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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

November 12, 2017
Wisdom 6:12-16; Psalm 63; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 13; Matthew 25:1-13

As the church year comes nearer to an end, the theme of “being ready” is emphasized.  The reading from Wisdom speaks of wisdom as a noble woman who is found by those who seek her. She makes herself known to the attentive person in anticipation of his or her desire. She is keeping vigil as we keep vigil.

The Gospel writes of the ten virgins who await the bridegroom’s return. Five wait expectantly; five spend their time foolishly and get caught off guard. When the groom returns and the foolish ones try to get acknowledged, he does not recognize them as part of his community. The message is to be attentive at all times and to use time wisely.

Time is among one of the things in life we cannot control. Our choice is to make the best of it when possible. As I reflect upon how to spend time, I think of my mother’s time in the nursing home. She is approaching her end and my family remains vigilant to her in her last months. All she has is time on her hands and with a curtailed memory, the only time that matters is in the remote past or the present moment. We try to make that moment the most joyful one possible. We do not know when her last moment will be and we are aware that it may come very instantly without much warning. We may not be present for her last breath.

What matters is that we spend time with her to give her love, to forgive her and to ask for her forgiveness, to accept her, and to encourage her preparation to meet her Lord. The time is set aside to let mercy govern our words and actions. More comforting than words are the gentle holding of hands or the caressing of her worn out legs, the human contact through which God’s love is mediated. This is the vigilance God wants from us.

A friend, after burying his older brother, recently remarked, “We should live each day just like we live in the 24-hours after a loved one’s death. We see the world differently. We think of only the important matters.” Mortality is never far from us, but we naturally act as if it will claim us only when we are old and gray. We simply never know.

Just as we live in a tender liminal space after a loved one’s death, it is good to remember the tender love we can give to Jesus because of his death. But with Jesus, his death is not our final encounter with him. Because of his tender love for us, he came back for us. We can always live in a tender existence because we can know all will be well. This is the reason the Wisdom reading is important. Christ, the word of God, the wisdom of God, is always waiting for us, hoping, expecting, anticipating, and protecting. Christ will search for us. Christ will seek us out. Christ will find us. Therefore, our waiting is a joyful one. It is a time when we can whittle away the hours just by enjoying the presence of the one who loves us better than we love ourselves or others.  

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Wisdom 1) Love justice, you who judge the earth; think of the Lord in goodness,
and seek him in integrity of heart; Because he is found by those who test him not.
Tuesday: (Wisdom 2) But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.
Wednesday: (Wisdom 6) For the Lord of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness,
Because he himself made the great as well as the small, and he provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.
Thursday: (Wisdom 7) In Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, Manifold, subtle, agile,
clear, unstained, certain, not baneful, loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent, kindly, firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing, and pervading all spirits, though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle. For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion, and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
Friday (Wisdom 13) For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen. But yet, for these the blame is less; For they indeed have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God and wish to find him.
Saturday (Wisdom 18) When peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, Your all-powerful word, from heaven's royal throne bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land, bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree. And as he alighted, he filled every place with death; he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth.

Monday: (Luke 17) If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,' you should forgive him.
Tuesday: (Luke 17) When you have done all you have been commanded, say,  We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.
Wednesday (Luke 17) As Jesus entered a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" And when he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests."
Thursday (Luke 17) Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, "The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.' For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you."
Friday (Luke 17) I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left." They said to him in reply, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather."
Saturday (Luke 18) The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. 

Saints of the Week

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 13: Francis Xavier Cabrini, religious (1850-1917) was an Italian-born daughter to a Lombardy family of 13 children. She wanted to become a nun, but needed to stay at her parents’ farm because of their poor health. A priest asked her to help work in a girls’ school and she stayed for six years before the bishop asked her to care for girls in poor schools and hospitals. With six sisters, she came to the U.S. in 1889 to work among Italian immigrants. She was the first American citizen to be canonized.  

November 13: Stanislaus Kostka, S.J., religious (1550-1568) was a Polish novice who walked from his home to Rome to enter the Jesuits on his 17th birthday. He feared reprisals by his father against the Society in Poland so we went to directly see the Superior General in person. Francis Borgia admitted him after Peter Canisius had him take a month in school before applying for entrance. Because of his early death, Kostka is revered as the patron saint of Jesuit novices.

