Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze
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Thirty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time
The Feast of All Saints
November 1, 2015
Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

            The Beatitudes are counter-cultural and we take great comfort in them because they measure the extent of our striving to be our best selves. The measure of life is how fully we have loved, not whether we were successful or accomplished in particular endeavors. When death comes, it is often cruel and final, but we consider the nobility of peoples’ lives based upon their kindness and generosity. When a person has lived well, our sorrow is tempered by the reality that he or she was a good person and that, without doubt, God welcomed the faithful one into heaven – no questions asked. We know, very firmly in our consciousness, that this good person is now in heaven praying for us and that we have not really lost the presence of this soul. It is as if we have gained another advocate in heaven.

            When we are fond of the Beatitudes, it means that we are fully alive in Christ and that the glory of God is shown through us. In a world of hardship and sorrow, the Beatitudes reveal that we have done our imperfect best for the greater glory of God. We have lived knowing that the lives of others are often more important than our own goals and desires and they fill us with a portrait of disciples that are more attainable than we think.

            Righteous souls seldom want to be considered holy for it is an exalted category that makes them uncomfortable. They do not seek their own gain, but are often praying and caring for others. They realize they are not better than anyone else; they are simply trying to be kind and merciful. They are not excessive in seeking worldly standards and honors and recognize that God has blessed them with good fortune and talents. Many are generous in sharing what they have worked hard to achieve with other. They are honest and measured in expressing their emotions, but can never despair because their lives are about trusting in God. They have learned how to respect and honor those who hold conflicting ideas and goals, which means they often endure insults and anger or are abused for their kindness, and yet they are quick to forgive and move forward. They are the moral artists who strive to create a more just, more equitable, more compassionate world. Theirs is a world that is continually becoming and they can see the positive steps that are unnoticed by critics and naysayers. These souls realize they are far from perfect, far from saintliness, but that they hope in humanity for better results. They are often content to remain silent because they are appreciating the slow progress that is advancing. They are the ones to plant the seeds that others will water. They are content to not ever see the results.

            All Saints Day is a reminder of the type of people we may want to become because tomorrow is the day we remember all the faithful departed souls who have taught us the real meaning of life. These days remind us that we simply do not go through life just visiting this world, but that we can be fully alive and positive for all the good that is being done in our world here and in heaven. We do not want spend the last days of our life saying, “I regret saying this, or not reconciling with my sibling, or missed a chance to tell my parents I love and appreciate them. I regret living in fear or sighing that I did not measure up. I regret that I still am argumentative and willful and I did not let others love me. I do not want to wonder if those I love really love me back. I want to belong.” We want to be able to say, “God, I tried. It was awful hard, but I did what I could – with mixed results. I marveled and was amazed at your goodness and I’m thankful you kept me grateful for so much.”

            Today we immerse ourselves in the goodness of the souls who surround us. We see what love God has bestowed upon us and we long to see God’s face. We are strengthened by the multitude of aid we have to help us along our challenging path, but we stay joyfully confident that God will work out everything for the good – so all we need to do is to give up our tendency to control. Learn to spend your time wisely. Open up new avenues that will make your life more enjoyable and meaningful. Change around your values to make kindness, prudence, and tolerance primary among your virtues. Above all, the Lord wants us to be kind and merciful. These simple values will help us embrace beauty, wonder, and goodness – all those things that make our individual lives remarkable. You will only see the blessings of each person because your capacity to hold each person in wonder is exponentially increased by the good you give out. Your life will become one worth living because every aspect of you is engaged and energized. It is a simple, but full life, and we can rejoice and be glad because our soul is content to rest in God.    

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
·      Monday: (Romans 5) Hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
·      Tuesday: (Romans 12) We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Let love be sincere; hold onto what is good; love one another.
·      Wednesday: (Romans 13) Owe nothing to no one, except to love one another for the one who loves has fulfilled the law.  
·      Thursday: (Romans 14) None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Christ is the Lord of the living and the dead.  
·      Friday (Romans 15) I am convinced you are filled with goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.  
·      Saturday (Romans 16) Paul signs off his letter by recognizing Prisca and Aquila, Mary, Adronicus and Junia, Ampliatus, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus. May God strengthen you and may you make the Gospel known to all peoples.  

Gospel: 
·      Monday: (John 6) Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.
·      Tuesday: (Luke 14) A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When time for dinner came, one by one many began to excuse themselves. He ordered servants to go out into the streets and alleys and bring in the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.
·      Wednesday (Luke 14) Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Building the foundation first will allow you to have resources to finish.  
·      Thursday (Luke 15) Pharisees complained the Jesus welcomed sinners and ate with them. He instructed them that he rejoices because he has found those who were once lost.
·      Friday (Luke 16) A rich man had a steward reported to him for squandering property. The clever servant settled debts. The master commended the dishonest steward for acting prudently.
·      Saturday (Luke 16) If you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you will real wealth? The Pharisees loved money and sneered at Jesus.

Saints of the Week

November 1: All Saints Day honors the countless faithful believers - living and dead - who have helped us along in our faith. Our liturgical calendar is filled with canonized saints, but we have many blesseds and minor saints who no longer appear on it. We have local saints across the world. We have many people who live Gospel values who we appreciate and imitate. We remember all of these people on this day.

November 2: All Souls Day is the commemoration of the faithful departed. November is known as All Souls Month. We remember those who died as we hasten towards the end of the liturgical year and the great feast of Christ the King. As a tradition, we have always remembered our dead as a way of keeping them alive to us and giving thanks to God for their lives.

November 3: Rupert Mayer, S.J., priest (1876-1945), resisted the Nazi government and died while saying Mass of a stroke. In 1937, he was placed in protective custody and was eventually released when he agreed that he would no longer preach.

November 3: Martin de Porres, religious (1579-1639) was a Peruvian born of a Spanish knight and a Panamanian Indian woman. Because he was not pure blood, he lost many privileges in the ruling classes. He became a Dominican and served the community in many menial jobs. He was known for tending to the sick and poor and for maintaining a rigorous prayer life.

November 4: Charles Borromeo, bishop (1538-1584), was made Bishop of Milan at age 22. He was the nephew of Pope Pius IV. He was a leading Archbishop in the Catholic Reformation that followed the Council of Trent. During a plague epidemic, Borromeo visited the hardest hit areas so he could provide pastoral care to the sick.

November 5: All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus are remembered by Jesuits on their particularized liturgical calendar. We remember not only the major saints on the calendar, but also those who are in the canonization process and hold the title of Blessed. We pray for all souls of deceased Jesuits in our province during the month by using our necrology (listing of the dead.)

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 1, 1956. The Society of Jesus was allowed in Norway.
·      Nov 2, 1661. The death of Daniel Seghers, a famous painter of insects and flowers.
·      Nov 3, 1614. Dutch pirates failed to capture the vessel in which the right arm of Francis Xavier was being brought to Rome.
·      Nov 4, 1768. On the feast of St Charles, patron of Charles III, King of Spain, the people of Madrid asked for the recall of the Jesuits who had been banished from Spain nineteen months earlier. Irritated by this demand, the king drove the Archbishop of Toledo and his Vicar General into exile as instigators of the movement.
·      Nov 5, 1660. The death of Alexander de Rhodes, one of the most effective Jesuit missionaries of all time. A native of France, he arrived in what is now Vietnam in 1625.
·      Nov 6, 1789. Fr. John Carroll of Maryland was appointed to be the first Bishop of Baltimore.

·      Nov 7, 1717. The death of Antonio Baldinucci, an itinerant preacher to the inhabitants of the Italian countryside near Rome.