November 15, 2017

Nov. 15

November 15, 2017:  Wednesday, 32nd week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Crowns' tie:  Kings, the Lord who gave you sovereignty will come against you because you didn't walk according to God's will (1st reading)
  • 'Feet' pin:  The grateful leper fell at Jesus' feet and thanked him (gospel)
  • '?' tie pin:  "Where are the other nine?" (gospel)
  • 'Owl' pin:  "I address you, princes, that you may learn wisdom" (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' pin:  Deliver the lowly and poor from the hand of the wicked (psalm)
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  "You don't know the day or hour" (Sunday gospel), countdown to end of liturgical year and Day of the Lord
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

For the gospel
Pope Francis General Audience
Mass is an encounter with the Lord, prayer par excellence, high, sublime, and concrete.  Prayer is dialogue, a relationship with God.  We were created to be in personal relationship with God.  God—Father, Son, and Spirit—is a perfect relationship of unity and love.  Because we're created in God's likeness, we too are to enter into a perfect relationship of love.  The Eucharist is the privileged moment to be with Christ, and through him, with God and our brothers and sisters.  But dialogue also means knowing how to remain silent in the other's presence.  The liturgy is a time to recollect ourselves, preparing to encounter Jesus, not to chat.
Jesus often went off to pray; his disciples, seeing his intimate relationship with the Father, asked him how to pray.  He said the first thing necessary is to be able to call God 'Father'; if I can't, I can’t pray.  We have to put ourselves into the Father's presence with filial confidence.  We must be like children, entrusting ourselves to God as they do with their parents.  We must have a sense of wonder, allowing ourselves to be surprised.  When we pray, we don't talk to God like parrots; we entrust ourselves and open our hearts to wonder.  The encounter with God in Mass is a living encounter, not a meeting in a museum.  When Nicodemus met with Jesus, Jesus spoke of the need to be born again.  Every true believer desires to be reborn, to begin anew.  Do you?
The Lord surprises us by showing he loves us even in our weakness.  At Mass the Lord encounters our fragility and brings us back to our first calling, to be in God's image....
  • Wis 6:1-11  God gave you authority and sovereignty.  Because you didn't judge rightly, keep the law, or walk according to God's will, he'll come against you.  The lowly may be pardoned, but the mighty shall be put to the test.  The Lord shows no partiality; he made and provides for great and small alike.  O princes, learn wisdom and don't sin.  Those who keep the precepts shall be found holy....
  • Ps 82:3-4, 6-7  "Rise up, O God, bring judgment to the earth."  Render justice to the afflicted and the destitute.  Rescue the lowly and the poor.
  • Lk 17:11-19  Ten lepers / Jesus:  "Have pity on us!" / "Go show yourselves to the priests."  They were cleansed.   One, a Samaritan, returned to thank Jesus.  "Ten were cleansed, no?  Where are the others?  Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks?"  To leper:  "Go; your faith has saved you."
  • Creighton:  We still pray that those in power seek God's wisdom and guide us in ways that provide food, shelter, dignity, life, and peace to all.  But do I long for God's words, trust I'll be instructed, and thank God for his actions in and through people, events, and creation?  Like the lepers, we ask for what we long for, but are we grateful for what we receive each day?  In most narratives of Jesus’ healings, he's responding to a desire, sometimes a nonverbal plea.  How are our needs and longings being filled now?  How is God answering my prayers today?
    The healing of ten lepers/ Tissot
  • One Bread, One Body:  "A love-hate relationship":  Jews and Samaritans had a history of being enemies.  When Jesus spoke to and saved a Samaritan woman, the woman and his disciples were surprised.  Jesus also made a Samaritan the hero of his story about love of neighbor.  Then he pointed out that the healed Samaritan leper was the only one who returned to thank him.  As with the woman, Jesus saved him.  Just before Jesus ascended, he promised to give us the Spirit so we could be his "witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the earth"; the promise was fulfilled when Philip "went to Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah."  Jesus loves our enemies, those it's politically correct to vilify and unpopular to love; that set him up to be unpopular, persecuted, and hated.  May we love as he does, even if we're hated for it.
    St. Albert the Great/ Da Modena
  • Passionist:  The faith Jesus speaks of is capacity to affirm life, not merely believe a dogma.  We need to be empty (of ego) to receive the Spirit, grace, or healing.  When ego grips us, we take ourselves too seriously and revel in our capability to achieve.  May we live with open mind and heart to be available for the Spirit's surprises.
  •  "He fell at Jesus' feet giving thanks":   "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."  When adversity strikes, you find out who your real friends are.  Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with each other even though Samaria was in middle of Judea.  But this Samaritan leper was with nine Jewish ones; sometimes adversity forces you to drop barriers and forget prejudices.  They asked Jesus for mercy, not healing.  'Mercy' is literally 'sorrow at heart'; it's more than compassion, or sorrow at another's misfortune.  Compassion empathizes; mercy goes further and removes suffering.  A merciful person shares in another's suffering as if it were their own and does anything possible to dispel their misery.  Mercy is connected with justice:  "Mercy doesn't destroy justice, but is a certain kind of fulfillment of it...  Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty" (Aquinas).  The lepers, knowing they need healing, approach Jesus with contrition and faith begging pardon and release from suffering.  The Samaritan approached Jesus reverently and gave praise to God.  If we don't appreciate the mercy and help we receive, we'll be ungrateful and unkind to others.  Ingratitude is forgetfulness of or a poor return for kindness received; it can lead to lack of charity, intolerance, complaining, grumbling, pride, and presumption.  Do I thank God?  Am I gracious, kind, and merciful towards others?

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