November 29, 2017

Nov. 29

November 29, 2017:  Wednesday, 34th week, Ordinary Time

See 14 connections with today?
Legend below

  • But who may abide the day of His coming, from Messiah/ Handel (gospel):  traditional, "soulful" (gospel)
Pope Francis in Myanmar
HomilyToday’s 1st reading helps us see how limited King Belshazzar and his seers' wisdom is.  They praised gods of gold and silver but not the true God, but Daniel could interpret the mysteries using God's wisdom.  Jesus, God's wisdom personified, taught by giving his life.  Sometimes we can fall into the trap of believing in our own wisdom, but when we lose our direction, we need to remember the crucified Lord, our compass.  The cross can guide us with divine light.  From the cross also comes healing; by his wounds we're healed.  We can be tempted to respond to violence with anger and revenge, but Jesus' way is forgiveness and compassion.  In today’s gospel he tells us that we may encounter rejection and obstacles, but he'll give us irresistible wisdom.  He's speaking of the Spirit, through whom God's love has been poured into us, by whom he enables us to be signs of his wisdom, which triumphs over the world's wisdom, and mercy, which soothes the most painful of injuries. 
In the Eucharist, we recognize the gift of his body and blood and learn to rest in his wounds and be cleansed of our sins and foolish ways.  By taking refuge in Christ’s wounds, may you know the healing of the Father’s mercy and find strength to bring it to others, to be faithful witnesses of reconciliation and peace. 
Amid poverty and difficulty, many of you offer practical assistance to the poor and suffering.  The Church here is alive; Christ is alive and here with you.  Keep sharing the wisdom you've received, God's love welling up in Jesus' heart.  Jesus will crown your efforts to sow healing and reconciliation in your families, communities, and nation. Not all will understand his message of forgiveness and mercy, but his love is unstoppable; like a GPS, it guides us towards God's inner life and our neighbor's heart.  May Mary, who followed Jesus to Calvary and accompanies us at every step, obtain for us the grace be to messengers of wisdom, mercy, and joy.  Full text
To Buddhist monks:  We strengthen the friendship and respect between Buddhists and Catholics and affirm our commitment to peace, respect for human dignity, and justice for everyone.  People need this common witness and hope as they strive for greater harmony.  People have always experienced injustice, conflict, and inequality.  The wounds of conflict, poverty, and oppression create new divisions, but we must never grow resigned.  We know compassion and loving kindness will bring healing, mutual understanding, and respect.
Through the teachings of the Buddha, and monks' and nuns' witness, many have been formed in patience, tolerance, respect for life, and respect for our natural environment.  In a culture of encounter, these values can strengthen our communities and bring light to society.
Today's great challenge is to help people be open to the transcendent, to look within, see they're connected with all people and can't be isolated.  To be united, we must surmount misunderstanding, intolerance, prejudice, and hatred:  “Overcome anger by non-anger, the wicked by goodness, misers by generosity, liars by truth” (Dhammapada, XVII, 223).  “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Where there's hatred, let me sow love; injury, pardon; darkness, light; sadness, joy” ("Prayer of St. Francis").  May such wisdom foster patience and understanding and help heal wounds of conflict.  Everyone must help overcome conflict and injustice, but civil and religious leaders especially must ensure every voice is heard, so that today's challenges and needs may be understood and confronted with fairness and solidarity.  I commend the work of the Panglong Peace Conference and pray that those guiding it promote greater participation; it'll advance peace, security, and prosperity for everyone.  Religious leaders must cooperate better for these efforts to bear fruit.  Religious leaders and NGO representatives must gather if we're to deepen mutual understanding and affirm our interconnectedness and common destiny.  Justice and peace can only be achieved when they're guaranteed for all.
May Buddhists and Catholics walk together towards healing and work side by side for the good of all.  "Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep."  Humbly bear each other's burdens. May we keep walking together and sow peace, healing, compassion, and hope.
  • Dn 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28  At King Belshazzar's banquet, fingers appear and write on the wall.  Terrified, the king asks Daniel to interpret:  “You rebelled against the Lord.  God sent the hand to write mene, tekel, peres:  God has put an end to your kingdom; you've been found wanting; and your kingdom has been given to the Medes and Persians.
  • Dn 3:62-67  "Give glory and eternal praise to him."  Sun, moon, stars, showers, winds, fire, heat, cold, and chill, bless the Lord!
