November 20, 2017

Nov. 20

November 20, 2017:  Monday, 33rd week, Ordinary Time

See 10 connections with today?
Legend below
For Psalm 119

For the gospel
Pope Francis World Day of the Poor homily

We're all beggars when it comes to God’s love, which gives us meaning and life.  Today we ask God for his gifts.  Today's parable speaks of gifts.  We've received talents from God, according to our abilities.  In God’s eyes we're “talented.”  Don't think you're useless, so poor you can't give.  God chose and blessed us, wants to fill us, entrusts to each of us a mission, and gives us responsibility.  In the parable, each servant is given talents.  The first two do what they're charged, but the third doesn't make his talents bear fruit and so is rebuked as “wicked and lazy.”  His evil was omission, failing to do good.  If we rest thinking we've done nothing wrong, we risk acting like him.  God isn't an inspector looking for unstamped tickets but a Father looking for children he can entrust his property and plans to.  How sad when our loving Father doesn't receive generous love from his children, who just keep the rules like hired hands.

The unworthy servant was content to keep the talent he received safe, but just preserving and maintaining past treasures isn't faithful to God; only those who add new talents are “faithful”; they see like God, who doesn't stand still but out of love takes risks, putting his life on the line for others.  The one thing he overlooks is his own interest, the only right “omission.”  Omission is the great sin where the poor are concerned; it's called indifference.  It's when we say, “It’s society's problem, not mine,” turn away from one in need, or grow indignant at evil but do nothing about it.  God will ask whether you did good, not whether you felt righteous indignation.

When we want to please someone dear to us, we need to know their tastes.  We find the Lord's tastes in the Gospel.  “As you did to one of the least, you did it to me.”  These 'least,' whom he loves, are the hungry, the sick, strangers, prisoners, the poor, the abandoned, the suffering, the needy.  Their faces are Jesus’ face; their lips speak, “This is My body.”

In the poor, Jesus knocks on our heart, thirsting for love.  When we overcome indifference and give to the least, we're his good and faithful friends, with whom he loves to dwell.  God appreciates the attitude of the "good wife" who “opens her hand to the poor.”  True goodness and strength is not in closed fists and crossed arms but hands outstretched to the poor, to the Lord's wounded flesh.  In the poor we find Jesus, who though rich became poor. In their weakness is saving power.  In the world's eyes they may have little value, but they're our passport to paradise.  Care for them, our true riches, not only by giving them bread but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word.  To love the poor means to combat spiritual and material poverty.  It also does us good.  Drawing near to the poor touches our lives, reminding us that love of God and neighbor is what really counts and endures.  Only what we invest in love remains.  Ask, “What counts for me in life?  Where am I investing?”  In fleeting riches, or the wealth bestowed by God, who gives life?  Do I live to gain things on earth, or to give things away and gain heaven?  What we give, not what we have, is what matters; “those who store up treasures for themselves don't grow rich in God's sight.”  If you seek others' good, you'll lack nothing of value.  May the Lord grant us wisdom to seek what really matters, and the courage to love in deeds.

  • 1 Mc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63  King Antiochus Epiphanes ordered idolatry and burning of the law.  The Gentiles and many children of Israel conformed to his command, but many in Israel refused and were killed.
  • Ps 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158  "Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands."  The wicked forsake your law and ensnare and attack me; redeem me from their oppression, that I may keep your precepts.
  • Lk 18:35-43  Blind beggar / Jesus:  “Son of David, have pity on me!” / “What do you want me to do for you?” / “Lord, please let me see.” / “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”  He followed Jesus; all praised God.
  • Creighton:  Today's readings juxtapose despair and darkness with hope and salvation.  We may see contemporary parallels to the 1st-reading effects of turning away from God.  Even if we don't fear death, life's uncertainty and insecurity can wear down our faith.  Today's gospel has a message of hope.  The blind, poor beggar symbolizes the people Jesus came to save.  The blind man saw his need.  Do we see ours?  As Jesus passed by he boldly spoke out to him.  When opportunities pass in front of us, do we reach out to our Savior?  The blind man persisted through ridicule and rebuke.  Are we affected by those who try to inhibit us?  Though we haven't seen Jesus with our eyes, Jesus listens and responds to us.  Our faith is the foundation for us to receive God's mercy and healing.  But our belief must motivate action.  During confusion, despair, insecurity, and illness our faith compels us to cry out to the Lord, and in faith we'll be healed.
    About (with pronunciation)
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Don't you see?"  Some chosen people were so blind that they made an alliance with the Gentiles to introduce pagan living to Israel, even volunteering to help brainwash and pervert themselves.  They erected the abomination on the altar, burnt law scrolls, and murdered those who remained faithful.  Today many Christians don't fight the "culture of death."  Pray, "Lord, I want to see," then fight for the faith and protect people from lies and sin.
  • Passionist:  Today's 1st reading describes the decline of religious belief during the 2nd century BC; poor religious and civil leadership and pressure from the Seleucid empire precipitated the decline.  When Israelites wanted to be accepted by their powerful neighbor, traditional Judaism declined, then those who wanted to remain faithful to it were persecuted.  Today's gospel narrates Jesus' encounter with a blind man.  When he hears Jesus is passing by, he asks him for pity, the disciples tell him to be quiet, Jesus asks what he wants, he asks for sight, and Jesus heals him.  The darkening of Israel’s faith and the affliction it brought about (1st reading) contrasts with the light and vision restored in Jesus' encounter with the blind man (gospel).
I don't know who painted this,
Please comment if you do.
We generally want our friends and neighbors to respect and think well of us.  To whom do we look for guidance in achieving our good name and prosperity?”  In Maccabees, many looked to outside forces and values, but the blind man looked to Jesus.  One approach brought darkness, the other light....
  •  "What do you want me to do for you?"  It took courage and persistence for Bartimaeus to get Jesus' attention over the noise; the crowd was annoyed because he was disturbing their peace and conversation with Jesus.  Jesus commends Bartimaeus for his eyes of faith and also grants him physical sight.  Do I recognize my need for healing and seek Jesus out with persistence and trust?  "Now that he was delivered from blindness, 'He followed him, offering glory to God.'  He was set free from double blindness, of the body and of mind and heart.  He would not have glorified him as God had he not possessed spiritual vision. He became the means of others giving Christ glory, for it says that all the people gave glory to God (Cyril of Alexandria, paraphrased).
Dress legend
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Antiochus Epiphanes (1st reading)
  • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  They started to sacrifice to idols (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  They burned incense and burned law scrolls (1st reading)
  • 'Scroll' pin:  Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant was condemned to death (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Many were resolved in their hearts to die rather than profane the covenant or be defiled (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  Blind man 'called' to Jesus (gospel)
  • '?' tie pin:  "What do you want me to do for you?" (gospel)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Blind beggar asks for and receives sight (gospel)
  • 'Clocks' tie:  Countdown to Day of Lord (season)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

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