Because of my brothers and friends I will cry, "Peace be with you!" Because of the house of the Lord our God, I pray for good for you (Ps 122).
I cordially greet all of you with the words of the psalm "Peace of Christ be with you!" I think that many of us have followed the latest events in the Church with attention and concern, which put a dramatic shadow on the entire community of the faithful. I am referring to the moral scandals and abuse that were committed by the people of the Church, notably the clergy. As one community - we should unite ourselves in prayer with the intention for the Holy Father, for the Church and for all those being hurt, people who experience such great difficulties and problems, that all will be touched by grace from above.
Today’s gospel provides such a dramatic and beautiful picture of God’s love for us. There are many lessons to be found in this passage.
It is easy to imagine this woman - with hair probably to her waist or longer - weeping at Jesus’ feet in sorrow for her sins. She demonstrates such humility in her actions, to use her tears and her hair to wash the dusty, dirty feet of someone who has been walking in sandals on unpaved roads and paths, through the market places and in the fields. As a nurse I think of the contrast with how we health care providers can distance ourselves from our patients with gloves and gowns and masks. Not that I am recommending that we forego these protections for ourselves and others; it is reasonable and necessary to protect against exposure to infection. But, it might be well for us to imagine this gospel scene when ministering to a patient to remind us that God resides in that individual. Then we are humbled by His presence just as the woman in the gospel was and, despite our protective gear, there can be no distancing of our hearts and minds.
"To what shall I compare the people of this generation?"
I love to watch Jesus in the midst of a messy conflict. He has encountered tremendous faith from a Roman centurian who trusts God's power. He brought the only son of a widow back to life. And then the disciples of John the Baptist bring him a question from John, who is now in jail: "Are you the one, or should we expect someone else?" Jesus tells them to go back and reassure John by reminding him, "the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them." After Jesus tells the crowd what an incredible person John was, Luke adds the following words:
As I read and reflected on Jesus’ raising the son of the widow of Nain, I was struck by what Jesus did and how he cared for the woman who had lost her son. First, there are two groups on the road; there is the group of relatives, friends, and mourners with the widow, and then there is the group with Jesus. One group is mourning with and for a woman who has lost her only son, and the other group, led by Jesus, has been proclaiming God’s love and presence in the world by preaching that God’s reign is near and healing the sick.
During one of the sessions of our formation program, we enjoyed the visit of an exceptional guest, Archbishop Piero Marini, who for 20 years had served the Holy Father, John Paul II as the master of liturgical ceremonies.
Today's Sunday morning was very unique! We prayed the Angelus with Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square. All the Sisters of the Formation Program for the first time participated directly in the meeting with the Holy Father!
What attracts me about this passage from Luke is that it refers to the other spirituality. It is not the usual scenario of Jesus calling men and women to leave home and family to follow him. In this passage we find "house" mentioned twice. According to scripture scholars, house or home is mentioned in scripture more often than either temple or church.
In this passage the Centurion is credited by Jesus for his loyalty, concern and care of his slave "who is ill and close to death." The Centurion does not leave his dying servant, not even to go to Jesus to ask healing for his servant. Jesus is amazed at the faith of the Centurion who recognizes that his calling is to family, to his extended household, to his slave. The Centurion speaks to Jesus of his understanding of loyalty and dependability. He is a man responsible for his household.
Is 50: 5-9; Jm 2: 14-18; Mk 8: 27-35
Alexander Master, Peter confessing Jesus to be the Christ_c.1430
Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, «Who do people say that I am?» They said in reply, "John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets." And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Messiah." Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him. He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do." He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. Mk 8: 27-35
In the Gospel of Mark, Peter is portrayed as the one apostle that Jesus raises to leadership, but at the same time Peter screws up so often that we can really identify with him. Despite the fact that Jesus gives him the keys to the kingdom of heaven, Peter messes up when he tries to walk on water, he misunderstands the transfiguration, totally misinterpreting it, he denies Christ three times and later on is even criticized by St. Paul. Yet despite this, Jesus placed his trust in him. If Peter can mess up that badly and Jesus can still put his trust in him, there must be hope for me!