November 29, 2017

Nov. 29

November 29, 2017:  Wednesday, 34th week, Ordinary Time

See 14 connections with today?
Legend below

  • But who may abide the day of His coming, from Messiah/ Handel (gospel):  traditional, "soulful" (gospel)
Pope Francis in Myanmar
HomilyToday’s 1st reading helps us see how limited King Belshazzar and his seers' wisdom is.  They praised gods of gold and silver but not the true God, but Daniel could interpret the mysteries using God's wisdom.  Jesus, God's wisdom personified, taught by giving his life.  Sometimes we can fall into the trap of believing in our own wisdom, but when we lose our direction, we need to remember the crucified Lord, our compass.  The cross can guide us with divine light.  From the cross also comes healing; by his wounds we're healed.  We can be tempted to respond to violence with anger and revenge, but Jesus' way is forgiveness and compassion.  In today’s gospel he tells us that we may encounter rejection and obstacles, but he'll give us irresistible wisdom.  He's speaking of the Spirit, through whom God's love has been poured into us, by whom he enables us to be signs of his wisdom, which triumphs over the world's wisdom, and mercy, which soothes the most painful of injuries. 
In the Eucharist, we recognize the gift of his body and blood and learn to rest in his wounds and be cleansed of our sins and foolish ways.  By taking refuge in Christ’s wounds, may you know the healing of the Father’s mercy and find strength to bring it to others, to be faithful witnesses of reconciliation and peace. 
Amid poverty and difficulty, many of you offer practical assistance to the poor and suffering.  The Church here is alive; Christ is alive and here with you.  Keep sharing the wisdom you've received, God's love welling up in Jesus' heart.  Jesus will crown your efforts to sow healing and reconciliation in your families, communities, and nation. Not all will understand his message of forgiveness and mercy, but his love is unstoppable; like a GPS, it guides us towards God's inner life and our neighbor's heart.  May Mary, who followed Jesus to Calvary and accompanies us at every step, obtain for us the grace be to messengers of wisdom, mercy, and joy.  Full text
To Buddhist monks:  We strengthen the friendship and respect between Buddhists and Catholics and affirm our commitment to peace, respect for human dignity, and justice for everyone.  People need this common witness and hope as they strive for greater harmony.  People have always experienced injustice, conflict, and inequality.  The wounds of conflict, poverty, and oppression create new divisions, but we must never grow resigned.  We know compassion and loving kindness will bring healing, mutual understanding, and respect.
Through the teachings of the Buddha, and monks' and nuns' witness, many have been formed in patience, tolerance, respect for life, and respect for our natural environment.  In a culture of encounter, these values can strengthen our communities and bring light to society.
Today's great challenge is to help people be open to the transcendent, to look within, see they're connected with all people and can't be isolated.  To be united, we must surmount misunderstanding, intolerance, prejudice, and hatred:  “Overcome anger by non-anger, the wicked by goodness, misers by generosity, liars by truth” (Dhammapada, XVII, 223).  “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Where there's hatred, let me sow love; injury, pardon; darkness, light; sadness, joy” ("Prayer of St. Francis").  May such wisdom foster patience and understanding and help heal wounds of conflict.  Everyone must help overcome conflict and injustice, but civil and religious leaders especially must ensure every voice is heard, so that today's challenges and needs may be understood and confronted with fairness and solidarity.  I commend the work of the Panglong Peace Conference and pray that those guiding it promote greater participation; it'll advance peace, security, and prosperity for everyone.  Religious leaders must cooperate better for these efforts to bear fruit.  Religious leaders and NGO representatives must gather if we're to deepen mutual understanding and affirm our interconnectedness and common destiny.  Justice and peace can only be achieved when they're guaranteed for all.
May Buddhists and Catholics walk together towards healing and work side by side for the good of all.  "Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep."  Humbly bear each other's burdens. May we keep walking together and sow peace, healing, compassion, and hope.
  • Dn 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28  At King Belshazzar's banquet, fingers appear and write on the wall.  Terrified, the king asks Daniel to interpret:  “You rebelled against the Lord.  God sent the hand to write mene, tekel, peres:  God has put an end to your kingdom; you've been found wanting; and your kingdom has been given to the Medes and Persians.
  • Dn 3:62-67  "Give glory and eternal praise to him."  Sun, moon, stars, showers, winds, fire, heat, cold, and chill, bless the Lord!
