Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Jesus’ love for widows is His love for His own mother


Here is a homily I wrote a year ago for the homily workshop at seminary. While the reading was not in the context of the feast day of St. Monica, as it comes up today if one chooses the proper readings, I thought that it was still fitting enough to post today. 


Homily for the Feast of St. Monica
Readings taken from the Proper
Luke 7:11-17

 “a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow” Lk 7:12

Well into His early ministry in Galilee, today we find Jesus coming down south from Capernaum to the city of Nain. As Jesus approaches the city gate followed by His disciples and a large crowd reminiscent of another entrance He will make with palms and olive branches, our Lord encounters another procession out of the city, a funeral procession for an only son, whose mother is a widow. Seeing her tears, our Lord is “moved with pity”—His very innards churning at the sight—and draws near so as to console her. It is at this point that we may ask ourselves why our Lord was so moved by the tears of a widow? What did He see in those tears?

Simply put, He saw the very figure of His own mother, Mary. Herself a widow having lost Joseph, Mary will soon take the place of this widow of Nain in loosing her only son. Indeed, if the procession of Jesus and His followers into the city of Nain is reminiscent of His glorious entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, is the funeral process of the widow out of the city of Nain not reminiscent of Mary accompanying the precious body of our Lord to the Holy Sepulcher? Jesus’ love for widows is His love for His own mother.

Yet Christ does not leave the widow unconsoled. “Do not weep,” he says to her (Lk 7:13). This should strike us, since one does not command another—let alone a widow who has just lost her only son—to cease weeping unless that one can bring consolation. And in fact, our Lord Jesus Christ does console her; He revives her son. Yet, as St. John Chrysostom tells us, the very command to not weep is a command to receive consolation, for “when He bids us [to] cease from weeping, [He] who consoles the sorrowful, He tells us to receive consolation from those who are now dead, hoping for their resurrection” (Catena Aurea: Luke, chapter 7:11-17). Christ wishes that our very tears of sorrow over the dead turn into tears of joy through true faith and hope in the resurrection. This consolation is not a mere diversion or changing of the colors from black to white, but a real and true joy brought forth by an ardent hope in the coming of the Risen Christ who will bring us back to life. For Christ will come. He will raise our very bodies from the dead as He did His own. We know this. We believe this. He will do for us what He fulfills today for the widow of Nain.

We, then, following Christ’s continued exhortation to care for the sick, the poor, the orphan, and the widow, must be bearers of this consolation, this true hope in the resurrection. We, as His hands and feet, must be the love of Christ for His mother, bringing joy to the sorrowful by believing and hoping with them in the resurrection. For “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh” (Lk 6:21) and be filled with the joy of the resurrection.

Let us now turn to our Lady of Sorrows and pray that as her tears at the foot of the cross turned into tears of joy at the hearing of Her son’s resurrection, we too might bring the good news and hope of the resurrection to those who mourn; that we too might hold fast in our belief and hope in the resurrection so as to live in its joy until He comes again. Amen.    

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jesús Sacerdote Eterno, Hombre Justo


Plática Vocacional
La Parroquia de San Ignacio
Agosto 17-18, 2013

Estimados Hermanos y Hermanas en Cristo, Buenos días. Mi nombre es Sean DeWitt. Soy un seminarista de nuestra amada dioses de Austin. Tengo 4 años en el seminario, es decir 3º de teología, y me faltan 3 para ser sacerdote, si Dios quiere.

Padre Brian McMaster, el director de vocaciones, mi envió para hablarles a ustedes sobre las vocaciones sacerdotales.

Entonces hablamos a los jóvenes muchachos. ¿No? Por qué ellos son la cosecha abundante lista para recoger. Eschuca. Queremos ser hombres, ¿No? Hombres verdaderos. Queremos ser uno que es fuerte, tiene éxito, y todo, ¿Verdad? ¿Pero, que es un hombre? ¿Para que sea un hombre verdadero? Fuerte y grande, si, pero ¿Para que? Y diría que el hombre verdadero es para defender. Con su fuerza de mente y corazón él defiende los pequeñitos, la verdad, la justicia, y la vida misma.

