If / Then
(6th Sunday of Easter: Acts 8:5-17; 1 Peter 3:15-18; John 14:15-21)
“If you love me,” Jesus says, “you will keep my commandments.” He describes some of the things that will happen as a result: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.”
Best of all, “Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” This explains, I think, why there was such joy in the city of Samaria, when Philip proclaimed the Christ to them, and confirmed his preaching by many signs.
Our Lady of La Salette tells of what will happen, “if they are converted.” Externally, there will be abundance instead of famine.
What about internal effects? We might borrow some ideas from our second reading and the psalm.
If they are converted:
They will “sanctify Christ as Lord” in their hearts. They will no longer abuse his name.
They will learn to pray well. They will sing praise to the glory of God’s name, crying out, “Blessed be God who refused me not my prayer or his kindness!”
They will be ready to give an explanation, gently and respectfully, to anyone who asks them for a reason for their hope. This presupposes they will live in such a way that others will actually notice their Christian commitment. (That is what Maximin’s father did when, after years of not going to church, he then went to daily Mass.)
They will keep their conscience clear, and accept suffering, if it is God’s will, even when they are innocent.
In 1852, Bishop de Bruillard decided to erect a Shrine, and at the same time to call into existence the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, noting: “Their institution and existence shall be, like the Shrine itself, an eternal monument, a perpetual remembrance, of Mary's merciful apparition.”
Nothing quite so public would be expected of most persons who accept Mary’s call to conversion, but if we are to persevere, then it would good, it would be wise, to ensure that our first encounter with the Beautiful Lady will never be forgotten.
Wayne Vanasse and Fr. René Butler, M.S.