Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time
June 21, 2015
Job 38:1, 8-11; Psalm 107; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Mark 4:35-41

            As the Lord spoke to Job, he spoke of many marvelous features of creation that humans take for granted and he rightly claimed ownership of them. He asks Job to remember nature’s source and Creator as the Lord has power over it – by containing it and setting its limits. As the Psalmists recall, the sea’s power can destroy and only God has dominion over it. The disciples know of these traditions when Jesus enters into a boat with them to cross the sea when a violent squall trashes their vessel violently. They realize they can be like those mentioned in the psalms – ready to perish and to swallowed into the abyss – when the wake Jesus who is able to sleep through the great drama. Upon his word, the winds cease and the waters calm. No one but God, they understand, has control over nature and they begin to question more deeply the identity of Jesus.

            These readings are timely as Pope Francis is soon to release his encyclical on our stewardship over God’s creation. The world does not belong to us; we coexist with it and depend upon it. New commentators report that the release of the report will jostle the political climate and will challenge many who deny climate change is caused by human actions. Some politicians, who are not scientists, say the Pope, who is not a scientist, needs to stay out of the debate. News media speculate that the encyclical will challenge those on the political right and left alike. This tension is good. Some claim that a few bishops might not support the Pope’s letter, leaving the faithful with the question, “How am I to honor my Pope and bishop at the same time? Who am I to believe?”

            I am thankful for the challenging words that will emerge from this letter and it will be a difficult challenge for us to embrace, but it must be done to create a more harmonious world for our fellow beings. We must do our part, even though it will be costly, because it is an investment rather than an expense. It boils down to our fundamental attitude towards one another. Do I care enough about my neighbor and our posterity to protect our environment? This is much bigger than our individual positions; this is about the right to life.

            The Jesuits at the 35th General Congregation in Rome called for a reconciliation ministry – first, with God, then with others, and finally with creation. Recognizing the environment as a new apostolic frontier, those who share our mission are encourage to show ever more effective ecological solidarity in our spiritual, communal, and apostolic lives. We do not know yet what that looks like, but the invitation calls us to move beyond doubts and indifference to take responsibility for our earthly home. In heeding the call to restore right relationships with creation, we have been moved anew by the cry of those suffering the consequences of environmental destruction.

            We are called to study the problems on environmental change more adeptly and to focus upon the negative consequences, especially when poverty is increased, often because of displacement of whole sets of people. We should invite all people to appreciate more deeply our covenant with creation as central to right relationships with God and one another and to act accordingly in terms of political responsibility, employment, family life, and personal lifestyle. This is not just the Pope’s wishing for a cleaner, safer world. This is our mission because it is our world.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
Monday: (Genesis 12) The Lord said to Abram, “I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you.” Abram settled the Canaanite land the Lord promised him.
Tuesday: (Genesis 13) Since both Abram and Lot had great amounts of livestock, they settled the lands where each could prosper with man resources. Lot chose first and took the land east of the Jordan River. Abram took the West Bank.
Wednesday: (Isaiah 49 – Birth of John the Baptist) The Lord called me from my birth and from my mother’s womb, he gave me my name.
Thursday: (Genesis 16) Since Abram’s wife, Sarah, bore no children, Hagar had relations with Abram and bore him a son called Ishmael.   
Friday (Genesis 17) At age 99, Abram was told to have relations with Sarah, who would bear him a son to be named Isaac. Ishmael would father a great people, but the covenant will remain with Isaac’s offspring.   
Saturday (Genesis 18) Abram was visited by 3 men and proclaimed that when they returned in a year, Sarah would have born a child. Sarah laughed at the thought because she was advanced in years.

