Thursday, 8 November 2012

The power of giving

Readings for Sunday, November 11, 2012
 
          Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

            It-32 Ħadd matul is-Sena   - Sena'B'
           Messalin B   pp 509


Reading 1 - 1 Kings 17:10-16

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the entrance of the city,
a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her, "Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink." She left to get it, and he called out after her, "Please bring along a bit of bread." She answered, "As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die." Elijah said to her, "Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, 'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'" She left and did as Elijah had said. She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.
                                
L-Ewwel Qari -  mill-Ewwel Ktieb tas-Slaten (17, 10-16)

F'dak iż-żmien, il-Profeta Elija qam u rħiela lejn Sarefta.  Kif wasal ħdejn il-bieb tal-belt,
kien hemm waħda armla tiġbor il-ħatab. Elija sejħilha u qalilha:  "Jekk jogħġbok, ġibli f'bieqja belgħa ilma x'nixrob!"  Hi u sejra, Elija raġa' sejħilha u qalilha: "Ġibli wkoll, jekk jogħġbok, kisra ħobż f'idejk!" Hija wieġbet:  "Daqskemm hu ħaj il-Mulej, Alla tiegħek,ma għandi xejn  maħbuż; qabda dqiq f'ġarra u ftit żejt fil-kus kulma baqagħli. Ara, qiegħda niġbor biċċtejn ħatab; issa nħejji xi ħaġa għalija u għal ibni; u mbagħad nikluha u mmutu." Elija wieġeb:   "La tibżax, mur u agħmel kif għidtli;   imma qabel  agħmel ftira żgħira għalija, u ġibhieli. Imbagħad agħmel għalik u għal ibnek. Għax din hi l-kelma tal-Mulej, Alla ta' Israel: Il-ġarra tad-dqiq ma tintemm qatt, u l-kus taż-żejt ma jitbattalx, sa dakinhar li l-Mulej jibgħat ix-xita fil-pajjiż." U dik marret u għamlet kif qalilha Elija. Damu jieklu għal żmien, hi u hu u darha  kollha. U l-ġarra tad-dqiq ma ntemmitx, u l-kus taż-żejt ma tbattalx, kif  kien qal il-Mulej permezz ta' Elija.        Il-Kelma tal-Mulej
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Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.                            
R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!         

The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.                
R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!         

The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion,
through all generations. Alleluia.           
R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!         

Salm Responsorjali  (Salm145   (146)    

Il-Mulej  jagħmel ħaqq lill-maħqurin,
u jagħti l-ħobż lill-imġewħin.
Il Mulej jeħles lill-imjassrin.      
R/         Faħħar, ruħ tiegħi, il Mulej.                

Il-Mulej jiftaħ għajnejn l-għomja.
Il-Mulej jerfa' lill-milwijin,
Il-Mulej iħobb lill-ġusti.
Il-Mulej iħares lill-barranin.                               
R/         Faħħar, ruħ tiegħi, il Mulej.    

Il-Mulej iżomm lill-iltim u lill-armla,
imma lill-ħżiena jħarbatilhom triqathom.
Il-Mulej isaltan għal dejjem,
Alla tiegħek, Sijon,minn nisel għal nisel.
R/                   Faħħar, ruħ tiegħi, il Mulej.
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Reading 2 - Hebrews 9:24-28

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf. Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice. Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

It-Tieni Qari  -  mill-Ittra lill-Lhud (9, 24-28)

Kristu ma daħalx f'santwarju magħmul b'idejn il-bnedmin, li hu biss xhieda tas-santwarju veru,
imma daħal  fis-sema stess, biex issa jidher għalina quddiem Alla. U  daħal hemm  mhux biex minn  żmien għal żmien joffri lilu nnifsu bħalma l-qassis il-kbir jidħol  kull sena fiss-santwarju  biex joffri demm ħaddieħor. Li  kieku kien hekk, kien ikollu jbati ħafna drabi sa mill-ħolqien tad-dinja. Iżda issa deher  darba għal dejjem, meta waslet il-milja taż-żminijiet,  biex  ineħħi d-dnub bis-sagrifiċċju tiegħu nnifsu. U kif hu miktub għall-bnedmin li għandhom  imutu darba biss, u wara dan isir il-ġudizzju, hekk ukoll Kristu,  wara li offra lilu nnifsu darba biss  biex jitgħabba bid-dnubiet tal-kotra, għad jerġa' jidher darb'oħra, mhux biex ineħħi d-dnubiet, imma biex isalva lil dawk li qegħdin jistennewh bil-ħerqa. Il-Kelma tal-Mulej
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Gospel - Mark 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation."  He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood."

