Life on the Chrism Trail

Homily for the Mass for the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church

September 18, 2021
Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church
Cisco, Texas

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 4-15
Psalm His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
1 Peter 2:2-9
John 2:1-12

There are two Greek words for the word “time.” There is chronos and there is kairos. Chronos refers to time as it is measured by history and recorded in the way that a wristwatch, schedule, stopwatch, or calendar does. Kairos refers to time as the point where circumstances and needs converge for the right human decision or intervention by God into human affairs.

The reading that we just proclaimed from the Book of Ecclesiastes, uses the term kairos, over 30 times to manifest the presence of God amid human events like birth, love, health, sickness, construction, destruction, war, peace, and death. In light of this Scripture, we consider with gratitude where the Lord has been present in the 100 years of history of the parish of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and is even at work now during these contemporary times. In remembering the stories of the sacramental and family lives of the parishioners of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, we come to experience a sense of hope of salvation that is promised by God and fulfilled by Christ. We consider these chronological events in ways that we might have overlooked during them because of the intense pace of our lives.

The Church offers us these opportunities not to forget liturgical occasions like anniversaries because there is so much about our life as parishioners and as families that directs our focus to the future. This might tempt us to overlook and to even forget the past and those people who gave so much of their lives to teach us the faith and to set examples for us as to the full truth of the Gospel and the necessity for prayer in our lives that we might always be aware of God’s love for us.

One hundred years is a long time when we consider the events of our lives. There have been a lot of events in the history of Cisco, Texas and of the United States and of the world in these 100 years. This parish was established as the Spanish flu wrought sickness and death on so many people and continues to be reborn in the current pandemic of COVID-19. Cisco remembers the events of the entrepreneurial expertise of Conrad Hilton, a Catholic, who began his contribution to American life here in Cisco. In 100 years, your fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, friends, and neighbors, have gone through births and deaths, weddings and funerals, baptisms, confirmations, and first Holy Communions. Each of these events are measured by chronos, chronological time.

Today in our Mass, we move from chronos into kairos. We begin by considering the chronological dates and memories associated with the parish of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary; and we move into kairos to reflect on their significance and promise in light of the action of God in our lives and measured by the Providence of God’s love who gave His Son to suffer, die, and to rise for our eternal life.

In many ways, the maternal patronage of your parish, the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary sets the example par excellence in today’s Gospel for the mission of the entire Church and for your parish in particular.  The Blessed Virgin Mary, in her compassion for the newly married couple at Cana, petitions her Son to bring the event of this wedding (an event that would have been marred by scandal given the culture of the day) to carry them from chronos into kairos: to begin urgently His saving work despite His response that His hour had not yet come.

The Greek word for the truth is aleteia. This word is literally translated as “not forgetting.” Today we do not forget what Christ has done for us in our individual lives and in your parish’s life that continues to proclaim the truth of God’s unconditional love in giving us the gift of His Son, and the last gift of His Son, the gift of His own Blessed Mother to be our mother too, that we never forget the tender mercy and compassion of God. May Our Lady of the Holy Rosary intercede for us now and throughout our lives.

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