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.
Christ did not fear. He declared His divine mission. He had come to Jerusalem in the name of the Lord.
He said that His mission would occupy today and tomorrow, and on the following day, it would be complete.
Today: trick or treating–with zombies and monster that we do not fear. The ancient pagans of the northern latitudes went so far as to offer human sacrifices on this dark night, when the gloom of winter arrived, so deep was their fear of death. But we Christians just eat candy and laugh with the children.
Tomorrow: All Saints Day.
The following day, maybe we can rest up and get over our colds.
The day after tomorrow, actually, is way too far in the future to worry about now. We trust our Lord Jesus. The day after tomorrow lies altogether in His hands. He will make it wonderful. The day after tomorrow might as well be the eternal day of resurrection. It lies in the great unknown future.
We believe in the day when everything will be complete, the holy Third Day. We hope for it. The day of resurrection and life, of health and peace and sunshine and a springtime that never ends.
The third day. In God’s hands.
Meantime, our business lies with today. Today we march on with faith. With the bravado of faith. Goblins, ghosts, skeletons, witches, creepy night-frighting things: we fear you not! Death and hell: We mock you. Our city lies above.
P.S. Now that the baseball season has ended, we can move on to the really important business of life. Big East basketball.
Creighton may not be in the East. But they have a fun team. And what could be more exciting than having Butler in our conference? (Even if they don’t really have a good team this year.)
You know what I think the big story of Big East 2013-14 will be? St. John’s. The St. John glory days are coming back. And if someone other than the Hoyas have to win in Madison Square Garden, if it’s the Red Storm, I will not complain. I promise.
[The Big East’s] backbone runs straight up and down I-95, as it should.
[Due to football-motivated conference aligment, disussed before HERE,] the Big East was in danger of becoming one of those great classic rock bands who lost the rights to its name because it fired the bass player who came up with the name. Georgetown-Villanova-Seton Hall-Providence deserved better than to become Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.
The Big East is about East Coast city schools where basketball is king…They have the downtown, what’s-football vibe… The Catholic angle has always been the spice, not the stock. The Big East is a basketball conference for basketball schools and basketball fans, not a Frankenstein lumbering after football dollars.
So now the husk of football has been sloughed off. The Big East is a beautiful butterfly with a shaky jumper but sharp elbows again.
Two thoughts, perhaps not of equal importance, but both of profound significance:
1. May the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church do the will of God.
Perhaps some impious sacristy-rats are busying themselves speculating about the next Roman Pontiff.
But we leave such things in the hands of Almighty God. Our job is to pray, not lay bets.
That said…Maybe you want to handicap the rest of the Hoyas regular season?
A lot will be riding on what happens in Rome, of course. But we can trust God to take care of that one. Meanwhile, we have to root as hard as we can for the right team to win the Big East. There’s an awful lot of MoJo riding on each of these remaining regular-season games.
Can’t watch the game on t.v., even if I had a t.v., because college hoops is nothing but a cable-network racket now, and if you don’t pay for premium channels, you can kiss it, no matter how loyal a fan you have been for four decades.
So I would actually be pretty much over this game; I would not give it any nevermind at all. The one thing I hate more than ESPNews is the NBC Sports Network.
But Chvotkin is on the ship, and he’s got his streaming radio info on his Facebook. And this is the Hoyas season opener. I’m in.
…And to the Gators fans, and SEC peeps in general, I wish you well. Let us unite in friendship and amity against a common enemy, a loathed, dispicable, can-barely-utter-the-name enemy. The ACC.
May the best team win tonight. Games on boats don’t really count.
(I do not approve of playing hooky for the ridiculous NCAA tournament. But for the Big East tournament? Um…)
…I don’t see how we can find fault with Mrs. Zebedee. When the Lord originally summoned her sons to go with Him, she let them go. They left home, and no one knew if they would ever come back again.
When the mother came to Christ, she approached Him with admirable faith. She acknowledged that He would reign one day as king.
What loving mother doesn’t want her children to succeed? What Christian mother doesn’t want her children to succeed in getting to heaven? May they reign with You, O Christ. May they be close to You, closer than anyone else.
What mother doesn’t go to the Lord every day and make this very request for her beloved children?
What kind of priest would I be if I didn’t pray every day that all of you would be on Christ’s right hand in the kingdom of heaven—with all my dear parishioners who don’t know how to turn on a computer on His left hand?
But the Lord laid down a condition. Be baptized with the baptism with which I will be baptized. Drink the chalice I must drink. Submit to the will of the Father. You want to get to heaven? Don’t worry about where you will sit when you get there. You will sit where the Father wants you to sit.
Don’t worry about when or where you will sit at all. Worry about where the people who spend all day on their feet will sit. Offer your favorite chair. Stand up and wait on someone who spends the day waiting on other people.
Just stand up and take care of everyone in sight. The Father will let you know when to sit down.
Hoyas square-off in Milwaukee this afternoon. Do I care that it’s Marquette “Senior Day?” Let them weep through it.
This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.
Saints Peter, James, and John heard these words spoken from heaven. Listen to Him. Do what He says and avoid what He prohibits. Nonetheless—even though God Himself, in no uncertain terms, told them to listen to Christ—the Apostles had a hard time obeying Him.
Is it any wonder, then, that we have a hard time bringing ourselves to obey the Son of God?
After all, it would be one thing if Christ said, “Love your friends and let your enemies go to the dogs.”
Or if He said, “Don’t worry about Judgment Day. My Father doesn’t really care how you treat other people, especially the people you don’t like.”
We might listen to Him more eagerly if He said, “Blessed are the likable, good-looking people. Blessed are those with nice cars. Blessed are you when you finally make it, and vest your retirement plan, and get nice, big, fat bank statements in the mail. Rejoice and be glad, because heaven belongs to the people with 70-inch flatscreens.”
BUT: To listen to the Son of God, Who says, “The meek will inherit the earth.”
And “The rich cannot enter the kingdom of heaven without passing through the eye of a needle.”
And “Even the pagans pray for their family and friends. You must love and pray for the people who curse you and hate you.”
To listen to this Teacher…Let’s put it this way: We do not come into the world able to do it.