June 23, 2017

Jesus' Sacred Heart

June 23, 2017:  Sacred Heart of Jesus

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
From Messiah/ Handel (gospel)
    Also for gospel
For Psalm 103
For 2nd reading

And more...
Pope Francis homily:  Make yourself small
God chose us, mixed himself up with us, and gave us his son, for our love.  Moses says God chose us to be his own.  In the Heart of Jesus God gave us grace to celebrate the mystery of our salvation, of his love for us, our faith.  We didn't choose God; God made himself “our prisoner”:  he attached, strongly yoked, himself to our life; he can't detach himself.  We were chosen for love; it's our identity.  God chose you, called you, and joined himself to you. If we don't believe this, we don’t understand Christ's message.
Moses said the Lord chose the Israel because it was “the smallest of nations.”  The Lord was enamored of our smallness and so chose us.  He chooses and is revealed to the small.  "You revealed to little ones things hidden from the wise and learned."  To understand something of the mystery of Jesus, lower yourself.  Be mindful of being nothing.  He not only chooses and reveals himself to little ones; he calls them:  "Come to me,... and I'll give you rest."  You small ones, because of suffering or fatigue,... he chooses, reveals himself to, and calls you.  His heart is open to the great too, but they don't recognize his voice; they can't hear it because they're full of themselves.  To hear the Lord's voice of the Lord, you must make yourself little.
The Heart of Christ is the heart of revelation, the heart of our faith, because he made himself small; he chose the way of humbling himself, emptying himself, even to death on the Cross.  He chose smallness to manifest God's glory.   From the Body of Christ transfixed by the soldier’s lance, blood and water flowed out.  Today we celebrate the mystery of Christ, a heart that loves, chooses, is faithful, is joined to us, is revealed to little ones, calls the little ones, and makes itself little.
Jesus is the manifestation of God, the glory of God, faithful in choosing, making himself little, emptying himself. We can be so much, so virtuous, but with little or no faith; we must start from the mystery of Jesus Christ, who saved us with his faithfulness.  Lord, grant us the grace to celebrate your great acts, great works of salvation, great works of redemption.
  • Dt 7:6-11  Moses:  "You're sacred to the Lord; he chose you to be his own, setting his heart on you because he loved you.  The Lord keeps his covenant toward those who love him.  Keep the commandments...
  • Ps 103:1-4, 6-7, 8, 10  "The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him."  Bless the Lord!  He pardons, heals, redeems, and crowns you.  He's kind, merciful, gracious, and slow to anger...
  • 1 Jn 4:7-16  Love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.  God revealed his love for us by sending his Son and giving the Spirit.  If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.  God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
  • Mt 11:25-30  "I give praise to you, Father, for though you've hidden things from the wise, you've revealed them to little ones....  Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I'll give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I'm humble of heart; you'll find rest.  My yoke is easy and my burden light."
Contemporary "Sacred Heart of Jesus" gallery, Whatley-heavy
Sacred Heart of Jesus 2010/ Whatley
Jesus:  Sacred Heart of Love 2013/ Whatley
The Sacred Heart 2016/ Whatley
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Healer of the brokenhearted":  There's something extraordinary about the image of the Sacred Heart.  When the weary and burdened come to Jesus, they find rest; when the dying and bereaved come, they find assurance. When the broken and rejected come, they have hope.  Receive God's love more than ever: "Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make my heart like yours." "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in You."
