August 21, 2017

Pius X

August 21, 2017:  St. Pius X, Pope

  • 'Golden calf' pin:  The children of Israel served other gods, abandoning the Lord (1st reading, psalm)
  • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:  "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" (gospel)
  • 'Coin' button:  Rich young man who went away sad (gospel)
  • '?' tie pin:  rich young man's three questions, Jesus' one question (gospel)
  • 'Scales' tie:  Judges (1st reading) 
  • Red and white shirt:  Red for God's anger flaring up (1st reading, psalm), white for Pope St. Pius X

May Jesus brighten our relationship so that it's fraternal and lively, never just formal or proper.  The Good Shepherd wants us to walk together, and his gaze embraces all of his disciples; he wants to see them fully united.  Walking towards full unity with hope, knowing God is stronger than evil, is all the more important in this world scarred by violence, fear, wounds, and indifference, where self-affirmation to others' detriment overshadows the simple beauty of welcome, sharing, and loving.  Our Christian witness must not yield to the world's logic:  help each other choose and live Christ's logic.
Wordle: Readings 8-19-13
  • Jgs 2:11-19  Israel offended, abandoned, disobeyed the Lord, followed other gods.  The Lord, angry, delivered them to plunderers, enemies, disaster, distress, then took pity, raising up judges for them, saving them from enemies, but they relapsed.
  • Ps 106:34-37, 39-40, 43ab, 44 "Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people." They served idols, sacrificed to demons, became defiled. Angry Lord still regarded them.
  • Mt 19:16-22  Young man / Jesus:  “What must I do to gain eternal life?” / “Why ask me?  Only One is good.  Keep the commandments.” / “Which?” / “Don't kill, commit adultery, steal, or lie; honor your parents; love your neighbor...” / “I have.  What do I lack?” / “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you'll have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”  The man went away sad, for he had many possessions.
    • Creighton:  When Jesus asks the "rich young man" to sell everything, the man goes away sad.  Jesus sees the man is over-attached to material wealth.  As good as the man is (he does keep the commandments), and inspired to go further, he can't.  He has perfection in his grasp but chooses otherwise and so is sad.  We don't know whether he later reconsidered.
    The 1st reading parallels the gospel:  the Israelites serve false gods, then are thrown so far off that they need an intervention.  When they were oppressed, God sent them Judges to save them and to call them back to honoring God.  While a Judge was with them, they avoided false gods, but once he left, they relapsed.
    Both readings have idols in common:  wealth and false freedom.  May we look for and deal with our idols:   wealth, pride, focusing on ourselves over others and the Other....  Lord, help me to identify the idols that draw me away from those I love.  Help me see and hear you over their static....
    • One Bread, One Body:  Jesus was poor, loves the poor, and expects us to make great sacrifices for the poor.  Zacchaeus realized this:  "I give half my belongings to the poor."   So did the early Church:  some gave to the poor beyond their means so that Paul had to counsel them not to.  How is our giving by those standards?  How can we stand by when lives are at stake?  "How can God's love survive in one with enough of this world's goods who's closed to one in need?"
    • Passionist:  Pius X, Pope 1903-1914, tried to straighten things out when there was trouble, to “restore all things in Christ” in a time capped by the outbreak of WWI.  Today's 1st reading describes the situation of the Jewish people once they settled in the Promised Land.  Though they had the place they sought, they'd lost their leadership and got into trouble, associating with pagan nations not part of God’s chosen people.  Despite their glorious history, the Jews started to worship false gods, listen to the wrong voices, and pay the penalty of military defeats.  But God helped by providing 'Judges' (leaders), but their skills would disappear as fast as they came.
    Pius X appeared in history when he was needed.  His skills enabled him to meet the demands that would be laid on him as pope.  He was alert to the emergence of Modernism, which he described as “the synthesis of all heresies.”  He established the Pontifical Biblical Institute, encouraged frequent Communion, and lowered the First Communion age.
    •  "Give, and you'll have treasure in heaven":  The rich young man lacked what possessions couldn't provide but was dismayed at Jesus' direction because he hoped in his possessions.  The Lord is the greatest treasure, and giving all for him brings joy, but the man left sad because his hope was misplaced.  Possessiveness robs us of joy and life:  he was afraid to give for fear he'd lose what he had, but those generous to God and others find they cannot outdo the generosity of God who brings peace, joy, love, friendships that far outweigh material possessions which don't give enduring satisfaction.  Only God can satisfy our deepest longings and desires.  Will I part with what can keep me away?
      • Pope St. Pius X, child of poor family, ordained at 23, sought to restore all things in Christ, insisted on Church/State separation, revised canon law, founded institute for Bible studies, fought Modernism, started revision of Vulgate translation, reformed the liturgy, lived poorly even as pope, preached weekly, worked miracles.
      • Bl. Victoria Rasoamanarivo, born in powerful family, Jesuit- and Sisters-educated, baptized at 15, kept Madagascar Church alive, married/prayed for a violent alcoholic who converted on deathbed.

