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#BALO, Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 11 KGS 17:10-16

In those days, Elijah the prophet went to Zarephath.
As he arrived at the entrance of the city,
a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her,
“Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.”
She left to get it, and he called out after her,
“Please bring along a bit of bread.”
She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives,
I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar
and a little oil in my jug.
Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks,
to go in and prepare something for myself and my son;
when we have eaten it, we shall die.”
Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid.
Go and do as you propose.
But first make me a little cake and bring it to me.
Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
‘The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
She left and did as Elijah had said.
She was able to eat for a year, and he and her son as well;
the jar of flour did not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.

Responsorial PsalmPS 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 HEB 9:24-28

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands,
a copy of the true one, but heaven itself,
that he might now appear before God on our behalf.
Not that he might offer himself repeatedly,
as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary
with blood that is not his own;
if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly
from the foundation of the world.
But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages
to take away sin by his sacrifice.
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once,
and after this the judgment, so also Christ,
offered once to take away the sins of many,
will appear a second time, not to take away sin
but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

AlleluiaMT 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK  12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds,
“Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes
and accept greetings in the marketplaces,
seats of honor in synagogues,
and places of honor at banquets.
They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext
recite lengthy prayers.
They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury
and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury.
Many rich people put in large sums.
A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them,
“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more
than all the other contributors to the treasury.
For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth,
but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had,
her whole livelihood.”

Reflection on the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

[November 11, 2018]
Mark 12: 38-44

[the Scribes] devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation. (Mk. 12:40)

kissing the groundIn Jesus’ time, the scribes are the well-educated Jewish men who are expert in the Law of Moses. Some of them come from the wealthy families, and others hail from the priestly clan. Being able to teach and interpret the Law, they receive the respect and honor from the ancient Jewish society. Thus, ordinary Jews will greet them and prepare them the seats of honor in the synagogues and the banquets. Surely, there is no problem with receiving greetings and sitting as honor guests. Jesus Himself is often greeted as “Teacher” or “Rabbi”, and He attends the banquets as guest of honor (see Mar 14:3). The problem comes when some of the scribes possesses “narcissistic desire” and intentionally look for these privileges.

However, not only Jesus criticizes them for this narcissistic attitude, He gravely condemns also their acts of injustice, particularly “devouring the houses of widows.” In Jesus’ time, widows (Hebrew “almanah”) is considered to be one of the poorest and weakest. They are women who do not only lose their husband, but also fall into deeper poverty because they no longer have anybody to support them. They are lucky if their family and relatives take care of them, but in difficult times, they are left to their own. The Law of Moses provides that the widows, together with the orphans and strangers should be protected (see Deu 10:18).

Since the scribes are the respected and wealthy members of the society, it is a logical choice to entrust the care of Jewish widows to them. Unfortunately, instead helping and defending the widows, some of the scribes oppress and steal from the little the widows have. To steal is evil, but to rob the poor people who place their trust in us is far greater evil. Yet, it is not yet worst. After perfectly hiding their acts of injustice, some of the scribes continue going to the Temple and reciting lengthy prayer, as if there is nothing happens. This is hypocrisy, a double-life attitude at its finest!

As my ordination day to the diaconate is drawing closer, some of my brothers in the community and friends began to call me with title of honor like “reverend” or simply, “rev”. Admittedly, I am not comfortable with it. I wish that the people remain calling me brother. However, it has become the common practice in the Catholic Church to honor her ordained ministers. It is my prayer and my sincere wish I will not be like some of the Scribes who become “narcissistic” and “covets” the people’s adulation and all the privileges it brings. George Weigel, an American Catholic author, in his recent article, traces the root of Catholic anger against the clergy in the US. He writes that while it is true that many clergymen are good and holy, it is the clerical narcissism that builds anger of the Catholic lay.

Learning from the scribes, the narcissism is the seed. The vice grows into hidden acts of injustice. And from evil of injustice, the men in white garment are turning worse as they live in hypocrisy. It is my earnest hope that we continue praying, supporting and even correcting our brothers who are ordained to become the servants of God and His people. Without God’s grace, the right dose of humility and lay people’ prayer and help, our deacons, priests and bishops may become like the scribes who earn Jesus’ condemnation.

Br. Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP 

with Xenon Oble and Marvin Obedo and photo by Harry SJ


Faith comes from hearing. It is awakened by remembering. Recall d words u read or hear frm d Scriptures or frm pipol. Remember God’s love 4 u in joy or in trouble.

How many lost souls hav we found & brought back 2 God? Have we exerted efforts, like a shepherd, 2 lead them back 2 Him? Is someone in ur family or circle of friends in need of guidance & direction? Dnt be indifferent. Do something.

Mammon can be anything that takes away & replaces d centrality of God in our life. And that becomes a “god” that demands our attention, loyalty & worship. There is only one God. And He alone shall we worship & serve. In Him alone are we saved. – Fr. Ramon Salibay, OP

To love God and our neighbors is never easy. That’s why Jesus told us to love God with all our strength because that’s how difficult it is also to love others. Love is not for the faint hearted. Love as Jesus did.

“To be at d places of honor”. It’s an unconscious desire. But Jesus wants us 2 fight it out w/ a conscious effort. Be humble. It’s God who will give u honor.

Fr. Ramon T. Salibay, O.P.

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