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Homilies, 2004–2005, Cycle-A

 

Sunday, July 31 st

Feast of St.Ignatius of loyola 18 th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

Bingo! We’ve hit the jackpot. Some of you satisticiations out there may be able to tell me the probability of this happening. I know that the 31 st of July, Ignatius feast falls on a Sunday every 6 years. Then there is the ABC cycle of the readings. We only hear these readings every three years on the 18 th Sunday. But then again depending on the moon and the stars and the liturgical year…. All this is to say, these readings today are perfect for the celebration of the Feast of Ignatius (7 years ago in 1999 on the 50 th anniversary of the dedication of this Church, the feast of St Ignaitus fell on a Saturday and the readings were for the 18 th Sunday year A. Almost but not quite)

Why are they so perfect for Ignatius feast? Because they are all about gift. Come you who have no money, Isaiah says. Come to the water, have your thirst quenched. Have your hunger satisfied. At no cost. Because all is gift.

This is gift that is without a catch, without an expectation of anything in return. That is who God is. In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius is constantly reminding us that all is gift. Everything in our world is meant to open our eyes to a God who can not help but give, even when we are not open to receiving or are more interested in taking than receiving.

Something in our human nature makes us mistrust gift. So much in life that has the appearance of being gift is a scam. I’m sure you have received in the mail a check that is supposed to be a gift and if you sign on you receive that $10 but also signs you up for a year’s subscription to whatever for only $49.95. You are announced as the lottery winner and then you read the fine print. It will only cost you…

Come without cost. Without price. Without a catch.

The invitation to receive is echoed in the rhapsodic words of St. Paul. Nothing can separate us from the love that God has for us in Christ Jesus. There is nothing to fear. In Christ we have received a gift of inestimable value that no one can take from us. Ignatius experienced this. He was drawn into such intimacy with Christ that he knew he was loved completely as he was, in his sinfulness, in his limitations. Christ on the Cross embraced him with infinite love. One of the amazing things about Ignatius’ experience of Christ is that in his prayer he encountered the human Jesus. Ignatius did not have the benefit of modern psychology, contemporary scriptural exegesis. In an age that focused on the divinity of Christ, he was able to find the human Jesus who would call to him as companion and friend, the way he did for Peter or Mary Magdalene.

And then there is the gospel. Gift again. What God can do with so little. Those few loaves and fishes. With the willingness to give, with the generous response of take and receive, whatever I have is yours. God can do so much. Ignatius knew his own poverty and his pride. This man of little stature found within himself the generosity to say Take and Receive, all that I have is yours. You have given all to me and I return it. I have all that I need because I have your love. I have all that I need because I have your love.

 

 


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