November 7, 2017

Nov. 7

November 7, 2017:  Tuesday, 31st week, Ordinary Time

  • '1' button (thanks OneLife LA):  We are one Body in Christ (1st reading)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  "Love one another" (1st reading); "My heart is not proud..." (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  "...nor my eyes haughty" (psalm)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "In you, Lord, I have found my peace." (psalm)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  “A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many." (gospel)
  • 'Streets' tie:  ‘Go out into the streets and alleys" (gospel)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  Exercise your gifts (1st reading)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Pope Francis homily:  Not for sale
The invited guests were asking themselves what benefit they'd get from attending; they didn't understand the gratuity of the invitation.  If you don't understand the gratuity of God's invitation, you don't understand anything.  All God asks is that we be needy of love.  The Lord asks nothing in return and tells the servant to invite the poor, crippled, good, and bad.  God's gratuitousness has no limits.  But the invited didn't understand, like the prodigal son's older brother who doesn't want to attend the banquet: “He wasted his inheritance, and you celebrate?  I'm a practicing Catholic, I go to Mass and do my duties and you do nothing for me?  He doesn't understand the gratuity of salvation.
Salvation is free; it's God's gift to those who respond with the gift of their heart.  The Lord only asks for our love and fidelity.  You just have to accept the invitation.  Those who don't have lost the capacity to feel they're loved.  You can recover the capacity to love, but if you can no longer feel loved, all is lost.  The Lord wants his home to be filled.  Lord, save us from losing the ability to feel loved.  Help us to open our doors to those who can't reciprocate.

From the Vatican

In the spirit of Rom 9-11 (recent readings), recall "The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" on Christian-Jewish dialogue (concluded from yesterday)

"God's gifts and call are irrevocable":  A reflection on theological questions pertaining to Catholic-Jewish relations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Nostra aetate #4 (NA4)

The universality of salvation in Christ and God’s unrevoked covenant with Israel:  Since God has never revoked his covenant with his people Israel, there cannot be different paths or approaches to God’s salvation. The theory that there may be two different paths to salvation, the Jewish path without Christ and the path with the Christ, whom Christians believe is Jesus of Nazareth, would in fact endanger the foundations of Christian faith. Confessing the universal and therefore also exclusive mediation of salvation through Jesus Christ belongs to the core of Christian faith. So too does the confession of the one God, the God of Israel, who through his revelation in Jesus Christ has become totally manifest as the God of all peoples, insofar as in him the promise has been fulfilled that all peoples will pray to the God of Israel as the one God.  The document "Notes on the correct way to present the Jews and Judaism in preaching and catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church” maintained that the Church and Judaism aren't “two parallel ways to salvation”; the Church must “witness to Christ as Redeemer for all.”  Christians believe God wants to save everyone, that Christ, and "no other name", is the mediator of salvation.  Belief in a single path to salvation doesn't imply that Jews are excluded because they don't believe in Jesus as Messiah.  Paul was convinced there can be no breach in salvation history, and that salvation comes from the Jews.  God doesn't fulfill his saving plan without drawing his "firstborn son" into it.  Paul asserts, “God's gifts and call are irrevocable.”  How can Jews participate in God’s salvation without confessing Christ explicitly is a divine mystery, so it's no accident that Rom 9-11 on the redemption of Israel against the background of Christ culminates in “O the depth of God's riches, wisdom, knowledge!...  How unsearchable his ways!”

How can we combine belief in the universal salvific significance of Christ with the our faith in God's never-revoked covenant with Israel?  The Church believes Christ is Savior for all, Jews and Gentiles.  We expect that the Lord will bring about the hour when we'll all be united.  NA4 is situated in a framework of universal salvation in Christ and God’s unrevoked covenant with Israel, though it doesn't resolve the related questions. NA4 is the first theological overview of the relationship of the Church to the Jews, but it's been over-interpreted to include things it doesn't.

The Church’s evangelization mandate in relation to Judaism:  The ‘mission to the Jews’ is delicate and sensitive for Jews because it involves their very existence.  This question is awkward for Christians, for whom Christ's universal salvific significance and so our universal mission are so important.  We must view evangelization to Jews, who believe in God, differently.  We don't conduct or support institutional mission work to Jews, but Christians are still called to bear witness to their faith in Christ to Jews, though with humility and sensitivity, acknowledging that Jews bear God’s Word.  Christian mission originated when the Father sent Jesus, who gave his disciples a share in his call in relation to Israel and then as the risen Lord to all nations.  God's people attain a new dimension through Jesus, who calls his Church from Jews and Gentiles on the basis of faith and baptism, through which we're incorporated into his Body, the Church.  Christian mission and witness belong together.  Jesus sent his disciples out not to inflict violence.  We must trust God, who will carry out his saving plan as he alone knows. Zeal for the house of the Lord and trust in God's victory belong together.  Christian mission means all Christians confess and proclaim God’s will for salvation in Christ.  We experience his sacramental presence in the liturgy and make it tangible in our service to others, especially the needy.  The Church of the New Covenant consists of Jews and Gentiles, even if the proportions of Jewish and Gentile Christians give a different impression.  Just as after Jesus' death and resurrection there were not two unrelated covenants, so too the people of the covenant of Israel are connected to ‘the people of God drawn from the Gentiles.’  The covenant people of Israel is to relate dynamically to the ‘people of God of Jews and Gentiles, united in Christ,’ whom the Church confesses as the mediator of creation and salvation.  In the context of God’s universal will of salvation, all who have not yet received the gospel are aligned with the God's people of the New Covenant.