L-Evanġelju -  skond San Mark (12,  38-44)

F'dak iż-żmien,  Ġesu' kien qiegħed jgħallem u jgħid: "Iftħu għajnejkom mill-kittieba, li  jħobbu jduru mat-toroq bi lbies twal, jixtiequ min isellmilhom fil-pjazez, u fis-sinagogi joqogħdu  fis-siġġijiet ta' quddiem, u fil-postijiet ewlenin fil-pranzijiet; iberbqu ġid ir-romol,  u mbagħad għal wiċċ in-nies idumu ħafna jitolbu. Dawn jieħdu kundanna akbar iebsa." Ġesu' kien qiegħed biswit it-teżor, iħares u jara xi flus jitfgħu n-nies fit-teżor. Bosta għonja bdew jitfgħu ħafna. Resqet waħda armla fqira u tefgħet biċċtejn żgħar, jiġifieri xi żewġ ċenteżmi. Hu sejjaħ id-dixxipli tiegħu u qalilhom: "Tassew ngħidilkom, li din l-armla fqira tefgħet iktar minn dawk kollha li tefgħu fit-teżor. Għax dawk kollha tefgħu miż-żejjed tagħhom, imma hi, fil-faqar tagħha, tefgħet kulma kellha, dak kollu li kellha biex tgħix."  Il-Kelma tal-Mulej.
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Father Cantalamessa on Marriage in Heaven

    
Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.
There came a poor widow

One day, Jesus was standing before the temple treasury, watching people deposit their offerings. He saw a poor widow come and put in all she had, two copper coins, which make a penny. He turned to his disciples and said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than the others. All have given from their excess, but she, in her poverty, put in all she had, all she had to live on."

We might call this Sunday the "Sunday of the widows." The story of a widow was also told in the first reading, the widow of Zarephath who gave up all she had left to eat (a handful of flour and a drop of oil) to prepare a meal for the prophet Elijah.

This is a good occasion in which to turn our attention toward both the widows and the widowers of today. If the Bible speaks so often of widows and never of widowers it is because in ancient society the woman who was left alone was at a greater disadvantage than the man who was left alone. Today there is no longer this difference. Actually, in general it now seems that women who are alone manage much better than men.

On this occasion I would like to treat a theme that is of definite interest not only to widows and widowers but also to all those who are married, especially during this month in which we remember the dead. Does the death of a husband or wife, which brings about the legal end of a marriage, also bring with it the total end of communion between the two persons? Does something of that bond which so strongly united two persons on earth remain in heaven, or will all be forgotten once we have crossed the threshold into eternal life?

One day, some Sadducees presented Jesus with the unlikely case of a woman who was successively the wife of seven brothers, asking him whose wife she would be after the resurrection. Jesus answered: "When they rise from the dead they will neither marry nor be given in marriage but will be like angels in heaven" (Mark 12:25).

Interpreting this saying of Jesus wrongly, some have claimed that marriage will have no follow-up in heaven. But with his reply Jesus is rejecting the caricature the Sadducees presented of heaven, as if it were going to be a simple continuation of the earthly relationship of the spouses. Jesus does not exclude the possibility that they might rediscover in God the bond that united them on earth.

According to this vision, marriage does not come to a complete end at death but is transfigured, spiritualized, freed from the limits that mark life on earth, as also the ties between parents and children or between friends will not be forgotten. In a preface for the dead the liturgy proclaims: "Life is transformed, not taken away." Even marriage, which is part of life, will be transfigured, not nullified.

But what about those who have had a negative experience of earthly marriage, an experience of misunderstanding and suffering? Should not this idea that the marital bond will not break at death be for them, rather than a consolation, a reason for fear? No, for in the passage from time to eternity the good remains and evil falls away. The love that united them, perhaps for only a brief time, remains; defects, misunderstandings, suffering that they inflicted on each other, will fall away.

Indeed, this very suffering, accepted with faith, will be transformed into glory. Many spouses will experience true love for each other only when they will be reunited "in God," and with this love there will be the joy and fullness of the union that they did not know on earth. In God all will be understood, all will be excused, all will be forgiven.

Some will ask of course about those who have been legitimately married to different people, widowers and widows who have remarried. (This was the case presented to Jesus of the seven brothers who  successively had the same woman as their wife.) Even for them we must repeat the same thing: That which was truly love and self-surrender between each of the husbands or wives, being objectively a good coming from God, will not be dissolved. In heaven there will not be rivalry in love or jealousy. These things do not belong to true love but to the intrinsic limits of the creature. 
(Translation by Zenit)

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