Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Roger J. Landry

10/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Today's readings on the Memorial of Blessed John Paul II help us during the Year of Faith to respond with lamps lit and loins girt to Jesus' merciful knock

To light a lamp is always a clear sign of readiness and expectation. Today as we celebrate the liturgical memorial of Blessed John Paul II, we can recall his readiness to pass from the apostolic palace to the Father's house on April 2, 2005. The lights in his bedroom remained on as the Mass for Divine Mercy was celebrated and he received the Lord in viaticum who was about to come for him. St. Peter's Square was filled with the lights of tens of thousands of Catholic faithful praying in unison. John Paul II waited for the Lord whose light he reflected and in whose service he had worked so hard for so many years. He who showed the whole world how to live with Christ also showed us how to die with Christ.

Highlights

By Fr. Roger J. Landry

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Fr. Roger J. Landry, Year of Faith, Lamp, Oil, Watch, mercy, Blessed John Paul II


FALL RIVER, MA (Catholic Online). The purpose of the Year of Faith that will draw to a close next month is to help us to learn to live by faith. When we are living by faith we are awake, alert and excited to God's action and we have a desire to respond promptly.

That's what Jesus is trying to stress in the Gospel today, when he tells us, "Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival."

There is a clear application of Jesus' words to how we should always be ready in faith to meet him when he comes at the end of life. To light a lamp is always a clear sign of readiness and expectation. To gird one's loins - that is, to tuck one's long flowing robes up within his belt - indicates that one is ready to work and to move. Jesus is calling us to keep the light's own for his arrival and to be ready to serve and accompany him. If he finds us ready in this way, he says, his happiness will be so great that he will do for us eternally what he did for the apostles during the Last Supper: He'll gird his own loins and proceed to serve us.

It's important for us during this Year of Faith not just to learn how to live with faith but to learn how to prepare for death with the type of readiness and response that Jesus indicates, so that we may be able to pass to the place where faith will pass and only love remain.

Today as we celebrate the liturgical memorial of Blessed John Paul II, we can recall his readiness to pass from the apostolic palace to the Father's house on April 2, 2005. The lights in his bedroom remained on as the Mass for Divine Mercy was celebrated and he received the Lord in viaticum who was about to come for him. St. Peter's Square was filled with the lights of tens of thousands of Catholic faithful praying in unison. John Paul II waited for the Lord whose light he reflected and in whose service he had worked so hard for so many years. He who showed the whole world how to live with Christ also showed us how to die with Christ.

But there's also a more immediate application. The same Bridegroom who will come at the end of time comes routinely throughout the day. To use Jesus' words from the Book of Revelation, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Jesus is constantly knocking and seeking companionship (literally "breaking bread") and communion with us. In faith we're called to await his gentle knock with candles of longing lit and loins for following girt.

One of the ways Jesus knocks is through our conscience, helping us to see whether we are living in faithful union with him in the choices we have made or are preparing to make. When we have sinned, he knocks with merciful love. Unfortunately, rather than longing for this grace and readiness to follow Jesus on the path of forgiveness, there are many who have turned off the lights of conscience and just let soiled garments hang unkempt.

Jesus, however, doesn't give up. St. Paul describes him in today's first reading from the fifth chapter of his Letter to the Romans as the one who rights the wrong of Adam. Just as through Adam sin and death entered the world, so through Christ mercy and life returned. "Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more," St. Paul declares. In response to sin and the death to which it leads, Christ bestows the grace of his mercy so that it might lead to eternal life - life with him - in this world and in the next. 

The question for us in this Year of Faith is whether and how promptly we respond to Christ whose mercy superabounds human misery.

During his 26 year and 7 month pontificate, Blessed John Paul II tried to help the entire Church believe ever more in Christ's merciful love. He wrote a beautiful encyclical on God who is Rich in Mercy and an apostolic exhortation on the Sacrament of God's mercy. He beatified and canonized St. Faustina Kowalska, the Lord's chosen "secretary" to reveal the depths of his merciful love to the world. And he instituted Divine Mercy Sunday as the dramatic exclamation point to the Easter Octave.

That's why it's fitting that in God's providence where there are no coincidences, John Paul II was called home on that feast which, in response to the Lord's request, he had begun. It's fitting that he was beatified on the Feast of Divine Mercy in 2011. And it's fitting that he will be canonized on the Feast of Divine Mercy next year.

The prayer that the Church will say throughout the day in the Liturgy of the Hours and the Mass highlights this aspect of Blessed John Paul II and mercy and would be the best way for us to celebrate his feast day: "O God, who are rich in mercy 
and who willed that the blessed John Paul II 
should preside as Pope over your universal Church, 
grant, we pray, that instructed by his teaching, 
we may open our hearts to the saving grace of Christ, 
the sole Redeemer of mankind."

Christ is knocking on the door of our hearts seeking to give us his saving grace.

If John Paul II could still speak to us all, he would doubtless say us what he never tired of saying during his Pontificate, "Be not afraid to open the doors of your heart to Christ!"

He would encourage us to follow his example and with lamps lit and loins girt open wide those doors to the embrace of divine mercy in this world so that one day we may be ready to follow John Paul II to the Father's House where the saints will sing of his mercy forever.

-----

Father Roger Landry is pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Fall River, MA and national chaplain of Catholic Voices USA. His homilies and articles are found on catholicpreaching.com

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 14:14-19
14 Now in my vision I saw a white cloud and, sitting ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:10, 11-12, 13
10 Say among the nations, 'Yahweh is king.' The world ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:5-11
5 When some were talking about the Temple, remarking ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 25th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine of Alexandria
November 25: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter