Feast of St. Charles Borromeo
Jesus’ skill as a prophetic story-teller reaches across the ages to challenge us in the 21st century: what does it mean to follow him as his disciple? Our response is based on both faith, a generous heart, and the example of fellow believers.
Our reading from Philippians 2 is "classic": this "Song of the Philippians" highlights Jesus’ free gift of himself in the great plan of salvation. He came among us, humbled himself — even to death on the Cross! The words of verses 10 and 11 are used by many Passionists to begin their praying of the Liturgy of the Hours; indeed, we bend our knees and confess that Jesus is Lord! No doubt these deeply meaningful words regularly guided the prayer of our Holy Founder, St. Paul of the Cross.
Luke’s Gospel selection contains Jesus’ parable of the great dinner to which many were invited, but few willingly came. Their excuses "I’ve purchased a field…I’ve purchased some oxen…I’m newly married…" all border on the ridiculous for such a great dinner invitation. Others were then invited — the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame — and the banquet hall was filled. No doubt, quite a party — as only Jesus could "throw"!
Jesus, our Crucified Savior, invites us to join in His Banquet of Life, to follow Him in the 21st century by lives of Christ-like virtue and civic responsibility. Faith, generosity, and determination help us to say "yes" each day — summarized by those few words of the Lord’s Prayer: "your Will be done".
In the 16th Century, St. Charles Borromeo was invited to use his personal and spiritual talents to help reform the Church. As a bishop, he encouraged good example and an apostolic spirit in the lives of the religious leaders of his day. He himself sacrificed greatly, giving his time & treasure, caring for the poor and sick of his own day. Charles saw Jesus Crucified in his neighbor, and responded generously to the invitation to selfless love and service.
Today, may Jesus — and St. Charles Borromeo — inspire us in our service of God and one another, especially the faith-witness of our responsible voting. Jesus is Lord!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.