The last lines of today’s gospel passage prompt me to offer some reflections that one does not often hear in church, yet need to be heard. I am referring to the Lord’s words: “...some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven”. Through baptism we are ALL called to image on earth God’s love. But God’s love is so rich in dimensions, that no one can image all those dimensions by oneself.
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo: The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 1675
A Gifted Relationship
In 1950, five years after the end of the carnage of the Second World War which had ruptured the peace of the world and during which millions of human beings made in the image and likeness of God had been consigned to oblivion and literally gone up in smoke Pope Pius XII promulgated the doctrine of the Assumption; a teaching about the value of an individual human life to the rest of humanity. He declared in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus that ‘the Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever Virgin, on completing the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.’ The human being who most reflected the splendour of her Son’s humanity and his obedient response to the Father’s will did not undergo separation from him. She who was at his side on the Way of the Cross and who accepted the role of Mother of the Church at the foot of the cross was called to his side in heavenly glory.
"Going in search of the stray"
Adam, after his sin, experiences shame, he feels naked, he senses the weight of what he has done; and yet God does not abandon him: if that moment of sin marks the beginning of his exile from God, there is already a promise of return, a possibility of return. God immediately asks: "Adam, where are you?" (Gn 3,9) He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed(Is 53,5; 1P 2,24). Remember what Saint Paul says: "What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty?” (cf 2Co 11,30s)Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr (1894-1941)
Raymond Kolbe was born on the 8th of January 1894 in Zdunska Wola, which at that time was occupied by Russia. The Kolbe home was poor but full of love. The parents, hardworking and religious, educated their three sons with rectitude.
Today’s gospel begins with Jesus telling his disciples that he will be betrayed and killed before he is raised. We are invited into the life of being a disciple, following Jesus, living his message even in the difficulties, and receiving new life.
Into the middle of Jesus’ message comes a question about taxes from Rome. It’s a part of real life for Jesus just as it is for us. But rather than get on the tax, Jesus quickly dispenses with it and provides the coin to pay the tax so he can get back to his work. Yes, it’s important and part of real life, but it’s not the focus.
Wisdom 18:6-9; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 12:32-48
In the early days of Christianity, many sayings of Jesus were circulating in the living memory of various communities. When the evangelists put them in writing, they put a lot of them together, as if they had been spoken on the same occasion, when in reality they had come from Jesus in very diverse situations. Perhaps a word or two in one saying or story suggested another one. They came together in one paragraph or two in the gospel. Today, Luke, who in his journey section has Jesus instructing the disciples, gives us five such sayings or stories. There are big differences between them.
I greet you cordially and would like to share with you a few words. Tanzania has conquered me, not only the beauty of landscapes but also the beauty of the people. Sisters, Novices and local people have stolen my heart. Novices are “absorbing” Pallotti very much, they are very open and interested in lectures about St. Vincent and our charism. And I am happy with their youthful enthusiasm and openness to the Lord's work in them. I also had a day of recollection for them. Together with this international group we also cooked a Polish dinner. The menu consisted of bigos, pork chops and apple pie for dessert. Something fabulous…
Today, as noted in the readings, honors Saint Lawrence, deacon and martyr. The history of Saint Lawrence is inspiring and affirming in our beliefs as Christians and Catholics – a remarkable man with remarkable faith and courage. The readings fill us with direction and hope encouraging us to open our hearts both to others and the Lord.
“The Bridegroom is here! Go out to meet him.”
Dear brothers and sisters! Because she was Jewish, Edith Stein was taken with her sister Rosa and many other Catholic Jews from the Netherlands to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where she died with them in the gas chambers. Today we remember them all with deep respect. A few days before her deportation, the woman religious had dismissed the question about a possible rescue: “Do not do it! Why should I be spared? Is it not right that I should gain no advantage from my Baptism? If I cannot share the lot of my brothers and sisters, my life, in a certain sense, is destroyed”.
Who do you say that I am?
Peter also had two answers to this question from Jesus. I think his first answer was inspired by a glimpse of God's glory in Jesus - "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!"
In the very next passage, however, Peter reveals his humanness. Jesus begins to tell his disciples of his impending suffering and death. Peter's response is one of fear, one that cannot see beyond an impossible, tragic situation. In effect, he is saying, "I believe that You are someone who can be broken and crushed by death. I do not believe You are bigger than death or that your Father is powerful or caring enough to bring you through this."