    August 20, 2017

    20th Sun., Ordinary Time

    August 20, 2017:  Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

    See about a dozen connections with today?
    Legend below
    Proudly showing Mom (102)
    as today's guest dresser;
    note dog motif for gospel!
    From Ed Bolduc's blog
    For future Sundays
    • Is 56:1, 6-7  Do what's just; my salvation and justice are coming.  I'll make foreigners who minister to and love the Lord and hold to my covenant joyful in my house of prayer; their offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable, for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
    • Ps 67:2-3, 5-6, 8  "O God, let all the nations praise you!"  May God have pity on, bless, and shine on us, so all may know his salvation.
      Wordle: Readings 8-17-14
    • Rom 11:13-15, 29-32  God's gifts and call are irrevocable.  As you once disobeyed God but now have received mercy, so have they disobeyed in order that they too may receive mercy.
    • Mt 15:21-28  Canaanite woman:  “Have pity on me, Lord!  My daughter is tormented by a demon.”  Jesus didn't answer her.  Disciples:  “Send her away; she keeps calling us.” / “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Woman:  “Lord, help me.” / “It's not right to throw children's food to the dogs.” / “Even the dogs eat scraps from their masters' table.” / “Woman of great faith, let it be done as you wish!”  Her daughter was then healed.
    Pope Francis to Rimini friendship meeting
    Don't be taken aback by difficulties and suffering.  Only by earning the truth, beauty, and goodness given us by our parents can we live the changes we're immersed in as an opportunity and an occasion to convince others of the joy of the Gospel.  Open your eyes to be aware of all the signs of the need for God so you can offer others a living response to the great questions of the heart.  You're reliable witnesses of hope that doesn't disappoint.
    • Fr. Anthony Kadavil:  A young man with six months' schooling ran for office and lost.  Next, he failed in business and spent years paying his partner's debts.  He became engaged, his fianceé died, he had a nervous breakdown, lost another election, then couldn't obtain another federal appointment.  He was voted down as nominee for Vice President, lost a Senate race, then was elected President.  The man was Lincoln.  Today’s Gospel also says, "Never give up."
    Today's readings speak of the Kingdom's universal nature.  God chose the Hebrews but included all nations in his saving plan.  In the 1st reading God reveals he makes no distinctions.  The psalm rejects religious exclusivity.  Paul explains that God showed mercy to the Jews and Gentiles.  Jesus' healing of a Gentile woman's daughter show God's love is available to all who call to him.
    "3rd Isaiah" was written mainly for the Jews returning from exile to join their relatives left behind, but today’s reading is primarily addressed to Jews who chose to remain in Babylon among the Gentiles.  God pleaded with those who preferred exile to rebuilding Jerusalem and tried to make them understand the Gentiles' role in the restored kingdom.  “My house shall be... for all peoples.”  Everyone has a part to play in God's plan.  The Psalmist calls on all peoples to praise God. 
    2nd reading:  Paul was convinced Jews and Gentiles were called to salvation.  His failure to convert the Jews reminds us we must accept failure....
    The Gospels recount only two healings Jesus performed for Gentiles:  of the centurion’s servant, and for the Canaanite woman (also in Mk); both foreshadow the extension to all of the Good News.  Canaanites were regarded as pagans and so ritually unclean, but this woman showed growing love, persistence, hope, and cheerfulness.  By granting her request, Jesus demonstrates his mission to break down Jew-Gentile divisions.  God welcomes all who seek his mercy and who try to do his will.
