October 4, 2015

27th Sunday, Ordinary Time

October 4, 2015:  Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Good luck finding 16 connections with today!
Legend below

Listen

Pope Francis
Homily at Synod of Bishops General Assembly opening:  If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”  Today's readings, centering on the themes of solitude, love between man and woman, and family, seem chosen precisely for this Synod of Bishops on the family.
Solitude:  Though Adam had dominion over creatures, he was lonely because “there was no helper fit for him.”  Many experience the drama of solitude:  the abandoned elderly, widows and widowers, those left by their spouses, all who feel alone, misunderstood and unheard, migrants and refugees, and victims of the throwaway culture of consumerism and waste.  We experience a world of mansions and skyscrapers, but less warmth of homes, ambitious projects but little time to enjoy them, sophisticated entertainment but deep and growing emptiness, many pleasures but few loves, many liberties but little freedom.  Our experience is like Adam's:  power but loneliness and vulnerability.  People are less serious about building relationships of love:  in sickness and health, for better or worse, in good times and bad.  Lasting, faithful, fruitful love is viewed as a relic.  It would seem the most advanced societies have the lowest birth rates and the most abortion, divorce, suicide, and pollution.
Love between man and woman:  Adam’s loneliness pained God:  “It's not good;  I'll make him a helper....”  Nothing makes a heart as happy as another that loves you and takes away the loneliness.  God did not create us to be alone; he made men and women for happiness, mutual sharing, and love:  to love and be loved, and to see love bear fruit.  God’s dream is to see creation fulfilled in the loving union between a man and a woman, rejoicing in their shared journey, fruitful in their mutual gift of self.  Jesus responds to the divorce question straightforwardly and unexpectedly, returning to creation, to teach us that God blesses human love and indissolubly joins the hearts of two people who love each other.  The goal of conjugal life isn't just living together but loving each other.
Family:  Don't divide what God joined” is an exhortation to overcome individualism and legalism that conceals narrow self-centeredness and fear of accepting the meaning of the couple and of human sexuality in God’s plan.  Only in the light of the folly of Jesus’ paschal love will the folly of exclusive and lifelong conjugal love make sense.  Marriage is no utopia but a dream without which we'd be doomed to solitude!  Fear to accept this paralyzes the heart.  People are attracted to and fascinated by steadfast, fruitful, faithful, enduring love; they chase fleeting loves while dreaming of true love; they chase after carnal pleasures but desire total self-giving.  "Now that we've tasted the promises of unlimited freedom, we begin to appreciate the phrase 'world-weariness.'   Forbidden pleasures lost their attraction as soon as they stopped being forbidden.  They prove dull, for they're finite realities, whereas we thirst for the infinite" (Joseph Ratzinger).  In this difficult context, the Church is called to carry out her mission in fidelity, truth and love.
    • Fidelity to her Master as a voice crying out in the desert, defending faithful love, encouraging families that live married life as a revelation of God’s love, defending the sacredness of every life, defending the unity and indissolubility of marriage as a sign of grace and our ability to love.
    • Truth that protects individuals and humanity from self-centeredness and from turning love into selfishness, faithful union into temporary bonds. “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality.  Love becomes a shell....  This is the fatal risk facing love” (Benedict XVI).
    • Charity, not judging others, but seeking out and caring for hurting couples with acceptance and mercy; to be a “field hospital” with doors open to all; even more, to reach out to others with love, to walk with the suffering, to include them and guide them to salvation.
A Church that teaches and defends fundamental values.  Jesus said: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  A Church that teaches love that can take loneliness away and is a good Samaritan to wounded humanity.  “Condemn and oppose error and evil but understand and love those who fall or err…” (St. John Paul II).  Search for, welcome, and accompany them; a Church with closed doors betrays herself and her mission and becomes a roadblock, not a bridge.  Lord, accompany us during the Synod and to guide your Church, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
At the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops General Assembly Prayer Vigil:  Why light a candle in the darkness?  Isn’t there a better way to dispel darkness?  Can it even be overcome?  When life proves difficult, we can step back, turn away, and withdraw, fleeing our responsibility of doing our best.  Elijah tried to run away but eventually heard God's still, small voice urging to go forth.  Last year we asked the Spirit that the Synod Fathers might listen to one another, with their gaze fixed on Jesus.  Tonight we pray the same.  Without the Spirit, God is far off, Christ is in the past, the Church is just an organization, authority becomes domination, mission becomes propaganda, worship becomes mystique, and Christian life the morality of slaves (Metropolitan Ignatius IV Hazim).
Pray the Synod will show how marriage and family is rich and fulfilling.  May the Synod acknowledge, esteem, and proclaim all that's beautiful, good, and holy about it.  May it embrace situations of vulnerability and hardship that create distress, resentment, and separation. May it remind families that the Gospel is “good news” that lets us start over.  May the Synod Fathers draw from our tradition comfort and hope for families called to build the future.  Every family is a light amid the world's darkness.  Jesus’ human experience took shape in a family like others, in an obscure village.
Charles de Foucauld was attracted by the Holy Family, Jesus’ daily relationship with his parents and neighbors, his labor, his prayer.  He realized the emptiness of wealth and power.  He became everything to everyone, coming to understand we don't grow in God's love by avoiding human relations.  In loving others, we learn to love God; in helping others, we're lifted up to God.  Through his solidarity with the poor and the abandoned, he came to understand they're the ones who evangelize us and help us grow in humanity.  To understand the family, we also need to enter into the mystery of the Holy Family, into its daily problems and joys, marked by patience amid adversity, respect for others, humility, service, and fraternity.