  • Lk 21:12-19  “They'll seize you, persecute you, and hand you over because of me.  You'll give testimony.  Don't prepare your defense; I'll give you wisdom nobody can refute.  All will hate you, but by perseverance you'll secure your lives.”
  • Creighton:  Today’s 1st reading gives a shocking example of the consequences of delegating God to insignificant status.  Nebuchadnezzar believed he alone was responsible for the blessings in his life.  Though he saw God’s power in the fiery furnace episode, he needed another supernatural event. Once he lost everything, he came to grips with the reality of God.  Those experiences had to impact his family, yet his son, now-king Belshazzar, forgot God's lessons to his father.  So Daniel delivered him another supernatural message, of impending doom, and Belshazzar paid with his life the day Daniel interpreted the message to him.  We too can overlook God's presence by letting daily demands and the pace of life overwhelm us.  God provides messages to us too, but we can forget to look to him and try to meet challenges on our own.  Our walk with God won't be easy, but God never abandons us.  Lord, help me stay focused on you, open to your will.  Let let your light shine through me....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The hand that writes God's word":  The king and his guests were terrified but attentive to God's words delivered by the hand writing on the wall.  The Lord has written many other words by hands he's sent to earth, hands that wrote what came to be known as the Bible.  May we be consumed with the curiosity and desire of Belshazzar and his guests to understand those words, but unlike them be prepared, sober and alert, and receive the Word with humility, gratitude, and obedience.
  • Passionist:  The 1st reading challenges us consider our focus.  The king, caught up in his party, got carried away and used the Temple vessels for his own pleasure.   May we stay focused on the true meaning of Advent and Christmas, keeping everything in moderation and balance.  Following Christ takes daily attention to what we're doing and why, daily spiritual food, and tough decisions that may not always others happy.  Christ will be with us, protecting and guiding us.
    Belshazzar's Feast/ Rembrandt
  •  "Not a hair of your head will perish":  Jesus warns his followers they'll be confronted with wickedness, false teaching, persecution, and temptation to renounce their faith.  Satan opposes God and his followers; Jesus calls him a "murderer" and the "father of lies."  Satan will use any means to turn people away from God:  envy, deception, hatred, fear....  Jesus' response to hostility and persecution is love, forbearance, and forgiveness.  Only love can overcome prejudice, hatred, and envy.  God's love purifies us of all that would divide and tear people apart.  Jesus tells us we don't need to fear; he promises strength, wisdom, and courage as we take a stand witness to Christ.  The Gospel has power to set people free from sin, fear, and death, and bring peace, pardon, and life.  God gives endurance to those who trust in him.  Endurance is patience that never gives up hope.  Patience looks beyond present difficulties to the promised reward.  Endurance is linked with hope, the assurance we'll see God face to face and inherit his promises.  Jesus is our model; he endured the cross for our sake.  "When persecution comes, God's soldiers are tested, and heaven opens to martyrs.  We have not enlisted in an army;...  the Lord has taken first place in the conflict" (Cyprian).  Martyrs live and die as witnesses of the Gospel, overcoming their enemies through hope, courage, love, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and compassion, whether or not they actually shed their blood for bearing witness.  May we testify to the Gospel in our daily challenges; may people see us loving our enemies, joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardoning injuries, and showing comfort and compassion to the hopeless and helpless....
Dress legend
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  King Belshazzar's banquet (1st reading)
  • Purple shirt:  King promises purple clothing to Daniel if he interprets the writing on the wall (1st reading)
  • Gold- and silver-colored accoutrements:  King ordered gold and silver vessels brought in, promises gold to Daniel if he interprets the writing (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Nebuchadnezzar (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Fingers of a hand wrote on king's wall (1st reading); they'll 'hand' you over (gospel)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  King heard Daniel has extraordinary wisdom (1st reading); I'll give you wisdom (gospel)
  • 'Scales' tie:  'Tekel,' you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  'Peres,' your kingdom has been divided... (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  Fire and heat, bless the Lord (canticle)
  • 'Star' tie pin:  Stars of heaven, bless the Lord (canticle)
  • 'Gun' pin:  They'll put some of you to death (gospel)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  Persevere (gospel); countdown to eschaton and end of church year

