Fr. Bob’s homily from Christ the King…
Christ the King C
How many of you have begun to put your Christmas decorations up? So tere you are, getting in the Christmas spirit, and you come to mass and we get this Gospel and Jesus is on the cross. (Perhaps a good idea is to wait for Advent.)
But that is always how it is with the cross. It shocks our system and jerks us out of our current state. It is stunning that we worship one who hung on a cross, one who appeared to fail so miserably yet we dare to call him the king of the Universe.
I often think what would a Roman citizen who had died 2000 years ago in the year 19 would think of if they came into a church and saw it filled with crosses, some with a man being crucified. They would know what an excruciating torture, what degradation…
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Fr. Bob’s homily from 11/17/2019…
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time C
This Gospel comes around every three years after election time and I always like to compare the promises of Jesus to those of the lofty ones of the candidates. Jesus promises if you follow him you will be seized, persecuted, put on trial, betrayed by family and killed. Yeah! Vote for Jesus.
You see Jesus’ problem is that he just can’t lie. He knows that if we really follow him we will have to endure what he endured. And what he had to go through was remarkable. He knew the sting of rejection of his hometown. He would share the full revelation of his religion only to be hunted by the leaders of his faith. He preached a message of perfect love and found himself hated for it. Besides, Jesus is now in Jerusalem and upon the horizon there are trials darker still. He…
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From http://www.usccb.org on Christ the King: On the last Sunday of each liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, or Christ the King. Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 with his encyclical Quas primas (“In the first”) to respond to growing nationalism and secularism. He recognized that these related societal ills would breed increasing hostility against the Church. Today reminds us that while governments and ideologies come and go, Christ reigns as King forever.
During the early twentieth century, in Mexico, Russia, and in many parts of Europe, atheistic regimes threatened not just the Catholic Church and its faithful but civilization itself. Pope Pius XI’s encyclical gave Catholics hope and—while governments around them crumbled—the assurance that Christ the King shall reign forever. Pope Pius XI said that Christ “reign[s] ‘in the hearts of men,’ both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind” (Quas primas, 6).
Quas primas continues to ring true. In recent years, aggressive secularist campaigns have sought to marginalize the Church and other religious institutions. In response to the alienation and loss of solidarity which have accompanied these secularist assaults, racist movements have become more influential in the United States. Now, as always, we must turn and gaze on the face of Christ, who is Lord over all nations.
1st READING – 2 SAMUEL 5: 1-3
David was not perfect. David was a sinner, yet he would be the one Israel would remember as leader of their splendid past. Doesn’t that give us all hope? God comes to us as we are and can create in us a light for the world, if we let God shine through us.
As a sense of messianic hope developed in Israel, it was logical that the messiah-to-be would be referred to as the Son of David. This king is a ruler who is in solidarity with his people. Thus, king as benevolent ruler and as shepherd are primary motifs in the first Old Testament theology of kingship (W&W, Birmingham, p. 540).
We are your “bone and flesh” – what is meant here? Reflect on what it means for our messianic king to be bone and flesh WITH us…
This is God’s work of gathering God’s people, using a king as an instrument to draw the people who are scattered. God continues this work in the Church as God uses the instrument of Church and her ministers to shepherd the flock (www.usccb.org).
2ND READING — COLOSSIANS 1: 12-20
This is from a Christian hymn probably used at baptisms. What do some of these phrases mean to you? Scholars suggest that this letter was written most likely in the 80’s A.D. in reaction to false teachers among the Christian groups. Influenced by the Greek culture of their day, there were beliefs that regarded angels and other ‘spirits’ as rulers of the universe. They were associated with stars and new moons and pagan rituals. These people wanted Jesus to be seen as subordinate to these ‘deities,’ since by his incarnation they viewed him as being contaminated by human ‘flesh.’ This writer firmly tries to correct this view with imagery that is profound and beautiful. (Celebration, Nov. 2001)
The word ‘transferred’ has a special purpose in this reading. In the ancient world, when one empire won a victory over another, it was the custom to take the population of the defeated country and transfer it lock, stock and barrel to the conqueror’s land. Thus the people of the northern kingdom were taken away to Assyria, and the people of the southern kingdom were taken away to Babylon. So Paul says that God has transferred the Christian to his own kingdom. From darkness to light…from slavery to freedom…from condemnation to forgiveness…from the power of Satan to the power of God (Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, p. 111-112).
