33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

When preparing couples to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage, I oftentimes remind them that they will bring into their new union things that they have learned from their parents, siblings, relatives, friends and in point of fact, from all those with whom they have ever really had contact.  It is a simple fact: life experience conditions us, namely, life experience molds and aids in shaping our personality.  As we continue to read from Paul’s Second letter to the early Christian Community at Thessalonica, Saint Paul reminds those seeking to follow the example of Jesus that they possess a unique call.  Listen again to the powerful exhortation we here this 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: “we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.”  (2Thes 3:9)  The example of the Christian Community is meant to be a message that is spread not only in word but by example.   On the front page of the Boston Globe, Tuesday, November 12, 2013, there was a picture of Cardinal Séan P. O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, who gave an interview to a reporter from the Jesuit publication America at the beginning of the Annual USCCB meetings held in Baltimore.  The welcome headline that graced the front page of that daily newspaper proudly proclaimed “Cardinal stresses work for the poor.”  Of course, I quickly devoured the article as once again, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, need to be reminded, by example, of the mission of the Church.  Cardinal O’Malley said, “The US bishops’ conference is very engaged in all of these issues, in Catholic Relief Services, immigration [advocacy], Catholic Charities, but unfortunately those kinds of things fade into the background.”  The work of the Church around the globe is not to alienate but rather to build up and seek out the lost, namely, those who do not feel welcome in the community of the Church.  As Pope Francis has reminded the flock that has been entrusted into his care, we must reach out and help all those who are poor — those who feel like they are judged are feel that they are not “worthy” to be a part of the Church.  My friends, what do we say right before we receive Holy Communion?  “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the world and my soul shall be healed!”  None of us is worthy but it is the Lord who makes us worthy when we reach out and grab his hand and turn back to him with all of our hearts.

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