November 10, 2015

Leo the Great

November 10, 2015:  St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor

  • 'Hand' pin:  The souls of the just are in God's hand,... (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar: peace. (1st reading)
  • Gold-colored accessories:  He proved them as gold in the furnace (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord shall be their King forever. (1st reading)
  • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders:  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted (psalm)
  • 'Sheep,' 'silverware' tie bars:  Would you tell your servant who just tended your sheep, "Come take your place at table"?  (gospel)
  • White shirt:  liturgical color for St. Leo memorial

Pope Francis
Homily in Florence:  Jesus wanted to know what people were saying about him in order to communicate with them.  He warned that without knowing how people think, a disciple becomes isolated and judges people according to his own thoughts.  So disciples must maintain healthy contact with reality and people’s lives; it's the only way to help and communicate with them.  Don't forget you've been chosen from among the people; don't be detached or aloof as if others' thoughts and lives aren't your concern.  The Church, like Jesus, lives among and for the people; we need to nurture personal faith in the Son of God.  Only if we recognize this truth about Jesus can we see the truth of our human condition and help humanize society.  Our joy is to share this faith, whose truth scandalizes.  We must go against the tide and overcome prevailing opinion where people don't recognize Jesus as more than a prophet or teacher.  The good we sow helps create a renewed humanity where no one is marginalized or discarded, where servants are the greatest and children and the poor are welcomed and helped....
To Italian Church convention:  We must combat the cancer of corruption, the cancer of exploitation, and the poison of illegality.  [Re symbolism of "Girdle of Thomas" relic] 'Girding your loins' means 'being ready, prepared to depart, to go out on a journey.'  We're inclined to remain sheltered, but the Lord calls us to renewed missionary passion and entrusts to us the responsibility to accompany those who've lost their way, to sow hope, and to welcome the wounded.
The relic evokes the image of service, like the Gospel account of Jesus girding his loins and washing his disciples' feet like a servant.  God served us and became our neighbor so we may serve those near us.  Never give in to pessimism or resignation.  Place your confidence in Mary, the one who, with prayer, love, and silent diligence, transformed the Saturday of disillusion into the dawn of the Resurrection.  If you feel fatigued and oppressed by life’s circumstances, trust in our mother, who is close and who consoles.
  • Wis 2:23–3:9  God made us in his image.  Those in the Devil's possession experience death, but the just are in God's hand, in peace.  Their hope is full of immortality; they'll be blessed because God found them worthy. They'll shine, judge nations, and rule peoples; the Lord shall be their King forever.  Those who trust him shall understand truth and abide with him in love....

  • Ps 34:2-3, 16-19  "I will bless the Lord at all times."  The Lord has eyes and ears for the just; he rescues them from distress.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted....
  • Lk 17:7-10  “Would you tell your servant who just came in from plowing or tending sheep, ‘Come sit at my table’?  Wouldn't you say, ‘Make me something to eat and wait on me.  You may eat when I finish’?  Is he grateful to him because he did what was commanded?  So too with you:  when you've done all you've been commanded, say, ‘We're unprofitable servants; we've done what we were obliged to do.’”
    • Creighton:  Jesus was clearly his disciples' master, but  he was also their servant; taking the form of a slave.  What they couldn't imagine in today's gospel turned out to be what God's reign is like. God’s gift (fixing dinner for his servant) is unmerited; we don't get points for religious observance, for doing our duty....
      St. Leo Magnus
      Francisco de Herrera el Mozo
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Thank God!"  Thanksgiving is a way of life, not just a day.  Do I sometimes think I'm a lord to be thanked, rather than a slave?  When we give God thanks, we acknowledge he's Lord and source of blessings and we're his slaves.  Giving thanks is having faith in the Lord and loving and serving him.  When you pray or go to church, do you think you're doing God a favor?  If you give money, are you being generous or merely just?  "Say, 'We've just done our duty.'"
    • Passionist:  Dying people want to know their life made a difference, had meaning, touched someone, and left a legacy.  Survivors of a loved one’s death want to know someone else remembers.  We long to live on and know our loved ones live on too.  Scripture says we were formed to be “imperishable” in God's image.  “No one is truly dead till nobody speaks their name or tells their story.”  We have to let go of the person’s physical presence, but we heal by creating and carrying memories, knowing we're different because the person lived.  To support a grieving person, share stories, and remember birthdays and anniversaries; help loved ones live on.  Be the face of Christ to them when they need you.  The more you do, the more “imperishable” you become; you build a legacy more meaningful than monuments or awards, and people will remember you....
    •  "We're unworthy servants":  Who can satisfy the claims of love?  In today's parable, Jesus explains we can never claim God owes us something; we're his servants, just as Jesus came to serve.  Service of God and neighbor is a voluntary act and sacred duty.  One can volunteer to serve, or be compelled to serve country or family when special needs arise.  God expects us to give him the worship he deserves, and he gladly accepts the free offering of our lives in sacrificial, generous, and selfless love.  God is Love, author of life and source of all love and friendship, created us in love for love and fills us with love that gives for others' sake.  God honors those who love and serve others generously; he works in and through us for his glory.  His love compels us to give our best, but when we've done our best, we've just done our duty; we can't outmatch God's unbounded goodness and love.

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