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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

The Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
January 20, 2019
Jeremiah 17:5-8; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20; Luke :17, 20-26

The church returns to Ordinary Time by showing us the first miracle of Jesus in John’s Gospel, which is at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. In John’s Gospel, each miracle takes place at a Jewish feast to show that Jesus is at the center of the celebrations because the Christian community was no longer allowed to worship in their own synagogues. Jesus told them that the wherever he was present, the celebration or the worship could continue. Jesus always preached the kingdom of God was accessible and that one did not need to only find God in the Temple. God could be worshipped wherever the community gathered, and the Messiah would be present.

I admire Mary’s role in this miracle because she pushes Jesus out of his comfort zone to do what she knows he is capable of doing. Her actions impel Jesus to spare the wedding host’s family dreaded embarrassment because they could not afford enough wine. It often takes a good nudge from a supportive loved one to help us go beyond our abilities. For Jesus, this is his first manifestation of his divine power, which is hidden from the community at large, and seen by a select few.

We are blessed when we have someone who believes in us and pushes us beyond our limits, whether it is a spouse, teacher, parent, or friend. Sometimes people can see our talents and abilities when we had little confidence in ourselves. We are very fortunate when the person does not just allow us to settle for a decent quality but demands higher standards for our products. We might grumble because it is extra work, more than what is called for, and we can just get by with good enough, but we are amazed when we are rewarded by our hard work to see what we can produce. We know the value of the hard work and that the extra work makes the difference in our satisfaction.

Well, please consider that I want to encourage you, to give you a bit of a push, so that you can help our church heal and grow. I believe in you and I want to be the supportive friend who nudges you forward. The church needs you to raise your voices and to think outside the box when it comes to solving complex issues, and we cannot only look to Rome to address our situations. The second reading speaks of the many spiritual gifts of the community. I need you to use your gifts more freely for service of healing and growth. We are still mired in a pattern of church that has become cemented in particular ways of governing since the Council of Trent four-hundred and fifty years ago. We need to see that the Second Vatican Council is our supreme constitution for the church, and we need to unleash its potential, and it can only be done when the People of God step forward and say, “I’m ready.” I know you are ready, and I know you have the gifts, and I want to be like Mary who stands supportively behind you and says to other people, “Do whatever he tells you,” or “Do whatever she tells you.” Your hour has come. It means that we will have to break long-established conventions. So be it. The gifts you offer are beyond compare, and the kingdom of God is among you.

How does healing take place? It comes about when someone reaches a hand of compassion towards a person who is hurting. It is unlikely for a Pope or bishop to heal your pain, but they can communicate they understand your pain, which helps the healing process. How does change take place? It comes about when we share our pain and recognize injustice and feel compelled to bring about the Gospel values because we care for one another. Mary cared for the wedding guests and changed the course of their gathering. Jesus cared about his Mom, and he did not disappoint her. I know you care about the direction of the church and you might not know your role in the change, but let’s do what the wedding guests did: they came together, celebrated, found joy in one another, and Christ was able to work greater miracles through them. Let’s give Christ another chance.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Hebrews 5) Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God.

Tuesday: (Hebrews 6) God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.

Wednesday: (Hebrews 7) And Abraham apportioned to him a tenth of everything. His name first means righteous king, and he was also "king of Salem," that is, king of peace. Without father, mother, or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

Thursday: (Hebrews 7) Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. It was fitting that we should have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.

Friday (Acts 22) Paul addressed the people in these words: "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated strictly in our ancestral law and was zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way to death, binding both men and women and delivering them to prison.

Saturday (2 Timothy 1) I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.

Monday: (Mark 2) The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast. People came to Jesus and objected, "Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"

Tuesday: (Mark 2) "Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?"

Wednesday (Mark 3) Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, "Come up here before us." Then he said to the Pharisees, "Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?"

Thursday (Mark 3) Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.

Friday (Mark 16) Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Saturday (Mark 3) Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again, the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to seize him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." 

Saints of the Week

January 20: Fabian, pope and martyr (d. 250), was a layman and stranger in Rome during the time of his election as pope. A dove settled on his head, which reminded people of the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove during the baptism. He served for 14 years until his martyrdom.

January 20: Sebastian, martyr (d. 300), was buried in the catacombs in Rome. He hailed from Milan and is often pictured with many arrows piercing his body. Much of what we know about him is legend.

January 21: Agnes, martyr (d. 305), is one of the early Roman martyrs. Little is known about her but she died around age 12 during a persecution. Because of her names connection with a lamb, her iconography depicts her holding a lamb to remind us of her sacrifice and innocence.

January 23: Marianne Cope (1838-1918), was a German-born woman who settled with her family in New York. She entered the Franciscans and worked in the school systems as a teacher and principal and she helped to establish the first two Catholic hospitals. She went to Honolulu, then Molokai, to aid those with leprosy.

January 24: Francis de Sales, bishop and doctor (1567-1622), practiced both civil and canon law before entering religious life. He became bishop of Geneva in 1602 and was prominent in the Catholic Reformation. He reorganized his diocese, set up a seminary, overhauled religious education, and found several schools. With Jane Frances de Chantal, he founded the Order of the Visitation of Mary.

January 25: The Conversion of Paul, the Apostle, was a pivotal point in the life of the early church. Scripture contains three accounts of his call and the change of behavior and attitudes that followed. Paul's story is worth knowing as it took him 14 years of prayer and study to find meaning in what happened to him on the road to Damascus.

January 26: Timothy and Titus, bishops (1st century), were disciples of Paul who later became what we know of as bishops. Timothy watched over the people of Ephesus and Titus looked after Crete. Both men worked with Paul and became a community leader. Timothy was martyred while Titus died of old age.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Jan 20, 1703. At Paris, the death of Fr. Francis de la Chaise, confessor to Louis XIV and a protector of the French Church against the Jansenists.
·      Jan 21, 1764. Christophe de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris, wrote a pastoral defending the Jesuits against the attacks of Parliament. It was ordered to be burned by the public executioner.
·      Jan 22, 1561. Pius IV abrogated the decree of Paul II and kept the life term of Father General.
·      Jan 23, 1789. John Carroll gained the deed of land for the site that was to become Georgetown University.
·      Jan 24, 1645. Fr. Henry Morse was led as a prisoner from Durham to Newgate, London. On hearing his execution was fixed for February 1, he exclaimed: "Welcome ropes, hurdles, gibbets, knives, butchery of an infamous death! Welcome for the love of Jesus, my Savior."
·      Jan 25, 1707. Cardinal Tournon, Apostolic Visitor of the missions in China, forbade the use of the words 'Tien' or 'Xant' for God and ordered the discontinuance by the Christians of the Chinese Rites.
·      Jan 26, 1611. The first Jesuit missionaries sailed from Europe for New France (Canada).

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