    Jesus and the Canaanite woman
    Jesus tries to awaken faith in her by his indirect refusal.  She begs, and he makes a seemingly harsh statement ('dogs' was a pejorative word for Gentiles).  She noticed he used the word kunariois (pet), not kuon (dog), and jokingly, so she matched wits:  pets are insiders, part of the family, so she trusts Jesus would heal her daughter.  Won over, Jesus responded exuberantly.  He'd refused her three times but finally granted her request.  She got more than she hoped for:  her daughter's healing, and her own new life in Christ.  She crossed the barrier of racism, refused to be put off because of her position, and admitted she didn't deserve Jesus' attention.
    We must persist in prayer with confidence; it proves we have faith to receive what Christ wants to give us.  God who wants what's best for us gives us what we need, better than what we ask for.  We need the peace and security of being in line with God's will for us.  Trust that when you pray for something, the answer is already on its way.
    God loves all who call on him.  Share his universal love.  Pray that the walls our pride, intolerance, and prejudice have raised may crumble.  With humility and compassion tell others they're God's children and his love, mercy, and healing are for them too.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "How much do I want great faith?"  The grace of faith has been accepted many ways, especially through testing; testing can make faith genuine and great.  Jesus may have been testing the Canaanite woman's faith by his refusals.  Be grateful he tests us like he did our forefathers.  Accept the grace of faith even if it involves suffering.   Testing "makes for endurance.  Let endurance come to perfection so you may be mature, lacking in nothing...."
      • Passionist:  Openness to all peoples was Isaiah’s vision but wasn't common understanding among Israel; many still wrestle with it.  One of Paul's deepest sorrows was that most of his fellow Jews never realized who Jesus was.  Whom do we exclude from God’s love and mercy?  May the Spirit help us recognize God’s life in all peoples and take down any barriers we've put up.
      •  "Great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire":  Today's is the only gospel telling of Jesus' ministry outside Jewish territory.  Was Jesus smiling when he talked about not throwing bread to dogs?  The woman was willing to be rebuffed for her daughter's sake.  Do I seek God with faith?
      Dress legend
      • 'Alps' tie pin:  "All who keep the sabbath and hold to my covenant I'll bring to my holy mountain;..." (1st reading)
      • 'Fire' pin:  "...their burnt offerings will be acceptable on my altar" (1st reading)
      • 'Olympics' tie pin:  "O God, let all the nations praise you!" (psalm)
      • 'Street light' tie bar:  May God let his face shine upon us (psalm)
      • 'Ruler' tie bar:  You 'rule' the peoples in equity (psalm)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  God's gifts and 'call' are irrevocable (2nd reading); "she keeps 'calling' out after us" (gospel)
      • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  Just as you disobeyed and received mercy, so too the Jews (2nd reading)
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (gospel)
      • 'Dogs' tie:  "Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters' table.” (gospel)
      • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

