April 30, 2016 – Saturday in the 5th Week of Easter

Saint for the day: Pius V (1504-1572)

Scripture readings for today’s liturgy:

    Acts 16:1-10     –     Psalm 100     –     John 15:18-21

Note: Dominican Parishes are able to use the scriptures for St. Pius V feast day (one of our Dominicans who made a great name for himself) but I’ll use the above scriptures of the day and see of I can tie it in to his life.

 “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If the world hates you realize that it hated me first.’” (the opening of today’s Holy Gospel according to St. John)

 The quote above doesn’t sound like a very good “incentive slogan” for the early Church and we might be prone to say, “you better get yourself a new public relations person if you want to be successful.” That’s the way the world thinks. But Jesus has already said that He has His origins in another world – the world that was/is created by this God who was willing to send His only Son to save it form being overcome by darkness. Jesus calls us out of the darkness of this world and into His wonderful light and then turns around and warns us that we will suffer – just as He did – in our quest to keep that light burning brightly.

If these words from today’s Holy Scriptures aren’t enough to catch our attention just look at the lives of any of the great “saints” to see that they got their “halo” by following Jesus. And this “following” needs to be turned around some so that we can understand that it begins at the foot of the cross where we encounter the real Jesus. Most of us get this equation backwards and think that we need to start doing the works of Jesus – feeding, saving, healing – in order to become like Him.

If we read the Holy Scripture correctly we can see that the Church didn’t begin to grow until after the crucifixion, death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

This is not the way “Madison Avenue” would start a successful business adventure. And that’s just the point! If we try to approach Jesus and follow Him by this world’s standards we will never find the true Light and only struggle in darkness. Start at Calvary at the foot of the Cross; pass through the ultimate darkness of a tomb and into the real Light of Christ. It’s only then that you will begin to notice that people around you are fed, saved and healed.

However, the early Church had some ways to go in its efforts to be faithful to the lead of Jesus Christ. Along the way various factions took sway and there was serious concerns that things needed to be straightened out. Pius V, who was pope in the mid 1500’s, was, in many ways, very much like our current Pope Francis and was instrumental in getting things sorted out and giving us a renewed church in his own time. It should be obvious to most of us, that, left to our own, we tend to drift away from the core of Jesus’ message and need, always, to be drawn back to the center. Even in my own time we needed a Second Vatican Council to pull us back to living the essence of what it means to follow Jesus. And now, our beloved Pope Francis, is still calling us to take seriously the admonitions of the early church which still need to be followed. And you can bet that he will be hated by some for trying to keep our Church honest and true to Jesus’ commands. In many ways we have to hear Jesus speaking to us in this day and age the words of today’s Communion Antiphon: “Father, I pray for them, that they may be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me, says the Lord, Alleluia.” (John 17:20-21)  Saint Pius V pray for us. Amen!

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