My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
This Sunday as you are honoring the patron saint of your parish: Saint Cajetan, I believe it is an opportunity to meditate on the mystery of the Consecrated Life. Your Saint was a religious himself. He was even the Founder of a religious congregation called Theatines. This year we also live the Year of the Consecrated Life dedicated to the mystery of the call Jesus offers to some of us to follow him by taking the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.
When I was in High School not far from your place, every day with my classmates we passed the Catholic University which is just across the road from my old school. One day as we were observing a long line of nuns, brothers and priests walking for their lectures, wearing so many various habits and soutanes, a friend of mine made this question: “Do we need so many orders? Couldn’t we have just one for men and one for women?”
St Paul in our second reading today wrote: “Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in goodness and holiness of the truth.” Religious life, which richness is so clearly expressed by variety of the religious habits, reminds us simply about the richness of the mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ.
St John, who wrote the Gospel passage we proclaimed a few minutes ago, at the end of the Gospel wrote that “There are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
That’s why the Holy Spirit has been inspiring over the two millennia of the Church history certain man and woman, the founders of the religious congregations, who were so captivated by a particular mystery of Jesus that they allowed the Holy Spirit to write in their life another page of the Gospel. Every religious congregation contributes to the Church and the world not only what they do through their ministry but they allow the people of the world to see another aspect of the great mystery of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
What can we read about Jesus as we meditate on the life of you Patron, Saint Cajetan and his order of Teatines? St Cajetan lived in the time when the Western Reformation was creating a division among Christians. At the same time he saw the weakness of his contemporary Church. However our Saint didn’t want to run away from the corrupted situation. He came to believe that Jesus never gives up on people. That’s what St Cajetan wanted to tell his contemporaries, not only by his sermons but mainly by the example of his own life and the lives of his Teatines.
In your parish church you have this beautiful painting of St Cajetan who receives the Baby Jesus from the Blessed Virgin Mary. St Cajetan didn’t withdraw himself to some noiseless and remote place to enjoy this closeness with Jesus but he spent his life in the most challenging circumstances of the city of Nepal in Italy as he learnt from Jesus that those people were dearly loved by him. The same love of Jesus he wanted them to experience from him and his Teatines.