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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Did you Make Life Easier? The Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020

Did you Make Life Easier? 

The Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2020

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October 25, 2020

Exodus 22:20-26; Psalm 18; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40



The Exodus passage establishes the moral life of a believer, and these principles have been embedded into the Christian faith from the very beginning. The message Jesus preached has continuity with the Exodus reading: that we are to take care of an alien, translated to read foreigners, refugees and migrants, that is, anyone who is different from us, different from our circle of acquaintances; widows and orphans; those who are poor in spirit, in personality, in understanding, and those placed at the margins of society because of our lack of understanding and our condemnations. A Christian has a faith obligation to go above and beyond bare minimum of sustenance in order to make one who is less fortunate feel accepted and welcomed. Pope Francis made a remarkable statement this week to that effect. Caring for those who are marginalized has never been a political doctrine, but a faith requirement, and it is as old as the hills, and the Gospel makes sure that we know that our entrance into heaven is based on how well we treat those who have fallen upon hard times, even if it is of their own doing.

While this Gospel passage is referred to as the Last Judgment, it questions the judgments we make before we give our charity. It makes us examine our reactions to the needs of others. It examines our thoughts and attitudes, which leads to speech and action. It raises the essential question, “Who is my neighbor?” Too often we judge with lightning speed and hold onto those positions ferociously – without even praying over them. This passage reminds us that = We are NOT the judges.

When our earthly life ends and we appear before God, God will not be asking us if we were able to recite the creed accurately, if we could withstand a test to examine our knowledge of scripture or doctrinal teaching, whether we knew how to pray particular prayers, or even if we passed an orthodoxy test of our theology. That doesn’t matter to God. Our preoccupation with our sins doesn’t matter to God either. What God cares about is “What did you do to make life easier for others?” This question is simply based upon our action and interaction with the person we meet on a daily basis. Did you make life easier for someone else?

Everyone we know carries pain and burdens that we are kept from others. Each and every person that stands before us bears a weightiness that we do not understand. Every person in this contentious political season is suffering in some way, which makes them respond so strongly for or against a political opponent, a way of life, a philosophy. Have we stopped to inquire deep down how they are suffering? What they really need? We need to be in touch with the person’s humanity. We cannot just frame our ideas according to a set of classical ideals and standards that govern how we think. We cannot simply classify people into groups and then demonize the group. Why? Because we have a human being standing in front of us – one who deserves dignity, understanding, and empathy. We judge without knowing anyone’s story. We make sweeping judgments over categories of people. As Christians, we cannot do that. We have to see the soul that is before us and give that soul honor and glory, even to the least likely person we can imagine. This is the message of the Gospel passage. When our goodwill becomes an unconscious pattern of caring in our lives, we will have received the message of Jesus. Our charity and goodness involved being kind, giving sympathy, being generative and generous. Our mission is to learn to live with each other better than we have been doing.

Think about a parent’s joy when we do something nice for them, but yet, their joy is much greater when we do some unsolicited good for a sibling, especially if it is undeserved and unexpected. That is akin to our relationship with God, since we are all siblings to one another. We can give thanks to God, worship, attend church, follow the teachings, and God likes that, but God has everything God needs, but when we can do something for someone who is a son, daughter, friend to God, how very happy God must be. A person in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Peru, Namibia, Lebanon is a sibling to us. The best thing we can do for God is to relieve the suffering of someone around us, by making their lives easier, even if we do not comprehend their actions or motivations. We do kindnesses for those around us who are in need, which brings us back to the Exodus reading – to those who are vulnerable because of our absolute, often incomplete or uninformed judgments. We make God happy when we suspend our calculation of charity and freely give it to those who crying out for God’s attention because God hears their cries. We need to hear them as well. We enter into the chaos of another’s person life situation, and when we bring the face of God, we make life easier for that dear soul, and their pain is lessened.

Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading:

Monday: (Ephesians 4) Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.


Tuesday: (Ephesians 5) This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the Church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.


Wednesday: (Ephesians 2) Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.


Thursday: (Ephesians 6) Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the Devil.


Friday (Philemon 1) I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you,
praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the Gospel from the first day until now.


Saturday (Philippians 1) As long as in every way, whether in pretense or in truth,
Christ is being proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Indeed I shall continue to rejoice, for I know that this will result in deliverance for me through your prayers and support from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.



Monday: (Luke 13) Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.


Tuesday: (Luke 13) “What is the Kingdom of God like? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”


Wednesday (Luke 6) Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles.


Thursday (Luke 13) Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!


Friday (Luke 14) On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees, and the people there were observing him carefully. In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.


Saturday (Luke 14) He told a parable to those who had been invited, noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline at table in the place of honor. 


Saints of the Week


October 28: Simon and Jude, apostles (first century) were two of the Twelve Disciples called by Jesus, but little is known about them. We think they are Simon the Zealot and Judas, the son of James. Simon was most likely a Zealot sympathizer who would have desired revolution against Rome; Jude is also called Thaddeus, and is patron saint of hopeless causes. Both apostles suffered martyrdom. 


October 30: Dominic Collins, S.J., priest and martyr (1566-1602), was a Jesuit brother who was martyred in his native Ireland. He became a professional solider in the Catholic armies of Europe after the Desmond Rebellion was put down in 1583. He joined the Jesuits in 1584 at Santiago de Compostela and was sent back to Ireland in 1601 with a Spanish contingent. He was captured, tried for his faith, and sentenced to death.


October 31: Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J. (1532-1617) was widowed at age 31. When his three children died, Alphonsus joined the Jesuits as a lay brother at age 40 after attempting to complete the rigors of study. He was sent to the newly opened college in Majorca where he served as a porter for 46 years. His manner of calling people to sanctification was extraordinary. He served obediently and helped others to focus on their spiritual lives.


October 31: All Hallows Eve (evening) owes its origins to a Celtic festival that marked summer's end. The term was first used in 16th century Scotland. Trick or treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling when poor people would go door to door on Hallomas (November 1) receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2.)


This Week in Jesuit History


  • 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. 
  • Oct 28, 1958. The death of Wilfrid Parsons, founder of Thought magazine and editor of America from 1925 to 1936. 
  • Oct 29, 1645. In the General Chapter of the Benedictines in Portugal, a statement published by one of their order, that said St Ignatius had borrowed the matter in his Spiritual Exercises from a Benedictine author, was indignantly repudiated. 
  • Oct 30, 1638. On this day, John Milton, the great English poet, dined with the Fathers and students of the English College in Rome. 
  • Oct 31, 1602. At Cork, the martyrdom of Dominic Collins, an Irish brother, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered for his adherence to the faith. 



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