Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 17, 2016
Isaiah 65:1-5; Psalm 96; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; John 2:1-11

            Never skimp on your words of encouragement. Isaiah affirms the people when he wants the people to know that God redeems them and their source of national disgrace is over. When the prophet sees that the Israelites can return to their homeland, Isaiah gushes forth with words of encouragement. He repeatedly speaks words of hope to the people so they eventually accept their new reality, that they are God’s delight. It takes time to believe it after years of thinking that you are forsaken.

            Mary speaks plainly when she realizes her friends are in an embarrassing predicament. She sees the potential in Jesus and she coaxes him out of his reticence to perform his first miracle. This miracle is unlike other ones because it is not a healing, feeding, or for the forgiveness of sins, but it is for the continuation of a celebration. No life or death need was achieved in this miracle; it allowed a wedding party to continue so that dishonor was not brought to the parents of the newlyweds. This miracle was a private revelation that was shown only to the servers and the headwaiters. Everyone else lauded the family of the newlyweds because the choicest wine was saved for the real party.

            Mary’s encouragement of Jesus was key to this miracle. After observing his gifts, she called him to use those gifts better than he thought possible. After he acquiesced, everyone became aware that he possessed divine gifts. We need people in our lives to bring forth our gifts so other can enjoy our talents. It is surprising how little we know about the people who surround us. One day, I discovered that in one department at work, we had a drummer, flautist, harpist, painter, and a semi-professional figure skater. Paul in First Corinthians reminds us that there are many different gifts, but the same spirit; we must help each other maximize their gifts.

            Isaiah says, “For Zion’s sake, I will be remain silent; I will not be quiet.” It is good for us, no matter what age, to develop our talents and hobbies for our own enjoyment. Others have to help us let these gifts bubble over and emerge through us in a way that these gifts cannot remain silent. Each person has some ability to do something that brings him or her great pleasure. Our words of encouragement may help them to see the divine in everyday life. Our world is ordinary, but we make it extraordinary when we do something that we enjoy with great precision. Our words have to create opportunities for others when they did not see possibilities.

            How do people learn of their gifts unless they try something new? Typically, we become people of habit: taking the same route to work and the market, reading the same types of books and magazines, visiting the same people and watching favorite television shows. We seldom vary our schedule to include a different form of entertainment or recreation. We become settled in our ways and we exclude time for that which is unfamiliar. Let’s shake it up a bit and give our lives a creative change of pace from time to time. We are lifelong learners if we let ourselves be. It might be very important for us to listen to those Marys in our lives who say, “They need more wine. Do something please.”

            We always have to decide how we will spend our time, but if you find yourself daydreaming – whether it is for greater meaning or a change to the ordinariness of life, listen to those words of encouragement that are meant to call great gifts out of you. Sometimes, people are not imposing their wants upon you, but saying, “I know you have a special gift that can be used here. I want you to use your talents to bring us joy.” When you see someone with a particular ability, your words of confidence may be the only ones spoken that help unleash the person’s potential. Do not remain silent. Affirm and promote as necessary because miracles happen every day of our lives. Help bring one about today.
Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: 
·      Monday: (1 Samuel 15) Saul is rejected as a leader because he disobeyed the Lord. Obedience is better than sacrifice, for a sin like divination is rebellion and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
·      Tuesday: (1 Samuel 16) When Samuel grieved for the loss of Saul as a leader, the Lord sent him to find David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons.
·      Wednesday: (1 Samuel 17) Saul comforted David as he prepared to fight the Philistine. He killed the large man with a stone’s throw and then he cut off his head.         
·      Thursday: (1 Samuel 18) Saul grew resentful of David’s popularity and discussed killing him with his son Jonathan. Jonathan warned David and talked Saul out of his plans.
·      Friday (1 Samuel 24) With 3,000 men, Saul searched for David. Saul realized David meant him no harm and he withdrew from his wickedness and declared David will be king.
·      Saturday (2 Samuel 1) A man from Saul’s camp returned to report the death of Saul and Jonathan. David began to grieve and weep for the loss of his friends.

·      Monday: (Mark 2) Why do the disciples of John fast, but yours do not? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
·      Tuesday: (Mark 2) The disciples of Jesus plucked grain on the Sabbath and Jesus invoked the action of David when he was in need and his companions were hungry.
·      Wednesday (Mark 3) A man with a withered hand was brought to Jesus. He forgave the man’s sin, but to prove he had the power to do so, he healed his outstretched hand.
·      Thursday (Mark 3) The news of Jesus spread and many people came to him from Idumea, Jerusalem, across the Jordan, from Tyre and Sidon. Unclean spirited bowed before him.
·      Friday (Mark 3) Jesus summoned those he wanted and sent them forth with the power to preach and drive out demons.
·      Saturday (Mark 3) Jesus returned home and the crowds gathered. His relatives heard of this and said, “He is out of his mind.”

Saints of the Week

January 17: Anthony, Abbot (251-356), was a wealthy Egyptian who gave away his inheritance to become a hermit. Many people sought him out for his holiness and asceticism. After many years in solitude, he formed the first Christian monastic community. Since he was revered, he went to Alexandria to encourage the persecuted Christians. He met Athanasius and helped him fight Arianism.

January 20: Fabian, pope and martyr (d. 250), was a layman and stranger in Rome during the time of his election as pope. A dove settled on his head, which reminded people of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove during the baptism. He served for 14 years until his martyrdom.

January 20: Sebastian, martyr (d. 300), was buried in the catacombs in Rome. He hailed from Milan and is often pictured with many arrows piercing his body. Much of what we know about him is legend.

January 21: Agnes, martyr (d. 305), is one of the early Roman martyrs. Little is known about her but she died around age 12 during a persecution. Because of her names connection with a lamb, her iconography depicts her holding a lamb to remind us of her sacrifice and innocence.

January 23: Marianne Cope (1838-1918), was a German-born woman who settled with her family in New York. She entered the Franciscans and worked in the school systems as a teacher and principal and she helped to establish the first two Catholic hospitals. She went to Honolulu, then Molokai, to aid those with leprosy.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jan 17, 1890. Benedict Sestini died. He was an astronomer, editor, architect, mathematician, and teacher at Woodstock College.
·      Jan 18, 1615. The French Jesuits began a mission in Danang, Vietnam.
·      Jan 19, 1561. In South Africa, the baptism of the powerful King of Monomotapa, the king's mother, and 300 chiefs by Fr. Goncalvo de Silveira.
·      Jan 20, 1703. At Paris, the death of Fr. Francis de la Chaise, confessor to Louis XIV and a protector of the French Church against the Jansenists.
·      Jan 21, 1764. Christophe de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris, wrote a pastoral defending the Jesuits against the attacks of Parliament. It was ordered to be burned by the public executioner.
·      Jan 22, 1561. Pius IV abrogated the decree of Paul II and kept the life term of Father General.

·      Jan 23, 1789. John Carroll gained the deed of land for the site that was to become Georgetown University.