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Servant of God Joseph De Piro – reflections from his life and writings; 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Servant of God Joseph De Piro – reflections from his life and writings; 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 32(33):4-5.18-20.22; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45.

 

** Gospel Reading

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. ‘Master,’ they said to him, ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’

When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them: ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

 

** Further Reading

The month of October 2012 was a special month for the Church. On the 7th of the month Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the Synod dealing with New Evangelisation, on the 12th he celebrated the opening of the Year of Faith and on the 21st the Church celebrated Mission Sunday. In Malta, a number of priests and religious, gathered at the Rabat Parish Church, built above the place where it is traditionally accepted that Paul stayed while in Malta, and together with the bishops of Malta, celebrated an hour of prayer. It is certain that the Servant of God Joseph De Piro lived and practised each of these types of evangelization:

  • the one to the faithful or that known as apostolate;
  • the new evangelization; and
  • the evangelisation ad gentes.

Since on the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we are expected to focus mainly on the evangelisation ad gentes we refer to what De Piro wrote in the Original Constitutions about this main activity of ours (Thanks to Fr Conrad Sciberras mssp for this translation):

Fascicle 1: Camps of action

Missions

The broad meaning: As the scope of our Society indicates, that is, to aid those countries that lack evangelical ministers, one of our main ministries is the Missions. In virtue of the vow of mission, all members are bound to be always ready to go to any part of the world.

The Missionaries are to preach, hear confessions and similar other ministries, together with those other that are linked with the running of a parish; naturally, all this is to be done according to the demands of the local bishops.

Every week, the Superior of the Mission is to update his immediate Superior about important things that happen there, and to ask his advice and guidelines. The same applies to those who, because of their ministry, find themselves away from their community.

The Missionaries are to pray every day for those persons entrusted to their pastoral care. They must be extremely careful to avoid giving even the slightest bad example: their behaviour with those they minister to must be such that they gain their respect. Thus, they should not, under the guise of charity, behave as match-makers, or get involve in the writing of testaments. They are not to act as godfathers, and they are to keep away from those activities that drag the evangelical ministry into disrepute, and which, rightly, upset those persons involved.

Those Missionaries that are sent among the Infidels should not refuse to educate the natives about their civic duties; indeed, this could help them in their spiritual growth. They should, however, be aware not to exceed the just measure, thus risking spiritual damage to themselves and to the others.

Those Missionaries, who because of their ministry miss out on the great benefits that community life offers, are to keep alive their ardent desire to become more perfect. Therefore they are to be most observant of the Holy Rules of our Society, never leaving out the daily meditation and examination of conscience, and the other moments of recollection.

The narrow meaning: Mission, in the narrow meaning, consists in the sending of two or more Missionaries to a parish, or any another place, to distribute the bread of the Word of God, together with the Most Holy Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.

Once they are assigned to a Mission, the Missionaries are to see this as coming from the Hands of Divine Providence, and they are to start right away to pray for the persons that they will be ministering to. When they reach their destination, they are to keep in mind the words of our Father, St. Paul: “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved” (2 Cor 2, 15). They are to be satisfied with the room, the bed and the food that they are given. Once their mission is over, they are to leave their mission as soon as possible.

Fascicle 2: The Holy Vows

The Vow of Missions

In virtue of this vow, every member of the Society needs to be always prepared to go anywhere in the world, as indicated by obedience.

 

St James The Apostle