Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday word, 20 Nov 2007

33d Tuesday (20 Nov 2007) 2Mc 6. 18-31; Ps 3; Lk 19. 1-10
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

We heard Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus on the first Sunday of this month. I’d like us to note today that it was one memory of Jesus connecting himself and his ministry with the people Israel. Luke made the connection clear with a word, which was also a name--Abraham: Jesus said to [Zacchaeus], “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.”

The story of Abraham and the people who traced themselves to him was one of salvation. It began clearly enough when God liberated the ragtag band enslaved by the Egyptians. It was more than a physical salvation. It was an interior one. It was also not only individual; it was communal--house suggests more than a building. House suggests an assembly of people, as in the House of Commons, and also lineage, the way royal families are named: House of Windsor; House of David.

Jesus revealed God’s desire, and in revealing it Jesus fulfilled and completed it. One might say that Jesus brought everyone into God’s house, allowed all people to be related.

The consequences of our family loyalty to God and to one another can be sharp. As Jesus reminded us Sunday: You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives./1/

Our first reading from the Second Book of Maccabees paints that consequence in capital letters to be sure. Notice that its brush is one person, Eleazar; its paints are loyalty to God’s ways as the people lived them; and its canvas is courage and virtue: his death [was] a model of courage and an unforgettable example of virtue not only for the young but for the whole nation. Salvation for one affects everyone.

/1/ Luke 21.17-19.
Wiki-image of Abraham is used according to the terms of Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Germany and GDFL.

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