Nosotros conocemos algunos de estos hombre verdaderos, hombre justos. San José fue uno protegiendo la Virgen Maria y nuestro Señor Jesús. Ahora tenemos Papa Francisco, ¿verdad? Sí, pero Jesús es el justo como sacerdote eterno. Él combatía los fariseos, caminaba sobre los aguas, pasó 40 días sin comida y agua, era la voz de los pequeños, protector de los enfermos, y finalmente conquistador de la muerte. Yo no conozco un hombre más fuerte, valiente, y más justo. Bueno, ¡no hay! Pero Él lo hizo como sacerdote, ofreciendo su cuerpo por la salvación de la gente sobre la mesa y en la cruz.

Bueno entonces no tengan miedo de darse sus vidas a Cristo como sacerdotes. No tengas miedo de ser un hombre justo, verdadero dando su vida para la salvación de las almas.

Ahora las madres. Nos aman sus hijos, ¿no? ¡Mucho! Y somos agradecidos por eso. Pero no tengan miedo, madres, de dar su hijo para ser sacerdote. Hay gracias grandes que el Señor quiere darles a ustedes.

Hay una tradición que pasa a cada ordenación sacerdotal. No sé si ya ustedes la conocen. Durante la ordenación, el sacerdote es ungido en sus manos para consagrarlos al trabajo sagrado del sacerdote. Y él usa esta toalla para limpiarlos después y la da a su madre. Esta misma toalla la madre se la lleva con ella misma cuando se muere. ¡Si se le entierra con esa toalla! ¿Por qué? Porque, se dice, es su ticket al cielo. Cuando llega, la muestra diciendo<> Si, que bonita. Pero, yo creo que la toalla muestra una verdad más profunda. Yo creo, imaginasen, que cuando Jesús mira a una madre que ha dad su hijo como sacerdote por la salvación de las almas, Él vea su madre la Virgen Maria quien lo dio al mundo su único hijo para salvarlo.

Y ahora los padres: es difícil, ¿no? Cuando escuchamos el deseo de ser un sacerdote de nuestros hijos. Es difícil porque nos parece que hay un error; que él no quiere la vida verdadera. Pero les aseguro a ustedes que no es verdad. Ellos, nuestros hijos, quieren todo de la vida; quieren ser padres pero de las almas, padres espirituales. Él quiere ser padre de las almas porque ha conocido el amor del Padre celestial; ha escuchado su llamada a participar en este amor. Si nosotros, sus hijos, queremos ser padres como ustedes pero en un modo diferente. No tengan miedo de dejarnos entrar, pensar, ser seminaristas. Yo creo que como la madre cuando Jesús vea un Padre que ha dado su hijo por la salvación de las almas, Él vea a San José.

Bueno. Ultimo pero no menos, los hermanos. ¿Qué piensan ustedes si su hermano quiere ser sacerdote? ¡Que extraño, diferente. No lo creo! ¿Él? Es imposible. ¿Mi hermano? No escuchará mi confesión.

Si bueno yo sé que nosotros hermanos no somos siempre simpáticos, y tenemos que pedir su perdón mucho por eso. Pero ayúdanos, ¿e? Ayúdanos hacer no lo que nosotros queremos hacer pero lo que Dios quiere para nosotros. Decimos que Jesús es nuestro hermano porque se ha hecho hombre como nosotros. Pero todavía sacerdote Él es. Creo que tener un hermano sacerdotal nos ayuda comprender a Jesús nuestro hermano sacerdotal.

