Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 8, 2015

So….this week I have no excuse for posting this late.  I just plainly forgot!  Sorry about that……Reyanna

•1 Kings 17:10-16 • Hebrews 9:24-28 • Mark 12:38-44•

Weekly Scripture Readings: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reports have disappeared from the front page and major new broadcasts but the flow of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan to Western Europe continues. They cross storm tossed waters in overloaded rafts and then break out of holding pens desperate to reach Budapest and then Austria, Germany or Sweden. When the police try to bring them back, they run. One video clip showed a small girl, wearing green pants, her hair in a ponytail, running, tripped by a camerawoman, maintaining her balance and running on without looking back.

We have reached a significant transition point in the storyline of Mark’s gospel. Jesus and the disciples have made their final entry into Jerusalem. They are sitting in the Temple, opposite the Treasury and simply observing people. A widow comes and makes her offering.

In the patriarchal society of Israel, a widow was a prime target for exploitation. With her husband dead, a widow often had no one with whom she can share her grief and pain, let alone discuss the little things in life like when or how to turn the furnace on or off. She was alone, with no political, economic or social status. Her inheritance rights were minimal. The house and land were inalienably connected to her husband’s family.

Jesus points her out and tells his disciples to look at the woman. She who is poor, meek and clean of heart has much to teach us. “I tell you this poor widow has put more into the treasury then all the others.” She gave all she had. Her complete commitment to God is so evident.

We proclaim and listen to the Jesus story because it always means something for us. Mark tells us that while looking at the widow, Jesus saw a woman surrounded by insecurity. He also saw a woman living beyond the boundary lines and false separations that confine us and within which most of us seek our personal security. Her complete trust in God is so evident. “Out off her poverty she put in everything; all that she had to live on.” She was living from that vitality source that peeks through our existence – that Gracious Mystery we name God. She embodied the spirit of love pouring itself into the world of time and space through her.

Perhaps Jesus points her out because he saw in her how he was trying to live in his own journey. Jesus was awakening to the reality of his own divinity and experimenting to see how to convey to us what he had experienced. His understanding of what and who he truly is was emerging and evolving. He reached a place deep within himself that freed him to be fully alive and fully human — a potent and vital presence in the world.

The Jesus story always calls forth our deepest possibilities. In the widow we see how we are able to live. Like her, we also are able to live with complete trust in God. Doing so is what will identify us as companions of Jesus.

For each of us, our own existence is a very mysterious thing. To exist is a great mystery. After years of daily silent meditation, I now realize the Christ presence deep within me. I recognize the Christ presence as the source of my vitality and of the unconditional love of which I am capable.

Jesus devoted his life energy to helping his initial companions go to that place deep within self that freed them to be a potent and vital presence in the world. Now the Christ presence deep within us continues inspiring and enabling us to realize and engage with the vitality source and unconditional love which is deep within us.

For the refugees flowing into Western Europe, home as they knew it is no more. Where is home for them now? For them, as for the widow and for us, home is in that Gracious Mystery we name God. Regardless of our physical location or situation, when our trust in God is complete, then always and everywhere we are home!

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