There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social principles into practice. First, one reviews the concrete situation; secondly, one forms a judgement on it in the light of these same principles; thirdly, one decides what the circumstances can and should be done to implement these principles. These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: observe, judge act.
Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 1961 (# 236)
A very fine and relatively brief examination of “see, judge, act” was produced by the Australian Bishop’s Conference and may be found at http://www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/social-teaching/10-social-teaching/94-catholic-social-teaching-series-reading-the-signs-of-the-times
(There will also be copies at the entrances of the Church)
For those who would also like a homily more directly on the readings for Sunday while we are speaking on Catholic Social Teachings, Bishop Robert Barron’s homily this week is exceptional. It is 14 mins long and may be found at: https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/coming-home-from-exile/5914/
NOTE ON STAYS IN HOSPITAL:
We remind our parishioners that due to the shortage of Priests it is difficult for hospitals to arrange for a Priest to anoint other than the most serious cases. I would ask that parishioners entering the hospital contact me to arrange appropriate prayer. This includes childbirth: there are special prayers for both wife and husband,
BLESSING FOR NYC MARATHON PARTICIPANTS:
A special blessing for all those running the NYC Marathon on Nov. 4 will be offered at all of the Masses this Sunday, October 28.
Nov.1: All Saints Day: Holy Day of Obligation
Masses at 12:10 PM and 7 PM.
ALL SOULS NOVENA:
There will be a Novena of Masses for all the faithful departed. They will be celebrated on:
- 1) Friday – Nov. 2 – 12:10PM
- 2) Saturday – Nov. 3 – 12:00 Noon
- 3) Sunday – Nov. 4 – 7:00PM
- 4), 5), 6) – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – Nov. 5, 6,7 – 12:10PM
- 7) & 8) Friday – Nov. 9th – 12:10PM and 7:00PM
- 9) Saturday – Nov. 10 – 12:00PM
(Envelopes may be found in the pews and entrances to the Church or by contacting the rectory.)
PARISH PATRON SAINT FEAST DAY:
The Feast of St. Charles Borromeo is next Sunday, Nov. 4. We will celebrate it as a Solemnity at all the Masses.
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Although this is only the second time we have looked at the Prophet Jeremiah his influence can be felt throughout the exile from and return to Jerusalem. As we will see today his hand can be clearly felt in the writings of Isaiah. He was an aristocrat and very much involved with the politics of his time and place. He was also a prophet who recognized that the people had lost their way and become corrupt. The kings of Judea formed alliances with the major powers of the day whether Egypt to the south or whoever was the power in the north. After the loss to the Egyptians at the battle of Megiddo in 609 BC – so disastrous that it gives the name to “Armageddon” the final battle in the book of Revelation – they had to make an alliance with the Babylonians who extracted a punishing tribute. Jeremiah believed that this was part of God’s purification of His people and urged them to accept it. Others convinced the king to rebel against Babylon which they did with great incompetence. The Babylonians would after each attempt deport more of the Jewish leadership to Babylon. Finally. in 587/86 they had enough and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.
The passage that we read today is a letter from Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon around 590BC. Although many considered him a traitor and Babylonian sympathizer, Jeremiah believed that the mighty empire of Babylon was merely an instrument of the God of Israel. This idea will as we have seen be developed by Isaiah into the image of the Jews as the light to the Gentiles.
After assuring the exiles that God has not forgotten them and will call them home Jeremiah writes:
At that time, says the LORD,
I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel,
and they shall be my people.
With age-old love I have loved you;
so I have kept my mercy toward you.
4 Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt,
O virgin Israel;
Carrying your festive tambourines,
you shall go forth dancing with the merrymakers.
5 Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
those who plant them shall enjoy the fruits. (Jeremiah 31 3-5)
God has shown himself to be loving, faithful and involved in the past, present and future of His people.
The section we read today expands on this but is more inclusive:
7 For thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel. (Jer 31:7)
God will not act in secret but will openly guide his people who, although a tiny power, are the head of the nations because of His presence and participation. Jeremiah is convinced that the people who are presently in Jerusalem are still holding on the myth of political power and influence but the people in the exile are learning humility.
8 Behold, I will bring them back
from the land of the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
with the blind and the lame in their midst,
The mothers and those with child;
they shall return as an immense throng. (Jer. 31:8)
We need to acknowledge that immense throng is an exaggeration, but note instead the references to all kinds of people. He speaks of the crippled and mothers and children. These are people who were not highly regarded in the ancient world. He does not mention strong warriors and great scholars.
9 They departed in tears,
but I will console them and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
For I am a father to Israel,
Ephraim is my first-born. Jeremiah 31:7–9 )
He acknowledges that this will be bittersweet. Although Jerusalem has not yet been destroyed Jeremiah is very clear headed as to what will occur. But, because God will lead them, they will able to find their way in peace and safety. Note most especially that he calls Ephraim “my first born”. Ephraim was one of the 10 tribes which were conquered by and lost to the Assyrians in 721 BC. God’s desire is not only to restore the worship of the Jewish people but to restore the people themselves both north and south. As we have also seen in other writings this final union of all he people will be the responsibly of the Messiah.
This letter is in a wider section in which God tells the people that he wishes to form a new covenant with them.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (Jer 31:33)
Although a convent has clearly defined rights and responsibilities it does not spell out every contingency like a contract. It is primarily a pledge of relationships, In this case between God and Humanity and between all men and women. It should be acknowledged as a sharing of life and love and thus is usually ratified with a common meal. This is the origin of both the sacrifices in the Jewish temple and the Eucharist.
This covenant is new not in its content, we can presume that for at least Jeremiah it is identical to the covenant with Moses on Sinai. To be somewhat simplistic, none of the ten commandments were removed nor another added. It is the form which is different. It will be given internally. Fulfilling the covenant will become natural behavior for every individual. Thus, it truly will be written on our hearts.
We note however that this is not a description of present reality but a prophecy. We do not know how Jeremiah thought this would be fulfilled and very few Jewish authors think that it ever was. We as Christians of course find it fulfilled at Pentecost, but there is great wisdom here nonetheless.
Today’s reading correctly prophesies the return of the people to Jerusalem and that it would be led by God for the instruction of the nations. This external journey – Exodus – of the beginning of chapter 31 is paralleled by an internal one in is later verses. God’s teaching and presence becoming truly part of our very being. We see this not only in some of the doctrinal teachings of the church but also in the social teachings we have been reviewing at Mass. The call to solidarity is not a mere contract for goods and services but an invitation to union and participation. If our love for each other is not written in our hearts, it will not be found in our world.