Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#PopeFrancis "This is the theology of poverty: This is because poverty is at the heart..." Homily


Pope Francis at Mass - OSS_ROM
16/06/2015 14:58



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning. Following the readings of the day, the Holy Father reflected on the place of poverty in the Gospel, saying that the Gospel becomes incomprehensible if poverty is removed from it, and that it is unfair to label priests who show a pastoral concern for the poor as, “Communists”.  
In the 1st reading, which tells  of how St. Paul  organized a collection in the Church of Corinth, for the benefit of  to the Church of Jerusalem, whose members were facing great hardship. Pope Francis noted that, today as then, poverty is “a word that always embarrasses.” Many times, he said, we hear: “But this priest talks too much about poverty, this bishop speaks of poverty, this Christian, this nun talks about poverty ... aren’t they a little communist, right?” On the contrary, he warned, “Poverty is at the very center of the Gospel: if we remove poverty from the Gospel, no one would be able to understand anything about the message of Jesus.”
When faith does not reach the pockets it is not genuine
St. Paul, he said, speaking to the Church of Corinth, highlights what is their real wealth: “You are rich in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and love that we have taught you.” The exhortation of the Apostle is: “as you are rich, be you also great in this generous work in “this collection”:
“If you have so much richness in the heart, these great riches of zeal, charity, the Word of God, the knowledge of God - let this wealth reach your pockets – and this is a golden rule: when faith does not come with pockets, not a genuine faith. It is a golden rule here that Paul says, in essence: ‘You are rich in many things now, so be generous in this work of generosity.’ here is this contrast between wealth and poverty. The Church of Jerusalem is poor, is in economic difficulty, but it is rich, because it has the treasure of the Gospel message. This poor Church of Jerusalem, has enriched the Church of Corinth with the Gospel message; it has given the richness of the Gospel.”
Let the poverty of Christ enrich us
Continuing his paraphrase of St. Paul, Pope Francis went on to call on all of us to follow the example of the Church of Corinth: the Church, whose members had a great deal of material wealth and so many things, who were poor without the proclamation of the Gospel, but who enriched the Church of Jerusalem, helping to build up the People of God. Here is the foundation of the “theology of poverty”: Jesus Christ, who was rich – with the very richness of God – made Himself poor, He lowered Himself for us. This then, is the meaning of the first Beatitude: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ i.e. “to be poor is to let oneself be enriched by the poverty of Christ, to desire not to be rich with other riches than those of Christ”:
“When we give help to the poor, we are not doing the work of aid agencies ‘in a Christian way’. Those are good, it is a decent thing to do – aid work is good and quite human – but it is not Christian poverty, which St. Paul desires of us and preaches to us. Christian poverty is that I give of my own, and not of that which is left over – I give even that, which I need for myself, to the poor person, because I know that he enriches me. Why does the poor person enrich me? Because Jesus Himself told us that He is in the poor person.”
Christian poverty is not an ideology
When one divests oneself of something, not only from our abundance, to give to a poor person, to a poor community, one is thereby enriched. Jesus acts in one who does this, when he does it, and Jesus acts in the poor person, who enriches one who gives to him of his substance:
“This is the theology of poverty: This is because poverty is at the heart of the Gospel; it is not an ideology. It is precisely this mystery, the mystery of Christ who humbled Himself, who let Himself be impoverished in order to enrich us. So it is understandable why the first of the Beatitudes is ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ Being poor in spirit means going on this path of the Lord: the poverty of the Lord, who lowers Himself even so far as to become bread for us, in this sacrifice [of the Mass]. He continues to lower Himself into the history of the Church, into the memorial of His passion, and by the memorial of His humiliation, the memorial of His poverty, by this bread He enriches us.”

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tues. June 16,2015


Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 366


Reading 12 COR 8:1-9

We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God
that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction,
the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty
overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For according to their means, I can testify,
and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part
in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected,
but they gave themselves first to the Lord
and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun,
he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
Now as you excel in every respect,
in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness,
and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.

I say this not by way of command,
but to test the genuineness of your love
by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Responsorial Psalm PS 146:2, 5-6AB, 6C- 7, 8-9A

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
or:
R. Alleluia.

AlleluiaJN 13:34

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I give you a new commandment:
love one another as I have loved you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Saint June 16 : St. John Francis Regis : #Jesuit Evangelist : Patron of Social Workers


St. John Francis Regis
JESUIT EVANGELIST AND PREACHER
Feast: June 16


Information:
Feast Day:June 16
Born:January 31, 1597, Fontcouverte, Aude, Languedoc, France
Died:December 30, 1640, La Louvesc, Dauphine, France
Canonized:April 5, 1737, Rome by Pope Clement XII
Major Shrine:La Lovesc
Patron of:lacemakers, social workers
Born 31 January, 1597, in the village of Fontcouverte (department of Aude); died at la Louvesc, 30 Dec., 1640. His father Jean, a rich merchant, had been recently ennobled in recognition of the prominent part he had taken in the Wars of the League; his mother, Marguerite de Cugunhan, belonged by birth to the landed nobility of that part of Languedoc. They watched with Christian solicitude over the early education of their son, whose sole fear was lest he should displease his parents or his tutors. The slightest harsh word rendered him inconsolable, and quite paralyzed his youthful faculties. When he reached the age of fourteen, he was sent to continue his studies in the Jesuit college at Béziers. His conduct was exemplary and he was much given to practices of devotion, while his good humour, frankness, and eagerness to oblige everybody soon won for him the good-will of his comrades. But Francis did not love the world, and even during the vacations lived in retirement, occupied in study and prayer. On one occasion only he allowed himself the diversions of the chase. At the end of his five years' study of the humanities, grace and his ascetic inclinations led him to embrace the religious life under the standard of St. Ignatius Loyola. He entered the Jesuit novitiate of Toulouse on 8 December, 1616, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Here he was distinguished for an extreme fervour, which never afterwards flagged, neither at Cahors, where he studied rhetoric for a year (Oct., 1618-Oct., 1619), nor during the six years in which he taught grammar at the colleges of Billom (1619-22), of Puy-en-Velay (1625-27), and of Auch (1627-28), nor during the three years in which he studied philosophy in the scholasticate at Tournon (Oct., 1622-Oct., 1625). During this time, although he was filling the laborious office of regent, he made his first attempts as a preacher. On feast-days he loved to visit the towns and villages of the neighbourhood, and there give an informal instruction, which never failed--as attested by those who heard him--to produce a profound impression on those present.