  • Passionist:  All today's readings speak of God’s love.  Moses reminds the people they're chosen only because the Lord loved them.  Paul writes, “The love of God was revealed to us:  God sent his only Son... so that we might have life through him.”  Jesus invites, “Come to me,... and I'll give you rest....  I'm meek and humble of heart.  My yoke is easy, my burden light.” Jesus contrasts himself with the religious leaders who did burden people regarding living the Mosaic Law but didn't help them.  Jesus helps us.  The yoke Jesus wants us to take is not easy; love can be hard.  But if we accept his love for us, loving others can be "easy"; the more we know how much we're loved, the freer we are to love others, and the closer we get to God, which in turn enables us to love more easily.  Jesus’ heart is full of love for us; may it fill us and overflow into the world.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Heavenly things revealed to infants":  Jesus' prayer tells us God is Father, Lord, Creator, good, loving, and caring.  Pride (inordinate self-love at others' expense and exaggerated estimation of oneself) can keep us from knowing and loving God; it makes the heart cold and closes the mind to God's wisdom.  Jesus contrasts it with childlike simplicity and humility.  The simple of heart recognize their dependence on God who can sustain them.  Humility inclines the heart to truth and grace; only the humble can receive God's wisdom and understand God's goodness.  Jesus is the perfect revelation of God because he has always been united with the Father; he alone can reveal God's mind, heart, and purpose for us.  We can know God personally because God wants to be united with us in love through his Son.  Jesus makes it possible for each of us to have a personal relationship with God as loving Father.  Jesus is the image of God; to see Jesus is to see what God is like:  perfect love, intense care, yearning over us.  
The yoke is an image of submission to God:  the yoke of the law, the commandments, the kingdom, God.  The Greek word for 'easy' can also mean 'well-fitting.'  Yokes were tailor-made to fit the oxen well.  The yoke of Christ's kingdom liberates us from guilt and sin.  Jesus invites us to his way of grace and freedom.
  • From Universalis, including Sacred Heart-trumped saints
    • The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Devotion to the Sacred Heart, encouraged by mystics and promoted by saints Gertrude, Margaret Mary Alacoque, John Eudes and others, is devotion to Jesus in his human nature, in particular referring to the heart as seat of emotions.
    • Etheldreda: austere religious, abbess of coed monastery; see also CNA
    • Thomas Garnet:  priest, martyr, forgave his betrayers:  “I'm a priest of the blessed Society of Jesus, though unworthy....  This is the happiest day I've seen.”
Dress legend
  • 'Scroll' pin:  "Observe my commandments, statutes, and decrees" (1st reading)
  • 'Sacred Heart of Jesus' pin:  self-explanatory :-)close-up
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord brought you out with his strong hand (1st reading); "my Father 'handed' all things over to me" (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord crowns you with kindness and compassion (psalm)
  • 'Dove' pin:  We know we remain in him and he in us because he's given us his Spirit. (2nd reading)
  • 'Children' pin:  "You revealed hidden things to little ones" (gospel)
  • 'Hearts' tie:  The Lord set his heart on you and chose you (1st reading); "love one another"; "God is love..." (2nd reading); "I am meek and humble of heart" (gospel)

