Thirty-second Sunday – Ordinary Time Cycle C
Reflecting on 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
When I was a young Catholic growing up in the warm parish community of St. Vincent de Paul in Denver, our favorite recess activity was to take our Saints Books out on the playground and horrify each other with the stories of their martyrdoms. I think of that today as we hear that terrifying account of the torture and execution of the seven pious brothers (and their mother) by Antiochus Epiphanes IV around 170 B.C.
I used to know a lot more about how the saints died than how they lived. Their deaths were so dramatic that I forgot to notice the faith statements of their lives.
Lately I’ve been thinking about Canada’s first canonized saint, André Bessette. What a disappointing story. He wasn’t devoured by Roman lions or skinned alive by Syrian emperors. For forty years he just held the door open for people coming into Notre Dame College in Quebec. And after his totally unremarkable death over one million people filed by his casket, weeping for this simple Holy Cross brother who lived his ordinary life with extraordinary love.
I guess that’s who all the saints are: door openers. Something about their lives, and sometimes their deaths, opens a door for us so we can see Jesus more clearly. And on the day of our own deaths Jesus himself will open the door for us, for as today’s Gospel tells us, “he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
Sharing God’s Word at Home:
What saint, living or dead, opens the door for you to see Jesus?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
For me it’s St. Francis of Assisi. No matter how often I think of his words, “Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words.”, I am taken aback by both the simplicity and transformational aspects of the teaching. We can reach anyone far more completely and sincerely just by who we are and how we act than what we say. HOWEVER, the catch is, that we must act as Jesus expects us “at all times”.
Oh, I laughed when I read Kathy’s rememberance of reading the Lives of the Saints in school, because we did the same thing @ St. Joseph grade school in Pueblo “my saint was beheaded” and we would wait to hear the gasps.
One of my favorites is St. Monica, who loved her wayward son so much and prayed for his conversion for 22 years! Who would of thought he would become St. Agustine, one of the great saints and doctors of the Church? I think of her love and perseverance and I pray for her intercession for all mothers, especially those who feel their children are lost.
I love St.Juan Diego also, who brings hope to all the poor and indigenous peoples of the world!
The Saints have always somewhat baffled me. I
I know it was their faith in our Lord that made them “Saints” But those stories use to make me uncomfortable to say the least. If we did some of things that many of them did, I’m sure the men in white coats and with butterfly nets would come after us. I use to think that there was something important that I was missing in their stories. And of course there was, they love Him more then anything on this earth, more then family and friends, more then food or comforts. I only pray that if the time ever comes I could be as strong as our future Saints that are coming out of Iraq and the areas of the Middle East. God Bless these priest that against all odds still answer the Call. So they are my modern day heros of faith and then of course my Saint is Mary Our Lady who so bravely stood by Jesus as his Passion unfolded. I have to lean on her strength so often when loved one have suffers some long horrible illness. As for me, I’m a wimp I just got pass a bad cold or flue and belly ached my way through the whole two weeks. I just can not imagine the pain that many of our Catholic heros have endured for the love of God! Becky
Hi dear friends,
Thanks so much for your AMAZING prayers for Mary Ellen Johnson, who has been diagnosed with Stage Three ovarian cancer. She has been amazingly strong and upbeat since you all started praying for her two weeks ago. May I ask you to please also pray for Wyona “Penny” Schablitsky, a member of our large readership who is suffering from both liver and pancreatic cancer? She is down to 88 pounds and is in great need of the powerful prayer of this community.
Thanks for the wonderful, wonderful contributions.
When I was a brand new Catholic, at the beginning of my conversion process — which continues today and will until I am no longer in this earthly body — I chose Joan of Arc as my Confirmation saint. I was obviously influenced by the Holy Spirit in this choice, as the role I’ve been given in the Church is to defend Her, especially in the mass media. In my dealings, I have adopted Joan’s motto, “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”
What a relief to know that I can confront the powers without being confrontational. Wow! In addition to showing us Jesus, the saints show us how to stand up for Jesus.
Through the eyes of a child, my Babci, (Polish word for grandmother) was a saint. She came to live with us when I was about 4. I can still see her sitting on a rocking chair in her room facing a picture of the Madonna and Child. Her hands were always in the pocket of the cobbler apron that she wore, her fingers moving along the beads as she prayed the rosary. It seemed she was always praying. She had come from Poland and lived a poor life here during the Depression. Babci had given birth to 13 children; not all of them survived. I remember her being very quiet, but kind and gentle. There was something about her that I wanted to emulate. I think it was the serenity that poured out of her.
Her son was my father. He also lived a hard life, working several jobs in order to make ends meet. As a child, I watched him kneel to say his morning and night prayer, wherever there was some quiet in our small apartment. If we were in the living room, he would kneel in front of a kitchen chair. If we were in the kitchen, he would go into the living room or my parents’ bedroom, which was a room through which we passed to get from one end of the house to the other. There wasn’t much quiet in that space. When he and my mom moved in 1977 to a house they built close to the Jersey shore, he planted a huge vegetable garden. Every summer morning he would wake up at 5:00 a.m. to check out what was happening in the garden. There he spent hours. Later, he told me that he prayed in the garden in the midst of the tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and other veggies. I learned what I had missed all my life. He was a contemplative. I don’t really know that I missed it. I just didn’t know what it was. He died of a very painful cancer, suffering with humility and trust. Even in the midst of his pain, he was generously concerned about our welfare.
My mother was a Martha busy kind of person, working hard, always making meals stretch to accommodate guests. She sacrificed in order to share. Mom seemed to enjoy the busyness of life. Every Tuesday she would go to help the crafters prepare for the annual parish craft fair. She loved to cook. I think it was her style of self-expression and a way to offer back to God the best of her talents. She crocheted so many afghans, always as gifts to share with those who wanted or needed what she had to offer. As an adult I lived with her for 14 years before she died. There I discovered her contemplative nature. I often came home from work to find her sitting in her recliner, her rosary wrapped around her fingers or her prayer book open to a favorite page. Other times she would be ripping out a line of crocheting. She had made a mistake during her nap dream. I watched her faith, different from mine, and learned what it means to be silent, to allow other people to choose, to accept what God gives, and to let go into God. She loved angels and I have no doubt that she is sitting in the midst of them, praising God.
I like saints who are alive today, and living around us, and joyful, and laughing wholeheartedly, modeling Christ living in us and pouring out of us. For me the saint that opens the door for me to see Jesus is Lucille Dupuis. Lucille is the Foundress of Our Lady of Tenderness Poustinia, in Estes Park, CO. She offers a cabin for quiet reflective prayer, on bread and water, on top of a mountain. Her phone numer is 970-577-1383. I found that, yes, Jesus was truely the host, when I spent time at the poustinia cabin that Lucille makes available for those who seek Jesus in a deeper way.
I will pray for Penny Scheblistsky, my little way of opening a little door. – – – Cris