November 14: Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Superior General (1917-1991) was the 28th Superior General of the Jesuits. He was born in the Basque region of the Iberian Peninsula. He is considered one of the great reformers of the Society because he was asked by the Pope to carry out the reforms of Vatican II. November 14th is the commemoration of his birth.

November 14: Joseph Pignatelli, S.J., religious and Superior General (1737-1811) was born in Zaragosa, Spain and entered the Jesuits during a turbulent era. He was known as the unofficial leader of the Jesuits in Sardinia when the Order was suppressed and placed in exile. He worked with European leaders to continue an underground existence and he was appointed Novice Master under Catherine the Great, who allowed the Society to receive new recruits. He secured the restoration of the Society partly in 1803 and fully in 1811 and bridged a link between the two eras of the Society. He oversaw a temperate reform of the Order that assured their survival.

November 15: Albert the Great, bishop and doctor (1200-1280), joined the Dominicans to teach theology in Germany and Paris. Thomas Aquinas was his student. With his reluctance, he was made bishop of Ratisbon. He resigned after four years so he could teach again. His intellectual pursuits included philosophy, natural science, theology, and Arabic language and culture. He applied Aristotle's philosophy to theology.

November 16: Roch Gonzalez, John del Castillo, and Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J. (1576-1628) were Jesuit priests born to Paraguayan nobility who were architects of the Paraguayan reductions, societies of immigrants based on religious faith. They taught the indigenous population how to plant farms and other basic life skills that would protect them from the insidious slave trades of Spain and Portugal. By the time the Jesuits were expelled, 57 such settlements were established. Roch was a staunch opponent of the slave trade. He, John, and Alphonsus were killed when the envy of a local witch doctor lost his authority at the expense of their growing medical expertise.  

November 16: Margaret of Scotland (1046-1093) was raised in Hungary because the Danes invaded England. She returned after the Norman Conquest in 1066 and sought refuge in Scotland. She married the king and bore him eight children. She corrected many wayward abuses within the church and clarified church practices.

November 16: Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) was placed for childrearing into a Benedictine monastery at age 5 in Saxony. She lived with two mystics named Mechthild and as she developed her intellectual and spiritual gifts, she too became a mystic. Her spiritual instructions are collected into five volumes. She wrote prayers as a first advocate of the Sacred Heart.

November 17: Elizabeth of Hungary, (1207-1231) was the daughter of Andrew II, king of Hungary. She married Ludwig IV of Thuringia and as queen supported many charities. When her husband died in a crusade in 1227, she entered the Third Order of Franciscans.

November 18: The Dedication of the Basilicas of Peter and Paul celebrates churches in honor of the two great church founders. St. Peter's basilica was begun in 323 by Emperor Constantine - directly over Peter's tomb. A new basilica was begun in 1506 and it was completed in 1626. Many great artists and architects had a hand in building it. St. Paul Outside the Walls was built in the 4th century over Paul's tomb. It was destroyed by fire in 1823 and subsequently rebuilt.

November 18: Rose Philippine Duchesne (1769-1852) joined the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and at age 49, traveled to Missouri to set up a missionary center and the first free school west of the Mississippi. She then founded six more missions. She worked to better the lives of the Native Americans.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      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.
·      Nov 13, 1865. The death of James Oliver Van de Velde, second bishop of the city of Chicago from 1848 to 1853.
·      Nov 14, 1854. In Spain, the community left Loyola for the Balearic Isles, in conformity with a government order.
·      Nov 15, 1628. The deaths of St Roch Gonzalez and Fr. Alphonsus Rodriguez. They were some of the architects of the Jesuit missions in Uruguay and Paraguay.
·      Nov 16, 1989. In El Salvador, the murder of six Jesuits connected with the University of Central America together with two of their lay colleagues.
·      Nov 17, 1579. Bl Rudolph Acquaviva and two other Jesuits set out from Goa for Surat and Fattiphur, the Court of Akbar, the Great Mogul.

·      Nov 18, 1538. Pope Paul III caused the governor of Rome to publish the verdict proclaiming the complete innocence of Ignatius and his companions of all heresy.

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