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Sat. am Mass at Missionaries of Charity house
Rev Mr. John A Sistare
Luke 13: 1-9

In late nineteenth century, in France, there was a condemned criminal by the name of Pranzini, who committed several murders. As he was led to the guillotine to be executed there were no signs of remorse. Then suddenly as the priest offered him a crucifix, he grabbed it and kissed the wounds of Christ, three times. How in the world did this happen? How did he, in the last moment, change and reform his life?

Certainly the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit are the reasons. However, there is a little more to the story. There was a little girl in France, Lisieux, to be exact. This little girl, Theresa, took it upon herself to pray for this criminal. St Theresa, the little flower, in her autobiography, "Story of a Soul", asked God, "I ask for just one sign of his repentance to encourage me." St Theresa was given that sign as she read the local newspaper’s report of the event. She wept tears of joy immediately when she found out he repented at the last moment.

In today’s Gospel, we have a similar situation. A fig tree has not bore fruit in three years. The man in charge, as we all would be tempted to say as well, says, "cut it down!" Pranzini, was like this fig tree. His whole life was full of sin and was rotten, bearing no fruit. The vinedresser says to give the tree one more year and let it be cultivated that it may bear fruit. Pranzini in his final moments, bore fruit by kissing the Cross. He bore the fruit of repentance. St Theresa knew that there was hope for him and a power in prayer.

Today, let us look first at our own life and see the need for reform. Obviously here at the Missionaries of Charity house, there is a lot of fruit being born. However, there is always room for improvement and growth in holiness. Perhaps, like St Theresa did for Pranzini, we can pray for those who are desperately in need of reform. Let us pray for an outpouring of God’s grace and the power of the Holy spirit to cultivate those in need of repentance.

Here, at this Mass, we offer up the greatest and highest from of prayer possible. Let us offer up our prayers for all those in need of repentance here at this sacrifice of the Mass.



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