  • Lk 21:12-19  “They'll seize you, persecute you, and hand you over because of me.  You'll give testimony.  Don't prepare your defense; I'll give you wisdom nobody can refute.  All will hate you, but by perseverance you'll secure your lives.”
  • Creighton:  Today’s 1st reading gives a shocking example of the consequences of delegating God to insignificant status.  Nebuchadnezzar believed he alone was responsible for the blessings in his life.  Though he saw God’s power in the fiery furnace episode, he needed another supernatural event. Once he lost everything, he came to grips with the reality of God.  Those experiences had to impact his family, yet his son, now-king Belshazzar, forgot God's lessons to his father.  So Daniel delivered him another supernatural message, of impending doom, and Belshazzar paid with his life the day Daniel interpreted the message to him.  We too can overlook God's presence by letting daily demands and the pace of life overwhelm us.  God provides messages to us too, but we can forget to look to him and try to meet challenges on our own.  Our walk with God won't be easy, but God never abandons us.  Lord, help me stay focused on you, open to your will.  Let let your light shine through me....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The hand that writes God's word":  The king and his guests were terrified but attentive to God's words delivered by the hand writing on the wall.  The Lord has written many other words by hands he's sent to earth, hands that wrote what came to be known as the Bible.  May we be consumed with the curiosity and desire of Belshazzar and his guests to understand those words, but unlike them be prepared, sober and alert, and receive the Word with humility, gratitude, and obedience.
  • Passionist:  The 1st reading challenges us consider our focus.  The king, caught up in his party, got carried away and used the Temple vessels for his own pleasure.   May we stay focused on the true meaning of Advent and Christmas, keeping everything in moderation and balance.  Following Christ takes daily attention to what we're doing and why, daily spiritual food, and tough decisions that may not always others happy.  Christ will be with us, protecting and guiding us.
    Belshazzar's Feast/ Rembrandt
  •  "Not a hair of your head will perish":  Jesus warns his followers they'll be confronted with wickedness, false teaching, persecution, and temptation to renounce their faith.  Satan opposes God and his followers; Jesus calls him a "murderer" and the "father of lies."  Satan will use any means to turn people away from God:  envy, deception, hatred, fear....  Jesus' response to hostility and persecution is love, forbearance, and forgiveness.  Only love can overcome prejudice, hatred, and envy.  God's love purifies us of all that would divide and tear people apart.  Jesus tells us we don't need to fear; he promises strength, wisdom, and courage as we take a stand witness to Christ.  The Gospel has power to set people free from sin, fear, and death, and bring peace, pardon, and life.  God gives endurance to those who trust in him.  Endurance is patience that never gives up hope.  Patience looks beyond present difficulties to the promised reward.  Endurance is linked with hope, the assurance we'll see God face to face and inherit his promises.  Jesus is our model; he endured the cross for our sake.  "When persecution comes, God's soldiers are tested, and heaven opens to martyrs.  We have not enlisted in an army;...  the Lord has taken first place in the conflict" (Cyprian).  Martyrs live and die as witnesses of the Gospel, overcoming their enemies through hope, courage, love, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and compassion, whether or not they actually shed their blood for bearing witness.  May we testify to the Gospel in our daily challenges; may people see us loving our enemies, joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardoning injuries, and showing comfort and compassion to the hopeless and helpless....
Dress legend
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  King Belshazzar's banquet (1st reading)
  • Purple shirt:  King promises purple clothing to Daniel if he interprets the writing on the wall (1st reading)
  • Gold- and silver-colored accoutrements:  King ordered gold and silver vessels brought in, promises gold to Daniel if he interprets the writing (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Nebuchadnezzar (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Fingers of a hand wrote on king's wall (1st reading); they'll 'hand' you over (gospel)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  King heard Daniel has extraordinary wisdom (1st reading); I'll give you wisdom (gospel)
  • 'Scales' tie:  'Tekel,' you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  'Peres,' your kingdom has been divided... (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  Fire and heat, bless the Lord (canticle)
  • 'Star' tie pin:  Stars of heaven, bless the Lord (canticle)
  • 'Gun' pin:  They'll put some of you to death (gospel)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  Persevere (gospel); countdown to eschaton and end of church year

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