Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
November 8, 2015
1 Kings 17:10-16; Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44

            The story of the destitute widow that gives away her last cake of flour to the mysterious Elijah instead of providing for herself and her son in drought-stricken times reveals a heart that cannot send a stranger away with sustenance. Fortunately, Elijah rewards her exhaustive generosity by providing enough flour and water every day so the woman and her son can live. The woman gives from her poverty, which threatens her own existence. Jesus points out a similar example of benefaction when a poor widow drops two coins in the temple treasury. He illustrates that the woman’s attitude toward social responsibility is exemplary. Though she deserves to be a beneficiary of the system, she wants to give to the less fortunate. No one ever goes poor by being generous.

            It is challenging to talk about the poor and money today. Society sets up many services to help the poor, gangs, the homeless, those with dependency issues and mental illnesses, but it seems like these numbers continue to grow. Problems will not be solved no matter how much money is thrown at the issues until attitudes of the poor and attitudes of benefactors are adjusted through personal encounters marked by mercy. The problem can only be solved with coinage of a different type: time.

            Money can be earned and squandered and earned again. Money can be inherited or won in a lottery jackpot. However, once time is spent, it is gone forever, never to be recovered. Ironically, in many instances, time is money. These two realities reveal what a person values: what she buys and how she spends her time. However, as money can be acquired and spent frivolously, we might not get an accurate portrayal of what a person values, however our use of time is evident to everyone. When so many demands are placed upon one’s schedule, the way one spends time reveals when one is giving from her poverty.

            Albert Camus’ famous statement sums it up nicely: Give me a fish and I’ll eat for a day; teach me to fish and I’ll eat for a lifetime. The gift is in spending time with another person and teaching them something important for their lives. Many people try to make decisions based on how easily they can fit in an activity so they may fulfill a necessary social obligation, but still give time to themselves or their families. The big questions are how to balance time because we never get it back. Always choose to show up.

            The two widows in Scripture survive because they are connected to a community of faith. The widow from Zarephath survives because she is continually providing for her son and the sojourners. God is part of the community that looks out for her. The widow in the temple, though she is likewise destitute, is still aware of others and she will do her part in providing for those in need. She is able to give because she has received from a community that surrounds her. Today’s problem will not be solved until we spend time with the poor to educate them on their options for choosing what is beneficial to them. It is not in merely giving away money to help people along; it is about believing in the power of the person to choose well for their future.

            We have to choose one another in our community of faith. When competing demands are high, we succeed when we choose what is meaningful for our loved ones. Children crave time with parents; spouses and partners want quality alone time; friends respect each other and give freedom, but they want their friends to be with them. We have to give what does not cost. Time is an investment in those we love. We can never erase the memory from a person about the times we show up for significant life events. Play, pray, work, and eat and drink well – with those we want to spend time with, but let’s also remember those who need the healing power of time that tells them that someone cares for them. As disciples, we want to serve one another, but an important characteristic precedes it: we have to spend time with others before we can be for them. It is the best gift for someone who is down and lacking hope. Give thoughtfully. Just as Elijah spent time with the widow and her son, the time we spend with others can save their lives.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
·      Monday: (Ezekiel 47) The angel brought me back to the entrance of the temple and I saw water flowering out from beneath the threshold of the temple. Everything will be made fresh.  
·      Tuesday: (Wisdom 2) God formed up to be imperishable, but by envy of the Devil death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it.
·      Wednesday: (Wisdom 6) To you rulers of the world, learn wisdom so that you may not sin. Keep the holy precepts hallowed.   
·      Thursday: (Wisdom 7) In Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, loving the good, keen, beneficent, and kindly
·      Friday (Wisdom 13) All men were by nature foolish. They have gone astray, though they seek God and wish to find him.   
·      Saturday (Wisdom 18) Your all-powerful word bounded into a doomed land. For creation was being made over anew.  

·      Monday: (John 2) Jesus went up to Jerusalem, since it was Passover, and cleared the animals and moneychangers seated there. “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
·      Tuesday: (Luke 17) When you have done all you have been commanded, say, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.”
·      Wednesday (Luke 17) Ten lepers met Jesus and asked for pity. He cleansed them and they went home glorifying God, but only one returned to give thanks.  
·      Thursday (Luke 17) Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus asked them to attend to the signs of the times, but first he must died and suffer greatly.
·      Friday (Luke 17) As it has always been, some will be attentive to the signs, but others will eat and drink without regard for their future. When the end times come, some will be taken to heaven and some will be left wondering.
·      Saturday (Luke 16) Jesus told a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. A unjust judge wearied of the widow who sought a just decision against her adversary.