November 28, 2017

Nov. 28

November 28, 2017:  Tuesday, 34th week, Ordinary Time

See 16 connections with today?Legend below
Pope Francis in Myanmar

Respect all ethnic groups:  People have suffered from civil conflict and hostilities, and still do.  Each ethnic group, bar none, must be respected.  Conflicts must be resolved through dialogue, not force.  We can run education and health programs and try to improve living conditions, but there can be no real development without peace.  The healing of the wounds of war must be a paramount priority, and religious communities are to play a privileged role....  Full text

To religious leadersHow beautiful to see brothers united!  Unity is not uniformity.  Each person has values, riches, and shortcomings, but we're all different.  We can only share our riches and traditions if we live in peace.  Peace is a chorus of differences; unity comes about in differences.  Peace is harmony, but there's a trend towards uniformity, to make everyone equal.  But such “cultural colonization” kills.  When you understand the richness of your differences, dialogue ensues and we can learn from our differences.  Build the country.  Nature is rich in differences; don't be afraid of them.  Let us be brothers, children of our common Father.  If you must debate, do it as brothers, and continue to reconciliation and peace.  Build peace; don't let cultural colonization make you uniform.  We build divine harmony through differences.  Differences are a richness for peace. 
  • Dn 2:31-45  Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar re vision and interpretation:  “You saw a statue of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and clay tile, being crumbled by stone.  You're the head.  Kingdoms replacing yours are the silver, bronze, iron with clay.  Last won't stay united.  God will set up a permanent kingdom.”
  • Dn 3:57-61  "Give glory and eternal praise to him."  Works of the Lord, angels, heavens, waters, and hosts, bless the Lord.
  • Lk 21:5-11  “Days will come when nothing you see here will remain.  Don't be deceived, follow the false prophets, or be terrified of wars/insurrections.  There will be earthquakes, famines, and signs from the sky.” 
  • Creighton:  When asked to interpret the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel began with, “You are the king of kings” (which likely got the king’s attention), then compared him to the statue's golden head.  Each element of the statue would crumble and blow away, but the kingdom God has for us will stand forever.  Today’s gospel also warns about the destruction of a revered object, the Jerusalem temple:  every stone will be thrown down.  We know this happened when the Romans destroyed the temple in 70.  What we build is fragile; only God endures.  Jesus says there will be signs “the [end] time has come.  God reminds us of our fragility, gullibility, and our world's impermanence to give us the incentive and time to prepare for our eternal home with him....
    Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream
  • Passionist:  In this pre-Advent time, celebrating the end of the church year and getting ready to welcome a new year, today's readings give a dismal picture:  Daniel and Jesus warn of passing kingdoms, turmoil, and destruction!  How do we stay positive and hopeful in a world apparently headed for destruction?  The world seems beset with crisis, violence, and chaos.  We're called to be faithful, to trust in a God who won't let us down.  Bad times will come, but so will love and generosity.  God is alive and well and working through us.  It my be natural to fear the end times, but remember Jesus is our hope, and eternal life holds more promise than we can imagine....
  •  "Take heed":  Jesus foretold signs that would shake peoples, to point us to the truth of his eternal kingdom.  God works to renew us in hope and help us set our hearts on him alone.  His prophecy of the destruction of their temple was a warning of judgment. When they asked for a sign about when it would happen, he admonished them to pray for God's grace and mercy instead.  Jesus said there would be many signs of disasters leading to the last days, when God's anointed King would usher in the reign of God and the last judgment.  But Jesus' prophecy also pointed to God's saving action and mercy.  Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing he'd be betrayed, rejected, and crucified, but his death brought freedom and victory for all who would accept him.  God extends grace and mercy to all who heed his call....
Dress legend
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Nebuchadnezzar
  • Gold- and silver-colored accessories:  Statue's head was pure gold; chest and arms were silver (1st reading)
  • 'Stone' tie pin, 'feet' pin:  While you looked, a stone struck and broke its feet (1st reading); "there won't be left a stone upon another that won't be thrown down"; temple adorned with stones; stones will be thrown down adorned the temple (gospel)
  • 'Alps' pin:  The stone became a great mountain; the statue was hewn from a mountain... (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  ...without a hand being put to it; God has 'hand'ed... (1st reading)
  • 'Beast' and 'bird' pins:  ...people, beasts, and birds over to you,... (1st reading)
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  ...making you 'ruler' of all (1st reading); Christ the King, 'ruler' of all (Sunday's celebration)
  • 'Angel' pin:  Angels, bless the Lord (canticle)
  • 'Signs' tie:  "What sign will there be when these things are about to happen?...  Mighty signs will come from the sky." (gospel)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin, 'feet' pin:  The feet and toes, of tile and iron, mean the kingdom shall be divided... (1st reading)
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Don't follow those who say, ‘The time has come.’ (gospel); last week of Ordinary Time season
  • DISC T-shirt (though not visible):  Planning DISC 2018 in Detroit

