Vol.5 No.9

Vol.5 No.9

Gospel Reflection—Mark 12:38-44
32nd Sunday Ordinary Time—November 8, 2015

“Heaven’s Uncountable Multitude: the Communion of Saints.”
Presented By Dr. Matthew Baugh, S.J.
Outline included here—Video will be available soon!
Spiritual Exercise
Accompany this widow before entering the Temple and after leaving

Two Ultimate Dispositions
Final week of Jesus’ life
Full of conflict in the Temple
Rigged questions about his authority, paying taxes to Caesar, the resurrection

Culminates in a warning:
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers.”
(Mk 12:38-40)

Time of Contemplation
Sits down to observe the “multitude”
Evidence of the attitude he has just warned about
But then—a surprise!
Openness to the Holy Spirit moves him to call attention to it, just as in other encounters (e.g., Mt 15:28, Mt 8:10)
Here are the two ultimate dispositions of the human person
Looking after what I like to have
Giving everything away
Admirable, but surely there is a prudent, reasonable middle ground?
Give some and keep some for myself

Widows & the Marriage Feast of Heaven
Analogy of Marriage
Total gift of self required
“I do” not “Click accept to agree to the terms and conditions”
Thought experiment: pre-nuptial agreement
Heaven’s Marriage Feast
“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder peals, crying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.’” (Rev 19:6-70
Less well suited to be a bride according to conventional wisdom
Age, emotional baggage, financial woes, second-hand status
In heaven’s logic, even better prepared than a young girl
Wants only one thing: her husband—
– What about me? —-
What do I need in addition to the Lord?
Health and long life?
Good reputation?
Material comfort, even little luxuries?
Where do I draw the line?

Saying “Yes” Without Conditions
“In the Bible it is God who chooses people in both the Old and New Covenants. He chooses great and small, known and unknown, pious and sinners. God’s choice is grace, and grace is twofold: it is a particular task and the ability to embrace it and carry it out. Qualified Christian holiness begins with man’s free “Yes” to his election and his faithfulness in carrying out his commission. It would be quite wrong to say that this “Yes” is equally weak and feeble in all who are thus called; on the contrary: some give a full “Yes”, others a clear “No”; others say, “Perhaps”; one says, “Not now, but later”, or, “Yes in part”. Those who utter a wholehearted “Yes” will sometimes stumble or hesitate or fail to live up to their first ideal, but grace will help them up again. They will stick to their path, and very often it is the case that God’s task takes over and relentlessly drags their poor, protesting person ever onward. Thus God has gained the upper hand in them over themselves. It is not they who possess a mission, but their mission possesses them.” (Hans Urs von Balthasar, “God’s Holiness in Us,” You Crown the Year with Your Goodness, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989.)

The Clothing of the Saints
“It was granted [the Bride] to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure’— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” (Rev 19:8-9)

Pope Benedict: “All people desire to leave a lasting mark. But what endures? Money does not. Even buildings do not, nor books. After a certain time, longer or shorter, all these things disappear. The only thing that lasts for ever is the human soul, the human person created by God for eternity. The fruit that endures is therefore all that we have sown in human souls: love, knowledge, a gesture capable of touching hearts, words that open the soul to joy in the Lord. So let us go and pray to the Lord to help us bear fruit that endures. […] Truly, the love and friendship of God was given to us so that it might also be shared with others. We have received the faith to give it to others…” (Homily for Election of the Roman Pontiff, 18 April 2005)

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