The Baby & the Saint

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8

Brothers and sisters:
It is widely reported that there is immorality among you,
and immorality of a kind not found even among pagans–
a man living with his father’s wife.
And you are inflated with pride.
Should you not rather have been sorrowful?
The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst.
I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit,
have already, as if present,
pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed,
in the name of our Lord Jesus:
when you have gathered together and I am with you in spirit
with the power of the Lord Jesus,
you are to deliver this man to Satan
for the destruction of his flesh,
so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not appropriate.
Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough?
Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough,
inasmuch as you are unleavened.
For our Paschal Lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.
Therefore, let us celebrate the feast,
not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness,
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 5:5-6, 7, 12

R. (9) Lead me in your justice, Lord.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
You hate all evildoers.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
You destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
the LORD abhors.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
But let all who take refuge in you
be glad and exult forever.
Protect them, that you may be the joy
of those who love your name.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.

Gospel: Luke 6:6-11

On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.


sept 5

“Do you want to catch the baby?”

My mind was racing to understand. “Oh, do I want to hold the baby? Absolutely! What is her name?”

“Roja. But sometimes we just call her our little coconut.”

I took her frail body into my arms. Roja is who I remember when I hear Gospel passages about Jesus healing the lame. Several years ago, I visited an orphanage in India run by Mother Teresa’s sisters. When I saw Roja—the smallest child in the room, lying alone in her crib, wearing a sweet pink dress—I immediately asked to hold her. Everyone else continued on the tour; I stayed with Roja. I desired to comfort her pain and nurture the frail life within her. I couldn’t give her very much—simply a safe place to rest, some water to drink, a sweet lullaby, and my prayers. It was a grace to serve the poorest of the poor with these Missionaries of Charity.

Nineteen years ago today, the world mourned the death of Mother Teresa. Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, who was canonized yesterday in Rome by Pope Francis. What a gift!

Saint Teresa of Calcutta is a Saint who experienced both the consoling love of the Heart of Jesus and the desolating pain of His silence. I think that I have tasted a small piece of this in my own spiritual life. Haven’t we all? There are times when I know confidently that He has chosen me, and other moments where I feel forgotten. Sometimes there is deep joy and other days are, well, a lot less glamorous.

When I listen to Saint Paul’s exhortation to celebrate the Resurrection “with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,” I am challenged in my prayer to be brutally honest in examining my thoughts, feelings, and desires, throwing off all that hinders me from drawing nearer to His heart.

I am not very good at this. I grew up in a family where we learned not to complain. My grandma even has a sign in her kitchen which says “Thou Shalt Not Whine!” I am a bit ashamed when my prayer sounds like Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

This is where we can ask for Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s intercession. She authentically expressed her whole heart to God, both when she was peaceful like Roja, in the arms of love, and also when she was confused in the darkness.

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Saint Teresa of Calcutta, teach us to take refuge in arms of the Father, so that we might be glad and exult with you forever!

Rose Coleman is a contemplative in action who delights in all things beautiful. Her adventurous heart has traveled many places—from circumnavigating the globe on a ship during college to some years in the convent as a religious sister. Exuberant from her childhood, she is an elementary school teacher who learns so much from her students. You can find out more about her here.

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