Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

The Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 25, 2016
Amos 6:1, 4-7; Psalm 146; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31

            The parable of the rich man and Lazarus grips our imagination so well that we sometimes do not focus upon the primary message of the story. It is easy to get caught up in the complex moral issue before us that we fail to see that our complacency prevents us from coming to know Jesus Christ – the one who came back from the dead. His words settle in among the other voices that compete for our attention and they lose their veracity.

The reading from Amos warns us that the complacency of the ancient Israelites did them in. They did not know their own sound decisions were leading them astray because they were comfortable with the way they were making choices. Their comfortable lifestyle was a reward for making good choices and they failed to see how their contentment was leading them headlong into the Babylonian exile. Complete shock beset them when they realized too late that their choices shut out the word of God. Jesus asks: What is it going to take for you to listen and understand? Even the most preposterous reality will not shake you out of your presumption.

Jesus tells this parable to shock the comfortable Pharisees because they are not paying attention to the words of Scripture. Their pride of place and positions of honor led them to a comfortable place where their good living is an affirmation of good decisions they have made. Jesus spoke these words so that when his death occurred, the religious leaders would remember that he is the one who has risen from the dead, and yet Jesus knows he will still be rejected.

When we are comfortable, we do not want any change to our world because we transitions cause us to lose our sense of place and belonging. We do not know what we will lose in the transition and the “devil you know” may be more comfortable than the “one you don’t know.” For too many of us, the past never goes away, but is lived out in the present. Even in political elections, as much as we want something new in Washington, we really do not want as much change as we say we do. We might want a better standard of life, a more robust economy, greater availability of opportunities, but by and large, most of us are wary of change. We do not want wholesale changes because of the disruption it causes to our stability. We do not know how to move forward into an unknown future.

Jesus challenges the Pharisees and us to listen to his prophetic words. We know that he has risen from the dead and that he is alive to us as God. Therefore, I ask: Why do we not listen to him? He is the King of the Universe. Many of us just say prayers, but we do not know how to hear his voice in the world. To me, his voice is the most important one. It behooves me then to do whatever I can to listen to him. It is easier to hear than you think. No one else in the history of the world has been raised from the dead. Should we be doing all we can to honor him by listening to his words? Life’s decisions are much easier to make if we do.

I bet many of you are like me in that I’m glad for the vindication of Lazarus. Some may feel glee that the rich, uncaring man finally received his due. We’ve all met people who righteously disregard us and we like when their number gets called. However, many of you, like me, want to give that old man a drink of cool water because our compassion tells us to care for people even if they mistreat us. We want to rejoice with Lazarus too, while despising poverty and its causes. The way of Jesus is bound to make us uncomfortable and it will cause us to change. Are you prepared to be ruined for life? I hope so. The man who came back from the dead is demanding it.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Job 1) The angels on one side and Satan on the other came before the Lord to present themselves. Satan targeted Job since he was an upright man and the Lord allowed Job to be tested. Job took his suffering in stride.
Tuesday: (Job 3) Job cries out: “Why did I not perish at birth, came forth from the womb and expire?” He cursed his day because of his suffering.
Wednesday: (Job 9) Job answered his friends: “How can I be justified before God?” Job recognizes God’s omnipotence and realized he cannot appeal to him.
Thursday: (Daniel 7) The heavenly courts were convened and the Ancient One took his place on the throne where he received dominion, glory, and kingship.
Friday (Job 38) The Lord addressed Job out of the storm: Where you there when I did all things for creation? Job replied: I am of little account. What can I answer you? I will ask no more.
Saturday (Job 42) Job responded: I disown what I have said and repent in dust and ashes.  

Monday: (Luke 9) The disciples quarreled over who was the greatest. John noticed someone casting out demons in his name and John tried to prevent him. Jesus allowed him to do so.
Tuesday: (Luke 9) The disciples became upset when the Samaritan villagers would not welcome him and they asked if Jesus wanted them to call down fire to strike them dead.
Wednesday (Luke 9) On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus met a few people along the way. He said, “Foxes have dens; birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to call home.”
Thursday (John 1) Here is a true child of Israel. In him there is no duplicity. “Rabbi, you are the king of Israel; you are the Son of God.”
Friday (Luke 10) Woe to you, Chorazin and Bethsaida. If the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago.
Saturday (Luke 10) The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing. Jesus gave thanks to God, affirmed the disciples, and was glad because their names were enrolled in heaven’s books.

Saints of the Week

September 26: Cosmas and Damian, martyrs (d. 287), were twins who became doctors. They were noted because they never charged anyone a medical fee. They died in the Diocletian persecution. Great miracles have been attributed to them and the Emperor Justinian is claimed to be healed through their intercession.

September 27: Vincent de Paul, priest (1581-1660), was a French peasant who selected to be chaplain at the Queen's household after his ordination. He provided food and clothing to the poor, including prostitutes, the sick, disabled, and homeless. He founded the Congregation of Missions (Vincentians) to preach and train clergy and he co-founded the Daughters of Charity with Louise de Marillac.

September 28: Wenceslaus, martyr (907-929), was raised a Christian by his grandmother while his mother and brother were opposed to Christianity. His brother opposed him when he became ruler of Bohemia in 922. He introduced strict reforms that caused great dissatisfaction among nobles and political adversaries. His brother invited him to a religious ceremony where he was killed in a surprise attack.

September 28: Lawrence Ruiz and 15 companion martyrs (seventeenth century), were killed in Nagasaki, Japan during 1633 and 1637. Most of these Christians were friends of the Dominicans. Lawrence, a Filipino, was a husband and father. He and these other missionaries served the Philippines, Formosa, and Japan.

September 29: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels are long a part of Christian and Jewish scripture. Michael is the angel who fights against evil as the head of all the angels; Gabriel announces the messiah's arrival and the births of Jesus and John the Baptist; and Raphael is a guardian angel who protects Tobias on his journey. Together, they are venerated to represent all the angels during a three-day period.

September 30: Jerome, priest and doctor (342-420), studied Greek and Latin as a young man after his baptism by Pope Liberius. He learned Hebrew when he became a monk and after ordination he studied scripture with Gregory Nazianzen in Constantinople. He became secretary to the Pope when he was asked to translate the Bible into Latin.

October 1: Teresa of Jesus, doctor (1515-1582), entered the Carmelites at age 15 and died at age 24 from tuberculosis. During her illness, Pauline, her prioress, asked her to write about her life in the convent. These stories are captured in "The Story of a Soul." He focused on her "little way" of pursuing holiness in everyday life.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Sep 25, 1617. The death of Francisco Suarez. He wrote 24 volumes on philosophy and theology. As a novice he was found to be very dull, but one of his directors suggested that he ask our Lady's help. He subsequently became a person of prodigious talent.
·      Sep 26, 1605. At Rome, Pope Paul V orally declared St Aloysius to be one of the "Blessed." The official brief appeared on October 19.
·      Sep 27, 1540. Pope Paul III signed the Bull, Regimini Militantis Ecclesiae, which established the Society of Jesus.
·      Sep 28, 1572. Fifteen Jesuits arrived in Mexico to establish the Mexican Province. They soon opened a college.
·      Sep 29, 1558. In the Gesu, Rome, and elsewhere, the Jesuits began to keep Choir, in obedience to an order from Paul IV. This practice lasted less than a year, until the pope's death in August 1559.
·      Sep 30, 1911. President William Howard Taft visited Saint Louis University and declared the football season open.

·      Oct 1, 1546. St Ignatius released Isabel Roser from her Jesuit vows after eight months.