The many Nazareths of St. John Paul

The Deacon's Bench | 10/22/2019 | Staff
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In 2011, my parish offered a special Mass to celebrate the first feast of Blessed John Paul, a year after his beatification. I was invited to preach.

Today, the feast of Saint John Paul, I repost it.

St - John - Paul - Pray

St. John Paul pray for us!

By a happy coincidence, this gospel touches on a theme that was so vital to Pope John Paul. In the parable, a tree is given one more chance to bring forth good fruit. The gardener gives it that chance; he offers it the gift of mercy. John Paul, you’ll remember, was beatified on the Feast of Divine Mercy. In fact, the opening prayer for this mass begins, “Oh God, who are rich in mercy…”

Mercy - Something - Pope - John - Paul

Mercy was something Pope John Paul understood in a profound way.

Less than a third of John Paul’s 85 years were spent as pope. Most of his life, in fact, was spent living and working and praying among ordinary men and women in small villages around Poland. From that experience, I believe, he came to understand in a very personal way how deeply the human heart seeks just one more chance, how much the soul seeks the mercy of God.

Afternoon - Someone - Besides - Man - Pope

So this afternoon, I wanted to speak about someone besides that man we all remember as Pope John Paul II.

I’d like us to consider Karol Wojtyla. A lonely boy….a poet… a laborer working in a quarry…a young man in hiding.

Jesus - Life - Nazareth - Ministry

Jesus, you’ll remember, spent most of his life in Nazareth, preparing for his great public ministry.

Well, Karol Wojtyla had his own Nazareth. He had many Nazareths, in fact — places and experiences that touched his heart and shaped his life.

Nazareth - Town - Wadowice

His first Nazareth was a town called Wadowice, where he was born.

His mother died when he was eight, his older brother when he was 12. Karol was raised by his...
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