The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
How many of you still celebrate feast days? They’re not unlike birthdays; they come around once a year, always on the same date and help us to remember who we’re named for. I can’t imagine a “surprise feast-day party” or singing “Happy Feast Day to you . . .” but they do mark major milestones and can be the occasion of a good party. Today we celebrate the 447th anniversary of the day Ignatius Loyola died. When one is declared a saint, the Church generally chooses the date of death to remember so holy a life.
While this is a big day for Jesuits, millions of people celebrate it throughout the world. So many lives have been touched by the legacy of Saint Ignatius and they take comfort in remembering him this day. This July 31 marks yet another milestone; today Jesuits in Rome will celebrate Mass with the first Jesuit Pope at the Church of the Gesu beside the tomb of Saint Ignatius. I doubt that Saint Ignatius ever imagined such a scene in his lifetime, but with God all things are possible.
This year I take great comfort in the words of Pope Francis who shares his Jesuit vocation with the universal Church. This past week on the famed Copacabana beach in Brazil, Pope Francis encouraged young people “to get in shape.” But he wasn’t talking about their bodies, he was talking about their prayer life. He said, “By talking to Jesus in prayer, we can face every situation in life undaunted.” Saint Ignatius Loyola loved the world, and he never wanted us to be afraid of it. Let’s use this day to embrace this world that Ignatius loved so much, and may our own prayer with Jesus replace our fear with hope.
—Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, Provincial of the Chicago-Detroit Province
Lord, where do you send us to bring your love and mercy to others? There are no borders, no limits: you send us to everyone. Grant us the grace to remember that your love is not only for those who seem close to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Help us not to be afraid to go and to bring the Gospel into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. You seek all, and you want everyone to feel the warmth of your mercy and love.
—Pope Francis, adapted from World Youth Day Homily, July 28, 2013Please share the Good Word with your friends!