September 20, 2017

Korean Martyrs

September 20, 2017:

SS. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Priest,
Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, Martyrs

  • 'Angel' pin:  [Christ was] seen by angels (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  I'll thank God with all my heart (psalm)
  • 'Food' tie:  The Lord gave food to those who fear him (psalm); the Son of Man came eating and drinking...  (gospel)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  Wisdom is vindicated by all her children. (gospel)
  • Red in shirt and suspenders, 'blood drop' pin:  Korean martyrs

Never give in to negativity.  Keep building, trying to make the world conform more fully to God’s plan.  Build on who you are:  if you're on the ground or sitting, get up and go.  If  you're bored, fill your life with good works.  God doesn't want to frustrate hope.  Everything is born to bloom.  Use your God-given gifts to help our human family to grow in freedom, justice, and dignity.  Peace is in our midst; don't listen to voices of hate and division.  Defend and protect the light Jesus gave us.  Dream, live, love, believe, and be a beacon of hope!
    "We played the flute..."
  • 1 Tm 3:14-16  You should know how to behave in the household of God, the Church, the foundation of truth.  Great is the mystery of devotion, Who was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed to Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
  • Ps 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6  "How great are the works of the Lord!"  I'll thank the Lord with all my heart.  He's gracious and merciful, and just.  He gave food to those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever....
  • Lk 7:31-35  “The people of this generation are like children who call, ‘We played the flute, but you didn't dance.  We sang a dirge, but you didn't weep.’  John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, ‘He's possessed.’  The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you said, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, friend of tax collectors and sinners.’  But wisdom is vindicated by her children.”
  • Creighton:  In the 1st reading, part of a group of communications about pastoral matters, Paul defines the place and importance of the church in our lives and underlines the core of our belief:  One shown to us in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed by Gentiles, believed in worldwide, and taken up in glory. / What's our generation like?  Do we never seem happy or satisfied?  Do we reject God's word?  John the Baptist was rejected as too austere; Jesus because he associated with sinners.  Don't close your mind to God's wisdom. The last words of Fr. Andrew, remembered today, were, “ My immortal life is beginning.  Become Christians if you wish to be happy after death....”
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The key to true freedom":  Human beings are under authority:  if not God, maybe Satan; if not the Church, some other authority.  There's freedom only under the authority of Christ and his Church.  Because the Truth sets us free and the Church is "the pillar of truth," the key to freedom is submission to Jesus.  May we love authority, truth, and freedom in Christ and love the Church as he did.
    103 Korean martyrs/ Hak Jin Moon
  • Passionist:  Today's saints were martyred in 19th century Korea.   Andrew was the first Korean Catholic priest, Paul Chong Ha Sang was an important lay leader and catechist, and the others were apparently ordinary Catholics rounded up to try to stamp out Christianity; all were killed violently in public.  By the time they were martyred, Christianity had been growing in Korea over 75 years.  The Korean Catholic Church is the only known Catholic community developed completely from lay Christians' witness and work.  The rulers discouraged foreign religion, then outlawed it and persecuted its adherents.  As Christians were tortured and killed, the Church moved underground.  Andrew’s parents, part of that community, remained faithful.  Andrew attended seminary in Macau and was ordained at 24.  He returned to help organize the Church and celebrate the sacraments till he was martyred a year later.  May the Korean martyrs' faith and courage inspire us to be faithful to the Gospel and fearless witnesses for Christ.
  •  The children are disappointed because they can't convince others to join in their game.  This echoes "A time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance."  Occasions demand responses; indifference or disdain is unfitting and unkind.  Jesus' message is proclaims good news, joy, and hope and warns for those who don't accept it.  Out of jealousy and blindness, the scribes and Pharisees attributed John's austerities to the devil and Jesus' table fellowship as evidence for pretending to be Messiah.  They closed their hearts and so frustrated God's plan for their lives.  Today is also marked by indifference and contempt.  Indifference dulls us to God's voice.  Only the humble hungry for God can find joy....
  • Universalis:  SS. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn, Paul Chong Hasang, and companions, martyrs:  For centuries, Korea was closed to outside influences.  Laypeople seeking to find out about the outside world through the annual embassy to Peking found books about Christianity and were converted.  Over the next century, while the Korean church was entirely lay, over 10,000 Korean Christians were martyred; then priests came and were too.  Today 103 of the Korean martyrs are celebrated:  lay, married or not, old and young, children.  “The Korean Church was founded entirely by laypeople.  It withstood waves of persecution.  The death of its martyrs became the leaven of the Church and led to today’s flowering of the Church in Korea” (canonization homily).
Please pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters
as they begin their Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) celebration tonight.

