A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.52)

WEEK 33 IN ORDINARY TIME: November 18-24, 2012 ***

 

(N.B. The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy of Year B from three perspectives. For reflections on the Sunday liturgy based on the Gospel reading, please scroll up to the “ARCHIVES” above and open Series 1. For reflections based on the Old Testament reading, open Series 4. For reflections based on the Second Reading, open Series 7. Please go to Series 10 for the back issues of the Weekday Lectio.

 

Below is a LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: November 18-24, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

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November 18, 2012: 33rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME         

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Will Gather His Elect from the Four Winds”       

 

BIBLE READINGS

Dn 12:1-3 // Heb 10:11-14, 18 // Mk 13:24-32

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

I remember how the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center affected me.  I was watching the footage of the buildings collapsing and the terrible inferno and confusion that ensued.  I sat aghast and exclaimed, “This is the apocalypse now!”  Indeed, there was terror and tribulation.  The sun was literally darkened. However, the catastrophe began to dispel progressively as the power of goodness and solidarity began to take the upper hand.  From the rubble of the 9/11 collapse sprang forth the heroism and courage of the American people.  Indeed, the 9/11 events give us a glimpse of God’s final victory over the evil forces that assail the world then and today.

 

The radical intervention of God to destroy the ultimate power of evil in the end-time is the theme of today’s Gospel reading. While the end-time description, with its dark imagery of trials, tribulations, and turmoil is scary, there is also the note of consolation, which takes form in the glorious figure of the Son of Man, Jesus, coming in the clouds to gather his faithful and chosen ones from the four winds of the earth.  The heart of this powerful apocalyptic device is the belief that God would one day intervene in a cataclysmic way to destroy evil and restore the fullness of life and abounding peace.  Ultimately, the specter of doom gives way to the hope of a new creation, where the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its light, and the stars will fall before the splendor of the Son of Man.

 

The message of the second to the last Sunday of the liturgical year is a call to vigilance and watchfulness.  With regards to the end-time or eschaton, Jesus asserts: “But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”.  Indeed, to know the exact day or hour may satisfy our curiosity, but has no true importance for our salvation.  What is important is to scrutinize the signs of salvation and fully participate in it.  Learning a lesson from the fig tree that has sprouted tender leaves, foretelling that summer is near, we must live in an attitude of expectation for the imminent coming of the Lord.  We must discern the progressive comings of Christ in the events of our personal lives, and in the life of the Church and the world.  

 

Finally, as Christian disciples, we must be people of expectation.  The Jesuit scientist and theologian, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin asserts: “Expectation – that is perhaps the supreme Christian function and the most distinctive characteristic of our religion.  Historically speaking, that expectation has never ceased to guide the progress of our faith like a torch… Christmas, which might have been thought to turn our gaze toward the past, has only fixed it further in the future.  The Messiah, who appeared for a moment in our midst, only allowed himself to be seen and touched for a moment before vanishing again, more luminous and ineffable than ever, into the depths of the future… We Christians have been charged with keeping the flame of desire ever alive in the world… The flame must be revived at all costs.  At all costs we must renew in ourselves the desire and the hope for the great coming.” 

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO 

 

Do we allow the negative elements of apocalyptic imagery to daunt and overwhelm us? Or, do we allow our hearts to be consoled by the image of the glorious Son of Man, coming on the clouds to gather his chosen and faithful ones from all over the earth?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Father,

your son Jesus, our Savior,

will gather his elect from the four winds.

Grant that we may be vigilant at all times

and that we may have the strength to stand before him.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“The Son of Man will gather his elect form the four winds, from the ned of the earth to the end of the sky.” (Mk 13:27)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO   

 

Pray for all the victims of violence, war, and other cataclysmic events. Do what you can to bring comfort and healing to their painful situation.

 

 

***

 

November 19, 2012: MONDAY – WEEKDAY (33)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Makes the Blind See”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Rv 1:1-4; 2:1-5 // Lk 18:35-43

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

  

            The need for true spiritual sight is the subject of today’s Gospel reading, which narrates the healing of the blind beggar at Jericho. In comparison to the blind beggar, the people crowding around Jesus seem to be fortunate for they could see the “miracle worker” from Nazareth with their physical eyes. But there is a deeper reality than physical sight.

