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Bishop's Homily for the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

God hears the prayers of those who cry out in their humility and need.

By Bishop Larry Silva
October 23, 2022

[St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa (Tenth Anniversary of Canonization of St. Marianne Cope)]

I can imagine a very lonely girl who felt so despondent about being taken away from her loving family because of leprosy that she cried out to God to send her a loving mother. She prayed with all her heart, trusting that God would hear her in her pain. And along came Mother Marianne and her Sisters, who were like mothers to her and the other girls. Could that little girl’s prayers have been the actual cause of the angels opening Mother Marianne’s heart to say yes to this difficult assignment?

God does indeed hear the prayers of those who cry out to him in their humility and in their need, as our Scriptures remind us today. Though God is not unduly partial to the weak, he often is very open to hearing their cries for help.

Twice, someone who was weak with sickness cried out to God in desperate prayer, hoping for a miracle cure through the intercession of Mother Marianne. And twice, as we know, God heard that prayer and granted the miracles that led to her beatification and canonization. Even if they wanted to be in control, they reached the point at which they could do nothing except cry out to God in lamentation, knowing that they did not even deserve a miracle, but God heard them nonetheless through the intercession of Mother Marianne.

As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the canonization of St. Marianne, we thank God that he has given us such an intercessor in heaven, someone who still stands in her little corner of heaven pleading for the outcasts of the world today, just as she did during her lifetime. Her continued power is in her continued humility before the Lord of all creation, as she worships him forever in the company of the saints.

Saints, of course, are canonized so that we can imitate them in their childlike and humble faith in the Lord. And so it is that we also can lift up our voices in prayer for the many needs of the world. Just as the prayers of the humble were effective in bringing Mother Marianne to Hawaii and in the healings that led to her definitive declaration as a citizen of heaven, so our prayers can be effective.

So many young people feel like outcasts because they are bullied in person or on-line. Immigrants trying to escape political oppression or oppressive poverty feel like outcasts in many ways. Refugees from war, famine or natural disasters feel like outcasts because they had so much that was taken away from them in the blink of an eye. Battered women, victims of human trafficking, addicts, and the mentally ill feel like outcasts, too. But we can raise our voices in prayer for all of them, and ask the Mother of Outcasts, St. Marianne, to add her special prayers so that there can be healing and peace in their hearts.

One never knows whose heart God will touch with the angels he sends to fulfill the prayers of his beloved people. Some desperate soul, like the little girl with leprosy, may be crying out today, and the angel may touch the heart of any one of us to respond, to reach out, and to heal. If we do that, we will be imitating the example of our beloved Mother of Outcasts, accepting whatever the Lord may ask of us, no matter how difficult it may seem. We may go across the room or across the world to respond to that angel of prayer who tugs our hearts, but we, like St. Marianne, will be cooperating in the plan of God himself who hears the cry of the poor.