Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 26, 2016
1 Kings 19:16-21; Psalm 16; Galatians 5:1, 13-18; Luke 9:51-62

            The readings teach us to act in freedom while retaining fidelity to our mission. The disciples of Jesus are perplexed when villagers do not provide hospitality to Jesus as he is on this way to Jerusalem. They are annoyed at their mistreatment because Jewish law demands that a good Jew to open his house to the traveller. Jesus tempers their anger and tells them that he really has no particular home, that the kingdom of heaven is everywhere. The road, the journey, becomes his home. He and his disciples simply move on to another village where they find customary welcome.

            En route to Jerusalem, a passerby approaches Jesus and says, “I will follow you anywhere,” but Jesus instructs him that life on the road is very difficult. It means that disciples have to cut familial ties and bind themselves to a radical life of service to God’s kingdom. While it is attractive, not everyone is able to handle the rigors of this way of life. He calls to mind the discipleship of Elisha to Elijah. Elisha responded wholeheartedly to his call as Elijah’s successor and he gave up all he had to begin this new way of life. He slaughtered the family’s twelve oxen and fed his people before leaving for his new ministry.

            The Letter to the Galatians tells us about our larger call as a Christian. Paul writes: For freedom, Christ set us free. Since we have already been set free, it is our responsibility to not put ourselves back under a system of bondage. We have choices to make about keeping ourselves free from systems of oppression. This does not mean that we will be free from financial constraints or the need to earn a livelihood, but sometimes we take on responsibility that is not rightly ours. Paul gives us permission to step away from those entangling alliances so we can keep our proper focus. Sometimes all we have to do is to walk away.

            We are called to love ourselves and to love others. Paul notes that we have a tendency to bite and devour one another, and he reminds us that this is not life in the Spirit. We have subjected ourselves to slavery to sin when we gossip, or use anger incorrectly, or destroy the reputation of someone with whom we are in conflict. Paul lifts us up and implores us to live in the Spirit, which is in opposition to the flesh. A good way to combat slavery to the flesh is to serve one another through love. It does not make you a slave to the other person, but it shows that you are not beholden to any person but Jesus Christ.

            However, many people do not know how to serve in freedom. We think that by accommodating the requests of another person, we are serving them in love. A friendship can only exist if there is mutual accommodation; otherwise, you are letting yourself be used for the other person’s selfish gains. Only you can free yourself from the mess of this relationship. The other party may give you praise for doing good things for them, but it remains self-indulgent on their part. As a Christian, we must find ways to be in right relationship with those around us, and it is a daily challenge because we always wanted to feel wanted and welcomed, just as the disciples of Jesus did.   

            We therefore have to learn healthy boundaries and not be swayed by unhealthy requests that weaken our protective limits, but even if our boundaries are transgressed, our words of self-protection will restore those protections. Others might be confused at first, but they will learn not to extend beyond certain parameters in the future as your boundaries become clearer. You will find that you have gained greater personal power in your relationships, which allow you to be of greater service to the kingdom.

            Our work as disciples is ongoing and we never quite arrive because our relationships are fluid. Our great lesson is to realize every morning when we rise we are freed because Jesus Christ has already freed us and he does not want us to choose any type of servitude again. He will be our guardian and mentor and he will give us various feelings and emotions to know when we are dangerously slipping into servitude. It is our job to choose boldly with him so that we can live in freedom as he chose for us. It is a bright world when we accept this promise of freedom, and if we don’t choose it today, we certainly can choose it tomorrow. This gift of Christ is remarkable. Today, let us choose to live in his Spirit of Freedom.
Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Amos 2) Amos decries Israel’s continued offenses against the Lord while God has remained faithful to them.
Tuesday: (Amos 3) The Lord spoke to Israel: You alone have I favored more than all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your crimes.
Wednesday: (Acts 12) King Herod killed James and then imprisoned Peter. As he was awaiting trial, an angel opened the locks of the jail door and set Peter free.  
Thursday: (Amos 7) Amos prophesied: Prophesy not against Israel. Your wife will become a harlot; your land will be divided; and you shall die in an unclean land. Israel will be exiled.    
Friday (Amos 8) The days are coming when the people will search for the Lord, but they will not find me. Their hunger and thirst will increase.
Saturday (Amos 9) On that day, I will raise up the fallen hut of David and I will restore the fortunes of the people.

Monday: (Matthew 8) A man approached Jesus asking to follow him. Jesus replied: Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead.
Tuesday: (Matthew 8) Jesus got into a boat and fell asleep while a violent squall kicked up. The disciples woke him up and he calmed the storm before them.
Wednesday (Matthew 16) Jesus asked at Caesarea Philippi, “Who do people say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ,” and Jesus built his church upon his faith.
Thursday (Matthew 9) Jesus forgave the sins of a man lying on a stretcher. As scribes protested, he healed the man and told him to walk and bring his stretcher with him.   
Friday (Matthew 9) Jesus called Matthew to become his servant and some were perplexed. He replied, “It is mercy I require not sacrifice. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”   
Saturday (Matthew 9) Why do not the disciples of Jesus fast? Can one fast while the bridegroom is with them?

Saints of the Week

June 27: Cyril of Alexandria, bishop and doctor (376-444), presided over the Council of Ephesus that fought Nestorian the heresy. Cyril claimed, contrary to Nestorius, that since the divine and human in Jesus were so closely united that it was appropriate to refer to Mary was the mother of God. Because he condemned Nestorius, the church went through a schism that lasted until Cyril's death. Cyril's power, wealth, and theological expertise influenced many as he defended the church against opposing philosophies.

June 28: Irenaeus, bishop and martyr (130-200) was sent to Lyons as a missionary to combat the persecution the church faced in Lyons. He was born in Asia Minor and became a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Irenaeus asserted that the creation was not sinful by nature but merely distorted by sin. As God created us, God redeemed us. Therefore, our fallen nature can only be saved by Christ who took on our form in the Incarnation. Irenaeus refutation of heresies laid the foundations of Christian theology.

June 29: Peter and Paul, apostles (first century) are lumped together for a feast day because of their extreme importance to the early and contemporary church. Upon Peter's faith was the church built; Paul's efforts to bring Gentiles into the faith and to lay out a moral code was important for successive generations. It is right that they are joined together as their work is one, but with two prongs. For Jesuits, this is a day that Ignatius began to recover from his illness after the wounds he sustained at Pamplona. It marked a turning point in his recovery.

June 30: The First Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church (c. 64) were martyrs under Nero's persecution in 64. Nero reacted to the great fire in Rome by falsely accusing Christians of setting it. While no one believed Nero's assertions, Christians were humiliated and condemned to death in horrible ways. This day always follows the feast of the martyrs, Sts. Peter and Paul.

July 1: Junipero Serra, priest, was a Franciscan missionary who founded missions in Baja and traveled north to California starting in 1768. The Franciscans established the missions during the suppression of the Jesuits. San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Clara are among the most famous. Serra’s statue is in the U.S. Capitol to represent California.

July 2: Bernard Realino, John Francis Regis, Francis Jerome, S.J. are known for their preaching skills that drew many to the faith, including many French Hugeunots. Regis and his companions preached Catholic doctrine to children and assisted many struck by the plague in Frances. Regis University in Denver, Colorado is named after John Regis.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jun 26, 1614. By a ruse of the Calvinists, the book, "Defensio Fidei" by Francis Suarez was condemned by the French Parliament. In addition, in England James I ordered the book to be publicly burned.
·      Jun 27, 1978. Bernard Lisson, a mechanic, and Gregor Richert, a parish priest, were shot to death at St Rupert's Mission, Sinoia, Zimbabwe.
·      Jun 28, 1591. Fr. Leonard Lessius's teaching on grace and predestination caused a great deal of excitement and agitation against the Society in Louvain and Douai. The Papal Nuncio and Pope Gregory XIV both declared that his teaching was perfectly orthodox.
·      Jun 29, 1880. In France the law of spoliation, which was passed at the end of March, came into effect and all the Jesuit Houses and Colleges were suppressed.
·      Jun 30, 1829. The opening of the Twenty-first General Congregation of the order, which elected Fr. John Roothan as General.
·      Jul 1, 1556. The beginning of St Ignatius's last illness. He saw his three great desires fulfilled: confirmation of the Institute, papal approval of the Spiritual Exercises, and acceptance of the Constitutions by the whole Society.
·      Jul 2, 1928. The Missouri Province was divided into the Missouri Province and the Chicago Province. In 1955 there would be a further subdivision: Missouri divided into Missouri and Wisconsin; Chicago divided into Chicago and Detroit.