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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Prayer: Basil the Great

Protect those who cry to you for help. Uphold us in our weakness and cleanse us from our earthliness. While we walk in this dying life amid the shadows of death, quicken us with your light. In your mercy, deliver us from all evil so that we may come at last to the perfection of all good.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Don’t Climb A Tree: The Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Don’t Climb A Tree:

The Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
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November 3, 2019
Wisdom 11:22-12:2; Psalm 145; 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2; Luke 19:1-10

Jesus tells us the point of the Zacchaeus story at the very end, which is, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” We remember that Zacchaeus was a man who achieved his wealth through dishonest means, and yet he was very curious to see Jesus, but because he was height-challenged, he had to climb a tree to see Jesus. Climbing the tree also had the effect that Jesus would see him, but here is my spoiler alert: You do not have to climb a tree to be seen by Jesus. The point is that Jesus is the one who will seek you out and will save you. You don’t have to do anything to be seen.

The Jesuits are known for their spiritual maxim – Finding God in all things, which means that we have to be active in discovering where God is present in our decision-making. We seek to learn God’s will from many alternatives and the discernment of spirits helps us to attain certitude. This is not a passive waiting for God to reveal if God is around because God always is; this is our deliberate searching for the ways God is inviting us to learn what is best for us, which conforms to God’s will.

For some, this can be confusing because we think, like Zacchaeus, that we have to do something that pleases God or to earn God’s favor. We think we have to find God, but God is the one who is seeking us. Our discovery of God in our lives is so that we can know how we are best loved by God. We cannot do anything to earn our salvation; we can only believe, and then develop our friendship with God, and because we love God, we want to offer ourselves in friendship back to God.

I’ve heard people make these absolutely false statements in the past:
I waited for God to speak to me, and I was patient, and then I moved, and God was gone, and God will probably never come close to me in the same way again.
If I were a nicer person, maybe God would speak to me.
God has so many people to think about; I’m sure God doesn’t have time for me.
I never hear God’s voice, and I don’t think I really matter.
God has more important people to care for, and my concerns aren’t that big.
Sometimes I get mad at God, and I know God doesn’t like it.
I wasn’t properly taught how to pray. God never speaks to me.

Let’s go back to Zacchaeus. His disabilities were his short-stature and his attitude that disregarded the welfare of others, but he was able to use both to his advantage to see Jesus. He resourcefully climbed the tree because of his stature, and his curiosity to be included into the family of Jesus made him rethink his relationship with those he defrauded. We think our disabilities keep us from meeting the Lord. Perhaps we can learn to see our disabilities and those areas where we do not measure up are really the sources of grace. When we examine these areas of our lives, we find God in those areas that we think are weak and unlikable, but that is where we find God in all things. These are the areas that God sees and finds more than acceptable. We have to learn to use these areas as our gifts.

Let yourself be found by God, who wants to love you infinitely. Show to God those areas that you find to be your short-comings and let God gaze upon them. Take the pressure off yourself and let God come close. Salvation has already come to your house; God just wants to enter into it and delight in you.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Romans 11) The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you once disobeyed God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now disobeyed in order that, by virtue of the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy.

Tuesday: (Romans 12) We, though many, are one Body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us,
let us exercise them.

Wednesday: (Romans 13) Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Thursday: (Romans 14) None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Friday (Romans 15) I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.

Saturday (Ezekiel 47) The angel brought me back to the entrance of the temple,
and I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple toward the east,
for the façade of the temple was toward the east.

Monday: (Luke 14) Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.

Tuesday: (Luke 14) The master then ordered the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.'

Wednesday (Luke 14) Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.'

Thursday (Luke 15) 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

Friday (Luke 16) And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light."

Saturday (John 2) Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the moneychangers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the moneychangers and overturned their tables

Saints of the Week

November 3: Rupert Mayer, S.J., priest (1876-1945), resisted the Nazi government and died while saying Mass of a stroke. In 1937, he was placed in protective custody and was eventually released when he agreed that he would no longer preach.

November 3: Martin de Porres, religious (1579-1639) was a Peruvian born of a Spanish knight and a Panamanian Indian woman. Because he was not pure blood, he lost many privileges in the ruling classes. He became a Dominican and served the community in many menial jobs. He was known for tending to the sick and poor and for maintaining a rigorous prayer life.

November 4: Charles Borromeo, bishop (1538-1584), was made Bishop of Milan at age 22. He was the nephew of Pope Pius IV. He was a leading Archbishop in the Catholic Reformation that followed the Council of Trent. During a plague epidemic, Borromeo visited the hardest hit areas so he could provide pastoral care to the sick.

November 5: All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus are remembered by Jesuits on their particularized liturgical calendar. We remember not only the major saints on the calendar, but also those who are in the canonization process and hold the title of Blessed. We pray for all souls of deceased Jesuits in our province during the month by using our necrology (listing of the dead.)

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.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Nov 3, 1614. Dutch pirates failed to capture the vessel in which the right arm of Francis Xavier was being brought to Rome.
·      Nov 4, 1768. On the feast of St Charles, patron of Charles III, King of Spain, the people of Madrid asked for the recall of the Jesuits who had been banished from Spain nineteen months earlier. Irritated by this demand, the king drove the Archbishop of Toledo and his Vicar General into exile as instigators of the movement.
·      Nov 5, 1660. The death of Alexander de Rhodes, one of the most effective Jesuit missionaries of all time. A native of France, he arrived in what is now Vietnam in 1625.
·      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.