 

The remark of Anthony Bloom, a physician who became Metropolitan and Patriarch of Moscow in 1965, is insightful: “If only we knew that we were blind, how eagerly would we seek healing … But the tragedy is that we do not realize our blindness … Blinded by the world of things we forget that it does not match the depth of which man is capable … To be aware only of the tangible world is to be on the outside of the fullness of knowledge, outside the experience of the total reality which is the world in God and God at the heart of the world. The blind man, Bartimaeus, was painfully aware of this because, owing to his physical blindness, the visible world escaped him. He could cry out to the Lord in total despair.”

 

To cultivate a positive attitude through faith in Jesus and trust in him will enable us “to see”. The following story enables us to appreciate the “gift of sight”, which is spiritual (cf. Marilyn Morgan King, “A Matter of Attitude” in DAILY GUIDEPOSTS 2010, p. 265).

 

My former neighbor Carla Gallemore had become blind as a result of “twilight sleep”, an anesthetic technique used during childbirth in the early twentieth century. “At one time I felt sight was my most precious gift, but I was wrong. Atittude is”, Carla said, and she proved it. Using a Braille typewriter, she wrote a very successful book, Once I Was Blind.

 

One day Carla called me and said, “Did you know The Miracle Worker is showing at the Fox? I’d like to see that movie.” “See it?” I asked. “Yes, I’ve learned to ‘see” with my ears and through other people’s eyes. I can follow a movie pretty well by listening. When I can’t, I’ll tap your arm and you can whisper to me what’s happening on the screen.”

 

So we went to the movie – the story of the young Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan – and found it to be extremely inspiring. I think Carla got more out of The Miracle Worker than I did, even though she had no sight. “It’s all a matter of attitude”, she said. “Keeping a hopeful mind and heart makes all the difference, whatever one’s handicap is.”

 

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Have we made the invocations of the blind man of Jericho our own: “Son of “David, have pity on me!” … “Lord, please let me see”?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus Master,

you made the blind man of Jericho “see”.

Your gift of sight and insight

enabled him to follow you,

giving glory to God.

Your marvelous work

inspired the people who witnessed it

to give praise to God.

Grant me the gift of sigh and insight.

Let my daily attitude

be permeated with faith and trust in you,

the light of my soul.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

Amen.  

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Lord, please let me see.” (Lk 18:41)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Exercise the gift of sight and insight by identifying one wonderful thing that happened to you today and by thanking God for it.

 

***

 

November 20, 2012: TUESDAY – WEEKDAY (33)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Saves the Lost”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Rv 3:1-6, 14-22 // Lk 19:1-10

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

The book Papa Mike was written by Mike McGarvin, the founder of Poverello House that serves the poor and the homeless in Fresno. Like Jesus, it is his mission to save the “lost”. Here is Papa Mike’s amusing account of a rescue.

 

One of the more disturbing events took place about half a block from Poverello. It was winter, and raining hard. The streets in that part of town often had poor drainage, and our block was exceptionally bad. I don’t remember why, but I was walking along F Street that day. I passed by a huge puddle that had formed in a gutter. It was clogged with leaves from the sycamore trees in the neighborhood, and for some reason I glanced down at the puddle. When I did, I spotted some bubbles coming up in the water. On closer inspection, I saw they were coming from a small fleshy object sticking out of the water. With a shudder, I realized that the object was the very tip of someone’s nose. I reached down in the puddle and pulled a man’s head out, grabbed the shoulders, and pulled him onto the sidewalk. The standing water had been so deep that he had been completely submerged except for his nose. He was covered with leaves, so that he was invisible to any passerby. He was still alive, but I couldn’t wake him up. I ran to the Poverello and called 911. He had apparently got drunk, passed out in the gutter and stayed there all night. As the rain began to pour down, he slept right through it. The water kept rising, and if I hadn’t seen him, he would have been completely under water in a few minutes. When the paramedics came, they took him to the hospital. He survived, but he had hypothermia.

