THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK November 5-11, 2017


building peaceThe readings this Sunday are strong on living what we preach and giving good example and being humble. If we set high standards for others, we have to be sure to live up to them ourselves.  Otherwise, we are hypocrites.  The Prophet Malachi 1: 14; 2: 8-10 chastises the leaders of the people for being hypocrites. They are reminded that all are created equal and have one Father, God.  They are asked, Why do you break faith with one another, violating the covenant of our fathers?    

In Matthew 23: 9-10 Jesus cautions against hypocritical behavior:  performing good acts to be seen, seeking places of honor, desiring to be saluted as a great person, strutting around to be seen as someone worthy of praise and oppressing others with heavy burdens one does not wish to carry.  Jesus gives the formula for behavior in his kingdom, The greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

The Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John holds many mysteries and meaning for the community of the faithful.  Emperor Constantine gave the Palace of the Laterani to the Church in the 4th century.  Subsequently, the basilica, baptistery and residence of the popes were built on this property in Rome.  It was the first church built after Constantine freed Christianity from persecution in the Roman empire. It was named the Church of the Holy Savior and was only associated with St. John the Baptist in the 10th century and St. John the Evangelist in the 12th century. It ceased to be the Seat of the Papacy in the 14th century when it was moved to Avignon, France.  This Church is the mother and mistress of all churches of Rome and the world.  It is the Cathedral of Pope Francis.  The stone edifice of the church is the symbol of the spiritual edifice of the church of which Jesus is the cornerstone and its members, the living stones. 1 Cor. 3: 9-11; 16-17 We are that “edifice,” and each time we gather in our physical church building, it should remind us of this mystery and our baptism.  This is a good day to renew our baptismal vows.

St. Leo the Great is the pope in 5th century who persuaded Attila the Hun at the gates of Rome to turn back.  This attests to his great eloquence and ability to proclaim clearly the truths of the Gospel.  Later while the Vandals occupied Rome, he persuaded them not to destroy the city or harm the citizens.  He was the pope who clarified and promoted the doctrine of the Incarnation.  He convinced the Emperor Valentinian to declare the primacy of the bishop of Rome. His papacy is considered one of the most important in the history of the Church.

St. Martin of Tours was born in the 4th century to a pagan family in Hungary, but they moved to northern Italy.  At the age of ten he became a Christian.  When he was fifteen he had to follow his father into the Roman military.  While traveling one day, he encounters a naked beggar and he cuts half of his cloak to share with the beggar.  He is most often pictured performing this charitable act.  At age of twenty he refuses to enter battle and carry weapons.  He is the first recorded conscientious objector and is patron of these people.  When released from the military, he goes to Tours, France and hopes to live as a monastic, but God had other plans for him.  The people wanted him for their bishop, but he refused.  So, they tricked him and called him to attend the sick.  They captured him and he was ordained and consecrated bishop.  He was an excellent leader and divided his bishopric into parishes, thus, sharing authority with other priests.

As IMG_0444.JPGwe remember our Veterans on the 10th and 11th, may we ask God to grant them many blessings and healing from the trauma of war.  May our government see fit to place them on a priority list of care and benefits for their sacrifices for our freedom.

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