Deuteronomy 6:2-6 • Hebrews 7:23-28 • Mark 12:28b-34 – 31 Ordinary B ‘12
“Hear O Israel!” ** Today this invitation is spoken to us by Moses and Jesus. Listen! “Listening” is a discipline, an art.
What is the most important thing we must do to live life rightly?
Listen ** “Love the Lord you God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” ** “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ** Everything – religion, morality, success in life — everything depends on these two commandments.
Listen! The Gracious Mystery we name God loves you! No conditions. God loves you! Did you really hear that – in your heart – in your soul? Listen!
The smoke is gone. It is November again. The sky and weather are dreary; nature reminding us our life here is transient; a fragile gift. It is a gift we receive today, to be lived and celebrated with hope in tomorrow. November reminds us we are an integral part of that great mystery we name “the Communion of Saints.” As I pray liturgy with you this month I try to recall and emphasize the deep bonds uniting us in Christ with all who have gone before us. They, with all with whom we share life on Earth today, and with all who will be born in tomorrow’s uncharted possibilities form the Communion of Saints – the Living Body of Christ.
Listen! Paul told us, “if anyone is in Christ there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” Peter told us, “relying on his promises, we are waiting for a new heaven and new earth.” The Book of Revelation concludes with the author’s “vision of a new heaven and new earth.” “Each text describes a movement from heaven to earth,” not earth to heaven. Each celebrates “the dawning of God’s new world in the midst of the old one.”
Popular Christian piety distorts the good news we call Christ. Jesus of Nazareth spoke of and acted with conviction that “God’s new reality” is emerging among us here and now. He was not working to get us into heaven, not directing our energies, desires or expectations toward life after death. He was not teaching us how to live on Earth so we can go to heaven! He was teaching us how to live here and now so that “God’s new reality” will emerge!
The resurrection of Jesus signals the “in-breaking” of God’s new creation among us here and now. In Christ God’s new creation is breaking into our world today! The future life of God is flooding our world today! In mid-October the Pope formally named Kateri Tekakwitha and Sister Maryann Cope saints. Saints are ordinary people like us, in whom we vividly see the “in-breaking” of God’s new creation.
It is November again. Make this a special month. Here is a suggestion of how you can do that.
You have heard or sung the litany of the saints. The melody is simple and even I can sing it. (Demonstrate) In your home with family, even when gathered with friends, explain this little experience and invite them to share it.
Begin with a moment of silence in which each recalls to those dead or absent whom they love. Be still. Then speak the names one at a time. For example I would speak the name — “Sister Dot” and then we all intone “Sister Dot, pray for us.” Then I would speak the name of my father — “John Hogan.” We all intone “John Hogan, pray for us.”
This is a very simple prayer form and all are capable of participating. Some in the group may cry. Wonderful! Someone may sing off-key. So what? We believe in “the communion of saints.” We are the Living Body of Christ. These are not abstract concepts. This is our reality. When finished with this little ritual, you and all those with you all know you are surrounded by and part of “the Communion of Saints,” the “holy people of God,’ “the Living Body of Christ.”