St. Teresa of Calcutta: Carrier of God’s Tender and Merciful Love
Fr. Raymond LafontaineSeptember 3, 2016
The canonization of Mother Teresa invites us to look to her as a Christian hero, an outstanding model of the Christian life. Pope Francis has chosen to have Mother Teresa’s canonization during this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, particularly during the Jubilee celebration for workers and volunteers of mercy. The whole pontificate of Pope Francis is marked by attention and love for the last, the least and the lost, for the marginalized, for those at the peripheries of human existence – the poorest of the poor.
As we resume “ordinary” time and our sequential reading of the Gospel of Luke, we are presented with a scene of great power and tenderness. A “sinful woman” enters a stranger’s house, anoints Jesus’ feet with perfume, washes them with her tears, dries them with her hair, and experiences Jesus’ forgiveness and compassion. We do not know this woman’s name, or what her “sin” was; nor does it matter ultimately. She is healed, set free, restored to her dignity. Yet it is the Pharisee, the host in whose home this scene is happening, who is in need of conversion.
This 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time coincides this year with World Environment Day, celebrated globally on June 5th. Today’s liturgy, carefully prepared by our Faith and Justice Committee, evokes Pope Francis’ recent words on climate change: “The effective struggle against global warming will only be possible with a responsible collective answer that goes beyond particular interests and behavior and is developed free of political and economic pressures. On climate change, there is a clear, definitive and ethical imperative to act.
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
Fr. Raymond LafontaineMay 26, 2016
Over the past weeks, we have celebrated various aspects of our Catholic identity. Because we are an Easter people, we rise to new life in and with Christ. We are a Spirit-filled people, empowered at Pentecost to bear witness to one Spirit manifested in a diversity of gifts.
Today’s celebration of Trinity Sunday invites us to acknowledge the mystery of Divine Love as gift: the Father’s love takes on human flesh in the Son, and is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Our God is relationship: because God’s very being is self-giving, overflowing love, then we are not alone. Look upon creation and behold the reflection of the Trinity: dynamic, expansive, giving, radiant; extraordinarily diverse, yet a finely differentiated unity
This Sunday, the Church celebrates its “birthday” with the feast of Pentecost. It is a scene of great drama: rushing wind, tongues of fire, the uttering of many languages. It is also a scene of inner transformation: formerly timid disciples empowered to speak in such a way that no matter what the religious, cultural, and linguistic differences, each hears the message in a way they can understand. Such is the power of God’s Holy Spirit: to break down the walls of division, and to create the unity that is the Father’s desire for all creation.
Every year the Church in Canada sets aside one week as a special time for prayer and reflection on life and the family. During this year of Mercy, it is particularly appropriate that we turn our attention to the privileged role of the family as the first and most important school of mercy – the place where parents sustained by God’s grace, are meant to become icons of Divine Mercy.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to “abide in his love.” To “abide” is one of those wonderfully evocative Biblical words: it means “to remain”, “to dwell”, “to draw life”, “to be at home with.” Keeping the commandments Jesus gives us is not just observing some set of external rules, fearful that we will be punished if we disobey.
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that through the efforts of Paul and Barnabas, God “opens the door of faith” to the Gentiles. In our very secular world, with so many people expressing indifference or even outright hostility to faith, how might we go about doing that?