Building the Church through Proclaiming and Suffering, Friday of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time (I), September 27, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Friday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul
September 27, 2013
Hg 2:1-9, Ps 43, Lk 9:18-22

To listen to an audio version of today’s homily please click here: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • The Church has us continue to ponder the rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem after the exile and what that means for Christ’s resurrection, the rebuilding of the Church, and our own redemption, since we individually and collectively are called to be a Temple of God’s presence.
  • In the Gospel today we see that there are two aspects of the rebuilding that are necessary. The first is proclaiming Christ as the Messiah and the Son of God, both with our lips and with our lives. “Who do you say that I am?,” Jesus asks each of us. The Church is comprised of all those who confess Christ as the long-awaited-anointed one of the Lord and God-with-us. This confession not only says something about Jesus but about ourselves as well. Just like Peter, we need to have this confession of Jesus be revealed to us by the Father, we need the grace of faith. Especially in this Year of Faith, we need to ask whether we’re confessing Jesus more in little ways and big ways in our life.
  • The second aspect of the rebuilding process revealed in the Gospel is through suffering. Jesus says that he would have to suffer greatly, be rejected and killed. That was the way for the rebuilding of the true Temple he is and that’s the path for each of us to be rebuilt on him the cornerstone. Pope Francis this morning contrasted those who seek in the faith merely “spiritual wellbeing” and others who seek to follow Christ along the path of sacrificial love. The Rich Young Man, we remember, didn’t want to embrace the true path of rebuilding, choosing his material possessions over Christ. Pope Francis wonders how many of us recognize that the Church is meant to be comprised of those who are genuinely seeking to love others as Christ has loved us, to sacrifice for others as Christ has for us, to die for others as Christ died for us.
  • Today we celebrate the feast of feast of a Christian who had a conversion from seeking his own wellbeing to one seeking the will of the Lord. St. Vincent de Paul was ordained a priest at the shockingly young age of 20, but he was doing so to make a good living according to the pattern of his priest relative who lived very well off of benefices. After he was kidnapped by pirates off French Mediterranean coast, he had a huge conversion. It was consolidated by suffering a false accusation of robbery by a roommate. But from that point forward, he wasn’t seeking a comfortable life, but to fulfill Christ’s mission. He founded the Congregation of the Mission to care for peasants who didn’t know the faith. He founded the Daughters of Charity to care for the needy, hungry, sick, incurable, orphaned, aged and abandoned in Paris. He became chaplain to the gallows and worked to improve the spiritual and physical condition of the incarcerated. He founded the first seminaries in France to help priests become competently trained men for others. He used his  connections with the King and the Archbishop of Paris to put together a board to examine candidates for the episcopacy, to ensure that these men were true men of God. He never forgot the slaves on the Barbary Coast and never ceased to raise money for their ransom, freeing over 1200 by the time he had died. He wrote over 30,000 letters, most of them to give spiritual direction to those who needed it. And so much more. He became truly a man for others. Throughout all of this activity, he was professing Christ as the Messiah and the Son of God with us, and rebuilding the Church. We ask him to intercede for us for a similar conversion and a similar dedication!

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
HG 2:1-9

In the second year of King Darius,
on the twenty-first day of the seventh month,
the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:
Tell this to the governor of Judah,
Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak,
and to the remnant of the people:Who is left among you
that saw this house in its former glory?
And how do you see it now?
Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?
But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD,
and take courage, Joshua, high priest, son of Jehozadak,
And take courage, all you people of the land,
says the LORD, and work!
For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!
For thus says the LORD of hosts:
One moment yet, a little while,
and I will shake the heavens and the earth,
the sea and the dry land.
I will shake all the nations,
and the treasures of all the nations will come in,
And I will fill this house with glory,
says the LORD of hosts.
Mine is the silver and mine the gold,
says the LORD of hosts.
Greater will be the future glory of this house
than the former, says the LORD of hosts;
And in this place I will give you peace,
says the LORD of hosts!

Responsorial Psalm
PS 43:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (5) Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight
against a faithless people;
from the deceitful and impious man rescue me.
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
For you, O God, are my strength.
Why do you keep me so far away?
Why must I go about in mourning,
with the enemy oppressing me?
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling place.
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Hope in God; I will praise him, my savior and my God.

Gospel
LK 9:18-22

Once when Jesus was praying in solitude,
and the disciples were with him,
he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah;
still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.”
He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly
and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”