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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Reflection 2020-11-22 Monday 34th Week in Ordinary Time – St Clement of Rome

Revelation 14:1-5; Psalm 24; Luke 21:1-4
In the Gospel today, Jesus saw rich people putting their gifts to the treasury and he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He points out the widow has given more than all the rich people because she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on. With this, Jesus tells us commitment to God is based on what we give to him. When we relate to God, we cannot relate to him partly. We cannot put God in a box, telling him, Lord, I will give you this, just take it and let me do what I want. Jesus used the widow to show what relationship with God looks like: It is giving fully, without reserve. Which is why the Psalm today prays: Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face. This should be what we desire, to see God face to face. We cannot accomplish this if we are half-hearted in our commitment to the Lord. The one hundred and forty-four thousand who have been redeemed is not a literal number. The text says these are virgins who have not defiled themselves with women. These are not to be taken literally. Instead, these could mean that the 144,000 kept themselves pure for God and did not defile themselves. Like the widow, they gave their life for God.
St Clement was a Bishop of Rome, therefore, Pope. There is some disagreement on whether he was Peter’s immediate successor or he was the third Pope after Linus, but tradition has it that Peter consecrated him personally. When he was Bishop of Rome, the church in Corinth deposed some presbyters (or elders, which are our priests today). At that time, John the Apostle was still alive, but it was Clement who responded and rebuked the Corinthians of their insubordination. This shows that the Bishop of Rome had always been the head of the Catholic Church. This letter is preserved and in it, we see Clement quote from some letters that would make up the Canon of the New Testament.
In Chapter 7 of his letter, Clement wrote: Wherefore let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling. Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. This is how we are to live: to move towards the rule of our holy calling, attending to what is good, pleasing and acceptable to Jesus. We are not called to please human beings. Our goal in life is to please and glorify God through Jesus Christ. When we walk towards Jesus with this goal in mind, guided by our faith, we will be able to give our lives to Jesus.
Lord, help me to give my life to you. Let me walk steadfast in your call. St Clement, pray that I may be pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God, allowing him to form me into what he wants me to be.

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