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July 23, 2017

SIXTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

JMJ

I’d like to give you a homework assignment in anticipation of a homily that’s coming up on the weekend of August 5/6.

When I first came here ten years ago, I was approached by a very devout man who wanted to inform me about a devotion that he thought was very important. It was about God the Father, who allegedly appeared to a nun, Sister Eugenia Ravasio, and told her of His desire to have a special feast day in His honor, to be known as “The Father of all Mankind”. He asked that this be on the first Sunday of August. The sister’s claims were examined by theologians assigned to the case by Bishop Calliot of Grenoble, France. The investigation lasted 10 years and was eventually approved by him in the 1930s. In 1988 it was apparently given an imprimatur in Rome and since then, a growing number of priests around the world have indeed chosen to recognize this feastday and speak about the First Person of the Blessed Trinity, God, the Father; and I am one of them, having preached on it on the first Sunday of August for the 10 years that I have been here at Holy Spirit.

Now when I preach, I have always given you the background for this devotion as part of the homily but this time I’m just going to put it right here for you to read beforehand. It will simply save some time and you will be given the appropriate information.

There are many feast days throughout the year for various aspects of life of Jesus. The Annunciation, which commemorates His Incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Nine months later, of course, is Christmas, His birthday. We also remember His Transfiguration, the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the celebration of His last supper, His death, and resurrection. Finally, 40 days later, His Ascension to heaven. The Mass is a sacrifice, offered to the Father; but if we should accept this private revelation to Sister Eugenia, then we would have to presume that the Father would be justified in asking for this special day. OK, needless to say, this is not for Him-He’s not the least bit jealous of His Son, or the Holy Spirit—but rather it’s for us. We would certainly benefit from focusing in a particular way on the Godhead, the Father of Jesus, and Our Father. It’s an opportunity to reflect upon His character, His personality, His goodness, and the great mystery of His being. It is certainly a big topic.

So there you have it. Remember, the Church teaches that we are not required to accept or believe “private revelations”. Nevertheless we can assume that they are for our benefit at particular times in Church history, to instruct, admonish, warn, or to encourage us.

I’ve been working on my homily for quite some time now, so I look forward to that first weekend in August when we celebrate our “Abba”.

PS: you can find dissenting opinions about this particular devotion, but then we would be second-guessing the Bishop of Grenoble and the expertise of his theologians and the authority of the Vatican. Even though this particular feast day has not caught on yet, we have to remember that all approved apparitions started out as very unapproved apparitions—Fatima being perhaps the most famous example.

 

Addenda:

A while back our electric golf cart gave up the ghost. But, thanks to the generosity of some parishioners, we now have two new utility vehicles to haul stuff around. If any of you who are not as mobile as you used to be, these can be used to haul you around, too. If you would like a tour of our new ‘Trinity Trail’, please let us know. We will take you for a ride.

 

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