Let holiness begin to reign in your life!
February 8, 2021
St. Jerome Emiliani
St. Josephine Bakhita
Dear Family of Mary!
“…Be joyful bearers of peace and love that it may be good for you on earth. Yearn for Heaven; and in Heaven there is no sorrow or hatred. That is why, little children, decide anew for conversion and let holiness begin to reign in your life…” (January 25, 2021)
Here is the homily for English Mass in Medjugorje, February 7, 2021, given by Fr. Robert Rieger:
(Gospel was: Mark 1:29-39)
Sometimes the Church is rattled by scandals. And we’ve always got something to complain about when we look at our priests. That means we are expecting from the Church, moral integrity, and good example. But the nature of the Church isn’t just moral integrity, and we get a view of the nature of the Church in this Gospel.
Jesus is our Lord and our Savior. The Church is His Body. The Holy Spirit animates the Church. And what does Jesus do? He leaves the synagogue and goes to a family. And there He begins the healing. And the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, who lay sick with a fever, was not just to take away the fever. But the healing of the mother-in-law was so she could regain her dignity as servant.
And then later on that evening, all the sick, all those possessed with demons, came to that house. And so the nature of the Church begins to emerge, because this was the life of Jesus, and the life of Jesus is in the Church and is in each one of us, and so we start to become a magnet of sickness, of moral despair, of those who are possessed. Which means that even though the Church is the moral strength that keeps this world on its feet, it is also the place which attracts sickness, sin, and those who are in the depths of despair, and those who are attacked by evil.
And that is quite a paradox. You know, you would like to have the Church be just an example of purity, but it is full of sinners, beginning with us priests! And that is the mystery of the Church, it is something so beautiful, and it is a life in which our ugliness and our darkness have a work of transformation and transfiguration. We can come into the Church in all of our crippled-ness, and as we grow with the Church and let the light of Jesus grow in us, we can start to stand up tall, and serve others which is our truest and most beautiful dignity.
And so at the end of the evening, after Jesus has cast out sicknesses and cast out demons, He goes off on His own to pray. And there is the source of Jesus’ life. Not just prayer, but the fact that He is the Son of the Father. He is being the Son of the Father, being the Child of God. That is the source and also the animation of His prayer. He knows that He is the Son. And that is the most beautiful and strengthening experience of His life.
And in that experience of being the Son, He knows He can go out again. Everyone would like to keep Jesus – “No, don’t go out like this, everyone is waiting for you, we are becoming famous here, and you are doing really good things…!” And Jesus says- “No, I have to go, I have to go further, I have to keep going!”
You know that is also our problem with God. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just sit down and pray a bit! And, you know, be easy! Couldn’t we just all be happy together? But that’s not the reality. Reality pushes us to become servants of others. Continuously moving out to reach others who are in despair, others who are in ignorance, others who are possessed by demons. I think the future of the Church in its walk of resurrection, in its walk of transformation, will be like Jesus today…leaving the synagogue and going into the family. Going into the family to be with the sick, going into the family to be with the possessed, going into the family to be with those who are slaves to sin.
There the Church manifests the power of its moral integrity. The Church has the power to cast out demons, the power to forgive sins, the power to teach people to stay in the walk of transfiguration of their lives.
So that’s the paradox, while it has this wonderful power, we will always have something to do with problem people, problem humanity, problem priests, which is why it is better to curb our criticism and curb our complaining. Because when priests fall, be careful that is not going to be you two seconds later.
Everyone is at risk of falling, and everyone is called to the walk of transformation, everyone is called to the walk of repentance, and that is a beautiful witness that we can offer of the Church’s power and the Church’s moral integrity.
I, a poor sinner, a priestly sinner, am called as son of God, to stand up again! To stand up again in the dignity of being forgiven, and to serve people. So don’t hold the experience of God and the experience of prayer in a small and individual isolation. That would be the distortion of the Church’s true nature. We are called as sons of God to go out into our families or out into our neighborhood, to preach the Good News that the sick our healed, the sinners are forgiven, and the demons will be cast out!
In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2021