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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

November 19, 2017
Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; Psalm 128; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30

As the church year comes to a close, we naturally account for our worth and we ask, “How much good have I done with my life? Have I lived as well as could be expected?” The parable of the talents asks us to consider these very questions. God has given us a share of gifts and God expects us to use them well. If we do so, we are joyful because we fulfill God’s personal plans for us.

I have been spending time with senior citizens who live in a nursing home who often speak of the measure of their lives. One woman is filled with integrity because, as a school teacher, she taught most of the residents in town. Another dignified woman speaks joyfully of her numerous children and grandchildren who grew up to be contributing citizens to the town. One man speaks so well of his devotion to his wife and family for they are the prizes of his life. Then there are some who are feeling low because they did not quite measure up to their expectations.

These seniors in their last days are doing a life review and are making an account of their choices so they can reconcile with God. Some are asking God for forgiveness; others want to know they are loved by God; some simply say “I’m sorry. I missed the mark. I wish I did better.” In these last days, their life’s work is to account for the ways they spent their days. Some self-judge harshly are have degrees of despair; others simply say ‘thanks’ and live peacefully with integrity.

Some realize that the best way to use one’s time is to spend it with their loved ones. Those moments are not wasted. A visit to a nursing home, hospital, or prison does a world of good to the one who is being visited. The memory of that visit remains, even if the persons cannot articulate the full range of emotions they experience because they matter to someone else. Choosing to spend time with others conveys more meaning than the content of the visit.

Each day matters. Each choice is connected to a larger choice. Every God-given invitation we accept is a forward step towards our salvation. Every act we make out of fear is an invitation to confront the obstacles to our liberation. We only have to make small decisions because they connect us to a larger network of meaning.
            At the end of our lives, we do not want to be people who have accumulated lots of possessions and memories for ourselves. We want to be able to give those memories and experiences away. They are our wisdom that we pass along to the next generation. Mostly, we want to spend our last moments standing in front of Christ, with our arms empty, saying, “I’ve spent all my time well. I have nothing more to give away. I have used all your gifts as you asked. Thank you for enriching my life.”

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (1 Maccabees 1) In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people, saying: "Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us."
Tuesday: (2 Maccabees 6) Eleazar, one of the foremost scribes, a man of advanced age and noble appearance, was being forced to open his mouth to eat pork. But preferring a glorious death to a life of defilement, he spat out the meat, and went forward of his own accord to the instrument of torture.
Wednesday: (2 Maccabees 7) It happened that seven brothers with their mother were arrested and tortured with whips and scourges by the king, to force them to eat pork in violation of God's law.
Thursday: (Sirach 50) Bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth; Who fosters people's growth from their mother's womb, and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart and may peace abide among you; May his goodness toward us endure in Israel to deliver us in our days.
Friday (1 Maccabees 4) Judas and his brothers said, "Now that our enemies have been crushed, let us go up to purify the sanctuary and rededicate it." So the whole army assembled, and went up to Mount Zion.
Saturday (1 Maccabees 6) But I now recall the evils I did in Jerusalem, when I carried away all the vessels of gold and silver that were in it, and for no cause gave orders that the inhabitants of Judah be destroyed. I know that this is why these evils have overtaken me;
and now I am dying, in bitter grief, in a foreign land."

Monday: (Luke 18) "Son of David, have pity on me!" Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, please let me see."

Tuesday: (Luke 19) Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.
Wednesday (Luke 19) While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, "A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.
Thursday (1 Corinthians 1) I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Friday (Luke 19) Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, "It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
Saturday (Luke 20) They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called 'Lord' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." 

Saints of the Week

November 21: The Presentation of Mary originated as a feast in 543 when the basilica of St. Mary's the New in Jerusalem was dedicated. The day commemorate the event when Mary's parent brought her to the Temple to dedicate her to God. The Roman church began to celebrate this feast in 1585.

November 22: Cecilia, martyr (2nd or 3rd century), is the patron saint of music because of the song she sang at her wedding. She died just days after her husband, Valerian, and his brother were beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the gods. She is listed in the First Eucharistic prayer as an early church martyr.

November 23: Clement I, pope and martyr (d. 99) is also mentioned in the First Eucharistic prayer. He is the third pope and was martyred in exile. He is presumed to be a former slave in the imperial court. He wrote a letter to the Corinthians after a revolt and as pope he restored ordered within the ministries.   

November 23: Columban, abbot (d. 615) was an Irish monk who left Ireland for France with 12 companions to found a monastery as a base for preaching. They established 3 monasteries within 10 years. Columban opposed the king's polygamy and was expelled. He set up monasteries in Switzerland and Italy before he died. Though he was expelled, the monasteries were permitted to remain open.

November 23: Miguel Pro, S.J., martyr (1891-1927) lived in Guadalupe, Mexico before entering the Jesuits. Public worship was forbidden in Mexico so Miguel became an undercover priest often wearing disguises. He was arrested and ordered to be shot in front of a firing squad without benefit of a trial. Before he died she shouted out, "Long live Christ the King."

November 24: Andrew Dung-Lac and companion martyrs (1785-1839) were missionaries to Vietnam during the 17th through 19th centuries. Over 130,000 Christians were killed, including priests, sisters, brothers, and lay people. Many of these were Vietnamese citizens.

Fourth Thursday: Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is derived from a mix of European and Native American traditions. Joyous festivals were held in Europe to give thanks for a good harvest and to rejoice with others for their hard work. It is a day to give thanks for the many blessings we have received through God's generosity throughout the year.

November 25: Catherine of Alexandria, martyr, (d. 310) is said to have been born in Egypt to a noble family. She was educated and converted to Christianity because of a vision. She refused to marry a man arranged to be her husband by the emperor, and she denounced him for persecuting Christians. She was arrested, tortured, and killed.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 19, 1526. The Inquisition in Alcala, Spain examined Ignatius. They were concerned with the novelty of his way of life and his teaching.
·      Nov 20, 1864. In St Peter's, Rome, the beatification of Peter Canisius by Pope Pius IX.
·      Nov 21, 1759. At Livorno, the harbor officials refused to let the ship, S Bonaventura, with 120 exiled Portuguese Jesuits on board, cast anchor. Carvalho sent orders to the Governor of Rio de Janeiro to make a diligent search for the supposed wealth of the Jesuits.
·      Nov 22, 1633. The first band of missionaries consisting of five priests and one brother, embarked from England for Maryland. They were sent at the request of Lord Baltimore. The best known among them was Fr. Andrew White.
·      Nov 22, 1791: Georgetown Academy opened with one student, aged 12, who was the first student taught by the Jesuits in the United States.
·      Nov 23, 1545: Jeronimo de Nadal, whom Ignatius had known as a student at Paris, entered the Society. Later Nadal was instrumental in getting Ignatius to narrate his autobiography.
·      In 1927: the execution of Fr. Michael Augustine Pro, SJ, by leaders of the persecution of the Church in Mexico.
·      Nov 24, 1963: The death of John LaFarge, pioneer advocate of racial justice in the United States.

·       Nov 25, 1584: The Church of the Gesu, built in Rome for the Society by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, was solemnly consecrated.

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