Fr. René Butler MS - 1st Sunday of Lent - Beware...
Beware the Tempter (1st Sunday of Lent: Genesis 2:7-9 & 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11) When the celebrant washes his hands at the end of the offertory, he says, “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” As he is... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 7th Ordinary Sunday -...
Holiness (7th Ordinary Sunday: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48) “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” This sentence occurs four times in the Book of Leviticus. Observe the reason given for the command. It is... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 6th Ordinary Sunday -...
Hammer and Pincers (6th Ordinary Sunday: Sirach 15:15-20; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5:17-37) Among the most distinctive features of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette, as you well know, are the hammer and pincers on either side of the crucifix. We are... Czytaj więcej
Father Superior General's visit to Portugal
Father Silvano Marisa, our Superior General, went to Portugal to visit our confreres of the Province of Angola who are working in this country. He was accompanied by Father Paulo Banga during this trip. They left Rome on Tuesday January 21. In addition to the visit to... Czytaj więcej
Meditation for the Year of Vocations: The La...
The La Salette Missionary - A Prophet Do we have the courage today to call ourselves prophets? Mary comes to La Salette precisely in a prophetic spirit. Mary, like other prophets, loves her people and suffers when they turn away from God. Like the prophets, the... Czytaj więcej
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Items filtered by date: February 2020

Beware the Tempter

(1st Sunday of Lent: Genesis 2:7-9 & 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11)

When the celebrant washes his hands at the end of the offertory, he says, “Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” As he is about to enter into the most sacred part of the Mass, he is reminded of his unworthiness to do so, both personally and as a mere human being.

The same thought is expressed in today’s Psalm, but is balanced, if you will, by the last verse: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.” By God’s grace, our sinfulness is not an insurmountable obstacle to sincere worship.

St. Paul reminds us that “all sinned” when “through one man sin entered the world;” but that was not the end of the story. Acquittal has come through Christ. The Author of Life, who “formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,” sent his Son Jesus to restore life.

But before entering fully upon his mission, Jesus was tempted. We can easily identify with this experience. 

He triumphed over the Tempter, but let us not suppose that he was not really tempted. Jesus was truly human, and surely knew the appeal of easy gratification of his needs, of proof that God was watching over him, of royal power.

When we acknowledge our sins, we recognize the temptations to which we have succumbed. Or, as at La Salette, someone else may point out the ways in which we have yielded to the Tempter.

The Beautiful Lady spoke of the following offenses: abuse of her Son’s Name; working on the Lord’s Day; neglecting the Eucharist; going to the butcher shops, “like the dogs,” in Lent. What is the underlying temptation common to all of these?

The answer can be found in Jeremiah 2:20: “Long ago you broke your yoke, you tore off your bonds. You said, ‘I will not serve.’” Jesus’ responses to the Tempter are a declaration of his desire to obey the Father alone. “The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”

That is the model of how to resist temptation. But don’t wait till the temptation comes. Resist it in advance. Always beware the Tempter.

Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse

Published in MISSION (EN)

Holiness

(7th Ordinary Sunday: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; Matthew 5:38-48)

“Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” This sentence occurs four times in the Book of Leviticus.

Observe the reason given for the command. It is not the promise of prosperity, which we might expect. No, the reason is even more important. Everything connected to God is holy. His will is sacred. We obey out of reverence.

There is a similar passage in Leviticus 22:32: “Do not profane my holy name, that in the midst of the Israelites I may be hallowed. I, the Lord, make you holy.” Our holiness is God’s doing. St. Paul echoes this thought when he writes, “The temple of God, which you are, is holy.”

The psalmist exclaims: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.” Mary at La Salette wept at the profanity directed at her Son’s name. This was but one of the signs that her people had abandoned their identity as God’s temple. Instead of praying, they blasphemed; they made a mockery of religion.

The call to holiness is a tall order. It needs to permeate every aspect of our life. St. Paul expresses this as follows: “If any one among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”

Mary chose Mélanie and Maximin as her witnesses. The message of divine wisdom was entrusted to uneducated children, so that no one could miss the meaning of her words.

The wisdom of this world is contrary to the message of today's gospel in particular. Turning the other cheek is (and probably always has been) counter-cultural. It is hard even for committed Christians.

Fortunately, our holiness is not a matter of who is right or wrong, of winning or losing. It is first and foremost a question of sharing in the Lord’s holiness or, as Jesus puts it, being “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

In our efforts to make the Beautiful Lady’s message known, we can advance toward that goal, and maybe transform some little part of our world along the way.

Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse

Published in MISSION (EN)

Hammer and Pincers

(6th Ordinary Sunday: Sirach 15:15-20; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5:17-37)

Among the most distinctive features of the Apparition of Our Lady of La Salette, as you well know, are the hammer and pincers on either side of the crucifix. We are used to seeing them attached to the cross, but in fact they were not.

People seeing these for the first time always ask what they mean. You are familiar with the traditional interpretation, but I think it might be more helpful to respond with another question. Supposing Mary simply showed herself to the children without saying a word, how would we understand her purpose?

Carpenters’ tools in and of themselves would have no special meaning. But, as they are associated with the Crucified One, they must have a connection with the Passion of Jesus. And they served opposite purposes.

It is no wonder that they have always been explained as calling us to choose between “life and death, good and evil,” as we read today in Sirach, who is paraphrasing Moses’ speech in Deuteronomy 30:15.

All of today’s readings are about choice. The psalmist chooses fidelity to God’s statutes; Paul has opted for “God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden;” and Jesus says four times, “You have heard... but I say to you,” demanding our allegiance to his teaching. 

We tend to see choice as a moral question, and that is often the case. That is certainly the perspective of Sirach. It is easy to forget that the Sermon on the Mount is more demanding than the Commandments. That is what Jesus meant by saying, “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Still, what Sirach says is true: “No one does he command to act unjustly, to none does he give license to sin.” In other words, when we sin, it is because of our choice. There may be mitigating circumstances, of course, especially if we are not truly free.

That said, before any concrete decision there must be an underlying fundamental resolve: as disciples of Christ, to strive with all our heart to live by his word.

That is what the Beautiful Lady came to tell us. She put before us a choice: failure to submit, with its consequences, or conversion, with its benefits. Exact opposites, just like the hammer and pincers.

Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse

Published in MISSION (EN)
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