My heartiest thanks to M. Izabela, the General Superior, and her General Council for inviting me to share a few thoughts for the website of the Congregation of the Pallottine Missionary Sisters on the experience of the Tridum and Feast Day of our Founder St. Vincent Pallotti, we celebrated on January 19-22, 2021. I’m truly happy to do it and even though we are “virtually” together, I feel I am united with you all through our common-union (communion) in the spirit of St. Vincent Pallotti, by which we belong to one another.
1. Crossing to the Other Side: We know that we will not remain on earth forever. There is another shore that is our home. Christ has come to remind us of this and show us how to get to that place. Do I take Christ into my boat and let him indicate what I must do in my life? Or do I hold myself back, not accepting the adventure of putting out into the deep with Christ? What is it that holds me back?
For ‘kingdom’ say ‘presence’. Then read it again. “The presence of God is like this: a man scatters seed upon the soil. Whether he is asleep or awake, be it day or night, the seed sprouts and grows, he knows not how.” The seeds of awareness of God are in us. They will not suddenly leap into the air, bypassing all stages of growth, and fill the grain-loft to the door. Instead they will lie in the damp earth, lost and forgotten, seeming dead. But the miracle of life is happening there where no one can see and no one can understand or explain it. Then the most vulnerable part appears just above the ground. It has no defences, it doesn’t find itself in a glasshouse; it is exposed to everything that could happen to it. That's life. Only love could take such risks.
In today’s gospel we hear from Mark that we are not to hide the lamp. Not under a bushel basket, not under a bed, not anywhere. “Is a lamp…not to be placed on a lampstand?” Jesus asks his disciples. Jesus is speaking indirectly about the relationship between the lamp and the light it diffuses. Scripture is about relationship: the Father’s and Jesus’ relationship with me. Scripture also speaks to my relationship with you. Jesus teaches right relationship through the Light. The relationship of the Kingdom, of Love.
Christmas is not so far behind us that we have forgotten its most familiar phrases. One of these includes the Latin words "bonae voluntatis," or "of good will." I think that most of us, and most of the people we deal with, are people of good will. And so when Jesus's parable of the sower in today's Gospel refers to God's word falling on stony ground, I like to think that that does not apply to many.
2 Timothy 1: 1-8, or Titus 1: 1-5
Psalm 96: 1-2a, 2b-3, 7, 8a, 10
Today we celebrate the Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, bishops in the early Church. Both of them were travelling companions of the Apostle Paul. He was their spiritual father, referring to Timothy as “my dear child” and Titus as “my true child in our common faith.” Timothy served the Church in Ephesus and Titus on the island of Crete. In the two optional first readings, Paul gives them instructions about how to live their faith.
Psalm 117:1bc, 2
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. The first reading for today describes Paul’s conversion. The lectionary for today proposes two alternate readings. They are fairly similar, but I have chosen to reflect today on the first of the two proposed readings. In this reading some time has passed since Paul’s conversion and he has returned to Jerusalem after his first missionary journey. In Jerusalem Paul encounters a crowd of Jews hostile to the Christians. He is badly beaten and is saved from death by the Roman soldiers who arrest him in order to prevent a riot. Paul then begs the Roman officer to be allowed to speak to the crowd. His words to the crowd are today’s first reading.
Jonah 3:1-5,10|1 Corinthians 7:29-31|Mark 1:14-20
If you were interviewing prospective apostles what would you be looking for? Somebody who was loyal, honest, trustworthy? What about Peter in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house? Would you look for somebody who knew their own limitations and did not overestimate their own strengths or abilities? What about Peter at the Last Supper, or trying to walk on the storm-tossed waters of the Sea of Galilee? Would you look for a person who was not ambitious for their own advancement? What about James and John wanting to sit on either side of Jesus when he came into his kingdom? Would you look for people who were direct and straightforward and not devious in any way? James did not approach Jesus directly with his request for promotion, he got his mother to do it for him. The choice Jesus makes is not because of what the disciples are but of what they will become.
This slimmest of Gospel fragments sends us looking for clues as to what the meaning might be.
The early responses to Christ’s ministry have been sharply divergent. His preaching and healings leave onlookers “spellbound”, “amazed” and “awestruck.” His notoriety spreads like wildfire, attracting growing crowds wherever he goes. Even when he slips away to pray and re-charge, they find him. There’s seemingly no escape. The love of spectacle and fascination with celebrity could be drawn from our own age.
Dear Members of the Pallottine Family
Kindly find the English version of the Invitation for Today's Mass along with the English translation of the Rector General's Homily in the attachment. You can follow the mass online at this link: https://rzym.aztv.pl/rzym.php
H O M I L Y
Feast of Saint Vincent Pallotti 2021