 

Today’s Gospel reading presents another marginal who wants “to see” – just like the blind man at Jericho. The tax collector Zacchaeus wants specifically “to see” Jesus. Despised by others on account of his despicable trade, he seeks “to see” who Jesus is. Short in stature and impeded by a jostling crowd from “seeing” the Divine Master, he overcomes the difficulty by climbing a sycamore tree. When Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus is waiting, he looks up and, “seeing” him precariously perched on the tree, says: “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house”. The energetic tax collector responds to Jesus’ initiative by climbing down from the sycamore tree and by welcoming him into the banquet at his house. But more radically he renounces half of his possessions and makes a promise of four fold restitution to anyone he has defrauded. Zacchaeus great desire “to see” Jesus is fulfilled. He experiences a great joy because the Savior of the “lost” has cast a compassionate glance upon him and rescued him.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Are there moments in our life when we undergo the Zacchaeus experience and have tried to climb the “sycamore tree” in order “to see” Jesus? Identify them and relive the intense feelings and the challenges of these experiences. Personally and as a Church, in what ways do we participate in the saving mission of Jesus, the Son of Man who comes to seek and save what was lost?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Father,

at times we feel miserable and sinful, rejected and unloved.

But in your kindness,

you allow us to experience moments of truth and healing light.

We thank you for the Zacchaeus experience within us

of wanting “to see” Jesus.

We therefore climb the “sycamore tree” to have a glimpse of him

who comes to seek the lost.

In our precarious perch on the “sycamore tree” of our lonely life,

we await your saving presence

and your kind invitation to come down and be with you.

As your loving gaze enfolds us

and as we climb down toward your welcoming heart,

we rejoice that God’s love is bigger than our frailties.

Like the radically transformed Zacchaeus,

may we let go of all the burdens of the sinful past.

Fill us with the joy of salvation

as we hear you say:

“Today salvation has come to this house …

For the Son of Man has come

to seek and save what was lost.”

We love you, Father.

We bless you in the name of your Son Jesus

and in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

We adore you now and forever.

Amen.  

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“He was seeking to see who Jesus was.” (Lk 19:3)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

As a way of participating in the mission of the Son of Man who came to seek and save what was lost, you may contribute through prayers, material resources and volunteer services to the works of POVERELLO HOUSE in their ministry of providing food for the hungry and caring for the lost and the needy. Send any help to the following address:

 

            POVERELLO HOUSE

            P.O. Box 12225

            Fresno CA 93777-2225 

 

 

***

 

November 21, 2012: WEDNESDAY – THE PRESENTATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

 “JESUS SAVIOR: He Wants Us to Be Creatively Involved”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Rv 4:1-11 // Lk 19:11-28

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Today’s Gospel parable depicts the creative genius of God’s faithful servants as well as the disappointing cowardice of the feckless. The faithful servants are industrious and resourceful. Their creative use of the gold coins inspires us to be pro-active in dealing with the affairs of God’s kingdom. The “hole-in-the-ground” solution of the “play-it-safe” servant is downright disappointing. He does not dare to invest his talent, rationalizing that “what little talent I have will never be missed”. But this is not so.

 

According to the poet Michel Quoist (cf. “Breath of Life”) and paraphrasing him, if each note of music were to say “one note does not make a symphony”, there would be no symphony; if each word were to say “one word does not make a book”, there would be no book; if each brick were to say “one brick does not make a wall”, there would be no house; if each seed were to say “one grain does not make a field of corn”, there would be no harvest; if each one were to say “one act of love cannot save mankind”, there would never be justice and peace on earth.

 

Hence, with regards to the kingdom of God, we cannot remain uninvolved or partially involved; rather, we must be totally involved. Absolute personal commitment is required for salvation. It is exigent that we fully invest our talents to promote creatively and energetically the reign of God.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

What lesson do I derive from the actions of the faithful servants in the Gospel parable? What lesson do I glean from the stance of the “hole-in-the-ground” servant? 

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

 

O loving God,

we thank you for the creativity and wholehearted dedication

of the enterprising servants.

They teach us to be fruitfully involved

in the affairs of your kingdom.

Deliver us from the twisted logic

of the “hole-in-the-ground” servant.

That we may make a real impact in today’s history,

let us be personally involved in the advent of your kingdom.

Help us to use our talents fully and creatively

in the service of the Gospel.

For the kingdom, the power and glory are yours,

now and forever.

            Amen.     

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

            “Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter.” (Lk 19:17)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

List some talents you have received from the Lord, which you have utilized fully at the service of the Church and on behalf of the community. List some talents, which you have failed to use. Beg God’s mercy and pardon for your failure to maximize them. Resolve to use them for the service of the Gospel.

 

 

***

 

 November 22, 2012: THURSDAY – SAINT CECILIA, virgin, martyr

(In USA: Thanksgiving Day)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Weeps Over Jerusalem

 

BIBLE READINGS

Rv 5:1-10 // Lk 19:41-44

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Today’s Gospel is marked with pathos. Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem. His tears manifest his anguish, frustration and sorrow for an obdurate people who refuse the saving grace he offers. Unlike the blind man at Jericho and the tax collector Zacchaeus who were able to experience the gift of “seeing”, the leaders of the city remain “blind” because they have rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They refuse to acknowledge and “see” in his ministry the evidence of God’s benevolent plan. Jesus laments the impending destruction of Jerusalem. In rejecting him, the rebellious people likewise reject the “way” that leads to true peace and salvation. The leaders of Jerusalem choose instead armed resistance and violence, which would result in the total destruction of Jerusalem inflicted by the Roman general Titus and his army in 70 A.D.

 

The pathos in the following poem written by Judge Roy Moore from Alabama is akin to the anguished emotion of Jesus as he weeps over Jerusalem. Judge Moore was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom foyer. He has been stripped of his judgeship and now they are trying to strip his right to practice law in Alabama! The judge's poem sums it up quite well.

 

America the beautiful,
or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims' pride,
I'm glad they'll never see.

Babies piled in dumpsters,
Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty;
your house is on the sand.

Our children wander aimlessly
poisoned by cocaine
choosing to indulge their lusts,
when God has said abstain

From sea to shining sea,
our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God's love
and a need to always pray

We've kept God in our temples,
how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
and Heaven is His throne.


We've voted in a government
that's rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges
who throw reason out the door,

Too soft to place a killer
in a well-deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
before he leaves the womb.

You think that God's not angry,
that our land's a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
before His judgment comes?

How are we to face our God,
from Whom we cannot hide ?
What then is left for us to do,
but stem this evil tide ?

If we who are His children,
will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face
and mend our evil way:

Then God will hear from Heaven;
and forgive us of our sins,
He'll heal our sickly land
and those who live within....

But, America the Beautiful,
If you don't - then you will see,
A sad but Holy God
withdraw His hand from Thee.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we share the anguish of Jesus for those who reject his saving grace? What do we do to help a secularized world turn to God and be converted into his ways?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus Savior,

you wept over Jerusalem

for being blind to your gift of peace and salvation.

Give us the grace

to recognize your presence in our midst.

Let us follow your ways

and preserve us from destruction.

You are the Father’s benediction and blessing to us all.

We love you and thank you.

We resolve to follow you and serve you,

now and forever.

Amen.  

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Jesus saw the city and wept over it.” (Lk 19:41) 

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Manifest your acceptance of Jesus as Savior by your acts of justice and compassion on behalf of the poor. In USA make the celebration of “Thanksgiving Day” meaningful by sharing your goods with the poor and/or by welcoming the marginal at your table.

