Feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael The US Armed Forces have different service branches. These include the Army, Marines, Navy, Airforce, Space Force, and National Guard. Each of the branches has a specific purpose – there is a branch focused on domestic matters like border protection and humanitarian disasters; there is a branch that fights on land, another on water, another in the air, another in cyberspace; and another that has the capacity to operate in all these multiple spaces. Depending on the task available, trust the US Armed Forces to provide someone who is up to the task!
In today's Mass readings, we again visit the Book of Job. Yesterday, Job, stripped of everything, responded by blessing the name of the Lord, but today the reality of what happened to him has sunk in. "They wait for death and it comes not; they search for it rather than for hidden treasures." I hear Job expressing what we hear so many people say, particularly the elderly, the lonely, the abandoned, and the ill. An end to their suffering would be welcomed—to be set free, but it comes not.
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The Book of Job selection in today's readings consists of an exchange between God and the devil. Satan contended that Job was only loyal and faithful because God showered Job with good things, such as his children, property, and animals. Satan challenged God to take these blessings away from Job to see if that would cause him to turn away from God. We witnessed Job grieve over his losses, yet he did not turn his back on God; instead, ever faithful, from his mouth comes, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!"
Listening to the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes, there is a lot of wisdom and much of it practical. What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun. There is a lot for us to think about today when he says there is an appointed time for everything, and a time for everything under the heavens ... words often spoken at funerals because everyone acknowledges that there is a time to give birth and a time to die.
Today we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Maria Dolorosa. It is the most important feast day of The Congregation of Holy Cross. Our founder, Blessed Basil Moreau, placed the Congregation of Holy Cross under the patronage of Our Lady of Sorrows. We are a Congregation that is Marian at its foundation, and we are a Congregation that was called right from its beginning to be deeply attentive to the different sorrows, sufferings, or crosses that the people we serve experience each day.
There are limits and limitations to everything. From the beginning of our lives, we are fettered and framed. What are the fetters and frames? Upon birth, as a human being, as a female or male, in a particular geographic territory, language group, religion, caste, class, or family, certain traits are automatically imposed and engraved in our personality. Some people are proud to belong to a specific category, while others lament their misfortunes.