September 26, 2021
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us.”
– -Mark 9:39b-40
Brothers & Sisters,
Life is a comedy. Comedy is an art form that predates the current movie genre, with jokes, puns, and hilarious scenarios. Far from this contemporary notion, the traditional comedy is filled with struggle and suffering. The prevailing characteristic of this literary form of comedy is the celebratory ending. The peril or danger is defeated, and the hero is victorious.
Seven hundred years ago this month, celebrated 14th Century, poet, Dante passed away while in exile from his birthplace of Florence. Having been engaged in the politics of his day, Dante experienced divisiveness and discord that ultimately split up his family and caused much hardship in his life. Amid an imposed exile, Dante wrote the poem “Comedy,” or later be published as “The Divine Comedy.” This literary masterpiece follows the pilgrimage of a soul through Hell, Purgatory, and into Paradise.
As a teenager, I, too, was caught up in the circles of hell, focused on vivid descriptions of punishments for each sin. Despite the struggles and exile, Dante recognized the value of suffering and described the cammino or pilgrimage that we ought to all embrace. I do not think the poem was ultimately a published, “How to Journey through the Afterlife,” but an encouragement for each of us to keep struggling as we strive to grow in virtue. In choosing to stay on the journey, we are inherently trusting – God will be victorious; our struggles are worthwhile.
Many parishioners are dealing with great hardships, from mourning the loss of loved ones and caring for the sick to navigating the stressful pandemic with increased stress in work and school. Many of these aspects of our life could cripple us. But the Lord places many people in our world to help – including the heroic men and women of our military, our police officers and law enforcement, our firefighters, medics, and first responders. Let us place them in the care and intercession of St. Michael, whose feast we celebrate this week. Let us also look for those guides the Lord places in our lives, from the angels and saints, family and friends, and parishioners and neighbors. And let us commit to saying yes to the Lord when he places us in a situation to accompany others in their journey – offering a moment of encouragement, a compassionate gesture, or sharing our hope in the Lord.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett