When in seminary back in the year Y2K, the glorious year I graduated from UPS, trading in the brown for the black, I had a preaching teacher by the name of Sr. Honora Werner. She was a tall, intimidating German, Dominican nun, one not to be messed with. For Dominican priests and religious sisters, what follows their names are the letters O.P. They stand for Order of Preachers, in the spirit of St. Dominic, known as one of the great preachers in the Church. St Dominic entered through the Pearly Gates around the same time as St. Francis, that being the early 13th century.
Sr. Honora used to tell us prospective preachers that when preparing a homily for class, which we did every week, we could use the examples of now St. John Paul II and soon to be Saint next week, Mother Teresa, only once a semester. In Church, that would twice a year. So, I use Blessed Mother Teresa, soon to be St. Mother Teresa unless Jesus returns before next Sunday, and use her life as an example for today’s Gospel reading from St. Luke.
Go to the lowest chair, the lowest place of honor, so you won’t be embarrassed if the owner of the home comes by and says, “Excuse me, sir. Excuse me, miss, you need to get up and go to the back of the room, and walk by everyone else here with your head hanging down as you walk by them. I have a friend who just arrived here who is more famous, more richer, and more connected than you are. I’ll come back and say hello to you, if I don’t forget.”
Blessed Mother Teresa taught us a lesson of great wisdom on this Gospel with her life; she went, not to the highest chair in Rome or any other great city, but to the lowest chair in Calcutta in India. The same country where there are very few Catholics, but a lot of Hindus and Buddhists. You know how people like to hang out with their own kind? That was obviously not a concern of Mother Teresa’s.
She went to the lowest chair, the lowest place of honor, the poorest of the poor, and cared for the dignity of children and adults in their extreme poverty and continuous suffering. She had no worries about the Mayor of Calcutta coming along and saying, “Dear Mother Teresa, could you move to that lower chair over there in that other city on the other coast of India? I have someone in my inner circle of friends who will do a better job than you. Someone better connected and more prominent. Thanks for starting this wonderful program of serving the poor, but we’ll take over from here.”
Mother Teresa had no concerns about that happening because there was no one else to take over her dilapidated chair in Calcutta. It was such a low place of honor, that no one else wanted to sit there.
So when our own government strong-arms religious organizations out of certain ministries that are better served by religious-minded people, rather than a government-appointed people, such as has happened in the area of placing adopted children, such as they’ve tried awfully hard to do with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their care for the elderly, then we’ve entered a danger zone. No one does such ministry better than Mother Teresa, who represents all religious-minded people who care for the poor, the needy, and the suffering. Such people have the heart, the disposition, and the attitude to get the job of ministry done, and do it extremely well. With the right people, our Church, as well as many other denominations, go right for the lowest seat, where the most good can be accomplished day after day.
The importance of going to the lowest seat, without seeking first the places of honor, has a strong bond to the daily practice of our faith. If we own companies, if we’re successful teachers and lawyers, if we’re the best at what we do, which is all good, to be Catholic is to be connected to the seat of Blessed Mother Teresa. The seat Jesus talks about in the Gospel. And we’re so blessed to have so many financially successful Catholics approach their faith in this way. The place of honor being the place where we have a heart for the poor. The seat of being present for those who struggle with addiction, and disease, and mental illness.
Blessed Mother Teresa never asked a 2-year old or a 90-year old for their Catholic identification. The seat she chose, the lowest seat in the room – and she was pretty short, so no one could probably even see her when she was sitting down – her chosen seat of loving the poor with every ounce of her small body, made her a giant in the eyes of God. And next week she will be raised to a spiritual giant in the Communion of Saints.
So Fr. Riley can sit in this nice comfortable seat up here that Fr. Connors sat in at one time. And God bless Fr. Connors who, like Mother Teresa, had holes in his shoes. If I find any old shoes with holes in them in some closet here in the Church, or some place in the rectory, I’ll know who the owner was. Shoes that would not get him to any place of honor in the eyes of the world.
‘Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,” sooner or later. If not in this life, then at the judgment seat. “But the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Exalted by way of moving up the ladder of Jesus Christ to join the Communion of Saints.
The place of honor occupied by Blessed Mother Teresa, soon to be St. Mother Teresa, where we have a heart for the poor, must be part of the journey for any Christian.
We hope you are enjoying the beautiful summer weather. It’s time again to register your child or children in our Religious Education Program for the 2016-2017 year. Registration forms and the calendar are available on our website and Facebook page. Please note that we have moved the classes for grades 7-11 to Sunday evenings. All children are welcome to attend Religious Education classes and will not be denied participation due to financial hardship.
Please note the following:
- Fees are listed on the Registration Form.
- First day of class for Grades K-6 will be Sunday, September 11th 8:45AM-9:45AM.
- There is a parent meeting on Sunday, September 11th at 8:45AM for parents of children in grades K-6.
- First day of class for Grades 7-10 will be Sunday, September 11th 7:00PM-8:15PM.
- There is a parent meeting on Sunday, September 11th at 7:00PM for parents of children in grades 7-10.
- First day of class for Confirmation (Grade 11) Candidates will be Sunday, September 18th 7:00PM-8:15PM.
- There is a parent meeting on Monday, September 18th at 7:00PM for parents of sons and daughters in the Confirmation Class.
We look forward to sharing our faith with your child, but, remember that you are your child’s first and most important teachers of our faith. If you are not already doing so, one way to help develop their faith is through daily prayer with them. Prayer at meals and pointing to God’s creation are some wonderful ways of introducing God to your child.
If you have any questions or would like to help with our program please contact me at: 508-868-8119 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Administrator of Religious Education