As he burned with the desire to devote himself entirely to the salvation of his neighbour, he aspired with all his heart to the priesthood. In this spirit he began in October, 1628, his theological studies. The four years he was supposed to devote to them seemed to him so very long that he finally begged his superiors to shorten the term. This request was granted, and in consequenceFrancis said his first Mass on Trinity Sunday, 15 June, 1631; but on the other hand, in conformity with the statutes of his order, which require the full course of study, he was not admitted to the solemn profession of the four vows. The plague was at that time raging in Toulouse. The new priest hastened to lavish on the unfortunate victims the first-fruits of his apostolate. In the beginning of 1632, after having reconciled family differences at Fontcouverte, his birthplace, and having resumed for some weeks a class in grammar at Pamiers, he was definitively set to work by his superiors at the hard labour of the missions. This became the work of the last ten years of his life. It is impossible to enumerate the cities and localities which were the scene of his zeal. On this subject the reader must consult his modern biographer, Father de Curley, who has succeeded best in reconstructing the itinerary of the holy man. We need only mention that from May, 1632, to Sept., 1634, his head-quarters were at the Jesuit college of Montpellier, and here he laboured for the conversion of the Huguenots, visiting the hospitals, assisting the needy, withdrawing from vice wayward girls and women, and preaching Catholic doctrine with tireless zeal to children and the poor. Later (1633-40) he evangelized more than fifty districts in le Vivarais, le Forez, and le Velay. He displayed everywhere the same spirit, the same intrepidity, which were rewarded by the most striking conversions. "Everybody", wrote the rector of Montpellier to the general of the Jesuits, "agrees that Father Regis has a marvellous talent for the Missions" (Daubenton, "La vie du B. Jean-François Régis", ed. 1716, p. 73). But not everyone appreciated the transports of his zeal. He was reproached in certain quarters with being impetuous and meddlesome, with troubling the peace of families by an indiscreet charity, with preaching not evangelical sermons, but satires and invectives which converted no one. Some priests, who felt their own manner of life rebuked, determined to ruin him, and therefore denounced him to the Bishop of Viviers. They had laid their plot with such perfidy and cunning that the bishop permitted himself to be prejudiced for a time. But it was only a passing cloud. The influence of the best people on the one hand, and on the other the patience and humility of the saint, soon succeeded in confounding the calumny and caused the discreet and enlightened ardour of Regis to shine forth with renewed splendour (Daubenton, loc. dit., 67- 73). Less moderate indeed was his love of mortification, which he practiced with extreme rigour on all occasions, without ruffling in the least his evenness of temper. As he returned to the house one evening after a hard day's toil, one of his confrères laughingly asked: "Well, Father Regis, speaking candidly, are you not very tired?" "No", he replied, "I am as fresh as a rose." He then took only a bowl of milk and a little fruit, which usually constituted both his dinner and supper, and finally, after long hours of prayer, lay down on the floor of his room, the only bed he knew. He desired ardently to go to Canada, which at that time was one of the missions of the Society of Jesus where one ran the greatest risks. Having been refused, he finally sought and obtained from the general permission to spend six months of the year, and those the terrible months of winter, on the missions of the society. The remainder of the time he devoted to the most thankless labour in the cities, especially to the rescue of public women, whom he helped to persevere after their conversion by opening refuges for them, where they found honest means of livelihood. This most delicate of tasks absorbed a great part of his time and caused him many annoyances, but his strength of soul was above the dangers which he ran. Dissolute men often presented a pistol at him or held a dagger to his throat. He did not even change colour, and the brightness of his countenance, his fearlessness, and the power of his words caused them to drop the weapons from their hands. He was more sensitive to that opposition which occasionally proceeded from those who should have seconded his courage. His work among penitents urged his zeal to enormous undertakings. His superiors, as his first biographers candidly state, did not always share his optimism, or rather his unshaken faith in Providence, and it sometimes happened that they were alarmed at his charitable projects and manifested to him their disapproval. This was the cross which caused the saint the greatest suffering, but it was sufficient for him that obedience spoke: he silenced all the murmurs of human nature, and abandoned his most cherished designs. Seventy-two years after his death a French ecclesiastic, who believed he had a grievance against the Jesuits, circulated the legend that towards the end of his life St. John Francis Regis had been expelled from the Society of Jesus. Many different accounts were given, but finally the enemies of the Jesuits settled on the version that the letter of the general announcing to John his dismissal was sent from Rome, but that it was late in reaching its destination, only arriving some days after the death of the saint. This calumny will not stand the slightest examination. (For its refutation see de Curley, "St. Jean-François Régis", 336-51; more briefly and completely in "Analecta Bollandiana", XIII, 78-9.) It was in the depth of winter, at la Louvesc, a poor hamlet of the mountains of Ardèche, after having spent with heroic courage the little strength that he had left, and while he was contemplating the conversion of the Cévennes, that the saint's death occurred, on 30 December, 1640. There was no delay in ordering canonical investigations. On 18 May, 1716, the decree of beatification was issued by Clement XI. On 5 April, 1737, Clement XII promulgated the decree of canonization. Benedict XIV established the feast-day for 16 June. But immediately after his death Regis was venerated as a saint. Pilgrims came in crowds to his tomb, and since then the concourse has only grown. Mention must be made of the fact that a visit made in 1804 to the blessed remains of the Apostle of Vivarais was the beginning of the vocation of the Blessed Curé of Ars, Jean-Baptiste Vianney, whom the Church has raised in his turn to her altars. "Everything good that I have done", he said when dying, "I owe to him" (de Curley, op. cit., 371). The place where Regis died has been transformed into a mortuary chapel. Near by is a spring of fresh water to which those who are devoted to St. John Francis Regis attribute miraculous cures through his intercession. The old church of la Louvesc has received (1888) the title and privileges of a basilica. On this sacred site was founded in the beginning of the nineteenth century the Institute of the Sisters of St. Regis, or Sisters of Retreat, better known under the name of the Religious of the Cenacle; and it was the memory of his merciful zeal in behalf of so many unfortunate fallen women that gave rise to the now flourishing work of St. Francis Regis, which is to provide for the poor and working people who wish to marry, and which is chiefly concerned with bringing illegitimate unions into conformity with Divine and human laws.

(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)