Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 30th, 2011
Tami Whitney
English Department
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Saturday of the 17th Week in Ordinary Time
[406] Leviticus 25:1, 8-17
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 7-8
Matthew 14:1-12

Every fiftieth year was designated a jubilee year when, among other things, property reverted back to its original owners. Slaves were also freed and debts were forgiven. And people did not toil. It was a year of freedom and celebration. People returned home, as homes were returned to people. These jubilee years enabled families to stay together. They allowed people to sell property in times of need without losing it entirely. They allowed people to sell themselves into slavery without losing their freedom for life. It was also a symbol of the lack of actual ownership. Even if we buy land, it is not truly ours because everything really belongs to God. These jubilee years were a reminder of that: lands were reverting to their original human owners, but in honor of the true owner. Property prices fluctuated based on the distance to the jubilee. If one bought land the year after the jubilee, the price was high because it would be 49 years until it reverted back. If one bought land the year before the jubilee, the price was low because the new ‘owner’ would only get one year’s use from the land. And this ownership was really just that – use of a property that really belonged to someone else. And what is life but that, temporary use?

This is my jubilee. I turned 50 on my birthday in April. And in a way I am returning home. My mother had a stroke a few months ago, and so I am spending most evenings caring for her. Although, not in my childhood home but at the therapy center where she is now. But, after many years of being away from home and on my own, I’m back with Mother much of the time now. And I’m realizing more and more how much of life is really just temporary use.

My father died this past year and my husband died the year before, so I’m very much feeling the loss of situations that had felt very solid to me, but turned out to be temporary in those forms. My mom is still around, but our roles have reversed. I very much miss my dad’s practical advice and his sense of humor. When my husband and I bought our big house with its big yard, I was concerned about the yard work. But he told me not to worry because he would always care for the yard and I would never have to. But that situation turned out to be very temporary, and now, in my jubilee year, I’m spending a lot of time with my weed whacker. We don’t really own anything, but we also don’t really ever lose anything either. And we will go home at last.
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