Sunday, October 4, 2018
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading: Wisdom 7:7-11
Responsorial: Psalm 90:12-17
2nd Reading: Hebrews 4:12-13
Gospel: Mark 10: 17-30
. . . with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. (Mark 10:30)
Today in Rome, Pope Francis will canonize Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, in addition to Pope Paul VI, who is featured on pages 52–57 of this magazine.
Selected as archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, Romero served during a time of intense political turbulence and religious persecution. Through his homilies, radio sermons, and newspaper articles, Romero became the voice of his country’s conscience. Constantly referring to the message of the gospel, he condemned the violence and corruption that plagued his country.
Countless threats against his life didn’t deter Romero. In one homily, he said, “You can tell the people that if they succeed in killing me, I forgive and bless those who do it. Hopefully, they will realize they are wasting their time. A bishop will die, but the Church of God, which is the people, will never perish.” On March 24, 1980, as he was saying Mass, a lone gunman stood at the door of the chapel and fired. Romero, who was standing at the altar, was shot in the heart and died on the spot.
In his letter announcing Romero’s canonization, Pope Francis wrote, “In the beautiful land of Central America, bathed by the Pacific Ocean, the Lord granted his Church a zealous bishop who, loving God and serving brothers and sisters, became the image of Christ the Good Shepherd. In times of difficult coexistence, Archbishop Romero knew how to lead, defend and protect his flock. . . . And at the moment of his death, while he celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of love and reconciliation, he received the grace to identify himself fully with the One who gave his life for his sheep.”
Oscar Romero lived out today’s readings. He chose God’s wisdom over the wealth and comfort of the world. He proclaimed the word of God in a way that cut people to the heart. And he gave everything to the poor of El Salvador. May his witness move all of us to answer the cry of the poor and downtrodden.
“St. Oscar Romero, pray for us.”
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion:
- The first reading opens with these words: I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches nothing in comparison with her, nor did I liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. Beyond health and comeliness I loved her.
- The author of the Book of Wisdom prayed and pleaded for prudence and received a spirit of wisdom. He said that it is more valuable than a throne, riches, gold, silver, health, and comeliness. Why would he make such a drastic claim?
- Prudence is not fear or timidity. It is the ability to know what is good and to choose the right means of achieving it in accordance with sound and Godly judgment. Why do you find that there are times when actions are not aligned with what we know to be correct? What steps can you take to improve coordination between your judgment and your actions?
- Wisdom, which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, enables us to know God and His will for our lives. What area(s) of your life do you need prayers for an increase in the gift of wisdom?
- The responsorial Psalm begins with these words, Teach us to number our days aright, that we gain wisdom of heart. It also asks the Lord to Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
- Why do you think numbering our days aright is tied to wisdom?
- What can you do to open yourself more to the Lord’s kindness, so you can express your thankfulness with greater joy?
- The second reading begins with these words: Brothers and sisters: Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
- How do you use God’s word, the Scriptures, to help form your thoughts and direct your actions?
- How can you go even deeper in studying and applying Scripture to your daily life?
- In the Gospel reading, after Jesus’ encounter with the man who had many possessions, we hear these words: Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The Gospel reading ends with these words of Jesus: Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
- What do these words of Jesus mean to you? Why do we often struggle to believe them?
- Do you believe that Jesus’ admonition against riches also applies to all those things in our lives that have a hold on us and distract us from loving and serving God?
- What can you do to lessen the hold “things” have over you and increase the hold God has over you?
- Are there some additional ways your possessions (your time, your talent, and your treasure) can be better used to serve God, his Church, and others?
- The meditation describes the life and martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador who is being canonized in Rome by Pope Francis on Sunday, October 14. It includes these stirring words of Archbishop Romero, “You can tell the people that if they succeed in killing me, I forgive and bless those who do it. Hopefully, they will realize they are wasting their time. A bishop will die, but the Church of God, which is the people, will never perish.” Pope Francis’ letter announcing Romero’s canonization includes these words: “In times of difficult coexistence, Archbishop Romero knew how to lead, defend and protect his flock”
- What do you think is the meaning of the words of Archbishop Romero?
- In what way can his words, and Pope Francis’ words, also be applied to what is going on in the Church today?
Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to be like Archbishop Romano, who by “loving God and serving brothers and sisters, became the image of Christ the Good Shepherd.” Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as the starting point.
“St. Oscar Romero, pray for us.”