Fatima, the message of Our Lady of La Salette is long and appears complex. Still, it is basically quite simple. In the early Church, as described... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 5th Sunday of Easter -...
Wiping away Every Tear (5th Sunday of Easter: Acts 14:21-27; Revelation 21:1-5; John 13:31-35) When we see someone crying, our first instinct is, often, to wonder what is the matter and, perhaps not often enough, to wonder whether we can or should do something to... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 4th Sunday of Easter - Why...
Why Don’t they Get it? (4th Sunday of Easter: Acts 13: 14, 43-52; Revelation 7:9-17; John 10:27-30) Have you ever had the experience of knowing something to be true but being unable to convince others? To you it is perfectly clear, but everyone looks at you as... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 3rd Sunday of Easter -...
Guilty as Charged? (3rd Sunday of Easter: Acts 5:27-41; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19) A question often quoted in Christian sermons asks, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would they find enough evidence to convict you?” The Apostles, in... Czytaj więcej
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Fr. René Butler MS - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Futility of Mind

Futility of Mind

(18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Exodus 16:2-15; Ephesians. 4:17-24; John 6:24-35)

St. Paul writes that the Gentiles live “in the futility of their minds.” His audience, the Christians of Ephesus, used to live this way but ought not to do so any more. He does not explain the term in detail but associates it with the “corruption of evil desires.”

Evil desires are expressed in the first reading: “Would that we had died at the Lord's hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!” There’s nothing wrong with hungry people wanting food, but in this case the evil resides in their lack of trust, in their accusing Moses of making the whole community die of famine, in their ingratitude.

God had rescued them, with strong hand and outstretched arm, from their oppressors, and yet they failed to place their trust in him. Nonetheless, he saved them once again. But in the very next chapter of Exodus, the people fell back into the futility of their minds, complaining that Moses brought them out of Egypt only to have them die of thirst.

As one listens to the discourse of Our Lady of La Salette, one senses that she is addressing a similar situation. Her people have fallen into a kind of futility of mind, blaming God for their troubles. As St. Paul says in another place (Romans 1:21), “Although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.”

In the Gospel, Jesus sees the vain thinking of those who had witnessed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. It was not out of faith that they were looking for him, but because they desired to be fed again. He tells them to work for food that endures for eternal life. The ‘work’ in this case is faith: believing in the one sent by God. He then goes on to proclaim himself the bread of life.

In the coming weeks we will have occasion to reflect on this more deeply. For the moment, let us rest with the importance of the ‘work’ of faith.

At La Salette, Mary speaks much of religious practice, not because it constitutes faith, but because its absence shows a lack of faith. Without this vital relationship with the Lord, even religion can be little more than futility of mind.

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