Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mercy on the Way - Homily for the 30th Sunday in OT

What do you want me to do for you?

I can’t get this question out of my head or my heart. Here is a blind man, begging along a street, crying out to Jesus, and Jesus stops and asks him:

What do you want me to do for you?

God stops. He listens. His heart is open….

For the blind man, his request to see again wasn’t just a request to receive his sight—it was—but also something more (it always is). Back story: in the ancient Jewish culture, blindness was seen as the result of sin, either the person’s or that person’s ancestors. As a result, the blind were not typically allowed into the temple to worship. (Somewhat akin to how lepers were treated).

That said, the blind man’s request is not only to receive his sight, but to be able to re-enter the Temple and to worship the Messiah, the Son of David whose reign would be seen through the miraculous healing of the blind (cf. first reading). Ironic: only the blind man could see the Messiah….

God heals the man and brings him back into communion. Jesus does so from a heart of love, and not only for the man, but also for the crowds who were surrounding the man—crowds who were not physically blind but spiritually so. Perhaps they would see His mercy and “see.”

What do you want me to do for you?

*          *          *

On Monday, I had the chance to go on pilgrimage with a few of our parishioners to the Cathedral in Belleville to see the body (major relics) of St. Maria Goretti. The line was quite long—some people waited as much as two hours to see her!—and so there was plenty of time to read and to pray. Along the line, there were large banners which told the story of St. Maria Goretti.

She was 11 years old when she was canonized a saint. (Remember this, my young children! You too can be a saint, even when you are young!—and to us who are old, let’s not give up!)

Maria was poor. Her dad died when she was very young and so the Goretti’s had to join themselves to another farming family. There, Maria learned very early to have total dependence upon God. Maria loved Him and His laws. Just like St. Dominic Savio—also a young saint—Maria’s love for God was such that she would rather die than sin.

One of the boys of the house, Alessandro, often tried to get Maria to sin. He was not a good young man. One day, he tried to do some very bad things to Maria. She refused and told Alessandro that she did not want to break God’s law. Alessandro, in a fit of diabolical rage, critically wounded Maria fourteen times.

For the next twenty-four hours, Maria suffered greatly. Her doctors could not save her. In her agony, Maria—age 11—spoke her final words:

            I forgive Alessandro and I want him in heaven with me.

Soak in that for a moment.....

            I forgive Alessandro and I want him in heaven with me.

Her last words. This is what Maria wanted Jesus to do for her.

What do you want me to do for you?

“I want Alessandro in heaven with me.”

*          *          *

Alessandro was one of the meanest criminals to enter into the prison. For six years, he blamed and harbored resentment. Then, one night, St. Maria visited him in a dream. She came to him and then stooped to pick up fourteen lilies, one for each of the wounds. She handed each lily to Alessandro and with each lily she said, “I forgive you.”

This mercy changed Alessandro. He repented. And he changed his life.

Thirty years after being convicted, Alessandro was released from prison. And on Christmas Eve, he went to Mrs. Goretti’s home. He knocked on the door. Mrs. Goretti opened it. … Can you imagine? Seeing your daughter’s murderer there? How many of us would utter Jesus’ words?

What do you want me to do for you?

Not I.

Alessandro looked up and said, “Do you remember who I am?”

Mrs. Goretti replied, “Yes.”

Alessandro, a convicted felon, pitiful and low, then asked, “Do you forgive me?”

In his heart, Alessandro was answering Jesus’ question. Jesus, I want to be forgiven—by you, by Maria, by her mom.  That is what I want you to do for me… He was the beggar. He was asking for mercy.

Mrs. Goretti looked at him and had mercy, saying, “Alessandro, God has forgiven you. My daughter has forgiven you. So yes, I forgive you.”

At that moment, Mrs. Goretti brought the repentant criminal into her home as her adopted son. Alessandro would go on to become part of the Capuchin order, where he would write in his will that he hoped his life would be a testament to God’s mercy and how the little saint, Maria Goretti, had saved him.

*          *          *

What do you want me to do for you?

