November 16, 2017

Nov. 16

November 16, 2017:  Thursday, 32nd week, Ordinary Time

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

End-of-life questions have always challenged humanity but today take on new forms.  We can now eliminate many diseases, improve health, prolong life, but sustaining or replace failing vital functions isn't always promoting health.  We need wisdom to choose treatments that serve the integral good of the person; we don't have to use every possible remedy (Pius XII, AAS XLIX, 1027).  We can decide not to adopt an overzealous treatment, or discontinue it, when it doesn't meet the standard of due proportion (Declaration on Euthanasia IV) that considers the result that can be expected, accounting for the person's state and physical and moral resources.  We don't will to cause death, just accept our inability to impede it (Catechism 2278).  This perspective restores us to accompaniment of the dying without justifying suppression of the living.  Not adopting, or suspending, overzealous treatment is different from euthanasia, which intends to end life and is always wrong.
To determine whether a treatment is proportionate, we need careful discernment of the moral object, circumstances, and intentions, considering the personal and relational elements in the person's life including its last moment in light of human dignity.  The patient has the primary role and should decide when competent and able (ibid); they have the right, in dialogue with professionals, to evaluate proposed treatments, judge their proportionality, and refuse them if proportionality is judged lacking.  (More sophisticated and costly treatments available to fewer people raise questions about the sustainability of healthcare delivery and a tendency toward growing inequality in healthcare.)
We must remember the commandment of responsible closeness seen in the Good Samaritan gospel.  We should never abandon the sick.  The anguish of conditions that bring us to the threshold of mortality, and the difficulty of decisions, may tempt us to step back, but this is where we're called to show love, closeness, and solidarity, each loving in our own way—as parent, child, sibling, or healthcare professional.  Though we can't always guarantee a cure, we must always care for the living, neither shortening life nor futilely resisting death.  Palliative care is most important; it opposes the pain and loneliness that makes death terrifying and unwelcome.
These issues must be addressed calmly, seriously, and thoughtfully, in a way open to finding agreement.  Differing views, convictions, and religions must be considered, but the state has a duty to protect all involved, defending the equality of all human beings, especially the most vulnerable.  If essential values are weakened, we'll lose the very life of society.  Healthcare laws must effectively promotes the common good in each concrete situation.
  • Wis 7:22b–8:1  Wisdom is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, not baneful, loving good, keen, unhampered, beneficent, kindly, firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing, pervading all spirits, mobile, pure, penetrating and pervading all things, an aura of God's might, an effusion of the Almighty's glory, the refulgence of eternal light, mirror of God's power, image of his goodness.   Nothing sullied enters her.  She perdures, can do all things, renew everything, pass into holy souls, produce friends of God and prophets.  She's fairer than the sun and surpasses every constellation of stars.  She takes precedence over light.  Wickedness doesn't prevail over her.  She reaches and governs all things well.
  • Ps 119:89-91, 130, 135, 175  "Your word is for ever, O Lord."  You've established the earth, and it stands firm.  All things serve you.  Your revelation sheds light and gives understanding.  Shine on your servant; teach me your statutes.  Let me live to praise you.  May your ordinances help me.
  • Lk 17:20-25  “The coming of the Kingdom can't be observed; you can't announce it.  God's Kingdom is among you.  You'll long to see a day of the Son of Man but won't see it.  Some will tell you, ‘Look!,’ but don't run in pursuit, for as lightning lights the whole sky, so will the Son be in his day.  But first he must suffer and be rejected....”
  • Fr. Chidi Ekpendu homily videoWe need Wisdom to do God's will.

