March 18, 2017

March 18

March 18, 2017:  Saturday, 2nd week, Lent

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Listen

For Psalm 103 (and gospel-inspired)
From the Vatican
Christ, 'true God from true God':  Fr. Cantalamessa's 2nd Lenten Sermon
The Faith of Nicea:  The Holy Spirit is still helping people to know Jesus Christ.  Some 150,000+ "Messianic Jews," believe Jesus, Yeshua, is Messiah, Savior, and the Son of God, but don't renounce their Jewish identity or tradition.  They're not members of a traditional Christian Church because they want to connect with and revive the early church of Jewish Christians.  When asked what led to their faith in Jesus, more than 60% answered, “the interior action of the Holy Spirit”; second was their Bible reading, and third was contact with other people.  The Spirit gives true, intimate knowledge of Christ.
Soon after Christianity appeared, the title 'Lord' (Kyrios) wasn't enough; another way was needed to guarantee faith in Christ as God in light of other 'lords' such as the emperor.  The Arian crisis provided it.  The Council of Nicea put in its creed:  "Born of the Father before all ages.  God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial [homoousios] with the Father."
Bishop Athanasius demonstrated Christ's divinity was always the Church's faith; what was new was the opposing heresy.  The Council Fathers removed impediments to full recognition of Christ's divinity, one of which was defining God as agennetos, 'unbegotten.' How do you proclaim the Word is God from the moment the Father generated him?  Arius set up the equivalence between 'generated' and 'made' and concluded, “There was a time when he was not!,” making Christ a creature even if “not like other creatures.”  Athanasius observed, “‘Agneneto is a word of the Greeks, who don't know the Son” and defended “begotten, not made.”
Arius also based his thesis on the doctrine of an intermediary divine being (deuteros theos), in charge of creating the world, a then-common assumption.  Some Christians treated the Son "through whom all things were made” as this entity, leading to a tripartite order:  the ungenerated Father, the Son [and Spirit], and creatures.  The definition of “begotten, not made” and homoousios removed this obstacle and led to a Christian cleansing of Greek metaphysics.  There were two modes of being:  Creator and creature, and the Son was in the first.  Christ must be proclaimed as God not in a secondary sense but in the strongest sense.
What motivated Athanasius and his companions was reflection on the experience that the Church, thanks to the Spirit's action, has of salvation in Christ.  The soteriological question, and the formulation, "What he hasn't assumed he hasn't saved," predated the Arian controversy.  Athanasius’ use of the formula could be understood as “What God hasn't assumed is not saved.”  Salvation requires that human beings be assumed by God, not an intermediary.  “If the Son were a creature, man remains mortal, not joined to God” (Athanasius) and “man had not been deified if joined to a creature, or unless the Son were truly God.”  Salvation is based on Christ's divinity, not vice versa. (summary concluded tomorrow)
Msgr. Ruiz on anniversary of @franciscus Instagram launch:  The Church has always used pictures, such as church paintings, to be close to people and to do catechesis.  Images are very important to Pope Francis.  When he spoke with Instagram co-founder Systrom, he said that he asks shy children about a picture he shows them, and that gets them going.  He sees images as an access point to dialogue.  
We're in the digital culture; the Church must enter and live in the ‘digital continent’; since people are there, we must be too and be as dynamic as missionaries were when they discovered another continent.
Read
  • Ps 103:1-4, 9-12  "The Lord is kind and merciful."  Bless the Lord, who pardons, heals, redeems, crowns, doesn't remain angry or requite our crimes; he's put our transgressions far from us.
  • Lk 15:1-3, 11-32  A man gave his younger son his inheritance; the son left, squandered it, found himself in need, got work tending swine, and returned home to be treated as hired hand.  His father ran to him and prepared a feast for his lost son come back to life.  His brother, faithful all along, became angry...
Reflect
    • Creighton:  We worship a God we don’t deserve whose love we can't imagine.  Imagine seeking out someone who hurt you, finding them, running to them with compassion, embracing them, forgiving them, and throwing a party for them.  We find it hard to forgive those who hurt us, but the father forgave the son who turned his back on him.  Our God loves, leads, and forgives us even when we hurt him.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The prodigal brother":  The "prodigal son"'s 'brother was also prodigal, as alienated from his father as his brother; he spoke of life with his father as slavery and resented that his father never gave him even a kid goat.  We can be like him, appearing to obey the Father but not in a good relationship with him.  We're not cheerfully serving him but begrudgingly slaving out of fear, habit, or pressure.  Our Father is pleading that we accept a deeper relationship with him.
    • Passionist:  The 1st reading, a confident plea for God's care and protection, was prayed when the people had recently returned from exile, were few in number, and had only a fraction of their former land. that surround them.  We too can be sure of God’s love.  The "prodigal son" gospel also tells of God’s compassion for sinners and desire to take them back; it responds to the scribes and Pharisees' criticisms of Jesus' associating with sinners.  The scribes and Pharisees didn't understand the nature of God revealed through Jesus, or they didn't want to accept a story that demanded they change.  People can distance themselves from God through sin; God never creates the distance.  Remember our loving God always wants to forgive; when we make the journey back, he's eager to celebrate.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Father, I have sinned...":   God doesn't abandon us, even if we turn our back on him; he keeps calling us back.  In the "prodigal son" parable Jesus contrasts the father's merciful love with the elder son's harsh reaction.  The father maintained love for his son though he strayed.  The son while away realized he hadn't returned his father's love; he repented, returned, and found more than he could have hoped for in his father's welcome.   The "prodigal"'s change from grief to restoration expresses resurrection, rebirth to new life.  The parable also contrasts the father's mercy with the elder brother's unforgiveness. contempt, and pride that lead to isolation and estrangement.  God doesn't give up when we stray but rejoices in finding and welcoming the lost.
      Dress legend
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "Shepherd your flock" (1st reading)
      • 'Signs' tie:  Show us wonderful signs (1st reading)
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord crowns you with kindness and compassion (psalm)
      • 'Abacus' tie pin:  The Father 'divided' the property between his two sons (gospel)
      • 'Pigs' suspenders:  Prodigal son tended the pigs (gospel)
      • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "Let's celebrate with a feast" (gospel)
      • 'Musical note' tie pin:  Elder son heard music (gospel)
      • 'Cow' pin:  Dad killed the fattened calf to celebrate (gospel)
      • Ring and sandals (not shown), 'feet' pin:  "Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet" (gospel)
      • 'Clock' tie bar:  "I've served you all these years, but you never gave me a feast" (gospel)
      • Purple shirt:  Lenten season
      PreviewAbout