Today John Henry Newman was canonized as a Saint of the Catholic Church. Fr. Joe Simmons, SJ, reflects on how “outsiders” can help us recognize the beauty of what’s right in front of us. Based on the readings for Sunday, October 13, 2019.
“Growth,” Cardinal Newman wrote, “is the only sure sign of life.” How have you been pushed to grow in your life of faith? Hi, I’m Father Joe Simmons, and this is my one-minute homily. Earlier today in Rome Pope Francis canonized John Henry Newman a saint of the Catholic Church. He studied here in Oxford at Trinity College, and was later a fellow at Oriel College, and he preached right here at University Church.
Although he was Anglican, John Henry Newman did not accept easy stereotypes about Catholics; he studied history and theology, and became fully aware of all the Church’s imperfections. And yet on October 9, 1845, he converted to Catholicism and was received into the Church.
Cardinal Newman wrote, “We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.” In today’s Gospel, there are ten lepers healed by Jesus; but only one of them, an outsider, comes back to thank him for the gift of healing. Converts to our faith remind us Cradle-Catholics of the great gift that we possess, and that it is something to be lived out and deepened every day.
On this great day, let us not settle for despair or easy indifference, but draw strength to grow deeper in our own lives of faith. St. John Henry Newman, pray for us!