November 27, 2017

Nov. 27

November 27, 2017:  Monday, 34th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord 'hand'ed King Jehoiakim over to King Nebuchadnezzar (1st reading)
  • 'Owl' pin:  In any question of wisdom, the king found them better than his magicians or enchanters (1st reading)
  • 'Coin' button, 'money bag' tie pin:  Poor widow putting in her livelihood of two small coins, vs. the wealthy giving from their surplus (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  Kings Jehoiakim and Nebuchadnezzar (1st reading); Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (yesterday's celebration)
  • 'Love' sticker, 'heart' pin:  Widow's total offering (gospel); Christ, King of Love
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  Christ the King, 'Ruler' of the universe
  • 'Clocks' tie:  Countdown to end of Ordinary Time, Day of the Lord
  • Green shirt and suspenders:  Ordinary Time

For the gospel
For 1st reading
    Le denier de la veuve/ Tissot
  • Dn 1:1-6, 8-20  King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah avoid defilement from king's food by passing 10-day vegetable test.  God gave them knowledge and understanding.  They entered the king’s service, were found better than the rest.
  • Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56  "Glory and praise for ever!"  Blessed are You in the temple, on the throne, in heaven...
  • Lk 21:1-4  Jesus, seeing wealthy making offerings and a poor widow putting in 2 small coins:  “She put in more than the rest; they made offerings from their surplus, but she, from her poverty, offered her livelihood.”
"Widow's Mite" gallery
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The 'all' call":  Many wish the world would be saved, that war and violence cease, all human life be respected and protected, families be holy...  Jesus has already saved us; we just need to apply his death and resurrection by believing, and expressing our faith by acts of love, worship, service, justice, and mercy....  To apply Jesus' salvation, we must give our lives to him as he gave his for us.  We must not give 'much' but 'all.'  The 1st 98% is easier to give than the last 2%....
  • Passionist:  Most homilies on today's gospel say, “give till it hurts!”  We need to give generously from the heart.  But note:  Jesus "noticed"; others were likely preoccupied with what they were giving, and the disciples were probably wondering what Jesus would say.  How often do we notice and acknowledge acts of kindness or compassion?  The International Charter for Compassion calls us to “dethrone ourselves from the center of the universe and put another there.”  Can we notice like Jesus did?  May we live in the present moment, acknowledge compassion when we see it, and be God's Kingdom on earth.
  •  "She put in all that she had":  True love spends lavishly.  The widow's gift of love is more precious than gold.  Real giving must come from the heart, without a grudge, not for display. The widow could have kept one of her coins but didn't.  If we put all we have at the Lord's disposal, God can work with it and us beyond our imagining.

November 26, 2017

Christ the King

November 26, 2017:  Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

See 10 connections with today?Legend below
For Psalm 23
For upcoming celebrations
Christ’s kingship is one of guidance and service but also at the end of time will be asserted in judgment.  Today's gospel's vision of his second coming introduces the final judgment, when humanity will appear before him, and he'll separate one from another, as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.  He gives his judgment criterion:  “What you did for the least, you did on to me.”  This reveals the end to which God is willing to go on our account:  he identifies himself with us, not when we're happy and healthy, but when we're in need.  His decisive judgment criterion is concrete love for our neighbor in difficulty.  Likewise, the accursed are judged for failing to aid those in need.  We'll be judged on love, on our concrete commitment to love and serve Jesus in the smallest and most needy.
Jesus will come at the end of time to judge, but he also comes to us every day, in many ways, and asks us to welcome him.  May the Virgin Mary help us encounter him and receive him in his Word, the Eucharist, and in the hungry, sick, oppressed, and victims of injustice.  May we welcome him today and so be welcomed into his eternal Kingdom of light and peace.
  • Ez 34:11-12, 15-17  I'll look after my sheep.  I'll rescue them when they scatter, seek the lost, bring back the strays, bind up the injured, heal the sick, and give them rest, but I'll destroy the sleek and strong.  I'll judge between one sheep and another.
  • Ps 23:1-6  "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."  He gives me repose, refreshment, direction, nourishment, abundance, goodness, and kindness...
  • 1 Cor 15:20-26, 28  Christ has been raised.  Since death came through a man, resurrection also came also through a man.  As in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.  Christ must reign until he subdues all his enemies; the last to be destroyed is death.
  • Mt 25:31-46  "When the Son of Man comes, he'll sit on his throne and separate people as shepherds separate sheep from goats.  He'll say to the sheep, 'Come inherit the kingdom; you fed me, gave me drink, welcomed me, clothed me, cared for me, and visited me in my need.’ / 'When?’ / 'Whatever you did for the least, you did for me.’  Then he'll say to the others, 'Depart into the fire; you didn't feed me, give me drink, welcome me, clothe me, or care for me when I needed you.’ / 'When?’ / 'What you didn't do for the least, you didn't for me.’  They'll go to eternal punishment; the righteous to eternal life."
"Last judgment" gallery

