Contemplation is the most active thing we can do if we want to work for the Lord, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said in his homily on July 4.
Which might seem counter-intuitive, considering that he was addressing hundreds of bishops and thousands of Catholic leaders gathered in Orlando, Florida for the final Mass of the Catholic Convocation.
But contemplation is action, the Cardinal of Galveston-Houston said, and the Gospel of John shows us this.
In John 17, Jesus prays aloud for the apostles and for the Church to his Father during the Last Supper. He prays for their unity and for those they will evangelize, those they will meet once they are sent on mission.
The 12 apostles, gathered at the table, are “mute”, observing and listening to Jesus, Cardinal DiNardo noted.
“On this (4th of July) day of barbeques and fireworks, bands and parties, the Gospel text is striking…the most single contemplative chapter in the New Testament is read for us and proclaimed to us as we’re going forth,” he said.
“Today, Jesus lets us overhear his intimacy with the Father,” Cardinal DiNardo said, the Father on whom he leans during his mission and during his passion and death.
He also pointed out another passage in the Gospel of John, during the multiplication of loaves, during which Jesus teaches his apostles another lesson about mission.
During the passage, found in Chapter 6, the apostles see the great crowds gathered around Jesus and despair at how they are going to feed them.
“Jesus says – you give them something to eat. What do the apostles do?” Cardinal DiNardo asked.
“It’s apostolic, it’s gone on ever since. What do they do? They whine,” he said, laughing.
“We don’t have enough, we don’t have bread,” the apostles say.
“Jesus responds – not wagging a finger of disapproval of their less than excellent conduct, but he just looks at them and says, just give me what you have.”
“Jesus gives so much power to his friends, it’s amazing how he lets us work,” he said.
From their meager offerings, Jesus is able to feed the multitudes. In the same way, we are called to offer what we can to the Lord, and expect that he will multiply our efforts, he added.
“Imagine the gallons we’ll have leftover if we do it at the Lord’s word,” Cardinal DiNardo said.
And learn to distinguish the different between true action “and just running around,” he added.
“We are in a very significant time in our church in this country – and this reminds me of how contemplative we’re going to be if we want to be active. Never are you more active than when the word of God is overpowering you. You are seated there, in God’s loving grace, and you realize how much God can let you do.”