Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday word, 21 Nov 2007

Presentation of the BVM (21 Nov 2007) 2Mc 7. 1,20-31; Ps 17; Lk 19. 11-28
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Exercising Faithfully

What scene in Luke’s gospel do you think follows this scene and parable of Jesus? It’s introduction is a big hint: While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem. Yes! Jesus’ entry into that city, hailed as king. Jesus’ parable is about his kingship, which he receives without delay: A nobleman [hear Jesus] went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return.

Those who would cheer him as king were fickle; they stopped cheering him when the leaders denounced him. Jesus’ true kingship was not earthbound and the first to rule with him--to use the language of his parable--were the Twelve, who used their faithful inheritance--their royal possessions, to use the imagery of his parable.

The parable reminds us contemporary disciples to use our royal inheritance faithfully. Fidelity may cost us, as the first reading made clear. Something easy to miss is the mother’s faithful assertion that God’s creative word gives us life.

Recalling that God creates us at each moment, that God inspires us with life helps connect us with our Creator and Redeemer in all circumstances. Recalling that God creates us at each moment inspires us to exercise faithfully our royal inheritance: the life of our risen Lord, which is ours from baptism.

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary offers us hope as we recall her dedication to God. That’s what presentation ritually celebrated: dedication. This memorial helps us limited humans recall Mary’s dedication to God at her Immaculate Conception, at her birth; plus her freely faithful exercise of it at her Annunciation.

The mystery of the Incarnation is not confined to Mary, even though her role in it is unique. She is our mother, given to us by her Son from his cross. As her children we share her splendor. Not only does God create us; God sanctifies us so we are temples, wombs of Jesus’ real presence, who give birth to Jesus by our deeds.
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