Psalm 43: 1, 2, 3, 4 “…Send forth your light and your fidelity; they shall lead me on…”
Luke 9: 18-22 “…’Who do the crowds say that I am?’...’The Christ of God.’…”
St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887 – 1968), known to most of us as Padre Pio, until he was beatified in 2002. Among his spiritual gifts were bi-location, prophesy, complete union with Christ during prayer and of course most knew about the five wounds of Christ, called the stigmata, which he had continuously from 1918 up until his death (on the night he died they were healed). He suffered from the attention, not to mention the wounds and he was in ill health continuously. But, that did not deter him from hearing confessions, praying with the many visitors who sought him out in the remote “heal” area of Italy called San Giovanni Rotondo in the Gargano Mountains. Of course there were detractors, and so for awhile he was forbidden to say Mass publically. But Padre Pio did not get discouraged; he prayed for all the departed souls whose names God had entrusted to him. In the book, Padre Pio, the True Story, by C. Bernard Ruffin, he describes a prayer life that included communication with Jesus and Mary and the angels, sometimes his own, but many times, the guardian angels of people who had asked him for prayer. He said the angels were much quicker messengers than relying on our human skills. Pious and humble, St. Padre Pio was a saint in our day.
In today’s readings, I found myself thinking about modern day prophets. From Haggai, the long ago prophet asks us to take courage, for God is with us and we will have peace. He is encouraging the people to get moving on rebuilding their temple, but the message to get up and keep moving can be applied to our work as Christians today. Keep shining the Light, the Lord is with us.In the Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples who people think he is. Of course they think he is a prophet, even one who was before and may have returned. So, I kept thinking about us today and how we need prophets too. In Jesus, day people did not have the Holy Spirit, and because Jesus left we have access to the Lord through the Holy Spirit at will. But, how often do we invoke this special gift from heaven to aid us in our communication; for me, not often enough. Then I thought about a person I listen to about every day on our Catholic broadcasting channel, Sister Ann Shields, S.G.L. She is part of Renewal Ministries, and I think you can hear her on their website if it isn’t broadcast in your area. She is somewhat of a prophet to me. She is gentle but sure as she breaks open the Word every day of the week. I have several friends who really like her too. Others I’ve heard called prophets in our time are our Popes. But as in the days of old, we criticize and ignore at our peril. Jesus says further in today’s reading, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” Prophet or God Himself, the people did not like the Good News then either. He is Risen, Lord help us to turn to you during these trying times.
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