June 22, 2017

June 22

June 22, 2017:  Thursday, 11th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Words' tie:  Babbling pagans think they'll be heard because of their many words (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  Give us this day our daily bread (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  God knows I love you!  (1st reading); I'll thank the Lord with all my heart (psalm)
  • 'Serpent' tie pin:  As the serpent deceived Eve, your thoughts may be corrupted (1st reading)
  • Red in heart pin:  Martyrdom of SS. John Fisher and Thomas More
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

For Psalm 111

For Psalm 112 (why?*)
*My mistake!  I looked up Ps 111 on YouTube, chose these two settings, then realized the text didn't match the psalm and discovered they're really for Ps 112.  I'd only seen this "one-off" numbering in the other direction (e.g., Spanish hymnals show Ps 51 settings as for Salmo 50, a difference between Hebrew and Greek numbering?).  I was also surprised that the text begins "beatus vir" using the "male-only" vir instead of homo (with the sense 'person'), since I'm sure the sense is that all who fear the Lord are blessed.  English translations differ, rendering the text as man, person, those....  I looked up the psalm in Hebrew; the original word, אּישׁAFAICT also refers to the male (vs. persons in general).  I assume the translators who chose person or those knew enough about Hebrew usage at the time to support that rendering.  Readers who know, please shed some light on this!
For the gospel
Pope Francis homily
The Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep.  Paul is a true shepherd, who doesn't abandon his sheep.  He's passionate to the point of telling his people, "I feel for you a kind of divine jealousy."  Passion becomes almost madness, stupidity for his people.  We call this apostolic zeal; you can't be a true shepherd without this fire.
Pastors must also know how to discern.  They know what seduction is; the father of lies is a seducer trying to turn people away from the fidelity Paul tried to cultivate.  Pastors discern where the dangers, and graces, are, and accompany their sheep in beautiful moments, bad moments, even moments of seduction, and patiently bring them to the fold.
Apostles can't be naive; they need to defend fidelity to Christ the bridegroom.  They can say no, like parents say to a baby who heads towards the electric socket to put his fingers in.  A good shepherd can denounce by name, as Paul did.
Don Milani's motto was "I care."  He taught people to take things seriously, against the "I don't care" motto of the time.  He taught kids to move on and take care of their lives....
  • 2 Cor 11:1-11  I'm jealous of you, since I betrothed you to present you to Christ, but I'm afraid your thoughts may be corrupted.  If someone preaches a different Jesus, spirit, or gospel, you put up with it.  Did I make a mistake when I humbled myself and preached the Gospel to you?  When I was with you, I didn't burden you, and I won't.  I won't silence my boast.  God knows I love you!
  • Mt 6:7-15  “In praying, don't babble; your Father knows what you need.  Pray:  ‘Our Father, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.  Give us our daily bread, and forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us....  Deliver us from evil.’  If you forgive others, your Father will forgive you; if you don't, he won't.”
      St. Thomas More/ Holbein
    • Creighton:  Paul must feel misunderstood and be frustrated in preaching the good news; no wonder he's defensive, even sarcastic.  Think about something you're passionate about. When we're misunderstood, unappreciated, complained at, accused, or we face other obstacles, we get defensive and try harder to prove our mission should be everyone's.
    Jesus offers another way in the Our Father:  Call on the one who knows us more than we do and loves us more than we can imagine.  Ask for grace to trust God.  Ask for what you need now:  to let go of the self-righteousness of being misunderstood, ability to face conflict with equanimity, or whatever.  Recognize your limitations and ask for grace to forgive yourself and to forgive others in theirs.  Affirm your trust in God's guidance and your intent to listen for and follow it.  Find something to be grateful for.
      St. John Fisher
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Fallen away":  Paul was afraid the Corinth church would fall away from their devotion to Christ.  If we love Christ less than before, we've become lukewarm, fallen away from our earlier love.  If we fall away, we're in danger; a relationship where love lessens is in trouble. If we don't love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we're not following the greatest commandment.  May we renew our baptismal covenant and return to our "sincere and complete devotion to Christ."
    • Passionist:  Jesus gives an antidote to sheer multiplication of words in the Our Father.  "Our" makes it communal; even if we pray it alone, we're conscious of being part of the family of God's children.  We pray for the coming, and fullness, of God's Kingdom.  Knowing God's will isn't enough; we must make it our guide.  We pray for our "daily bread" which can include God’s Word, encouragement, companionship with God, wisdom, enthusiasm following Jesus in our lives.  We pray for God’s forgiveness, knowing we must forgive each other, for which we need God's grace.  Our prayer to be delivered from evil recognizes not only our weakness but also our dedication to live the Christian life.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Your Father knows what you need":  The Jews were devoted to prayer, but Jesus warns his disciples against mechanical prayer devoid of meaning.  He taught the Our Father, daring us to call God "our Father" and ask for what we need.  Through the Spirit we can know God, call him "Abba," and approach him with confidence.  When we ask, God gives us grace and mercy, more than we need so we can share with others.  God expects us to treat others as kindly as he treats us.  Lord, free me from anger, bitterness, resentment, selfishness, indifference; fill me with your love, compassion, and kindness....
      • Thomas More, lawyer, reformer, author of Utopia, depicting a society regulated by natural virtues, impartial judge, martyr, “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”   “May we in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation.”
    Prayer for enemies:  Almighty God, have mercy on ...., and on all that bear me evil will, and wish me harm, and their faults and mine by such tender, merciful means as your wisdom can devise; amend and redress and make us saved souls in heaven together, where we may live and love with you and your saints, for the passion of our sweet Savior Christ.  Lord, give me patience in tribulation and grace in everything, to conform my will to yours, that I may truly say, “Your will be done on earth as in heaven.”  Give me the grace to labor for what I pray for.  –St. Thomas More
        • John Fisher, bishop, martyr:  "I condemn no one's conscience: their conscience may save them, and mine must save me.  "We should remember... to treat opponents as if they were acting in good faith, even if they seem to us to be acting out of spite or self-interest."

