Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 5, 2016
1 Kings 17:17-24; Psalm 30; Galatians 1:11-19; Luke 7:11-17

            We see in Scripture repeatedly that God breathes new life into our moments of suffering. We see it first with the Lord’s actions through Elijah who meets a widow whose ill child’s life left his body. Through Elijah’s prayer, the boy’s life breath returns. It is evident in the Gospel when Jesus travels to Nain and restores life to the widow’s son and breadwinner. The words of Jesus revivify the man. We also behold it in Galatians when Paul, a destroyer of the Way that belonged to Jesus, is spiritually given new life and assumes a role as life-giver to nascent church communities. For all intents and purposes, Saul was dead, but was raised to new life as Paul, the one who was set apart and called to a new life through grace.

            The biblical days of someone being raised from the dead through the intervention of an established prophet like Elijah or Jesus are behind us, while miracles continue to bolster our faith. We cannot overlook the ways Jesus is still working to bring us real life or a chance to have a full life again. Recently I worked with a middle-age woman that became a heroin addict and recognized her powerlessness over the drug. It took a few years for her to realize she could not defeat the drug on her own and that she was a suffering victim of a drug system that oppressed her. Her friends and family kept fighting for her and they tried many approaches to reason with her, and they all became frustrated.

            One day the woman saw her adult son break down and sob in front of her. He would not let her see her toddler grandson when she was using heroin. She was very affected by her son’s breakdown and she recognized she needed help from the outside. She had neither the strength nor the skills to do cure herself on her own. Her wake-up call told her that she wanted to have her life back. She was far-gone from the happy, bright, fun-loving person she used to be. She was beaten down and wanted to become her true self again, the lovable person who was also loved. Instead she found herself in a place of self-hatred and loathing because of this infestation that ruined every aspect of her life. She needed a savior and that salvation had to come from the outside. She had no control over the chaos of her life. This story is similar to many drug addicts and alcoholics and anyone who is ravaged by addictions. Life begins again when we make room for Jesus Christ, our Savior.

            Like many, I battle to lose weight. Drawn by the power of clever marketing, terrific values on enormous meals, and scrumptious appearing food, I overate. I was abhorrent of the reality that I had to buy new clothing once again. Something in myself was not right and I was far too weak to combat this eating disorder on my own. On Holy Thursday, at the end of Lent’s fasting cycle, I finally succumbed to letting the Lord help me. The Paschal fast was easy because Christ was involved in helping me. The Easter season, the season of feasting, continued on with my new awareness of the triggers of eating and through each dining decision I made, I felt Christ abiding with me in my healthy choices. Christ was giving me my life back. The process of adjustment felt easy because Christ was helping me return to being the man he designed me to be. I made informed decisions in a world designed to obfuscate the deception intended by marketing and sales. I rejected that false world and allowed Christ to choose within me.

            Salvation is seldom an individual event. It happens when we are shown or show mercy to another person. The drug addict had mercy upon her distraught son and realized it was time to give her life over to her savior. I begged for help during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, choosing for him to feed me. Many people need help on their journeys and they cannot provide for themselves in positive and healthy ways. Keep trying. Stay in their lives patiently and keep them pointed to the Lord. One day, through an act of mercy, our friends will realize Christ values them enough to save them from themselves and the forces beyond their control. We must never cease being a community of prayer and a community of mercy because Christ enters the chaos of our lives through the mercy we extend to others. Keep your chin up. Christ has the power to give us back our lives. Your care and concern, not your reasoning, but your outright love, will bring them to Christ who longs to say to them, “Arise, my child. I give you life.”
Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (1 Kings 17) Elijah declared there will be a drought in the land and that he shall drink of stream while ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning for food.   
Tuesday: (1 Kings 17) The Lord asked Elijah to move on to Zarephath where he would meet a widow who would provide for him. Though she and her son were near death, she provided meals for Elijah and they were able to eat for a year.  
Wednesday: (1 Kings 18) Israel assembled on Mount Carmel to settle the dispute over the God of the Israelites and the god of Baal. At the time of offering, the Lord’s fire came down and consumed the Israelites offering. The Lord had chosen again the people of Israel.  
Thursday: (1 Kings 18) Elijah told Ahab to go up the mountain and drink for there was the sound of heavy rain. Ahab then had to leave the mountain and he mounted his chariot. Ahab and Elijah made it to Jezreel.  
Friday (1 Kings 19) Elijah went up the mountain and took shelter in a cave. He was waiting for God who come in thunder, but God’s voice was heard in the silence that follows a whisper.
Saturday (Acts 11) Barnabas, the son of encouragement, was praying with Saul and other worshippers when the Lord called and set Barnabas and Saul apart to preach the good news to the Gentiles.

