Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 23, 2013
Zechariah 12:10-11, 3:1; Psalm 63; Galatians 3:26-29; Luke 9:18-24
Scripture today reminds us that we cannot look upon Jesus without seeing his suffering and this ability to see into his heart only comes about through grace. Zechariah words tell us that those who look upon him will grieve and mourn inconsolably. Luke’s passage tells us that we can’t only see the Messianic Jesus because this is an incomplete image. In order to see the glory of Jesus, we must feel his suffering.
These two images of Jesus have to be balanced. Because of the extraordinary Christ event, some of us only focus upon his nature as one who is victorious over life and death and sin and despair. He is the strong One whose protection is all we need. This is the happy Jesus to whom we sing songs of gratefulness and praise, but it is not complete. The work of Jesus is not yet done. Seeing the suffering of the Cosmic Christ and the personal Christ requires that we be vulnerable to his grief and mourning and he invites us to make this personal. This sadness impels us to act to bring about a world more inline with Christ’s values.
Let’s look at the issues where Jesus must still endure great suffering. Make it a prayerful exercise to ask Jesus about these areas of society that present challenging problems to a faithful Christian. Ask him about the ways he is suffering today because we cannot live out the ideals that our faith sets forth. Have him show you where these ideals have broken down and have caused many to despair. Let him reveal the ways we are to respond to the brokenness of these spheres of life.
Families: The enduring and self-giving love of Christ helps families affirm and love individuals for who they are. Stable and monogamous families help each other to acquire greater wisdom and harmonize personal rights with other social needs (Populorum Progressio #36.) Children are a great gift or marriage and the elderly deserve special primacy of place.
A Consistent Ethic for Life: Respect and reverence for human life arise from the basic dignity of the human person made in God’s image and likeness. Reproductive and life-saving medical technologies reach into previously unexplored areas that raise complicated moral issues providing great benefits and heart-wrenching concerns.
Women: The Church in the Modern World teaches that regarding the fundamental rights of a person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on gender, race, color or social condition, language, or religion is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent. The church, in its language, praises the efforts that win the recognition that women have the same dignity and fundamental rights as men.
Race, minorities, ethnic groups, and the LGTB communities: “Each citizen of its respective nation, should be equal before the law, find equal admittance to economic, cultural, civic and social life, and benefit from a fair share of the nation’s riches” (Octogesima Adveniens.) Christians are to foster the dignity of their brothers and sisters and help them find justice is housing, education, employment and the administration of justice.
Employment: “All people have the right to work, to develop their qualities and personalities in exercise of their professions, to equitable remuneration that enables them to lead worthy life on the material, social, cultural, and spiritual level” (Octogesima Adveniens.) Our faith demands evaluation of economic structures in light of meeting the basic needs of the poor and increasing the level of participation of all citizens in the nation’s economy. Governments help the poor by raising the minimum wage, adjust unfair tax systems, commit to education and the eradication of illiteracy, better support for families of single-parents, and a thorough reform of the welfare system.
National Problems: Societies have the right to live in peace and be protected from crime. More efficient law enforcement will help maintain order, and citizens must root out the sources of crime – poverty, injustice, addictions, and materialism. Migrant workers are victims of discriminatory attitudes and often live insecure lives. Prisoners of war deserve human treatment with basic needs and health care provided to them. The power and influence of the media have the responsibility to respect the truth of the information they spread, the values they propose, and the reactions they generate. Responsibility for the environment demands careful planning, conservation, and unselfish respect for the world’s resources. Pollution, trash disposal, climate change, scarcity of vital resources and treatments for new illnesses demands intelligent responses.
World Problems: Hunger, environmental pollution, population growth, globalization, disparity of wealth and resources, and the constant danger of war confront the international community. Instant communication from news sources means Christian cannot turn a blind eye to world tragedies. In Christ, we have hope and grace and we focus upon those actions we can do, because faith without works is nothing at all. The development of every person is rooted and grounded in the love of God and its twin, love of neighbor. Respect for all creation is an inherent aspect of our faith.
The task of a Christian is daunting, but as Jesus illustrates in the Gospel, everything begins with our personal response to him. The old saying “All politics is local” can be applied to faith. We can be just in dealing with others, respect all life and work for the dignity of others, learn how to be forgiven and to forgive, solve problems without violence, educate ourselves and inform our conscience, pray for unity and peace, enact our penances humbly, and to continually respond to the question of Jesus, “Who do you say I am?” Our response will deepen our commitment to him and he might ask us to do a few things that make us uncomfortable. Christianity is not easy, but the personal friendship with Jesus will help us be free in our response to him.
Themes for this Week’s Masses
First Reading: Isaiah’s words that shines a light on God’s plans for the forerunner of the Lord on the Nativity of John the Baptist. In the Book of Genesis, Abram and Lot were very successful herders, but their large number of livestock made it difficult for them to share the same land. Abram gave Lot a choice of land. Whichever Lot chose, Abram would be satisfied with the left0ver parcel. Lot chose the Jordan Plain and the area to the east leaving Abram with the west bank of the Jordan to the sea. Abram received a vision of the Lord promising him an heir, many descendants, and the promise of fertile land. Sarai bore Abraham no children, but Hagar, the maidservant, bore a children from Abram. Hagar tormented Sarai, but the Lord made Sarai return where he promised to make her fertile. The Lord gave the same message to Abram, I am calling you Abraham and your wife will be names Sarah. Your son by Sarah will be called Isaac. ~ The Feast of Peter and Paul tells the story of Peter’s arrest by King Herod and his miraculous escape from prison through the help of an angel.
