Hi everyone – here’s my homily for the feast of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta – September 5, 2018. The readings for today can be found at: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/090518.cfm – Thanks as always for reading and sharing this blog
What is it that fascinates the world so much with Mother Teresa – who we now honor as a canonized Saint that we remember today? I’ll keep it simple, because she did – her life was a proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She saw someone poor and found water, food, clothing to give them. She saw someone sick or dying and she cared for them. She saw people being treated badly and she loved them.
A lot of people don’t realize that this type of Gospel living was a response to something that eventually consumed her very heart and soul. Early in her religious life, she had a profound experience in prayer where she felt this intimacy and connection to Jesus where she said to Him that she wanted to love Him in a way that had never been done before. You can read her spiritual journal (which she had asked to have burned upon her death, which they didn’t and instead published it for all the world to read – so there’s that…. I’m sorry, I know it’s a treasure in so many ways, but I always find that ironic) but in her book she speaks about what a spiritual trial this was for her. Because she never really had that intimacy and connection again with Jesus, not in this life… Yet to the rest of the world, we saw the opposite – we saw she had poured her life out in service to Christ and to His people (and by His people I mean the entire world, not just Christians) We saw the joy. We saw the Love. We saw the authentic Gospel witness. And that inspires and challenges us 21 years after she died this day.
That’s what we see in today’s Gospel where Peter’s Mother-in-Law is miraculously healed from a fatal illness by Jesus. Her immediate response to this encounter, the way she expressed her gratitude for what the Lord had done for her was to serve Jesus.
In the world, in the Church, we are constantly challenged and scandalized by the hypocrisy we see or hear about. And rightly so. This isn’t to dismiss calls for accountability or transparency. We need to do better – must do better – in this and so many other regards. But one area that each of us can start by is following Mother Teresa’s example. Engage and encounter Christ; recognize the blessings and gifts he has given to us (which are plenty…we just need to be grateful and reflective) and then listen to Him and How He is calling each of us to love Him and serve Him. And then, simply, to borrow a well known motto – Just do it.