Sept. 5, 2015 Saturday: Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
(This Saturday marks the 18th anniversary of the death of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. St. Agnes Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana held a special feast day mass with Bishop Robert Muench. I had a privilege of delivering the homily for this occasion.)
If someone were to ask you to go to the ends of the earth, which countries would you consider to be the ends of the earth? Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he commissioned his disciples, “you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Would you consider Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan to be one of the last places you would visit? Recently we have been seeing on the TV world news, heart breaking images of people caught in the middle of ISIS war in those countries. We are seeing destruction of churches, mosques, and temples sacred to the people. We are witnessing atrocities of masses of people losing their lives and seeing families take desperate measures to flee their countries often losing their lives.
If we were asked today to join the sisters to serve the poor in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan, how many of us would hesitate or not even consider the calling? What gives these sisters courage and confidence to be witnesses of Jesus to the ends of the earth? First, these sisters through their daily prayer and meditation on the scriptures ponder, as Blessed Mother did, Jesus’ great act of mercy on the cross. “There is no greater love than this than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Secondly, they are fed daily from the Bread of Life by spending time before the Blessed Sacrament and receiving Eucharist at mass. Moved by Jesus’ continual love for them, the sisters emulate that love by carrying out their duties with loving trust, total surrender, and cheerfulness. These are the threefold charism of the Holy Spirit resulting from prayerful encounter with the thirst of Jesus on the Cross and being in company with Blessed Mother. “Trust Me lovingly, trust Me blindly, let Me act.” These were the words from Jesus which prompted Mother Teresa to leave Loreto Sisters and to work for the poor.
I leave you with Sr. Prema’s words which echo Mother Teresa’s spirit, “Let your heart repeat, ‘Jesus I trust in you. Jesus I entrust my family, friends, my work, all my problems and worries to you.’..In the measure I trust in Jesus and I entrust myself, everyone and everything to Him, I will see Jesus working miracles in my life and around me.”
-Fr. Paul Yi