May 26, 2016

Philip Neri

May 26, 2016:  St. Philip Neri, Priest

  • White shirt:  Long for pure spiritual milk (1st reading)
  • 'Stone' tie pin:  Come to him, a living stone... and, like living stones, be built into a spiritual house... (1st reading)
  • 'Lights' tie:  God called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  We're the flock the Lord tends (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Blind beggar Bartimaeus received his sight (gospel)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” (gospel)
  • Green suspenders:  Ordinary Time season

Pope Francis homily
[We don't celebrate the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ till this Sunday, but since it's celebrated today in the Vatican (and many other places :-), his homily is for that solemnity.]
"Do this in remembrance of me."  Paul recalls this command of Jesus in his account of the institution of the Eucharist; it's the oldest testimony we have to Jesus' words at the Last Supper.  “Do this,”  i.e. take bread and the chalice, give thanks, and share.  Jesus commands us to repeat the action by which he instituted the memorial of his own Pasch and gives us his Body and Blood.  The “doing” always has Jesus as its subject but is made real through our hands anointed by the Spirit.  On a previous occasion he asked his disciples to “do” it, in obedience to his Father.  Jesus says to the disciples in front of the crowds:  “Give them something to eat yourselves.”  Jesus blesses and breaks the loaves and provides food to satisfy the crowd, but the disciples offer him the loaves and fish.  Jesus wanted it this way: that, instead of sending the crowd away, the disciples would put at his disposal what little they had.  And the pieces of bread, broken by Jesus, pass into the hands of the disciples, who distribute them; the disciples are “doing” with Jesus, giving them something to eat.  Christ wants to give himself for the salvation of all, but it needs to happen through our offering what we have, receiving bread broken by Jesus, and giving it to all.
'Breaking' explains “Do this in remembrance of me”:  Jesus, broken for us, asks us to give ourselves, to break ourselves, for others.  “Breaking bread” became the sign for recognizing Christ and Christians.  The Emmaus disciples knew him “in the breaking of the bread.”  The first Jerusalem community “held steadfastly… to the breaking of the bread.”  From the outset the Eucharist becomes the Church's center and life pattern.  Think too of saints, famous or anonymous, who “broke” themselves, their lives, to give others "something to eat."  Parents, besides the bread they provide at home, have broken their hearts to let their children grow.  Responsible Christians have broken their lives to defend human dignity.  They find strength to do this in the Eucharist, in the power of the Risen Lord’s love.  May we give food to the crowds of today, breaking open our faith and lives as a sign of Christ’s love for everyone. 

  • 1 Pt 2:2-5, 9-12  Come to him, a living stone precious in God's sight, and, like living stones, be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer sacrifices acceptable to God.  You're a chosen race, a holy nation, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his light.  Once you were no people; now you're God’s people.  You hadn't received mercy; now you have.  Maintain good conduct, so people may observe your good works and glorify God.
  • Ps 100:2-5  "Come with joy into the presence of the Lord."  Give him thanks; serve him with gladness.  Know the Lord God made us, and we're his people.  The Lord is good, kind, and faithful forever.
  • Mk 10:46-52  When blind beggar Bartimaeus heard Jesus was passing by, he cried out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me,”  even as many told him to shut up.  Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” / “I want to see.” / “Go; your faith has saved you.”  He received his sight and followed him.
    • Creighton:  When the crowd urges Bartimaeus forward, he abandons his cloak.  For Jews the cloak was almost a house and identity, protection, and power.  He jumps up, goes to Jesus, asks for sight, then is healed and sent on his way.  Once he sees, he goes on without his cloak, and all it means, to follow Jesus.  Later in Mark, similarly, at Gethsemane a nameless young man followed Jesus wearing only a linen cloth.  They caught hold of him, but he left the cloth with them and ran away naked; he reappears at the tomb on Easter morning.  If we believe we “see” who Jesus is and what he's about, are we willing to abandon our security and power, all that gives us identity and security and follow Christ empty of ourselves to be ready to enter his risen life?
      Christ healing the blind man/ El Greco
    • One Bread, One Body:  "If anyone thirsts...":  To receive the Spirit, we must thirst.  Thirst is one of the strongest human desires; think of nursing babies' thirst.  "Be as eager for milk as newborn babies, pure milk of the Spirit to make you grow unto salvation."  We can be this thirsty because the Lord is at work.  The Lord has called you to stifle desires of the flesh and thirst for the things of the Spirit.  Pray for a greater thirst.
    • Passionist:  When Jesus asks Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”, Bartimaeus replies “Have pity on me,” refusing to let the crowd quiet him, and Jesus hears him.  Some suggest the “cloak” identified legitimate beggars, but whatever it was, he threw off his old self to go to Jesus.  Jesus asks us too, “What do you want me to do for you?”  In receiving his sight, Bartimaeus started to follow Jesus and can rejoin the community that sat him on the roadside to beg; his identity shifts from beggar to disciple.  What do I deeply want?
      St. Philip Neri/ Guercino
    •  "What do you want me to do for you?"  Bartimaeus was determined to get near the one who could meet his need.  He'd heard of Jesus and his healings but hadn't had a way to contact him.  It took "guts" and persistence for him to get his attention.  The crowd was likely annoyed because he was disturbing their peace and interrupting Jesus' discourse.  He was determined to get Jesus' attention and was persistent.  Jesus showed that acting was more important than talking.  Jesus was ready not only to empathize with the blind man's suffering and to relieve it.  Jesus commends him for his eyes of faith.  Do I recognize my need for God's healing?  Do I seek him out with persistence and trust his goodness and mercy?
    St. Philip Neri
    • Pope Francis:  Philip Neri was a renowned pastor and confessor who had special care for poor children, founding for them a school and a college.  Thanks to his apostolate, commitment to salvation of souls returned to be a Church priority; the Church recovered its understanding that pastors have to be with their people to guide and support their faith.  He's a luminous model of the Church's mission.  The Congregation of the Oratory is the first example of secular priests living a communal life....

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