Looking back over my life, it seems that the depiction and talk of angels waxes and wanes. In older churches, we see ceilings and walls adorned with them. In pop culture, we’ve had TV shows like "Touched by an Angel" and "Highway to Heaven" and of course the classic movie, "It’s a Wonderful Life" where Jimmy Stewart’s character is led from despair to hope by his 'on the job' training angel, Clarence. And, of course, we have the chubby figurines with wings that you’ll find in gift stores around the world.
Recently I viewed a Public Broadcasting documentary about Mexico, its rich heritage, which included an exploration a popular holiday, the Day of the Dead. This festive yet reflective holiday is a celebration of life, and of ancestry - a day believed to reunite all those who died with the living. It is an important day that brings back the memory of deceased loved ones, lest they be forgotten.
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Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, spent 50 years suffering from the Stigmata, the Crucifixion wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ. A Capuchin priest at the monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, he was renowned as a confessor who could see into the soul.
Yesterday we were privileged to have a Holy Cross Cardinal from Bangladesh join us for our feast day, Our Lady of Sorrows. I’m sure his visit will be memorable for a variety of reasons, but one reason will stand out. During his homily he spoke of the seven sorrows of Mary; but he managed to find a silver lining in each of the seven sorrows.
We are commemorating today one of the truly great popes of our church. He is called the Great because he was known for his charity, his sense of justice, and his political diplomacy - but perhaps even more so, Saint Gregory was known for his devotion to Christ and the Church. He urged us to study, saying, "I beg you study and meditate each day the words of God, for in so doing you would come to know the heart of Jesus."
In today's Gospel, Jesus said, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets."