August 17, 2017

Aug. 17

August 17, 2017:  Thursday, 19th week, Ordinary Time

See 10 connections with today?
Legend below
  • Look it up/ Presley, Orrall:  country song with verse about how hard it is for us to forgive ("forgiveness...  It's what Jesus has in store for you, but I don't...") This cover avoids the original's bad language.  Lyrics+ (gospel)
  • Jos 3:7-10a, 11, 13-17  Lord to Joshua:  “I'll exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know I am with you.  Command the priests to stop in the Jordan when you reach the edge.”  Joshua to Israelites:  “Come listen to the Lord.  This is how you'll know God is in your midst.  The ark of the covenant will precede you.  When the priests' feet touch water, it'll cease to flow.”  The people started to cross, with the priests carrying the ark; then the waters halted.  The people crossed over.  The priests remained motionless till the nation had crossed.
  • Ps 114:1-6  "Alleluia!"  When Israel came forth from Egypt, Judah became his sanctuary.  The sea fled, Jordan turned back, and mountains and hills skipped.  Why?....
    • Mt 18:21-19:1  Peter / Jesus:  “If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?  Seven times?” / “Not 7 but 77.  The Kingdom is like a king who settled with his servants.  He ordered sold a debtor and his family and property, but the debtor begged, ‘Be patient; I'll repay you!’  Moved, he let him go and forgave the loan.  The servant then seized one who owed him much less:  ‘Pay what you owe.’ / ‘Be patient; I'll repay you.’  But he refused.  His fellow servants, disturbed, reported him; his master said:  ‘Wicked servant!  I forgave your debt when you begged me, but you didn't take pity on your servant!’  He handed him over to torturers.  So will my Father do to you unless you forgive.”
    • Creighton:  The amounts of money are exaggerated:  the first man owes over $10K; the one in debt to him, $15.  I refuse forgiveness not because of the injurious act, but the relationship I have with the one doing the act.  The degree of forgiveness reveals the degree of my relationship.  We know our good friends reverence us, so the relationship heals more easily, but when even a lesser injury disrespects us, it's harder to forgive.  The master respected the first servant’s genuineness, but the servant showed no respect for his fellow debtor.
    Parable of the unmerciful servant
    When I have an increased sense of self-reverence, self-respect, self-acceptance, I'm less likely to be hurt.  Forgiving indicates our respecting, seeing something in injurers beyond their acts.  My being hurt this time could remind me of other injuries of disrespect I don't let go of.  Maybe I'm just injuring myself.  The parable might also be about forgiving myself, being forgiven by others, and praying with the dignity of the One who forgives me and invites me to receive the dignity of being his servant. 
    • One Bread, One Body:  Our God is living, present, and active; he shows his love for us in tangible ways.  For three days, God seemed dead, but then he rose.  Jesus is uniquely "the Living One."  "Fear not.  I am the First and the Last....  Once I was dead but now I live, forever."  "He was crucified out of weakness but lives by God's power.  We are weak in him but live with him by God's power in us."  "If we have died with him, we shall also live with him."  Jesus is Life.  May he, the Father, and the Spirit live in you.
      The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant/ van Hemessen
    • Passionist:  To be a Christian is to live a forgiven and forgiving life, extend to others the mercy God extends to us.  Jesus responds to Peter's question with the parable of the unforgiving servant saved by mercy who refuses to show mercy to his fellow servant.  Since neither servant could repay his debt, their future depended on forgiveness.  Both begged for mercy, but the one who received it threw his fellow servant into prison and winds up imprisoned himself.  Pope Francis called the Year of Mercy to remind us that every Christian, indeed every human being, has a mission of mercy.  God has been merciful to us; we're called to be sacraments of God’s love in the world.  God’s mercy makes all of us equal and all one.  To withhold mercy is not only unjust; it's an insult to God.
      Parable of the wicked servant
    •  "Lord, how often shall I forgive?":  Amos speaks of God forgiving transgression three times but warns that God may not revoke punishment the fourth. When Peter asked, he offered an answer he thought Jesus would like, but Jesus made it clear there's no limit.  He drove the lesson home with the debtors parable.  The man forgiven his enormous debt (more than a king's ransom) couldn't forgive his neighbor a small debt (about 1/100,000 of his own).  No offense of another compares with my debt to God.  Jesus forgave a debt we couldn't repay on our own.  As God has shown mercy in pardoning our sins, we must show mercy to all who have offended us. Forgiving is a sacred duty.  We must let go of resentments, grievances, or ill will.  Pray for the grace and strength to forgive as God has forgiven you.
    Mercy is the flip side of God's justice; without mercy, justice is cold.  Mercy follows and perfects justice; it seasons it as salt meat.  Showing mercy without addressing the wrong and to pardon the unrepentant is license, not mercy.  "Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice: transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed, more dangerous because it's still called by the same name as the mountain variety" (C. S. Lewis).
    Pope Francis Amoris Lætitia capsule:  Expanding fruitfulness
    When a couple can't have children, it can be a cause of suffering for them, though marriage remains a whole manner and communion of life, valuable and indissoluble.  Motherhood is expressed in more ways than biologically.

