September 20, 2016
by Nancy Shirley
Creighton University's College of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest, and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs
Lectionary: 450

Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
Psalm 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
Luke 8:19-21

Praying Ordinary Time

Today commemorates two saints and others who were martyred.  While we may think of most martyred as being from the early Christian church that is not the case here. These followers of Christ were martyred in the 19th century! Sometimes it is easy to forget that not all areas of this world are welcoming to the idea of Christianity and how dangerous it can be for those who choose to follow Christ.   During the time I was preparing this, another wonderful follower of Christ was in the news.  The canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta took place and garnered the attention of many around the globe.  As I was researching the history of these courageous followers, I couldn’t get the images and stories of St. Teresa out of my mind.  My husband and I had many conversations about her during these last weeks. 

Wondering how she lived her life and how she was able to do such wonderful deeds.  Her amazing attitude toward all she did and those around her is phenomenal.  We were in awe of her life and wondered how she stayed so faithful and unshaken even when she felt despair. 

In the first reading from the Proverbs, Solomon directs us in behavior that is pleasing to the Lord and tells of the consequences of evil.  Again, the images of St. Teresa creep into my mind as she lived just the opposite of:

He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself also call and not be heard.

Surely, St. Teresa has been heard and all those who follow in her footsteps.  She further exemplifies the verses in the responsorial psalm as one who walks in the law of the Lord and understands the ways of His precepts. The plea of the response is one that we make – a plea to be guided, to understand, and to make the right choices.

Finally our gospel conveys a simple message, my mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it. Again, something that we all wish – that we will not only hear the Word but we will act on it.  Is it obvious to others that we are followers of Christ? I love the song from Jeremy Camp (Christ in me) that hopes that what others see is the Christ in us!

There are so many wonderful quotes attributed to Mother Teresa.  However, the following one that I heard for the first time recently has captured my heart.  Its simplicity is beautiful, its message is powerful.  So I leave you with this thought:

The fruit of Silence is prayer.
The fruit of Prayer is faith.
The fruit of Faith is love.
The fruit of Love is service.
The fruit of Service is peace.
- Mother Teresa

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