Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, priest
(Exodus 32:14-24.30.34; Matthew 13:31-35)
St. Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus to be like yeast in today’s gospel parable. Although relatively few in comparison to the great numbers they serve, Jesuits have a tremendous enhancing effect. Their power results from education but even more than that from a Christ-centered spirituality which gives them the focus and drive of St. Paul.
Jesuits also go into the world which may be compared to the three measures of wheat flour. In the beginning their mission was not to found monasteries where people could come for sanctification or communities from which they could go forth and retreat to preach the gospel. No, they have traditionally been associated with the “front lines” engaging the people with an authentic interpretation of the gospel.
The achievement of the Jesuits has been impressive. Like the “whole batch” of bread mentioned in the gospel parable, Jesuits have been instrumental in bringing many to Christ. They have established centers of learning throughout the world. They have become not only among the best of theologians, but leaders in every ministry field. As much as anyone Pope Francis epitomizes what the Jesuits. He is well-learned but humble. He can rub shoulders with the powerful but is at home with the poor. He has accomplished much in his eighty years but is above all a prayerful man dependent upon God.