Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze
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Twenty-Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time
October 4, 2015
Genesis 2:19-24; Psalm 128; Hebrews 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16

            We are at a junction in Mark’s Gospel where Jesus is talking about the ethics of discipleship before he makes his final journey to Jerusalem. The coming weeks will focus on parables that explain the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is giving final instructions to his disciples and he is not avoiding the hard questions the community throws at them. Today’s question is about when divorce is lawful. The response by Jesus in this passage is rather strict, while absolute prohibition of divorce is relaxed elsewhere in the New Testament.

            Since the Vatican is opening its Synod on Family Issues this week, it is important for us to listen to the words of the Pope during his visit to the U.S. In Philadelphia, the Pope said, “Difficulties must not discourage us. Quite the opposite. Love is something we learn; love is something we live; love grows as it is forged by the concrete situations which each particular family experience… This is a great legacy that we can give to our children, a very good lesson. We make mistakes, yes; we have problems, yes. But we know that it is not really what counts. We know that mistakes, problems, and conflicts are opportunities to draw closer to others, to draw closer to God.” He concluded his speech by saying, “Never let the day end without making peace,” and we know that peacemakers are blessed by God.

            Perhaps the most important thing that parents can do for one another is to love each other first and strengthen the most loving relationship they have. Affection to the children is natural, but the relationship of the parents needs space to grow. The children will benefit as they watch their parents respect, honor, and care for one another. Spouses and partners have to spend time with one another in recreation and private time. As this relationship blossoms, the children will develop healthy models of entering into future friendships.

Love has to be at the center of all relationships and love is daily, hard work. Every morning we wake up, we have to choose to love and then let our loving actions be known to those around us. Jesus understands that we can all too easily slip into the hardness of our hearts. He points out that God’s presence is that which unites us in love and when we remain in love, God gives us the strength and the grace to help love survive, however fragile and wounded it may be. The Pope asked, “What did God do before God created the world? God loved the world into existence.” Therefore, love is the foundation of all we do. Our daily choice to love has to inform every further decision we make. The Pope said, “Difficulties are overcome with love. Hatred is not capable of doing away with difficulties. A division of hearts cannot overcome difficulty. Only love is able to overcome. Love is about celebration. Love is joy. Love is moving forward.” Love, he says, creates the family, and “the family is like a factory of hope, a factory of resurrection.”

Love has to do its work. Love is effective, but not all relationships in which love once existed need to continue. A person in an abusive, emotionally manipulated, physically unsafe relationship may need to get out quickly. Love of self may be more important in these cases than love of the one who bullies you. Our community of faith will help you find safety and will help you navigate through your choices. They will help you love yourself rightly once again. Love builds up and nourishes; it provides dignity and respect to every person; it gives freedom with honor. Each relationship you have requires hard work on your part, and not all relationships are equally healthy. It is crucial to work on our relationship to our selves and our friendship with God. We do that through prayer, listening to the invitations and prompts God provides us, and through spiritual conversations with those who truly care for the good of your soul.

Find out how love needs to be nurtured in your life. Give all your energy to seeking and possessing this love. Set your heart’s desires upon finding this gracious love that God offers. You will find it and it will be all that you need to live in peace and grace. When you find love, you always find God.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
·      Monday: (Jonah 1) The Lord set Jonah for the great city of Nineveh, but Jonah ran away to Tarshish. Jonah was accused of bringing misfortune to the sailors so they tossed him into the sea where he was swallowed by a large fish where he remained for three days before being spewed upon the shore.
·      Tuesday: (Jonah 3) God again gives Jonah the same mission. As his message reaches the royal court, the King of Nineveh repents and he follows the Lords commands. God acquiesces and spares the mighty city.
·      Wednesday: (Jonah 4) Jonah became angry that God did not carry out the evil he intended against Nineveh. Through an analogy of a plant with worms, God showed Jonah that he need not be concerned over Nineveh.
·      Thursday: (Malachi 3) The Lord said the people defiled him in word, but the people did not understand how they did so. They did not see the distinction between the just and the wicked, but the Lord’s Day will come to set everything aright.  
·      Friday (Joel 1) Weep, O priests and ministers of the altar. The day is near for the day of the Lord. Blow the trumpet in Zion.
·      Saturday (Joe 4) The signs abound that the Day of the Lord is near. The harvest is ripe. The Lord roars from Zion and you shall see God on the holy mountain.

Gospel: 
·      Monday: (Luke 10) A scholar of the law asked Jesus about eternal life. He then asked, “Who is my neighbor?” to which Jesus replied, “The one who does mercy.”
·      Tuesday: (Luke 10) Jesus entered a village where Martha welcomed him. Her sister, Mary, attended to the words of Jesus while Martha did all the work.
·      Wednesday (Luke 11) The disciples said to Jesus, “Teach us to pray.” He gave them words that become known as the Lord’s Prayer.
·      Thursday (Luke 11) Jesus asks, “What do friends do for one another?” They give what is good to their friend, just as the Father will do for those who ask.
·      Friday (Luke 11 ) When Jesus drove out demons, people asked about the source of his authority. Jesus explained that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, the good he is doing comes from a holy place.
·      Saturday (Luke 11) A woman from the crowd called out, “Blessed is the womb that carried and nursed you.” Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Saints of the Week

October 4: Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) was from the wealthy Bernardone family who sold silk cloths. After serving as soldier as a prisoner of war, Francis chose to serve God and the poor. He felt called to repair God's house, which he thought was a church. His father was angry that he used family money so he disinherited him. He began to preach repentance and recruited others to his way of life. His order is known for poverty, simplicity, humble service, and delighting in creation.

October 6: Bruno, priest (1030-1101), became a professor at Rheims and diocesan chancellor. He gave up his riches and began to live as a hermit with six other men. They had disdain for the rampant clerical corruption. The bishop of Grenoble gave them land in the Chartreuse mountains and they began the first Carthusian monastery. After serving in Rome for a few years, Bruno was given permission to found a second monastery in Calabria.

October 7: Our Lady of the Rosary recalls the events in 1571 of the Christian naval victory over the Turks at Lepanto near Corinth. Victory was credited to Mary as confraternities prayed the rosary for her intercession.

October 9: Denis, bishop and martyr, and companion martyrs (d. 258), was the first bishop of Paris. He died during the Decian persecutions by beheading at Montmarte, the highest hill in the city. Lore has it that he picked up his head after the beheading and walked six miles while giving a sermon. Denis was sent to Paris to bring Christianity and was thereby called, “The apostle to the Gauls.”

October 9: John Leonardi (1542-1609), was a pharmacist’s assistant before studying for the priesthood. He became interested in the reforms of the Council of Trent and gathered laymen around him to work in prisons and hospitals. He contracted the plague while ministering to those who were sick. He founded the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God to care for the sick.

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 were 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.)