Posted by: fvbcdm | March 28, 2012

Feast of Saint Rupert (27 Mar 2012)

Part of my daily routine every morning is to come to my computer and read the report of the Vatican Information Service, which tells the world what our Holy Father is saying and doing, and other statements made by the official church in its cardinals, bishops, and theologians.  This morning I was particularly struck not only by what I read in the Vatican report, but also in the two daily newspapers which are delivered to our door each day. All of them speak of our Holy Father’s visits to Mexico and Cuba, and tell their readers what he has said while there.

Stop and think for a moment what a marvelous gift of preaching and teaching this is. When the simple, gentle Jesus spoke to his fisherman-disciple-apostle and changed his name from Simon to Peter, he said these things: you are the Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church.  Elsewhere he said to him: I give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; what you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  And then, on that unforgettable spring morning after the Resurrection the apostles were again fishing in the Sea of Galilee.  They came back to shore, and there they found Our Lord crouched over a fire which he had made on the beach.  He was toasting bread for their breakfast, and asked them for some of their freshly caught fish so that he could cook them, too. And on that occasion Our Lord asked Saint Peter three times: do you love me?  And three times the answer came: yes, I love you. You know all things; you KNOW that I love you.  And Our Lord’s reply to these affirmations was: feed my lambs—tend my sheep—feed my sheep.  The extreme simplicity of the place, the setting, the words of Christ and those of Peter, all disguise the fact that those exchanges of conversation were among the most momentous events in all the history of religion.  

And now, we see the fruits of those conversations and how they play out in the history of humankind.  Here and now, some 2000 years after the lives of Jesus and Saint Peter, the successor of Saint Peter, who is the Bishop of Rome and happens to be a German at the present time, flies from Rome to Mexico and then to Cuba. He is welcomed in both those countries by great crowds of people, immensely happy to have with them their chief shepherd, or, to change the figure, their fisherman who catches them in the nets of faith and love.  They have both lived under the ugly shadow of oppression and tyranny, atheism and communism.  But their faith is not to be destroyed by opposition, evil, and hatred, and the cries of delight that burst from their lips and hearts affirm their faith in the Savior of the world and the Church which he founded upon “the rock” as he called the chief of his disciples.  You and I have every reason to rejoice with our Mexican and Cuban brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, and to be grateful for this great community of virtue which Jesus our Redeemer has founded and set into operation in this world of ours which is so hungry for truth, goodness, and for God.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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