Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Breath of Life from God

But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on. Revelation 11:11-13

That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Luke 20:36-38

“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” Luke 9:35

For a third time, the Pharisees pose a theological trap for Jesus and for the third time, Jesus answers with authority.  The path to recognition as the authoritative teacher in the temple began very inauspiciously.  In Luke 4, Jesus read the Nazareth Manifesto from the Book of Isaiah and the people were amazed but not yet ready to follow the carpenter’s apprentice.  (And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?”)

After performing many signs in Nazareth and Jerusalem, Jesus returned to the temple to teach but was continually challenged by those with “formal” training.  Today’s exchange was the last time they tried to trap Jesus with a tough question.  However, the exchange does not end here.  (“Teacher, you have answered well.”  And they no longer dared to ask him anything.)  Jesus has a for them.).  Jesus is now the home team and in baseball, we all know that the home team gets “last licks.”  After successfully answering the three questions of his opponents, Jesus now asks them a question.

The Pharisees inability to respond correctly to Jesus means that they have forfeited their position and authority to Jesus.  These so-called religious leaders are shown to not understand the scriptures as well as the carpenter’s son.  Jesus now takes his place as the authoritative teacher whose words are to be listened to, not challenged.

Today begins the weekend collection for the Campaign for Human Development.  For inspiration, hearken back to Luke 4:18-19. 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

For over 43 million Americans, there is a thin line: between eviction and home, between hunger and health, between unemployment and work, between anxiety and stability. This line is the Poverty Line.  For a family of four, that line is $24,257 a year.[i]  That translates into a gross salary of $466 per week.  What can you get for $466?

  • In Seattle, fans of the NFL team Seahawks have pushed the price of a ticket on the secondary market to $466.
  • You can lease (not buy) a 2017 Buick Enclave Leather Group for $466 per month (with $466 due at signing).
  • There is 5'3"x6'10" modern hand-knotted Gabbeh 100 Percent wool Oriental Rug on eBay for $466.  Or a chrome mag wheel…or a diamond wedding band for the same price.   
Think about how you spend $466. Rent? Groceries? Retirement savings? E-Bay? Going out to dinner?  Yet a family of four tries to scrape by on $466 per week to cover all that and pay taxes, FICA, and more.  Wow.

Poverty affects the education that a child can receive in and out of school. For example, good SAT classes can cost up to $2,000. Workbooks can cost up to $30 each. These families can barely buy food every day, so how are they going to afford these?[ii]

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by funding community programs that encourage independence. We are essential to its success. Our generous donations will give those in poverty the support they need to make lasting changes.

Together, we can make a difference in families and communities across the United States. Please donate prayerfully and generously. Maybe $466 would be a good amount to consider as you bring glad tidings to the poor through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the doors of the Jubilee Year of Mercy close. Listen to how Jesus is calling you to action.

[i] Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States, 2015.

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