St. Therese, the Little Flower, follows St.Jerome, the great scripture scholar, in the church calendar. Both are doctors of the church. One entered the scriptures mostly through the mind, the other through the heart.
The Book of Nehemiah read this week is an important source for understanding the Restoration that took place after the Babylonian exile, when the Jews returned to Judah to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Nehemiah was the leader who rebuilt the walls and structures of the city; Esra was the scribe who read out the Torah, the Jewish scriptures, to the people. He also encouraged them the celebrate the Jewish feasts.
The other day I was looking through our Passionist liturgical calendar for the feasts ahead and came to a section at the end that I never paid much attention to before. “Notices.” It’s a list from the Vatican and the United Nations of important issues facing our world today, issues to keep before us in our liturgy. Liturgy is not just feasts and readings of the day; we need to bring current issues into our prayer and reflection lest liturgy becomes an “archeological dig.”
Each month the pope asks that we reflect and pray about some important issue. For example, all of September and until the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, we’re asked to pray and reflect on the care of creation. It’s a “Season of Creation”; the Orthodox Church began it, I believe, and Roman Catholics and other religious groups have joined in.
A timely issue.
All this week there were demonstrations and conferences throughout the world on climate change. About 4 million young people demonstrated in cities globally to pressure world leaders meeting at the UN to decrease the world’s dependence on fossil fuel. The UN meeting was disappointing. My own country, the United States, along with China and Russia, did nothing.
A reporter asked leaders of the youth demonstrations why did young people demonstrate. They said that young people are terrified of the future. Terrified. And if the young Swedish girl who has been speaking at the UN and throughout the US is any indication, the younger generation is angry at an older generation, particularly politicians, that doesn’t want to do anything.
My own church here in the US hasn’t responded well to the issue of climate change, which leads me to wonder if that may be a factor for so many young people finding church irrelevant.
Pope Francis is aware of the crisis the world is facing. Besides urging action by the United Nations, (see previous blog), he’s invited leaders from the religious and educational worlds to meet at the Vatican to see how we can change our educational systems worldwide, so that we can look at the world differently. In Laudato si he speaks of an “ecological conversion”. It’s not a matter of changing technology; it’s changing our mentality.
I’ve been reading recently an article by the Jesuit historian, John W. O Malley, “How We Were: Life in a Jesuit Novitiate, 1946-48” That’s around the time I made my own novitiate with the Passionists. O’Malley describes the day by day novitiate experience thoroughly, but he also indicates new influences affecting Jesuit formation then– a new historical sense about the past and the scriptures. a greater attention to human sciences like psychology. They were making their way slowly into religious formation structures. They were making their way into the formation structure of my community as well.
It seems to me a new cosmology is making its way into our society now. Yes, the historical sciences are important and we have to know as much as we can know about ourselves. But we have to go beyond humanity now.
We have to reflect on creation and keep it in our prayers. It’s there every day as we bring bread and wine and water to the altar in the Eucharist. It’s our home. It’s endangered. We need to care for it.
SEPTEMBER 23 Mon Saint Pius of Pietrelcina Memorial
Ezr 1:1-6/Lk 8:16-18
24 Tue St. Vincent Strambi, CP, bishop
Ezr 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20/Lk 8:19-21
25 Wed weekday
Ezr 9:5-9/Lk 9:1-6
26 Thu Weekday
[Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs]
Hg 1:1-8/Lk 9:7-9
27 Fri Saint Vincent de Paul, Memorial
Hg 2:1-9/Lk 9:18-22
28 Sat Weekday
[Saint Wenceslaus, Martyr; Saint Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs;)
Zec 2:5-9, 14-15a/Lk 9:43b-45
29 SUN TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Am 6:1a, 4-7/1 Tm 6:11-16/Lk 16:19-31
This week will see worldwide demonstrations leading to the Climate Action Summit on 23 September at the United Nations in New York City, where representatives of the nations of the world will gather to consider plans to address the global climate emergency.
September 21th saw Youth Climate Summit, an historic event that brought together young activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers who are committed to addressing the global climate emergency.
Pope Francis has encouraged Catholics throughout the world to join in this effort: “In this ecological crisis affecting everyone, we should also feel close to all other men and women of good will, called to promote stewardship of the network of life of which we are part.”
Our readings from Luke this week are from his 7th chapter where Luke sums up Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. He wants to make sure we know that Jesus reached out to the gentiles even then, so the evangelist tells about the cure of the centurion’s slave -Monday’s reading. “I have not found faith like this in Israel,” Jesus says, in praise of the gentile centurion.
Luke then tells us about Jesus raising the widow’s son to life-Tuesday’s reading. Jesus takes care of the poor. Another theme of Luke’s gospel.
Wednesday’s reading offers the final part of Jesus’ answer to John’s disciples, who ask if he is the one who is to come. The blind, the lame, the deaf are healed and the poor have the gospel preached to them, Jesus tells them.
