Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze
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Thirty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Christ the King
November 22, 2015
Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:5-8; John 18:33-37

            Jesus rightly avoided the call to kingship that many thrust upon him. They wanted a king that would vanquish Rome and restore Israel to a kingdom of past glory. Most did not understand that his kingship had no political power or national ambitions. His was a kingdom whose inhabitants were those who suffered, we were labeled sinners, were poor, or innocent victims of society’s sinful structures. His kingship would be manifest in his sole power to judge the moral lives of those who petitioned to reach heaven, and he always made known the criteria for entrance: honor your God with your loving actions, and honor your neighbor as you would yourselves.

            The world needs this type of king to help us deal with our feelings and attitudes in light of horrific world events. He has to call us to higher ideals and patient responses to combat the violence and evil that permeates the actions of many in our world today. The bombings in France and Beirut and of a Russian airplane shake our trust in the goodwill we want to hold out for people. The burning of an entire Kurdish village causes us to wonder at the power of evil in human hearts. Stories of rampant greed, fraud, demoralizing business practices, rapes, and vengeful shootings cause us to be jaded and cynical. As individuals, we feel powerless to stop the enormous cycles of violence around us.

            Each small act of kindness that we make halts the progression of evil. In our current times, when we face such enormous evil, it has to be met with an increase of goodness. We have to resist the urge to get revenge and to wipe out the opposition. Evil that begets more evil is exactly what Satan wants. We have to deprive Satan of that satisfaction. He has no dominion over our lives because we are marked with the baptism of Christ. In times of evil and violence, we have to become more like Christ – giving of ourselves for the common good, encouraging the broken-hearted, reconciling warring factions to achieve peace, and welcoming the stranger that lives in fear and vulnerability.

            The Year of Mercy sets us on a path of remarkable goodness. Its demands will confront our assumptions and can break our paradigms and well-entrenched habits. The year is designed to get us to think differently, to take control of our church and local world to make positive contributions. We have Advent’s powerful image of the peaceable kingdom to consider where adversaries become friends, harmful situations turn into safe havens, and fear is transformed into trust. This is the type of kingdom Christ is building. This is the type of kingdom Christians desire for this earth.

            Christ the King renders positive judgments for those who strive to make the world a better place. He will welcome you warmly because you have learned to care well for your brother or sister, regardless of the effectiveness of your actions or words. We are a small but important part of the kingdom. It is his kingdom, not ours, but we make him present when our mercy brings comfort to others. I hope you are like me, because I want to offer my total self to my Lord and King. His kingdom is where I want to live.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
·      Monday: (Daniel 1) Nebuchadnezzar laid siege of Jerusalem and displaced King Jehohiakim of Judah. The finest boys were to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans so they could enter the king’s service. Daniel, one of the chosen, resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or wine. After a period of testing, Daniel and his three associates were found to be stellar students of admirable quality.
·      Tuesday: (Daniel 2) Daniel had the gift of visions. He explained the future to the king, which entailed the dissolution of his vast empire.  
·      Wednesday: (Daniel 5) King Belshazzar asked Daniel to interpret the handwriting of his dreams: MENE, TEKEL, PERES. The Chaldean empire will certainly fall.    
·      Thursday: (Sirach 50) Bless the God of all who has done wondrous things on earth.  
·      Friday (Daniel 7) In a vision, Daniel saw four beast emerge from the great sea. They appeared before court and were slain. Then one like a son of man came on the clouds and was presented by the Ancient One dominion, glory, and kingship.    
·      Saturday (Daniel 7) The great beasts stand for four kingdoms that will arise on earth, but the holy ones of God shall receive kingship to possess it forever.

