I think many of you know of my many trips to Hawaii, to the island of Molokai’i and to the peninsula of Kalaupapa – you’ve heard my interviews and seen my photos and videos and read my reports of my wonderful visits with the people there – Fr. Pat Killilea (of the same order as St. Damien, the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary), the Hawaii State workers, the patients of leprosy who still live there and who have been my guides and drivers and friends, many of whom came to Rome for the canonizations of Saint Damien and Marianne Cope.
I learned of the fire at Kalaupapa this morning and am devastated at the news and pray that the facility can be rebuilt ASAP. Thank the Lord no one was hurt. You have no idea how holy the ground is in Kalaupapa – 8,000 victims of Hansen’s disease or leprosy are buried there, For those of us who know it well, Kalaupapa is a shrine.
WE MUST REMOVE OBSTACLES TO BEING “SIGNS AND INSTRUMENTS OF GOD’S MERCY”
I love this catechesis from today’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square. The recent coverage of Mother Teresa’s canonization has made us doubly aware of what Pope Francis has been talking about since the first Mass and Angelus of his pontificate – God’s loving mercy. St. Teresa of Calcutta was what the Holy Father is asking of us – to be the living face and hands of that mercy.
What Pope Francis asks of us can be seen in the final paragraph of this Englisdh language summary of the catechesis, in particular is call to “renew our commitment to remove every obstacle that prevents us from experiencing the merciful works of our Father, and let us ask him for an ever deeper faith so that we may be signs and instruments of his mercy.”
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our Gospel passage this morning, John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah (cf. Mt 11:2-6), since Jesus’ ministry was not what John anticipated; it did not correspond to his expectation of God’s justice. Jesus responds by telling the disciples to report what they see and hear: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Gospel is proclaimed to the poor.
Jesus shows himself to be the instrument of God’s mercy; he manifests God’s justice by bringing his consolation and salvation to all. God did not send his Son to punish sinners and crush the wicked. Rather he came to invite them to conversion, so that they too could turn back to God.
Jesus then says to John’s disciples: “Blessed is he who takes no offense at me” (Mt 11:6), who does not see in me any obstacle. This happens when we have a false image of the Messiah, when we construct our own image of God, which prevents us from experiencing his real presence among us. Every time we reduce him to our ideas and whims, use his name to justify our interests, seek him only in times of difficulty, then we also lose sight of the fact that faith calls us beyond ourselves to be his missionaries in the world. Let us renew our commitment to remove every obstacle that prevents us from experiencing the merciful works of our Father, and let us ask him for an ever deeper faith so that we may be signs and instruments of his mercy.
POPE FRANCIS’ LITURGICAL CALENDAR: SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER
The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has published the following calendar of liturgical celebrations at which the Holy Father will preside from September to November:
SEPTEMBER Sunday 25, 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, Holy Mass and Jubilee of Catechists. Friday 30 to Sunday 2 October: Apostolic trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan.
OCTOBER Saturday 8: At 5.30 p.m. in St. Peter’s Square, Marian vigil. Sunday 9, 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10.30 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, Holy Mass and Marian Jubilee. Sunday 16: 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10.15 in St. Peter’s Square, Holy Mass and canonisation of Blesseds Salomone Leclercq, José Sanchez del Rio, Manuel González García, Lodovico Pavoni, Alfonso Maria Fusco, José Gabriel del Rosario Brochero, and Elisabeth of the Holy Trinity. Monday 31 to Tuesday 1 November: Apostolic trip to Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
NOVEMBER Friday 4: At 11.30 in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass for the souls of cardinals and bishops who died during the year. Sunday 6, 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass and Jubilee of Prisoners. Sunday 13, 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time: At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Holy Mass and Jubilee of the Homeless. Sunday 20, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe: At 10 a.m. in St. Peter’s Square, Holy Mass for the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy.