March 10, 2015

March 10

March 10, 2015:  Tuesday, Third Week of Lent

How many connections
with today's readings and celebration
can you find?  (10 below)

Listen

  • Look it up/ Presley, Orrall: country song with verse about how hard it is for us to forgive ("forgiveness... It's what Jesus has in store for you, but I don't...") This Bailey/Lowe cover avoids the original's bad language.  lyrics+ (gospel) 
Pope Francis

Today's homily:  Azariah didn't just ask God  to excuse or overlook sin but to forgive.  Asking forgiveness isn't saying "Excuse me" but "I've sinned!"  Sin isn't a simple mistake; it's idolatry, worshipping pride, money, self.... 
Forgiveness must be asked wholeheartedly, and given wholeheartedly to those who injure us. Jesus teaches the dynamics of forgiveness in the Our Father:  ‘Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.’  If I can't forgive, I can't ask for forgiveness. God's forgiveness requires that you forgive others.  God always forgives, but he asks me to forgive.  If I don't, in a sense, I close the door to God’s forgiveness.

Monday homily:   Jesus rebuked the Nazoreans for their lack of faith:  at first, they listened, but then they exploded:  ‘Who is this?  Where did he study?  We know him!’  They drove Him out and led him to the hill to throw him down!
  
Elisha told Naaman to wash in the Jordan to be healed.  Naaman was indignant at first, but then he listened to his servant and was cleansed.  The Nazoreans were like Naaman:  they wanted a spectacle, but God doesn't produce one; God acts in humility and silence.”  It began when the Lord created us with mud.  When he wanted to free His people, he used a man, Moses.  When he wanted Jericho to fall, he used a prostitute.  And for the Samaritans' conversion he required another sinner's work.  When he invited David to fight Goliath, it seemed crazy.  When he told the Magi a King was born, they found a baby in a manger.  God's style is simplicity and humility, not spectacle.  One of Jesus' temptations in the desert was to create a spectacle by casting himself down.  The Lord helps and leads us with simple things.  He calls us too to humility.

Read
  • Dn 3:25, 34-43  Azariah's prayer in the fire: “Don't take away your mercy.  We're brought low because of our sins.  Receive us with contrite heart and humble spirit; so let our sacrifice be as we follow you unreservedly.  We follow you with our whole heart, we fear you, and we pray to you.  Deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.  Deliver us....”
  • Ps 25:4-5ab, 6-7bc, 8-9  "Remember your mercies, O Lord."  Teach me your ways; guide me in your truth.  You guide the humble to justice...
  • Mt 18:21-35  Peter / Jesus:  “If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?  Seven times?” / “77 times.  The Kingdom may be likened to a king settling accounts with his servants.  A debtor owing a huge amount begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I'll pay you back,' and the master forgave the loan.  When the debtor left, he seized a fellow servant owing a much smaller amount:  ‘Pay up.’ / ‘Be patient; I'll repay you.’  But he refused and had him put in prison.  His fellow servants, disturbed, reported the affair to the master, who told him, ‘I forgave you your debt because you begged me.  Shouldn't you have taken pity on your fellow servant?’  Then his master had him tortured.  Forgive your brother from your heart!”
Reflect
    • Creighton:  Jesus "upped the ante" re forgiveness; he knew his call to forgive "77 times" counters Lamech's limitless revenge of Gen 4:23.  The curse of sin had been marked by the Cain's murder, Lamech's vengeance, and the flood; now Jesus calls his followers to forgiveness to help to reverse the curse.  In the parable, the debtor's debt (the wages of 600,000) was absurd; he pled for mercy, and the master had a change of heart.  Not so for the servant....
    • One Bread One Body:  Unforgiveness causes hostility, bickering, jealousy, rage, rivalries, dissensions, factions, and envy.  We must forgive from our hearts.  When you fast, forgive. When you forgive, pray for the Spirit.
    • Passionist:  God will always forgive us.  But it's so hard for us to forgive someone who has hurt us.  Forgiveness is different from reconciliation; the latter is mutual, but the former can be unilateral.  I forgive for my own sake and the gospel's; it's not a favor to the offender, nor does it mean the offender’s actions were OK, or that the offender deserves forgiveness (there might be no remorse or behavior change), or that I don't pursue justice, or that we must reconcile.  But I must give up my need for revenge, my hate, my desire to see the offender suffer.  I refuse to be controlled by someone else’s bad actions.  I release myself from the shackles of anger and vengeance.  I pray for the offender's good.  I can heal.  Forgiveness is a process, not a one-time decision; the greater the hurt, the longer the process.  May we grow in forgiveness, so our lives may proclaim the reign of God.  Forgiveness exercise
    • Universalis:  St. John Ogilvie, Jesuit priest, martyr:  “If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me.”  See Wikipedia.
    Attire legend
    • 'Abacus' tie pin:  You promised to multiply the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel... (1st reading); king settling accounts (gospel)
    • 'Star' tie pin:  ...like the stars of heaven (1st reading)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  Receive us with contrite heart; we follow you with our whole heart (1st reading)
    • 'School' pin:  Teach me your paths (psalm)
    • 'Money' tie:  king settling accounts (gospel)
    • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  Servant, falling to his knees, begged... (gospel)
    • 'Clock' tie bar:  ..."Be patient with me, and I'll pay you back in full." (gospel)
    • 'Blood drop' pin, red socks:  St. John Ogilvie's martyrdom
    • Purple shirt:  Lenten season