14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Fr. Patrick Coldricks, SJ, broadcast from Martyrs' Shrine
This Week's Spiritual Reflection
The bishop(s) of Rome
The (s) above is not a reference to the presence ( in Rome now ) of the Pope's immediate predecessor there is only one Bishop of Rome at a time (though more than one at a time has claimed that position). When in 1963 secular news magazines had front-page coverage of the legitimate succession (in 1963) from one pope to another - the death of Pope John XXIII and the election of Pope Paul VI - my Catholic 'compass' turned Rome-ward. And in time I was drawn to and joined the Society of Jesus and l learned thereafter that Jesuits have in a founding Formula a commitment expressed in our so-called fourth vow "to serve the Lord alone and the Church His spouse UNDER THE ROMAN PONTIFF" (my emphases).
As a Catholic then, and specifically as a Jesuit I note well the ( June 29th ) commemoration of the first of the Christian leaders at Rome and I think of the men in my life-time occupying the Chair of St.Peter Of those seven two are declared worthy of the veneration by the faithful, and three canonized saints of the Catholic Church: In order of each one's years as pope they are the Venerable Pius XII (1939-1958) St John XXIII (1958-'63), St Paul VI (1963-'78) the Venerable John Paul I (1978) St John Paul II (1978-2005). Regarding himself and Pope Benedict XVI (2005-'13) Pope Francis (2013 to the present) said, we "are on the waiting list. Pray for us", he concluded. And indeed Mother Church insists that at each offering of Holy Mass the name of the pope in our own time ( and each one who is to follow him in the so-called, "shoes of the Fisherman" ) be included. At other times we might keep him in prayers of this sort: May the Lord preserve him and give him life; make him blessed on earth, and not deliver him up to the will of his enemies'.
And we might call upon his predecessors - those bishops of Rome who are already in glory with God - to continue caring for the flock of Christ.which had been entrusted to them Saints John & Paul & John Paul and Venerable Pius XII + Venerable John Paul I, pray for us.
Fr. Stephen LeBlanc, SJ