January 30, 2015

Jan. 30

January 30, 2015:  Friday, 3rd week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Classroom with blackboard' tie:  Jesus taught with parables then explained to his disciples (gospel)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  Take delight in the Lord, and he'll grant you your heart’s requests. (psalm)
  • 'Precious feet' tie pin (note placement :-):  The Lord makes our steps firm (psalm)
  • 'Plant' pin:  Kingdom:  seed sprouts, grows, yields fruit... (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin (not shown):  ...then the full grain (gospel)
Listen

Pope Francis homily
Somebody who no longer remembers his or her first meeting with Jesus is empty, spiritually inert, and lukewarm.  Never forget your first encounter with Christ!  If we chase away the enthusiasm of that first-love memory, lukewarm faith arrives.  Lukewarm Christians are in grave danger; they've lost memory, enthusiasm, and patience to tolerate problems and bear difficulties.  Recall Peter's image of the dog returning to its vomit and Jesus' of people opening the door to the devil when he returns with reinforcements.
Evoke your memory so you don't lose the first-love experience that feeds hope.  Hope may be in darkness, but Christians still go ahead, knowing hope never disappoints.  Memory and hope safeguard the Lord's salvation.  Salvation must be protected so the mustard seed will grow and bear fruit.  It’s heart-breaking to see Christians going away from an encounter with Jesus, having lost both memory and hope.
Read
  • Heb 10:32-39  Remember when you suffered, exposed to abuse and affliction, joining in prisoners' suffering, and losing your property.  Remain confident; endure, do God's will, and receive what he promised.  "He'll come without delay.  My just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him."  We don't draw back and perish but have faith and live.

    Mustard bush
  • Ps 37:3-6, 23-24, 39-40  "The salvation of the just comes from the Lord."  Trust in the Lord and do good.  Take delight in him; he'll grant your requests.  He'll make justice dawn for you.  The Lord makes our steps firm and sustains and saves, helps, and delivers us when we take refuge in him.

  • Mk 4:26-34  “The Kingdom of God is as if a man scattered seed, slept and rose, and the seed sprouted, grew, and yielded fruit, and the man wielded the sickle at harvest.”  “The Kingdom is like a mustard seed, small when sown but becoming so large that birds can dwell in its shade.”  He spoke with many such parables and explained them privately to his disciples.
Reflect
    • Creighton:  The reward for faithfulness remains.  The mustard plant is likely a mustard bush, often growing to overtake valuable acreage.  From a small beginning the Church grew, people flocked to it, to over a billion now.  The Church helps me possess the Kingdom; I just need to keep living by faith.
    • One Bread One Body:  "Losing it":  Our possessions can possess us; Jesus tells them to renounce them (Lk 14:33).  St. Paul did (Phil 3:7-8).  Lose your life for Jesus' sake, detaching from possessions; less world, more Jesus. 
    • Passionist:  Now is an "age of martyrs."  1st reading:  "Stay confident; it'll have great reward."  Our faith can be challenged at work, in the political arena, even at home.  Have courage, finding strength in the example of Jesus:  "Into your hands I commend my spirit."
    • DailyScripture.net:  God's kingdom works like mustard seeds, starting small in hearts receptive to God and transforming from within.  As seeds can't change till planted, so can't we without the Spirit.  The kingdom transforms those who receive Christ's new life, allowing his word to take root.  Am I ready to let God change my by his Word and Spirit?  Do I allow the seed of God's word to take root in me and transform me into a fruitful disciple?
    "It's up to us to sow the mustard seed in our minds and let it grow into a tree of understanding reaching to heaven, elevating our faculties, spreading branches of knowledge, burning our mouths with its pungent fruit, inflaming our hearts, and dispelling our unenlightened repugnance.  Christ is the kingdom of heaven.  Sown like a seed in the virgin’s womb, he grew into the tree of the cross whose branches stretch worldwide.  Crushed in the mortar of the passion, its fruit has produced seasoning enough to flavor and preserve every creature it contacts. As mustard seeds lie dormant till crushed, Christ chose to have his body crushed to unleash his power....  He became all things to restore us.  As a man he received the mustard seed, sowed it in the Church, a garden extending worldwide, tilled by the gospel, fenced in by doctrine and discipline, cleared of weeds by apostles' labor, fragrant and lovely with virgins’ lilies, martyrs’ roses, and all who have faith in and witness to Christ.  When he promised a kingdom to the patriarchs, the seed took root in them; with the prophets it sprang up; with the apostles it grew; in the Church it became a great tree with gift-laden branches.  Fly with confidence to rest among those sturdy, fruitful branches, where no snares will trap you. (St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 98)