      June 21, 2017

      Aloysius Gonzaga

      June 21, 2017:  St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

      • 'Plant' pin: as you so, so shall you reap (1st reading) 
      • 'Penny' button:  Paul's fundraising (1st reading); riches shall be in the house of those who fear the Lord (psalm)
      • 'Lights' tie:  Light shines through darkness for the upright (psalm)
      • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  "When you give alms, don't blow a trumpet" (gospel)
      • 'Hand' tie pin:  When you give, don't let your left hand know what your right is doing (gospel)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  Don't pray so others may see you (gospel)
      • White shirt:  liturgical color for St. Aloysius memorial

      For Psalm 112
      Pope Francis General Audience
      The saints, “who have gone before us with the sign of faith,” are “a great cloud of witnesses” who support us on our way through life.  In the sacraments of baptism, marriage, and ordination, we pray the Litany of the Saints to implore their intercession and help in the call we've received.  The saints' lives remind us that the Christian ideal is attainable; despite our weakness, we can count on God’s grace and their prayers to sustain us in faith and in hope for the transfiguration of this world and the fulfillment of Christ’s promises.  May the Lord enable us to become saints, living images of Christ.  May he strengthen us to be his witnesses and to bring the Gospel to all, especially the suffering and those most in need of its message of hope.
      • 2 Cor 9:6-11  If you sow sparingly, you'll reap sparingly; if you sow bountifully, you'll reap bountifully.  God loves a cheerful giver and will give you all you need.  The one who supplies seed and bread will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness....
      • Ps 112:1bc-4, 9  "Blessed those who fear the Lord" and delight in his commands.  Light shines through darkness for the gracious, merciful, and just who give generously.
      • Mt 6:1-6, 16-18  "When you give alms, don't blow a trumpet to win praise; don't let your left hand know what your right is doing.  When you pray, don't stand so others see you; go to your room and pray in secret.  When you fast, don't look gloomy so others think you're fasting; let only your Father know.  When you give alms, pray, and fast in secret, your Father will see and repay you."
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Play-acting":  The root of 'hypocrite' means 'play-acting.'  Discipleship is righteous living from the heart, not play-acting.  Disciples live to please God, not to obtain a reward.  'Reward' in today's parable means limited repayment that only satisfies the "actor."  'Repayment,' applied to God repaying an act of discipleship, is a reward from God.  Unlike the hypocrite's repayment, the disciple trusts in God's generosity and providence.  Play-acting limits the reward and directs attention to the hypocrite, not God, while discipleship places no such limits.  Don't play at being Jesus' disciple; take up your cross and follow him wholeheartedly.
      • Passionist:  The life of farmers is cyclical; each spring they prepare the land and sow seed.  It's arduous and time-consuming, but when fall comes, there can be joy from a successful harvest (but not always).  Similarly, in today's gospel Jesus recalls the experience of helping others, almsgiving, being content to do so quietly without expecting an immediate reward.  In the business world when we make payments now for a deferred reward we call it investment or insurance....
        St. "Luigi"
      • DailyScripture.net:  "When you pray, fast, and give alms":  Jews considered prayer, fasting, and almsgiving the cardinal works of the religious life.  Do you pray, fast, and give alms to draw attention to yourself, or to give glory to God?  True piety is loving devotion to God, an attitude of awe, reverence, worship and obedience, a gift and work of the Spirit that enables us to devote our lives to God.  The reward is communion with the Father, fullness of life, happiness, love and joy.  "When I'm united to you, there will be no more sorrows or trials; full of you, my life will be complete." (St. Augustine, Confessions)  The Lord renews us with hearts of love and compassion so we may serve him and others with generous hearts.
      St. Aloysius Gonzaga and...
      • Creighton:  A pious young man who rejected the wealth and status of his noble family, Aloysius became a Jesuit.  His spiritual director, St. Robert Bellarmine, advised him to spend less time in formal prayer and more interacting with others. When plague broke out, Aloysius cared for the victims till he died from it (at 23).  He became the patron saint of youth and is regarded as the patron of those with AIDS.  We can be grateful for his fidelity, openness to growth, courage, and selfless love.  St. Aloysius, keep interceding for youth, who face challenges you couldn't have imagined.  Help young people row against the current, know God's love, find the relationship with Jesus that will conform their hearts to his, see their roles in our Church, and serve those most in need.

