Browsing Homilies

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ex 22:20-26 | Ps 18 | 1 Thes 1:5c-10 | Mt 22:34-40

Is there anything the world talks so much about and practices so little as love? Just about every song we hear and every movie we watch is about love, but, in the real world, it is hard to find. Everyone wants love, but so few are willing to give it.

In preparation for this homily, stories of two people who have actually put love into practice came to mind:

The first is Sister Stan Terese Mario Mumuni. For fifteen years she served the people of Nigeria before sensing a call to go back to her home country, Ghana. She sensed a need to care for children who had physical disabilities and deformities. To many of the superstitious native peoples of Ghana, sick children are considered a curse which can bring misfortune to the family. So, they are often abandoned and left to die.

In 2009, Sister Mumuni rented a home and began to care for these children. She would go from village to village looking for them. In time, she was caring for as many as 130 sick and disabled children.

It was clear to her that her mission had to expand, so she founded Nazareth Home for God’s Children. There she is able to feed, shelter, and provide an education for the many children who are given into her care.

Sister Mumuni describes her work with the poor children of Ghana in these words: “We give ourselves to God for the service of persons who are poor; we meet the needs of our dehumanized brothers and sisters, the most abandoned, the marginalized, and those cut off from the sunlight of companionship in our large human family. We are called to the vocation of love.”

The love which the children rescued by Nazareth Home for God’s Children and receive from Sister Mumuni has a transformative effect on their lives. She calls them “prayer warriors” who spend many hours praying for the needs of others. When children become ill, it is not unusual for the other children to gather around them to pray. And many times, miracles of healing occur through their intercession.

Because Sister Mumuni had the courage to put the love of God into practice, she saved many children from death and inspired many others to treat the most vulnerable members of society with compassion.

Another example of someone who put love into practice is Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925; a guy’s guy, an athletic mountain-climber, who smoked a pipe, and enjoyed the company of his buddies, playing good-natured pranks on them).

Though he was born into a wealthy family that didn’t go to church, (while he himself did, and spent hours before in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament) he showed a love for God and concern for the poor from a young age. One day, he saw a woman going through his neighborhood begging for shoes for her child. Moved with compassion for her, he took his own shoes off and gave them to her. This was not unusual for him. Often, he found himself having to run home from school because he had given his bus fare to a poor person he had run into on the street.

Not only did he serve the poor by giving them food and money, but he also spoke out against injustice in society and in politics. In fact, his vocal opposition to fascism once landed him in jail.

He spent hours in the slums of his native city, Turin, serving the needs of the people there. When he contracted polio at the age of 24, many of his friends believed that he got it in the slums. Because of his great love, he put the needs of others even before his own health. He is a model of someone who not only spoke about love but put it into practice.

Sister Mumuni and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati help us to understand what Jesus is calling us to when he tells us we must love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. He is challenging us to break out of the small worlds we’ve created for ourselves - worlds that are often narrowly focused on our own wants and needs, a world where others are invisible and where we are the only ones who matter. If our love is real, it must be more than a matter of words and more than a matter of good intentions. It must make a real difference in the lives of others.

And it should involve some sacrifice, because real love … will always leave a scar.


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