SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - Living Easter Every Day
Published in Year of Faith
CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Many years ago in Dublin, Ireland, two women were spending the afternoon together shopping at their favorite clothing store. They had grown up together in the same neighborhood and were lifelong friends. As they left the store with their bundles, they began to cross a busy street in order to get to the parking lot where they had left their car.
One of the ladies was distracted with her bundles and could not see a rapidly approaching car. The other woman noticing the dilemma, pushed her friend forward and took the entire impact of the oncoming car. The woman was killed instantly.
This woman was the mother of a Catholic priest. I am sure that the woman was able to make this heroic sacrifice of her life because the pattern of her life had always been characterized by the qualities of a true mother and a true friend. I am sure that the priest was just as able to answer the call of God to love unconditionally because his mother taught him how to do so.
"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13: 34-35). These words from this Sunday's gospel passage synthesize the whole meaning of the Paschal Mystery: Jesus died for us because of his unconditional love for all of us, and we are called to live this new life of unconditional love.
Anyone who wants to live true Christianity is called to live selflessly. Does a true mother complain when she must waken in the middle of the night to care for her sick child? What father who really loves his family will complain about the daily sacrifices that he must make to support his family? Will a Catholic priest, enamored of his priestly calling, not be filled with a profound joy as he gives himself untiringly to his parish family?
Selfishness will prevent us from the giving of ourselves unconditionally. If we live selfish lives, we will not experience the profound joy of Christianity. True Christians are always laughing because they are men and women who are completely selfless.
Despite the many challenges and sufferings of daily existence, a life of selfless love energizes the true Christian in such way that they are able to soar above every challenge.
This donation of our lives manifests itself in many concrete ways throughout the day. Simple little acts like saying hello to someone and being of good cheer, helping out in the kitchen during meal times, assisting a needy school friend with their homework, helping an elderly neighbor with the chores, and volunteering time in the parish are just a few of the numerous ways that the true disciple of Jesus can love in a very practical manner.
Married love and celibate love can only be understood within the dimension of total donation of self.
Mother Teresa gave the modern world a visible example of total donation. Everyone has been moved by her selflessness. She would always say, "Love, until it hurts". Here we find in her simple words the antidote for the crisis facing modern society.
Daily, total giving of the self is not an easy enterprise. The tendencies of fallen human nature pull us into ourselves. This is why we need a daily encounter with the God of unconditional love hidden in the tabernacle of every Catholic Church.
Whether through daily Mass or a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament, it is Jesus who will give us all of the graces that we need to love just like he loves you and me. But, in order to truly love we must first die to ourselves. Total and complete detachment from our selves is essential.
During the height of the Vietnam War, an Afro-American second lieutenant led his small company on a patrol through the jungle. As they were making their way through the dense tangle of trees and vines, he suddenly noticed that a sniper had dropped a grenade in the middle of his men. Without hesitation the second lieutenant pounced on the grenade and saved his company by sacrificing his own life. Shortly after this incident, President Nixon awarded him the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously, which was presented to his mother.
Perhaps we will never be in a situation to sacrifice our lives as heroically as the sergeant did. However, it is quite possible that he was able to make the supreme sacrifice of himself, because his entire life was made up of many heroic moments of self-giving. This pattern thus established made it easy for him to give of himself without hesitation.
"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13: 34-35).
Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org and listen to the audio podcast of this Sunday homily.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for APRIL 2018
For those who have Responsibility in Economic Matters. That economists may have the courage to reject any economy of exclusion and know how to open new paths.
Calling the saints to mind inspires, or rather arouses in us, above all else, a longing to enjoy their company, so desirable in itself. We ... continue reading
The heart is the center of a person, the place from which he/she makes the choices which will affect the world within them and around them. ... continue reading
The consideration of Jesus' baptism, gives us an opportunity to remember our own baptism. If you do not know the date of your own ... continue reading
I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. HYTHE, ... continue reading
The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- St. Anselm: Saint of the Day for Saturday, April 21, 2018
- Daily Reading for Sunday, April 22nd, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Saturday, April 21, 2018
- Five things Catholics can do to promote international religious freedom
- Has California just voted to ban the BIBLE? HD Video
- Death threats for opposing gay marriage? Florist appeals to Supreme Court
- California bill that could BAN THE BIBLE advances
- Global Warming threatening Europe with colder weather HD
- The Memorare HD
- God Alone Suffices HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, April 21st, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education