We must note that Paul says that in Christ God was reconciling all things to himself. The Greek is a neuter (panta). The point is that the reconciliation of God extends not only to all persons but to all creation, animate and inanimate. The vision of Paul was a universe in which not only the people but the very things were redeemed. The world is not evil. It is God’s world and shares in the universal reconciliation (p. 123). What a way to look at life! This resonates so closely to what Pope Francis says in Laudato Si, “…all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator,” (#83) This is the kingdom of God!
THE GOSPEL — LUKE 23: 35-45
What two reactions to Jesus are seen here? Who is the only one to call Jesus by name? What does this mean to you? How is this a story of conversion? What kind of Kingship do we see here?
Jesus chose to exercise his authority as service and forgiveness. He reigns not from a throne, but from the cross. The Jesus who is worshipped today as Lord of lords and King of kings does not Lord it over others, but, rather, he loves and leads all who will follow him to the kingdom of eternal life, peace, and glory. (Celebration, Nov. 2001)
The word ‘Paradise’ is a Persian word meaning a walled garden. When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a very special honor he made him a companion of the garden, and he was chosen to walk in the garden with the king. It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief. He promised him the honored place of a companion of the garden in the courts of heaven. Surely this story tells us above all things that it is never too late to turn to Christ (Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, p. 299-300).
Christ is a different and new kind of king. We normally think of kings as covered in jewels and fine clothes. We imagine them followed by a great entourage. Christ the king is stripped, beaten, and crowned not with jewels and gold, but with thorns. His only attendants are his sorrowing Mother, his young friend, and a few women devoted to him. Christ teaches us that his Kingdom belongs not to those who seem to have power in this world, but to the poor and humble who embrace the cross. It is when we walk with Jesus and when we unite any of our suffering to his that we come to experience his glory and life in resurrection (www.usccb.org).
Let us pray with St. Catherine of Siena…
You, God, as a fire
that always burns without consuming.
You are a fire consuming in its heat
every compartment of the soul’s self-absorbed love.
You are a fire lifting all chill and giving all light.
In Your light You show me Your truth.
You’re the Light that outshines every Light.
You, God, give the mind’s eye Your divine light
so completely and excellently,
You bring lucidity even to the light of faith.
In that faith, I see my soul has life,
and in that light,
I receive You who are Light itself. Amen
1st Reading: Malachi (3:19-20a)
Take a minute to go over the opening prayer again and what this reading is saying. Our spirituality is like fire. We can let it transform us, or we can rest in the coals. St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “Go forth and set the world on fire.” How does this sit with you today?
Malachi means “my messenger”. This book was written by an anonymous author about 460-450 BC after the exile. Although the exile was over and the people had been allowed to return home, they were disheartened. The temple had been rebuilt, but it did not guarantee communal, liturgical, or spiritual unity. The people were in disarray. The clergy were negligent, the ritual sloppy, and there was an indifference to the needs of the poor. The rich became richer, and poor became poorer. The prophets used the idea of the “Day of the Lord” to create fear and to motivate people to change. They claimed the day would be a day of judgment – a day of fire when the righteous would be saved, but evil would be destroyed. Because Malachi came up against the leaders, he was a very unpopular prophet. He was also adamant that the people forsake all foreign religious practices – he was even afraid of intermarriage because he thought it would taint Judaism. (Mary Birmingham, Word and Worship Workbook, 533)
The “Sun of Justice” literally means the ‘sun which is justice’. How does this image speak to you of God? Here we see the Biblical authors applying the symbol of the ‘sun god’ that was used in Persia and Egypt to Yahweh, for to them Yahweh certainly was the source of all light and life. The hot sun could blaze with fire to burn away evil and to heal the righteous. Christians applied this idea later to Jesus calling him the “Son of Justice” – the One who comes as light into the world with the incarnate presence of God. (Mary Birmingham, Word and Worship Wk, 533-534)
2nd Reading: 2 Thessalonians (3:7-12)
This letter reflects an example of a group whose apocalyptic fervor has ‘gone amuck.’ They refused to work, and they were beginning to be a burden on the rest of the Christian community. We do need to be careful how we apply this text. We are all capable of being ‘shirkers’ – and we thus need to take the warning seriously. But – as with all scripture – we should not use this passage to criticize the poor who might be faced with unemployment and homelessness beyond their own choice. It may be just as likely to find ‘shirkers’ among the affluent as among the poor. Christianity always demands that we uphold the law of love. (Mary Birmingham, Word and Worship Workbook, 534)
“Faith cannot stand as an excuse. Faith does not wait for another to work, for another to think, to serve, to pray. Faith plunges the believer into the thick of the human experience with all its pain and struggle even as it realizes and lives in the hope that this life is not forever. Temporal and temporary as it is, however, it is only during THIS life that we have the opportunity to prepare for the life that never ends,” (“Preaching Resources”, Nov’04).
How could we apply the imagery of fire to this scripture passage? Are those living disorderly living with a fire in their belly?
Gospel Reading: Luke (21:5-19)
From John Kavanaugh, S.J., “The Word Engaged” http://liturgy.slu.edu : In some ways this gospel is just about the way life is – such things do happen as Jesus warns us. Each day is the last. Each time is the end time. Each human faces the end of the world in the span of a life. Every sunset closes a day that will never come again. Each human death is a curtain on an unrepeatable drama. Without God, this would all mean hopeless tragedy. Has there ever been an age without such turmoil and trial, persecution and stress? As Paul says, it is only faith that saves us; it is faith that gives us hope in the midst of this ‘groaning of creation’ both within and without our human lives – as we live and when we die.
Our belief in Paschal Mystery can help us. From The Holy Longing (p. 146) by Ronald Rolheiser:
In order to come to fuller life and spirit we must constantly be letting go of present life . . .Terminal death is a death that ends life and ends possibilities. Paschal death is a death that, while ending one kind of life, opens the person undergoing it to receive a deeper and richer form of life . . . Jesus did not get his old life back. He received a new life – a richer life, a life that is free of death entirely. What can we learn from the cycle of the paschal mystery?
- Name your deaths.
- Claim your births.
- Grieve what you have lost and adjust to the new reality.
- Do not cling to the old; let it ascend and give you its blessing.
- Accept the spirit of the life that you are in fact living. (148)
Christ’s words are meant to move us, inspire us to set the world on fire like St. Ignatius implores. Here are some reflection questions using the image of fire:
- What is blazing in your heart?
- Where in your life do you experience the fire of light, protection and warmth?
- What in your life needs to be refined or purified?
- Where do you experience resistance to the purifying dimensions of fire?
- What keeps you from living your life with an awareness of this holy fire within you?
Fr. Bob’s homily from 11/3/2019…
31st Sunday in Ordinary Time C
Zacchaeus awoke to the large ramble of his house. He said his morning prayers and began his rituals. He came to his empty dining room table, gruff with irony. No one in town had a more lavish or larger table, but everyone had more people around theirs than he did. Lately, Zacchaeus had ruminated on many ironies or better yet contradictions in his life. He was a devout Jew but rejected by the Jews as a tax collector for the Roman Empire. Everyone knew him yet he was almost always alone. He was a man with money, but without a place in the world.
It was with these heavy thoughts that he plowed into another day of work in the surging, bustling city of Jericho. Another day sure to be filled with taking from others, financial success and deeper scarring. He was neither…
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Fr. Bob’s homily from 10-27-2019…
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time C
That is some prayer the Pharisee says. “O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.” Can you imagine if the opening prayer was like that? “O God, we thank you that we are not like the rest of humanity – mean, rotten and smelly. Or even like the fourth person in the third pew.” Nobody prays like that, at least I hope no one prays like that. The Pharisee even goes on to brag that he fasts twice a week and pays a tithe on all his income; doing more than the law requires of him. As if God would not already know that! The key to understanding the Pharisee’s prayer is that he, “spoke this prayer to himself.” The Greek, like the English, might mean that…
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1st Reading – Wisdom 11: 22 – 12: 2
This reading, actually a poem, echoes our opening prayer and psalm. It was a popularly held belief that the book was written by Solomon, but the author does remain anonymous. The most we know is he was a learned, Greek-speaking Jew and probably a teacher, and he was familiar with Hellenistic philosophy, rhetoric and culture.
The word love is used as a verb, an action word. God continually creates us anew, preserves us and forgives us. (M. Birmingham, Word and Worship Workbook,C, 517-8).
What is most mysterious is God’s superabundant life pouring itself forth, the love of God who gives and gives again but is never emptied in the giving. This self-giving is at the very heart of who God is (M. Downey, Altogether Gift, p. 43). How do you experience God’s love in your life? How do you live God’s love?
2nd Reading – 2 Thessalonians 1: 11- 2:2
This is another letter that is questionable whether Paul actually wrote or someone writing as Paul. Either way, there is truth in the letter. The people of Thessalonica (the capital city for the Roman province of Macedonia) are being told that they are being prayed for and not to be fooled by anyone saying they know when the second coming will be. Doesn’t it feel good to know you are being prayed for? Pope Francis says, “Without love, effort becomes a lot heavier.” Praying for others is an act of love.
We must be diligent in living the Christian life…be watchful and alert. During that time, everyone thought Jesus was coming back any minute. This was to the point where they were just waiting around and not doing anything! Paul was saying cut it out. There’s still a lot to do, so get busy doing it. (Birmingham, W&W, p. 519). How can this reading be good for us today?
Gospel Reading – Luke 19: 1-10
Here we have story of Zacchaeus (zuh-KEE-uhs, not zuh-KAY-us). This story is found only in Luke’s Gospel. This is Jesus’ last encounter before he enters Jerusalem.
Remember: Welcoming another into one’s home to share at table was an act of profound friendship. Meals were sacred times reserved only for close friends and family. Yet, one of the most historical ‘facts’ that we know about Jesus is that he often ate with sinners and the outcasts of society. When Jesus tells Zacchaeus that he is coming to dinner, the offer is clear. Jesus is asking him for his friendship. And, Zacchaeus responds by changing his way of doing business – and his way of living. Such generosity delights Jesus for he knows that now salvation (full health and life) has come to Zacchaeus’ whole house. (R. Fuller, “Scripture in Depth,” http://liturgy.slu.edu ; Celebrations Oct., 2004)
From “Working with the Word” http://liturgy.slu.edu : We sometimes tend to think that we need to repent and then God will come to us. But the gospel would suggest that just the opposite is true: Jesus comes to Zacchaeus who then responds by repenting. We do not repent so that God will give us his grace; God’s grace is a free gift. We just need to be open to receiving this grace so that we can repent and so the good things God hopes for us to do.
William Barclay tells us to notice that the gospel ends with the encouraging words: “For the Son of Man (the Human One) came to seek out and to save the lost.” The word lost in the New Testament does not mean damned or doomed. It merely means in the wrong place. A thing is lost when it has got out of its own place into the wrong place . . . A person is lost when he or she wanders away from God. To come back into a right relationship with God is a cause for rejoicing and new life, (p. 245, The Gospel of Luke).
All Saints Day
“…for our own greater good and that of the Church, we seek from the saints ‘example in their way of life, fellowship in their communion, an aid by their intercession.’ At the same time, let the people be instructed that our communion with those in heaven…in no way weakens, but conversely, more thoroughly enriches the supreme worship we give to God the Father, through Christ, in the Spirit.” Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, “Lumen Gentium”
“It is in the celebration of the Eucharist that this communion is most manifest. Here the whole church is united. The Eucharist binds Christians with the entire Christian community, living and dead, through those physically present at the celebration and those absent.” (Scripture from Scratch, “The Communion of Saints”, E. McNamer)
Who are your favorite saints?
Reading #1: Sirach35: 12-14, 16-18
Jesus Ben Sirach lived and wrote around 180 BC. He was an educated man whose main writing concerns were reflection on the Torah and practical suggestions for upright living. To live uprightly is to live up to the covenantal relationship one has with God – hesed. Hesed assumes a reciprocity and requires that love of one another flow out of love of God, (W&W, Birmingham, p. 510). Hesed is difficult to translate. No single word in English captures its meaning. Translators use words like “kindness,” “loving-kindness,” “mercy,” “loyalty.” Perhaps “loyal love” is close. Hesed is one of the richest, most powerful words in the Old Testament. It reflects the loyal love that people committed to the God of the Bible should have for one another. It is not a “mood.” Hesed is not primarily something people “feel.” It is something people DO for other people who have no claim on them (www.discovertheword.org). What does this mean to you?
God knows no favorites. There are no prayers better than any others. Sometimes we are afraid to go to God with our small requests. But Sirach says the one who serves God willingly is heard! Pope Francis says, “Today amid so much darkness we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others. To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope, it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds.” The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds!
Reading #2: 2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18
Paul’s ‘departure,’ a euphemism for death, uses a Greek word that means to leave, to loosen the bonds or fetters, to relax, to be released from prison – unyoked, free, unfettered. (Celebration, Oct. 1998) This is often a reading at funerals.
From Celebrations Oct. 2004: Scholars suggest that the abandonment that is referred to in this reading happened at the end of Paul’s life, during his second imprisonment in Rome under Nero. Even though there was a sizeable Christian community in Rome, no one appeared at Paul’s preliminary hearing to encourage or to defend him. Paul who had brought countless numbers of people to Christ, found himself alone, with no one other than Christ to strengthen and support him. Paul likens his death to a sacrifice or a libation. Libations of wine and oil were done sometimes by Jews, but even more often by Greeks and Romans. Before meals and, at times, in between courses, as well as at religious ceremonies, a goblet of wine was poured out on the ground as a gesture of homage to the gods.
From John Kavanaugh, S.J., “The Word Engaged,” http://liturgy.slu.edu :
Remember, Paul had entered ‘the race’ only after he met the Risen Christ and realized that all his accomplishments were so much rubbish. He gave up the pretense of being a self-made, self-righteous man. In Christ, he learned the freedom and the gift that is God’s grace poured out for us. The mercy of the Lord was his hope, his joy, his faith.
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
From John Kavanaugh, S.J., “The Word Engaged,” http://liturgy.slu.edu :
Prayer, most surely, is not about trying to change God’s mind or heart about anything. It is about changing us. And that is why the Pharisee’s prayer is so meaningless. There is nothing in his life to be changed – no empty spaces to be filled up. Remember Mary’s Magnificat: God fills the hungry and the ‘full’
(the rich) go away empty . . .” (Lk. 1:53) If the cries of the poor are to be heard or the orphan or oppressed are to be cared for, it will not be by some magic changing of God’s mind. They will be heard and served by concerned people who can recognize their needs and decide how to respond to them. Prayers can indeed be answered by a God who can ‘get through’ to prayerful people. We need to open a place for God’s entry into our lives. This is true prayer.
From John Pilch, “Historical Cultural Context” http://liturgy.slu.edu : To strike the breast is a Middle-Eastern gesture that was usually used by women. It was used by men only in extreme anguish, so it is touching that this tax collector uses this gesture. The closing phrase (“whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted”) is one of those ‘floating sayings.” It occurs also in Lk 14:11, Mt 18:4: 23:12; James 4:6, 10; 1 Peter 5:6. Most of us go through life tallying successes and failures. God’s ways are not like that. With God’s help, we can discover even in our so-called failures examples of divine reversals, a better plan, a more rewarding venture, new life after hitting a dead-end. What looks like a set-back, can be an opportunity for growth. This is the Paschal Mystery: new life from death.
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time C “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” After a funny parable and an encouraging promise of God’s ability to respond to our needs, that line seems to come out of the blue. I think it is the most haunting question in the New Testament. […]
1st Reading — Exodus 17: 8-13
Amalek incurred God’s wrath for attacking the Israelites when they were faint and weary on their journey out of Egypt. (Just before this passage is the section where God provides food as manna, and drink as water from a rock.) Amalek had set upon the most vulnerable and weak, the stragglers who were too exhausted to keep up with the rest. Amalek did not fear (respect) God. His sin is not unlike that of the corrupt judge who “feared neither God nor humans” who we will hear in the Gospel.