  • Creighton:  “God's Kingdom is among you”:  We, the body of Christ, are the continuation of the Incarnation.  Jesus lives within us and wants us to follow him. / Wisdom is holy, unique, subtle, beneficent, kindly, fair, a pure effusion of the Almighty's glory...; this is someone I want to be in relationship with and follow.  Is this the Christ living within me?  Wisdom lives within me, and I'm invited to be in relationship with her, to let her face shine and be a pure effusion of God's glory.  How do I tap into Christ's Wisdom within?  How do we let God's glory emanate from us?
  • One Bread, One Body:  "First-hand knowledge of God":  The writer of Wisdom personified wisdom and saw it as more than a quality of God.  "She, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything while herself perduring."  Do you know God well enough to write some of the things in Wisdom?  Can you speak of God personally and in detail from experience?  Can you say with Paul, "I didn't receive [the gospel] from a person nor was I schooled in it.  It came by revelation from Jesus Christ"?  To make our relationship with God a higher priority, let's take more time to listen to God, spend more time in Christian community, speak more about the Lord, live in the Church and go to the world (vs. vice versa), witness to God's marvels, and live to know and love God as deeply as possible.
    Divine Wisdom/ McCloud
    More Wisdom/Sophia art
  • Passionist:  St. Catherine of Siena said “No happiness is comparable to that of the Saints in Paradise except the happiness of the Souls in Purgatory.”  Theologian Karl Rahner says the most profound question we must answer with our life is “What's the meaning of death?”  When theologian Leonardo Boff asked the Dalai Lama what the best religion is, the Dalai Lama answered, “The one that gets you closer to God, makes you a better person, and makes you more compassionate, sensible, detached, loving, humane, responsible, and ethical.”  Luke would tell us that if you embrace Jesus' message, you'll be invited to the heavenly banquet.
  •  "The coming of Christ's kingdom":  "The coming of Christ's kingdom":  The Pharisees, watching for a sign to indicate when Messiah would come, asked Jesus the question to test him since they didn't accept him as Messiah.  Jesus surprised them saying the kingdom had already come, and would come.  The "Day of the Lord" was understood as the time God would manifest his glory and power.  Amos declared the Day also meant judgment for all; Joel proclaimed that those who repented would be saved, but the Lord's enemies would be punished.
In Palestine, storms appeared unexpectedly, covering everything in darkness.  Lightning filled the sky and struck terror in those who tried to flee.  Jesus warned the "Son of man" would also come unexpectedly to bring God's judgment; no special sign will be needed, nor will his presence and power be veiled:  all will recognize him as clearly as lightning.  Jesus identified himself with the "Day of the Lord."  The "Son of man" would establish God's kingdom and judge the living and the dead.  Jesus points to his second coming, to complete the work of restoration and judgment.  It'll be apparent to all, believers and non-believers alike.  Jesus said only one sign, he himself, would point to the Day of the Lord.  In Jesus we see the power and glory of God's kingdom; on the cross he defeated death and canceled the debt of our sins. His victory opens the way for us to live as God's children, citizens of his kingdom of peace, joy, and justice....
Today's saints, from Universalis
  • Margaret of Scotland, queen, mother of 8, reformer, monastery foundress, devoted to prayer and learning, generous to the poor
  • Gertrude the Great, religious, mystic, spiritual writer, precursor of devotion to Sacred Heart of Jesus
Dress legend
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  Wisdom... (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin: all-seeing... (1st reading)
  • 'Car' tie pin:  ...and mobile,... (1st reading)
  • 'Lights' tie:  ...the refulgence of eternal light,... (1st reading)
  • 'Star' tie pin:  ...surpassing every constellation of stars (1st reading)
  • 'Lights' tie:  The revelation of your words sheds light (psalm); as lightning lights the sky, so will the Son of Man be (gospel)
  • 'Runner' tie pin:  Don't run in pursuit (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Kingdom's coming can't be observed (gospel)
  • 'Lightning bolt' pin:  Just as lightning lights up the sky, so will the Son of Man be (gospel)
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  You don't know the day or hour (Sunday gospel)
  • Green in shirt:  Ordinary Time season
Special greetings to the community at St. Gertrude the Great Parish
and Elementary School in Bell Gardens

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