November 17, 2022
by Mary Lee Brock
Creighton University's Graduate School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Lectionary: 500

Revelation 5:1-10
Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
Luke 19:41-44

Praying Ordinary Time Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Several years a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed me for some tips I could offer as a conflict resolution professional about how to bring out the best in family and friends during our Thanksgiving gatherings in these challenging times.  With Thanksgiving a week away, that conversation comes to mind.  Of course, expressing gratitude was at the top of the list.  I am writing this reflection before the US midterm elections, so those the results of the elections are unknown to me yet are just one facet of the challenges we face today.

Today’s Gospel from Luke tells of the despair Jesus felt as he approached the city of Jerusalem:   As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, If this day you only knew what makes for peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. What did Jesus see as he approached Jerusalem?   What might have been some of the indications that people were not focusing on what makes for peace.  Were they conducting an ancient version of “doom-scrolling?”  Did Jesus see people “doing their own research?”  Did he hear people labeling one another and rejecting others based on the fears those labels support?

Does Jesus weep for us today because we do not know what makes for peace.  The expressed anger, fear, frustration, and threats that emerge every day in our lives can feel very overwhelming.  As I read today’s scripture, I can see what a distraction that negative energy can be.  Hope is essential to focusing on what makes for peace.

In his recent essay Blessed Hope, America Magazine editor in chief Matt Malone, S.J. explores hope.  He writes:

“Faith and politics are not merely complimentary; they are inextricably intertwined.  Each needs the other to be fully what is meant to be.  For the raison dêtre of all political questions is hope that the world can change; in Christian terms that it can be saved, that the world is in fact worth saving.  That political hope finds its motive force in my ultimate hope, my faith in the one we call “our blessed hope,” the one who has already saved the world and thus conclusively demonstrated it is worth saving.”

It is this hope that Jesus gave us that should orient our lives to a better future, to salvation.  I ask for God’s grace to remind me what makes for peace.  I realize there are several ways I can focus on hope and abandon the sense of doom.  Next time I reach for my phone to look at social media, I can instead call up the Examen app from Mark Thibodeaux S.J. that offers dozens of relevant and rich prompts for the Examen prayer.  I can switch off the news and instead listen deeply to friends and family.  When I encounter someone who holds views that are opposed to mine, I can stay curious to learn more about what experiences and values inform those views.  I welcome the sense of hope as what makes peace is no longer hidden from my eyes.

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