Bottom line: To love God and neighbor means work that Jesus' prayer become reality - that there be one flock with one shepherd.
You are probably aware that this month marks significant anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima and also the Russian Revolution. The two are collected because Mary asked the children to pray for the conversion of Russia - still an important prayer.
Besides the 100th anniversaries of Our Lady of Fatima and the Russian Revolution we have the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, university professor (and monk) named Martin Luther presented his famous 95 Theses. They were not so much a manifesto as points for a scholarly debate. They led, however, to a rejection of authority apart from "Sola Scriptura" (Bible Alone). He and the other "reformers" thought that the "plain sense of the Bible" would lead to purified faith accepted by all. In Unintended Reformation Professor Brad Gregory shows how it turned out very differently that the reformers dreamed. This week is a good moment to pray for Christian Unity - the "one flock with one shepherd" that Jesus spoke about in his Last Supper. See John 10:16.
St. Paul speaks about turning from idols to serve the living and true God. Setting oneself as judge and arbiter is a form of idolatry. That's why "Sola Scriptura" has led to the fracturing of Christ's Church. Each person becomes their own little pope. I've talked with guys who reject papal infallibility (which is actually quite limited) but then assert that their own interpretations are infallible! Before the Reformation we had one pope. Now it seems like we have thousands!
Don't get me wrong. The Reformation has a positive side - especially the emphasis on prayerfully reading the Scriptures. It's vital that Christians read and reflect on the Bible. It's God's word. But a person who uses the Bible to beat other people over the head is practicing a form of idolatry. We all stand under God's Word and need the authority of the Church's living magisterium. Otherwise we easily fall into traps.
Jesus tells us to focus on the two great commandments: To love God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. That's the first commandment and the second is like it: To love your neighbor as yourself. For us that means to work each day that Jesus' prayer become reality - that there be one flock with one shepherd. Amen.
From Archives (Twenty-Ninth Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru