It can hardly be a co-incidence that, on the second anniversary of the conclave that gave the world the first-ever Argentine pope, we have an Argentine priest here with us, to give us a Parish Mission in Martinsville. We welcome Father John Ezratty!
At the beginning of our gospel reading at Holy Mass yesterday, we caught the Lord Jesus in the middle of something, so to speak. In the middle of driving a demon out of a suffering person.
Now, why on earth would Christ be doing that? Worrying about driving a demon out of someone? Or with curing someone’s illness, or feeding people in the middle of a deserted place, or forgiving a sinner who repents, or telling everybody that they are children of the heavenly Father, worth more than many sparrows? Why would He bother? What was His motivation?
Could it have been love? At the beginning of the gospel reading, we walked right into the middle of a situation. We walked into the room, so to speak, and there He was! Jesus, loving some poor mute person, driving a demon out, so the mute person could speak. We walked in, catching everyone unawares, and… Oops! What’s going on in here? Oh, the Son of God, loving somebody.
Indeed, every day we encounter evidence that God is very great, awesomely great, in His divine love.
This morning I was out running, and the rising sun made a rainbow in the clouds, reminding me that God would never again, in His just wrath, flood the earth entirely.
God is very great. Last night, the Georgetown Hoyas pulled out an inspiring win, even though the Creighton Bluejays demonstrated far-superior flopping skills, flopping skills worthy of international futból.
So God is, indeed, unimaginably great. He has given us the very-helpful visit of Father Ezratty. And he gave us Pope Francis two years ago today. And many other great gifts besides, involving Argentines and non-Argentines alike.
So we love God above all, because He is God, the infinitely, immeasurably, awesomely great. And we love our neighbor for God’s sake, because the great God has given us our neighbor to love. We love the invisible God by loving the visible neighbor.
Also, every day, God opens the doors of His mercy. We have not loved Him as we should have loved Him. And we have not loved our neighbor with the kind of self-sacrificing humility with which we should love him. But God will forgive us when we confess the truth.
Pope Francis is spending his second anniversary hearing confessions. Some of us are going to Baltimore, Maryland, to go to confession tomorrow. (For our parish-cluster youth pilgrimage.) And why not? We know that God forgives sins, through the ministry of His priests–in Baltimore, and Martinsville, and Rocky Mount, and Rome. (And everywhere else where there are priests.)
Holy Father apparently told a reporter that he doesn’t think he will have a long pontificate, but let’s pray that he does! May the Lord give health and long life to our beloved Pope Francis. May the great God give us faith and hope, contrition for our sins, and divine love for our Creator and our neighbor. And may He give the Georgetown Hoyas continued victories, even when they play other Catholic schools, like Xavier and/or Villanova and/or Providence.