Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
Friday, 15th week in Ordinary Time, Feast of St Bonaventure, July 15, 2022
Is 38:1-6, 21-22, 7-8; (Ps) Is 38:10-12-16; Mt 12:1-8
I was on retreat last weekend and one of the comments made was, “Stay close to the humanity of Christ.” That statement was prefaced with a question, and that question was: “Did Mary have to deal with diapers?” To be honest, I haven’t a clue what was used for diapers back then, nor do I really want to think about it. However, what is really good to think about is, Who is Jesus as a man? Yes, we believe Jesus is fully divine, God, but we also believe He was fully human, Man, except without sin.
Saint Bonaventure, whose feast day we celebrate today, wrote many articles around the divinity of Christ, but did it with a sense of humanity in it. He taught about the realization of who Jesus was as a man, and how Jesus’s, and our daily life, become part of our spirituality. For example, it is said that when St. Bonaventure became a Cardinal, he made them wait until he finished the dishes before he could accept the position of Cardinal. Bonaventure’s spirituality toward Christ was so strong, that when he was made a doctor of the Church, he was given the title of Seraphic Doctor, meaning, one whose center is that of Christ.
I don’t know much about his writings, but from what I understand, they are geared primarily toward theologians. So, I am not sure I would recommend reading them without some sort of guidance. But I would have to believe, based on what I did read, that his affinity was toward everyday life, and he would express his views about Jesus in a very human way. Bonaventure, an ardent studier of Ignatian Spirituality, would have taken St. Ignatius’s statement seriously, where Ignatius says: “We need Jesus to show us what humanity is.”
Jesus speaks of mercy, not sacrifice today. When we think of sacrifice, we think of those things which we believe we must do for the betterment of humanity, or the things we have to do in our lives to survive. But that is not what Jesus is referring to, He is referring to those things we choose to do, that we believe we are required to do to obtain God’s love. Unfortunately, those types of sacrifices end up being a burden for us and do not bring us closer to God. God gives us His graces freely when we show mercy, not sacrifice.
That is what Jesus is talking about. We do not have to do burdensome things just believing that if we do, we will get God’s graces. Just live your life showing mercy to all you meet, and in all you do. That is how we receive the graces from God. Even if that means, we have to stop doing dishes and go change a diaper.