English Español Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Summary of the of Pope Francis’ Homily

Mass at Madison Square Garden — September 25, 2015

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Is 9:1)

The people who walked – caught up in their activities and routines, amid their successes and failures, their worries and expectations – have seen a great light. The people who walked – with all their joys and hopes, their disappointments and regrets – have seen a great light.

In every age, the People of God are called to contemplate this light. A light for the nations, as the elderly Simeon joyfully expressed it. A light meant to shine on every corner of this city, on our fellow citizens, on every part of our lives.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. One special quality of God’s people is their ability to see, to contemplate, even in “moments of darkness”, the light which Christ brings. God’s faithful people can see, discern and contemplate his living presence in the midst of life, in the midst of the city. Together with the prophet Isaiah, we can say: The people who walk, breathe and live in the midst of smog, have seen a great light, have experienced a breath of fresh air.

Living in a big city is not always easy. A multicultural context presents many complex challenges. Yet big cities are a reminder of the hidden riches present in our world: in the diversity of its cultures, traditions and historical experiences. In the variety of its languages, costumes and cuisine. Big cities bring together all the different ways which we human beings have discovered to express the meaning of life, wherever we may be.

But big cities also conceal the faces of all those people who don’t appear to belong, or are second-class citizens. In big cities, beneath the roar of traffic, beneath “the rapid pace of change”, so many faces pass by unnoticed because they have no “right” to be there, no right to be part of the city. They are the foreigners, the children who go without schooling, those deprived of medical insurance, the homeless, the forgotten elderly. These people stand at the edges of our great avenues, in our streets, in deafening anonymity. They become part of an urban landscape which is more and more taken for granted, in our eyes, and especially in our hearts. Knowing that Jesus still walks our streets, that he is part of the lives of his people, that he is involved with us in one vast history of salvation, fills us with hope. A hope which liberates us from the forces pushing us to isolation and lack of concern for the lives of others, for the life of our city. A hope which frees us from empty “connections”, from abstract analyses, or sensationalist routines. A hope which is unafraid of involvement, which acts as a leaven wherever we happen to live and work. A hope which makes us see, even in the midst of smog, the presence of God as he continues to walk the streets of our city. Because God is in the city.

God is living in our cities. The Church is living in our cities. God and the Church living in our cities want to be like yeast in the dough, to relate to everyone, to stand at everyone’s side, proclaiming the marvels of the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Eternal Father, the Prince of Peace.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light”. And we, as Christians, are witnesses to this.

Readings for the Week

Monday: 2 Sm 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13; Ps 3:2-7; Mk 5:1-20
Tuesday: Mal 3:1-4; Ps 24:7-10; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40 [22-32]
Wednesday: 2 Sm 24:2, 9-17; Ps 32:1-2, 5-7; Mk 6:1-6
Thursday: 1 Kgs 2:1-4, 10-12; 1 Chr 29:10-12; Mk 6:7-13
Friday: Sir 47:2-11; Ps 18:31, 47, 50, 51; Mk 6:14-29
Saturday: 1 Kgs 3:4-13; Ps 119:9-14; Mk 6:30-34
Sunday: Is 6:1-2a, 3-8; Ps 138:1-5, 7-8; 1 Cor 15:1-11 [3-8, 11]; Lk 5:1-11

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Tuesday: The Presentation of the Lord; Groundhog Day
Wednesday: St. Blaise; St. Ansgar; Blessing of Throats
Friday: St. Agatha; First Friday
Saturday: St. Paul Miki and Companions; First Saturday

“Faith is the foretaste of that knowledge which hereafter will make us happy.”
—St. Thomas Aquinas

Together in Mission — Though We are Many, We are One

Since 1993, Together in Mission has provided more than $300M in funds to parishes and schools in the most need of our Archdiocese. ese are the parishes and schools that would have had to close their doors to the members of their communities. 2015 demonstrated our faith in action to support those communities.

“Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Treasures from Our Tradition

For the first four centuries or so, there seems not to have been a sense of marriage as a church institution. Christians followed civil law, which kept the wedding in a family setting. Bishops wanted people to be good citizens insofar as possible, and so they recognized the government’s role in marriage. In general, they expected Christians to know that marriage was good, that marriage to other Christians was best, and to take it easy on the wild wedding parties. They agreed that marriage was a divine institution, that Christ blessed it especially, and they loved referring to the miracle at the wedding feast of Cana. Still, even when Christianity became the official religion of the empire in 380, marriage remained a family matter.

On wedding days people gathered in the bride’s house, where the father would “give her hand” to her husband, draping a garland of flowers over the couple. There were no official words to say, there was no blessing to be given. Everyone walked in procession to the bride’s new home for the concluding rites and the feast. In the Eastern Empire, it soon became customary to invite a priest or bishop to give a blessing at the meal or the day before. It was a nice thing to do, completely optional, but had a “photo-op” feel to it that was widely emulated. Before long, at least in the East, it looked as if the priest were joining the couple in marriage and blessing the union.
Rev. James Field, Copyright © J. S. Paluch Co.

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