      June 20, 2017

      June 20

      June 20, 2017:  Tuesday, 11th week, Ordinary Time

      • 'Love' suspenders sticker, 'heart' pin:  Love your enemies (gospel)
      • 'Food' tie:  The Lord gives food to the hungry (psalm)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord gives sight to the blind (psalm)
      • 'Sun' pin:  Your Father makes his sun rise on the bad and the good (gospel)
      • 'Coin' button:  The collection (1st reading); what recompense will you have if you just love those who love you?  Tax collectors do that (gospel)
      • Green shirt and suspenders:  Ordinary Time season
      • Look it up/ Presley, Orrall, with verse about how hard it is for us to forgive ("It's what Jesus has in store for you, but I don't..."); this cover avoids the original's bad language.  lyrics+ (gospel)

      For Psalm 146
      • 2 Cor 8:1-9  The grace of God was given to the churches of Macedonia; they were joyful and generous though poor and afflicted.  They gave themselves first to the Lord and through his will to us.  May you too be generous and show your love and concern for others, as Christ became poor so you might become rich.
      • Ps 146:2, 5-9a  "Praise the Lord, my soul!"  God helps those who hope in him; he secures justice, gives food, frees captives, restores sight, raises those bowed down, loves the just, and protects strangers.
      • Mt 5:43-48  “You've heard, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say, love your enemies and pray for your persecutors.  Your Father makes his sun rise and rain fall on the bad and the good.  Even tax collectors love those who love them.  Be perfect, like your Father.”
        • Creighton:  Everyone loves family and friends, but we followers of Jesus need to go the extra mile, turn the other cheek, and love our enemies.  I can dismiss or label people with different views; labels help me deny their humanness, stop me from seeing them as God's children, keep me from understanding why they believe as they do, and blind me to their fears and experience.   That widens the divide in our country and world.   When I'm with someone who doesn't share my beliefs, I can start building a bridge by asking them why they think and feel as they do.  "Being perfect" requires showing compassion even when we don’t want to....
        • One Bread, One Body:  "Givings or mis-givings?"  The Father and Son constantly give themselves to each other, and their gift is the Spirit.  God gives us graces:  his life, love, and power.  God gave himself in Jesus who was crucified for us.  Jesus continues to give his body and blood in the Eucharist.  The Spirit gives us graces called charisms.  God gives to all, especially his enemies.  We're called to give as God gives. We must give ourselves to God, then to all. "Give according to what you've inwardly decided;... God loves a cheerful giver."  May I give my life to God by accepting and living my vocation.  We're called to sacrifice so we may have more generously to give....
        • Passionist:  How can I love my enemy if I can barely greet someone who annoys me?  How can I love terrorists, rapists, murderers, abusers, plunderers, or the lazy, entitled, or insufferable?  Am I really built to let go of fear, anger, and hatred and simply stand with them in love and humility before God?  The anger Jesus felt on earth was at hypocrisy and injustice.  The call to love reverses the course of history; we're called to love generously and graciously, as God loves us....
        • DailyScripture.net:  "Love and pray for your enemies":  God is good to the unjust and the just.; he loves saints and sinners.  God teaches us to seek others' greatest good, even our enemies'.  Our love must be marked by the kindness and mercy God has shown us, though it's harder when we expect nothing in return. Our prayer for those who do us ill breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love.  God's love, power, and grace conquer our hurts, fears, prejudices, and griefs, healing and saving us.  'Perfect" in Aramaic means 'complete' or 'whole,' not lacking in what's essential.  God gives us every good gift so we may not lack what we need to do his will.  He assures us of his love, mercy, and grace....