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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

October 4, 2009

At a time when the emotionally-charged same-sex marriage referendum is on November’s ballot in Maine, parishioners will be hearing about the “unity” that is intended by God for us so that God’s love may be manifest. For this reflection, I will stick to scriptural analysis. The second creation story in Genesis tells us that the woman was created to be an aid in man’s work; the woman is designed to stand alongside the man as an equal, not as a lesser than partner, but as a helper who relates to the other in mutuality and partnership. Therefore, humans come together in unity to show our love for one another and God is there to bless the union as it reveals God’s love for all of us.

Marriage becomes a means by which we mutually commit to the ongoing creation of each other as God intends. Divorce is the sad realization that this union does not reveal God’s love in its fullness in the long haul. While Moses allows that a man may divorce his wife, this separation often puts the woman’s social standing and welfare at risk, raising the probability of a greater social injustice. Jesus attacks the hardness of heart that results in closing down one’s openness to God’s intent for humanity. When the novelty of marriage has worn off, we sometimes realize the person we married is not the ideal person we expected or hoped him or her to be.

Mark’s Gospel passage is paired with this Genesis account because it highlights the fact that we are not meant to be alone and that we are created to have a harmonious relationship with all creatures. In our faith, we have sacramentalized marriage to show that unity is a sign and symbol of God’s abiding presence and continued work in creating us. Civil marriage is distinct from, but may share qualities with sacramental marriage. We are created in God’s image and likeness and when we celebrate our covenantal commitment to another in companionship, we will find Jesus Christ at the center of our friendship. Let us help one another achieve this harmonious relationship with the world in our ongoing creation – in mutuality and partnership - as God intends. God wants to reveal God’s love for us to others.

Quote for the Week

Since the powerful effects of the Rosary are recalled on Wednesday, I include the Latin and English translations of the “Hail Mary.”

Avē Marīa, grātia plēna, Dominus tēcum. Benedicta tū in mulieribus, et benedictus frūctus ventris tuī, Iēsus. Sancta Marīa, Māter Deī, ōrā prō nōbīs peccātōribus, nunc et in hōrā mortis nostrae. Āmēn.

In English:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

We read about Jonah’s story in his attempts to fulfill his mission to the Ninevites. First, in order to save the sailors on the tempestuous ocean storm, Jonah is tossed overboard as the cause of the storm. He next treks across Ninevah to tell them to repent from their ways and turn back to the Lord. The prophet Malachi brings a similar message to Israel to remind them of the ways of the Lord with regards to the proud and haughty. Joel likewise forecasts that gloom and doom that accompany the impending Day of the Lord, but to those who are attentive that harvest is ready.

Luke poses the question, “Who is my neighbor?” as he writes about the mercy we are to extend to one another, and then he shows Martha and Mary’s hospitality toward Jesus as a sign of that mercy. Jesus then teaches the disciples to pray and encourages them to prayerfully ask the Father for what they need, which is especially important in a time of spiritual warfare. Happy are those who realize God’s kingdom is at hand.

Saints of the Week

Tuesday is Bruno’s memorial as he is honored as a “brilliant defender of the church” because he aided Gregory VII and succeeding popes push for ecclesiastical reform. He attended the Council of Clermont that gave approval for the First Crusade in 1095.

On Wednesday, we commemorate Our Lady of the Rosary to remember the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 for the success of the mission of the Holy League to hold back the approaching Muslim forces intent upon overtaking Europe. A Rosary procession at St. Peter’s in Rome is attributed for their successful intercessory prayers.

Friday is the day to remember Denis and companions who were martyred outside of Paris around 250 AD. Denis was the first bishop of Paris. In the 1570’s, John Leonardi, in the Counter-Reformation, began CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) classes for the youth of Tuscany. Later, he was the cofounder of the Propagation of the Faith.

This Week in Jesuit History

· Oct 4, 1820. In Rome, great troubles arose before and during the Twentieth General Congregation, caused by Fr Petrucci's intrigues. He sought to wreck the Society and was deposed from his office as Vicar General, though supported by Cardinal della Genga (afterwards Leo XII).
· Oct 5, 1981. In a letter to Father General Arrupe, Pope John Paul II appointed Paolo Dezza as his personal delegate to govern the Society of Jesus, with Fr Pittau as coadjutor.
· Oct 6, 1773. In London, Dr James Talbot, the Vicar Apostolic, promulgated the Brief of Suppression and sent copies to Maryland and Pennsylvania.
· Oct 7, 1819. The death of Charles Emmanuel IV. He had been King of Sardinia and Piedmont. He abdicated in 1802 and entered the Jesuits as a brother in 1815. He is buried in San Andrea Quirinale in Rome.
· Oct 8, 1871. The Great Chicago Fire. Most of the city was destroyed, but it missed Holy Family, the Jesuit parish, as the fire turned north thanks to the prayers of Fr Arnold Damen. The fire lasted three days; 250 were killed.
· Oct 9, 1627. Jansenius left Louvain for Salamanca to foment antipathy against the Jesuits and thus prevent Philip IV from giving the Society a large college in Madrid. The theological faculty at Salamanca was hostile to the Society.
· October 10, 1806: The first novitiate of the Maryland Mission opened as ten novices began their Long Retreat under the direction of Fr. Francis Neale (himself a novice who had entered the Jesuits that day.)


At Cheverus we give thanks to the Lord for another successful KAIROS retreat. This 16th retreat had 29 students and four adult leaders go through the first retreat of the year. The closing ceremony was abundantly filled with these sentiments, “Mom, Dad, I love you,” and “Thank you for sending me to Cheverus.” Deo Gratias!

May the Lord bless the Capuchin Friars at St. Joseph Church in Portland who celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the parish. A Mass of celebration will be said on October 4th, which is traditionally St. Francis of Assisi’s Feast Day.

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