Who indeed is the victor over the world
but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ,
not by water alone, but by water and Blood.
That was part of the reading today at Mass. The full passage is 1 Jn 5:5-13.
Monsignor Yannock decided to expound mainly upon this reading (while reflecting on the Gospel passage as well, Mk 1:7-11 ) while mentioning St. Andre Bessette, today’s optional memorial. Going into today, I knew nothing about this saint (I managed to speculate on my own that he was either French or French Canadian. It’s the latter). What do I know about him now? That he devoted his life to working with the weak, the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the dying, even though he himself was known as someone weak, sick, and (pretty close to) dying.
Msgr. Yannock cut to the chase. The world tells us that owning the newest items, the best gadgets, the fanciest cars, and having plenty of money to buy them all with brings us happiness, or something like that. It tells us that when we own the world, we have victory.
St. Andre had nothing – zero possessions – and couldn’t really even say “at least I have my health”, because he justifiably didn’t. And yet he lived until he was 91 years old. He was originally rejected by the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Montreal due to his frailty, but someone on the inside convinced them to let him enter the novitiate. He is credited with numerous miraculous healings, although he protested the credit at the time. His main devotion was to St. Joseph, and he encouraged others to pray to St. Joseph as well. When he died in 1937, a *million* people came to process past his coffin. One million people.
So, who is indeed the victor over the world? Is it the person who owns all the things they think will bring them happiness? Or is it the one who takes what they’ve been given – even if that consists of nothing but a somewhat sickly existence here on this Earth – and uses it to cause such a positive impact that one million people come to pay respects at his death?
Just something to ponder. Owning the world is not victory over the world. Perhaps renunciation of the world is then a victory for one’s soul?