Gospel: On the Feast of the Birth of the Baptist, Zechariah’s speech is returned to him as he names his son, John. As Matthew continues his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells people to hold onto what is holy and do not mix it with profane activities. The Golden rule is to do unto others and you want them to do unto you. When being wary of false prophets, one can discern whether a person is good or not because from a good person good actions will follow. From a good tree, good fruit will be produced. Faith is a personal issue to Jesus. Many will believe in some of his good sayings but they have failed to develop a special relationship with him. They will thus stray from the path because they do not have his moral compass as a guide. As the Sermons ends, a leper comes up to Jesus and asks him to make him clean. Jesus does wish him to be made well and heals him. On the Feast of Peter and Paul, Jesus asks the question, “Who do you say that I am?” When Peter answers rightly, Jesus builds his church upon Peter, the Rock.
Saints of the Week
June 24: Nativity of John the Baptist (first century) was celebrated on June 24th to remind us that he was six months older than Jesus, according to Luke. This day also serves to remind us that, as Christ is the light of the world, John must decrease just as the daylight diminishes. John’s birth is told by Luke. He was the son of the mature Elizabeth and the dumbstruck Zechariah. When John was named, Zechariah’s tongue was loosened and he sang the great Benedictus.
June 27: Cyril of Alexandria, bishop and doctor (376-444), presided over the Council of Ephesus that fought Nestorian the heresy. Cyril claimed, contrary to Nestorius, that since the divine and human in Jesus were so closely united that it was appropriate to refer to Mary was the mother of God. Because he condemned Nestorius, the church went through a schism that lasted until Cyril's death. Cyril's power, wealth, and theological expertise influenced many as he defended the church against opposing philosophies.
June 28: Irenaeus, bishop and martyr (130-200) was sent to Lyons as a missionary to combat the persecution the church faced in Lyons. He was born in Asia Minor and became a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Irenaeus asserted that the creation was not sinful by nature but merely distorted by sin. As God created us, God redeemed us. Therefore, our fallen nature can only be saved by Christ who took on our form in the Incarnation. Irenaeus refutation of heresies laid the foundations of Christian theology.
June 29: Peter and Paul, apostles (first century) are lumped together for a feast day because of their extreme importance to the early and contemporary church. Upon Peter's faith was the church built; Paul's efforts to bring Gentiles into the faith and to lay out a moral code was important for successive generations. It is right that they are joined together as their work is one, but with two prongs. For Jesuits, this is a day that Ignatius began to recover from his illness after the wounds he sustained at Pamplona. It marked a turning point in his recovery.
This Week in Jesuit History
· Jun 23, 1967. Saint Louis University's Board of Trustees gathered at Fordyce House for the first meeting of the expanded Board of Trustees. SLU was the first Catholic university to establish a Board of Trustees with a majority of lay members.
· Jun 24, 1537. Ignatius, Francis Xavier, and five of the companions were ordained priests in Venice, Italy.
· Jun 25, 1782. The Jesuits in White Russia were permitted by the Empress Catherine to elect a General. They chose Fr. Czerniewicz. He took the title of Vicar General, with the powers of the General.
· Jun 26, 1614. By a ruse of the Calvinists, the book, "Defensio Fidei" by Francis Suarez was condemned by the French Parliament. In addition, in England James I ordered the book to be publicly burned.
· Jun 27, 1978. Bernard Lisson, a mechanic, and Gregor Richert, a parish priest, were shot to death at St Rupert's Mission, Sinoia, Zimbabwe.
· Jun 28, 1591. Fr. Leonard Lessius's teaching on grace and predestination caused a great deal of excitement and agitation against the Society in Louvain and Douai. The Papal Nuncio and Pope Gregory XIV both declared that his teaching was perfectly orthodox.
· Jun 29, 1880. In France the law of spoliation, which was passed at the end of March, came into effect and all the Jesuit Houses and Colleges were suppressed.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
God is present in moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed; just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God's hands, and leave it with God. Then you will be able to rest in God - really rest - and start the next day as a new life.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Saturday, June 15, 2013
In the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius directs retreatants to meditate of their sinfulness and to prepare for forgiveness. Content with the call of John the Baptist to acknowledge and repent of our sins so that we can turn to Christ, Ignatius urges retreatants to do likewise. In the second exercise of the first week, Ignatius gives these instructions:
First Point: This is the review of my sins. I will call to mind all the sins of my life, year by year and period by period. Three things will help me in this: first, to remember the place and house where I lived; second, my relationships with others; third, the positions I have held.
Second Point: This is to weigh the gravity of my sins and see the ugliness and malice....
Fourth Point: This is to consider who God is against whom I have sinned, reflecting on the divine attributes and comparing them with their contraries in me: God's wisdom and my weakness, God's justice with my iniquity, God's goodness and my sinfulness.
Fifth Point: This is a cry of wonder with growing emotion as I consider all creatures. How have they permitted me to live and sustained me in life? ... Why have the heavens, sun, moon, stars and elements, the fruits, birds, fishes and animals, served my needs? Why has the earth not opened up and swallowed me up, condemning me to final separation from God?
Colloquy: I will conclude with a colloquy, praising the mercy of God our Lord, pouring out my thoughts and giving thanks to the Lord for granting me life up to this moment. I will resolve with the help of God's grace to amend for the future.
(Tetlow, Spiritual Exercises, pp. 26-27)