Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wednesday word, 03 Oct 2007

St. Francis Borgia, S.J. (03 Oct 2007) Neh 2. 1-8; Ps 137; Lk 9. 57-62
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Opportunity Seized

Lots of traveling in today’s scriptures. Of course, the bible is filled with traveling: exodus-liberation; self-discovery of individuals, groups and peoples; movements away from God and toward God.

Pilgrimage is the word that describes moving toward God both in scripture and in liturgical processions and other devotional practices. Encountering God, however much it benefits us personally, also contains an evangelizing formation and mission: namely, what we receive from God is never for ourselves exclusively. Encounters with God make us ambassadors of the gospel, of the kingdom Jesus proclaimed. Jesus chooses us daily to travel with him.

Jesus’ movement toward Jerusalem gathered people. Jesus’ movement toward Jerusalem formed a people. Jesus’ response to one who wanted to follow him revealed how dramatic, how focused a pilgrimage following Jesus is.

Jesuit St. Francis Borgia’s journey was dramatic. Privileged and educated; duke, spouse and also father of eight, he relinquished his title after his wife died and joined the Society of Jesus. He and Ignatius corresponded while Francis was still duke. Those responses of Ignatius reveal within Francis a spiritual journey, a quest for godly living and movements nearer to God.

As the third general-superior of the Jesuits he wrote, “We are all pilgrims: by taking our vows we have put on our boots and spurs.”/1/ The image fits us all because when we travel we both prepare ourselves and use what helps us move along.

Nehemiah used his moment with the king to obtain permission to return to Judah to rebuild it. As you move through your day, I suggest you ask Nehemiah and St. Francis Borgia to inspire you to see more clearly how to seize one opportunity to be a more convincing ambassador of Jesus and his kingdom.

/1/ Office of Readings for his Memorial, Supplement to the Divine Office for the Society of Jesus, St. Louis, 2002, p. 75.
Wiki-image of St. Francis Borgia is in the public domain.

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