      August 19, 2017

      Aug. 19

      August 19, 2017:  Saturday, 19th week, Ordinary Time

      • 'Stone' tie pin:  Stone as witness to the covenant (1st reading)
      • Heart' pin:  "My heart exhorts me" (psalm)
      • 'Children' pin, 'hands' pin:  "Children were brought to Jesus... that he might lay his hands on them and pray." (gospel)
      • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season


      For the gospel

        Wordle: Readings 8-17-13
      • Jos 24:14-29  Joshua / Israelites:  "Serve the Lord!  If it doesn't please you to, decide today whom you will serve.  My household and I will serve the Lord." / "We'll serve the Lord; he saved and protected us." "You may not be able to.  If you forsake him, he'll destroy you." / "We'll still serve the Lord." / "Put away your other gods and turn to the Lord." / "We'll obey the Lord."  Joshua made a covenant with them, recorded it, set up a large stone under the oak in the sanctuary, told them, "This stone has heard the Lord's words to us; it'll be a witness against you if you deny God," and dismissed them.  Joshua died at 110.
      • Ps 16:1-2a, 5, 7-8, 11  "You are my inheritance, O Lord."  I take refuge in you who counsel, exhort, and guide me.
        • Mt 19:13-15  Children were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them.  Jesus:  “Let them come to me, for the Kingdom belongs to such as these.”
          Jesus Christ with the children
          Suffer the Children/ Bloch
        • Creighton:  The Israelites, remembering all God had done for them, decided to serve the Lord.  Would it make it easier for me to choose God if I started each day remembering all God has done for me?  Jesus rebukes the disciples trying to shoo children away.  Is it because children haven't created gods to serve and can just be in the moment?  They challenge us to slow down and see things we've never appreciated.  I need to do that to choose God each day and not worship at some other altar.  Whom we choose to serve is most important. 
        • One Bread, One Body:  "The joy of being his slave":  Serving the Lord is humanly impossible; it's slavery. "Though once you were slaves of sin, you were freed from your sin and became slaves of justice." To be the Lord's slave means to be owned by him.  Slaves, unlike servants, have no independence:  they can't quit, make their own decisions, take time off, take vacation, or retire; they don't get paid.  Our greatest privilege is to be slaves of Christ, who became a Slave for us, accept his grace to be his slaves, and say, "We will" be owned by the Lord and be his slaves. Jesus: "I no longer call you slaves, for slaves don't know what their master is about.  I call you friends."
          St. John Eudes
        • Passionist:  Today's gospel is one of the few that appeals to children, who sense they need Jesus to welcome, love, bless, and protect them.  Children still run to persons who represent God and God’s way of life.  But we can rebuke them as the disciples did, feeling they're a burden.  How we treat them will either encourage them to be at home in church or just to see it as an obligation.  How we speak with children about the Church and its ministers will shape their adult beliefs.  They learn from our witness, conversations, and attitudes.  Don't prevent them from approaching Jesus!
        •  "Let the children come to me":  Parents brought their children to Jesus for him to lay hands on them; they knew of his healing power.  Jesus rebuked his disciples for hindering them.  The disciples may have wanted to shield Jesus from the nuisance, but Jesus delighted in children and demonstrated that God's love is for everyone.  God comes to each person to touch them with his love and power....
        Pope Francis Amoris Lætitia capsule:  Discerning the body
        Paul faced the shameful situation where wealthier community members discriminated against the poorer ones, even at the agape meal that accompanied the Eucharist:  “One is hungry and another drunk....  You despise the Church of God and humiliate those with nothing.”

        The Eucharist demands we be members of the one body, the Church. Don't wound Christ's Body and Blood by creating scandalous divisions.  The celebration of the Eucharist challenges us to examine ourselves, open family doors to greater fellowship with the underprivileged, and so receive the sacrament of love that makes us one body.  he ‘mysticism’ of the sacrament has a social character.  If we turn a blind eye to the poor and suffering, or consent to division, contempt, or inequality, we receive the Eucharist unworthily, but families properly disposed who receive regularly reinforce their social consciousness and commitment to those in need. (V:185-86)
        Today's saints, from Universalis
          • Oswin, humble king regarded as martyr
        Special greetings to and prayers for the community at
        St. John Eudes parish and school in Chatsworth.

        August 18, 2017

        Aug. 18

        August 18, 2017:  Friday, 19th week, Ordinary Time

        See about 10 connections with today?
        Legend below
        Listen to settings of Psalm 136

