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WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
Welcome on this memorial of St. Faustina Kowalska to this celebration of the daily televising of the Mass from Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in downtown Montreal made possible by an anonymous contribution for the intentions of the faithful attending this Mass in person as well as through Salt + Light TV and Facebook and also for the recovery of our local priests Fathers Ernie Schibli and Joseph Cameron who are currently in hospital. I’m Father Gilles Surprenant, priest of Montreal and Associate of Madonna House Apostolate.
We are all grateful to Salt + Light Media for this new initiative of a LIVE Daily Mass in English in addition to the LIVE Daily Mass in French which has been on the air for some time. These initiatives enrich the lives of Catholics across Canada and beyond for those who tune in from around the world via the Internet, particularly during this worldwide Covid Pandemic.
Yesterday, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd celebrated here the inaugural LIVE Sunday Televised Mass for Salt + Light. Today begins an ongoing series of daily WEEKDAY Masses in English from this Montreal Cathedral dedicated to Mary Queen of the World where locally she is known by her French title Marie Reine du Monde. Welcome, one and all. Sign of the Cross
Brothers and sisters, “the parable of the Good Samaritan” is perhaps Jesus’ most familiar parable. Notice how Jesus welcomes conversation with the lawyer and responds to the lawyer’s questions with a question of his own. Luke tells us the lawyer then felt a need to justify himself and put a second question to Jesus: “And who is my neighbour?”
So what exactly is going on here? Jesus gives us a clue in the words He uses: “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” And again: “Go and do likewise.”
There we have it: we know the difference between knowing or speaking and doing. We know the expression: “Actions speak louder than words.” Jesus is here always with us to lead us to the Father, and with his Father and the Holy Spirit, Jesus is all about action. In the Psalm we praised God saying prayerfully: “Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.” One day Jesus said: “My Father is still working, and I also am working.” That is in John chapter 5 verse 17. God is calling every one of us to action.
We see only a little of Jesus’ Mother Mary in the Gospels, which say that whenever God did something amazing and at times surprising, Mary pondered these things in her heart. We know from her life that the Mother of God didn’t only ponder God’s works, but she also gave herself wholeheartedly to collaborating with God in his work in the world, especially in supporting and following her Son and Lord Jesus. She spent her life praying and encouraging the disciples.
In writing to the Galatians, Saint Paul employed strong language, in chapter 3 even asking them: “Are you so foolish?” What was happening is that the Galatians had welcomed the Gospel announced by Paul with their whole hearts, but then some other people came – also claiming to be Christians – who were in effect proclaiming a softer Gospel. We know all about that today with any number of TV evangelists giving the impression that if we follow Christ we can expect to live a prosperous life and that following Jesus is a key to success in this world.
Well, if you believe that, I hate to be the one to tell you, but that is a lie. Jesus made it clear, as reported by all four evangelists, that if we want to be his disciples, we must accept to carry our cross and follow Him. Most of our cross is simply putting up with our own self, admitting our faults, confessing our sins regularly, and every day trying to live a life of conversion so as to better follow Jesus. Carrying our cross daily helps us to endure lovingly the faults of others.
This means then that if we let God shine his light and truth through our actions and attitudes as well as our words, we can expect no better treatment than what Jesus got himself. In other words, we can anticipate persecution – because this world is under the dominion of the prince of this world, the devil, Satan – and, because of our mortal condition, when people are caught up with the values of this world, they “love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil”. Jesus said this as quoted by John in chapter 3 verse 19.
So, have you been getting your share of cold treatment, evil gossip, false accusations, and other forms of persecution? Rejoice and be glad! On the other hand, if I am too popular among people around me, I might wonder whether I am really living like Jesus and following Him.
The important thing is to open up each day, many times a day, including at prayer times, to the Word of the Lord, and to watch for the light and guidance the Holy Spirit shines within us. Jesus is the only One we are to follow, because Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Once we taste how good and wonderful it is to have the Father, Jesus his Son, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us; then we are glad to endure all the aggravation of putting up with people who have not yet known the mercy of God. And remember, dear Sisters and Brothers in Jesus, we carry the priceless treasure of God’s Presence within us in poor earthen vessels.
So let us continue to pray for one another that – with the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of the World, St. Joseph Patron of Canada, St. Faustina, St. Brother André and all the saints, we might accept the encouragement and grace of the Holy Spirit to act as missionary disciples and open wide our heart, our mind, our spirit and even our body to the Presence and the love of God: the Father, + the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.