    I encourage those who can't have children to expand their marital love by adopting, offering a family to someone who lacks one.  We must insist that legislation help facilitate adoption, especially of unwanted children, to prevent abortion or abandonment.  Those who accept someone unconditionally and gratuitously become channels of God’s love.  “Even if your mother forgets you, I will not forget you.”

    Adoption and foster care express marital fruitfulness, not just in cases of infertility.  They can manifest an important aspect of parenting and child rearing, make people aware that children are persons who need acceptance, love, and care.  The child's best interests must underlie the decision.  Legislation and state control must prevent trafficking of children. (V:178-80)
    Dress legend
      Ark of the covenant
    • 'Feet' pin:  When the soles of the priests' feet touch the Jordan, it will stop flowing (1st reading)
    • 'Alps' tie pin, 'lamb' tie bar:  "The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs" (psalm)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  Parable of king settling accounts with his servants (gospel)
    • 'Money' tie:  1st debtor owed lots of money  (gospel)
    • 'Clocks' suspenders:  "Be patient with me, and I'll pay you back"  (gospel)
      • 'Abacus' tie pin:  "Forgive 70 × 7 times" (gospel)
      • 'Penny' button:  Fellow servant owed only a small amount; "his master handed over the merciless servant to repay the last penny" (gospel)
      • 'Heart' pin:  "My Father will hand you over unless you forgive from your heart” (gospel)
      • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season 

      August 16, 2017

      Aug. 16

      August 16, 2017:  Wednesday, 19th week, Ordinary Time

      • 'Eyeball' pin: “This is the land I promised; I've let you feast your eyes on it"; Moses' eyes were undimmed when he died (1st reading)
      • 'Owl' tie pin:  Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom... (1st reading)
      • 'Hands' pin: ...since Moses had laid his hands upon him (1st reading)
      • 'Signs with words' tie:  Moses had no equal in the 'signs' the Lord sent him to perform (1st reading); when I appealed to him in words, praise was on the tip of my tongue (psalm)
      • 'Fire' pin:  "Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!" (psalm)
      • 'People' pin:  If the offender doesn't listen, return with others; where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name... (gospel)
      • "Prayer:  the original wireless connection" T-shirt (under dress shirt; see here but mine is gray):  Pray in agreement (gospel)
      • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
      Listen to settings of today's psalm
      • Dt 34:1-12  The Lord, showing Moses the land:  “This is the land which I swore I'd give.  I've let you see it, but you shall not cross over.”  Moses died and was buried, but still nobody knows where.  He was 120 but still vigorous.  The Israelites wept for him for a month.  Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands on him; the Israelites obeyed him.  Since then no prophet has arisen like Moses.
      • Ps 66:1-3a, 5, 8, 16-17  "Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!"  Shout joyfully to God:  “How tremendous your deeds!”  Come see God's works; hear while I declare them....
      • Mt 18:15-20  “If your brother sins against you, speak with him privately.  If he listens, you've won him over.  If not, go back with others.  If he refuses to listen, tell the Church.  If he still refuses to listen, treat him as you'd treat a tax collector.  What you bind or loose on earth shall be so in heaven.  If two of you pray in agreement, my Father will give it to you; where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.”
      Pope Francis Amoris Lætitia capsule:  Parents' love (concluded)

      In Western culture, the father figure is said to be absent. “At first, this was perceived as a liberation from father as master, representative of imposed law, arbiter of his children’s happiness, and obstacle to autonomy.”  But now fathers are often caught up in themselves, their work, and at times their self-fulfillment, and neglect their families.  The amount of time given to media affects the father's presence and authority.  Authority is often considered suspect, and adults don't offer their children sure and solid guidance.  Children need to experience love, guidance, and a proper process of development.
      God sets the father in the family so that by his gifts he can be close to his wife and share everything... and be close to his children as they grow....  To be a father always present, though not controlling.  Too-controlling fathers don’t let their children develop.  Children need a father waiting for them when they return home, even if they don't admit or show it.  It is not good for children to lack a father and to grow up before they are ready. (V:176-77)
      • Creighton:  Today's gospel reminds me it's important to be accountable, transparent, authentic, genuine, caring, and responsible. I value constructive conflict as important, necessary, and a means to strength, resilience, and greater good.  When I acknowledge God's presence in community, I can trust issues will work out.  If I don’t understand, I trust someone else does. If I don’t see the good, I trust my family, friends, and colleagues mean well.  I trust a greater plan is at work even if I don't see it.  I have faith in my family, church, work, and neighborhood.  I have faith God is present there.  I have faith issues will work out.  I don’t always have to understand.  Trust and faith allow me to hand my need for control over to God.   Trust in God’s word; have faith in it, and believe in the power of community:  "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am...."
      • One Bread, One Body:  "End-times talk":  God is into happy endings, more than we can ask or imagine, "life on high in Christ," but we can be tempted to question God's handling of endings on earth.  Moses' seems tragic:  after 40 years of faithfully leading the Israelites, God didn't let him enter the promised land. But otherwise he might have died without commissioning Joshua, and Israel would have been in disarray.  We're privileged to have God present every day; each day in his service is its own reward.  If we stay focused on Jesus present with us, he'll be our "End."  If we hope in the Lord of the End, no worldly ending will disappoint us. "Let this be the end."
        Mt 18:20
      • Passionist:  Matthew is concerned about members of his community who have departed from their first fervor.  The community needs to help them before giving up on them, but if they don't repent, the community must separate itself from them.  Jesus guarantees the efficacy of our prayers in this situation.  Matthew offers a process and encouragement to those willing to reach out and help those who have gone astray:  (1) Approach the offender privately with kind correction and hope. (2) Try again with 2-3 community members.  (3) Take the offender to the “whole community.”  (4) "Expel" the member for the community's welfare.
      Jesus has the power to forgive sin and transmits it to his disciples.  This is the only time Matthew uses the term 'Church.'  We must forgive and seek conversion so the community may pray together, support each other, and inspire each other to improve.  Community is best when virtue triumphs over evil.  The Mennonite tradition has a maxim:  “Don’t argue; don't deny; don't withdraw.”  Peter Drucker, father of modern management, said, “Be fair; be firm; be friendly.”  Matthew recognizes the gift of forgiveness.  Rabbis said, “You can forgive up to three times; then God takes care of the forgiveness....”
      •  To repair a damaged relationship, don't brood over an offense; first speak directly and privately.  Seek the help of wise Christians to foster reconciliation.  If that fails, don't give up; seek the Christian community's help to restore the broken relationship. If none of that works, even though Jesus tells us to treat the offender like a Gentile or tax collector, remember that he reached out to them too, never giving up....  Am I willing to put my grievance and injury to help one who offended me?  The Lord wants to free us from resentment, ill will, and unwillingness to forgive.  The love of Christ frees us to do good even to those who cause us grief.  Don't give up on praying for those who cause us offense; try to win them with God's healing love.  Do you tolerate broken relationships or try to repair them as God gives you the opportunity?
      • About "binding and loosing," with exegetical links and online resources to compare and explore Bible texts (A couple of links had changed or died, so I just updated the page.)
        • Roch (Rock, Rocco), model worker of mercy

      August 15, 2017

      Mary's Assumption

      August 15, 2017:  Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

      Find 15 connections with today?
      Legend below

      Magnificat settings (gospel d)

      For today's psalms
      *v: vigil readings; d: daytime readings
      Pope Francis Angelus
      Today's gospel relates the Mary's meeting with Elizabeth and records her song of praise, the Magnificat.  The greatest gift Mary brings to Elizabeth is Jesus, who already lives within her, not merely in faith and hope, as in so many Old Testament women:  Jesus has taken flesh from her to save the world.
      Elizabeth had already received the joy of pregnancy, after having felt for so long the sorrow of not having a baby. Now her joy overflows, because Jesus fills her senses.  Mary echoes that joy in the Magnificat, praising God, who accomplished his plan of salvation through the poor and humble.  God can do great things through the humble because humility is like an emptiness that leaves room for God.  The humble are powerful because they're humble, not because they're strong.  How do you foster humility?
      In Elizabeth and Zechariah's house, the coming of Jesus through Mary created a climate of joy, communion, and faith that led to hope, prayer, and praise.  We want this for our homes too.   We want Mary to bring us and our families and communities that Gift, that Grace we must seek above all:  Jesus Christ!
      Mary is the model of virtue and faith.  In contemplating her assumed into heaven we give thanks that she goes before us in the pilgrimage of life and faith and ask that she protect and sustain us, that we might have strong, joyful, and merciful faith, and that she help us to be saints and one day meet with her in Paradise.  May she obtain for the suffering consolation, serenity, and concord.

      • 1 Chr 15:3-4, 15-16; 16:1-2  David assembled Israel to bring the ark of the Lord to the place prepared for it.  He had chanters appointed to make loud sounds of rejoicing.  They brought the ark in, made offerings to God, then David blessed the people in God's name.
      • Ps 132:6-7, 9-10, 13-14  "Lord, go up to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your holiness."  Enter his dwelling and worship, clothed with justice....
      • 1 Cor 15:54b-57  When the mortal is clothed with immortality, the word shall come about:  Death is swallowed up in victory.  Death, where is your victory?  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Christ.
      • Lk 11:27-28  A woman from the crowd / Jesus:  “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts that nursed you.” / “Rather, blessed are those who hear and keep God's word.”
      • Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab  Signs:  ark, sun-clothed stars-crowned woman, moon under feet, with child, wailing, laboring; 7-headed 10-horned dragon with diadems; tail hurled stars; stood before woman to devour child.  Bore son, destined to rule, caught up to God.  “Salvation, power, God's Kingdom, Anointed's authority have come.”
      • Ps 45:10-12, 16  "The queen stands at your right hand, arrayed in gold."
      • 1 Cor 15:20-27  Death and resurrection both came through man.  As in Adam all die, in Christ all shall be brought to life.  He must reign till he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last one to be destroyed is death.
      • Lk 1:39-56  Mary traveled to Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard her greeting, the infant leaped, and Elizabeth cried, “Blessed are you and the fruit of your womb.  Blessed are you who believed what the Lord told you would be fulfilled.”  Mary:  “Magnificat:  I proclaim God's greatness.  All will call me blessed:  God has done great things; holy his name.  He has mercy, has shown strength, scattered the proud, cast down the mighty, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry, sent away the rich, helped Israel, and remembered his promise of mercy.”
      • Creighton:  I can congratulate myself on my accomplishments and validate my life by pointing to achievement. becoming proud.  I can view my existence as independent from God, ignoring his role, seeing myself at the center of the universe, tempted to denigrate others.  But God knit me in my mother’s womb, gave me my talents, sustains me, and showers me with the Spirit enabling me to actualize these talents.
      But Mary, whom God blessed above all others, chose to be at the center of salvation history, and  was faithful to Jesus  from Bethlehem to Calvary, was humble and grateful, realizing her blessings were from the Almighty.  May I become more aware of the source of my blessings and join Mary in her humility, praise, and gratitude.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "The day he's been waiting for":  The Lord knows us perfectly; he knows how to break through our resistance to him, how to love us, penetrate our hearts, and transform us.  Today, people afraid of death will be freed; death will lose its sting.  People who feel hopeless will hope and proclaim the Lord's greatness. Lukewarm Christians will repent, forgive, be forgiven, and be on fire with love for God. The Lord will depose the mighty from their thrones and raise the lowly.
        Mary's Assumption
      • Passionist:  The 1st reading starts with a vision of God’s temple in heaven, with the Ark of the Covenant in the center.  The image reminds us that Church is rooted in the Old Testament and can only be appreciated by those who understand the Law, Prophets, and Writings.  Jesus was a Jew:  synagogue and temple formed his religious sense and provided insights of who his Father was.  We can read the book he studied and learned.  The second image is of a woman clothed with the sun, in labor to give birth, and a dragon threatening to devour her child, whom God preserves and sets on his throne; then the woman flees to safety prepared by God.  Is the woman the church?  Mary?  Most agree that the son is Jesus.  Jesus' victory over the dragon or Satan is sure.  The final image is the voice from heaven; it takes us to the Jordan where Jesus receives his mission from the Father and to Mt. Tabor where the Father approves his life’s work.  Here the voice declares victory:  the Kingdom coming in saving power as all bow to the Anointed's authority.  May we accept that the victory is ours and thank Jesus for all the blessings and graces of our lives.
      •  "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior":  Mary is a model of faith and hope; she's among the first-fruits of all who belong to Jesus and share in his triumph.  An ancient tradition church marks Mary's "falling asleep" (called Dormition in Eastern churches) and heavenly birthday when she was received into heaven, a sign of Jesus' promise that we would also be received into paradise.  The Holy Spirit enabled Mary to grow in faith and persevere in hope.  When Elizabeth and Mary greeted one another, they were filled with the Spirit and joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promise of a Savior.  John the Baptist pointed to his coming, leaping for joy in his mother's womb as the Spirit revealed the Anointed's presence in Mary's womb.  The Spirit is God's gift to us to enable us to know and experience God's presence and power.  Mary accepted her mission with faith and obedience; she acted with trust because she believed God would fulfill the word he spoke.  Her Magnificat echoes Hannah's song, proclaiming God's favor....

        • Universalis:  The commemoration of Mary's death is known as her Assumption because of the tradition that her body didn't decay but was raised up.  The tradition was present in the 6th century and was widespread by the start of the 20th.
        Dress legend
        • Mary/Elizabeth/Magnificat pin (gospel d)
        • 'Piano keyboard' suspenders:  David commanded Levite chiefs to... play on musical instruments... (1st reading v)
        • 'Shooting star' tie pin:  Woman's crown; hurled stars (1st reading d)
        • 'Sun' pin:  woman clothed with the sun (1st reading d)
        • 'Signs' tie:  'Signs' in the sky:  woman/sun/moon/stars, dragon (1st reading d)
        • 'Precious feet' pin:  Christ must reign till all enemies are under his feet.  (2nd reading d)
        • Gold-colored accessories:  "The queen stands ... arrayed in gold." (psalm d)
          • 'Clock' tie bar:  Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months (gospel d)
          • Crucifix pin:  In Christ all shall be brought to life (1st reading d); death and resurrection through Jesus (2nd reading d)

