Valuing Christ Aright and Responding to Him as He Deserves, 28th Monday (I), October 16, 2017

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Monday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Margaret Mary
October 12, 2015
Rom 1:1-7, Ps 98, Lk 11:29-32

 

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

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • One of the real dangers in the spiritual life, especially those who are always around the sacred, is to begin to take the sacred for granted because of routine. Today’s Gospel is one of the best to help snap us out of it. Jesus reminds us that he’s a greater sign of conversion than Jonah and a greater source of wisdom than Solomon. That leads us to ask ourselves that if the pagan Ninevites totally converted at Jonah’s preaching and the Queen of Sheba were willing to travel 1660 miles each way just to hear Solomon’s wisdom, are we converting each time we come into God’s presence as profoundly as the Ninevites did and are we hanging on Christ’s words of wisdom the way the Queen of Sheba did?
  • St. Paul is someone who was converted entirely when he encountered Christ, spent 14 years in the desert of Arabia seeking to learn Christ’s wisdom in prayer and then spent the rest of his life trying to bring people to conversion and to enrich the Church with Christ’s wisdom. In today’s first reading we begin four weeks studying his greatest theological treatise, written not so much in response to questions or problems in a community he had founded (like in so many other letters) but to a community he had never visited, proposing what were in his mind answers to the biggest questions they probably would have, about how to be right with God, about the status of the Jews, and about authentic Christian spirituality. Today he describes himself to the Romans and what he was hoping to do. He says that he is a “slave of Christ Jesus,” serving him as Lord, was “called to be an apostle,” and was consecrated or “set apart for the Gospel.” His mission was to bring about the “obedience of faith” in those “called to belong to Jesus Christ” and “called to be holy.” When we truly believe, that faith impacts our life. When we believe in Christ, we convert from our own ways and seek to live as he lives, structuring our whole life not on earthly wisdom but his wisdom. When we grasp Christ, and treat him as Lord, we, too, become living, loving, “slaves” of Christ Jesus (instead of sin) because that is paradoxically the path to true freedom, since the truth of his wisdom sets us free.
  • Today the Church celebrates the feast of someone who can help us to convert like the Ninevites and seek to align ourselves with God’s incarnate wisdom far more than the Queen of Sheba. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, like so many of the saints, is a wonderful illustration of the obedience of faith. To follow her vocation was hard. After the death of her father when she was a young girl, she and her mother were abused by in-laws. She suffered because of an ulcer on her leg for five years. She suffered from opposition to her vocation. She suffered from various Visitation nuns inside the convent. But she was obedient to faith to Jesus and clung to him on the Cross and Jesus chose her to be his instrument to reveal to us the love of his Sacred Heart. Like Jesus was doing in today’s Gospel, he through sought to wake us up to the greatness of the gift we have. He told St. Margaret Mary that he had exhausted himself out of love for us, but from “most” he received only indifference, irreverence, coldness, sacrilege and scorn toward his presence in what he called the “sacrament of love,” the Eucharist. He said he was particularly pained that those consecrated to him treated him in this way. What he wants from us instead of indifference to make him in the Eucharist the biggest difference in our lives, instead of irreverence piety, instead of coldness passionate love, instead of sacrilege holiness in receptivity made so by his mercy, and instead of scorn praise. This is what St. Margaret Mary gave him and this would be the response of obedient faith. In his apparitions to St. Margaret Mary, Jesus did something very beautiful in a mystical way. He took out her heart, bathed it in the fire of his own to purify it and ignite it, and then placed it back into her. This is what Jesus wishes to do in every one of us, taking away our stony hearts and replacing them with hearts of flesh, hearts after his own, converted hearts full of his wisdom. He does that, first, when he sprinkles clean water upon us and gives us the heart transplant of baptism, prophesied by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Then he renews it every Mass, as alluded to in the Eucharistic miracle of Lanciano when the flesh of the 1200 year old miracle was shown to be human heart wall. Every Eucharist, every celebration of the sacrament of his love, we receive Jesus’ own heart as he seeks to transform us into the visible sign making efficacious his love in the world. That’s what’s need to approach him with the preference, piety, passion, praise and purity he deserves!
  • At every Mass, we meet the One greater than Solomon and Jonah. We hear him speak, constantly calling us to a new way of life, living as he lives. It’s here that he helps us to live up to our calling to be holy and sends us forth, like he did after his encounter with St. Paul, with the “grace of apostleship.”

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 ROM 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus,
called to be an Apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God,
which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures,
the Gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh,
but established as Son of God in power
according to the Spirit of holiness
through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1BCDE, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

Alleluia PS 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”