Sometimes, a homilist feels like a DJ at a wedding reception. He always knows that some people will leave disappointed because they didn’t hear what they were hoping to hear that day.
Today’s feast day is in honor of Saint John Paul 2, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that waxes eloquent in praise of that great saint.
We have just marked the end of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, of which John Paul should have been the patron. That synod did not leave the Church in a state of serene clarity, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that applies the wisdom of John Paul to the synod.
And today we have a disturbing passage from the Gospel of Luke, wherein Jesus describes the blessings of faithful servants and the doom of unfaithful servants. We tell ourselves we are one and fear that we are the other, and so one might reasonably expect a homily that helps us to take this painful parable to heart.
But why should we settle for reasonable expectations? Let’s try to do it all in the short time that God has given us!
The parable we heard today warns us that we do not know the day or the hour when our Lord might return to us in His glory, or when death might carry us off to Him. We would do well to be ready for either event. But that observation is as facile as it is banal, and by itself, it isn’t likely to do us much good.
The parable reminds us, and John Paul would surely agree, that the Lord comes to us day by day, moment by moment, in Word and Sacrament, in our neighbor, and in mundane events. Are we ready to greet our Lord hidden within the ordinary and the familiar? Do we see ourselves as serving our Lord’s hunger as we prepare yet another meal? Do we see ourselves as honoring our Lord’s wisdom as we write another essay? Do we see ourselves as reverencing our Lord’s innocence as we dry a child’s tears? These familiar acts, John Paul would tell us are truly familiar—that is, they are the acts of family. The family is an altar upon which are placed loving acts of praise, sacrifice and care—sometimes dramatically, sometimes quietly, and, please God, always with great love, regardless the cost.
The Synod on the Family would agree that the families entrusted to our care deserve, as their birthright, “faithful and prudent” stewards. It is right, then, as disciples of Christ, to have an examination of conscience regarding our stewardship of the families entrusted to our care. Our Lord Himself resides in each member of our family, and we would do well to attend to His needs and the gifts He brings.
I fear that we often misunderstand these words of Our Blessed Lord: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Many seem to think that what Jesus means is this: “Well, if you’ve been given lot of resources and blessings, expect a lot of accountability. And if you’ve been given a whole lot of resources and blessings, expect a whole lot of accountability.” If that were a correct interpretation, one would almost be inclined not to be very blessed.
I think that’s a misunderstanding of the gospel. I think Jesus is saying this: “Look, if you’ve been entrusted with responsibilities, expect to give an account before God of your stewardship. And if you’ve been entrusted with responsibility for creatures made in the image of God and redeemed by my Precious Blood—if you have been entrusted with the care of family—then expect to give an exacting account before God of your stewardship.”
Frightening? Maybe. But it is also wonderful news! God gives not just His love but also gives us those whom He loves! He gives us the vocation of loving as He does—freely, fully, faithfully and fruitfully. God calls us to become like Himself, He Who is Love, and He gives us the family as a great school of love. That’s why the family must be cherished and protected and guarded most vigilantly—because without proper stewardship of family, we will fail, each of us and all of us, at our human vocation to become love by loving as God loves.
Let’s pray today for the intercession of Saint John Paul, that great apostle of the family, to bless the work of the synods and our family life, so that, like him, we may be faithful in love, even unto death. Then with him we can echo the words of the psalmist and say, “God indeed is my savior. I am confident and unafraid.”
May God’s Holy Name be praised now and forever.
Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily on the feast of Pope Saint John Paul the Great last Wednesday. Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column, which this week focuses on what he would want the Synod Fathers to know about his long-suffering divorced friend, Pete. Father McTeigue earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.
Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached this homily at Mass last Friday:
We were created for the praise of God’s glory. What is God’s glory? God’s glory is the shining forth of His truth.
In these days, when people tell us that we must be a “welcoming” Church and an inclusive “Church”, I think we must ask, “Can we be the Church that welcomes and includes the truth of God that God Himself has revealed?”
Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s wisdom? The wisdom that made us male and female and for each other as male and female? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?
Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s goodness? The absolute goodness that cannot abide any evil or lie? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?
Can we welcome and include the truth of God’s mercy? The mercy that allows us to embrace the justice of God which names good as good and evil as evil? Can we be such a welcoming and inclusive Church?
