Homily— September 17 & 18, 2016
I returned from Italy last Friday night at 6:30 p.m. I was up for about 22 hours which included the flight from Rome to Chicago which was over 10 hours and then a bus ride of over 3 hours.
While in Italy I had heard about Deacon Dave’s accident so we did pray for him and Alice and the semi driver. Alice is now at Stonehill and Deacon Dave will be moved to Finley on Monday. Then I heard about the deaths of Mary Klein and Kristen Vogt. May they rest in peace.
22 pilgrims joined me in Dubuque on the pilgrimage to Italy on September 7. Five joined us in Chicago and two joined us in Rome. Five were from Cascade, 2 from Wisconsin, 2 from Marion, 2 from Marshalltown, 1 from Janesville, Iowa, 8 from Dubuque, 2 from Rochester, MN. 2 from California, 2 from Virginia and 3 from Texas. Some of us were strangers to each other but were good friends after nine days together.
A highlight for me was the opportunity to celebrate Mass each day with our group at sacred places beginning with the Basilica of St. Catherine in Siena, a church in Florence, the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, the Basilica of the Holy House in Loreto. The old church of Our Lady of Grace at San Giovanni Rotondo, the Basilica of St. Benedict at Subiaco, in the catacombs of St. Domitilla in Rome and in the Church of St. Mary Major in Rome.
After seeing the image of Jesus on Veronica’s Veil I celebrate Mass in Subiaco and saw the outline of Jesus face on the host at the time of consecration.
We had great weather for the audience with Pope Francis. We left for the Vatican at 7:15 a.m. While we waited we prayed the rosary. They then began announcing the groups that were present in the home language of the group beginning with Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Polish, Chinese etc. When they began in English we were attentive to hear them welcome the group from Nativity Parish in Dubuque, Iowa and we all yelled so that they knew we were there!! The Pope passed close to us twice before we received the Papal Blessing. The next day we walked in procession through the Holy Door of St. Peter’s.
It was great to go and experience Italy for my 40th anniversary as a priest but it is also great to be back and celebrate the same Mass with you realizing that Jesus is present in the Eucharist the same here as in Italy and throughout the world.
The gospel speaks of the importance of worshipping God and not other things such as money. We need money and we are to use it but not make it a god in our life. Even in Rome we saw people begging for handouts amidst these beautiful churches some built around 325!! Let us make God first in our lives as I thank God for this tremendous blessing of a pilgrimage to Italy.
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time September 18, 2016
Reading 1 Am 8:4-7
Responsorial Psalm Ps 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8
- (cf. 1a, 7b) Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor. R. Alleluia. Reading 2 1 Tm 2:1-8
Alleluia Cf. 2 Cor 8:9
- Alleluia, alleluia. Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel Lk 16:1-13