 

 

***

 

 

 November 23, 2012: FRIDAY – WEEKDAY (33); SAINT CLEMENT I, pope, martyr; SAINT COLUMBAN, abbot; BLESSED MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, priest, martyr (USA)

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Teaches Us True Worship”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Rv 10:8-11 // Lk 19:45-48

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Today’s Gospel depicts Jesus driving away those who have made his house of prayer into a “den of thieves”. The religious practices in Jerusalem temple have degenerated into a shameful market trafficking. Legal transactions in the name of religion, which trample the rights of the poor, are sanctioned and encouraged by temple authorities within its precincts. Jesus castigates the merchants for profaning the temple and the religious leader for degrading the meaning of worship. Indeed, the God of freedom, who brought Israel from the bondage in Egypt, would not settle for false worship. Moreover, the passionate character of the liberating God and the integrity of his covenant love would not tolerate abuse and injustice to the poor, especially when done in the guise of religion. But God is compassionate, full of mercy and love. Ever faithful and true, the almighty God does not turn away from his sinful people. He sends his Son Jesus to renew the broken covenant and to teach them true worship. In a radical manifestation of divine love, our Savior Jesus Christ offers “true worship” on the cross of salvation.

 

The following story entitled “A Sunday Stranger”, circulated on the Internet, gives idea on what true “worship” entails.

 

The parking lot filled rapidly on Sunday morning as members of the large church congregation filed into church. As usually happens in a church that size, each member had developed a certain comfort zone – a block of space within those four church walls that became theirs after the second or third sitting. It was as much a part of their experience as the recliner was to the television at home.

 

One morning a stranger stood at the edge of the parking lot near a dumpster. As families parked cars and piled out, they noticed him rummaging through the thrash. “Oh no, I don’t believe it”, whispered a lady to her husband. “That’s all we need – a bunch of homeless people milling around here.” One worried little girl tugged on her dad’s sleeve. “But Daddy …” Daddy was busy sizing up the bearded stranger, whose baggy, outdated trousers and faded flannel shirt had dusted too many park benches. “Don’t stare at him, honey”, he whispered, and hurried her inside. Soft music filled the high-ceilinged sanctuary as churchgoers settled in their usual spots.

 

The choir sand an opening chorus, “In his presence there is comfort … in his presence there is peace …” Sunlight flooded the center aisle. The double doors swung open and the homeless man, sloppy and stooped, headed toward the front. “Oh no, It’s him!” somebody muttered. “What does he think he’s doing, anyway?” snapped an incredulous usher. The stranger set his bagful of dumpster treasures on the very first pew, which had been upholstered in an expensive soft teal fabric just three months ago. The music stopped. And before anyone had a chance to react, he ambled up the stairs and stood behind the fine, hand-crafted podium, where he faced a wide-eyed congregation.

 

The disheveled stranger spoke haltingly at first, in a low, clear voice. Unbuttoning and removing his top layer of clothing, he described Jesus, and the love he has for all people. “Jesus possesses sensitivity and a love that far surpasses what any of us deserves.” Stepping out of the baggy old trousers, the stranger went on to describe a forgiveness that is available to each and every one of us … without strings attached.

 

“Unconditionally he loves us. Unconditionally he gave his very life for us. Unconditionally and forever, we can have the peace and assurance that no matter who we are, where we’ve come from, or how badly we may have mistreated others or ourselves, there is hope. In Jesus, there is always hope. You see, my friends, it is never too late to change”, the man continued. “He is the author of change, and the provider of forgiveness. He came to bring new meaning to life.”

 

Men and women squirmed as the reality hit them like an electric current. The stranger tugged at his knotted gray beard, and removed it. “I’m here to tell you that we are loved with a love far beyond human understanding, a love that enables us to accept and love others in return.” Then tenderly he added, “Let’s pray together.” That wise pastor – under the guise of a homeless “nobody” – did not preach a sermon that day, but every person left with plenty to think about.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

How does the episode of the cleansing of the Temple impact us? What are the various elements and areas in our personal lives that need “cleansing”? What does “worship” mean to us personally? Do we strive to render God “true worship”?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus,

you cleansed the temple from abusive merchants

and denounced false worship.

Purify us from hypocrisy and self-gain.

Teach us the meaning of true worship.

We can never truly love and praise you

if we continue to neglect the poor and marginal.

Give us the grace to make of our life

a pleasing “offering” to God.

You live and reign,

forever and ever.

            Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

            The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the week. Please memorize it.

