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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time
October 21, 2018
Isaiah 53:10-11; Psalm 33; Hebrews 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45

I like the bold approach of the disciples James and John when they question Jesus about their positions of status and honor, but they missed the mark in asking for what they wanted. Let’s first look at the positive model they give us, and then we’ll look at how we can ask the right questions in prayer.

Straightforward, James and John ask Jesus for what they want. This is a good thing. They do not use subtle words, they do not soften the language, they simply put what they want out there for Jesus to respond. They use refreshing language because many times in prayer, people are reluctant to ask for what they need because we are told not to ask for something for ourselves because it is selfish or that we better wait until we needed a bigger favor.

In our private prayer, we are supposed to ask Jesus for what we need and also for what we want. Those are different things. It may feel selfish to us, but if it misses the mark, Jesus will redirect us like he did in the Gospel. So, we have no worries. We are supposed to ask for what we need and want. Many times, in Scripture Jesus tells us to ask for whatever we want because he is generous and wants to give it to us. The lesson is to ask for what we need, even if it is not something spiritual. Besides, we were given talents and abilities to develop and when we do, we glorify God. God’s will is partly expressed through our will. Therefore, we are to responsibly tell our desires to the Lord, so he can bless them.

I know from life experiences that granting requests is tricky business. We are cautious about giving what people ask because we know nothing is free, that it takes hard work and much time to earn what we have, and we do not want to give it to someone who will not appreciate it or will squander the gift. We know family loans are really gifts with lingering unresolved feelings attached. It is natural to be restrictive about gifts because the gift changes the relationship. Even though our history does not lead us to confidence, we should not be restrictive with God, and it is most helpful to be as articulate and precise as we can in asking for what we need. For instance, if I want a maple glazed broiled salmon for dinner, the restaurant waiter will be confused if I only say I want to eat fish. Help God out. Don’t make him guess. Be as precise as you can be.  

As we practice asking for what we need, we develop a stronger relationship with the Lord, and soon, we find that we move away from our needs and become concerned with the needs of others. We even begin to seek mutuality in our friendship with God. This is precisely what God wants.

The disciples James and John asked for something about which the Kingdom of God stands against. They asked for power, position, and glory from humans, which would make them feel special and set apart from others, creating a culture of elitism. This was a teaching moment about servant leadership. If James and John asked for increased respect, Jesus would have accepted their request and helped them attain it, but they asked for something different. He knows that respect is earned, most especially by honoring and respecting others. Everyone wants respect and we earn it through the kind way we treat others.

Our attitudes toward others reveals the fundamental nature of our hearts, like whether we are loving and open to growth. It determines whether we respect people and honor their suffering. A Christian does not seek power over others and uses authority prudently. Rather, we seek communion and we recognize that each person suffers, and we want to alleviate that suffering by helping others ask God for what they need. If we ask, God provides. Through Christ, we gaze upon those who suffer and are given the grace to respond. God stands next to us to honor us and to say, “Thank you. I’m pleased to be your friend. Yes, I will grant what you ask. Please ask.”

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Ephesians 2) You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.

Tuesday: (Ephesians 2) You were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the Blood of Christ.

Wednesday: (Ephesians 3) When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to human beings in other generations
as it has now been revealed to his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.

Thursday: (Ephesians 3) I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Friday (Ephesians 4) I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace.

Saturday (Ephesians 4) What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended into the lower regions of the earth? The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.

Monday: (Luke 12) “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Tuesday: (Luke 12) Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.

Wednesday (Luke 12) Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

Thursday (Luke 12) I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!

Friday (Luke 12) When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot–and so it is.

Saturday (Luke 13) Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?

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.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      October 21, 1568: Fr. Robert Parsons was elected Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He resigned his Fellowship in 1574.
·      October 22, 1870: In France, Garibaldi and his men drove the Jesuits from the Colleges of Dole and Mont Roland.
·      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.

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