Picture Moses: he is sitting on a rock holding up the staff of God with his tired and aching arms supported by fellow believers. This is not meant to be seen as magic or ritual superstition; it is symbolic of the powerful presence of God in our midst. Remember also, that Joshua, whose name in Latin is Jesus, is the one who defends the people against the aggressors. Who supports you in prayer?
*How do you pray? Do you kneel down? Clasp your hands? Bow your head? Our posture can be a part of our prayer. Being mindful of our body and what it is saying about our attentiveness to God can make our prayer more holistic. We should be in a state of openness. Henri Nouwen says, “Praying demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in the darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched. The resistance to praying is like the resistance of tightly clenched fists…When you are invited to pray, you are asked to open your tightly clenched fists…Each time you dare to let go and surrender one of those many fears, your hand opens a little and your palms spread out in a gesture of receiving. You must be patient, of course, very patient until your hands are completely open. It is a long journey of trust…”
2nd Reading: 2 Timothy 3:14 – 4:2
Do you have a favorite verse or phrase that you find helpful – hopeful – faith-filled?
This reading reminds us that as long as we are laboring at faith, faith is winning. We just need to stay at the task, living with trust in God’s love and doing as God would have us do- when it is easy and convenient-and when it is not. (John Kavanaugh, S.J., “The Word Engaged,” http://liturgy.slu.edu ) We all “preach the Gospel” in our own way. We should do it however it feels most life-giving to us, as long as we do it!
Again Henri Nouwen says, “Often I have found myself saying: ‘The Gospel that I read this morning was just what I needed today!’ This was much more than a wonderful coincidence. What, in fact, was taking place was not that a Gospel text helped me with a concrete problem, but that the many Gospel passages that I had been contemplating were gradually giving me new eyes and new ears to see and hear what was happening in the world. It wasn’t that the Gospel proved useful for my many worries but that the Gospel proved the uselessness of my worries and so refocused my whole attention,” Here and Now, p. 127. Does Scripture do this for you?
The Gospel – Luke 18: 1-8
This judge is obviously corrupt – nothing like God. God throughout the Hebrew Scriptures speaks on behalf of the oppressed and the widowed. The word ‘widow’ in Hebrew, admanah, means unable to speak, a silent one. Chera, meaning forsaken or empty, was also often applied to a widow. The prophets always challenged the people and leaders to care for the widow and orphan, those without power. See Isaiah 1:23; 10:2; Malachi 3:5; Jeremiah 49:11; Psalm 68:6; James 1:27, (J Pilch, “Historical Cultural Context,”http://liturgy.slu.edu)
Luke’s gospel is often called the gospel of prayer. What does prayer have to do with faith?
How do you see prayer as important? How do you keep from ‘losing heart’ about problems?
More thoughts from John Pilch: The word that is translated, ‘strike me’ literally meant to “give a black eye.” It was used also to imply a public shaming. In other words, this pestering widow puts the ‘fear of the Lord’ back in this awful judge due to her persistence and public pressure! The point of this story is that if a helpless widow can get what is needed from a shameless judge, how much more can we trust that our ever-loving, honor-sensitive God will be with us to help us.
If you are feeling like your prayers are not being heard, don’t give up. Don’t despair. Don’t relent to your fears. It is in the persistence. “Perseverance in prayer is more than true grit that will never quit; it is trust in a God who will never abandon or ignore those who entrust themselves to the divine power, care and mercy in prayer. With this assurance, perseverance in prayer without losing heart becomes not only possible but a permanent practice in the life of the believer.” (Celebration, 10/21/01)
In and through the person of Jesus himself the reality of the kingdom is already present and available. When we recall how Jesus presents himself constantly, if indirectly, as the Son of Man, we catch the sharp bite in the question: ‘When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ The Son of Man has come and is there, right in front of his audience. What does he find on earth – faith or a terrible lack of faith? We don’t have to wait for his final coming to put the question, but must ask now: What does Jesus find on earth today? (Following the Way, G. O’Collins SJ, p. 137.