7th/8th July 2018

posted 27 Jul 2018, 05:03 by Parish Office

Homily for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (7 & 8/7/18)

 

Remember Young at Heart talk!

 

Padre Pio, or St Pio of Pietrelcina, was a Franciscan friar and priest who lived from 1887 to 1968 and is famous for many reasons.  He had visions of Jesus and Mary.  When as a child, he was asked why he hadn’t told anyone about them, he said he assumed they happened to everyone!  He also had the gift of being able to read people’s souls in confession, to tell them of the sins they had not confessed, but needed to confess, and gave them the advice they needed.  He also, like St Francis, had the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, imprinted on his body.  Because he lived so recently, it means that there are photos of him and even videos, including a video of the last Mass he celebrated on earth.  But one perhaps even more unusual fact about his life was that he was attacked physically by the devil, who sometimes came disguised as someone else.  One on occasion, he thought the Pope had come to see him, until “the Pope” started beating him up and he realised it was the devil.  In one sense, this phenomenon is not so unusual, as St John Vianney used to be attacked by the devil as well, being dragged along the floor, having his bed curtains set on fire and being subjected to various noises when he was trying to sleep, such as the noise of many people speaking, or of a flock of grazing sheep.

 

What’s all this got to do with today’s readings?  Well, in the second reading, St Paul speaks of a “thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan” that was given to beat him and stop him from getting too proud.  People have speculated what exactly this was.  It could have been a demon of some sort that physically attacked him, or others have said that it could have been some sickness or disability.  He had asked the Lord to take it away from him (whatever “it” was), but had been told, “My grace is enough for you:  my power is at its best in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).

 

The vast majority of people don’t have to deal with direct, physical, demonic attack, but we do all have our areas of weakness when it comes to living our lives as Christians, and there can be various causes.  I was told that in Cuba, one of the effects of Communism has been the habit of lying, with people turning to priests for help with this sin.  I’ve also heard that lying was a problem with the children in occupied France during the Second World War.  They gotten so used to lying to the Nazis, that when peace came they had difficulty telling the truth to people in authority.

 

Sometimes people are embarrassed by their sins and the fact that they keep on confessing the same ones in the confessional.  Why doesn’t God deliver me of this affliction?  Why does He leave me so weak in dealing with this problem?  We have a bit of an answer from the answer given to St Paul:  “My grace is enough for you:  my power is at its best in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).  Our weaknesses and sins can help to keep us humble and dependent on Christ – otherwise there might be the danger of thinking that our moral success was down to ourselves:  “I’m a self-made man and I worship the one who created me”.  In addition, we can also spot that Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was God showing His power in the midst of weakness.  The same is true of Our Lady:  in the Magnificat she recognised her complete dependence on God and that is was God who worked His marvels in her, leading her to realise her vocation as Mother of God.  Furthermore, we can use our temptations as weapons against the devil.  On one occasion, when St John Vianney was being prevented from sleeping by noise created by demons, he prayed, “My God, I willingly make to Thee the sacrifice of some hours' sleep for the conversion of sinners”, at which point the noise stopped.

 

We may be glad that we don’t have the same attacks as Padre Pio or St John Vianney (or maybe St Paul), but they do have their use.  St Pio of Pietrelcina, St John Vianney and St Paul, pray for us.

Ċ
Parish Office,
27 Jul 2018, 05:03
Ċ
Parish Office,
27 Jul 2018, 05:03
Ċ
Parish Office,
27 Jul 2018, 05:03
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