In the family holiness is lived out in the ordinary, past generations form us, and we put down roots. It's a place of discernment, where we learn and embrace God’s plan for us.  We learn to step out of ourselves and accept others, to forgive and be forgiven.  In this Synod may we learn from the family, acknowledging its dignity, strength, and value.  May we rediscover the richness and strength of a Church which is a mother, ever capable of giving, nourishing, and accompanying life with tenderness and moral strength.  If we don't unite compassion with justice, we'll end up severe and unjust.  
A Church which is family can show the love of a responsible father who protects without confining, corrects without demeaning, and trains by example and patience, sometimes just silence.  A Church of children who see themselves as brothers and sisters won't consider anyone a burden, problem, expense, concern, or risk.  A person is always a gift.  Because the Church is an open house, she can appeal to everyone's longing for peace.  This Church, reborn in the Father's mercy, can light up the darkness so many feel, point them towards the goal, and walk at their side.
Read
  • Gn 2:18-24  God: "It's not good for the man to be alone.."  He formed animals and birds and brought them to him, but none proved to be a suitable partner.  So the Lord cast a deep sleep on the man, then built a woman from one of his ribs.  Man:  "At last, bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman.'"  That's why a man leaves his parents and clings to his wife, and the two become one.
  • Ps 128:1-6  "May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives."  Blessed are you who walk in the Lord's ways!  You'll eat the fruit of your handiwork.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine, your children like olive plants.  May you see prosperity all your days.  Peace upon Israel!
  • Heb 2:9-11  Jesus "for a little while" was made "lower than the angels," that by grace he might taste death.   It was fitting that God should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering....
  • Mk 10:2-16  Pharisees / Jesus:  "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" / "What did Moses command?"  / "He permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." / "He did because of your hard hearts.  But God made them male and female, so a man shall leave his parents and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.  What God has joined, let no one separate.  Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and if she divorces him and marries another, she commits adultery."  People brought children to him for him to touch, but the disciples rebuked them.  Jesus, indignant:  "Let them come; for the kingdom belongs to such as these.  Whoever does not accept the kingdom like a child won't enter it."  Then he embraced and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
Reflect
    • Creighton:  Children experience wonder and joy growing up; they live in the moment, open to love and acceptance.  God wants us to experience that in our lives, to be in the present.  The unconditional love and acceptance he offers can help us find God in all things.....
    • One Bread One Body:  "No separation":   Jesus does not want husband and wife, or parents and children, to be separated.  Let no work, lifestyle, day care, activity, school, or other responsibility separate what God has joined.  The Lord has joined us to him and to one another; may we live in real Christian community, not isolation or individualism....
    • Passionist:  "Loving Like Jesus":  Jesus teaches us about the realities of love and life.  We thrive on both.  Jesus reminds us of our call to love as God loves:  faithfully, unconditionally, fruitfully.  He highlights the love and life that are hallmarks of children; he wants children to come to him.  Jesus is the model of love for spouses, parents, and children; he witnesses that love is possible, critical, and life-giving!  Today Pope Francis convenes the Synod on the Family, let’s be grateful for our faith, our vocation, the growth we’ve experienced, for children, and for God’s love present among us.  May we seek God’s help in deepening our faith, love, and respect for life....
    • DailyScripture.net:  Jesus deals with divorce by going back to God's plan for humanity.  Adam and Eve were created for each other; Moses permitted divorce only as a concession.  Jesus sets high ideals for marriage for his followers, as well as high ideals for those who freely renounce it  for the kingdom; they're both calls to a consecrated life and to belong to God not myself.
    The parents who brought their children to Jesus wanted him to lay his hands upon them; they knew of his healing power.  Jesus demonstrated that God's love has room for everyone.  God comes to each person to touch them with healing.  May we never hinder anyone from coming to him, and may we never lose that childlike simplicity and humility.....
    St. Francis of Assisi [though trumped by Sunday celebration]
    • Universalis:  Francis, son of prosperous cloth merchant, lived evangelical poverty, preached God's love to all, loved creation, celebrated everything as gift, understood disciples must carry Jesus' cross, founded Franciscan order...
    Dress legend
    • 'Bird,' 'lion' pins:  The man gave names to the cattle, birds, and wild animals... (1st reading) ['Cow' pin cracked]
    • 'Two intertwined' tie bar:  The two of them become one flesh (1st reading, gospel)
    • 'Fruit' pin:  You shall eat the fruit of your handiwork (psalm); your wife shall be like a fruitful tree (psalm)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Peace be upon Israel! (psalm)
    • 'Angel' pin:  Jesus was made "lower than the angels" (2nd reading)
    • 'Bill' pin:  "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce..." (gospel)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  "...because of the hardness of your hearts" (gospel)
    • 'Children' tie:  "Let the children come to me" (gospel)
    • 'Hand' tie bar:  Jesus placed his hands on the children (gospel)
    • 'Nail' and 'blood drop' pins:  St. Francis's stigmata
    • Beads:  "Mardi Gras" theme of today's parish birthday celebration (who says parties have to be liturgically correct?)
    • Green in shirt:  Ordinary Time season