Here’s my homily for the feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta – the readings for today can be found at: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/090517.cfm. Thanks as always for reading… and sharing.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta – or more simply, Mother Teresa. One of the beautiful things about Saints is that we are able to draw from their lives – the way they live their lives – an illustration, an example of Gospel living.
That was one of the things that struck me reading this Gospel reading – and thinking about Mother Teresa. In the Gospel, people are “astonished” at Jesus. They are astonished because He speaks with authority (meaning, he’s not citing another Rabbi when he teaches, He is speaking from within – and that catches them off-guard) They are astonished by his ability to confront and cast out demons – the very ones people shy away from, are scared of, ignore – Jesus is able to step into it and lovingly bring healing.
In Mother Teresa, we find an amazing, modern day example. She didn’t just “care” for the poor – she loved the poor. She didn’t just attend to the needs of the dying, she walked with them. She didn’t just witness to life – and the need to defend it, particularly in the unborn child in the womb, the sick, the vulnerable – she astonished the powers that be by breaking social convention, political correctness and proclaiming that need to cherish life at all times.
Supposedly, years before Hillary Rodham Clinton was running for president and she was first lady, she asked Mother Teresa “Why do you think we haven’t had a woman as president yet?” And Mother Teresa responded “Because she has probably been aborted.” But despite taking such strong positions which so often inspire division and tension, Mother Teresa remains universally beloved (Mrs. Clinton wrote of Mother Teresa – Over the years, she sent me dozens of notes and messages with the same gentle entreaty. [But] Mother Teresa never lectured or scolded me; her admonitions were always loving and heartfelt...
Mother Teresa shows us we can be loving without pandering or denying who we are or what we believe, as so many today seem too do. That’s much harder, for sure. But when we do, we truly are the children of the light that Paul describes in that first reading – who authentically encourage one another and build one another up…