Reflection for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Based on Readings from Kings 17:10-16, Psalm 146, Hebrews 9: 24-28, Mark 12:38-44
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
The themes of the readings for this Sunday are of generosity, trust keeping Faith Justice but most of all that God will provide if we but put our faith and trust in Him.
For me, this message is one that I need to hear and take considerable time to reflect upon in light of the information and events of this past week.
The first reading tells the story of the widow in the town of Zarephath to whom Elijah asked for some water and a bit of bread. The widow explained that she and her son only had a handful of flour and a tiny bit of oil with which to bake bread and when that was gone they would starve. Elijah promised that if she made a cake of bread and brought it to him she and her son would have enough flour and oil forever. True to the promise of Elijah, the flour never went empty nor the oil. The was the result of the widow trusting Elijah.
The same is true for us today if we place our complete trust in God and let him guide and lead us.
For me this teaching is one that, though difficult often to do, I need to do especially after this last week.
Not only did I receive news that the mission’s car needed some major work to be able to continue to serve the ministry I also received disturbing information regarding someone I thought was concerned for the best interest of God and His children only to find that they were only being self serving, egotistical and interested in power and self glory, which brings us to the theme of the suggested Alleluia verse, Gospel reading, Psalm and the letter to the Hebrews. “Giving of our selves for the love of God and not for our own self interests, glory, fame or wealth but for being a true servant of God to all those who are oppressed, rejected and unwanted.”
The Alleluia verse suggested for this week is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and the Gospel begins with these words; “Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.” The Gospel goes on to tell of the poor widow who gave all she had, a few cents, as a donation to God while the rich and famous of the time mad a big issue of their large donations. Christ told his apostles; “I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had left over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on”
When I read of clergy who only are seeking power, wealth fame or glory or defraud people out of their money or who molest children I recoil and want to run as far away from them as I can get.
Sadly, I was made aware of just that kind of clerical individual this week and it troubles me deeply but I am taking the lesson of this weeks readings to heart and placing my trust in Almighty God and praying that God will lead me and inspire as to how I should proceed from this point on in my attempt to be a humble servant of God.
I also am placing my trust in God that he will inspire those people who would deny others of their rights which according to the Declaration of Independence “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. This means that two people who love each other should be allowed to marry and have the same legal protections and benefits of heterosexual married couples.
I also trust that God will provide the means for the repairs to the mission vehicle if it is His will this ministry is to continue and I have the ability to travel to all the places we have been going to in our attempt to serve God’s children. It may well be that God is telling me to cut back or even retire but I certainly hope and pray that is not the case as I have no idea what I would do to fill each day.
This ministry has been a blessing to me as it has kept me busy and filled my days with wondrous moments and such beautiful testaments to God’s infinite love for His children.
We cannot allow a few bad apples to spoil the entire barrel. There are more good and honest clergy and people in this world, I am certain, than the few bad ones that always seem to get the publicity.
Let us be faithful followers of Jesus Christ try to become “Poor in Spirit” so we can achieve eternal life with God.
Let us be willing to give our last penny or ounce of flour in the service of God for the well being of our neighbor and those who are less well off than we. That is the message and the hope I have for myself and it is my prayer for all who read my simple reflections or hear them. May God, through the Holy Spirit, guide us and lead us so that we truly reflect God’s love, compassion and forgiveness. AMEN