Goals of dialogue:  The first is to add depth to Jews' and Christians' reciprocal knowledge.  We can only love what we come to know.  Dialogue partners enrich each other.  NA4 says we should discover our spiritual patrimony through study and dialogue.  We must mine Judaism's spiritual treasures, especially interpretation of Scripture. “The Jewish People and their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible” stresses the respect of Christians for the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament.  “Christians can learn much from Jewish exegesis; Christians may hope Jews can profit from Christian exegetical research.”  Many Jewish and Christian exegetes now work together fruitfully.  Catholic educational institutions should teach Nostra aetate and documents about its implementation.  We must tell future generations about the NA4-initiated changes in Christian-Jewish relations.  An important goal of our dialogue is joint engagement for justice, peace, conservation, and reconciliation.  Religions should be part of the solution, not the problem.  Once we engage in successful dialogue and work for peace, it can be realized on social and political levels too.  Such dialogue and peace requires religious freedom, including the guarantee of rights to religious minorities.  In Israel a Christian minority faces a Jewish majority.  Peace in the Holy Land plays a major role in our dialogue.

Another goal is combatting racial discrimination against Jews and anti-Semitism, which has led to Jews' annihilation.  We're called to vigilance and sensitivity.  We should give tangible evidence of justice and peace.  Jews and Christians are called to support the poor, disadvantaged, and sick, as we worked together during the 2004 Argentina financial crisis to organize soup kitchens and provide children meals so they could attend school.  Charitable organizations in Christian churches and Judaism can work together to alleviate human need.  Walking in God ways requires imitating God's attributes through care for the vulnerable, the poor, and the suffering; likewise, Jesus tells us to support the needy.  We must strive to overcome poverty and suffering.  When we foster justice and peace, we bear witness to God's loving care.  Cooperating, we should strive for a better world.  “Jews and Christians, children of Abraham, are called to be a blessing for the world... by committing themselves to peace and justice for all, with the fullness and depth God intended us to have, and with readiness for sacrifices this goal may demand” (Pope St. John Paul II),


  • Rom 12:5-16ab  We, though many, are one Body in Christ, parts of one another.  We have gifts that differ:  prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, mercy...; let us exercise them.  Love, honor, respect one another.  Hope; endure; persevere...  Associate with the lowly.
  • Ps 131:1bcde, 2, 3  "In you, O Lord, I have found my peace."  I've stilled my soul.  Hope in the Lord.
  • Lk 14:15-24  Many invited to dinner excused themselves.  Enraged master:  "Bring in the poor, blind, lame...  None of the invited will taste my dinner."
  • Creighton:  "Belonging to each other":  Paul reminds us we belong to each other; no part stands alone.  By our own efforts, we remain scattered, but Christ opens our eyes and unites us.  Paul tells us to use our gifts to serve others.  Reach out.  Listen.  Stand together against division and hate.  Seek the good.  Be hospitable.  Be generous.  Pray.  Forgive.  Stay close to the lowly.  Give thanks.  Live with joy and passion....
    Invitation to the great banquet/ Luyken
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Fishing hole":  God wants his house full for his heavenly banquet.  He sends servants all over, especially to the byroads, alleys, and other unlikely places.  The banquet will only be full if his servants "come upon" people hard to catch up with.  Jesus calls his servants "fishers of men."  Fishermen know they don't just "come upon" fish; they learn "to cope with every circumstance."  They study the habits of the fish and spend time and effort learning their feeding places and times.  The best catch might come before dawn, in freezing weather, in dangerous waters, or after many unsuccessful attempts.  Politicians, salespeople, telemarketers, and researchers understand this concept; boldness in reaching people leads them to success. "The fields are shining for harvest!"
  •  "Invitation to the banquet table":  In the ancient world the most notable sign of intimate friendship was the invitation to "share bread."  Who you ate with showed who you valued and trusted as your friends. A great banquet would involve a lavish meal and a large company of notable guests.  We've been invited to the most important of banquets, the wedding feast of the Lamb:  "The Spirit and Bride say, Come!"  The Lamb is Christ; the bride, the people he redeemed.
Parable of the great banquet/ Brunswick Monogrammist
A great banquet would take days to prepare and invitations sent out early to give time to prepare.  How insulting for them to refuse, putting their interests above his!  The first excuse allows the claims of one's own business to take precedence:  do I allow any task to keep me from God?  The second allows our possessions to come before God:  do I allow media or diversions to crowd out prayer or worship?  The third puts home and family first:  God never meant for home and relationships to be used selfishly.  We serve God best when we invite him into work, home, and personal life and when we share with others.
The man without a wedding garment/ Luyken
Then the story focuses on the outcasts who had no claim on the master and would never have expected an invitation.  There's room for outsiders, the Gentiles.  It's an invitation of grace, undeserved favor, but it carries a responsibility.  Bonhoeffer contrasted cheap and costly grace:  "Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves... preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance... grace without discipleship, the cross, or Christ living and incarnate...  Costly grace is the Gospel which must be sought, the gift which must be asked for, the door you must knock on; it's costly because following Christ costs your life, and it's grace because it gives you the true life" (The Cost of Discipleship, paraphrased).  God lavishes his grace to draw us closer to himself and invites us to his banquet that we may share his joy.
  • Universalis:  St. Willibrord, bishop, joyful, holy missionary to Europe

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