As I stood in line, Jesus was asking me this question. What do you want me and Maria to do for you? I knew what I wanted. I wanted forgiveness. I wanted people who I had hurt when I was younger—I wanted them to know that I was sorry. We all have things that we regret, words and actions that we can’t take back, people who have moved on and who we cannot offer our apologies. I wanted peace and innocence and holiness. I wanted to become a saint. And I wanted the same for my parishioners, especially for those struggling with forgiveness, for those who had been hurt, for those struggling to be pure and holy. This, Lord, is what I want…

I had fifteen seconds with St. Maria Goretti. I knelt down before her and prayed. She was so small… she was dressed in white… and…

I cannot put into words the inundation of grace in that moment. My heart was overwhelmed by a presence, an innocence, a tremendous sense of forgiveness—a moment only interrupted by the usher asking the next person to come forward….

I went to the closest pew and knelt. And I will admit: I wept. But it wasn’t sorrow. It was relief. They were tears coming from a heart knowing again a quiet joy, a hopefulness, a peace, a being safe, and—most wonderfully, wonderfully of all—that I had, so very truly, a new friend: St. Maria Goretti was going to be with me in my priesthood. The little, innocent saint would walk with me.

The words of the psalmist came to me:

            The Lord has done great things for us, we are filled with joy!

*          *          *

A repair man came to visit St. Maria. Salt of the earth man-- today, he was dressed up in a suit. One of the newsreporters interviewed him as he left and I caught a part of his story. He was having trouble at home; his family was hurting and he didn't know what to do. The newsreporter asked him: "So, why are you here?" The man simply replied: "Because I believe she can help me."

Isn't that a wonderful faith?

And our faith tells us that someone even greater than St. Maria is here. Yes, Jesus is here!

What do you want Him to do for you?

Do you have regrets that you carry, sins that burden you? Do you need to be forgiven? Do you want to know God’s mercy? Do you want to be able to forgive? Are you alone—do you want Him to be with you? Do you struggle with anxiety—do you want peace? Do you feel tempted to doubt or despair; do you struggle with faith; do you long to hope again and to love and be loved?

Come to Jesus. Come and ask Him. Lord, I long to see! Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!

From the St. Louis Review, pictures and article of the day..

Sunday, October 18, 2015

To Drink of the Chalice - Homily for the 29th Sunday in OT

In ancient days, kings would extend their friendship through the sharing of a chalice. The king would drink and, then, he would offer that chalice to those close to him. By extension of that friendship, those who drank received the trappings of his kingdom.

But this came, of course, by oath: those who drank were promising to be the king’s friends—in good times and in bad. It was a chalice of blessing and a chalice of promised fidelity in love.

And so Jesus asks James and John, those who asked to sit at His side, “Can you drink the chalice which I will drink?”

They respond that they can. It seems easy enough: by the oath of friendship with this Messiah-King, James and John not only gain a powerful friend, but also all of His trappings. To drink of the chalice is, for them, a total benefit without any cost; nothing will be asked of them. Or so they think.

The chalice which Jesus will drink is not what they think it is. Jesus’ chalice is the Cross. This is why, on the night before He died, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed: “Father, take this chalice from me. But, not as I will, but your will be done" (Lk 22:42)

Note the contrast: what Jesus was crushed to drink, James and John were willing to gulp down. Truly, as the Lord Himself said, “You do not know what you ask.”

*          *          *

Jesus is not a king like the world’s kings. He is not interested in controlling others or amassing power through blind ambition and vengeance and war. What Jesus is interested is in love, a love that is poured out like a libation (Phil 2:17), a love whose kingdom-rule is self-donation and “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13)—and even one’s enemies (Mt 5:44).

James and John, this is your King. This is the one by whose throne you are asking to sit. Do you realize what you are asking? that you are asking to become like Christ who serves so as to exalt others? who suffers so as to bring mercy and consolation? who dies so as to bring eternal life?

Do you believe that suffering with your King, Jesus Christ, will really bring about the salvation of mankind? that your Good Friday with Christ will bring about an Easter Sunday for yourself and others?

*          *          *

“Come down off of that cross!” people will say to you, just as they said to your King. Don’t enter into long-term commitments, they will say. Make yourself comfortable and don’t get tied down, they will advise. Have a couple kids, fine, but don’t have any more—“come down off that Cross!” Because for the world, fidelity, generosity, perseverance in suffering, chastity—these fruits of the Holy Spirit—are scandalous and a "folly to the Gentiles" (1 Cor 1:23), precisely because the world does not see the royal King in the Suffering Servant’s chalice. 

