Reflections / Homilies for 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Fr Jerome Marquez SVD – Conversations with Fr Jerome

Fr Jerry Orbos SVD / Sunday Moments / January 30 2022

Fr Rod Salazar SVD — Word Becoming, Spiritual Reflections

Reading Self, Reflecting God

By Fr Roderick Salazar SVD

A gentle rain this twilight caresses and comforts
our garden, the whole day verdant but now tired
and weary from all the smiling it has shared.
I long to hear the angelus bell but am ready for
its silence, the practice of its reminding all of the
Incarnation hour, it seems, no longer being done.

So, safe under our covered porch, I thank the rain
which invites me to enter night without fear.
And I remember a video that I once saw and
thoroughly enjoyed and often return to in
Youtube, of a concert by Andrea Bocelli with
composer David Foster and other friends.

It opens with camera views of hills and mountains
under the setting sun, till the shots rest on
refreshing waters in a pool over which was built
a temporary hall and stage for the Bocelli show.

The concert is titled AMORE: Under the Desert Sky
performed in Lake Las Vegas Resort in 2006.
It opens with Bocelli singing of a girl named after
a flower, AMAPOLA.
“Amapola, lindisima Amapola
no seas tan ingrata y amame,
Amapola, Amapola
como puedes tu vivir tan sola.
Amapola, lindisima Amapola,
sera siempre mi alma tuya sola,
yo te quiero amada niña mia,
que ama la flor la luz del dia….”

It’s a lovely concert if only because Bocelli sings
not the heavy operatic arias that not all really like
but popular songs in English and Spanish and
Italian whose melodies many of us know:
Besame Mucho. September Morn. The Prayer.
Can’t help Falling In Love With You. Cuando Me
Enamoro. Solamente Una Vez.

The performance begins in late afternoon but
goes on till the night shadows fall, the very time
that today I am in. So I remember not only this
concert AMORE but also a story of Italy.

Our human history records the rise and fall of many
civilizations. Some last only a little while, others
stay on longer, but no civilization lasts forever.
The Aztecs and Incas had their time, the Chinese and
Japanese, the Greeks, Egyptians, the Romans.
Each saw its rise, its dominance, and then its fall.

It is related that at the peak of Roman power, some
of its seers felt that the brilliance would not last, so
they warned the people to look into themselves to
find the strength and character that would save them.
But history is witness that the Romans never did.

Years later, after the decline of Roman civilization,
people learned what they had missed. It was simple,
after all. But they did not find it. What would have,
could have saved Rome, say their own wise men,
was for them to have looked into themselves and
see what was wrong and what was missing.
And REVERSE them, starting with their name.

ROMA, spelled backwards, reads AMOR – Love.

Love was what the Romans missed living.
Love is what many of us also lack.

We miss it because we do not look long enough
into ourselves and around us to see what is
wrong and what needs to be set right.

Reversing our limited, perhaps selfish concentration
on our self and rather love from within ourselves but
be oriented outward toward others is the direction.
Convert ROMA. Invert ROMA. Into AMOR.

This, after all, is what the Christian concept of repentance
is all about. We err, we sin. We get up and try to be good
once more. We love but are unfaithful. By God’s grace, we
see our sin. Repent. Reverse direction. Convert to Love.

Oh there are some of us who do really love.
not just husband or wife, parents and children but
others too. Familiars and strangers. We love and
those who truly love know love’s challenges.

Love includes not just hugs and kisses, rainbows and
roses, but times when there is no food or money for
anything the family needs. But we hang on. Loving.
In sunshine or in shadow. In sickness and in health….

Love is sometimes not even expressed in words but
in faithful and loving service to others, attentiveness
to one’s work, especially those upon which many rely.

This Sunday, the Second Reading is from 1 Cor 13:1-13.
It is Paul’s great Hymn of Love, his understanding of
what Jesus already said at the Last Supper,
“Love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.
Love – not just AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF, but
AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. Which included Jesus
washing the dirty feet of His disciples
(a creative video made this as Jesus washing
the PLATES after that Supper);
suffering and dying on the cross. Rising again.
Remaining with us in various ways.

AS I have loved you. In life. Till death.
ROMA turned around into AMOR.

That Bocelli 2006 concert ends with a camera shot
of a balcony in the background where four bare-chested
and barefoot young men stand at the edge of the porch
with flaming torches in each hand.

When Bocelli’s voice reaches its peak, the men dive
into the waters below as the audience gasps.
The torches get squashed, but fireworks erupt
into the night sky and Bocelli ends his concert
with a song that David Foster’s daughter, Amy,
and Bocelli himself wrote: BECAUSE WE BELIEVE.

“Listen to the sun, he calls out your name. This is your
moment, so arise, and don’t be afraid of the light that
you feel upon your face. It’s really meant for you.

“Like stars across the sky.
E per avvincere tu dovrai vincere
together we were born to shine, all of us here

“Once in every life, there comes a time,
we walk out on our own and into the light.
The moment won’t last but then,
we remember it again,
when we close our eyes……
like stars across the sky…”

So ended Bocelli’s concert AMORE: Under the Desert Sky.

While the concert of our lives continues or resumes.

Perhaps not as musically smooth, dramatic, orchesrated
but real and full of love –
stretched, tested, difficult, fled from, abandoned but r
eturned to, reconciled, and sustained –
with a sigh, a hug, a kiss, a smile, all the ups and downs
and in-betweens of living love.

Because We Believe,
We CAN love.
We can CHANGE.

Read our Self.
Reflect our God.

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