Saint Pius X, Pope

Today’s readings

A good starting place for our prayer this morning might be asking ourselves, what is it that holds us back?  The rich young man seemed to have it all together: he acknowledged Jesus as the good teacher, so he must have been familiar with what Jesus said and did.  He says he kept all the commandments, so he certainly had a religious upbringing and was zealous to follow the law.  But, with all that, he still knew that something was lacking.  “What do I still lack?” he asks.  When Jesus reveals that the next step in following the Gospel involves letting go of his worldly possessions, he finds that to be somewhere he can’t go.  He had many possessions, and he wasn’t yet ready to give them up.

Today we celebrate Saint Pius X, a man dedicated to pastoral ministry, and helping people to let go of whatever would hold them back on the journey of faith.  He was born Joseph Sarto, the second of ten children in a poor Italian family.  He became pope at the age of 68, and he wanted to open the banquet for all those who would come worthily.  He encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion, which was observed sparingly in his day, and especially encouraged children to come to the Eucharist.  During his reign, he famously ended, and subsequently refused to reinstate, state interference in canonical affairs.  He had foreseen World War I, but because he died just a few weeks after the war began, he was unable to speak much about it.  On his deathbed, however, he said, “This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me.  I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge.”

Our God has blessed us with love beyond all imagining and invites us to the table of the heavenly kingdom.  To get there, we have to be ready to let go of whatever holds us back from accepting the life that God wants for us.  What he has is so much better than whatever it is we’re holding on to.  So once again, the question is, will we give up what is holding us back, or will we give up eternal life?  We’re going to have to live with the answer to that question for a very, very long time.

Saint Pius X, Pope

Today’s readings

St. Pius would have been a great organizer of the feast that our Gospel tells us about today. The whole point of the feast is that all are welcome, but some choose not to come, or don’t come worthily. Jesus was speaking pointedly to the Jewish rulers who should have had the place of honor at the banquet. But they all had excuses that kept them away. And so the banquet was made available to all the nations – Gentiles too! – if they would come properly attired, that is, if they would come worthily, with open hearts and longing minds.

St. Pius X was born Joseph Sarto, the second of ten children in a poor Italian family. He became pope at the age of 68, and he too wanted to open the banquet for all those who would come worthily. He encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion, which was observed sparingly in his day, and especially encouraged children to come to the banquet. During his reign, he famously ended, and subsequently refused to reinstate, state interference in canonical affairs. He had foreseen World War I, but because he died just a few weeks after the war began, he was unable to speak much about it. On his deathbed, however, he said, “This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge.”

“The feast is ready,” we are told in today’s Gospel. May we all take this occasion to receive the Eucharist worthily and often, reviving our devotion and love for the Eucharist every day. May we all be among those brought in for the feast, and found to be appropriately attired with pure hearts.

St. Pius X, pope

Today’s readings

In our first reading today, Ruth had already figured out the teaching that Jesus spoke about in our Gospel reading.  She refused to leave her mother-in-law alone, even though she herself was from a distant land and a different people.  She could have turned and gone back there, and her mother-in-law gave her leave to do so.  But Ruth knew her place was where she was and she cemented the friendship and love between them.

This is the love that Jesus speaks about in today’s Gospel.  Love God and neighbor – that is the call of our lives, and the project we live out every day that we have breath.  These two commandments are completely inseparable, because we love others as they are other christs in our lives.  We are called to pour out on one another the same great love that God has poured out on us.  This is how we in fact return that love to God and show our love for him.

Pius X was a good pastoral man who lived these words and taught them to others.  He was born Joseph Sarto, the second of ten children in a poor Italian family. He became pope at the age of 68, and he too wanted to open the banquet for all those who would come worthily. He encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion, which was observed sparingly in his day, and especially encouraged children to come to the banquet. During his reign, he famously ended, and subsequently refused to reinstate, state interference in canonical affairs. He had foreseen World War I, but because he died just a few weeks after the war began, he was unable to speak much about it. On his deathbed, however, he said, “This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge.”

Our God has blessed us with love beyond all imagining.  We have great teachers of that love today: Ruth, who refused to leave her mother-in-law alone in her grief, and Pius X who would give anything if the people he shepherded could avoid the scourge of war.  Each of us is called to pour out God’s love on one another too, and we will most likely have at least one opportunity to do that today.  The two greatest commandments are to love God and love our neighbor.  What will that look like for us today?

St. Pius X, pope

Today’s readings

St. Pius would have been a great organizer of the feast that our Gospel tells us about today. The whole point of the feast is that all are welcome, but some choose not to come, or don’t come worthily. Jesus was speaking pointedly to the Jewish rulers who should have had the place of honor at the banquet. But they all had excuses that kept them away. And so the banquet was made available to all the nations – Gentiles too! – if they would come properly attired, that is, if they would come worthily, with open hearts and longing minds.

St. Pius X was born Joseph Sarto, the second of ten children in a poor Italian family. He became pope at the age of 68, and he too wanted to open the banquet for all those who would come worthily. He encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion, which was observed sparingly in his day, and especially encouraged children to come to the banquet. During his reign, he famously ended, and subsequently refused to reinstate, state interference in canonical affairs. He had foreseen World War I, but because he died just a few weeks after the war began, he was unable to speak much about it. On his deathbed, however, he said, “This is the last affliction the Lord will visit on me. I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this ghastly scourge.”

“The feast is ready,” we are told in today’s Gospel. May we all take this occasion to receive the Eucharist worthily and often, reviving our devotion and love for the Eucharist every day. May we all be among those brought in for the feast, and found to be appropriately attired with pure hearts.