Reflection for Friday, November 18, 2022: 33rd Week of Ordinary Time.
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|A couple of weeks ago, on the Solemnity of All Saints, I attended noon Mass at a parish nearby my place of work. In the middle of what was a busy day (per usual) I was surprised and delighted at the day's gospel. It was from Matthew; the Beatitudes. I don't know about you, but I hang on these words of Jesus. Mind you, my execution of them can be downright awful, but these are in large part the 'heart of the matter' for me. Perhaps this is why I so related to the last sentence of today's gospel from Luke: The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.|As sweet as the Beatitudes are, there is - as John recounts today in Revelation - a sourness as well. The mourning may be comforted, but that of course implies sorrow. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness may be promised satisfaction, yet that implies a deep dissatisfaction will, first, be theirs. The persecuted may be blessed, but they will undergo suffering. This duality - sweetness and sourness - is recognized in the note on John's passage from today: The small scroll was sweet because it predicted the final victory of God's people; it was sour because it also announced their sufferings.|Embracing the sweetness is easy; the suffering, not so much. I flee from suffering. I resist suffering. But no matter how quickly I flee, it is quicker. No matter how hard I resist, it pushes back all the more. Jesus would sympathize (Let this cup pass from me...). But Jesus' resistance does not win out, and nor should ours. Better than any, Jesus knew the sweetness of the Father's promise, and just as he embraced the promise of the Father, he embraced his cross. So for me today (and every day), the question - the challenge - remains:|I can hang on Jesus' words. Can I hang on my cross as well?
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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