Column from parish bulletin: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 28, 2016

Dear Believers,

Next Sunday, September 4, the Roman Catholic Church will celebrate the canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. This is an extraordinary event in that most canonizations take place at least fifty years after the death of the individual. For Mother Teresa, so many people remember her work and prayer. Her religious community remains in mission to serve people most in need.

I remember very well the day Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. This was an amazing day for the Catholic Church and our world. Her simplicity of thought, presence and speech formed me in ways I still cannot articulate. I remember that Mother Teresa was asked about world peace and the best way to promote it in our Church and world. She replied, “Go home and love your family”.

 I certainly did not understand her reply as a young seminarian in 1979. I wanted something more. I think the world wanted something more academic, more complicated and more thorough. My heart now clings to such an idea as I live out my priesthood. I believe that our children are the best antidote to violence, hatred and neglect. The problem is that we just need to raise them to become such people.

Luke’s gospel (14:1, 7-14) today states, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Not only is Mother Teresa a model for this gospel text but also she invites us to be such people in our world.

Christianity is very complicated today. We are so divided. Some people want the Catholic Church to stand up for issues in our world and others walk away from such a notion even here in our parish. Some people think our church affairs belong only in the sanctuary while others want radical change in the ways we live the mission of the gospel. Some people want change in one area of life while others want change in the complete opposite way.

I still believe the one thing that unites us in the Church is the love of Jesus. The other thing that unites us is our children and how we raise them to befriend faith and the people in our world who most need us. I invite you into this unifying life of the Church.

As we know, Mother Teresa also struggled in her personal life of prayer. She did not always feel the presence of Jesus. Yet, she was compelled by the love of God to continue her mission to serve people. This is so important in our efforts to live our lives of faith as well. We must continue to do the right things, to live out the mission of the Church even though on some days we may not feel like it. We must continue on bringing our children to Mass even when there is resistance. We must form them in the love of God even when this seems to be so counter-cultural. We must find ways for our families to be involved in service even when we think we cannot make a difference. Jesus needs us to live our lives in the world with faith and integrity.

Here is a litany that I wrote for our community to ask for Mother Teresa’s intercession:

Response: Jesus, love us and send us forth in peace

Mother Teresa, you modeled simplicity of spirit…

Mother Teresa, you opened your heart to love…

Mother Teresa, you let go of your past…

Mother Teresa, you understood your true vocation…

Mother Teresa, you inspired others to follow your lead…

Mother Teresa, you spoke with integrity…

Mother Teresa, you gave up everything to start anew…

Mother Teresa, you showed us true poverty and injustice…

Mother Teresa, you understood the needs of people…

Mother Teresa, you held the bodies of the dying…

Mother Teresa, you challenged the world to wake up to people…

Mother Teresa, you entered into relationship with all people…

Mother Teresa, you lived a life of peace…

Mother Teresa, you followed your gifts and talents…

Mother Teresa, you lived and served with humble faith…

Mother Teresa, you spoke truth to the world…

Mother Teresa, you ministered to the ill, the fragile and helpless…

Mother Teresa, you model for us how to serve today…

Mother Teresa, you show us how to love our children in our time…

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

 

2 thoughts on “Column from parish bulletin: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

  1. Dear Ron,

    Your reflections here reminded me of the conversation we had last time we were together, about our formation’s big emphasis (and our longing expectation) that we were to go out and BE the hands, the feet, the voice of Jesus for others. With the recent passing of David Clark Isele, I began to see how that song called “Sing Out” still calls me to this action. Remember those beautiful lyrics?

    “Sing out, use your voice now, For the Kingdom of the Lord
    Sing out, use your voice now, For the Kingdom of the Lord
    Sing songs, praise your God now, the universal king,
    Sing out, praise God, all holy things.”

    Sing out, use your mind now, for the Power of the Lord,
    Sing out, use your mind now, for the Power of the Lord,
    And make God your world now, with peace and brotherhood
    Sing out praise God, accomplish good!

    Sing out, use your heart now, for the Glory of the Lord
    Sing out, use your heart now, for the Glory of the Lord
    Direct all your actions toward helping all be free,
    Sing out, Praise God, humanity! Amen!”

    I get teary-eyed just remembering the sound of the Chapel Choir singing this hymn of praise!
    Our whole ND education indeed is summed up in this song: use your voice, heart and mind for the Kingdon, the Power and the Glory of God! 🙂

    God bless you, Fr. Ron!

    -Danny Z-man

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