          (but not the dance)
        • Jos 24:1-13  Joshua to Israelites:  “The Lord says:   Your fathers served other gods, but I led Abraham through Canaan, made his descendants numerous, and gave him Isaac, to whom I gave Jacob and Esau.  I sent Moses and Aaron, smote Egypt, and led you out.  I brought you to the land of the Amorites; they fought you, but I destroyed them.  Then Balak prepared to war. and I saved you.  Once you came to Jericho, they fought you, but I delivered them into your power and sent hornets to drive them out. I gave you a land you hadn't tilled and cities you hadn't built; you've eaten of vineyards and groves you didn't plant.”
        • Ps 136:1-3, 16-18, 21-22, 24  "His mercy endures forever."  Give thanks to the LordGod of gods, who led his people, smote and slew kings, made their land the heritage of Israel, and freed us from our foes.
        • Mt 19:3-12  Pharisees tested Jesus:  “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” / “The Creator said, a man shall be joined to his wife.  Don't separate what God has joined.”  / “Then why did Moses allow divorce?” / “Because of your hard hearts.  But whoever divorces his wife... and marries another commits adultery.” / Disciples:  “Then it's better not to marry.” / Some were incapable of marriage because they were born so; some because others made them so; some because they renounce marriage for the Kingdom's sake.  Accept this if you can.
        • Creighton:  Today 1st reading recounts God’s deeds, to stir up gratitude for God’s fidelity; the gospel is about the indissolubility of marriage.  God's fidelity is behind both.  We're called to be faithful to people and God, to live, work, and love within community.  Joshua's "litany" inspires the people's gratitude.  Gratitude is the first and most important step in loving someone.  If we think we don’t need anyone else, we may not give ourselves away in love.  Today we recognize each person's rights and dignity, but with that highlight on individuality we can forget we're communal creatures, conceived by a community of two, sustained in a community of care and support.  When we're grateful, we want to give back, to share our gifts.  God has brought each of us from our own “Egypt” and given us a name, support, an escape path, a light to lead us, and a cloud to hide us from enemies.  When we see how God rescues us and calls us to care and love, we're inspired to be faithful in return.  Update your own "litany," and remember what God has done and continues to do....
          • Passionist:  The Pharisees are again trying to trap Jesus., but he points to their hardness of heart that hampers the building of the Kingdom of God, loving, and living the spirit of the law they revere.  Hardness of heart can breed hate.  Joshua reminds the Israelites of God’s presence and love and calls them to a change of heart.  Jesus calls the Pharisees to a change of heart and points out that not everyone is up to the challenge.  Is our relationship with Jesus strong and personal enough so that we hear his call to us?
          •  "What God has joined together":  Jesus deals with divorce by harking back to the beginning of creation and God's plan for us.  The ideal that two people who marry should become indissolubly one flesh is found in the union of Adam and Eve, created for each other, symbol for all to come.  Jesus sets the ideal for marriage but explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession.  He also sets the ideal for those who renounce marriage for the kingdom's sake.  Both are calls to consecrated life.  Our lives belong to God, who gives strength, joy, and blessing to those who follow him.  Lord, give us the grace to live our call faithfully....
          Pope Francis Amoris Lætitia capsule:  Expanding fruitfulness (continued)
          Procreation and adoption aren't the only ways to experience love's fruitfulness.  All families are called to find other expressions of fruitfulness that prolong the love that sustains them.  Faith draws us more deeply into the world; each of us has a special role in preparing for the coming of God’s kingdom in our world”. Families should go forth in solidarity with others to integrate persons into society and link public and private spheres.  Couples' social obligations floods their affection with new light.  “I love you because your hands work for justice.  You're my love, my companion, my all,  On the street, side by side, we're more than just two.”

          Jesus’ own family didn't appear unusual or different from others; they were a normal part of the community.  Jesus interacted with his parents' relatives and friends.  But some Christian families are seen as remote because of how they speak, act, or treat others.
          Here's the secret to a happy family:  bind wounds, foster a culture of encounter, and fight for justice; 'domesticate' the world and help people see others as brothers and sisters.  Find a place for and build friendships with the less fortunate.  “As you did it to least..., you did it to me.”  “Invite the poor, maimed, lame, blind....” 
          By their witness and words, Christian families speak to others of Jesus, pass on the faith, arouse a desire for God, and reflect the beauty of living the gospel, enlivening society by their social concern, outspokenness for the underprivileged, faith, and hope; their fruitfulness expands and makes God’s love present in society. (V:181-84)
          Dress legend
          • 'Horse,' 'chariot/car' tie pins:  ...with chariots and horsemen; hornets 'drove' Amorites etc. out of your way;... (1st reading)
          • 'Sword' tie pin:  It wasn't your sword  (1st reading)
          • Tie with grapes:  You've eaten of vineyards you didn't plant (1st reading)
          • 'Scroll' pin:  Bill of divorce (gospel)
          • 'Interlocking rings' tie bar:  "They're one, no longer two; don't separate what God has joined” (gospel)
          • 'Heart' pin:  "Moses allowed divorce because of your hard hearts" (gospel)