“The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.” (MK 6: 30-31)
This time, when I am back at my House and my Community, I will start with a day of reflection–our day to “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” We need to rest with Him, in His presence, just “hear his voice” and do nothing else. When we serve, when we help people, and when “people are coming and going in great numbers,” we need to protect our relationship with God and “come away.” We can’t serve when we do not have time to stop, to reflect, and to enjoy our relationships.
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, ‘My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.’ Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.” (MT 9: 18-19)
Whoever came to Our Lord asking for help: “my daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live” could expect His immediate reaction: “Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.” We can follow Him too. Sometimes it will be our neighbour, sometimes an old friend, sometimes somebody else, but always “lay your hand on him/her” to bring life back.
“Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.” (Gospel
“In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.” (JN 14: 2-4)
We are expected in Heaven; Our Lord personally is preparing a place for you and me: “I am going to prepare a place for you.” And when everything is ready—a place and us—He “will come back again and take us to himself” because we are His beloved children, and “where I am you also may be.”
“I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”” (MT 28: 9-19)
Before any of Apostles started proclaiming the Good News, Our Lord chose Mary Magdalene to be the first apostle: “go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” Latin calls her: “Apostolorum apostola—Apostle to the Apostles” to express her dignity as the first witness who saw the risen Christ. Everybody is called to announce the most joyful message—“let us be glad and rejoice in it.”
“This is the day the LORD has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.” (EZ 37: 14)
St. Paul speaks today about two options we have: to be “in the flesh” or, on the contrary, to be “in the spirit.” Those who are “in the flesh” forget about their dignity; those who prefer to be only “in the spirit” forget that we are “an incarnate spirit,” “a soul which expresses itself in a body and a body informed by an immortal spirit” (FC 11). When we are focused on bodies, serving our patients or clients as doctors or practitioners, we need to remember whom we serve. We respect “bodies” because Our God “put His spirit in us that we may live.” Our patients or clients deserve the best service “in the flesh” to receive benefits “in the spirit” at the same time.
“I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.” (Gospel Acclamation)
Homily for Education Phase II at Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study on Human Reproduction (for FertilityCare Practictioners and NaProTECHNOLOGY Medical Consultants)
“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.” (DT 4: 9)
When we look at generations of our families’ genealogies, we can see the heritage of our fathers and grandfathers, who spread to us their love for God (or something opposite), and also see that we are now responsible for transmitting to the next generations—“to your children and to your children’s children”—our love for God. The more “our own eyes have seen,” the more we are close to Our Lord, the more our lives are based on His “words of everlasting life,” the more natural it will be for our children to follow His words.
“Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must.” (EPH 6: 18-20)
So talented and chosen by Our Lord, especially for his mission to proclaim the Gospel to pagans, St. Paul asked for “supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel.” St. Paul knew that behind every preacher is prayer. Not only his prayer, but also many others—“with all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit”—because He is the One who comes when He is called and helps preachers to bring proper words to support God’s children.
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“‘I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.’ Jesus answered him, ‘No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.’” (LK 9: 62)
Jesus speaks of the seriousness and the unconditional nature of Christian discipleship. Even family ties and filial obligations, such as burying one’s parents, cannot distract one, no matter how briefly, from proclaiming the kingdom of God. Following Jesus doesn’t means rejecting family; it rather means building a new family, based on our vocation.
“I consider all things so much rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.” (LK 9: 48)
From God’s perspective, “who is the greatest” is totally different from the world’s perspective. The world looks for success, improvement, effects and results; heaven looks for ministry, relationship, dependence, trust and love. Everything is “in His name” and is based on Him, who “came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
“The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Gospel Acclamation)
“But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 TM 6: 11)
But you, man of God, pursue…” the most important things in your lives. “Pursue” is active, needs our commitment, plans and good strategies. Starting with righteousness we go to gentleness to build a better world where our families can grow and “to which we were called.” Our Lord will assist us with His grace “so that we might become rich” in His love.
“Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” (Gospel Acclamation)