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"Holiness is not the luxury of a few. It is everyone's duty: yours and mine."  ~Mother Teresa

Thanksgiving Homily for Canonization

 

M.C. Family Thanksgiving Homily for Canonization
Fr. Sebastian Vazhakala, M.C.

6th September 2016

Dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters, Sr. Prema, Bro. David, Fr. Brian, all the General Councillors, Regional Superiors and their representatives, Lay M.C.s and all present here,

 “Time has no pity for the human heart” wrote the Indian mystic poet and the Nobel Prize winner, Robindranath Tagore. Time and tides wait for none. We have to catch up with time. With passing of time many good and wonderful things take place. One such thing in this Jubilee Year of Mercy was the canonization of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta M.C. It calls us for a renewal of our life in Jesus, with Jesus, for Jesus and to Jesus, as did St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Many books, articles, photo albums, etc. are being published in connection with the event. Television programs and TV interviews were frequently being held in the midst of such unrest, violence, terrorism and terrorist attacks in the various parts of the world, and more particularly in the continent of Europe.

Attempts are made to solve many vexing problems of humanity today with the use of destructive weapons. Justice and truth are trampled under foot. Many innocent people become victims of unbridled use of weapons and violent attacks.

Man cannot solve problems, bring justice, and overcome inequalities by killing each other, by being “Cains”, but only by bringing God into one’s life. It has to be reinforced, emphasized, and articulated once again that we do not try to create a nation, a Europe, a world without God. We will never have peace, unity or harmony by ignoring God from our lives and from the lives of the people. There is no substitute for God. God is the absolute.

The cold indifference toward God, which leads to many disastrous consequences, can only be countered by prayer, sacrifice and works of mercy, which demand deep faith in God. It is here that St. Teresa of Calcutta stands out as a champion, a pioneer, a protagonist. God cannot be defeated or conquered by man. There is an outcry for true freedom which God alone, who is the true liberator from slavery of evil, can grant and make people really free and happy.

Let the canonization of St. Teresa of Calcutta not become simply a great liturgical act and a canonical event but an incentive for a renewed interest to bring unity, peace, joy and justice back to our broken brotherhood. Let the cry of the poor and the downtrodden be heard and answered in an adequate and more effective way, that Jesus may never have to say again, “I have absolutely no one for My very poor”.

Love is eternal. Charity not only outlives but stands out. Persons of great love, even though they die and depart, their names remain inscribed in the heart of history and in the lives of the people, which we are witnessing now in the person of St. Teresa of Calcutta. 

There is great joy and enthusiasm in every corner of the world, and much preparation was done, both spiritual and temporal, to express gratitude to God for giving St. Teresa of Calcutta to the world, particularly to the world of the poor. This is done in the name of the poor, who not only can be found everywhere, but there is a call from God to recognize the existence of the poor and to respond to their legitimate needs, remembering the words of the divine Master, who said: “Whenever you do this to one of the least of my Brothers, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). 

Comparing one race with another one, one colour with another or one nation with another is not going to solve existing problems. There is a need to recognize and see the mosaics of nature in the mind of the divine artist and architect. All colours, cultures, nations and religions must fit in to capture the mind of the divine artist. There is an incredible beauty when we are able to understand the divine purpose and plan of everything. One religion cannot and should not stand against another, but there must be mutual respect and appreciation.

No one can find answers for all the above mentioned challenges, nor find adequate solutions. But a call to reflect and contemplate, to think aloud and make every effort to respond to the call… and I must say… to the cry of the poor, both spiritual and material, of our times and of all times, is absolutely imperative. All are called not only to enjoy many privileges, but all have to be responsible to build a world not based on hatred and violence, injustices and inequalities, but a world of justice, peace, equality and fraternity.

Everybody has a role to play in making a better and more peaceful world…a world where human beings can live without fear and anxiety. Everyone has to ask: What is my role? What is my contribution to create a better world? Some can only pray like St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Through her prayer she drew people to God and brought God to people, and still continues to do it from heaven. Some contribute through their “Ora et labora”, which can be done in different ways to help people. For the M.C. Family the “labora” is done by giving “whole-hearted free service to the poorest of the poor”. Let our loving service to the poor and needy never cease!

There are people who deserve not only a word of thanks but a world of thanks, without whose untiring and self-less service could not have brought to light the holiness of our beloved and blessed foundress, St. Teresa of Calcutta!

Here I remember a small incident. A very devout Jewish man had a horse to sell. He sold the horse to a man who neither had much faith in God nor prayed much. But he was very happy to get a horse. To start the horse he had to say “Thank God”. This was like the first gear of a car. This horse had three gears. If he says “Thank God” a second time, the horse will go faster. In order to stop the horse he had to say a simple “Amen”. 

The transactions were over. The man who bought the horse mounted on it. He said “Thank God”. To speed up he said again “Thank God”. Now he was on the third gear. He said three times “Thank God”. The horse was running in full speed. The man was so happy and excited. In his excitement he forgot the word “Amen”. Here he thought of the prayers he had learnt as a child. He started praying spontaneously, as his life was in danger. God hears the cry of the poor; he is ever ready to help the helpless who calls upon him. Out of the blue he remembered the word “Amen”. And as he said it, the horse stopped. And then he said “Thank….God”.

This is the kind of “Thank God” I want to express to God this morning, in the name of all who are present here.

St. Teresa of Calcutta has been a real instrument of peace and unity. She was a carrier of God’s love in this dark world. What comes to my mind again and again are the prophetic words of Mr. Malcom Maggeridge, who wrote back in 1971: “In a dark time, she is a burning and shining light; in a cruel time, a living embodiment of Christ’s gospel of love; in a godless time, the Word dwelling among us, full of grace and truth. For this, all who have the inestimable privilege of knowing her or knowing of her, must be eternally grateful” (cf. Something beautiful for God

Let us offer prayers of thanksgiving to Jesus for giving us St. Teresa of Kolkata, to whom Jesus entrusted the care of the poorest of the poor of the whole world, saying so sadly and so tenderly that he has absolutely no one for his very poor. All of us are called to be someone for Jesus’ poor. St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us and bless us.

God bless you.