24Oct 24 Oct. Friday of Week 29

Saint Anthony Mary Claret, bishop.

Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870) was a Catalan priest-missionary, founder of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, called the Claretians. He was appointed as Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba in 1849, but after eight years was recalled to Spain by Queen Isabella II, to be her confessor and serve as rector of the Escorial monastic school. In 1869 he went to Rome to prepare for the First Vatican Council, but soon afterwards, in failing health, he withdrew to the Cistercian abbey of Fontfroide, in southern France, where he died in 1870.

First Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6

(One body and one spirit – a warm ideal of church unity.)

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.” (When it says, “He ascended,”; what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)

Gospel: Luke 12:54-59

(Why can’t you interpret the signs of the present time?)

He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I ell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

A Kairos to be Seized

Today’s gospel symbols show how impulsiveness can be turned into a necessary virtue. Some important chances do not come a second time, when failure to act would mean losing the opportunity. Some graces belong to the “day” and the “hour,” the “proper time” – the “kairos”, a favourite biblical term. Kairos is not just a moment like any other in time (for which the Greeks used the word chronos) but a very special moment with tremendous implications. The moment must be seized and promptly, for the sake of charity, conversion, and fidelity. The stakes are high, and not to decide is itself a negative decision.

Under the genial leadership of pope Francis, this time can be a Kairos for us, individually, and for the universal Church. We and our episcopal leaders are to act for God with the same energy as we seek practical decisions to further the Christian faith in our time. The natural virtues of prudence and courage must be put to the service of the religious activity, the body is at the service of the soul.


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