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November 15, 2007 Edition

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Word to Life
This week's readings
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A Prayer in Autumn for Country Living
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Praising God: Never grow weary of doing right

Word to Life 

Jeff Hensley 

This week's readings have a great deal to say about the second coming of the Lord and the rather terrifying events and persecutions of Christians leading up to that event, as well as the glory of the coming kingdom when God will be praised and worshiped - joyfully by all.

The reading from the Second Letter to the Thessalonians comes toward the end of this little epistle in which Paul addressed a community of which too many members were overly concerned about these events and anticipated their approach by sitting around idle and getting into each others' business. This is where Paul's famous phrase "anyone who would not work would not eat" comes into sacred Scripture.

33rd Sunday
in Ordinary Time
(Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007)
Malachi 3:19-20a
Psalm 98:5-9
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Luke 21:5-19

Decades ago when I was a poor college student, my wife and I lived next door to a fearful (but well-dressed and socially prominent) widow of advanced years. She spent much of her time looking out the front window of her home, peeking through the blinds, fearful of any unexplained cars parked on our relatively busy street.

Somehow I was influenced by her behavior, very narrowly missing one opportunity to help someone whose car trouble had caused him to come to a halt in front of our house. Never before or since have I allowed myself to be infected by this fear of harm or loss of my possessions, but I did for a time allow a bit of paranoia to enter my life through this lady's influence. Perhaps I, like the busybodies Paul refers to, had too much time on my hands.

Likewise, I think some Christian communities generate fear to one another over anticipation of the second coming of our Lord, taking their attention away from the call on each of us to proclaim and live in the kingdom of God right now and draw others to the love of Jesus and the service of his church, our communities, and the poor.

Reflection questions

• Is fear of the future keeping you from serving the needs of others?

• How might you start living in God's kingdom in the present moment, showing his love to others?

Just after the close of the passage from the Second Letter to the Thessalonians, Paul summarizes the response that community should have been striving for when, in verse 13, he writes, "You must never grow weary of doing what is right." And neither should we.

This column is offered in cooperation with the North Texas Catholic of Fort Worth, Texas.

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This week's readings

Week of November 18 - 24, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Mal 3:19-20a
Reading II: 2 Thes 3:7-12
Gospel: Lk 21:5-19

Monday, November 19, 2007
Reading I: 1 Mc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57,
Gospel: Lk 18:35-43

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Reading I: 2 Mc 6:18-31
Gospel: Lk 19:1-10

Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Reading I: 2 Mc 7:1, 20-31
Gospel: Lk 19:11-28

Thursday, November 22, 2007
Memorial of Saint Cecelia, virgin and martyr
Reading I: 1 Mc 2:15-29
Gospel: Lk 19:41-44

Friday, November 23, 2007
Reading I: 1 Mc 4:36-37, 52-59
Gospel: Lk 19:45-48

Saturday, November 24, 2007
Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, priest and martyr, and his companions, martyrs
Reading I: 1 Mc 6:1-13
Gospel: Lk 20:27-40

Pope's Prayer Intentions

November General Intention

Respect for Life. That medical researchers and legislators may have a deep respect for human life from its beginning to its natural conclusion.

November Mission Intention

Peace in Korea. That the spirit of reconciliation and peace may grow in the Korean Peninsula.

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A Prayer in Autumn for Country Living

GOOD and generous Lord, You have once more brought the year full circle, through planting and growing and ripening to harvest time, and autumn.

We thank You for the sun and the wind, the rain and the dew, the minerals of the earth and all the plants that grow and all the beasts and birds of farm and field. We marvel at Your wonderful ways of bringing food from the earth for the good of us all.

Dear God, help us to use Your rich gifts as You want us to. Teach us to share them with our neighbors when they are in need. Make us see, in the marvelous succession of seasons and in the growth and ripening of our crops, the merciful, generous hand of Your divine providence.

Help us to realize, too, that if we keep Your commandments and live according to the inspirations of Your grace, we shall also reap a plentiful harvest in the autumn of our lifetime: a harvest that we will be able to enjoy for ever and ever, where no rust can destroy, nor blight spoil any least part of it.


Prayer courtesy of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference

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