Posted by: fvbcdm | September 23, 2015

Feast of Saint Thomas of Villanova (22 September 2015)

According to my information on “Google,” September 23, will be the exact day on which the autumn equinox occurs, at precisely [3:22 a.m.], Central Daylight Time. I thought that the equinox always occurred on September 22, but evidently I was wrong.  There is so much confusion in this world of ours that maybe even the sun is a little unsure of when it’s supposed to cross the equator on its way south this fall!  In any case, let’s not fail to dedicate this new season of fall, or autumn, to the glory of God in our lives.

The three readings at Mass this past Sunday are remarkably appropriate for the world’s present situation. There is fighting in Iraq; there is fighting in Afghanistan; there is a tremendous uproar throughout the Muslim world over a remark made by Pope Benedict in a university speech a week or so ago. There is starvation and drought and epidemics of AIDS in Africa; there is a coup d’etat in Thailand; there is vicious anti-American rhetoric by the president of Venezuela; there is a conflict in Mexico about who won the recent presidential election. And here, in the usually peaceful and quiet woodlands of east Texas, someone produced a home-made bomb with which he or she destroyed the face of an outdoor statue of Our Blessed Mother in the garden of the Catholic Center of a state university.

With all of this as background, we hear the Book of Wisdom saying: “With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may . . . try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”

Then Saint James says to us in the second reading: “Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war.” Above that, he says, “The wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits . . . And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, for those who cultivate peace.”

And finally, Our Divine Lord says to us in the gospel: “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” And then he gave us the supreme example of being our servant by dying on the cross in atonement for our sins.

If there must be violence and bloodshed, let it be the violence and bloodshed of martyrdom, not that of murder and terrorism. Far better that we should suffer injustice rather than inflict it. If the Christian crusaders in the middle ages had asked Our Lord, “How many lives shall we give to reclaim your tomb? And how many lives of the enemy shall we take to reclaim it?,” I think he would have answered: “Not a single one.” To kill and be killed over the possession of a tomb in which the Lord of Life lay dead for some forty hours is a misunderstanding of what Our Lord Jesus Christ meant when he said, “I came that they may have LIFE and have it more abundantly.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God Bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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