September 19, 2017

Sept. 19

September 19, 2017:  Tuesday, 24th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Children' tie:  Manage your children well (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "I'll walk with blameless heart"; "I won't endure a puffed-up heart" (psalm)
  • Clear pin:  Deacons should have a clear conscience (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  I won't set a base thing before my eyes; I won't endure one with haughty eyes; my eyes are on the faithful (psalm)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season


  • 1 Tm 3:1-13  A bishop must be irreproachable, temperate, self-controlled, hospitable, able to teach, gentle.  He must manage his own household well.  He should not be a recent convert so he won't become conceited.  He must have a good reputation.  Similarly, deacons must be dignified and hold fast to the faith with a clear conscience; they should be tested first.  Women should be dignified, temperate, and faithful.  Deacons must manage their children and households well....
  • Ps 101:1b-3ab, 5, 6  "I will walk with blameless heart."  I'll sing of mercy and judgment.  When will you come to me?  My eyes are on the faithful....
  • Lk 7:11-17  As Jesus drew near to Nain, a dead man was being carried out, son of a widow.  When the Lord saw her, he said, moved with pity, “Don't weep.”  He touched the coffin:  “Young man, arise!”  He began to speak.  They glorified God:  “A great prophet has arisen; God has visited his people.”  The news spread through Judea and beyond.

  • Creighton:  Paul's description of a Christian leader is instructive.  First, it's OK to aspire to Christian leadership. Second, he talks more about the type of person than their tasks.  A good leader has first learned to be a good follower.  The psalm focuses on the disciple's character:  they walk blamelessly, persevere in integrity, guard their eyes from looking on something base; they don't slander or have haughty eyes or a puffed-up heart.  In the gospel Jesus does a great deed in restoring a son to his mother, but the focus is more on why he did it.  He "saw" a woman whose husband and only son had both died (and so would have been destitute), was "moved with pity," and helped by showing God's mercy.  If those called to leadership take care to be like Jesus, the tasks will take care of themselves.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Serious business":  Deacons, their wives, and bishops must be 'serious'; here the word is translated 'dignity' and applied to bishops/overseers' parenting.  The trait is also expected of the older men, and it's a characteristic of good teaching; it's important in the Christian life.  It doesn't mean we should take ourselves too seriously; we should take God seriously.  Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and holy seriousness.  Christianity is serious love.  Jesus was "dead serious" and "live serious" about his love for us.  Are we?
    Auferweckung des Jünglings zu Nain
  • Passionist:  'Trustworthy' is used 21 times in the New Testament.  Paul tells Timothy to pay attention to what's trustworthy.  Timothy, and we, were/are to trust God, his Word, and his loving acts, the word of those who have taught us the Gospel, its values, way of life, sayings, and saving message.  Paul asks us to be trustworthy ourselves, and not deceived by people who aren't.  In whom do we trust?
  •  "The Lord had compassion on her":  Jesus was often "moved to the depths of his heart"; 'compassion' doesn't convey the deeper meaning of the original expressing heartfelt sympathy and identification with the person's grief and condition.  Jesus not only grieved the man's death of a young man but was also concerned for the woman who lost husband, only child, security, and livelihood.  Jesus' physical contact with the dead man mad him ritually unclean in the Jews' eyes, but his touch and identification with the widow's loss showed love and concern for her, and his desire to free people from the power of sin, corruption, and death.  His word of command restored the young man to life.
This miracle took place near where Elisha raised another son to life.  Jesus' word restored life to one marked for death.  Jesus, Lord of the living and the dead, promises believers abundant life now and forever.
Today's saints, from Universalis
  • Theodore of Tarsus (now in Turkey), monk, ordained priest at 65 to be Archbishop of Canterbury, reformed Church life, reconciled divisions between Celtic and Roman traditions.

