Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 19, 2016
Zechariah 12:10-11, 131:1; Psalm 63; Galatians 3:26-29; Luke 9:18-24

            By asking a thoughtful question, Jesus is able to answer the question raised by the Book of Zechariah. With grand patience, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter responds to him by proclaiming him as the Christ, the Lord of the Universe. Jesus is pleased with Peter’s answer. He stands before them to point out that he is the one who will purify the Israelites from sin and uncleanness.

            Zechariah predicts that someone from the house of David will be pierced and the nation will deeply mourn for him with great angst, but the Lord will pour upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition. It will become abundantly clear that one man will be left standing, one who is visible to all who seek the Lord, and they shall gaze upon Jesus, David’s descendant, as the one who will purify their sins.

            When we collectively suffer, as we are in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre, the only one who can make sense of this tragedy is the person of Jesus. He stands before us as if to say, “Will you try my way? I bring a way of peace and harmony.” He says, “Only love reverses hatred and evil. Only love can halt the progress of the forces of destruction. My love, through its silence, causes the tyrants of this world to crumble. Your heart holds enough pain. Will you try my way?”

            We need a two-pronged approach as we answer the question Jesus asks us. The first is a personal response; the second one deals with influencing public opinion. Jesus will continue to ask despite our reluctance to fully respond, but when we finally begin to accept his way, we find that we take on a lot of responsibility. When people are flooding social media with their quick reactions and experiences, it is best for us to hold back. We do not have to respond about everything. We come to a point when we realize, in maturity, that it is not important to share what we think, but we can share thoughtfully our feelings on the matter and we can reveal to others the heart, mind, and values of Christ. Our words, like his, need to lift up and heal. They need to encourage and to raise the level of conversation. They ought to instruct and lead to a new way. Our few choice words have the grand responsibility of helping people come to a new path forward. In the end, is it necessary for the words to be from you?

            Also, we must interact in the public sphere and become involved in the political process so we can influence the future, but we must imitate the way of Jesus who is a masterful teacher who leads others through their own doors of experience. He finds out where they are and he uses their experiences as the springboard for personal integration. As we become more involved, we know we will face hostility and opposition. Be gentle about the ways to engage with it. We do not have to enter into every battle. Sometimes angry voices diminish when they are not met head on with other angry voices. A different battle is being waged than the one you think. Loving silence can quiet the forces so you can engage with the greater battles. Be prudent about choosing your fights because sometimes another ally is more equipped to do your work for you. You then can choose to become engaged in another way.

            The strategy in all this is to recognize that people are hurting and want some positive resolution, and most do not have skills to bring their anger forward to benefit the common good. A Christian has to quickly assess where the winds of change are blowing and to decide how to apply her own talents and abilities to each particular cause. She has to see the many people who are supplying aid along the way and to realize a large network of helpers is already in place. In other words, it is not up to you to change the world. You have a small but important part. Jesus is depending upon you to do your job and only your job. You need the freedom to step back and say, “My work is done, until Jesus asks me to get involved in a different way.” The ongoing conversation has to be about the work Jesus is inviting you to do, and yet the work is about “being” rather than “doing.” If our work can represent the essence of Christ, then we are doing our work. In that, we can give thanks.

            God will grace us as the people of Jerusalem were graced in Zechariah’s passage. This grace will lead us to Paul’s words in Galatians: You are all one in Christ. The one positive step we need to make every day is to answer the daily question: Who do you say I am?
Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (2 Kings 17) The Assyrian king attacked Samaria and captured many Israelites. It came about because the people turned away from God and worship in the culture of other nations..
Tuesday: (2 Kings 19) Hezekiah prayed because the Assyrian king was tormenting him for his belief in God. The Lord said, “I have listened. From Jerusalem shall come a faithful remnant that I will favor.”
Wednesday: (2 Kings 22) When the Temple was restored, Hilkaiah assembled the elders and the people and read the words of the covenant that they promised to uphold anew.  
Thursday: (2 Kings 24) Jehoiachin’s reign began when he was 18 and he sinned in the sight of the Lord. Simultaneously, Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem and took the king, his people, and the treasures of the nation into exile.    
Friday (Isaiah 49) From his mother’s womb, the Lord knew Isaiah and the plans he had for him as a prophet preparing the people’s return from exile.
Saturday (Lamentations 2) The song in Lamentations reviews the Israelite history. The Lord tells them to cry out to him for he will bless them and restore their fortunes.

