Reflection 11th August 2019

A Reflection for the Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Lk: 12: 32-48  ( )

During my four years in Rome as the Spiritans’ General Secretary from 2013, I visited the catacombs of St. Callixtus many times. Just on the edge of these catacombs is a small church. It is there to mark the spot where allegedly Peter, fleeing Rome after the crucifixion of Jesus, encountered the risen Jesus heading back towards the city.

Peter put the famous question to Jesus: Quo Vadis, Domine? (‘Where are you going, Lord?’), to which Jesus replied ‘I am going back to Rome to be crucified again’. Instead of continuing on his journey, Peter returned to Rome where he himself was eventually crucified upside down.

The theme of faith journeys permeates today’s readings.  The piece from the Book of Wisdom recalls the Passover when Moses led the people on a journey from slavery in Egypt to the future promised land. The author of Hebrews recalls the faith journey of Abraham who set out, at God’s invitation, to journey to a place, “a city, whose architect and builder is God”. Why did they do it? Because the author affirms that the ‘ancients’ had great faith which he defines as, “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. In Chapter 9, Luke tells us that Jesus set out on a journey towards Jerusalem knowing what was in store for him. He would have preferred to remain in his ‘comfort zone’ in Galilee but was called out of there to fulfil his mission. Today’s Gospel depicts Jesus encouraging his disciples along the way to be paratus ad omnia.

I wear a cross and chain around my neck. I got them in Santiago de Compostela many years ago. Instead of the figure of Jesus on the cross, there is a shell, symbol of the pilgrim, which is to be found along the ‘camino’ route and functions as a kind of ‘sat nav’ at crossroads along the way to keep the pilgrim on the correct road. I treasure it as a reminder of who I am as a Christian and as a Spiritan.

Michael Kilkenny C.S.Sp. – Ordained in 1985, Fr. Michael is one of some 20 Irish Spiritans who have ministered in Angola. He has also served in Rome, as well as in Ireland where his current roles include as Community Leader in Spiritan House on Dublin’s northside.