September 18, 2017

Sept. 18

September 18, 2017:  Monday, 24th week, Ordinary Time

  • '1' button, thanks to OneLife LA:  1 God, 1 Mediator (1st reading)
  • 'Hands' pin:  Pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument (1st reading); hear me when I lift my hands to you (psalm)
  • 'Shield' tie pin:  The Lord is my shield,... (psalm)
  • 'Heart' pin: whom my heart trusts and exults (psalm)
  • 'Harmony' tie:  With my song I give thanks to the Lord (psalm); this particular 'music' tie chosen in light of yesterday's 'forgiveness' readings
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Feed Your people (psalm)
  • Green in shirt:  Ordinary Time season

  • 1 Tm 2:1-8  Pray, without anger, that everyone live in tranquility, devotion, and dignity.  God wills everyone be saved and know the truth. There is one God, one mediator.
  • Ps 28:2, 7-9  "Blessed be the Lord, who heard my prayer."  I trust and exult in the Lord, our strength and saving refuge.
  • Lk 7:1-10  In Capernaum a centurion sent elders to ask Jesus to save his slave's life.  Jesus went, but then the centurion sent friends to tell him, "Lord, I'm not worthy to have you enter; just say the word and heal him."  Jesus, amazed:  "I've never found such faith."  The slave was healed.
  • Creighton 'House' appears twice in today's gospel.  'House' or 'home' is mentioned in scripture more than 'temple' or 'church.'  Jesus credits the centurion for his loyalty and his concern for his household.  We can focus on Jesus' call to follow him to the ends of the earth, but we're also called to follow him in our daily family responsibilities:  to recognize the sacredness of home and family and be dependable, loyal, loving, and hospitable.  We encounter Jesus through our families and relationships.  Discipleship in the family is not easier, harder, or less sacred than any other form....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Holy orders":  Jesus is Lord! A lord gives orders.  The centurion sent the message to Jesus, "Just give the order and my servant will be cured."  We should seek orders from Jesus, our Lord, in Scripture, in prayer, in leaders he's given us.  May Jesus' lordship be our way of life; may our submission to him be our joy.
  •  "Say the word; be healed":   The centurion knew the power of command and saw God's power and mercy in Jesus; risking ridicule from Romans and mockery from Jews, he approached with confidence and humility. "Humility was the door through which the Lord entered to take full possession of one whom he already possessed" (Augustine).  The centurion was extraordinary because he loved his slave and did what he could to save him, and he believed Jesus could heal him. May we approach the Lord with trust and confidence....
Today's saints, from Universalis and beyond

September 17, 2017

24th Sun., Ordinary Time

September 17, 2017:  Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 'Scroll' pin:  Think of the commandments (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  "How many time times must I forgive?"; king settling accounts (gospel)
  • 'Money' tie:  Size of debts to king (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Forgive from the heart (1st reading, gospel)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin from Congress:  Forgiveness, mercy (all readings)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

    • 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)
For Psalm 103
For next Sunday
Pope Francis
Angelus:  Forgiveness doesn't deny the injustice you've been subjected to but acknowledges that the human being, created in God's image, is superior to that wrong.  Christians are called always to show forgiveness.  From our baptism day, God has forgiven us, and he forgives our sins as soon as we show the smallest sign of repentance.  If you've experienced the joy, peace, and freedom of forgiveness, you can open yourself to the possibility of forgiving:  "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."  God’s forgiveness is a sign of his overflowing love for each of us, love that gives us freedom to stray but awaits our return with open arms; it's the love of the shepherd looking for the lost sheep, the tenderness that welcomes each sinner who knocks.  The Lord is full of love and wants to offer it to us, but he can't if we close our hearts to loving others.
To Sacred Heart Missionaries:  Your Chapter's motto is “You have kept the good wine until now.”  By listening to the Spirit and being open to today's questions and concerns, you'll discover renewed strength and creative expressions of your mission.  The changed situation of our world with respect to the past, and the new challenges it presents to the Church’s mission of evangelization, demand and give rise to new ways of offering the “good wine” of the Gospel to many people as a source of joy and hope.
You strive to foster devotion to Jesus' Sacred Heart and make it bear fruit through witnessing to Jesus' tender and merciful love for all, especially those in greatest need.  Return to Jesus Christ, your first love, and learn from him how to love, care for the lost and hurting, work for justice, show solidarity with the weak and the poor, give hope and dignity to the destitute, and go where people are in need.  The Church sends you out as missionaries to show God's passionate and tender love for the little ones, the underprivileged, the vulnerable, and the discarded. 
Educate and assist new generations to appropriate human values and cultivate an evangelical vision of life and history.  Mark your common life by true fraternity.  Welcome diversity, and value the gifts of all.
To entertainers:  Your vocation is Joy.  If we go back to your shows' origins, we find someone passionate about this kind of show, who felt a joyful vocation and was willing to make sacrifices.  Faith enlightens your path, faith you live especially in the family, animated by trust in providence.  Draw close to the sacraments and make time for prayer.  You're artisans of festivities, wonder, and beauty, called to nourish feelings of hope and trust.  Your vocation is to offer people healthy, clean fun.  How could God's hand not be there?
    Forgive from the heart
  • Si 27:30—28:7  Wrath and anger are hateful.  The vengeful will suffer the Lord's vengeance.  Forgive your neighbor's injustice; then your sins will be forgiven.  Remember your last days, set enmity aside, and cease from sin!  Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; remember the covenant, and overlook faults.