Monday: (Matthew 5) Jesus went up the mountain to teach. He blessed the people with instructions and gave them the Beatitudes.
Tuesday: (Matthew 5) You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Let others see your goodness in full display.
Wednesday (Matthew 5) Do not think I have come to abolish the Law. I have come to fulfill every last tittle and dot. The least in the kingdom will be called the greatest.
Thursday (Matthew 5) Your righteousness must surpass the scribes and Pharisees. If you are angry, settle your dispute with your brother, otherwise, the judge will hand you over to the guard who will imprison you.
Friday (Matthew 5) Your attitudes about the commandments have to change. If you look at a married woman with lust, you have committed adultery. If you give your wife a bill of divorce, you cause her to commit adultery.  
Saturday (Matthew 5) Do not take a false oath. Do not swear at all because you are not in charge of your circumstances. God has the power in this world, not you.

Saints of the Week

June 5: Boniface, bishop and martyr (675-754), was born in England and raised in a Benedictine monastery. He became a good preacher and was sent to the northern Netherlands as a missionary. Pope Gregory gave him the name Boniface with an edict to preach to non-Christians. We was made a bishop in Germany and gained many converts when he cut down the famed Oak of Thor and garnered no bad fortune by the Norse gods. Many years later he was killed by non-Christians when he was preparing to confirm many converts. The church referred to him as the "Apostle of Germany."

June 6: Norbert, bishop (1080-1134), a German, became a priest after a near-death experience. He became an itinerant preacher in northern France and established a community founded on strict asceticism. They became the Norbertines and defended the rights of the church against secular authorities.

June 9: Ephrem, deacon and doctor (306-373), was born in the area that is now Iraq. He was ordained a deacon and refused priestly ordination. After Persians conquered his home town, Ephrem lived in seclusion where he wrote scriptural commentaries and hymns. He was the first to introduce hymns into public worship.

June 9: Joseph de Anchieta, S.J., priest (1534-1597), was from the Canary Islands and became a leading missionary to Brazil. He was one of the founders of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero. He is considered the first Brazilian writer and is regarded as a considerate evangelizer of the native Brazilian population. Alongside the Jesuit Manuel de Nobrega, he created stable colonial establishments in the new country.

June 11: Barnabas, apostle (d. 61), was a Jew from Cyprus who joined the early Christians in Jerusalem to build up the church. His name means "son of encouragement." He accepted Paul into his community and worked alongside him for many years to convert the Gentiles. He was stoned to death in his native Cyprus. He was a towering  authority to the early church.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 5, 1546. Paul III, in the document Exponi Nobis, empowered the Society to admit coadjutors, both spiritual and temporal.
·      Jun 6, 1610. At the funeral of Henry IV in Paris, two priests preaching in the Churches of St Eustace and St Gervase denounced the Jesuits as accomplices in his death. This was due primarily to the book De Rege of Father Mariana.
·      Jun 7, 1556. Peter Canisius becomes the first provincial superior of the newly constituted Province of Upper Germany.
·      Jun 8, 1889. Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins died at the age of 44 in Dublin. His final words were "I am so happy, so happy." He wrote, "I wish that my pieces could at some time become known but in some spontaneous way ... and without my forcing."
·      Jun 9, 1597. The death of Blessed Jose de Ancieta, Brazil's most famous missionary and the founder of the cities of Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.
·      Jun 10, 1537. Ignatius and his companions were given minor orders at the house of Bishop Vincenzo Negusanti in Venice, Italy.

·      Jun 11, 1742. The Chinese and Malabar Rites were forbidden by Pope Benedict XIV; persecution broke out at once in China.