Items filtered by date: October 2022

Waiting in Sure Hope

(32nd Ordinary Sunday: 2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; Luke 20:27-38)

The readings for this weekend follow closely on the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day). Therefore, it seems the proper time to talk about resurrection and the theological virtue of Hope.

In the first reading we hear part of the story of a mother who witnessed the torture and death of her seven sons, before being put to death herself, for refusing to eat pork. The fourth son expressed their motivation: “It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him.”

Mary’s complaint at La Salette about people going to the butcher shops in Lent stands in sharp contrast to the faith for which those brave persons gave their lives. They inspire our admiration. How willing would we be, however, in comparable circumstances, to imitate them? The very thought makes us pray that our faith might never be put to such a test.

Paul reminds the Thessalonians that God “has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace,” and “will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”

In the gospel, Jesus insists on the resurrection. This is reflected in the conclusion of the Nicene Creed: “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”

It is easy to imagine that, at La Salette, the Beautiful Lady’s tears flowed most abundantly when she spoke of the children under the age of seven who would die in the arms of those who held them. She knew from painful experience what their mothers would suffer. But if her people refused to turn back to God, where would they find the hope required to see them though their time of grief?

The crucifix Mary wore was blindingly bright. But let us not forget that the cross, an instrument of death, was first and foremost a cruel means of prolonging and aggravating death through torture and humiliation. And yet it has become our chief source of hope.

Jesus will come, as we say in the Creed, to judge the living and the dead. May we be found waiting in the sure hope of the resurrection.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)


(31st Ordinary Sunday: Wis. 11:22-12:2; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10)

As we read and reflected on this weekend’s scripture readings, the word encounter kept surfacing.

This is obvious in the gospel story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. In the second reading, Paul and his companions Silvanus and Timothy wrote, “We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling.” In both instances, the Lord took the initiative.

The first reading doesn’t mention individuals, but the dynamic is the same. “You have mercy on all,… you love all things that are,… you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O Lord!”

Who are we compared to God? Yet God still desires to have an encounter with us.

In the gospel, Zacchaeus hoped to see the famous Jesus pass by. So, he did what he had to do. Put yourself in his sandals. Would you have been curious enough? Would you have been willing to deal with the crowds, especially being so well known in the town?

Jesus also wanted to see Zacchaeus, but for a very different reason. Zacchaeus could never have imagined that Jesus would actually invite himself to stay in his house, the house—as the murmuring crowd pointed out—of a sinner! But Jesus sought him out because he wanted an encounter. This was no chance event. Jesus’ purpose was achieved: “Today salvation has come to this house.”

Maximin and Mélanie did not expect to see a Beautiful Lady on that Saturday afternoon in September 1846. She sought them out to sound a warning to her people, to remind them of sin and the necessity of abandoning wickedness, and the need for conversion.

As members of the greater La Salette community, our encounter with the weeping Mother has transformed us, but from time to time we may need to ask: do we still hear the rebuke? Do we still need the warning?

There’s no reason to fear these questions. After all, the whole of Mary’s message was prefaced by, “Come closer, my children, don’t be afraid.” No harm, but only good will come of this encounter.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)

Blessed Lowliness

(30th Ordinary Sunday: Exodus 17:8-13; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8)

In chapter 6 of his gospel, Luke gives his version of the beatitudes, where Jesus singles out as blessed those who are poor, hungry, weeping, and persecuted.

Today’s first reading assures us, “The Lord is a God of justice, who knows no favorites.” The author then appears to contradict himself, emphasizing that God always hears the cry of the oppressed, of orphans and widows, and of the lowly. Among them, however, he includes “the one who serves God willingly.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary, who called herself God’s lowly servant, is the shining example of willingness in his service. At La Salette she encourages us to follow her example. The word she uses is: submit.

We confidently pray to her and to other saints. Their virtuous lives in the Lord’s service allow their voices to be heard on our behalf, standing by our side when, like the tax collector in the gospel, we hesitate to raise our eyes to heaven, and say, “O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

What we ask of the Lord for ourselves, we should be ready to give to others. A few weeks ago, a reading at daily Mass, from Proverbs, ended with the words, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard.”

In the second reading St. Paul writes from prison, “At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me.” Jesus had that experience before him, and many others since. In our increasingly secular world, we may well find ourselves standing alone. We will need to fight the good fight, finish the race and, above all, keep the faith.

When we see someone going through the trials of life alone, we should be brave and appear on their behalf. May our words and actions always reflect the words of today’s Psalm: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad.” Let us never desert each other.

Let us approach the Lord with that attitude of mind and heart which will make him most disposed to hear us, not exalting ourselves like the Pharisee, but humbling ourselves before him.

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

Published in MISSION (EN)
Saturday, 01 October 2022 05:47

Monthly Bulletin 008

Published in LAY ASSOCIATES (EN)
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