Our reading today is Jesus’ short description of the reception he’s received from his generation. It’s a generation of children playing in the marketplace, so intent on their own games that they pay little attention to him.
Does that also describe our generation today too? In the western world it seems Jesus himself, not just his church, is given scant attention.
Still, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem. He still calls men and women to follow him. He still calls the whole world, especially the poor to follow him.
Numbers aren’t his main concern, Calling out to the world and to the poor is, Luke’s gospel insists.
The technology team would like you to join us in Congratulating Father Victor Hoagland on 60 Years of Priestly Ministry!
A Celebratory Mass will be held at 10 am on Sunday September 15th
at the Parish of Sainty Mary in Colts Neck with refreshments to follow.
Thank You Father Victor! Much Love from us all!
For this week’s homily please play the video below.
When the Passionists came to New York City in 1924 they looked to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to guide their new foundation. Signs of her are prominent here. A statue stands outside the front door of our church. She’s there at the front door of our monastery.
The great window in the back of our church honors Mary, flanked by St. Catherine Laboure and St. Bernadette, in the mystery of her Immaculate Conception, the title of our parish and monastery.
When Mary appeared to St. Catherine Laboure in Paris in 1850 and St. Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858, she brought a gift to their troubled age, an age battered by the skepticism of the Enlightenment, the anti-religious activity of the French Revolution and by the threat to human dignity that came from the Industrial Revolution.
Free from original sin, Mary brought the wisdom of God which she gained from her Son, Jesus Christ, to that world. Her message was that God “scatters the proud and lifts up the lowly.” God’s wisdom is greater than the wisdom of this world.
In the 1950s retreatants from our monastery retreat house memorialized Mary’s appearance at Lourdes by building a beautiful grotto in her honor in our garden. “All generations will call me blessed,” Mary said. The generation of the 50s and 60s, facing the threat of continuing wars and nuclear destruction looked to Mary’s appearance to Catherine Laboure and Bernadette as a sign that God is still with us.
Today, next to our Lourdes grotto, we have a sign of Mary’s presence to our generation, a generation facing the threat of climate change– a Mary Garden, which we blessed on September 23, 2018
Mary Gardens originated in Europe following the Black Death, a pandemic that caused millions to die in Europe in the 14th century. Mary Gardens, begun in monasteries and churches, reminded people that God brings life, not death, from the earth.
Recalling the Garden of Eden from the Book of Genesis, the Mary Garden with flowers, medicinal herbs and edible plants reminds us of the beauty, healing and nourishment we have in God’s gift of the earth. Mary stands in the midst of the garden, promising life and hope. “Make us worthy of the promises of Christ,” we ask her.
Today we’re threatened by climate change. Our earth is changing. We only have to look out the window to see something is happening to our environment..
Pope Francis in his letter “Laudato Sī” pleaded with the world to hear the cries of our sister, the earth, “ because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.” (LS 1)
Our Mary Garden is a reminder to love and care for the earth. It can teach our generation God’s way of caring for this precious gift. We’re asking Mary to take her place among us, as she always does, and teach us the wisdom of God.
Come and see our garden.
Victor Hoagland, CP
Here are some pictures from the blessing, September 23, 2018.
SEPTEMBER 9 Mon USA: Saint Peter Claver, Priest Memorial
Col 1:24—2:3/Lk 6:6-11
10 Tue Weekday
Col 2:6-15/Lk 6:12-19 (438)
11 Wed Weekday
Col 3:1-11/Lk 6:20-26 (439)
12 Thu Weekday
[The Most Holy Name of Mary]
Col 3:12-17/Lk 6:27-38 (440)
13 Fri Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
1 Tm 1:1-2, 12-14/Lk 6:39-42 (441)
14 Sat The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Nm 21:4b-9/Phil 2:6-11/Jn 3:13-17 (638) Pss Prop
15 SUN TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Ex 32:7-11, 13-14/1 Tm 1:12-17/Lk 15:1-32 or 15:1-10 (132) Pss IV
If you look at our church calendar this week, St. Peter Claver, the Jesuit who ministered to African slaves in Columbia, South America, in the 17th century, is listed as a saint who is to be remembered in all the churches of the United States on September 9. His feast is an obligatory memorial in our country. We have to remember him.
When the Roman calendar was revised in 1975 there were 95 optional memorials–saints and feasts that can be celebrated at the discretion of the local church or community and
63 obligatory memorials, saints and feasts that are more important for the universal church and should be celebrated by the universal church.
This week, for example, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, September 12, is an optional memorial. The Feast of John Chrysostom, September 13, is an obligatory memorial.
In the church in the United States, Peter Claver is to be remembered. The reason, of course, is that he dealt with an issue that not only affected the world he lived in, but also still affects the world we live in, the issue of racism.