November 16, 2015

Nov. 16

November 16, 2015:  Monday, 33rd week, Ordinary Time



  • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Antiochus Epiphanes (1st reading)
  • 'Scroll' pin:  Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant was condemned to death (1st reading)
  • '?' tie pin:  "What do you want me to do for you?" (gospel)
  • "Eyeball" tie pin:  Blind beggar asks for and receives sight (gospel)
  • "Clocks" tie:  countdown to Day of Lord (season)
  • White and green shirt:  white for all saints and all souls (November), green for Ordinary Time season
Listen

Pope Francis homily
Today's 1st reading tells of "a root of evil" that arose:  King Antiochus imposes pagan customs in Israel, to the Church of his time:  "Worldliness, apostasy, persecution."  Worldliness is to do what the world does:  "We put our ID card up for auction; we're equal to everyone."  Jews disowned the faith; what seemed rational became their destruction.
Then the king recommended his kingdom should be one people, and each abandoned their own customs.  People adapted to the king's orders; Jews accepted his worship, sacrificing to idols and profaning the Sabbath:  apostasy.  Worldliness leads you to one unique thought, and to apostasy.  Think about how religious feasts like Christmas are renamed to erase their identity.
Law books were burned, and the king condemned their observers to death.  That's persecution, initiated by a root of bitterness.  At the Last Supper, the Lord prayed for unity and asked the Father that he would deliver them from worldliness, because it destroys identity and leads to the single thought.  It starts from a root but it ends in persecution.  This is the deception of worldliness, and why Jesus asked, "Father, keep them from the world," from the humanism that takes the place of the true man, Jesus Christ, that comes to take away Christian identity and bring us to the single thought:  "They do it, why not us?"  Think:  Is my identity Christian or worldly?  Worldliness comes slowly, grows, justifies itself, and infects; it grows like a root, defends itself, looks for justification, becomes contagious, and brings evil.  The liturgy in these last days of the church year exhorts us to beware of poisonous roots that lead us away from the Lord.  Lord, guard the Church from worldliness; may we always have the identity you gave us.  Give us the grace to maintain and preserve our identity against the spirit of worldliness...
Read
  • 1 Mc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63  King Antiochus Epiphanes ordered idolatry and burning of the law.  The Gentiles and many children of Israel conformed to his command, but many in Israel refused and were killed.
  • Ps 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158  "Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands."  The wicked forsake your law and ensnare and attack me; redeem me from their oppression, that I may keep your precepts.
  • Lk 18:35-43  Blind beggar / Jesus:  “Son of David, have pity on me!” / “What do you want me to do for you?”  “Lord, let me see.”  “See; your faith has saved you.”  He followed Jesus; all praised God.
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Pressures to assimilate like those in the first reading continue.  Human nature still has great capacity to be called away from truth.   We need help to swim against the stream, or find our way back. / Blindness had caused Bartimaeus to be marginalized; Jesus’ gift allowed him to join the others.  He not only returned to the culture that had excluded him but also moved others to praise God (another miracle?).   Jesus still asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”  He listens.  Lord, help us live wisely, growing in faith, hope, and love....
  • Passionist:  There are times we feel there's no freedom from our inner darkness, but Bartimaeus teaches us we're never totally helpless.  God listens, stops, and answers.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "What do you want me to do for you?"  Bartimaeus was determined to get near the one who could meet his need.  It took courage and persistence for him to get Jesus' attention over the din. The crowd was annoyed with his disturbing their peace and conversation with Jesus.  Bartimaeus was persistent in the face of opposition. Jesus commends him for recognizing him with the eyes of faith and grants him physical sight too.  Do you recognize your need for God's healing and seek Jesus with persistent faith?  Bartimaeus was not only grateful for faith and sight but also for the opportunity to follow Jesus.  "Now that he was delivered from blindness, did he neglect the duty of loving Christ?  No!  It says, 'He followed him, offering him glory like to God.'  He was set free from double blindness.  Not only did he escape from blindness of the body but also from that of the mind and heart.  He would not have glorified him as God had he not possessed spiritual vision. He became the means of others giving Christ glory, for it says that all the people gave glory to God.(Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Homily 126)  Do I praise God for giving me eyes of faith?
    • Margaret of Scotland, queen, mother of 8, reformer, monastery foundress, devoted to prayer and learning, generous to the poor
    • Gertrude, religious, mystic, spiritual writer, precursor of devotion to Sacred Heart of Jesus
    • Edmund of Abingdon, bishop, reformer, peacemaker, spiritual writer.