We share with you the homily preached by Fr Anthony McMullan OP on the occasion of our community celebration of Sr Margaret’s Diamond Jubilee on the 10th June 2014
 
When I was preparing this homily for the celebration of Sr Margaret’s Diamond Jubilee I very soon realised why she had chosen the first reading – the beginning of St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

In this passage Paul tells us that God had a secret plan from the beginning of creation and that plan has now been revealed.  It is a plan for all things to be united under Christ who shed His Blood that we might be saved.  How wonderful that is?  Paul gives God praise for bringing about our Redemption in Christ.  Further on in the letter to the Ephesians Paul talks about his own prayer – kneeling before the Father being a prayer of petition – that all will know the love of God which is beyond all knowledge – that through His Spirit our hidden selves might grow strong, so that Christ may live in our hearts through faith and then planted in love and built on love, we will have strength to grasp the breadth and length, the height and the depth until knowing the love of Christ we are filled with the utter fullness of God.

I know that Paul’s prayer of praise and thanksgiving, and also his prayer of petition, in the letter to the Ephesians is also the prayer of Sr Margaret.  It is not just her prayer for today as she celebrates her Jubilee but I believe that it has been the prayer and synopsis of her whole religious life here in Siena.  Firstly, that of thanksgiving, and then the prayer of petition that all may come to know the personal love of God for each one and to grow closer to Him in unity.

When I checked the readings for the feast of St Margaret Mary (Sr Margaret’s patron) I found that the first reading for the feast was Ephesians 3: 14-19 – Paul’s prayer of petition – the desire that all may know the love of Christ – symbolised by the image of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as revealed to Sr Margaret Mary.

So something inspired me to use the Gospel from the feast of St Margaret Mary for this Jubilee Mass.

Every religion in the world requires their followers to humble themselves before their god, but ours is the only religion in which the Divine Son of God has humbled Himself before His people.  God the Father lives with His Son in the eternal embrace of the Holy Spirit.  Theirs is the life of Glory and perfection and yet in the fullness of time God sent His Son to be our Saviour, human like us in all things but sin.  The Incarnation was a great act of humility.

Some people say that if we could see Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in all the splendour of His Divinity we would fall down in worship, afraid even to life our eyes to look upon His countenance.  But that is not the relationship Jesus wants us to have with Him.  Jesus offers us a warm invitation to embrace Him in trust and love without fear.  He could not be more explicit, he says ‘I am gentle and humble of heart.’

Since we are not to fear Jesus but to embrace Him, we need never hesitate to bring to Him our burdens so that He may lift them.  Jesus spoke of His yoke.  A yoke was a heavy beam which was fixed across the necks of a pair of oxen to harness them together.  Perhaps as a youth Jesus had seen Joseph fashioning such yokes and struggling with their massiveness of weight.  Jesus resolved to teach that His religion is not like those heavy, restricting beams of wood.  That is why He said His ‘yoke is easy and His burden light.’

The prophet Zechariah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, saw an image of the Messiah to come.  He declared “See your King comes to you riding on a donkey”.  Jesus fulfilled this image by His entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  There He underwent the greatest act of humility: His Passion and Death on the Cross for our salvation.  The idea of such a humble God is not one which the human imagination could create.

Only God’s revelation to us makes the thought possible and His love for us makes that thought a reality in our lives.  And this is the reason for our prayer of praise and thanksgiving.

Sr Margaret, I believe it is a reality in your life – you have given over sixty years humble service to this community and may you today and every day experience that unconditional love that the heart of Jesus has for you and for all those you hold dear.