Gospel: 
·      Monday: (Luke 21) Jesus saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury; he saw a poor widow putting in more than all the rest.
·      Tuesday: (Luke 21) Jesus proclaimed that temple would be torn down and said, “Nations will rise against nations.” Do not follow the anti-Christ when the end times are near.
·      Wednesday (Luke 21) They will seize and persecute you and you will be brought before judges. The Lord shall give you a wisdom while speaking. You will be hated by all.
·      Thursday (Luke 17) Ten persons with leprosy met Jesus. He healed all ten, and only one returned and glorified God. This Samaritan thanked Jesus by falling at his feet.
·      Friday (Luke 21) Consider the fig tree to read the signs of the times. When their buds burst open, summer is near.
·      Saturday (Luke 21) Do not let your hearts become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life. Be vigilant at all times and pray you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.

Saints of the Week

November 22: Cecilia, martyr (2nd or 3rd century), is the patron saint of music because of the song she sang at her wedding. She died just days after her husband, Valerian, and his brother were beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the gods. She is listed in the First Eucharistic prayer as an early church martyr.

November 23: Clement I, pope and martyr (d. 99) is also mentioned in the First Eucharistic prayer. He is the third pope and was martyred in exile. He is presumed to be a former slave in the imperial court. He wrote a letter to the Corinthians after a revolt and as pope he restored ordered within the ministries.   

November 23: Columban, abbot (d. 615) was an Irish monk who left Ireland for France with 12 companions to found a monastery as a base for preaching. They established 3 monasteries within 10 years. Columban opposed the king's polygamy and was expelled. He set up monasteries in Switzerland and Italy before he died. Though he was expelled, the monasteries were permitted to remain open.

November 23: Miguel Pro, S.J., martyr (1891-1927) lived in Guadalupe, Mexico before entering the Jesuits. Public worship was forbidden in Mexico so Miguel became an undercover priest often wearing disguises. He was arrested and ordered to be shot in front of a firing squad without benefit of a trial. Before he died she shouted out, "Long live Christ the King."

November 24: Andrew Dung-Lac and companion martyrs (1785-1839) were missionaries to Vietnam during the 17th through 19th centuries. Over 130,000 Christians were killed, including priests, sisters, brothers, and lay people. Many of these were Vietnamese citizens.

November 25: Catherine of Alexandria, martyr, (d. 310) is said to have been born in Egypt to a noble family. She was educated and converted to Christianity because of a vision. She refused to marry a man arranged to be her husband by the emperor, and she denounced him for persecuting Christians. She was arrested, tortured, and killed.

Fourth Thursday: Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is derived from a mix of European and Native American traditions. Joyous festivals were held in Europe to give thanks for a good harvest and to rejoice with others for their hard work. It is a day to give thanks for the many blessings we have received through God's generosity throughout the year.

November 26: John Berchmans, S.J., religious (1599-1621), was a Jesuit scholastic who is the patron saint of altar servers. He was known for his pious adherence to the rules and for his obedience. He did well in studies, but was seized with a fever during his third year of philosophy and died at the age of 22.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 22, 1633. The first band of missionaries consisting of five priests and one brother, embarked from England for Maryland. They were sent at the request of Lord Baltimore. The best known among them was Fr. Andrew White.
·      Nov 22, 1791: Georgetown Academy opened with one student, aged 12, who was the first student taught by the Jesuits in the United States.
·      Nov 23, 1545: Jeronimo de Nadal, whom Ignatius had known as a student at Paris, entered the Society. Later Nadal was instrumental in getting Ignatius to narrate his autobiography.
·      In 1927: the execution of Fr. Michael Augustine Pro, SJ, by leaders of the persecution of the Church in Mexico.
·      Nov 24, 1963: The death of John LaFarge, pioneer advocate of racial justice in the United States.
·      Nov 25, 1584: The Church of the Gesu, built in Rome for the Society by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, was solemnly consecrated.
·      Nov 26, 1678: In London the arrest and imprisonment of St Claude la Colombiere. He was released after five weeks and banished.
·      Nov 27, 1680: In Rome the death of Fr. Athanasius Kircher, considered a universal genius, but especially knowledgeable in science and archeology.

·      Nov 28, 1759: Twenty Fathers and 192 Scholastics set sail from the Tagus for exile. Two were to die on the voyage to Genoa and Civita Vecchia.