Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday word, 29 Oct 16

Thirtieth Saturday of the Year (29 Oct 2016) Phil 1. 18b-26; Ps 42; Lk 14. 1, 7-11
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J. during 40-day Institute, Guelph, Ontario
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This may be others’ experience, too: when I thirst not every beverage slakes and satisfies it. If I’ve eaten something salty, a room temperature beverage does the trick. At other times only an icy drink quenches a thirst. If I am congested, citrus helps cool water quench my thirst in an unmatched way. I feel thirsty, yet noticing what led to my thirst allows me to choose the beverage that satisfies it.

Solitude with our triune God helps us notice more real thirsts, spiritual thirsts: how our hearts long; things on which we set our hearts. Today’s scriptures contrast the true object of our interior affections with false ones. The Psalmist was succinct: My soul is thirsting for the living God. Jesus told a parable at a sabbath meal at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. Jesus had noticed guests thirsted deeply for something shallow: they vied for seats of honor. Jesus rebuked Pharisees for seeking honor and prestige. Honor and prestige are spiritual, interior thirsts with which we contend. Christian humility—that alert, active way one joins Jesus on mission—Christian humility slakes those thirsts not our heady cocktails nor those the enemy of our human nature offers. Jesus desires his humility for us.

This is remarkable: we hear Jesus at his supper. Invited to his meal reminds us Jesus holds us dear. Our Friend speaks lovingly to us no matter how we may receive his words at first—and even after his supper. Jesus desires our thirsts be his thirsts. He longs for us to share with others the nourishment we receive from him. Jesus is confident we will do his work.

After each of us recovers from that—Jesus has confidence in me!—we may seek a model on whom to pattern ourselves. Jesus’ meal today offers the Philippians’ dearest friend: Apostle Paul modeled humble confidence. He was hard pressed, caught between…living with Christ beyond the world and its thirsts, concerns and honors and remaining in the world to announce Christ Jesus and his good news. To announce Christ Jesus is genuinely good; for Paul, that fruitful labor  in the world was more necessary to benefit everyone.

Our circumstances may cause us to thirst: for a good life, for love, for respect, for integrity—each one can name what grace has been revealing these days. Allowing Christ Jesus to be necessary for us and to desire to make him better known through our choices and actions offer us perspective on our thirsts; allowing Christ Jesus to be necessary for us contemporary apostles also guides us to quench our thirsts, even inordinate ones which often feel relentless. No matter any of our thirsts: keep close to Jesus.

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