Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time
October 19, 2014
Isaiah 45:1,4-6; Psalm 96; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5; Matthew 22:15-21

We do not always have to posture ourselves for a fight. We are not adolescents who might want to correct everyone else’s behavior. We can simply choose to ease up on our need to control and appeal to the kinder truths in life. We can always find a loftier path that leads us where we want to be. Jesus shows us how to dismantle a fight when the Pharisees and Herodians plot against him. They want to trip him up to catch him in a self-made conflict using his own words, but he sees through their malice and asks, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites?” and he resolves the dispute by making them confront their very words. He situates them to honor rather than to discredit, to respect rather than to revile. Honor and respect resolves conflicts.

It is easy for us to look down upon the Pharisees and condemn them for plotting against Jesus because they have malice in their hearts. We notice the many time when they were in the wrong. We wonder, “How could they do this to Jesus? Did they not know who he was?” If we have these types of thoughts, then we are much like the Pharisees. We cannot be looking for the reasons people are wrong. We have to use the example of Jesus when he detects their malice and leads them to choose a loftier path to take.

We probably all know someone whose life is defined by conflict. These people are not happy unless they are angry with someone. Sometimes, they cannot even remember the reason they are angry with you and over time their anger has morphed into an altogether different reason. It is important to know that we cannot fix these people’s situations. They may always be angry, controlling people. They are fighting with themselves, even though we may be the recipients of their misplaced anger. It is not our fault. The best we can do is to meet their malice with kindness. Memories of kindness linger. Kindness heals.
Pope Francis is teaching the bishops and cardinals about the virtues of kindness. In Rome, he is helping them soften their attitudes about people in contentious social situations – divorced and remarried Catholics, those who cohabitate, and those who are gay and lesbian. While no doctrine is being changed, a fundamental shift occurs when the church no longer labels its own faithful members as adversaries and enemies.

Some will argue that rules must be upheld. Of course, that is true. However, look at the many ways we break the rules daily and if we get caught, we want mercy granted to us. We are overeager in our driving, we can be aggressive pedestrians, we might be silent if a store does not charge us for an item we intend to buy, or we seek inaccurate tax advantages. Some of us take great offense if a neighbor questions our motives or actions. Get off your high horses. We like laws when it is to our advantage, but we all seek to have our minor infractions overlooked. We pick and choose which laws we obey and disregard and we criticize others when they disregard a law we value. Strive for consistency and integrity so that you do not seek the fault in others, but try to bring a balance to your values.

Honor God and honor Caesar. Our complex world means many of us struggle with living with integrity. Let’s try to make it easier for others to be practicing, improving disciples. Let us not put impediments of the way of someone else’s striving for holiness, even if we do not understand their life choices. Let defensive argumentation and offensive posturing give way to mercy, compassion, and kindness. Just stop for a minute to examine how faithful Catholics and our Church as a whole might benefit from tolerance and understanding from a dogmatic bishop whose tone has been filled with chronic malice. We have to continue to teach our church leaders and ourselves to honor God and honor Caesar because we are a people who live in both a secular and sacred world. Let us strive to bring the sacred into all spheres of life. Honoring the other resolves conflicts. We make sacred those whom we honor.

            May Paul’s greeting be ours: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing brothers and sisters, loved by God, how you were chosen. The gospel did not come to you in word alone, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.” May the way we honor and respect one another attest to the power of the Gospel, just as Isaiah says, so that from the rising of the sun to it’s setting, people may know our God through the loving affection that comes from our transformed hearts – from a priestly people, a people of peace, a people who seek to make sacred everyone we meet.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading:
Monday: (Ephesians 2) God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness to us.
Tuesday: You are not longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
Wednesday: Paul says, “To me this grace was given to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things.
Thursday: Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations.
Friday: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit though the bond of peace.
Saturday: Grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. We are many parts but unity by Christ as the head of the whole Body.  

Monday: (Luke 12) When Jesus is asked to intervene in someone’s inheritance dispute with his brother, he told them a parable about the man with a rich harvest who wanted to store his grain in a silo.  As he stored his wealth, his life was prematurely taken from him.
Tuesday: To remain vigilant, Jesus asks his disciples to be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding. When the master returns, they get up and tend to his needs.
Wednesday: If the master of the house knew the moment the thief was coming, he would have been prepared. Jesus tells a parable of the steward who acts dishonorable when his master is away.
Thursday: He says, “I have come to set the world on fired, and how I wish it were blazing already. Households will be ripped apart from each other because some believe and others do not.
Friday: When you see a cloud rising in the west, you know it will rain. You must be ready to interpret the signs of the times. .
Saturday:  When people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means!”

Saints of the Week

October 19: North American Jesuit martyrs: Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, priests, and companions (17th century) were killed between 1642 and 1649 in Canada and the United States. Though they knew of harsh conditions among the warring Huron and Mohawk tribes in the New World, these priests and laymen persisted in evangelizing until they were captured, brutally tortured, and barbarically killed.

October 20: Paul of the Cross, priest (1694-1775), founded the Passionists in 1747. He had a boyhood call that propelled him into a life of austerity and prayer. After receiving several visions, he began to preach missions throughout Italy that mostly focused upon the Passion of the Lord. After his death, a congregation for nuns was begun.

October 23: John of Capistrano, priest, had a vision of Francis of Assisi when he was imprisoned during an Italian civil war at which time he was the governor of Perugia. He entered the Franciscan Friars Minor in 1415 after ending his marriage. He preached missions throughout Europe including a mission to Hungary to preach a crusade against the Turks. After the Christian victory at the Battle of Belgrade in 1456, John died.

October 24: Anthony Claret, bishop (1807-1870) adopted his father's weaving career as a young man, but continued to study Latin and printing. After entering seminary, he began preaching retreats and giving missions. He published and distributed religious literature and founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was appointed archbishop of Cuba but was called back to Spain to be Queen Isabella II's confessor. He resumed publishing until the revolution of 1868 sent him into exile.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      October 19, 1588: At Munster, in Westphalia, the Society opens a college, in spite of an outcry raised locally by some of the Protestants.
·      October 20, 1763: In a pastoral letter read in all his churches, the Archbishop of Paris expressed his bitter regret at the suppression of the Society in France. He described it as a veritable calamity for his country.
·      October 21, 1568: Fr. Robert Parsons was elected Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He resigned his Fellowship in 1574.
·      October 22, 1870: In France, Garibaldi and his men drove the Jesuits from the Colleges of Dole and Mont Roland.
·      October 23, 1767: The Jesuits who had been kept prisoners in their college in Santiago, Chile, for almost two months were led forth to exile. In all 360 Jesuits of the Chile Province were shipped to Europe as exiles.
·      October 24, 1759: 133 members of the Society, banished from Portugal and put ashore at Civita Vecchia, were most kindly received by Clement XIII and by the religious communities, especially the Dominicans.
·      Oct 25, 1567. St Stanislaus Kostka arrived in Rome and was admitted into the Society by St Francis Borgia.

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