Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered this homily April 30 during a parish meeting for St. Edward School and Church in Little Rock.
Today is the feast of St. Pius V, the pope who implemented the reforms of the Council of Trent and thereby brought the Church through the greatest crisis in our history and thus providing a solid foundation for the future growth of the Church.
As you will recall, the 1500s were a time of great turmoil. The Church was on a path that was no longer sustainable, the Protestant Reformation was dividing the Church right down the middle and still there was a great deal of resistance to the changes that quite obviously needed to be made, and Pius V was the man for the job.
He cleared up doctrinal confusion by issuing the Roman Catechism. He cleared up liturgical confusion by issuing the Roman Missal and Roman Breviary. He set the Church’s financial house in order and restored hope in a Church that had suffered a lot of losses.
Once again people could see that if they made the necessary sacrifices and didn’t give in to fear, a bright future was possible for themselves and for future generations. And once again the Church began to grow.
Today’s Gospel has a similar message for us. Jesus says that the way we show our love for God is by putting our trust in him and doing what he asks of us.
“Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.” And if we love Jesus in this way, we will experience God’s love ourselves: “Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father.” And then he promises to send us “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit” who will teach us everything.
After this Mass we will have a meeting to look at the present status of your parish school and so I think it is providential that the Church holds up for our inspiration the example of St. Pius V. Our school is going through a rough patch financially right now — of course nothing compared to what Pius V had to face — but a crisis nonetheless. But like with the Church at the time of the Council of Trent, there are changes that we can make that will make a big difference and put our school back on a solid footing.
And just like back then, if we make the necessary sacrifices and don’t give in to fear, a bright future is possible for us and for future generations here at St. Edward.
And so we bring all this to prayer to God who loves us so much that he sacrificed his only Son to save us — “will he not give us all things besides?”
And “the advocate, the Holy Spirit” who will teach us everything if we just open our hearts to the new possibilities he places before us.
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