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Christ will come: What do we do in the meantime?

Archbishop Wenski's homily at St. Elizabeth of Hungary on its 60th anniversary

Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrates the Mass marking the 60th anniversary of St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish, Pompano Beach, Nov. 17, 2019. Behind him, from left, are Father Harry Loubriel, pastor, and Father Fenly Saint-Jean, parochial vicar.

Photographer: TOM TRACY | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrates the Mass marking the 60th anniversary of St. Elizabeth of Hungary parish, Pompano Beach, Nov. 17, 2019. Behind him, from left, are Father Harry Loubriel, pastor, and Father Fenly Saint-Jean, parochial vicar.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski preached this homily Nov. 17, 2019, at the 60th anniversary Mass for St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Pompano Beach. Click here for story and photos.

By your perseverance, you will secure your lives. Se nan pasyans nou, n ap jwenn lavi nou. Si se mantienen firmes, conseguirán la vida.

Today I am happy to join with you to celebrate the 60th anniversary of this parish community of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. St. Elizabeth, of course, is honored as a saint not because she was the wife of the King of Hungary; but for her love of the poor – and her love for the poor was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi. She knew hardship – she was widowed soon after she married and was to die in her mid-20s, but we look to her example and seek her prayers because of her persevering faith, a faith lived out in charity, especially to poor and the sick.

This is a parish of great diversity: Haitians, Hispanics, Anglos, Brazilians and others – but I don’t know if there are any Hungarians? And, is there anyone here who has been a member of the parish since it began 60 years ago?

Santa Isabel de Hungría, patrona de esta parroquia, se mantuvo firme en su fe, y así es para nosotros un modelo de como conseguir la vida – no por la búsqueda de riquezas y honores sino por medio del servicio hacia los más pobres y olvidados. Que ella interceda por ustedes, los feligreses de esta parroquia que es como un oasis de fe, esperanza y amor en un desierto seco y hostil.

Today, as we celebrate this anniversary, we look to the past with gratitude, we embrace the challenges of the present with enthusiasm and we look to the future with confidence.

Se fete n ap fete jounen Jodi a; kè n kontan poutèt la ap fete 60 rekòlt kafe. Men, an menm tan, kè n sere poutèt tou sa k ap pase nan peyi d’Ayiti. Ala yon gagòt – Ayiti cheri nou tounen Ayiti chire. Konsa, pawòl Jezi ban nou nan moso levanjil la enpòtan – se nan pasyans nou, n ap jwenn lavi nou. Se jefò nan soufrans k ap bay delivrans.

Menm jan pèp Izrayèl la tap travèse savann dezole a, se konsa pou nou travèse tè mizè a jiska Granmèt tounen pou l fè tout bagay mache dwat. Men, anantandan, sa pou nou fè? Se pou nou viv tankou sa nou ye gras a batèm nan: sa vle di, kom pitit Bondye, tankou frè ak sè Jezi Kri. Se pou n viv nan lafwa menm lè nou nan nwa; se pou nou viv an espwa – paske sa Bondye pwomèt nou, se li l ap ban nou vre. Se pou n gen renmen nan kè n, youn pou lòt, pou ni nou menm, ni frè n ak sè n yo nan bon tan ak nan move tan, lè afè nou bon ak lè afè n pa bon, konsa n a rive goutè jan sa pral gou lè Granmèt vini pou fè tout bagay mache dwat.

As Catholics we are a pilgrim people, sojourners through a foreign land. In fact, the word, parish, which comes from the Greek, pa-roi-ki-a, means just that. The Spanish, parroquia, is closer to the Greek than its English equivalent. Like the Hebrews who sojourned in the desert as they passed over to the Promised Land, so we too sojourn through this valley of tears until “pass over” into our heavenly homeland.

As we journey through the desert, there are certainly frustrations. In our country today, many people are anguished by so much suicide, drug addiction, gun violence, the mudslinging that passes for politics, the divisiveness...

It seems sometimes as if there are no longer healthy inhibitions and controls that could keep the worse things about us in check. Instead, in this era, all tendencies, even the most wicked, have seemingly free reign.

But Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that our faith will be tested. There will be persecutions, wars, natural disasters – all these things test our faith. And many fail the test – they give up on the Gospel and lead mediocre lives of faith. Some will say that Christ will never come, or that he never came, or that he never said who he really was and so on.

But Jesus assures us that he will come again in all righteousness.

But we don’t know when he is coming. So, the big question is: what do we do in the meantime? And what we do in the meantime does matter. How do we find zeal for doing the work of Christ?

¿Entre el día de hoy y el día en que vendrá el Señor, qué debemos hacer? Tenemos que recordar que el Señor nos advirtió que la vida en este mundo es como transitar un valle de lágrimas. Que no nos desanimemos sino que nos mantengamos firmes para conseguir la vida. Como nos dijo el Señor, tendremos que pasar pruebas de todo tipo en esta vida, pero si perseveramos con el Señor compartiremos su victoria. Mientras tanto, hagamos lo que es justo, sirvamos a los pobres, y contemos siempre con la ayuda de la Morenita. Que esta parroquia sea para nosotros como ha sido por los últimos 60 años para otros grupos de fieles, un oasis en medio del desierto donde podamos descansar y fortalecernos en nuestro peregrinar hacia la Tierra Prometida.

Our parishes are to be like the oases in the desert, where sojourners could stop and refresh and strengthen themselves for the journey. They are to be schools of prayer and communion where we learn what to do in this “meantime” between Jesus’ first coming and his return in glory, and learn to do it with zeal.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish has been such an oasis for God’s people here in Pompano for 60 years. Through your many ministries, through the proclamation of the Word and the celebration of the sacraments, St. Elizabeth of Hungary – a true oasis – teaches its parishioners what to do in the meantime.

So, what are we to do? By keeping the commandments – they are the guardrails that keep us from falling off the path. By seeking justice – in your families, among your friends and where you work and live. How do you do that? By doing what is just; by loving mercy; and by walking humbly with God. This is what we do in the meantime, our time of sojourning through this vale of tears.

By your perseverance, you will secure your lives. Se nan pasyans nou, n ap jwenn lavi nou. Si se mantiene firmes, conseguirán la vida.    

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