Homily for the Memorial of St. Bonaventure
In our Gospel today, Jesus calls out the Pharisees and the Scribes for being so limited in their perspective on matters of the faith that it blinds them to the reality of what is happening right before their eyes. We have seen this time and again throughout Scripture where Jesus criticizes the leaders of the Jewish faith for being so rigid in their interpretation and the following of the Law. The Lord has consistently done that in order to show the Scribes and the Pharisees how they are inhibiting how God might be moving and working in their lives and in the lives of others.
Jesus says that something greater is in their midst and that they’re basically missing the boat. They’ve been missing the point all along. They still can’t find themselves coming to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, that He is the fulfillment of the Law, that He is the very creator of the Law. He is the One who spoke and it came to be. The Jewish leaders can’t bring themselves to see it, despite all the Lord was doing right in front of them. They closed themselves off from listening to the truth that God Himself has willingly revealing to them in and through Jesus.
This should bring us to a moment of reflection and prayer. We should be asking ourselves: how well do we recognize and believe that Jesus is that “something greater”? How well do we internalize the belief that Jesus is Messiah and Lord? And do we live our lives out of that truth?
One person who truly believed that Jesus was the Lord and allowed that relationship to determine everything that he did and said was St. Bonaventure, who we celebrate this morning. Bonaventure knew that Jesus was that something greater. His singular focus was on Jesus. He never lost sight of that, especially in his life of service to the Church. He served as a priest, theologian and philosopher, and then later as a bishop and Cardinal of the Church. He desired nothing more than to serve the Lord and to be in relationship with Him…and it led Him to sainthood.
The Lord wants the same for us. He wants us to be drawn into a deeper relationship with Him, to experience His love and care for us, to come to a more intimate understanding of who He is as Savior and Redeemer. Jesus wants us to know that He is something greater. Today, let’s ask the Lord for an abundant outpouring of His grace that we may always remain steadfast in our search for Him; that we may always desire to grow in relationship with Him so that we may one day be saints as well. St. Bonaventure, pray for us.
Photo: Saint Bonaventure Window, taken by Niall McAuley, Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).