Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze
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Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
June 28, 2015
Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24; Psalm 30; 2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mark 5:2-43

            Last week, synagogue goers heard of God’s power over nature in the Book of Job. Jesus then, before their very eyes, enacts that he has the power of God when he stills the unruly sea and spares the lives of his friends. A similar pattern happens this week. The author of Wisdom tells us that humans were not made for death, but were meant to be imperishable. Creating humanity in God’s own image, we were made that we might always have being, but death came into the world through envy. The devil caused humans not to be satisfied with abundant blessings, and death belonged to all who belonged to the company of the devil. However, as Jesus uses God’s power again when he restores life to a little girl’s and ends the chronic suffering of a hemorrhaging woman. In deed, Jesus exhibits he acts with God’s dominion.

            The Psalmist is consistent in understanding human suffering and one’s reliance upon God. His plea is that God is able to draw me close and not let the world rejoice in its victory over my condition. He knows that only God has the power to save him from the netherworld and from despair. In our strongest moments an our weakest, we recognize the supreme kindness of God.

            The Gospel embeds a story within a story so he can draw parallels in the two. Jairus, whose daughter is dying, appeals to Jesus to save his daughter. They set out on their way when they encounter a woman who touches him because she has been hemorrhaging for twelve long years. Jesus, who has an urgent task before him, stops and pays attention to this woman and her chronic suffering. Perhaps some of his disciples thought that she did not need immediate attention because hers has gone on for so long and therefore could continue a little longer. Jesus says no. This woman should not have been allowed to suffer one day, if it could have been prevented. We do not understand anyone’s suffering, but we tend to isolate people who are not healthy. We pay attention to those who are more vital, and by doing so, we neglect the person who is demanding some relief.

            After the woman’s condition is cured, Jesus sets his eyes back on the twelve-year-old girl, who has subsequently died. He calls in his closest friends and raises her back to life, saying “Talitha cum.” Jesus certainly the reveals the compassion of God to these two women, but the more important message is that he is the Lord of life. Just like God’s role in Wisdom, Jesus enacts the word of God in front of the world. He does it because he wants all people to be restored to their true humanity, in which we celebrate the richness of life in God.

            When someone is suffering, we think we might say the right words or do the right things for the one in pain. Silence is often best. Mostly, our prayers are sufficient, but we need to show the person the face of God through ours. We must learn to be comfortable as we hold someone else’s suffering, but we ought not avoid the person and dismiss how they are feeling. For when we are suffering, we are how we feel. Jesus knows this very well and his plan is to restore everyone to their true selves, but he has to gaze upon us first, then feel our pain, and then rejoice with us that he means to bring us life in its fullness.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
Monday: (Acts 12:1-11 – Sts. Peter and Paul) Herod executed James, the brother of John, and saw delight in the people. He sought out Peter and imprisoned him. During the night, an angel rescued Peter from the prison and set him free.
Tuesday: (Genesis 19) Lot lived in the cities of the Plain, where there was much debauchery. The Lord wanted to destroy the city, but Abram asked him to spare Lot, who left the city with his family. When his wife looked back, she was turned into a pillar of salt.
Wednesday: (Genesis 21) Sarah grew jealous when Hagar played with Isaac so she made Abram send her off into the wilderness. God was with the boy and protected him so that he would be made into a great nation.
Thursday: (Genesis 22) God tested Abram by asking him to sacrifice Isaac. As he was willing to do it, God sent a ram into a thicket to be sacrificed instead. The covenant would be preserved.   
Friday (Ephesians 2 – Thomas, the Apostle) You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the holy ones. You are being built together into a dwelling place of God.
Saturday (Genesis 27) When Isaac was so old, it was time to give his blessed inheritance to his son. Rebecca help Jacob obtain the blessing with the older brother, Esau, was out in the country to hunt for his father.