Saints of the Week

November 9: The dedication of Rome's Lateran Basilica was done by Pope Sylvester I in 324 as the pope's local parish as the bishop of Rome. It was originally called the Most Holy Savior and was built on the property donated by the Laterani family. It is named John Lateran because the baptistry was named after St. John. Throughout the centuries, it was attacked by barbarians, suffered damage from earthquakes and fires, and provided residence for popes. In the 16th century, it went through Baroque renovations.

November 10: Leo the Great, pope and doctor (d. 461) tried to bring peace to warring Roman factions that were leaving Gaul vulnerable to barbarian invasions. As pope, he tried to keep peace again - in particular during his meeting with Attila the Hun, whom he persuaded not to plunder Rome. However, in Attila's next attack three years later, Rome was leveled. Some of Leo's writings on the incarnation were influential in formulating doctrine at the Council of Chalcedon.

November 11: Martin of Tours, bishop (316-397), became an Roman soldier in Hungary because he was born into a military family. After he became a Christian, he left the army because he saw his faith in opposition to military service. He settled in Gaul and began its first monastery. He was proclaimed bishop in 371 and worked to spread the faith in at time of great uncertainty and conflict. He divided sections of his diocese into parishes.

November 12: Josaphat, bishop and martyr (1580-1623) was a Ukranian who entered the Basilian order and was ordained in the Byzantine rite. He was named the archbishop of Polotsk, Russia and attempted to unite the Ukrainian church with Rome. His opponents killed him. He is the first Eastern saint to be formally canonized.

November 13: Francis Xavier Cabrini, religious (1850-1917) was an Italian-born daughter to a Lombardy family of 13 children. She wanted to become a nun, but needed to stay at her parents’ farm because of their poor health. A priest asked her to help work in a girls’ school and she stayed for six years before the bishop asked her to care for girls in poor schools and hospitals. With six sisters, she came to the U.S. in 1889 to work among Italian immigrants. She was the first American citizen to be canonized.  

November 13: Stanislaus Kostka, S.J., religious (1550-1568) was a Polish novice who walked from his home to Rome to enter the Jesuits on his 17th birthday. He feared reprisals by his father against the Society in Poland so we went to directly see the Superior General in person. Francis Borgia admitted him after Peter Canisius had him take a month in school before applying for entrance. Because of his early death, Kostka is revered as the patron saint of Jesuit novices.

November 14: Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Superior General (1917-1991) was the 28th Superior General of the Jesuits. He was born in the Basque region of the Iberian Peninsula. He is considered one of the great reformers of the Society because he was asked by the Pope to carry out the reforms of Vatican II. November 14th is the commemoration of his birth.

November 14: Joseph Pignatelli, S.J., religious and Superior General (1737-1811) was born in Zaragosa, Spain and entered the Jesuits during a turbulent era. He was known as the unofficial leader of the Jesuits in Sardinia when the Order was suppressed and placed in exile. He worked with European leaders to continue an underground existence and he was appointed Novice Master under Catherine the Great, who allowed the Society to receive new recruits. He secured the restoration of the Society partly in 1803 and fully in 1811 and bridged a link between the two eras of the Society. He oversaw a temperate reform of the Order that assured their survival.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 8, 1769. In Spain, Charles III ordered all of the Society's goods to be sold and sent a peremptory demand to the newly elected Pope Clement XIV to have the Society suppressed.
·      Nov 9, 1646. In England, Fr. Edmund Neville died after nine months imprisonment and ill-treatment. An heir to large estates in Westmoreland, he was educated in the English College and spent forty years working in England.
·      Nov 10, 1549. At Rome, the death of Paul III, to whom the Society owes its first constitution as a religious order.
·      Nov 11, 1676. In St James's Palace, London, Claude la Colombiere preached on All Saints.
·      Nov 12, 1919. Fr. General Ledochowski issued an instruction concerning the use of typewriters. He said that they could be allowed in offices but not in personal rooms, nor should they be carried from one house to another.
·      Nov 13, 1865. The death of James Oliver Van de Velde, second bishop of the city of Chicago from 1848 to 1853.

·      Nov 14, 1854. In Spain, the community left Loyola for the Balearic Isles, in conformity with a government order.