December 1, 2016

Dec. 1

December 1, 2016:  Thursday, 1st week, Advent

  • 'Music' tie:  They'll sing this song... (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  You keep the nation in peace, for its trust in you (1st reading)
  • 'Feet' pin:  The needy trample the lofty city underfoot (1st reading)
  • 'Street lamp' tie bar:  The Lord God has given us light (psalm)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  The Lord is an eternal Rock (1st reading); wise man built his house on rock (gospel)
    • Purple suspenders:  Advent season
    Pope Francis
    Homily:  Today's opening prayer is “May Your grace conquer the obstacles caused by our sins.”  Each of us have obstacles that resist God’s grace.
    'Open obstacles' are born of good faith, like when Saul before his conversion resisted grace but was convinced he was doing God’s will.  They're healthy, open to the grace of conversion.  But the dangerous obstacles are the hidden ones.  We must recognize how we resist grace, then allow the Lord to purify us.  The devil places obstacles to stop conversion.  But we must allow the change to take place.  3 kinds:
    'Empty words':  “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom.”  Recall the parable of the two sons:  one says no then does the work, but the other says yes but doesn't go.  Saying yes so as not change anything is ‘resistance of empty words.’
    'Words that justify,' when a person justifies himself:  Making excuses exudes the stink of the devil, not the aroma of God.  Christians don't need to justify themselves; they're justified by the Word of God.  This resistance is using words to try to justify my position though I'm not following the Lord.
    'Accusatory words,' when we accuse others so as not to look to ourselves:  We resist conversion and grace, as in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican.
    There's historical resistance like the Maginot Line, but also what's inside our hearts every day.  Resistance to grace is a good sign; it shows the Lord is working in us.  Make the obstacles fall, to allow grace in.  When there are obstacles, don't be afraid; ask for the Lord’s help, and acknowledge we're all sinners.  

    At Congress on Pastoral Care of International Students, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People-organized, Evangelii gaudium-focused:  Approach studies as a springboard to contribute to society.  “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you're young, but set an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity.”  Counter those working for self-realization and recognition, often without care for others, by working for the common good and peace.  Studying abroad increases self-confidence by expanding your ability to relate with others and open up without fear.
    Teachers and pastoral workers, instill love for the gospel and desire to live it concretely and announce it, so people will thirst for truth, not power, ready to defend their values and live mercy and charity.  Sad to say, “globalization of indifference” has risen, numbing people to compassion at the cry of the poor, but study abroad can produce positive outcomes on globalization, with the freshness and daring of the gospel, to form evangelizers ready to infect the world with the joy of Christ....
    On burying the dead, and praying for the living and the dead:  Keep practicing works of mercy.
    Burying the dead may appear a strange request, but it's sadly meaningful when we think of all who risk their lives to give decent burial to victims of war.  For us Christians, burial is an act of faith; we lower our loved ones into the tomb in the hope of their resurrection.
    Praying for the living and the dead is especially meaningful as we commemorate the faithful departed and thank God for having allowed us to partake of their love and friendship.  Praying for the living and the dead expresses the communion of saints eloquently and reminds us of how we're all united in God’s family; this is why we pray for each other.  Open your heart to the Holy Spirit, who knows our deepest desires and hopes; pray for all in need; and thank God for the good things in our lives.  May all the works of mercy continue to inspire and guide us on the path of God’s mercy.
    December prayer intention:  Today weapons are sold that end up in child soldiers' hands.  Do everything possible to respect the dignity of children and end this slavery.  Pray that the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated.  Video

    Read
    • Is 26:1-6  In Judah they'll sing: “God sets up walls and ramparts to protect us. Let in a just nation, one that trusts in you.” Trust in the Lord, an eternal Rock! He humbles those in high places; the poor and needy trample the lofty city.
    • Ps 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a  "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." The Lord is good; his mercy endures forever. Take refuge in the Lord. I'll enter the gates of justice and thank the Lord who answered and saved me. The Lord has given us light. 
    • Mt 7:21, 24-27  “Only those who do my Father's will will enter the Kingdom.  Everyone who acts on these words will be like one who built his house on rock, but those who don't will be like fools who built on sand.”

    Reflect
      • Creighton:  Today's readings talk about foundations.  A strong city has walls to protect us and gates that open to a just nation.  Jesus' parable about building a house on rock or sand tells us we have to listen to him, and act.  We never finish building the foundation.  With the good framework of following Jesus' words of Jesus, we want to build on it, and the way ahead becomes clearer.  Building is living the Gospel.  May I build a solid foundation by listening to the Gospel and seeing God's face in all I encounter.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Location, location, location": The future of our lives is based upon our location.  We're to build our lives on every word that comes from Jesus' mouth.  If we make his words our home and put them into practice, we'll build our lives upon the Rock of Ages.  Because permanence is the chief trait of his word, a life built on his word will last forever.  If we're rooted in the Word, we'll be like those who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock.  May we locate, dig into, and devour God's Word in preparation for the arrival of the Word made flesh.
        House built on rock
        vs. house built on sand
        ...
      • Passionist:  Christ's sufferings continue in people's sufferings today; Jesus endured the “historical” Passion, and people endure a “contemporary” Passion:  the poor, refugees, the hungry or oppressed, those living in fear....  Today's readings remind us of suffering of meaninglessness.  Many feel adrift, not sure of their purpose; they don't find joy in their work or relationships.  The emphasis in today's gospel is on doing right.  What's the foundation on which we can build a life of meaning?  Where do we put our trust?  Jesus teaches we find happiness and meaning when we go beyond ourselves and love others.  Isaiah tells us: “Trust in the Lord forever!”...
      • DailyScripture.net:  "Who shall enter the kingdom of heaven?"  A strong city and a secure house were built on rock to withstand the nature and attack.  God is the rock of refuge and deliverance in whom there's no wrong.  Jesus invites us to stake our lives on the coming of his kingdom.  Jesus likely had in mind, "When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm."  The foundation we build determines how we survive upcoming storms.  Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions.  The only way to prove your sincerity is by your practice.  Our choices reveal our character.  May I build on the Rock, listen to him, and be honest and reliable before God, others, and myself.
        • St. Ralph Sherwin, priest, martyr: “We stand here because of religion, not treason.”
        • St. Edmund Campion, Jesuit priest, martyr: “In condemning us, you condemn your own ancestors, our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, the most devoted child of the See of Peter.”