ThirtyFirst Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 10-11, 2018
From Fr. Anthony Ligato
It is Ground Hog Day, again and again!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? The 1993 film which was not much to speak about when it first came to theaters has become a classic. The film tells the story of a weather man who once again must go and cover the events of Groundhog Day, but this time he is caught in a time loop and the events keep repeating themselves with the same results as the outcome. How to get out of this time trap and effect a different outcome becomes the objective of the movie. Now you might be asking yourself long about now, what has this to do with today’s scriptures? Jesus broke the time loop that humanity found itself in and in some cases still finds itself in if only they would allow Jesus to break that time loop in their lives.
Jesus came to break the chains of sin and death and to reorder the world. Humanity prior to Jesus kept repeating the same actions over and over again with the same results as the outcome. When Jesus is at the Temple with his Disciples and witnesses the same behaviors repeated over and over again. People coming in to purchase sacrifices for burnt offerings in hopes that it would atone for their sins repeat the actions that their ancestors had done with the same results. These sacrifices of a lamb or goat and for those who could not afford better a pair of doves or pigeons were given a burnt offering. The burnt offerings did not matter to the Lord, it was the faith that mattered. He witnessed rich and poor alike contributed to the Temple Treasury. He sat across from the Temple Treasury, “and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put large sums into the treasury. A poor widow also came put in two small coins worth a few cents.” (Mark 12:3844) From her poverty she gave, she did not expect a different result, rather she gave to help without expecting anything in return. Her contribution would gain her a different result.
The Widow of Zarephath welcomes the Prophet Elijah to share her food even though she has nothing to offer him. Even still she shows the Prophet hospitality because she was a woman of faith. The little she has she is willing to share with the Prophet. “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 bit of oil in my jug.” (1 Kings 17:1016) What she had was enough for one more meal for the Widow and her son, the Prophet told her not to be afraid and to go and prepare the meal. She does not simply accept her difficult situation, she faithfully follows the Prophets instructions and through the prophets blessing she breaks the cycle of poverty.
Jesus breaks that time loop once and for all through his sacrifice on the cross. We have been hearing from the Letter to the Hebrews over these several few weeks. We have heard that Jesus is the great High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. He is the Priest, the Altar and the sacrifice. Through his blood being shed on the cross we have been redeemed. Today we hear that Jesus entered into a sanctuary not made by hands, eternal in heaven. That through his sacrifice on the cross the bonds of sin and death have been broken and we no longer have to keep repeating over and over again the same sins. Through Jesus’ action on the cross. We do not have to be caught in a time loop any longer, “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 judgement, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many.” (Hebrews 9:2428) The once and for all sacrifice of Christ on the cross is not an event caught up in a time loop as in the movie Groundhog Day. The events of the cross continue to unfold new again for each of us and we join in that once and for all sacrifice of Christ on the cross which frees us from our own time loops which cause us to be trapped into the same chains of sin and death.
What is the time loop that you need to be freed from in your life?
Yours in Christ,