Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 23, 2016
Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; Psalm 34; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14

            Few Catholics stand before God to profess their righteousness like the Pharisee did in the temple area. Before God, most of us know our place, and we are more likely to adopt the demeanor of the tax collector who realizes that we are broken and incomplete. The problem is that, throughout the day, most people place themselves before humans and not before God, and we get plenty of their righteousness instead of an accurate assessment of his or her own self-worth.

            It is quite good that people have confidence in their abilities and good judgments, but it is distasteful when they fall upon those credentials in power conversations, like when they dismiss your valuable contribution because they have already reached a conclusion and seek ways to justify it. Perhaps they feel threatened by the new idea that came from elsewhere and they do not even bother to listen to what you have to say. Those who hold onto their power have a way of shutting out other voices.

             Sirach tells us that our God is a God who hears. God hears the cry of the oppressed, is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, hears the widow when she offers her complaint, and pays particular attention to the one who serves God willingly. The prayer of the average person who does not seek power pierces the clouds until it reaches its goal – the ears of God, who will judge justly and affirm the rightness of our situation.

            Paul is an example of one whose prayer reached God’s ears. He finished the race and competed well and the crown of righteousness was given to him. If you spend time reading Paul’s writings, you will uncover that he was a man of humility, not the arrogance that many associate with him. He is a man of tender care for Christians and the lowly. Paul found himself to be lowly as well, especially during his trial when no one appeared on his behalf but everyone deserted him out of fear. He placed himself confidently before the Lord and he knew he fulfilled the task given to him – the proclamation of the Gospel to the Gentiles.

            When we are dealing with the righteous people, and there are many, let us realize that we are not God because God will take care of the situation. We do not have to bring the self-proclaimed mighty low; we do not have to correct; we do not have to call their arrogance to their attention. We can simply smile and move on. It may feel good to take the low road every once in a while, but we will have greater satisfaction when we let it go from our memory and place it in the hands of God. If we do not let go, we risk becoming the very thing we criticize – a righteous person who stops listening. We become God when we make ultimate judgments. We are not God. We let God assess a person’s motivations, actions, and character.

            Simplify your life by shedding drama. So what if your nose gets bent out of shape. It will heal. You’ll get over it if you let it go right away. Deal with the matters of God more than you deal with matters of the people around you. Hear God in the small infractions of life. Listen to the Lord in the tiny details that urge you to let problems pass by. Put your goodwill first. You will notice that people remark about your humility because minor disturbances do not bother you. That humility that others notice in you will speak volumes about your trust in God.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Ephesians 4) Let no one deceive you with empty arguments. You were once in darkness, but now you live in the Lord. Live as children of light.
Tuesday: (Ephesians 5) Be subordinate to one another out of reverence to Christ. He is the head of the Church, which he loves and honors.
Wednesday: (Ephesians 6) Children, obey your parents. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.
Thursday: (Ephesians 6) With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. Be watchful with all perseverance.
Friday (Ephesians 2) You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.
Saturday (Philippians 1) I shall rejoice for I know that this will result in deliverance for me through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Monday: (Luke 13) Jesus cured a woman crippled for 18 years. She stood up straight and glorified God, but the leader of the synagogue was indignant that he cured on the Sabbath.
Tuesday: (Luke 13) The Kingdom is like a mustard seed that a man planted in his garden. It starts out tiny but grows to an expansive bush.    
Wednesday (Luke 13) Will only a few people be saved? Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
Thursday (Luke 13) Some Pharisees told Jesus to go away because Herod wants to kill him. He then cried over Jerusalem, the one who killed prophets.
Friday (Luke 6) Jesus went up the mountain to pray. When he returned, he called twelve men and named them Apostles.
Saturday (Luke 14) Jesus dined with a leading Pharisee. He told a parable of seats of honor at the table. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled.

Saints of the Week

October 23: John of Capistrano, priest, had a vision of Francis of Assisi when he was imprisoned during an Italian civil war at which time he was the governor of Perugia. He entered the Franciscan Friars Minor in 1415 after ending his marriage. He preached missions throughout Europe including a mission to Hungary to preach a crusade against the Turks. After the Christian victory at the Battle of Belgrade in 1456, John died.

October 24: Anthony Claret, bishop (1807-1870) adopted his father's weaving career as a young man, but continued to study Latin and printing. After entering seminary, he began preaching retreats and giving missions. He published and distributed religious literature and founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He was appointed archbishop of Cuba but was called back to Spain to be Queen Isabella II's confessor. He resumed publishing until the revolution of 1868 sent him into exile.

October 28: Simon and Jude, apostles (first century) were two of the Twelve Disciples called by Jesus, but little is known about them. We think they are Simon the Zealot and Judas, the son of James. Simon was most likely a Zealot sympathizer who would have desired revolution against Rome; Jude is also called Thaddeus, and is patron saint of hopeless causes. Both apostles suffered martyrdom.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      October 23, 1767: The Jesuits who had been kept prisoners in their college in Santiago, Chile, for almost two months were led forth to exile. In all 360 Jesuits of the Chile Province were shipped to Europe as exiles.
·      October 24, 1759: 133 members of the Society, banished from Portugal and put ashore at Civita Vecchia, were most kindly received by Clement XIII and by the religious communities, especially the Dominicans.
·      Oct 25, 1567. St Stanislaus Kostka arrived in Rome and was admitted into the Society by St Francis Borgia.
·      Oct 26, 1546. The Province of Portugal was established as the first province in the Society, with Simao Rodriguez as its first provincial superior.
·      Oct 27, 1610. The initial entrance of the Jesuits into Canada. The mission had been recommended to the Society by Henry IV.
·      Oct 28, 1958. The death of Wilfrid Parsons, founder of Thought magazine and editor of America from 1925 to 1936.

·      Oct 29, 1645. In the General Chapter of the Benedictines in Portugal, a statement published by one of their order, that said St Ignatius had borrowed the matter in his Spiritual Exercises from a Benedictine author, was indignantly repudiated.