It is for such as these that we were made, we who were made for the praise of God’s glory. And at this moment, when we are being called upon to welcome and include what dishonors God, that we must decide whom we shall worship? Shall we worship the living God Who has revealed Himself to us through His only-begotten Son, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life? Or shall we worship an idol of our own making?
If we make our choice well, then we will know the truth of the psalm we heard today: “Exult, you just, in the LORD; praise from the upright is fitting.”
May God’s Holy Name be praised now and forever.
Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column, which this week focuses on what he would want the Synod Fathers to know about his long-suffering divorced friend, Pete. Father McTeigue earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.
Pope Francis names Theology of the Body expert Mary Healy, daughter of AMU’s founding president, to Pontifical Biblical Commission
Congratulations to Nick and Jane Healy upon today’s Vatican announcement that Pope Francis has named their daughter, theology professor Mary E. Healy, to the Pontifical Biblical Commission. This is a most interesting appointment, given the ongoing Synods on Marriage and Mary Healy’s expertise in Pope Saint John Paul II’s papal teaching on Marriage and Human Sexuality that is known as the Theology of the Body. Nick Healy was the founding president of Ave Maria University and he and Jane spend part of the year at their home in Ave Maria.
Ave Maria’s Father Robert McTeigue, S.J., preached a wonderful homily at Mass this past Sunday. If you’ve been following the synod this week, you will likely want to send this homily to every synod father – yes, it is that good and it touches on the most difficult issues:
Do you want to hear a story? When I was a newly-ordained priest, I was invited to go abroad to attend a conference of Catholic ecumenists. I was told that there I would learn how to enter into dialogue with the world’s religions. The two-week trip to southern Italy appealed to me as well.
At the conference, I learned that there wasn’t going to be much dialogue. In fact, I was told that now it was time for the Church to “learn how to sit in silence at the feet of the world’s religions.” I stood up and pointed out that as a freshly-minted priest in his mid-30s, I was by far the newest and youngest priest in the group. If this venture were to have a future, it may well have to take me along with it. Here is the challenge I posed to them. I said, “Fathers, let us grant, for now, that I will take up your mandate to ‘learn how to sit in silence at the feet of the world’s religions’. But is there any one thing that you want me to say to them before I fall silent? As I go out the door to receive my tutelage from the world’s religions, will any of you jump up and say, ‘Hey! Bob McTeigue! Whatever you do, don’t forget to tell them…’ What would that one thing be, Fathers? What would that one thing be that you insist that I tell the world’s religions before I fall silent before them?” They couldn’t think of anything. I didn’t pay much attention to the proceedings of the conference after that, but I did enjoy having Nutella for breakfast every morning with freshly-baked Italian bread made by real Italians. That was the high point of the conference for me.
I think of that story as I try to bring together our selection from the epistle of Saint Paul and our passage from Matthew’s gospel. Today’s readings have a great deal to teach us about proper priorities and what happens when you lack them. Here’s a hint of what I have in mind: When you don’t have proper priorities, you end up telling newly-ordained priests to sit in silence at the feet of the world’s religions.
Click below to read the rest of the homily.
Father McTeigue is currently finishing a collection of homilies and essays on preaching entitled, I Have Someone to Tell You: A Jesuit Heralds the Gospel. He recently began writing a weekly column. He earnestly seeks your prayers that his life and work be to God’s greater glory – and he invites your comments.
And what a beautiful town it is.
Originally posted on MapleRidgeHometown:
Sorry we haven’t been able to post so much lately. We have been super busy showing homes and writing new contracts! Both new construction and some resales. It’s been beautiful weather(a little on the hot side) but I won’t complain too much. We have been having awesome sunsets! Hope you can come visit us! There is a home football game for both Donahue Catholic on Friday night and Ave Maria University on Saturday. Should be a great weekend of football!
The Cardinal Newman Society issues the annual “go to” guides for parents and students who are interested in attending a high school, college or university that has a solid commitment to offering an education in a context that is in accord with the Catholic faith. Each year the The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College is published – and each year Ave Maria University makes the cut. Likewise, each year the Society honors select high schools by including them on its Catholic Education Honor Roll, and once again the Rhodora J. Donahue Academy of Ave Maria is a School of Excellence.