Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are not here.  The Jesuits used the Memorial Mass for St Ignatius of Loyola and the readings proper to the celebration in 2016 and 2022.

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the Masses of

  • July 31, 2016 8:30AM, and
  • August 4, 2013


The poems Fr Dennis references in these years are:

In 2016, we reflected on —

  • In the readings, Deuteronomy is death and doom; Corinthians is about the glory of God; and the Gospel of John selection is “Come and see!”
  • D2 referred back to a late 1990s NYTimes Magazine that had a series on the Me Millenium (us).
  • From 0 to 1000 CE humans built large organizations and communities, 1000-2000 CE became much more about individual identity, particularly in western civilizations.
  • This NYTimes May series explored archetypal personalities, e.g., Heloise, Faust, Jane Austen, and also … Ignatius of Loyola: The Saintly Boss.
  • He was an admirable leader who regularly danced for the younger Jesuits.
  • He was a saintly boss for his flexibility, concern for inner and outer lives of organizational members, and his heartfelt connection with people from all walks of life. (rl notes St Ignatius was one of the first religious leaders to acknowledge that women did not engage in prostitution for moral reasons but for economic reasons, and act and serve from that faith foundation.)
  • As a leader he embraced diversity, teaching, and the Spiritual Exercises (based on the insight that God is present in our imaginations.
  • He gave up the incredible joy of celebrating Mass when it began to interfere with his ability to respond and be in communion with the Eucharist. 
  • (rl took this as when our emotions of an activity undermine the very purpose of the activity, e.g., I might get so excited about toasty flannel sheets and a down comforter on a cold, snowing night, the giddiness of it all made sleep impossible.  St Ignatius’ tears and emotions took him out of the prayer space a priest needs to celebrate Mass; perhaps too much of a good thing.)

In 2013, we reflected on —

  • Fr Dennis read Fr General Arturo Sosa S.J.’s Letter to the Jesuits — humble in tone, as we would hope, and grateful for Pope Francis celebrating a humble yet engaged Eucharist, in the mystery of the Sacrament at the Jesuit mothership, Gesu Church in downtown Rome.  Pope Francis then offered a votive candle to St Ignatius; prayed at the altar of Saint Francis Xavier across the way.  He ended with visiting the remains of Father General Pedro Arrupe, S.J.  In essence, he prayed his way through the history of the Society of Jesus since its founding.
  • D2 ended with W.H. Auden’s First Things First poem.  A poem about being grateful for what we have and abiding in that gratitude.
  • He also included a David Brooks op-ed column on THE SEARCHERS, a John Ford 1956 film which we had watched in the St Mary’s Summer Film series of that year (created and shepherded by guess who! That’s right — D2!)  The gist was that the film captured one generation’s story “about men who are caught on the wrong side of a historical transition” and used that as context for 1/5 of 25 to 54-year-old men are out of the work force (compared to 4% around 50 years ago). 
  • rl notes that Mr. Brooks engaged with the impact of gender and race on these numbers in passing, if at all.  Still, a thoughtful piece of writing.

In the summers of 2017 and 2018 I took a class through Loyola University Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies that had an intensive field study portion in Rome and environs for about ten days.  Both times I spent much of my free time with the masses and side chapels in the Church of Gesù, as well as the rooms of St Ignatius.  With the former, which also included a side chapel for Oscar Romero, including the Missal he was using when he was martyred, you feel and see the lived experience of the Jesuits through history attempting to walk with Jesus.  The regular display in the apse is the circumcision of Jesus, that “bloodletting” would have satisfied the sacrificial requirement … however, it is the Passion in which he shows how greatly God loves and humbles God’s self to witness Love.  Hence, a large statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is presented in the apse (replacing the circumcision).   While most of us will not be called to that sort of sacrifice and even fewer to answer it, we can all turn to the Sacred Heart to live more fully in God’s Love.  And that is the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam the Society of Jesus kinship is formed of and to.

Our image today is a mural in El Paisnal, El Salvador, seen in this Jan. 29 photo by Rhina Guidos, that features Blessed Oscar Romero and town native Fr. Rutilio Grande, S.J. surrounded by rural men, women and children, the community the Jesuit Father Grande served from 1972 until his March 12, 1977, assassination. Fr. Grande spoke of his dream of a communal table where everyone, including the poor, had a place to eat and a right to have a say in matters that affected them. Catholic News Service photo by Rhina Guidos.

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