Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


10th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
June 9nd, 2013
Year C

On April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II died. I remember the events surrounding his death quite vividly. There were false reports from some of the Italian news agencies that he died days before. There were throngs of people flocking to Rome to get one last glimpse of the Pontiff. In the evening of April 2nd, the church bells of St. Peter’s began to toll a somber tone. He had died. I was sitting in my room and one of the guys came bursting in to tell me the news. We immediately ran to St. Peter’s Square where a rosary had already begun to be prayed. The events that followed were moving and historic. After a pope dies there designated days of mourning. Masses are said each day in St. Peter’s for a week until the body of the pope is transferred from the Apostolic Palace to St. Peter’s Basilica where he lies in state for 24 hours. What struck me during this time was the crowd. It was reported that one million people saw his body lying in state and over 4 million came to the funeral. All you could see was people. No matter where you turned in the square, you could only see faces. I remember being present for the transfer of the body and having to leave because the crowd was beginning to press up so close to me that I began to get nervous. The number of people that came to Rome during these days was truly amazing.

If we read the gospel carefully, we will notice that a crowd almost always follows Jesus. Today’s gospel from St. Luke is no different. A large crowd accompanies him and a crowd of people also accompanies the woman who is burying her son. The clash of the two crowds provides an opportunity for them to witness a great miracle – the very power of Jesus Christ. In Luke’s Gospel, particularly, crowds play an important role. In chapter 4, the crowd is looking for Him. In chapter 5 they gather to hear him. In chapter 8 they wait for Him. In chapter 14 they accompany Him. In chapter 23 they hear Pilate speak of His innocence. So many people are constantly after Him. Is there something that can explain why such a multitude of people followed Him during the three years of His public ministry? It is not like Jesus showed up and told everyone that they are good people and to simply continue to live their lives and all will be OK – like we hear so often today. No, He challenged their way of living. He scolded the Pharisees. He called them to a higher, supernatural standard of living. He was a very controversial figure. But, there is one thing that made Him truly great in the eyes of the people. He loved them. Today’s gospel is a perfect example. He sees the woman’s suffering. She had lost all she had. Jesus was moved by her suffering and had compassion on her. In this translation the word used is ‘pity.’ Really, I think, that which is meant to be conveyed is misery – misery of the heart. His heart was literally wrenched for her sake. He loved her and perhaps, He even showed it.

Even today, great crowds follow Jesus. Every Sunday, we gather to hear Him speak to us, we wait for Him to come to us under the sacramental form of bread and wine, we look for Him here and we strive to walk with Him in our daily lives. But what about being loved by Him? What are we looking for in following Jesus? Are we looking to be told that we are simply good people and that is enough – as if to justify certain behaviors and attitudes? Are we looking for Him to do what we want? Are we looking for the miracle healing? And when we don’t get what we want, will we walk away? So many people – and I’m sure you know who they are – walk away sad because Jesus didn’t do for them what they wanted Him to do. He didn’t meet their expectations. This is not true faith.

The miracle that takes place in this gospel – as well as the one we heard in the first reading – shows that Jesus is not insensitive to the suffering that stems from love. He is pained by the sufferings we endure. He shows us, though, that suffering born from love overcomes death so as to give life. We must admit, first, however, the pre-eminence of divine love. Touched first by the love of Christ inspires us to genuine Christian living. Here is where can get a glimpse of what the crowds experienced when they followed Him. We experience how He loved them and how He loves us. True faith in Jesus Christ, therefore, endures the sufferings of everyday life because in those sufferings we get a glimpse of how He loves us – even to the point of death, death on a cross. In this way, we do not cry with tears of “why me? why now?” No, the tears that flow from this experience are the tears of repentance and love for God. In his homily on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart,  Pope Francis had this to say:

“It is more difficult to let God love us, than to love Him! The best way to love Him in return is to open our hearts and let Him love us. Let Him draw close to us and feel Him close to us. This is really very difficult: letting ourselves be loved by Him. And that is perhaps what we need to ask today in the Mass: 'Lord, I want to love You, but teach me the difficult science, the difficult habit of letting myself be loved by You, to feel You close and feel Your tenderness!' May the Lord give us this grace.”

So often in miracles of healing, Jesus touches the infirmed. The crowds press upon Him to touch Him. Here, he touches the coffin. We are about to touch Him. We too are a hungry crowd, yearning to get a glimpse of Him, to touch Him and to experience being loved by Him. As we come for Holy Communion, as this crowd approaches the Savior, we bring to Him all that ails us, all that is in need of His compassion and mercy. May He challenge us to a higher standard of living. May He beckon us to sanctity. In those challenges, in those sufferings, may we be touched by His love and strive to truly love Him in return.












Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.



See other homilies of Fr. Jon Reardon...
Return to multimedia home...


SCTJM logo
Return to main page