Homily for Ordinary Time – 29th Week, Thursday, 10-22-20, Year A – Optional Memorial of St. John Paul II
READINGS: 1st Reading: 1 Is 52:7-10, Gospel: Jn 21:15-17
Theme: Spreading the Love
St. John Paul II fed his lambs. He did it for 27 years, one of the longest-serving popes in history. He did it with a smile, with warm hugs and a gracious way about him that left many wanting more. He was an evangelist who won the hearts of many just through his very actions and kindness.
St. John Paul II had a way about him that would make the staunchest of his advisories eventually come to respect him and his message.
In the Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Each time Peter responds with a yes, Jesus asks him to feed His sheep. In the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is Peter blessed to become the first leader of the Church of Jesus Christ who will feed those hungry to believe in Christ’s Gospel. Two Hundred and sixty-two popes later, Cardinal Wojtyla became the next pope to lead and feed Christ’s sheep.
As Pope John Paul II, he served the Church using his personal motto, drawn from St. Louis de Montfort, “Totus Tuus” – “I am completely yours.” This would become one of his great evangelizing “incarnations of that Motto and a direct response to Divine Love, which was profoundly expressed in his love for man.”1
St. John Paul II went on to create the “World Youth Day,” which he celebrated for 19 years and attracted millions of young people from all over the world.
Of the most importance was St. John Paul II’s presence on the world stage that began the gradual and peaceful removal of Communism from Eastern Europe, averted war between the nations of Chile and Argentina, and began the restoration of peace and the healing of divisions between the major religions.”1
St. John Paul II was the epidemy of all we strive for as Christians. He was forgiving, charitable, loving, happy, resilient, steadfast in the faith, yet empathetical to others without yielding the tenants of the faith, always striving for unity of humanity. He knew exactly how to feed Christ’s sheep.
The legacy of St. John Paul II is summed up in his own words:
“The answer to the fear which darkens human existence at the end of the
Twentieth century is the common effort to build the civilization of love . . . .
With the help of God’s grace, we can build the next century and the next millennium a civilization worthy of the human person, a true culture of freedom.
We can and must do so!”
~ Pope John Paul II in his address to the United Nations.
St. John Paul II
Born: Karol Jozef Wojtyla, May 18th, 1920, in Wadowise, Poland
As Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, he took part in the Second Vatican Council.
He became Pope on October 16, 1978 and changed his name to John Paul II.
Died: April 2, 2005 in Rome, Italy
Canonized on April 27th, 2014 by Pope Francis
His exceptional apostolic zeal, particularly for families, young people, and the sick, led him to make numerous pastoral visits throughout the world.
As part of his heritage for the Church, he left a rich magisterium and the promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the revised Code of Canon Law, and the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal, among others.
He is the patron Saint of Poland, World Families, and World Youth.
1 St. John Paul II National Shrine Website
Deacon Steven – St. James Church, Belvidere, IL