Last judgment/ Michelangelo
Last judgment/ Vasnetov
Last judgment/ Memling

Last judgment/ Martin
  • CreightonMost images in today's readings are of a shepherd, not a powerful, oppressive, violent ruler.  Imagine a shepherd king tenderly caring for his flock. "I myself will tend my sheep as a shepherd his flock." "The Lord is my shepherd; I'll want for nothing."
Jesus taught us the way of discipleship while giving us a glimpse of God's Kingdom:  When I was thirsty, you gave me a drink; hungry, food; imprisoned, you set me free; naked, you clothed me.  What you did for the least, you did for me.  Blessed are you; yours is the Kingdom of heaven!  Christ our King gave us a new law of love and showed us how to live it in right relationship with God, self, others, and the universe. He is the King who gave his life that we may have life; in Christ shall all be brought to life.
Teilhard de Chardin, SJ said cosmic energy is Love, Christ, who draws us to the Omega Point to which all creation is returning, and into the fullness and knowledge of God's Kingdom.  Come, you blessed; inherit the kingdom prepared for you.  Teilhard's Hymn of the Universe is an invitation to celebrate our union with Christ:  “Lord, I see and love all you've given me.  I number all who make up the other family which has surrounded me, its unity fashioned out of disparate elements, with affinities of the heart.  I call before me all humanity.  Receive, Lord, this all-embracing host which creation offers you.  Lord Jesus, all things are moving toward you, the unity of the new earth.”  May our Shepherd King surround us, and enfold us in love, where we'll meet him face to face.
    Christ the King icon
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Come, King, Judge, Love, God!"  Ezekiel prophesied: "As for you, my sheep, I will judge between one sheep and another, between rams and goats."  Jesus announced it would be fulfilled when he comes again as King and judge to say "Come, you blessed; inherit the kingdom prepared for you!," or "Out of my sight, you condemned!" His judgment will be based on God's grace, mercy, and love, what we've done for the least, our repentance, our faith, our love, our doing his Father's will, and whether we've given our lives to be his disciples.  Jesus will return to love and judge us, we don't know when.  Are you looking forward to his return?
  • Passionist:  Monarchs are not all that familiar to us in the US.  Last week Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years of marriage to Prince Phillip.  The longest serving monarch died last year.  The King of Thailand began his reign in 1950.  We don't rally around a king and vow allegiance, but we need to hear and heed the call to join together to do something wonderful.  An authentic king inspires us to see what's possible in our lives and our world, inviting us on a mission.  Jesus journey.  We find our mission in today's gospel.  Jesus says, come work with me towards a world of peace, compassion, and justice.
  •  "Come inherit the kingdom prepared for you":  "There are two kinds of people, because there are two kinds of love:  holy and selfish; one is subject to God, the other tries to equal him" (St. Augustine).  Jesus came to transform the law through his love and mercy.  Do I allow God's love to purify and transform me to think, act, and love others? / In dry lands like Palestine, goats and sheep grazed together during the day because pasture was sparse, so shepherds separated them at night.  Goats came to symbolize evil ('scape-goat' came to mean someone bearing blame for others). Jesus took our guilt and sins upon himself and set us free; we can choose to follow him or to be our own master.  After Martin of Tours took pity on a naked beggar, giving him half his cloak, he dreamed he saw Jesus robed in that torn cloak, an angel asking why he was wearing it, and Jesus replying, "My servant Martin gave it to me."  Then Martin flew to be baptized.  "Christ is above and below:  above in Himself, below in people.  Fear Christ above, and recognize him below.  Here he's poor, with and in the poor; there he's rich, with and in God.  Have Christ above bestowing his bounty; recognize him here in his need" (Augustine, Sermon 123, 44).  Jesus will ask, "whom did you love?"
Wait!  More 'last judgment' art
Last judgment/ Lochner
Last judgment/ Ostateczny
Last judgment/ Povolzhie
Last judgment (Blake archive)
Sunday-trumped saints, from Universalis
Dress legend
  • 'Crowns' tie:  Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (today's solemnity)
  • 'Hand':  Christ will hand over the kingdom to his Father (2nd reading)
  • 'Precious feet' pin:  Christ must reign till he's put all his enemies under his feet (2nd reading)
  • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  When the Son of Man comes in glory and all the angels with him; trumpet for judgment day (gospel)
  • 'Fire' pin:  "Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire" (gospel)
  • Green tie pin:  Verdant pastures (psalm); Ordinary Time season
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Countdown to end of Ordinary Time season and Christ's 2nd coming
  • White shirt:  Color of the day