Thursday, May 30, 2013

Joan of Arc, Pope Francis, and church as family of God

Sirach 42:15-25; Ps 33 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; Mark 10:46-52

Today we celebrate the feast and remembrance of Joan of Arc.  She is known as the hot tempered teen who led the french army against the English.  She cut off her hair and dressed up as man as she led men into battle.  At the age of twelve she began having locutions and visions with st.  Michael, St Catherine and others.

IT was from these visions and locutions she was inspired to help France with back its land from the British.

Eventually she was betrayed and tried as a heretic only to be burned at the stake.  500 years later, she was recognized as a saint.  Being a saint isn't all fairy tales and sugar and spice.  Often times saints are misunderstood and even not recognized until much later.

From her trial here is a transcript when asked about being in God's grace she responded, "If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me."  This is certainly not a bad prayer.


Here is a bit from the first reading for today.  "God plumbs the depths and penetrates the heart; their inner most being he understands.  The most high possesses all knowledge, and sees from of old the things that are to come; he makes known the past and the future, and reveals the deepest secrets.  No understanding does he lack; no single thing escapes him..."

Now read that verse in light of ourselves, our own personal struggles.  Even though we can't always understand our self and why we do what we do, it is comforting to know that God understands it.

The gospel passage come from the story of the blind man Bartimaeus, the one who refused to be silent as scriptures points out, "and many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.  But he kept calling out all the more."

There is something valiant n the blind man's refusal to be silent.  There is a depth of courage and urgency that is often lacking in our society, in our faith, that is revealed in the blind man.
I love Bartimaeus' resonse when called.  Scripture relates how he "sprang up" and went to Jesus.

What a beautiful passage that details the effect of grace in our life.  Grace enable us to keep calling our and to spring forth with urgency as we go to Jesus.

After receiving his sight what does BArtimaeus do, he follows JEsus on his way.   Here we encounter the completion of grace bestowed.  IT enables us to call out, to spring forth, to approach Jesus and then to follow him on the way.

Words from Pope Francis yesterday at Audience
The very word “Church”, from the Greek ekklesia, means ‘convocation’,” Pope Francis said. “God calls us, urges us to escape from individualism, [from] the tendency to withdraw into ourselves, and calls us – convokes us – to be a part of His family. This convocation has its origin in creation itself. God created us in order that we might live in a relationship of deep friendship with Him, and even when sin had broken this relationship with God, with others and with creation, God did not abandon us.”

“Even today, some say, “Christ yes, the Church no,” like those who say, “I believe in God, but in priests, no.” They say, “Christ: yes. Church: no.” Nevertheless, it is the Church that brings us Christ and that brings us to God. The Church is the great family of God's children.”

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