Gospel: 
Monday: (Matthew 16) Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus affirms his positive answer.
Tuesday: (Matthew 8) Jesus got into a boat when a violent storm kicked up, but he remained asleep. When he awoke, he asked, “Why do you have such little faith” and he calmed the storm.
Wednesday (Matthew 8) When Jesus came to the region of the Gadarenes, they begged him to send the evil spirits into a swineherd so they may plunge into the sea and die.
Thursday (Matthew 9) After returning home, people brought a paralytic to him. He forgave his sins, and since he was being tested, he also healed the man and sent him walking home.
Friday (John 20) Thomas missed the first appearance of Jesus; a week later, Jesus stood before him, breathed peace upon him, and blessed him for seeing and believing.
Saturday (Matthew 9) John’s disciples approached Jesus to say, “We fast, but you do not. Why?” Jesus said there is to be feasting when the bridegroom is around. No one patches an old cloak with un-shrunken cloth.

Saints of the Week

June 28: Irenaeus, bishop and martyr (130-200) was sent to Lyons as a missionary to combat the persecution the church faced in Lyons. He was born in Asia Minor and became a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Irenaeus asserted that the creation was not sinful by nature but merely distorted by sin. As God created us, God redeemed us. Therefore, our fallen nature can only be saved by Christ who took on our form in the Incarnation. Irenaeus refutation of heresies laid the foundations of Christian theology.

June 29: Peter and Paul, apostles (first century) are lumped together for a feast day because of their extreme importance to the early and contemporary church. Upon Peter's faith was the church built; Paul's efforts to bring Gentiles into the faith and to lay out a moral code was important for successive generations. It is right that they are joined together as their work is one, but with two prongs. For Jesuits, this is a day that Ignatius began to recover from his illness after the wounds he sustained at Pamplona. It marked a turning point in his recovery.

June 30: The First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (c. 64) were martyrs under Nero's persecution in 64. Nero reacted to the great fire in Rome by falsely accusing Christians of setting it. While no one believed Nero's assertions, Christians were humiliated and condemned to death in horrible ways. This day always follows the feast of the martyrs, Sts. Peter and Paul.

July 1: Junipero Serra, priest, was a Franciscan missionary who founded missions in Baja and traveled north to California starting in 1768. The Franciscans established the missions during the suppression of the Jesuits. San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Clara are among the most famous. Serra’s statue is in the U.S. Capitol to represent California.

July 2: Bernard Realino, John Francis Regis, Francis Jerome, S.J. are known for their preaching skills that drew many to the faith, including many French Hugeunots. Regis and his companions preached Catholic doctrine to children and assisted many struck by the plague in Frances. Regis University in Denver, Colorado is named after John Regis.

July 3: Thomas, apostle, is thought to have been an apostle to India and Pakistan and he is best remembered as the one who “doubted” the resurrection of Jesus. The Gospels, however, testify to his faithfulness to Jesus during his ministry. The name, Thomas, stands for “twin,” but no mention is made of his twin’s identity.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 28, 1591. Fr. Leonard Lessius's teaching on grace and predestination caused a great deal of excitement and agitation against the Society in Louvain and Douai. The Papal Nuncio and Pope Gregory XIV both declared that his teaching was perfectly orthodox.
·      Jun 29, 1880. In France the law of spoliation, which was passed at the end of March, came into effect and all the Jesuit Houses and Colleges were suppressed.
·      Jun 30, 1829. The opening of the Twenty-first General Congregation of the order, which elected Fr. John Roothan as General.
·      Jul 1, 1556. The beginning of St Ignatius's last illness. He saw his three great desires fulfilled: confirmation of the Institute, papal approval of the Spiritual Exercises, and acceptance of the Constitutions by the whole Society.
·      Jul 2, 1928. The Missouri Province was divided into the Missouri Province and the Chicago Province. In 1955 there would be a further subdivision: Missouri divided into Missouri and Wisconsin; Chicago divided into Chicago and Detroit.
·      Jul 3, 1580. Queen Elizabeth I issued a statute forbidding all Jesuits to enter England.
·      Jul 4, 1648. The martyrdom in Canada of Anthony Daniel who was shot with arrows and thrown into flames by the Iroquois.