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Sunday, 11/11/2018, Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

What God Does

Commentary for 1 Kings 17:10-16

The theme of today’s liturgy is a question. That question is: how much are we willing to give to God and how much are we willing to do for God?

A poor woman was approached by Elijah who asked her to make him a small cake. The woman had just enough flour and oil to make a meal for, herself and her son. She told Elijah that after they had eaten, they would die meaning that she had no idea where their next meal would come from and that they would starve to death.

Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid…For the LORD…says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry.’” So, the woman did as Elijah asked and her jar did not go empty and her jug did not run dry and there was enough for her and her son and Elijah to eat for a year.

This is what I call an action prophecy because it does not simply tell of the coming of Christ or what He will do. Instead, a miracle took place which Christ repeated when He came. In fact, Christ repeated this miracle more than once. Remember the Feeding of the Four Thousand and the Feeding of the Five Thousand?

This action prophecy is also a forerunner to other things which Christ did here on earth. Remember the Woman at the Well who Christ approached? She had a different kind of poverty for she was in grave sin but she was blessed with abundance in the form of forgiveness.

Then there is the woman who Jesus speaks about in today’s gospel. Like the woman who was approached by Elijah, she gave everything that she had.

What is the common denominator between the woman at the well and the woman approached by Elijah and the woman who gave everything in today’s gospel? It is: faith! They were not afraid because of their faith.

We know that God will provide but many of us are too afraid to believe that in our hearts. Some of us are afraid to give more than we do to Church because it does not fit our budget and we are afraid of the consequences. Some of us are full of excuses as to why we can’t find the time to do more for our church because we are afraid of loosing social status if we don’t do something else with other people or we simply don't want to.

Whatever it is that makes us fail to give, we should put it aside and look at the women in today’s liturgy for inspiration. Remember what Elijah told the woman, “Do not be afraid” and what Pope St. John Paul II said, “Be not afraid.” God will provide. We may not see it in the worldly way that we would like but God will provide something much better and He will provide in abundance. That is what God does to those with enough faith to not be afraid.

The Perfect Gift

Commentary for Hebrews 9:24-28

Two weeks ago, we were reminded that Jesus is our Great High Priest in heaven according to the order of Melchizedek and that Jesus is also the Lamb who sacrificed Himself for our sake.

Today, Hebrews reminds us of that once again by telling us that Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by human hands, but heaven itself not so that He could offer Himself repeatedly with blood that was not His own but by His own sacrifice.

Hebrews goes on to tell us that Christ died to this life once for our salvation because we die to this life only once. We have two lives. This life here on earth which is temporary and the life after which is eternal. It is because of the second life that Christ will come again. As Hebrews tells us, Christ will not return to take away sin. That was done when Christ gave His life on the cross.

When Christ comes again, He will be coming to fulfill the promise of salvation. That promise was first made by God the Father in Genesis 3:15 where the woman is Mary and her offspring is Jesus. The Father’s promise was repeated many times throughout the Old Testament.   

Jesus promised to completely fulfill the Father’s promise when He delivered His Sermon on the Mount giving us the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12. The Beatitudes are the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven.

You may say, “Yeah, we know that but what does that have to do with today’s first reading and today’s gospel?” Hebrews reminds us that Christ did not enter the sanctuary with blood that was not His own. Christ made Himself the sacrifice because the only sacrifice that could cleanse the world of its sins had to be absolutely perfect and pure. Only He could be the Lamb that would take away the sins of the world.

In today’s gospel, Jesus points out that the woman’s contribution was more valuable than anyone else’s because she gave all that she had but the others were giving from their surpluses. That made their contributions less than perfect.

We cannot be perfect because God did not make us that way. But we can give ourselves to God totally and completely just as He gave Himself to us, totally and completely. And, that is exactly what God wants us to do. We make ourselves perfect to Him by giving ourselves away to Him and in return, God gives us His Kingdom.

Giving from the Heart

Commentary for Mark 12:41-44

Jesus told the crowds to beware of the scribes who like to go around making a big deal of themselves at the expense of other people while reciting lengthy prayers. He was calling the scribes out as being phonies and hypocrites. Hypocrites because: they were not honest with the people or with God because: they were not sincere from the heart. As a result, their prayers meant nothing.

Then Jesus watched the wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury. But there was also a poor widow who put two small coins into the treasury. Jesus said that the poor widow had put in more than the rest because the wealthy had given from their surplus whereas the poor widow had given her whole livelihood.

Jesus was making the point that the wealthy were putting on a pretentious show. They wanted everyone to see how great their offerings were. But in fact, their offerings meant nothing because they did not give from the heart. In fact, what they offered was not even important to; themselves. The poor widow however, gave from her heart. What she gave meant everything to her because it was all that she had.

Are we like the poor widow when we give of ourselves to God? Or do we limit what we give to what is not important to us anyway? Are we like the scribes, always looking for status so that we can be put into high places that we do not deserve? Are we willing to give everything up to be with God or will we take our last breath trying to hold on to things of this world which mean nothing in heaven?

Now that does not mean that we should drop everything and go and give everything that we own away. If we were to do something like that, we may find ourselves without a roof over our heads and that is not what Jesus was telling us to do.

Jesus does want us to understand that everything of this world came from Him together with the Father. More importantly, Jesus wants us to understand that our lives came from Him together with the Father. Our lives were given to us so that we might be with the Father and the Son in the Kingdom of Heaven. But if we are to do that, we must be willing to give up everything with humility. Jesus used this teaching to tell us once again that in order to have eternal life with Him in His Kingdom; we must die to this life meaning that we must die to sin.

Reading 1          1 Kings 17:10-16

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.
As he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her, "Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink."
She left to get it, and he called out after her, "Please bring along a bit of bread."
She answered, "As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug.
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die."
Elijah said to her, "Do not be afraid.
Go and do as you propose.
But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, 'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'"
She left and did as Elijah had said.
She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.

Responsorial Psalm          Psalm 146:7-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia.

The LORD keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia.

The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down; the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia.

The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul! or: R. Alleluia.

Reading 2          Hebrews 9:24-28

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Gospel          Mark 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation."

He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."

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The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Paragraph 767 "When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

The Holy Spirit came to Mary and the Apostles as tongues of fire.

Saint of the Day

St. Martin of Tours
(c. 316 – November 8, 397)
Patron Saint of:
Horses, Soldiers & South Africa

Are we like the poor widow who was not afraid to give everything for the LORD?

Jesus gave His blood on the cross because only He could be the perfect sacrifice.

Alleluia Matthew 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

The poor widow's two coins were worth more than what anyone else gave because she gave all that she had from her heart.

Saints of the Week

St. Josaphat

(c. 1850 - 11/12/1623)

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

(7/15/1850 - 10/22/1917)
Patron Saint of:
Hospital administrators, Immigrants & Impossible causes

St. Gertrude the Great

(1/6/1256 – 11/17/1302)

St.Albert the Great
(1206 – 11/15/1280)
Patron Saint of: Medical Technicians, Philosophers, Scientists

St. Margaret of Scotland
(1045 – 11/16/1093)

St. Elizabeth of Hungary
(1207 – 11/17/1231)
Patron Saint of: Bakers,
Catholic Charities & Secular Franciscan Order

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