Jesus chose to drink of the chalice, to embrace the suffering and pain of the Cross. And for love of you.

*          *          *
On the night before Jesus died, He took a chalice and blessed it and gave it to His disciples saying, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it. For this is the chalice of my blood. The blood of the new and eternal covenant…” Do we understand what this means? The king was offering friendship and a share in His heavenly kingdom to them: He loves them even unto death and the proof is in the chalice.

This chalice is now offered to you at Holy Mass. It is a chalice of the deepest friendship, of love, and of a rule whose power is found in the Cross. And with it comes an oath: that God loves us, but that we promise to love Him even unto the Cross (cf. 1 Cor 11:27).

So, let us ask Him: Lord, how are you inviting me to suffer for love? Is it cancer? Is it humiliation? Is it in a commitment? poverty? generosity? others being preferred over me? hurts from the past? the falling away of family and friends from the faith? the evil of the world?

Let us approach the chalice in trusting love and in confident faith—that Jesus, who invites us to suffer for the world and in love, will transform our sufferings, just as His were transformed, into grace, into redemption, into salvation for our human race.

“Can you drink of the chalice which I will drink?”

James and John replied, “We can.”

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Stunning Identity of the Rich Man - Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

When we hear today’s story about the rich man, it is easy to strip down the story to a simple moral lesson: namely, that in order to be in heaven, we have to sell everything and be poor.

That misses the point.

The total bring-us-to-our-knees moment comes right before Jesus tells the man to sell everything. The bring-us-to-our-knees moment is when it says:

Jesus, looking at him, loved him. 

The end.

Jesus loved Him. He looked at him and saw His child, His one for whom His heart ached and for whom He would go to the Cross. Jesus, looking at him, loved him.

*          *          *

Lovers, when they are in love, can gaze into their beloved’s eyes for what seems to be forever. They gaze, they look upon… and the moment is eternal. Words too deep for even the greatest and most able of poets are spoken there. Heart speaks to heart. Lovers know of this. Adorers know of this. It is why, when a priest came to St. Andre Bessett and asked him, “Andre, what do you say to Jesus in your long hours here in the chapel?” Andre simply responded by saying, “I look at Him and He looks at me.”

There is a union there, a gaze which is so completing and so total that nothing else matters.

*          *          *

When Jesus asks the man to sell what he has, it is not simply a formal, legalistic requirement in order to merit eternal life. How bland and sterile!

No, Jesus is inviting the man into a level of intimacy surpassing the man’s upside-down perspectives of what constitutes treasure. In other words, Jesus is saying to the man: “I love you. You are my treasure. Am I your treasure? Do you love me?”

You see, a man could keep the commandments without necessarily loving God and neighbor. To fulfill the commandment “thou shall not kill,” for example, leaves a whole lot of room for anger and violence. The law was the bare minimum of justice. Jesus wants the man to love.

This is why Jesus tells the man not only to sell what he has, but to sell and give to the poor. There is something going on here. Jesus could have simply told the man to sell everything and follow. But he tells the man to sell AND give to the poor. Why?

In that moment of giving to the poor, the man would have come face to face with those who have always been totally dependent upon the treasures he has possessed. And perhaps he would be moved, moved by love, to look upon them and love them—to gaze—to not simply be face to face, but heart to heart.

And maybe, just maybe in that moment, the man would have realized that this is exactly what Jesus has done for him: that Jesus entered into this man’s life and was bestowing the real treasure. The rich man isn’t the rich man; he is actually poor, for he has no eternal treasure. Jesus is the rich man. And the treasure that He is bestowing is the love that never ends.

And as amazing as that is, it is not what stuns me this morning.

*          *          *

What is stunning is this.

The man walks away sad. He has lost the gaze. (Literally, his “face fell.”) And as he walked away, I couldn’t but help think of Jesus still looking at him with love, even unto the horizon—like the Father for his lost son. 

You remember that story, right? The son came to his father and said, “Father, give to me my inheritance.” And the father gave his son half of the inheritance—that is, many, many possessions.