Ahora he hablado al los muchachos sobre el sacerdocio pero tengo que decirles algo a las muchachas. Como he hablado del sacerdocio como Padres, ustedes muchachas como hermanas religiosas son las madres espirituales. Tienen la Maternidad de la Iglesia que nace del su esposo quien es Cristo Jesús. Sí, las hermanas son casadas con Jesús. No tengan miedo de dar su vida a través de ellas para él.

Gracias.
       


Jesus' Priestly Love, A Celibate Love


Vocations Talk: English
St. Ignatius Parish, Austin TX
August 17-18, 2013

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, good morning.

My name is Sean DeWitt. I am a seminarian of our beloved diocese of Austin going on my 5th year in the seminary. Fr. Brian McMaster, the vocations director for the diocese, has asked me to come speak for a few minutes on the priesthood and religious life. So lets get right to it.

Boys, or better men, listen up. I am talking to you. God is calling you to be catholic priests of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You and I are the laborers ready to be sent out for the harvest. God is calling priests from among us. He is calling us. Yet, there is one problem, isn’t there men? Yep, one problem: girls. Seminarians can’t have girlfriends and priests can’t get married. And let’s be honest, that just doesn’t sound like a good time.

So let’s just put it out there. Celibacy is the promise to live a life of perfect continence. That means to refrain from all sexual relations, i.e. to refrain from entering into Holy Matrimony. Okay, whoa, but why? Why does the Catholic Church ask this discipline of her priests? Let’s start with a plain fact. Aside from all of the myths and fables spun by such works as the Divinci Code, it remains that Jesus lived a celibate life; he never married. And like everything Jesus did, this was not an accident. No, it was intentional. He had a specific reason. What was that reason?

Men, in order to understand this, let’s go to the Last Supper account in John’s Gospel. At the Last Supper after Jesus had humbled Himself in washing the disciples feet after Jesus had celebrated the first Eucharist, the first mass, with His new priests, the Apostles, Jesus sits back to give them a talkin’ to so as to prepare them for the trials ahead, so as to prepare them for the priestly life they were beginning. Indeed, He would be handed over in a matter of hours. He sits them down and gives them a commandment, we know it well: this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Well, okay (they must have been thinking), how did You love us? Jesus continues: no greater love has a man than to lay down his life for his friends. Ah, the cross, of course. But wait, did we listen? Jesus said love one another as I have loved you. “As”. Jesus gave up His life on the cross, He laid down His life for those whom He loved, but how, as a celibate man. Jesus’ priestly love was that of celibate.

Okay, now this sounds crazy, absolutely crazy. Our culture certainly doesn’t give voice to this way of life, this way of living the priesthood.

But hold one just a minute and listen to what our Lord Jesus is saying. It is right there in the scripture. I, Jesus, the eternal high priest, loved you in this way, as a celibate man, and I want you, my priest, whom I have chosen, to love as I loved you. In this way you will lay down your lives for your friends. This is the reason the Catholic Church requires celibacy of her priests, because that is how Jesus, the high priest, loved and asked His Apostles to do likewise.

Yet, having said all of this, we don’t want to do it. It is still a hard teaching to accept. And I myself as a young man learning and trying to live a life of priestly celibacy understand this. But I want to assure you, men, that this is perfectly normal. It is natural. Few are the number of seminarians and priest that when God called said, “yes, of course, I would love to do that God.” “You know, God, I was thinking exactly the same thing.” No, yet, our initial desire or lack thereof is not a sign that we don’t have a vocation to the priesthood. So stay open and listen to the voice of Jesus. Is He calling you to be a priest? Is He calling you to love as He did?

Now, I would be remiss if I did not say something to the girls. For they too have a special place in the life of the Church. As the priest is a spiritual father—and we call them father do we not?—religious sisters are the spiritual mothers in the Church. Their spiritual maternity is born from their relationship with their spouse Jesus Christ. Yes, that’s right, they are married to Jesus. So I encourage you, do not be afraid to give your self in this way to Jesus.

Thank you.