October 11, 2017

Oct. 11

October 11, 2017:  Wednesday, 27th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Hands' pin:  "Should I not be concerned over Nineveh where there are more than 120,000 who can't tell their right hand from their left?...” (1st reading)
  • 'Cow' pin:  "...not to mention the cattle" (1st reading)
  • 'Sun' pin:  The sun beat on Jonah (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  "I 'call' to you all the day" (psalm)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
For gospel

    • Familiar chant (but we usually sing it faster and more in rhythm with the spoken word)
Pope Francis
General Audience:  Just as Jesus tells his disciples to be like those who await their master's return with lighted lamps, Christians must always be attentive, awaiting the Lord’s return.  Every day is a new opportunity to be attentive to God, to welcome the day as his gift, and to offer him our good works.  Such attentiveness requires patience, but no night is so long as to make us forget the joy of dawn.
We know that that no matter what we suffer, life has its purpose and the merciful Lord will greet us at its end.  Thus we can look upon history and our lives with confidence and hope, knowing that God's providence guides the future.
Homily at Pontifical Oriental Institute and Congregation for Eastern Churches centenary Mass:  Continue with your courageous witness, despite the persecutions you suffer.  We're living though a “piecemeal” world war.  When we see the persecution and worrying exodus of Christians, he said, just like the people of the Old Testament, we cry out “Why?”
In today’s 1st reading we read about those who turn away from God and do evil yet go unpunished. Today we ask God why unscrupulous people destroy others to pursue their own ends.  Malachi says God listens to his people and records their suffering in a ‘book of memories.’ 
If we pray and trust in the Lord, we know we'll receive, find, and the door will be opened.  But do we know how?  If we, sinners, know how to give our children good gifts, how much more will our Father give the Spirit to those who ask?  The Spirit is God’s great gift to us, so let us knock courageously on God’s heart.  May courageous prayer inspire and sustain your service, so that it may bear lasting fruit. 
    Gourd-eating worm
  • Jon 4:1-11  Jonah, angry God didn't carry out the evil he threatened:  “Lord, this is why I fled.  I knew you're gracious and merciful, slow to anger, loath to punish.  Take my life; it's better for me to die.” / “Have you reason to be angry?” / Jonah built himself a hut and waited under it to see what would happen.  The Lord provided a gourd plant over his head to give shade, and Jonah was happy about the plant.  But then God sent a worm that attacked the plant, and later a burning wind, and the sun beat on Jonah till he grew faint.  “I'd be better off dead.” / “Have you reason to be angry?” / “Yes, enough to die.” / “You're concerned over the plant which cost you no labor.  Should I not be concerned over Nineveh, in which over 120,000 can't tell their right hand from their left?”
  • Ps 86:3-6, 9-10  "Lord, you are merciful and gracious."  Have mercy on me; I call You all day.  Hearken to my prayer.  All shall come worship You and glorify Your name....
  • Lk 11:1-4  “Teach us to pray.” / “Say:  Father, hallowed be your name; your Kingdom come.  Give us our daily bread, and forgive our sins for we forgive those in our debt, and don't subject us to the final test.”
  • CreightonWe can be like Jonah was:  self-absorbed with our perceptions, complaining, whining, angry with God, depressed.  Lord, deepen in us a desire to pray as you taught. Calm our fears and anxieties, so we can come to know you...
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Death wish":  Jonah wanted to die because a worm killed his tree and left him too hot, as if to say "Give me comfort or give me death."  He also wanted to die because the Lord forgave the Ninevites instead of punishing them.   Sometimes we may wish we were dead, feeling sad about not having all we want because we're empty inside.  When we don't forgive, we cut ourselves off from being forgiven, healed, and blessed; we deprive ourselves. Then we try to compensate, then become more empty and discouraged.  Unforgiveness leads to emptiness, pleasure-seeking, and despair. The only way out is to give ourselves to Jesus, repent, and forgive...
  • Passionist:  Jonah reads more like a parable or satire than a book; Jonah seems more anti-prophet than prophet. And the story is left dangling.  Did Jonah finally feel compassion for the Assyrians, or hang on to his grudge, refusing to believe God could show them mercy?  Did he go home and tell of God's forgiveness, or stay on the outskirts waiting for God's wrath?
Gourd plant
It's hard to forgive people who anger or hurt us; we might even wish them pain and think it's justice. “Perhaps the people that inhabit our Nineveh are abortionists, homosexuals, political enemies, cultists, or an ethnic group we're uncomfortable with” (Sper, The Failure of Success: The Story of Jonah).  God's mercy connects the episodes of Jonah. “We see it in his pursuit and restoration of Jonah,... his sparing of the sailors, and his salvation of Nineveh.  Also in full view is the spiritual failure of Jonah who experienced but didn't give mercy, received but didn't return love, benefited from God's patience but resented God for showing patience to Nineveh” (Ibid, paraphrased). 
Mercy also connects Jonah to today’s gospel, specifically when Jesus tells us how imitate his love: "Forgive us for we ourselves forgive."  When we forgive those in debt to us as the Father forgives us debtors, we imitate God's mercy.  Jonah reminds us that we're called on to emulate God’s compassion.  Don't wag your finger and condemn Jonah, but look in the mirror and ask whether you resemble him, then forgive as Christ taught.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Lord, teach us to pray":  The Jews were noted for their devotion to prayer.  When Jesus' disciples asked him for such a prayer, he gave them the Our Father.  The prayer tells us God is Father both as Creator and by relationship with his Son.  We can address God as Father and ask for what we need.  We can approach him confidently and boldly because Christ opened the way to heaven for us.  God doesn't give us what we deserve but responds with grace and mercy; he's kind and forgiving and expects us to be the same.   We can pray with expectant faith because our Father loves us, treats us as his children, and delights to give us what's good.  He transforms us, making us like himself so we can love and serve as Jesus taught and did.  Do I treat others as they deserve, or do you as the Lord would with grace and mercy?  Do I forgive others as the Jesus forgives me?
Today's saints, from Universalis
  • Pope St. John XXIII, pope from 1958-1963, convened Vatican II.  "Invoke his intercession to imitate the gentleness of his paternal love; pray to him in moments of the cross and suffering, to face difficulties with the same meekness; and learn from him the art of educating children with tenderness and by example” (Pope Francis).
  • Kenneth (Cainnech, Canice, Kenny, Canicus), abbot, monastery founder, priest, missionary, taught the "12 Apostles of Ireland"

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