Gospel: For many people this year, Thanksgiving may be hard. In fact, the holidays overall can be hard for many people. In today's Gospel, which, like all the readings at the end of the liturgical year, focus on the "end times," Jesus reminds us of an often forgotten....
...Christian virtue: perseverance. "By your perseverance you will secure your lives," he says. (Lk 21). Jesus is speaking mainly about perseverance in the face of persecution, but it's an important goal in any life. As St. Ignatius point out, God's spirit is manifest whenever...
...we feel uplifted, encouraged or hopeful. God's spirit "builds us up." By contrast, the spirit that moves us away from God is the spirit of hopelessness, defeatism, despair. Pay attention to those movements and always follow God's voice. And persevere.
Image: A volunteer making soup for the needy at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Mexico City in 2020. (@CatholicNewsSvc photo/David Agren)

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More from @JamesMartinSJ

23 Nov
Gospel: As we near the end of the liturgical year, the readings focus on Jesus's words about the "end times," as today (Lk 21). When Luke's Gospel was written (around AD 85) the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple had already occurred. So what meaning does Jesus's predictions...
...about the fall of the Temple have for us today? Luke Timothy Johnson in "Sacra Pagina" offers us a good summary:

"For most of Luke's readers ... the fact that these events occurred, and in a way consistent with the words of Jesus, must have had a powerful impact...
"In the first place, it demonstrated graphically how the rejection of the Prophet *did* lead to the rejection of the rejectors, and thus validate Jesus's prophetic claims. In the second place, it lent more weight to predictions concerning the coming of the Son of Man...
Read 4 tweets
22 Nov
As I see it, wearing a Pride shirt is not against any church teaching. Pride shirts and rainbow images are one way for members of a persecuted group to see themselves as beloved children of God. As for the argument that pride equals vanity and is thus sinful...
...the idea of LGBTQ pride is along the same lines as "I'm proud to be Irish." Feelings of value are essential for a group of people, especially youth, who are often told that they're sinful simply for being who they are. Rather, as Psalm 139 says, they are "wonderfully made"....
We also have to remember the high suicide rates among LGBTQ youth, often for this very reason: they are told by many in authority, including religious authorities, that they have no value, and should take no pride in who they are or how God created them...
Read 7 tweets
22 Nov
Gospel: Today's story of the "widow's mite," where a poor widow gave "from her poverty" to the Temple, is often held up as Jesus's praise of her generosity (Lk 21). But is it? Some NT scholars say Jesus is actually critiquing religious authorities who are exploiting the poor....
Luke likely got the story from Mark. And Luke Timothy Johnson in "Sacra Pagina" notes that Luke follows Mark's order in this part of his narrative "carefully."

The entry from "Sacra Pagina" (Donahue and Harrington) on the original passage in Mark 12 (41-44) is eye-opening...
"The widow is surely generous. But is she generous to a fault? Does Jesus really approve her action? Thus far in Mark 11-12 the Jerusalem Temple and its officials have been treated...
Read 7 tweets
19 Nov
Gospel: "My house shall be a house of prayer," says Jesus today, quoting Isaiah (Lk 19).

I always think of the Jesuit Community at St. Mary’s Hall at @BostonCollege when I read this passage. On the first floor is a huge iron gate, the old demarcation of the "cloister..." Image
...the dividing line between the public space and the private Jesuit rooms, which reads: “Domus Mea Domus Orationis.”

I was very impressed when I saw that as a first-year novice in the old New England Province. First, because I had never seen anything remotely like it before...
...and second, because I had no idea what the Latin meant. On my first visit, one old Jesuit priest was giving us novices a tour. He pointed to the sign, thoughtfully translated it for us, and then said, “House of Prayer? Well, at least trying not to be a Den of Thieves!”
Read 8 tweets
16 Nov
Gospel: Here is something that may upend how you see today's Gospel, the story of Zacchaeus (Lk 19). Basically, the translations that most Bibles use are inaccurate, as Joseph Fitzmyer, SJ, points out in The Anchor Bible Series; as does Luke Timothy Johnson in Sacra Pagina...
The usual translation is that upon being welcomed by Jesus, Zacchaeus undergoes a conversion experience, and promises to give half of his money to the poor and repay anyone he has defrauded four times over--in the future. Here is the NAB, which we read at Mass today:
"Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much."

But that's not accurate. As Johnson writes, "In both sentences Zacchaeus uses the present tense..."
Read 8 tweets
16 Nov
On a day when Pope Francis praised the new book of
@MikeOLoughlin, an openly gay man, I was happy to participate in a panel at Gesu Church, a Jesuit parish in Detroit, on welcoming #LGBTQ parishioners. More on Gesu here: gesudetroit.com
Here is the beautiful welcome statement from Gesu's website:

"You are welcome! Reflecting the welcome that Jesus Christ offers to all, Gesu Parish welcomes every person to seek full participation in our parish community and within the Body of Christ....
"We believe that all are worthy of respect and love, because all are created in the image of God. Our welcome is not limited by a person's age, sex, race, cultural background, physical or mental health or ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, social or economic....
Read 5 tweets

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