And the man went away sad, for he had many possessions.

The identity of the rich man has now become the Prodigal Son.

*          *          *

Children, go, sell what you have and give to the poor. May Jesus be your treasure, may His love be your greatest possession!

And if your life has been that rich man, turned away from Jesus and awash in the stuff of this life, our merciful Father wants you back. It’s not too late! 

Jesus, looking at him, loved him. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rediscovering the Parable of the Good Samaritan - By Request!

Bonus entry this week…. Yesterday at Holy Mass we read about the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Every time this parable comes up, I give the same homily—taken from the writings of Origen and also Pope Benedict XVI. And every year, I think the homily is a flop, but then I have bunches of people who want me to preach it again or to post it online.

That being said, I am going to post here my notes on this parable. Most of these notes are “free-writing,” so pardon the lack of continuity, grammar errors, etc….


If you are reading this, it’s likely that you have heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan—the parable about how a man is robbed and nobody helps him except for a good Samaritan. The moral of the story is that we are supposed to be kind to others and help those in need. The End.

But is that it? Is that the deep treasure of this parable? Hasn’t Jesus told us this lesson—namely, “be kind”—many times before? Why does He employ an elaborate parable to highlight that point?

*          *          *

Modern-day tendencies in preaching and teaching have led us to to interpret Scripture firstly in terms of what I have to do instead of who Jesus is. In homilies, for example, more often than not we hear exhortations about being good instead of lengthy reflections on Jesus who is Himself the Good. That’s a problem because when the focus is simply on what I have to do (morality), it is so easy to lose the reality of who Jesus is. And more, when we lose who Jesus is, we actually lose the actual meaning of what we’re supposed to do. In other words, lose Jesus and you lose correct morality.

So, when it comes to scripture, we must try to see Jesus first, then morality.

Of course, when it comes to the Parable of the Good Samaritan, we tend to do exactly the opposite: we see the moral lesson first and tend to overlook Jesus. We say, “I must be like the Good Samaritan and help others” instead of first realizing that Jesus is the Good Samaritan and going from there.

If we see that line of connection, that Jesus is the Good Samaritan, then it naturally follows: Is Jesus drawing other lines of connection? For example, who is the man who was robbed? who is the man at the inn? And so on.

This is where we begin and we realize that the parable is not just simply about a moral exhortation to be nice, but a sweeping summary of salvation history.

*          *          *

So... the man who was robbed... Who is he? 

He is Adam—and, by extension, all of humanity. And the robbers? They are the devil and his legion of fallen angels.

Of what did the robbers—the devil and his legions—rob humanity? Eternal life. Hence, the man who was robbed is left for dead, “half-dead”—meaning in the deadly state of sin, but still redeemable.

Is your mind blown?

Think back for a moment: what was the question that precipitated Jesus’ parable? A lawyer had approached Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” See the connection?

*          *          *

So what must I do to inherit eternal life? 

At this point in the parable, the answer is nothing: Man can’t do anything on his own for salvation. Hence, in the next scene of the parable, we see a priest and a Levite passing by the man without helping him. This has a deeper meaning too.

The priest represents the Old Testament temple sacrifices. 

Could those sacrifices redeem humanity and bring eternal life? No. Hence, the priest passes by on the other side.

The Levite (a scholar of the law) represents the Old Testament Mosaic Law. 

Could this Law redeem humanity and bring eternal life? No. Hence, the Levite passes by on the other side.

(Pope Benedict XVI is quick to point out, therefore, that we must not be too quick to judge the priest and the Levite for passing by—for such a judgment is to look back on them from the higher perspective that we have been given in Christ. Indeed, Pope Benedict points out that their passing by would have likely been out of love for God and the temple—misplaced as we now see it—because, they, knowing well the Mosaic Law, would have known that to touch blood or a dead man would defile them and keep them from temple worship. The very fact that Jesus uses their deep love of the temple as a critique of their uncharitable actions towards their neighbor highlights the Old Worship and the Old Law as being an incomplete love and thus clearly unable to save Man).

*          *          *

So, there is a third man that comes, a Samaritan. 

