Today’s Second Reading recalls the once-for-all self-sacrifice of Jesus for the redemption of humanity. Jesus is the Eternal High Priest not prevented by death from remaining in office, whose sacrifice is perfect because the one offering—Jesus—and the one offered—Jesus—is without sin. Furthermore, because Jesus is the eternal Son of God, his self-sacrifice is of infinite value and is timeless. Offered at one moment in time and at one geographic location, its effects benefit the whole of humanity—people of every time and place. This is how we can be the beneficiaries of the sacrifice of Calvary even though we are far removed by both centuries and miles. Yet through the mystery of the Church we are able to be present for this sacrifice whenever we gather for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass—the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of Calvary—as Christ’s redeeming sacrifice is not repeated, but is re-presented—made present again—through the ministry of the ordained priest. As members of the Body of Christ by virtue of baptism, all Christ’s faithful who participate in the Mass exercise their common priesthood and offer the eucharistic sacrifice in praise and thanksgiving to God who has saved us from sin and death.
Today’s Gospel gives us the example of a poor widow whom Jesus praises because of the generous sacrifice she made to the temple treasury. The amount was not as important as the love with which it was given. Likewise the widow in today’s First Reading gave what she could not afford to give when asked to do so by the man of God, Elijah. Each of us ought to examine our willingness to contribute to the support of the Church, whether to our parish, the Diocesan Annual Appeal, the Mission Sunday Appeal, our Catholic schools, or other missions or ministries that need our support. It is not the amount that is as important as the fact that we can give something and the love with which it is given. Where would we be without these ministries? Where would we be without the sacraments? Taking account of the blessings that come to us from God through the Church, let us ask ourselves, “How can I repay the Lord for all the good done for me?” (Psalm 116:12)
I’m sure we are all relieved that Election Day has come and gone. The negativity that seems to characterize campaigns anymore is disheartening. Now it is time to pray that those who have been elected will fulfill their responsibilities with integrity and dedication to the principles upon which our republic was founded.
Today is Veterans Day. Originally known as Armistice Day, it recalled the cessation of the hostilities which came to be known as World War I at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Congress’s resolution marking the end of this war in 1926 stated that this date “marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed,” and that “it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.” It became a national holiday in 1938. Unfortunately “the war to end all wars” was not to be our last. In 1954, after World War II and the Korean Conflict, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor American Veterans of all wars. So let us honor those among us and those deceased who have served our country in the armed forces. Let us also pray for those who are currently serving in the military. Let us pray for their safety as we honor their commitment.
The area was stunned last week by the tragic accident taking the lives of three girl scouts and their leader. Keep them and their families in your prayers as well as the driver of the truck. All these families certainly are devastated and in need of God’s compassionate healing.
Pray the rosary again this week for the souls in purgatory. Pray for all who have been elected to public office. Pray for vocations and the needs of the Church in our diocese. Pray for those who have served and are serving in the armed forces and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.