Bishop Don Bolen of Saskatoon was in Rome this week, introducing the priests of his diocese to his former home.
In truth they were here for the International Meeting for Priests that wrapped up Thursday in St. Peter's square. Alas, it's a long flight from Saskatoon to Rome, so Bishop Bolen and his priests, along with Archbishop Daniel Bohan of Regina, Archbishop Emeritus of St. Boniface Emilius Goulet and priests from those dioceses, stayed on a few days longer. Bishop Bolen returned to his former parish here in Rome, a beautiful little international community of English speakers at San Francesco della Caravita, for a special Mass this past Sunday.
Bishop Bolen is a remarkable homilist. I first heard him preach in 2007 when I attended my first Mass at this Caravita parish and I remember that homily to this day. This Sunday his homily was particularly moving. The Gospel was the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Bishop Bolen spoke about the different ways we can look at this Gospel... from the eyes of the woman, from the eyes of the observer who says, "Hey, but don't you know what kind of woman she is?" or from the eyes of faith. When you look at that scene through the eyes of faith, what you see is Mercy
If you saw the Witness
interview with Bishop Bolen earlier this year, you might recall that his Bishop's motto is "Mercy within Mercy within Mercy."
Hence, a subject he has reflected on deeply.
When we look at that scene with the eyes of faith and see Mercy
, we see that God's mercy is, first of all greater than we deserve, and secondly, greater than what we can ever ask for.
We must sincerely recognize that we are in need of his mercy, and turn to him humbly, and honestly.
I can tell you there was a hush in the church as Bishop Bolen finished his homily. It kinda made me want to move to Saskatoon... but just for the summer.
Photo courtesy of Larry Litman