Hear the Word: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Charles Paolino on Nov 6, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the First Book of Kings

(Chapter 17:10-16)

Like many passages in scripture, this one delivers messages in layers. One layer has to do with the immediate circumstances of the prophet Elijah. This prophet had invoked the wrath of Ahab, king of Israel, who had married a Phoenician woman, Jezebel, and turned to worship of Baal. Elijah, on God’s instructions, declared that, until Elijah said otherwise, there would be a drought in the land. Also on God’s instructions, Elijah sought out the widow mentioned in this passage while hiding from Ahab.

The lesson more immediate to us, however, is found in the humility and generosity of the widow, a Gentile, who risked her life and the life of her son by giving Elijah something to eat. Jesus would call attention to this incident as a sign that God’s mercy extends beyond Israel—a radical idea at the time. (Luke 4:26) Moreover, Jesus calls his disciples—that’s us—to the same level of generosity, which we see demonstrated again in today’s gospel reading.

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 146)

“The Lord secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry …. gives sight to the blind …. Raises up those who were bowed down …. protects strangers.” God’s own mercy is magnified by the extent to which we participate in it. So many people are without homes or food or health care. So many are marginalized, neglected, mistreated, only because they are “other”—they speak a different language, wear different clothes, or have a different complexion than the dominant population. It’s an enormous problem, but ours are the lips, hands, and feet with which God can address it. 

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Topics: humble life, humility, RENEW International, The Everyday Gospel: Deacon Charles Paolino, meek and humble of heart

'Hear the Word!' by Bill Ayres: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted by Bill Ayres on Sep 18, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A reading from the Book of Wisdom

(Chapter 2:12, 17-20)

This book was written less than a century before the birth of Jesus. Once again, the people of Israel were oppressed, this time by the Greeks who forced many Jews to choose between giving up their faith and death. In this text, the faithful person is characterized by his enemies as “the just one.” Such a person will be tortured and condemned “to a shameful death.” The disciples of Jesus later referred to Jesus as the “just one” because of the way he was abused and murdered.

In our own time, we have seen “just ones” persecuted and killed for standing up for justice and human rights. They are the prophets and martyrs among us whose cause is just and whose message must be heard and followed. Archbishop Romero and the three religious women who were killed in El Salvador come to mind, but there are hundreds and thousands more who are nameless to us but whose sacrifice is in the tradition of Jesus, the “just one.”

Responsorial Psalm

(Psalm 54)

“The Lord upholds my life.” The psalmist complains that “the haughty have risen up against me, the ruthless seek my life.” This is in keeping with the theme of the “just one” being attacked. Has that happened to you, that you were accused of something unjustly? It happens to most of us at some time in our lives. The key to making it through is knowing that “The Lord upholds my life.”

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Topics: Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, humility, RENEW International, the just one

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