Monday: (Matthew 7) Stop judging and you will not be judged. A measure given out will the measure given back to you.
Tuesday: (Matthew 7) Do not give to dogs what is holy; do to others as you would have them do unto you; enter through the narrow gate that leads to life.
Wednesday (Luke 1 – John the Baptist) When it was time for John’s birth, they asked Elisabeth to name her son. She called him John. They protested and asked Zechariah whose tongue was loosened. He said, “His name shall be called John.”
Thursday (Matthew 7) Not everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus will be saved, because they may not know him. Anyone who believes in him and acts from his wisdom will be admitted into the kingdom.
Friday (Matthew 8) When Jesus came down from a mountain, he met a leper who said, “If you will it, make me clean.” Jesus said he did and he sent the man to see the priest.
Saturday (Matthew 8) When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion asked Jesus to spare the life of his slave, who was dear to him. He said, “Only say the word, for I’m not worthy to have you enter under my roof.” The servant was healed. Jesus then healed Simon’s mother-in-law.

Saints of the Week

June 21: Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J., priest (1568-1591), gave up a great inheritance to join the Jesuits in 1585 in his dreams of going to the missions. However, when a plague hit Rome, Gonzaga served the sick and dying in hospitals where he contracted the plague and died within three months. He is a patron saint of youth.

June 22: Paulinus of Nola, bishop (353-431) was a prominent lawyer who married a Spaniard and was baptized. Their infant son died while in Spain. He became a priest and was sent to Nola, near Naples, where he lived a semi-monastic life and helped the poor and pilgrims.

June 22: John Fisher, bishop and martyr (1469-1535) taught theology at Cambridge University and became the University Chancellor and bishop of Rochester. Fisher defended the queen against Henry VIII who wanted the marriage annulled. Fisher refused to sign the Act of Succession. When the Pope made Fisher a cardinal, the angry king beheaded him.

June 22: Thomas More, martyr (1478-1535) was a gifted lawyer, Member of Parliament, scholar, and public official. He was reluctant to serve Cardinal Woolsey at court and he resigned after he opposed the king’s Act of Succession, which would allow him to divorce his wife. He was imprisoned and eventually beheaded.

June 24: Nativity of John the Baptist (first century) was celebrated on June 24th to remind us that he was six months older than Jesus, according to Luke. This day also serves to remind us that, as Christ is the light of the world, John must decrease just as the daylight diminishes. John’s birth is told by Luke. He was the son of the mature Elizabeth and the dumbstruck Zechariah. When John was named, Zechariah’s tongue was loosened and he sang the great Benedictus.

June 27: Cyril of Alexandria, bishop and doctor (376-444), presided over the Council of Ephesus that fought Nestorian the heresy. Cyril claimed, contrary to Nestorius, that since the divine and human in Jesus were so closely united that it was appropriate to refer to Mary was the mother of God. Because he condemned Nestorius, the church went through a schism that lasted until Cyril's death. Cyril's power, wealth, and theological expertise influenced many as he defended the church against opposing philosophies.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 21, 1591. The death of St Aloysius Gonzaga, who died from the plague, which he caught while attending the sick.
·      Jun 22, 1611. The first arrival of the Jesuit fathers in Canada, sent there at the request of Henry IV of France.
·      Jun 23, 1967. Saint Louis University's Board of Trustees gathered at Fordyce House for the first meeting of the expanded Board of Trustees. SLU was the first Catholic university to establish a Board of Trustees with a majority of lay members.
·      Jun 24, 1537. Ignatius, Francis Xavier, and five of the companions were ordained priests in Venice, Italy.
·      Jun 25, 1782. The Jesuits in White Russia were permitted by the Empress Catherine to elect a General. They chose Fr. Czerniewicz. He took the title of Vicar General, with the powers of the General.
·      Jun 26, 1614. By a ruse of the Calvinists, the book, "Defensio Fidei" by Francis Suarez was condemned by the French Parliament. In addition, in England James I ordered the book to be publicly burned.
·      Jun 27, 1978. Bernard Lisson, a mechanic, and Gregor Richert, a parish priest, were shot to death at St Rupert's Mission, Sinoia, Zimbabwe.