 

“My house shall be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.” (Lk 19:46)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

By your acts of charity and animated by the spirit of true worship, contribute to the cleansing and rebuilding of God’s desecrated “temple” – today’s suffering people who are victims of crimes, violence, oppression, exploitation and injustice.

 

 

***

 

 

November 24, 2012: SATURDAY – SAINT ANDREW DUNG-LAC, priest, AND COMPANIONS, martyrs

“JESUS SAVIOR: He Affirms the Reality of the Resurrection”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Rv 11:4-12 // Lk 20:27-30

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

This happened in Veneto, Italy. Sr. Tiziana’s dad died of a massive stroke. Her mom was disconsolate and was crying her heart out at the funeral. Sr. Tiziana gently reminded her that the separation is temporary for she would be reunited with him in heaven. Her mom wailed: “But the Gospel says in the next life we will be like angels. In heaven, I will no longer be his wife.” Sr. Tiziana later confided: “I did not know what to say.” Of course, her mom’s fear of cessation of the relationship is unfounded. True love never ends.

 

Today’s Gospel deals with the resurrection of the dead, a faith reality that surpasses human understanding. The Sadducees, a group of religious leaders who deny the existence of resurrected life, are bent on engaging Jesus in a reductio-ad-absurdum argument against the later doctrine of bodily resurrection. If there is a “resurrection” there would be struggles in heaven over marriage partners. Jesus’ first rebuttal also uses a reductio-ad-absurdum tactic. The Divine Master argues that the next existence, which has no place for death, makes marriage and remarriage irrelevant. He reduces to pieces the basic premise of the Sadducees that the life of the age to come is merely a continuation of this life and therefore needs marriage and human propagation lest it die out. The second rebuttal of Jesus is derived from the Torah. Since the Sadducees hold only to the Law of Moses, Jesus utilizes that to bolster his argument about the resurrected life. When God says: “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” this implies that his relationship with these patriarchs is everlasting and personal. God does not lose his friends to death. They live on and this is made possible through the Messiah’s resurrection.

 

It is through the resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God that we are brought to true and eternal life. Our belief in our resurrection is based on our faith in the resurrected Christ. Harold Buetow remarks: “Christian belief in immortality is unique and special. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Good News of fullness of life in this age, and of the resurrection in the age to come. For us death is a door, not a wall – not a wall that ends growth and action like the Berlin wall, but a door into a Christmas-tree room full of surprises. Someone has compared death to standing on the seashore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the open sea. She fades on the horizon, and some one says, ‘She’s gone.’ Just at the moment when someone says, ‘She’s gone’, other voices who are watching at her coming on another shore happily shout, ‘Here she comes’. Or to use another metaphor, what the caterpillar calls ‘the end’, the butterfly calls the ‘beginning’.”

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

What is our concept of death and dying? Is this concept illumined by faith in the living God, in whom all are alive? Do we believe that our future resurrected life will be that of “a person with a wholly illuminated soul” – when we are closer to being children of God and able to respond to the divine loving plan for each of us? How authentic is our liturgical confession: We believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting? How does this eschatological belief affect our daily living here and now? 

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Father,

you are the God of the living, not of the dead.

In Jesus, your Son and our Savior,

we live and move.

Help us to look forward to the resurrected life,

when all that is best in us will come through

and each of us will become

“a person with a wholly illuminated soul”.

May the Risen Christ whom we celebrate in every Eucharist

bring about more and more

our own resurrection and transformation.

In our work for justice and truth in today’s wounded world,

may we always give you glory and praise,

now and forever.

Amen.  

 

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Lk 20:38)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for widows/widowers who have lost their partners and are grieving for them. Pray for the grace of a happy death and a deeper experience of trust in Jesus’ almighty Father, the God of the living. In the month of November, visit a cemetery. Pray for the repose of the soul of the beloved dead and thank God for being the God of the living, and not God of the dead.  

 

 

***

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM

 

 

PIAE DISCIPULAE DIVINI MAGISTRI

SISTER DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER

60 Sunset Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314

Tel. (718) 494-8597 // (718) 761-2323

Website: WWW.PDDM.US

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