‘America’ in Rome, Day 2: The Church of the Gesu

The pilgrims at the Gesu. The pilgrims at the Gesu. 

America Media is in Rome on pilgrimage Oct. 22-28. With Father Matt Malone as our guide, we’re exploring the center of the Catholic Church and the sites where the Society of Jesus has been living and working since the time of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Join us at our America Journeys website for a virtual pilgrimage as we offer reflections each day.

On Oct. 24, we celebrated Mass at the Church of the Gesu, the mother church of the Society of Jesus. 

Here is the homily delivered there by Father Matt Malone

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It was considered audacious, even hubristic, for the first companions to call their society the Company of Jesus. For some, it was a scandal. For Ignatius, it was only fitting that this new religious order should take the name of its true and only head. Yet he would have agreed that there is something scandalous about it.

“And they named him Jesus,” St. Matthew says. If I were to produce a new translation of this Gospel story, I might title it something like “Notes on a Scandal.”  By “scandal,” of course, I do not mean—nor did Ignatius—a lie that corrupts a truth but rather a truth that subverts a lie; an irruption that causes the lie or the liar to stumble. The incarnation of our Lord—this astonishing act of love in which God enters a human body—is just such a scandal. Here in Mary’s loving arms, love itself has become incarnate; faith, hope and love beat for the many, in the heart of the one.

Read the full homily here

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