          August 14, 2017

          Maximilian Kolbe

          August 14, 2017:  St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr

          See about a dozen connections with today?
          Legend below

            Wordle: Readings 8-12-13
          • Dt 10:12-22  Moses:  "The Lord asks:  fear, follow, love, and serve God to whom all belongs; keep his commandments.  God loves you, chose you, gave you descendants, peace, and food.  God has no favorites, accepts no bribes, executes justice, befriends the alien.  Circumcise your heart."
          • Mt 17:22-27  "The Son of Man will be handed over, killed, and raised."  Capernaum:  "Pay the temple tax?" / "The subjects are exempt, but open the fish's mouth to get a coin to pay our taxes."
          • Creighton:  I prayed over today’s readings with Lectio Divina,  reading them slowly, listening carefully, pondering, attending to my thoughts and memories, and giving God what I found.  What stayed with me is, “As God befriends the alien, feeding and clothing him, so you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens....”  I remembered people in our community who have welcomed refugees, helping them get food, housing, and work.  I heard God invite me to use my gifts to welcome those entering new situations, to seek opportunities to show God’s love to others.  I feel called to be more engaged in welcoming refugee families striving to feel settled in their new homes.
          • One Bread, One Body:  "Fear ye, fear ye":  Before we can love, serve, and obey the Lord, we must fear Him.  Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and of loving God with all our hearts.  By living our faith, we deepen our fear of the Lord, awed by his presence, love, and power.  As we immerse ourselves in Scripture, we tremble at his Word.  By grace, fear of the Lord becomes our delight becomes the fear of the Lord.  In the Spirit, reverent fear can help us submit to one another.  As we progress in fear of the Lord, we enjoy the consolation of the Spirit who produces great love in our lives.
            St. Maximilian Kolbe

          • Passionist:  Maximilian Kolbe did the unforgettable:  he gave his life for another prisoner during the Holocaust.  This friar offered to be put to death in place of a fellow Auschwitz prisoner (Franciszek Gajowniczek) whose family would never see him again had he been killed.  Today's readings remind us to fear, love, and serve the Lord, follow his ways, and keep his commandments.  Sunday's 1st reading reminded us that sometimes the Lord can be heard only in a whisper, but Moses' pronouncement is a mighty shout, one that St. Maximilian heard and followed as he loved the Lord above all else and laid down our life for another.
          •  "Not to give offense":  When questioned about paying the (unjust, unreasonable) tax, Jesus said they must pay so as not to cause bad example.  We must go beyond our duty.  The scriptural expression "give no offense" means to put no stumbling block in another's way.  Jesus never gave bad example.  Do I evade unpleasant responsibilities?
          Three times in Mt Jesus predicted he'd suffer through betrayal, rejection, and a cruel death.  The disciples were distressed at such predictions since crucifixion was the most painful and humiliating death.  If Jesus were put to death, likely so would they.  Isaiah foretold the "Suffering Servant" would atone for sins through his suffering and death.  John the Baptist described Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."  When Jesus willing offered up his life for us on the cross he paid the price for our redemption with his blood.  Jesus came to free us from the tyranny of sin and restore us to life and peace through his cross and resurrection....
          • Universalis:  St. Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan priest, martyr, believed we must use modern communication to fight for salvation, founded newspaper, Knights of Mary Immaculate, “city of Mary,” radio station; studied Buddhism and Shintoism; spread gospel in harmony with Japanese culture; helped Auschwitz inmates; offered to be killed in place of family man.  Emulate him through perseverance, prayer, and doing right.  Quotes:  "Love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving.  There's no love without sacrifice. Sacrifice senses, taste, hearing, mind, and will in holy obedience.” (to Fr. Konstanty) “The Cross is the school of love.”
          Dress legend
          • 'Heart' pin:  Circumcise your heart (1st reading)
          • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  God gave peace (1st reading); God granted peace in your borders (psalm)
          • 'Eyeball' pin:  "The Lord has done for you great things your own eyes have seen" (1st reading)
          • 'Star' tie pin:  "The Lord has made you numerous as the stars" (1st reading)
          • 'Wheat' pin:  The Lord fills you with the best of wheat (psalm)
          • 'Hand' tie pin:  "The Son of Man is to be 'handed' over..." (gospel)
          • 'Fish' tie, 'coin' button:  Fish with Peter and Jesus' temple tax (gospel)
          • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  St. Max's martyrdom; Egyptians pursued your ancestors to the Red Sea... (1st reading)