August 26, 2016

Aug. 26

August 26, 2016:  Friday, 21st week, Ordinary Time

  • Crucifix:  "We proclaim Christ crucified..." (1st reading)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  " those who are called, Christ the power and wisdom of God." (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is king (psalm); The Kingdom is like... (gospel)
    • '[Christmas] lights' tie:  Light dawns for the just (psalm); 10 virgins took their lamps... (gospel)
      • 'Clock' tie bar:  Bridegroom was long delayed (gospel)
        • 'Key' tie pin:  "Then the door was locked." (gospel)
        • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
        For the gospel
        For the psalm
        The joy of married love needs to be cultivated.  Obsessive search for pleasure keeps us from experiencing other satisfactions, but joy increases pleasure and helps us find fulfillment elsewhere, even when when physical pleasure ebbs.  'Joy' refers to expansion of the heart (Thomas).  Marital joy can be experienced even amid sorrow when you accept that marriage is a mixture of enjoyment and struggles, pain and relief, annoyances and pleasures, always on the path of friendship and mutual caring.
        Love is called 'charity' when it esteems a person's great worth.  Beauty–worth other than physical or psychological appeal–enables us to appreciate a person's sacredness without having to possess it.  In consumerist society, the sense of beauty is impoverished, so joy fades; people are to be possessed. But tenderness is a sign of a love free of selfish possessiveness; we approach a person with respect and we dread causing them harm or taking away their freedom.  When you love someone, you contemplate and appreciate their beauty and sacredness and so seek their good even when they can't belong to you or when they're annoying.  For “the love by which one is pleasing to another depends on their giving something freely” (Thomas).
        Love is expressed in a gaze that contemplates others as ends in themselves.  A look of appreciation is so important; hurt and problems result when we stop looking.  Love opens our eyes and enables us to see someone's great worth. 
        We need to cultivate the joy of love.  There's no greater joy than of sharing good things.  The most intense joys arise when we elicit joy in others and see them enjoy themselves.  Lovers who delight in their beloved's good and freely give to them experience this joy.
        Joy also grows through pain and sorrow.  “The greater the danger in battle, the greater the joy of victory” (Augustine).  After suffering and struggling together, spouses experience that it was worth it, because they achieved a good, learned something, or better appreciate what they have.  Few joys are as deep and thrilling as those of people who love each other and have achieved something from shared effort.  (IV:126-130)
          "Give us some oil" (origin)
        • 1 Cor 1:17-25  Christ sent me to preach the Gospel,  The message of the cross is foolishness to the perishing but God's power to those being saved,  Jews demand signs and Greeks wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, God's power and wisdom to those called.  God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, God's weakness stronger than human strength.
        • Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11  "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."  Give thanks to the Lord on the harp and lyre; his plan stands forever.
        • Mt 25:1-13  “The Kingdom will be like ten virgins who went out to meet the groom with their lamps.   The foolish ones brought no oil, but the wise did.  The groom was long delayed, and they all fell asleep.  When they heard the groom was coming, they got up and trimmed their lamps.  Foolish / wise:  ‘Give us some oil; our lamps are going out.’ / ‘No; there may not be enough for us all.  Buy some.’  While they went to buy it, the groom came, the ones who were ready went into the feast, and the door was locked.  When the other virgins came and said, ‘Open the door for us!’  Master:  ‘I don't know you.’  Stay awake; you don't know the day or hour.

          • Creighton:  Jesus' parable helps us reflect on our "provisions" for our roles as servants, waiting for moments of grace or call.  How do I "have what it takes" to respond well?  When I miss an opportunity, I'm usually full of fear, not oil, and only see my own stuff.  Fear can't light a flame.  I miss the moment to show compassion, be bread "broken and given," or proclaim liberty to captives.  Our God will provide what we ask for, out of the desires God's Word plants in us.  Desire opens our eyes, makes us ready, and fuels love, forgiveness, proclamation, and transformation.  When I turn to God, my choices are more likely to be grace-filled.  When I reflect upon Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection, death is freeing.  When I beg for the grace of selfless love, new graces flow.  When I gather the week's struggles, joys, and desires, they prepare me for a fuller Sunday celebration.  When I'm open and ask for the grace to serve, to hear the poor, to reflect God's kingdom, then God will provide oil for a torch of Light itself.
          • One Bread, One Body:  "Faith-fight":  We're in a crisis of faith; our problems are critical.  Because "all depends on faith," we need faith.  Forgiving enemies, being persecuted, remaining pure, living simply, and submitting to authority are a few of the crosses many Christians stumble over and consider absurd.  Christians who have lost faith in Jesus' Second Coming are among the bridesmaids not ready for the Master's return.  "Fight hard for the faith."
          • Passionist:  Jesus, Wisdom of God, sets aside our understanding of wisdom.  How can life come from death, healing through brokenness?...
          Black Madonna of Częstochowa
          (Church mosaic; Poland)
          •  "The foolish will miss heaven's wedding feast":  Being unprepared can lead to trouble and disaster!  Jesus' audience knew how easily his story of women waiting for a wedding procession could apply to them. //
          • Wedding customs in ancient Palestine required extra vigilance and preparation for everyone involved. (Some near eastern villages still follow this custom.) The bride and groom did not go away for their honeymoon, but celebrated for a whole week with their family and friends. It was the custom for the groom, in company with his friends, to come at his discretion and get his bride and bring her to their new home. They would take the longest route possible so that many villagers along the way could join in the wedding procession. Once they arrived and closed the doors, no one else could be admitted. If the groom decided to come and bring his bride at night, then lights were required by necessity to guide the travelers through the dark and narrow streets. No one was allowed on the village streets at night without a lamp! 
          • To show up for a wedding party without proper attire and travel arrangements is like trying to get into a special event today that requires a prearranged permit or reservation. You just don’t get in without the proper pass. Can you imagine the frustration travelers might experience when going abroad and finding out that they can’t get into some country because they don't have the right visa or a valid passport.
          • The consequences of being unprepared to meet the Lord
          • Jesus warns us that there are consequences for being unprepared. There are certain things you cannot obtain at the last moment. For example, students cannot prepare for their exams when the day of testing is already upon them. A person cannot get the right kind of character, strength, and skill required for a task at hand unless they already possess it, such as a captain with courage and nautical skills who must steer a ship through a dangerous storm at sea. 
          • When the Lord Jesus comes to lead you to his heavenly banquet will you be ready to hear his voice and follow? Our eternal welfare depends on our hearing, and many have trained themselves to not hear. We will not be prepared to meet the Lord, face to face, when he calls us on the day of judgment, unless we listen to him today. The Lord invites us to feast at his heavenly banquet table. Are you ready?
            • Bl. Dominic Barberi, Passionist priest, missionary. priest, house founder, zealous preacher, warm to non-Catholics, received Anglicans into full communion.
            • St. David Lewis, convert, Jesuit priest, “Popish Plot” martyr:  “discover the plot I could not, as I knew of none; and conform [=recant] I would not, for it was against my conscience.”