We must represent Christ, still walking among men,

Sunday, 5/28/17

After Jesus had been lifted up out of sight, the Lord’s angels appeared to his disciples, asking them, “Why do you stand here idle?”

They had work to do. Although Jesus was physically gone from the earth, he had established a church to represent him and to carry out the good works that had marked his thirty years walking with us.

Now, just fifty years ago a fine priest published a book that detailed the roles the church must play for it to be truly representing Christ living among us. Let me tell oiu abut that priest, and the book he wrote.

Alth9ugh we have almost forgotten him, Dwight Eisenhower was our president from 1953 to 1961. He knew more about being a golfer than he knew about being a statesman, but in John Fouster Dulles he had a Secretary of State who brought about a peace that enabled country after country to rebuild after World War II.

Now, the man who published a book detailing ways for the church to be Christ-like, was John Foster Dulles’ son Avery.

Avery, a Jesuit priest, quoted Jesus as saying he was out friend, our servant, our shepherd, our teacher, and our way to the Father.

On the Feast of the Ascension, we, as members of his church, should go about representing him by being teachers, servants, shepherds, friends and ways ti the Father.

The Lord had many people even in the ancient world's most wicked city.

Saturday, 5/27/17

With yesterday having been the feast of St. Phillip Neri, we missed the chance to consider the reading from the Acts of the Apostles for Thursday, and I’d like you to consider  it today. The reading recounted the way the Lord appeared to Paul, saying, “Do not be afraid, I have many people in this city.”

What made the Lord’s assurance noteworthy was that Corinth was the most wicked city in the ancient world. The city was perched on the narrow isthmus between northern and southern Greece. It was a double port, with trading items from the Adriatic carted across Corinth to the port on the Aegean. Those loaded carts were prey to thieves who lived off them.  

As well, the city catered to the superstitions and the lusts of a stream of sailors. It offered them thousands of temple girl, so that In those centuries a prostitute was usually referred to as a “Corinthian girl.”   

The Lord’s saying that he had many people in that place should assure us that the Lord’s people are present in great numbers in our towns.  

Phillip Neri was a likable saint.

Friday, 5/26/17

Today we honor Phillip Neri, a likable saint. Born in Florence in 1515, his mother was of the nobility, his father a successful merchant. After doing college courses with the Dominicans of Florence, Phillip at eighteen was apprenticed to an uncle, a prosperous merchant in Naples. After  doing well at that for three years, he obtained permission to study on his own in Rome.

While studying Theology and the Bible, Philip took to walking here and there through Rome. Like Socrates of old, he tied people down to explaining what they lived for. He drew on his merchant connections for taking women out of prostitution, setting them up with work they could live by.

Becoming a companion to all the young men studying  Rome, Phillip came to be highly valued by the pastors of Rome’s parishes. While they were uplifted by seeing him in deep contemplation of the Trinity, he fought against  people seeing him as a saint. To lower their high esteem  for him, he began carrying a monkey on his shoulder.

With many young men becoming his companions in studying and in helping the needy, the priests of Rome bought an abandoned hall for them. That place came to be known as the Oratory, and his companions came to be called Oraorians.

When the pope came to recognize the Oratorians as a separate order in the Church, Phillip resisted being named its superior and to taking on lay brothers. The Oratorians took turns doing the clean up.