Remembering Christ Jesus and Following The Way He Teaches, Ninth Thursday (II), June 2, 2016

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Polish Chapel of the Basilica of St. Peter, Vatican
Pilgrimage for American Journalists
Thursday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time, Year II
Memorial of SS. Marcellinus & Peter, Martyrs
June 2, 2016
2 Tim 2:8-15, Ps 25, Mk 12:28-34

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • We pray to the Lord today in the Psalm, “Teach me your ways, O Lord,” and today in the Gospel he does.
  • He shows us the most important thing we must do, the first commandment: to love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength. But then he volunteers the second, which he says is like it, to love our neighbor as ourselves. We learn so much from what he says. First, he wants to help us to love God with all our mind, heart,  soul and strength, not just “some” or even “a lot.” And then the way he wants us to act on that love is in the love of neighbor, not loving him as he has loved us but loving others as he has loved us, feeding his sheep, teaching his lambs.
  • St. Paul did love God and others in this way and he tried to help St. Timothy to love like this as well. He simplified it for him saying, simply, “Remember Christ Jesus, risen from the dead, a descendant of David.” The great spiritual principle of the desert fathers was anamnesis, to unforget, to remember that God was with us, risen. He’s there to help us to love God with all we have. St. Paul reminds him that if we die with Christ we will live with him, something that begins in baptism, is meant to extend throughout life and lead us into eternity. But we have to make the choice to persevere in this love of God and neighbor and not to deny the Lord directly or indirectly through our neighbor. “If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us.” He will deny us precisely because of his faithfulness in honoring the choices of our freedom: “If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” He will never stop loving us or remaining faithful to us, but part of that loving fidelity is his respect for our freedom, when we choose to set our minds, hearts, soul and strength on something or someone other than him. St. Paul was urging St. Timothy, and through him the community entrusted to him, to preserving, loving fidelity.
  • That’s the type of fidelity we see in SS. Marcellinus and Peter, both of whom perished in the persecution of Diocletian in 304. Marcellinus, a priest, was outed as a priest caring for the sick; Peter as an exorcist, for liberating someone from the possession of the devil. And they were both arrested and brought to their execution. But they had died with Christ, were living with him, were remembering him, and went forth to their place of execution unafraid and undeterred, because they knew death would be a change of address into the arms of the Lord.
  • The best way we “remember Christ Jesus” in his risen life, as well as in his humanity taken from David, is at Mass, where we “do this in memory of him,” where he teaches us his ways and feeds us with himself so that he can raise us to life from within and help us persevere in loving God with all we have and loving others with the same total self-giving love as Jesus does.

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 2 TM 2:8-15

Beloved:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.Remind people of these things
and charge them before God to stop disputing about words.
This serves no useful purpose since it harms those who listen.
Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God,
a workman who causes no disgrace,
imparting the word of truth without deviation.

Responsorial Psalm PS 25:4-5AB, 8-9, 10 AND 14

R. (4) Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Alleluia SEE 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself

is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

 

St. Peter and Marcellinus 01