Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze
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The Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 6, 2016
Wisdom 11:22-12:2; Psalm 145; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10

            The Sadducees and Pharisees disputed whether there was a resurrection. Scripture sheds light on their positions. The apocryphal book of the Maccabees tells a story about the seven brothers and their mother who chose to die instead of renouncing their faith in God. Their souls were more valuable than life itself. Jesus brings this story to mind when he settles the dispute between the two ideologies because both sides were missing the main point. He says that there certainly is a resurrection and the God of Abraham is the God of all the living, including those we consider dead. His point of departure, though, is that we belong to God first and foremost.

            Jesus settled the dispute, or did He? Death is difficult for everyone to face and it is unavoidable. If we believe in the resurrection of the death, why then do people suffer so badly at funerals? As a priest, it is easy to spot those who firmly believe that Jesus is alive to them in times of loss. Believers are the ones who are sad because death hurts, but they are consoled that death is an extension of a new life that we just do not completely understand yet. Then there are those who are inconsolable. Death is final for them and they realize they will never get their beloved dead back. Sometimes there are scores to settle or wrongs to be addressed, but when someone has died, these opportunities are lost. Death becomes a black hole of ambiguity. Some can only see their pain and the focus is upon themselves and the hurt they carry. Many ask the question: Do they really believe in God? There is little comfort that anyone can give them.

            This month we remember all the people who have gone before us to their death and we ask them to pray for us from their place with Christ. Talking with a loved one or family member who has died sounds like a crazy idea to some people, but it is a necessary part of our faith. If our dead are alive to God, then they are alive to us. We cannot act as if they are dead. We go to their gravestones and lay pretty flowers and talk to them about our sadness and the troubles of our day. We also tell them our joys and we ask them questions. We simply keep them in our lives because we know they are still close to us. Love does not end when death comes. Love exists beyond the gates of death and has the power to penetrate hearts from beyond the grave.

            Today is the time of the living, even though death swirls around us. Is something missing in your life? Are you still waiting for the perfect time to do something that you have waited to do for such a long time? When are you going to do it? The clock is ticking. Who can open the door’s latch unless they reach for it? Who can go on the journey without taking a first step and then another; sometimes grabbing ahold of someone else’s arm for steadying? There is time left. The fields are wide open inviting you to come in. Step into the mystery, which is both death and life and be overcome with amazement.

            Some people breathe just a little and call it a life. That’s not a life. Slow down and carve out some time for yourself. You have to breathe deeply and slow down so you can breathe new life into yourself. You realize you deserve more, don’t you? The best gift we can give those who do not have deep faith is our trust in Christ and we have to live as fully and as joyfully as we can. Pope Francis wants every Christians to trust much more fully so we smile even when those around us are sad. The resurrection has to mean something to us. We have a great promise. We are alive to God now; we will remain alive to God always. That ought to bring a smile to our face. We will see our loved ones again, and death remains a challenge, but for a believer, death does not have the final word. Do you believe?

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Titus 1) I left you in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters in every town. I set forth qualities of a bishop to govern over you.  
Tuesday: (Titus 2) Say what is consistent with doctrine. Be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance.
Wednesday: (Ezekiel 47) I saw living water flowing from the gates of the Temple in every direction giving life to all it touches.
Thursday: (Philemon) Welcome Onesimus, the man who was once a slave, as your free brother. Regard him as a partner as you would regard me.  
Friday (2 John) I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father.
Saturday (3 John) You are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters, especially for strangers. They have testified to your love before the church.  

Gospel: 
Monday: (Luke 17) Things that cause sins will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will do great things.
Tuesday: (Luke 17) Who among you would say to your servant who has just come if from plowing or tending the sheep: Come here immediately and take your place at table? No, he is grateful to the servant because he did what was commanded.    
Wednesday (John 2) Jesus went to the Temple and purified it of moneychangers and and merchants. “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
Thursday (Luke 17) The Kingdom cannot be observed, but read the signs of the times and you will discern rightly.
Friday (Luke 17) As it was with Noah, so shall it be with you: Some were eating and drinking. Some were taken up to heaven; others were left behind.
Saturday (Luke 18) Jesus told a parable about the necessity of praying. He mentioned the persistence of the widow before the unjust judge who finally gave way to her demands.  

Saints of the Week

November 9: The dedication of Rome's Lateran Basilica was done by Pope Sylvester I in 324 as the pope's local parish as the bishop of Rome. It was originally called the Most Holy Savior and was built on the property donated by the Laterani family. It is named John Lateran because the baptistry was named after St. John. Throughout the centuries, it was attacked by barbarians, suffered damage from earthquakes and fires, and provided residence for popes. In the 16th century, it went through Baroque renovations.

November 10: Leo the Great, pope and doctor (d. 461) tried to bring peace to warring Roman factions that were leaving Gaul vulnerable to barbarian invasions. As pope, he tried to keep peace again - in particular during his meeting with Attila the Hun, whom he persuaded not to plunder Rome. However, in Attila's next attack three years later, Rome was leveled. Some of Leo's writings on the incarnation were influential in formulating doctrine at the Council of Chalcedon.

November 11: Martin of Tours, bishop (316-397), became an Roman soldier in Hungary because he was born into a military family. After he became a Christian, he left the army because he saw his faith in opposition to military service. He settled in Gaul and began its first monastery. He was proclaimed bishop in 371 and worked to spread the faith in at time of great uncertainty and conflict. He divided sections of his diocese into parishes.

November 12: Josaphat, bishop and martyr (1580-1623) was a Ukranian who entered the Basilian order and was ordained in the Byzantine rite. He was named the archbishop of Polotsk, Russia and attempted to unite the Ukrainian church with Rome. His opponents killed him. He is the first Eastern saint to be formally canonized.November 2: All Souls Day is the commemoration of the faithful departed. November is known as All Souls Month. We remember those who died as we hasten towards the end of the liturgical year and the great feast of Christ the King. As a tradition, we have always remembered our dead as a way of keeping them alive to us and giving thanks to God for their lives.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 6, 1789. Fr. John Carroll of Maryland was appointed to be the first Bishop of Baltimore.
·      Nov 7, 1717. The death of Antonio Baldinucci, an itinerant preacher to the inhabitants of the Italian countryside near Rome.
·      Nov 8, 1769. In Spain, Charles III ordered all of the Society's goods to be sold and sent a peremptory demand to the newly elected Pope Clement XIV to have the Society suppressed.
·      Nov 9, 1646. In England, Fr. Edmund Neville died after nine months imprisonment and ill-treatment. An heir to large estates in Westmoreland, he was educated in the English College and spent forty years working in England.
·      Nov 10, 1549. At Rome, the death of Paul III, to whom the Society owes its first constitution as a religious order.
·      Nov 11, 1676. In St James's Palace, London, Claude la Colombiere preached on All Saints.

·      Nov 12, 1919. Fr. General Ledochowski issued an instruction concerning the use of typewriters. He said that they could be allowed in offices but not in personal rooms, nor should they be carried from one house to another.