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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Only your Love and your Grace: The Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Only your Love and your Grace:
The Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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October 13, 2019
2 Kings 4:14-17; Psalm 98; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19

The response of Naaman the Syrian to his healing in the Jordan River by Elisha the prophet was one of self-offering. When one of the ten cleansed lepers realized his healing came from Jesus, he offered himself back to the Lord in gratitude. When we are truly grateful, we are astonished by the other person’s goodness because we realize that this is a mercy that is welcomed but undeserved.

The Jesuits have a prayer of self-offering that comes at the end of the Spiritual Exercises. Each Jesuit makes a 30-day silent retreat twice in his lifetime as part of a lengthy formation. This prayer process is designed to help a person become aware of the depth of relationship with Jesus and God to which each is called, and then when a person realizes the self-offering Jesus makes for our salvation, we turn around and offer ourselves back to the Lord wholeheartedly. We say the prayer, “Take, Lord, receive, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will. All that I have and possess, you have given all to me. To you, I return it, according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and that’s enough for me.”

This is a prayer of inspiration and devotion, and it sums up the type of relationship we want to have with God long term. We pray for the desire to want this type of friendship. When it is prayed on a daily basis, it is a challenging one. Few of us want to give up our freedom, memory, wisdom, and our will. Many times, we are stubborn, and we want everything to go our way. We like to be in control, and we want something more than love and grace as we have other needs.

When we step back and take a look at our entire history with Jesus, we are filled with this gratitude that leads to our self-offering. We recognize that we carry much chaos in our lives and there is only one person who can provide meaning to our turmoil, and when we reach a certain stage of wisdom, we know that we need Jesus to die for us. His obedience to God is that which saves us, but as he does so, he brings all our prayers and concerns to God so that God can hear them, be moved with compassion towards us, and then transform them.

At this mass, I suggest that we offer our chaos to Christ, to give over to him whatever makes us feel less like the person we are intended to be. He understands them, and this is the reason he goes to the Cross for us. He knows the burdens we privately carry that we do not even tell our closest friends or family members. He knows those areas of our lives that are locked in secret because they are painful to touch and we don’t quite understand. Sometimes, we don’t even know how our lives developed in such a way and we arrived at this place of turmoil and confusion that we know shouldn’t be there, but we bring this unreconciled stuff into our day and we act out of it. Sometimes, we even hurt others because we are not settled, and we make others a victim of our suffering. All this stuff, this is what Jesus wants to carry those burdens for us so our day can be a little lighter, and he does it for one reason – because he cares for us.

Allow Jesus to care for you. After you bring him your burdens and lay them at the altar, let him respond to you with compassion. He certainly has a heart filled with rich emotions towards you. It is good for you to hear how he feels. He wants to touch those areas where you feel the deepest pain because he does not want you to stay in the place. He wants to teach you how to be a good parent to those parts of your life that are wounded and hurt. He wants you to accept healing and transformation, even in those areas that you do not think are possible. He wants you to experience the inner transformation that Naaman and the Ten Lepers felt in their exterior healing. How did they respond? With a gratitude and increased love that binds us together. This is what Jesus wants. He wants only our love and grace, and that is enough for him. In return, he will give us his own love and grace, and our souls are at peace.  

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Romans 1) Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

Tuesday: (Romans 1) I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: for Jew first, and then Greek. For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith; as it is written, "The one who is righteous by faith will live."

Wednesday: (Romans 2) We know that the judgment of God on those who do such things is true. Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

Thursday: (Romans 3) Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, though testified to by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.

Friday (2 Timothy 4) At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

Saturday (Romans 4) It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. For this reason, it depends on faith, so that it may be a gift.

Monday: (Luke 11) At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here.

Tuesday: (Luke 11) After Jesus had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.

Wednesday (Luke 11) "Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others.

Thursday (Luke 11) "Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them, and you do the building.

Friday (Luke 10) The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, "The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few.

Saturday (Luke 12) "Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say.

Saints of the Week

October 14: Callistus I, pope and martyr (d. 222) was a slave of a Christian who put him in charge of a bank that failed. He was jailed and upon his release became a deacon and counselor to Pope Zephyrinus. He became the first overseer of the official Christian cemetery that was eventually named after him. When he was elected Pope he introduced humanitarian reforms. He died during an uprising against Christians. 

October 15: Teresa of Avila, doctor (1515-1582), entered the Carmelites in Avila and became disenchanted with the laxity of the order. She progressed in prayer and had mystical visions. She introduced stricter reforms through her guidance of John of the Cross and Peter Alcantara. They founded the Discalced Carmelites for men and women.

October 16: Hedwig, religious, at age 12 married Henry, a prince who would become king of Silesia. As a monarch, they built a Cistercian monastery for women. They soon built many other religious houses and hospitals. She chose to live in austere poverty to be in solidarity with the poor.

October 16: Margaret Mary Alocoque entered the Visitation Order at Paray-le-Monial in 1671. She received visions of Christ's love and told her Jesuit spiritual director, Claude la Colombiere, who asked her to write about her experiences. They developed the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Her community resisted her promotion of the devotion at first, but later came to see the power of the prayers.

October 17: Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr (d. 107) was born around 33 A.D. and became a leading figure in the new church at Antioch. He served as bishop for 38 years before he was persecuted and killed under Emperor Trajan for being a Christian leader. He wrote seven letters about church life in the early second century and is the first-mentioned martyr of Roman heroes in the first Eucharistic Prayer.

October 18: Luke, evangelist (first century) was the author of his version of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He is described as a doctor and a friend of Paul. He was a well-educated Gentile who was familiar with the Jewish scriptures and he wrote to other Gentiles who were coming into a faith.

October 19: North American Jesuit martyrs: Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, priests, and companions (17th century) were killed between 1642 and 1649 in Canada and the United States. Though they knew of harsh conditions among the warring Huron and Mohawk tribes in the New World, these priests and laymen persisted in evangelizing until they were captured, brutally tortured, and barbarically killed.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      October 13, 1537: At Venice the Papal Nuncio published his written verdict declaring that Ignatius Loyola was innocent of all charges which had been leveled against him by his detractors.
·      October 14, 1774: A French Jesuit in China wrote an epitaph to the Jesuit mission in China after the suppression of the Society. It concludes: "Go, traveler, continue on your way. Felicitate the dead; weep for the living; pray for all. Wonder, and be silent."
·      October 15, 1582: St Teresa of Avila died on this day -- the first day of the new Gregorian calendar. She always wished to have a Jesuit as a confessor.
·      October 16, 1873: About two weeks after Victor Emmanuel's visit to Berlin, where he had long conferences with Bismark, rumors reached the Society in Rome that all of their houses in Rome were threatened.
·      October 17, 1578: St Robert Bellarmine entered the Jesuit novitiate of San Andrea in Rome at the age of 16.
·      October 18, 1553: A theological course was opened in our college in Lisbon; 400 students were at once enrolled.
·      October 19, 1588: At Munster, in Westphalia, the Society opens a college, in spite of an outcry raised locally by some of the Protestants.

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