October 31, 2015
Feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J.
Lk 14: 1. 7-11
On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.
But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Joy at the Front Door
By the accident of the calendar, today’s gospel falls on the Jesuit feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, a Jesuit brother who served for 45 years as doorkeeper and receptionist at the Jesuit College of Majorca, Spain. Alphonsus entered the Jesuits at age 38, after the suffering of losing his parents, his wife and young son to disease. His daily life of dealing with students, faculty, and visitors (including beggars and the poor) who came to the front door of the Jesuit College was notable for his hospitality and helpfulness. His
Alphonsus was someone who found joy in hardship, fame in the humble task of answering the front door. Despite his personal struggles, he found peace in helping students find their way, attending to his brother Jesuits with their many needs, and taking care of the poor who showed up throughout the day and night. In the spirit of today’s gospel reading, Alphonsus found greatness and joy in the midst of menial daily tasks as he “watched the door.”
—The Jesuit prayer team
Honour is flashed off exploit, so we say:
And those strokes once that gashed flesh or galled shield
Should tongue that time now, trumpet now that field,
And, on the fighter, forge his glorious day.
On Christ they do and on the martyr may:
But be the war within, the brand we wield
Unseen, the heroic breast not outward-steeled.
Yet God (that hews mountain and continent,
Earth, all, out; who, with trickling increment,
Veins violets and tall trees makes more and more)
Could crowd career with conquest while there went
Those years and years by without event
That in Majorca Alfonso watched the door.
—“St. Alphonsus Rodriguez“ by Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.
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