There is some history here. When the Jews were taken into exile centuries earlier, a few Jews were left behind. Many of them married with the pagan peoples (known as Gentiles) who had moved into the land. This new “race”—an admixture of Jew and pagan—were the Samaritans, many of whom worshiped the five gods (Ba’als) of the area (cf. Jn 4, The Woman at the Well). Long story short, the Samaritans were seen as spiritual harlots having cheated on the One True God—and could therefore do no good.

This is why it would have been a total surprise for the parable to be about a GOOD Samaritan-- much less for Jesus to use a Samaritan as the protagonist on a lesson about loving God and neighbor—and about entering eternal life.

It was a shocking as, say, God becoming man. As shocking as Jesus being God. (For “what good can come from Nazareth?” (Jn 1:46)).

The Good Samaritan is Jesus.

Now comes the crux of the story. Jesus is the one who is able to restore the robbed man. It is Jesus who is able to bring eternal life. So, the Good Samaritan, Jesus, reaches into the man’s half-dead state and lifts him up.

And that's The End, right?

For many Christians who are not Catholic, the rest of the story simply seems to be a commentary on the Good Samaritan's love: the Good Samaritan fills the man’s wounds with oil and wine, binds them with bandages, lifts him up, takes him to an inn, gives coins to an innkeeper, and instructs the innkeeper to take care of the man until he returns. 

But that's the whole second half of the story! Is Jesus simply wanting us to gloss over this as simply a moralistic exhortation to not just "be kind," but "be really, really kind." It would make sense to some degree, to see the superabundant charity of the Good Samaritan and do likewise.

But... there’s more.

*          *          *

Just as the characters in the first half of the story are connected to Old Testament figures, so too the actions and items of the second half of this story are connected to the New Testament.

What do the oil and the wine and the bandages represent? The Sacraments. (…!!!)

Oil is used at the anointings in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and the Sacrament of the Sick. Wine is used for the Eucharist and at Marriage (cf. Jn 2, Cana). The bandages—the “binding” (Mt 18:18)—represents the Sacrament of Confession.

There, all seven sacraments.

This is how Jesus is going to heal the man. But there is more.

 *         *          *

He takes the man to an inn. (And there is plenty of room (unlike Lk 2:7)). The inn is the Church. Jesus brings humanity to the Church and then gives to the innkeeper two coins by which the innkeeper is to take care of the man. The coins are treasures of grace: the Holy Spirit, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and so on.

And who is the innkeeper? The steward-- that is, the Pope.

And what is the innkeeper-Pope supposed to do? To take care of the Man until Jesus returns—at which point the innkeeper will have to give an account of his stewardship.

That, my friends, is called the Second Coming.

*          *          *

So, let’s go back to the questions that precipitated this parable. The lawyer asked Jesus, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus responds by giving the man a veiled summary of salvation history—the “lesson” being that eternal life is a totally undeserved gift which we ourselves cannot “do,” but must first receive.

It is a total divine initiative.

*          *          *
It is only then that Jesus concludes the lesson by saying, “Go and do likewise.”

Here begins the moral exhortation. And He doesn’t simply mean “be kind” or “be really, really kind.” There is actually some specificity to what He means when He says “Go and do likewise”—and we know that there is specificity because Jesus has given us a lot of specific details through this story. They can be summarized as follows:

First, we have to receive the Good Samaritan in our lives; realizing that we are the man half-dead. We have to let Jsus pick us up from our “half-dead” sinful state. We have to let Him take us to the Church and fill us with the Sacraments and be cared for by the “innkeeper.".

In such ways, we are transformed to become another Christ—another Good Samaritan who can go and do likewise. This “go and do likewise” sounds much like the dismissal from Catholic Mass. 

What does it mean?

It's specific.It means:

1)      placing ourselves into the very lowliness of the man who is half-dead in sin and not passing by;
2)      lifting him up—through prayer, sacrifice, and the hard work of heavy-lifting charity;
3)      bringing him to the Church. It is not enough to just do social justice. We must bring people to the faith and to the Sacraments;
4)      which presupposes that we ourselves have received (at least to an initial degree) these graces from the Good Samaritan.

In this way, Jesus answers the lawyer’s second question: “And who is my neighbor?”

The answer to that is “everyone”—for “whatever you did to these least among you, you did to me.” (Mt 25:40). You see, Jesus is the Good Samaritan AND, by taking on humanity's lowly state, has become one with the man who was robbed, beaten, stripped, and left for dead.

Eternal life, therefore, is tied up with receiving the divine offering of charity from Jesus, the Good Samaritan (grace) AND in being transformed into Him, so as to see Him in our neighbor, and thus making us one in charity with the Good Samaritan and each other.

Hence, when Jesus says, “Go and do likewise,” He is inviting us to a radical union with His divine life, a life of charity, which brings eternal life for many.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Two Keys to Jesus' Teaching on Marriage - Homily for the 27th Sunday in OT

This morning, we see Jesus teaching the Pharisees and his disciples about marriage. The Pharisees tended to be quite liberal with divorce, allowing a man to do so for pretty much any reason. That might surprise you because typically we think of Pharisees as being very strict, often at the expense of mercy. Indeed, at the time of Jesus, there was a divide among the Pharisees over this issue. Some held to the permissive view, others held to a stricter interpretation. Hence “they were testing Him”—to see what side of the aisle he would fall on.

*          *          *

If we are going to understand Jesus’ teaching on marriage, we must have two keys in our possession.

The first key is Jesus’ emphasis on community as manifested by the children. Jesus abruptly ends His lesson on marriage by telling his disciples to let the children come to Him. Since children and marriage are connected, Jesus is highlighting that, in the debate on marriage and divorce, the Pharisees have overlooked a whole demographic of people that are integral to the community: namely, the children. That the disciples are actually physically preventing the children to approach Jesus only highlights the reality that divorce and adultery hurts children and also the community. We’ve seen that in countless psychological and sociological studies.

So, when Jesus says, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,” He not only effectively puts the debate to an end, but gives the most convincing reason to avoid divorce and adultery.

*          *          *

The second key which helps us to understand is Jesus’ call for us to consider The Beginning—that is, to consider Adam and Eve and the period before The Fall. It is there that we see God commenting upon Man’s situation and Man, in turn, commenting upon the creation of Woman.

About Man, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Man is made for an Other; he is made for communion. This makes sense since we are made in the image and likeness of God—God who is not alone, but who is Three Persons, and therefore the First Family. Man is made for this; he is made for family. And not for a man cave.

About Woman, Man says, “at last, this one is bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh.” In the Beginning, Man sees Woman as his equal in dignity—literally made of the same stuff from which he is made. It is only after The Fall that there enters the domination and distrust between the sexes. Yes, while Eve is called Adam’s “helper,” it is not a derogatory title, but the same title that is used to describe God the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.

*          *          *

What can we gather from this very brief reflection on The Beginning? Simply, that marriage and family must be considered and pursued in light of some of these basic truths: namely, that we are not made to be islands, but families; and that men and women are equals in dignity. As the man and woman discover these realities, they arrive at an understanding of themselves, of the world, and of God that is greater than the sum of their parts.

Therefore, when Jesus invites us to consider The Beginning in the context of the debate on marriage and divorce, He is inviting us to see the beauty of what marriage is and can be: it is the very civilizing force of society; it builds community by way of the family; it is unifying and uplifting most especially when the man and the woman see their own and their spouse’s incredible dignity and then seek its multiplication. For they can heal each other’s hearts; they can put a human face to divine love; they can image and cooperate in the very re-creation of the world in such a way that goes way beyond what was enjoyed in The Beginning.

It is “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

It is for this reason that Jesus upholds marriage when it was threatened by the Pharisaical culture of His time.

*          *          *

And so Jesus says to them,

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.

This is a call to be trusting like children—like the children that were coming to Jesus that day to receive His blessing.

Yes, we can trust Him for all things are possible through Him. He multiplied the loaves and the fishes—will He not multiply the small love we have? Will He who calmed the storm not bring peace to your home?

You received a Holy Sacrament from Him on your wedding day. Do you think that He who raised the dead would let that fire of divine love remain dormant forever? Let us call upon the graces of the Sacrament you have received! Let us run to Him!

In a particular way, let us pray for the Synod on the Family that is starting today in Rome.

Let us pray for the renewal of marriages and families in our community and in our parish.

Let us all come to Jesus as did those children on that day. For it says,

He embraced them and blessed them.