"Open wide the doors to Christ," urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978.
Before John Paul II's funeral Mass in St. Peter's Square, hundreds of thousands of people had waited patiently for a brief moment to pray before his body, which lay in state inside St. Peter's for several days. The media coverage of his funeral was unprecedented.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then dean of the College of Cardinals and later Pope Benedict XVI, presided at the funeral Mass and concluded his homily by saying: "None of us can ever forget how, in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing urbi et orbi ['to the city and to the world'].
"We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
In his 1999 Letter to the Elderly, Pope John Paul II wrote: "Grant, O Lord of life,...when the moment of our definitive 'passage' comes, that we may face it with serenity, without regret for what we shall leave behind. For in meeting you, after having sought you for so long, we shall find once more every authentic good which we have known here on earth, in the company of all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and hope....Amen."
Saint of the Day
Lives, Lessons and Feast
By Leonard Foley, O.F.M.; revised by Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.
Dear Jesus, as I call on you today I realise that I often come asking for favours.
There are very few people
In the presence of my loving Creator, I look honestly at my feelings over the last day, the highs, the lows and the level ground. Can I see where the Lord has been present?
The Word of God
Reading 1 eph 3:2-12
Brothers and sisters:
Responsorial Psalm is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6
R. (see 3) You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.
Gospel lk 12:39-48
Jesus said to his disciples:
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Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.
Meditation: Luke 12:39-48
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If the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. (Luke 12:39)
Why would Jesus compare himself to a thief when preaching about his Second Coming? Why did he use the example of a harsh master who punishes his servants for not being ready? For those who have neglected their relationship with God, this imagery can certainly be a wake-up call. But what about those of us who have been trying our best to follow him? Should we start worrying?
Certainly not. Jesus doesn't want to frighten us into the kingdom. But there is surely an element of mystery regarding his Second Coming. No matter how spiritual we are, it's going to surprise us. We know that he will come "upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30). But we don't know exactly what that will look like or when it's going to happen. We can only expect that when the infinite enters the finite, the status quo of everyday life will be disrupted!
Since Jesus' return will astonish everyone, we might suppose there's no way to prepare for it. But his own words tell us that our entire Christian life hinges on getting ready. He wants us to take up our cross daily and follow him. In order to find our life, we have to lose it (Luke 9:23-24; 14:33).
The best way to get ready for Jesus' return is to let him make his home in your heart. In your prayer time, try to be open to the surprising ways he may want to speak to you—not just through his word but through the gentle voice of the Spirit or through the actions and words of the people around you. As you go through your day, be open to the interruptions that come to you. Those unexpected requests from relatives, friends, or co-workers may be Jesus giving you an opportunity to serve him. You don't have to wait for the end of the world to see him; he's knocking at your door right now!
"Lord, may I welcome you in whatever form you come today—in the conviction of your holy word, in the presence of my neighbor, and in all the blessings you send to me."
Ephesians 3:2-12; (Psalm) Isaiah 12:2-6
St. Paul has some very interesting words for us on this day we remember the beloved Saint Pope John Paul II. St Paul says "This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him." We are designed for a purpose in life, the purpose, the will of God, and it will become very evident in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ our Savior in the Holy Gospel, but first the Psalm we prayed "You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation". The springs of Salvation are what give life to the Life of Christ. I can remember when I was a little boy living in Mexico in a village, we lived in a shed behind my uncle and aunt's house. I remember clearly one day I was thirsty, and they helped me get a tin can and went to a water well with a storage tank set higher, the hose was opened and I was poured water and it was fresh, and oh so good! I still want that water, many water bottle companies try to offer different waters, cleaned in different ways, pulled from different springs, but none can match the experience I had that day.
And so it is with our Lord Jesus. Once you partake of that water, like St. Paul, the revelation in the soul is never to be forgotten or ignored! I remember going to another village and stayed with cousins, and another time I was thirsty I saw a glass coke bottle on top of the fridge, and without asking for it, I was so tempted to just get a drink for myself. I got it, it wasn't cold but I took a drink and the sensation was horrible, it burned, I started gagging and thought I would die when I found out it was petrol, some type of fuel I guessed stored for the wood burning stove. The temptations of the world will offer substitutes that will only harm you, beat you severely, and you do it to yourself!
Our Lord is asking us to be ever ready, ever found serving. The abott of the Carmelite monastery said to us in our last gathering "I just had 3 cysts removed from my head last week, thank God they were not cancer, but look at me, I am here with you, I will work for the Lord until the day I die". He said he left the ordinary parish priesthood because he could not phathom the thought of having vacations or taking a day off from the Lord. The point is we are all called to be ready, we can't take a day off, especially on vacation, because we know not the hour! The devil is waiting like a hungry lion, ready to pounce on the weak, that weak point in your life, and it feeds and is made strong off weakness. Be strong. Be courageous like St. Paul asks and our Lord is demanding. I told my anti-catholic brother in law (says he's not), that "now that you are ministering in your church, you are more responsible" for all those souls. The truth has to be made known and lived, and the truth is Christ. That is our entire purpose for living. Not just the priests' duty, not just the people at church, but every single one of us that are a Christ follower, we are all called to be Christ. If anybody needs more prayer and love it is your priest, your church person, as well as yourself. We are in this together. It is too easy to find faults and dwell on them. It is the stuff that is hard that we have to do, finding Christ and fighting tooth and nail to be His body for a hungry world. And so it is fitting when Jesus says today "Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?" Jesus is wanting to feed his lambs, and wants responsible souls to be found doing so. What do His lambs eat? What Jesus provides...that cup of water for the soul, that cup of salvation, that food, His body, nourishment to grow with Him and through Him, and He is Love itself....
Thank You JESUS