November 19, 2016

Nov. 19

November 19, 2016:  Saturday, 33rd week, Ordinary Time

Can you find a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
[On “Sermon on the Plain”]  Jesus descended with his disciples to the many waiting to hear him and be healed.  The apostles' call sets them among the troubled.  The true heights are reached on the plain, while gazing on and sharing God's mercy.  A mystagogy of mercy of 4 commands accompanies that call and shapes our discipleship:  love, do good, bless, and pray.  Though we can easily do those for people we like or are like us, Jesus clearly says we must for our enemies and those who mistreat us, though our instinct is the opposite:  to 'demonize,' dismiss, discredit, or curse them.  In this is the power of Jesus' message, and the source of joy as we preach the Good News.  In God’s heart are no enemies, only his children; we're the ones who build barriers and label people.  God has children so no one will be turned away; his visceral, parental love is faithful to everyone, even when we stray.  God chose to love us; he doesn't wait for us to be good, or a little better, first.  To know he loves those who reject him impels our mission.  You can't stop God from placing his Life into dirty hands.
We live in a time of polarization and exclusion are considered the only way to resolve conflict.  Strangers, immigrants, or refugees are seen as threats and enemies, because of their origin, customs, color, language, class, faith, way of thinking, or....  Our animosity grows, our differences grow hostile and violent, and wounds deepen and hurt the defenseless.  This virus permeates our thinking, feeling, and acting.
Jesus keeps coming down from the mountain, always entering our history to proclaim the Gospel of Mercy, always calling us, sending us out, inviting us to spend our lives sustaining people in hope, so they may be signs of reconciliation.  Open your eyes to see the wounds of those deprived of their dignity, deprived in their dignity.
The journey to heaven begins in the plains, in quiet daily life broken, shared, spent, and given.  Our mountaintop is this love; our goal is to forgive and reconcile.  Be merciful like the Father, and be disturbed that so many live without the strength, light, and consolation born of friendship with Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and goal.
  • Rv 11:4-12  Here are my two witnesses; anyone wanting to harm them will be slain.  When they've finished testifying, a beast will conquer and kill them.  People will gaze on their corpses but not allow them to be buried.  After 3½ days, a breath of life from God entered them, great fear fell on those who saw them, they heard a voice from heaven saying, “Come up,” and they went up to heaven in a cloud.
  • Ps 144:1-2, 9-10  "Blessed be the Lord, my Rock," mercy, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, and shield, in whom I trust.  I'll sing to you...
  • Lk 20:27-40  Sadducees / Jesus:   “Moses wrote, If a brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants.  Seven brothers married the same woman in sequence; each died childless.  At the resurrection, whose wife will she be?” / “The children of this age marry, but those who attain the resurrection of the dead don't.  They're children of God, like angels, and will rise.  Moses made it known that the dead will rise.  God is of the living, not the dead.”
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Come to the witness stand":  In Revelation the Church is pictured as witnesses, people testifying to their relationship with Jesus.  Jesus commanded us to be his witnesses.  Witnessing, communicating our fatih, is essential to being a Christian.  We have no choice; we're ruined if we don't.  May we accept the Holy Spirit's power to love God so much so that we'll speak of and live that love to the death.
    • Passionist:  We may ask, Is that all there is?, disappointed that what we hoped for didn't happen.  Jesus faces that question in today’s gospel reading, opposed by Sadducces about the resurrection/afterlife.  But he shows them, and us, that God is a God of life, of all the living.  There's more to life than today's hurts and disappointments.  God is stronger than hate, cynicism, despair, and death.  May we follow the God of Life, Truth, Justice, and Mercy....
    •  "All live to him":  We can be like the Sadducces, trying to make heaven into an earthly image.  Jesus gives proof of the resurrection from scripture, then later from his own resurrection....  May we live now in the joy and hope of eternal life.  "May the Lord put his hands on our eyes so we may look at what is not seen.  May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present and unseal the heart's vision, that we may gaze on God through Christ, whose glory will endure." (Origen, paraphrased)
    Dress legend
    • 'Tree' pin:  My two witnesses, trees standing before the Lord (1st reading); burning bush (gospel)
    • 'Fire' pin:  Fire comes out of their mouths (1st reading)
    • 'Beast' pin, 'skeleton' tie pin:  Beast will wage war with and kill the witnesses (1st reading) 
    • 'Feet' pin:  They stood on their feet...  (1st reading)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  The witnesses can turn water into blood (1st reading)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!...  (psalm)
    • 'Hands' pin:  ...who trains my hands for battle (psalm)
    • 'Shield' tie pin:  The Lord, my shield (psalm)
    • 'Stick figures' tie pin:  There were seven brothers... (gospel)
    • 'Angel' pin:  Those deemed worthy are like angels (gospel)
    • Green shirt, 'clocks' tie:  Ordinary Time season, ending in less than 2 weeks

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