November 6, 2017

Nov. 6

November 6, 2017:  Monday, 31st week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Phone' tie bar:  God's 'call' is irrevocable (1st reading)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  "The depth of God's wisdom!" (1st reading)
  • '?' tie pin:  Who has known the Lord's mind or been his counselor? (1st reading)
  • 'Clef' pin:  "I'll praise God in song" (psalm)
  • 'Sandwiches' tie:  Invite those from whom you don't expect repayment to the feast (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  God's great love; may your hearts revive (psalm)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
Listen

For 1st reading
For Psalm 69
Pope Francis homily
When God calls, the call remains our whole life.  In salvation history there are three gifts and calls of God:  election, promise, and the covenant, all irrevocable, because God is faithful.  It's as true for us as it was for Abraham.  God chose each of us; we bear his promise, "Walk in my presence, be irreproachable, and I'll do this for you."  And each of us makes a covenant with the Lord.  Do I experience election, or do I consider myself a Christian by accident?  How do I live the promise of salvation, and am I faithful to the covenant like he is?  Do I feel his caress, his care for us, and his seeking us when we distance ourselves from him?  When Paul speaks about the “election of God,” he keeps returning to two words:  “disobedience” and “mercy.” Where there's one, there's the other; this is our path of salvation.  There's always mercy in the face of our disobedience.  God never revokes his gifts.  In the face of this mystery of mercy, there's adoration and silent praise.  In the face of these irrevocable gifts, think about your election, about the Lord's promises to you, and how you live out the covenant.  How do you receive the Lord's mercy in the face of your disobedience?  Do you praise the Lord for what he's given you.  God's gifts and call are irrevocable!
From the Vatican

In the spirit of today's 1st reading, recall "The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" on Christian-Jewish dialogue (continued from Saturday)


"God's gifts and call are irrevocable":  A reflection on theological questions pertaining to Catholic-Jewish relations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Nostra aetate #4 (NA4)


The relationship between Old and New Testaments and Old and New Covenants:  The covenant God offered Israel is irrevocable. God's elective fidelity expressed in earlier covenants is never repudiated; the New Covenant brings them to fulfilment. Through the Christ event Christians understand that all that had gone before to be interpreted anew. The New Covenant acquired its own quality, though both are about a unique relationship with God. For Christians, the New Covenant is the culmination of Old Covenant promises and never independent of them; it's grounded in and based on the Old, because the God of Israel enables the New Covenant in Christ.  Jesus lives during the Old Covenant, but in his saving work in the New confirms and perfects the Old.  The Covenant relationship with God takes effect differently for Jews and Christians.  The New can't replace the Old but presupposes it and gives it new meaning by reinforcing God's personal nature revealed in the Old and establishing it as open to all who respond faithfully.  With the Old Testament as an integral part of the Christian Bible, there's a deep sense of kinship between Judaism and Christianity.  Christianity draws nourishment our Old Testament roots.  But Christianity is grounded in Jesus of Nazareth, recognized as the promised Messiah, and as God's only Son who has communicated himself through the Spirit following his crucifixion and resurrection.  With the New Testament, the question soon arose of how the two testaments are related, whether the New Testament writings superseded the older writings.  In 144 the Church rejected the concept of a “Christian” Bible purged of Old Testament elements, bore witness to its faith that the one God wrote both testaments, and held fast to the unity of both testaments.  The common patrimony of the Old Testament both formed the basis of spiritual kinship between Jews and Christians and brought tension in the relationship.  Christians read the Old Testament in light of the New:  “In the Old the New is concealed and in the New the Old is revealed” (Augustine).  Pope Gregory the Great defined the Old Testament as “the prophecy of the New” and the New as the “best exposition of the Old.”

This Christological exegesis can give rise to the impression that Christians consider the New Testament as a replacement for the Old.  This is clearly wrong because Judaism also had to reinterpret Scripture after the destruction of the Temple in the year 70.  Since the Sadducees didn't survive, rabbis interpreted scripture without the temple as the center of religious devotion.  So there were two new ways of reading Scripture:  Christians' Christological exegesis and rabbis' rabbinical exegesis.  Since each involved new interpretation, the question must be how they're interrelated.  But Christianity and post-biblical rabbinical Judaism developed in opposition and mutual ignorance.  After centuries of opposing positions, Jewish-Catholic dialogue has tried to bring the two ways into dialogue to perceive complementarity where it exists and help one another to mine the riches of God’s word. “The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible” stated Christians must admit “Jewish reading of the Bible is possible, in continuity with Jewish Scriptures from the Second Temple period, a reading analogous to the Christian reading which developed in parallel.”  It concludes:  “Both readings are bound up with the vision of their faiths, of which the readings are the result and expression.”


Since each reading helps to understand God’s will and word, it's important to be aware that Christianity is rooted in the faith of Abraham.  That raises the question of how the Old and the New Covenant relate to each other.  Christians believe there can be only one covenant history of God with humanity.  The covenants with Abraham and Moses restricted to Israel regarding obedience to the law including the Sabbath had been extended in the covenant with Noah to all creation.  Through the prophets God promised a eternal covenant.  Each covenant incorporates the previous one and interprets it in a new way, as for Christians the New Covenant definitively interprets what the prophets promised.  God unconditionally chose the Church, the renewed people of God.  The Church is the definitive locus of God's saving action, but this doesn't mean Israel has been repudiated or has lost its mission.  For Christians the New Covenant is the fulfilment of the promises of the Old.  God’s covenant with Abraham shows he's father of Israel and father of Christians' faith.  God's covenant with Israel remains valid on the basis of God’s faithfulness, and so the New Covenant can only be understood as the affirmation and fulfilment of the Old. Christians are convinced that through the New Covenant the Abrahamic covenant has obtained the universality originally intended in the call of Abram.  This recourse to the Abrahamic covenant is so foundational to Christianity that the Church without Israel could lose its place in salvation history.  Regarding the Abrahamic covenant, Jews could also arrive at the insight that Israel without the Church could remain too particularist and fail to grasp the universality of its experience of God.  In this sense Israel and the Church remain bound to each other, interdependent.


Paul struggles that while the Old Covenant remains in force, Israel hasn't adopted the New; there's only
one history of God’s covenant with humanity, so Israel is God’s chosen and beloved people, and that's never been repealed or revoked.  To do justice to both facts, Paul coined the image of the root of Israel into which the branches of the Gentiles have been.  One could say Jesus Christ bears the living root of the tree, and yet that the whole promise has its root in him.  Paul sees this image as the key to thinking of the relationship between Israel and the Church; with it he expresses the duality of the unity and divergence of Israel and the Church.  The image is to be taken seriously in that the grafted branches represent a new reality and new dimension of God’s saving work, so the Church isn't merely a branch or fruit of Israel  The image is also to be taken seriously in that the Church draws nourishment and strength from the root of Israel, and that the grafted branches would wither or die if cut off from the root. (concluded tomorrow)

Read

Wordle: Readings 11-4-13
  • Rom 11:29-36  God's gifts and call are irrevocable.  God has mercy on all.  Oh—God's deep riches, wisdom, knowledge, inscrutable judgments, unsearchable ways!
  • Ps 69:30-31, 33-34, 36  "Lord, in your great love, answer me."  Protect me; I'm afflicted.  I'll thank you, sing praise.  Lord hears poor, will save, rebuild.
  • Lk 14:12-14  “When you hold a banquet, don't invite friends, family, or wealthy neighbors.  Invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind; you'll be blessed because they can't repay you.  You'll be repaid at the resurrection.”
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Paul tells the Romans that since they have experienced God’s mercy, they're called to be witnesses of God’s mercy to others.  Paul had persecuted God’s people but received God’s mercy and call.  Similarly, St. Ignatius of Loyola received God’s merciful love as pure gift, embraced it with gratitude, and out of this experience discerned his call.  Both discerned God’s call and what it means out of the experience of embracing God’s gift.  Accept God’s love, mercy, and call with gratitude!
    All Saints of Africa/ Sanderson
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Misery or mystery?"  "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways." We may wish God were more like us, but if we accept God's transcendence and mystery, we can see his hand even in bad situations and be filled with hope.  When we see bad things in God's way, we exclaim: "How deep are God's riches, wisdom, and knowledge!  How unsearchable his ways!"
  • Passionist:  Jesus talks about how to create a guest list and about the value of giving.  True giving must have no strings attached.  How can we invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind into our lives?  Am I willing to invite someone to dinner who's alone and has no family?  To reach out to a neighbor crippled by fear?  To visit someone at a nursing home?  Is our Mass wheelchair accessible?  Do we provide large print, sign language interpreters?  As we do acts of love and kindness for others' benefit, we'll be rewarded too....
  • DailyScripture.net:  ""You'll be repaid at the resurrection":  Jesus lectured his host on whom to invite:  maybe the host expected a favor or wanted to impress others?  Generosity springs from God's mercy and compassion; it demands self-sacrifice.  May we respond with gratitude and show favor to those who can't repay us:  the poor, the sick, the disadvantaged....
Today's saints, from Universalis
  • All Saints of Africa