Monday: (Matthew 7) Stop judging and you shall not be judged. The measure that you use will be used against you. Therefore, be prudent.
Tuesday: (Matthew 7) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Enter the narrow gate that leads to life.
Wednesday (Matthew 7) Beware of false prophets. By their fruits, you shall know the essence of the tree.  
Thursday (Matthew 7) Not everyone will enter the Kingdom of heaven. Everyone who listens to the words of Jesus is wise and prudent and has built a solid foundation for life.  
Friday (Luke 1) When it was time for Elizabeth and Zechariah to name their son, the temporarily mute father replied, “His name is John.”   
Saturday (Matthew 8) Lord, my servant is paralyzed, suffering dreadfully. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed.”

Saints of the Week

June 19: Romuald, abbot (950-1027), was born into a family of dukes from Ravenna and became known for founding the Camaldolese Benedictine order that combined the solitary life of hermits into a monastic community life. He founded other hermitages and monasteries throughout Italy.

June 21: Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J., priest (1568-1591), gave up a great inheritance to join the Jesuits in 1585 in his dreams of going to the missions. However, when a plague hit Rome, Gonzaga served the sick and dying in hospitals where he contracted the plague and died within three months. He is a patron saint of youth.

June 22: Paulinus of Nola, bishop (353-431) was a prominent lawyer who married a Spaniard and was baptized. Their infant son died while in Spain. He became a priest and was sent to Nola, near Naples, where he lived a semi-monastic life and helped the poor and pilgrims.

June 22: John Fisher, bishop and martyr (1469-1535) taught theology at Cambridge University and became the University Chancellor and bishop of Rochester. Fisher defended the queen against Henry VIII who wanted the marriage annulled. Fisher refused to sign the Act of Succession. When the Pope made Fisher a cardinal, the angry king beheaded him.

June 22: Thomas More, martyr (1478-1535) was a gifted lawyer, Member of Parliament, scholar, and public official. He was reluctant to serve Cardinal Woolsey at court and he resigned after he opposed the king’s Act of Succession, which would allow him to divorce his wife. He was imprisoned and eventually beheaded.

June 24: Nativity of John the Baptist (first century) was celebrated on June 24th to remind us that he was six months older than Jesus, according to Luke. This day also serves to remind us that, as Christ is the light of the world, John must decrease just as the daylight diminishes. John’s birth is told by Luke. He was the son of the mature Elizabeth and the dumbstruck Zechariah. When John was named, Zechariah’s tongue was loosened and he sang the great Benedictus.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 19, 1558. Fr. Lainez, the Vicar General, summoned the opening of the First General Congregation, nearly two years after the death of Ignatius. Some trouble arose from the fact that Fr. Bobadilla thought himself entitled to some share in the governance. Pope Paul IV ordered that the Institute of the Society should be strictly adhered to.
·      Jun 20, 1626. The martyrdom in Nagasaki, Japan, of Blesseds Francis Pacheco, John Baptist Zola, Vincent Caun, Balthasar De Torres, Michael Tozo, Gaspar Sadamatzu, John Kinsaco, Paul Xinsuki, and Peter Rinscei.
·      Jun 21, 1591. The death of St Aloysius Gonzaga, who died from the plague, which he caught while attending the sick.
·      Jun 22, 1611. The first arrival of the Jesuit fathers in Canada, sent there at the request of Henry IV of France.
·      Jun 23, 1967. Saint Louis University's Board of Trustees gathered at Fordyce House for the first meeting of the expanded Board of Trustees. SLU was the first Catholic university to establish a Board of Trustees with a majority of lay members.
·      Jun 24, 1537. Ignatius, Francis Xavier, and five of the companions were ordained priests in Venice, Italy.

·      Jun 25, 1782. The Jesuits in White Russia were permitted by the Empress Catherine to elect a General. They chose Fr. Czerniewicz. He took the title of Vicar General, with the powers of the General.