Press here for a nice link concerning the sainted parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
Pope Francis celebrates the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass with the canonization of the
Blesseds: Vincenzo Grossi, Maria dell'Immacolata Concezione, (Ludovico
Martin and Maria Azelia Guérin parents of St. Thérèse of
Lisieux!). At the end, the Pope recites the Angelus
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Mass of the Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
with the Rite of Canonization
Sunday, 18 October 2015
Today’s biblical readings present the theme of service. They call us to follow Jesus on the path of humility and the cross.
The prophet Isaiah depicts the Servant of the Lord (53:10-11) and his
mission of salvation. The Servant is not someone of illustrious
lineage; he is despised, shunned by all, a man of sorrows. He does not
do great things or make memorable speeches; instead, he fulfils God’s
plan through his humble, quiet presence and his suffering. His mission
is carried out in suffering, and this enables him to understand those
who suffer, to shoulder the guilt of others and to make atonement for
it. The abandonment and sufferings of the Servant of the Lord, even unto
death, prove so fruitful that they bring redemption and salvation to
Jesus is the Servant of the Lord. His life and death, marked by an
attitude of utter service (cf. Phil 2:7), were the cause of our
salvation and the reconciliation of mankind with God. The kerygma, the
heart of the Gospel, testifies that his death and resurrection fulfilled
the prophecies of the Servant of the Lord. Saint Mark tells us how
Jesus confronted the disciples James and John. Urged on by their mother,
they wanted to sit at his right and left in God’s Kingdom (cf. Mk
10:37), claiming places of honour in accordance with their own
hierarchical vision of the Kingdom. Their horizon was still clouded by
illusions of earthly fulfilment. Jesus then gives a first “jolt” to
their notions by speaking of his own earthly journey: “The cup that I
drink you will drink… but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not
mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared” (vv.
39-40). With the image of the cup, he assures the two that they can
fully partake of his destiny of suffering, without, however, promising
their sought-after places of honour. His response is to invite them to
follow him along the path of love and service, and to reject the worldly
temptation of seeking the first place and commanding others.
Faced with people who seek power and success, the disciples are
called to do the opposite. Jesus warns them: “You know that among the
Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them,
and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you;
but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant” (vv.
42-44). These words show us that service is the way for authority to be
exercised in the Christian community. Those who serve others and lack
real prestige exercise genuine authority in the Church. Jesus calls us
to see things differently, to pass from the thirst for power to the joy
of quiet service, to suppress our instinctive desire to exercise power
over others, and instead to exercise the virtue of humility.
After proposing a model not to imitate, Jesus then offers himself as
the ideal to be followed. By imitating the Master, the community gains a
new outlook on life: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to
serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 45). In the
biblical tradition, the Son of Man is the one who receives from God
“dominion, glory and kingship” (Dan 7:14). Jesus fills this image with
new meaning. He shows us that he enjoys dominion because he is a
servant, glory because he is capable of abasement, kingship because he
is fully prepared to lay down his life. By his passion and death, he
takes the lowest place, attains the heights of grandeur in service, and
bestows this upon his Church.
There can be no compatibility between a worldly understanding of
power and the humble service which must characterize authority according
to Jesus’ teaching and example. Ambition and careerism are incompatible
with Christian discipleship; honour, success, fame and worldly triumphs
are incompatible with the logic of Christ crucified. Instead,
compatibility exists between Jesus, “the man of sorrows”, and our
suffering. The Letter to the Hebrews makes this clear by presenting
Jesus as the high priest who completely shares our human condition, with
the exception of sin: “We do not have a high priest who is unable to
sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has
been tested as we are, yet without sin” (4:15). Jesus exercises a true
priesthood of mercy and compassion. He knows our difficulties at first
hand, he knows from within our human condition; the fact that he is
without sin does not prevent him from understanding sinners. His glory
is not that born of ambition or the thirst for power; it is is the glory
of one who loves men and women, who accepts them and shares in their
weakness, who offers them the grace which heals and restores, and
accompanies them with infinite tenderness amid their tribulations.
Each of us, through baptism, share in our own way in Christ’s
priesthood: the lay faithful in the common priesthood, priests in the
ministerial priesthood. Consequently, all of us can receive the charity
which flows from his open heart, for ourselves but also for others. We
become “channels” of his love and compassion, especially for those who
are suffering, discouraged and alone.
The men and women canonized today unfailingly served their brothers
and sisters with outstanding humility and charity, in imitation of the
divine Master. Saint Vincent Grossi was a zealous
parish priest, ever attentive to the needs of his people, especially
those of the young. For all he was concerned to break the bread of God’s
word, and thus became a Good Samaritan to those in greatest need.
Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception devoted her
life, with great humility, to serving the least of our brothers and
sisters, especially the children of the poor and the sick.
The holy spouses Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin
practised Christian service in the family, creating day by day an
environment of faith and love which nurtured the vocations of their
daughters, among whom was Saint Therese of the Child Jesus.
The radiant witness of these new saints inspires us to persevere in
joyful service to our brothers and sisters, trusting in the help of God
and the maternal protection of Mary. From heaven may they now watch over
us and sustain us by their powerful intercession.