  • Ps 103:1-4, 9-12  "The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion."  He doesn't deal with us according to our sins; he's put our transgressions far from us.

  • Rom 14:7-9  We live and die for the Lord, not ourselves.  We are the Lord's.  Christ died and came to life to be Lord of the dead and the living.

  • Mt 18:21-35  "Forgive seventy-seven times.  A king settling accounts with his servants forgave the loan of a debtor owing a huge amount who begged for patience, but then the servant throttled a fellow servant who owed much less, refused his plea, and imprisoned him.  His master, told about it, had him tortured.  Forgive from the heart!"
    Parable of the wicked servant/ Fetti
  • Creighton:  Today’s readings about mercy and forgiveness also caution us that bad disposition toward others threatens our blessedness.  Wrath, anger, and vengeance are destructive.  We can blame others wrongly.  We must guard against the wrong disposition even in the face of injustice.  This is hard when we still sting from our wounds, but the readings tell us how:  "Remember your last days, death, and decay."  This contextualizes the importance of what we accumulate in light of who we're becoming.  Suffering from injustice beats doing injustice.  “Don’t stumble on things that are behind you” (Seneca):  if we can't avoid hardship, make it work.  “Think of the commandment, remember the covenant, and overlook faults.”  We fall short.  "The dividing line between good and evil runs inside our heart" (Solzhenitsyn).  Caution, respect, and charity should govern our assessments.  Today’s gospel reinforces our need for mercy, but the forgiven debtor, not understanding the love shown him, continued to oppress, not transformed in time to prevent a bad outcome.  May we move toward forgiveness and away from anger and bitterness.  Ask for that miracle, heed today's examples, pray for one another, and see mercy.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "False forgiveness":  Many Christians don't forgive because they'vs been deceived into thinking they've already forgiven; this results in being tortured and not forgiven.  One of the best indicators of false forgiveness is anger.  Sirach teaches "wrath and anger are hateful," and anger keeps us from being healed.  Anger in any area may signal unforgiveness toward someone.  Another indication is not being aware that's it's impossible for people to forgive.  "To err is human; to forgive is divine."  We'll never break our hold on anger and unforgiveness on our own, but by God's power we can forgive anyone for anything.  Holy Spirit, show me the false forgiveness in my life, and pour your love into me so I may forgive.
    The parable of the unmerciful servant/ van Hemessen
  • Passionist:  "Forgiveness Sunday":  The 1st reading proclaims the contradiction between expecting forgiveness while withholding it.  The 2nd reading reminds us that we live only because of the God's freely given mercy.  The gospel parable emphasizes the fate awaiting one who won't forgive others.  We should forgive freely because we know God's mercy to us, but we still find it hard and risky.  We must be willing to move beyond justifiable anger, hurt, and resentment we feel when someone treats us unfairly, and we can never be sure forgiveness will repair a damaged relationship. What if our forgiveness is refused, or the person doesn't show remorse, accept responsibility, or change?  But nothing could be more self-destructive or hopeless. What's the alternative?  Do we want our lives defined by anger, hurt, and bitterness?  Forgiveness is a matter of life and death. “Not forgiving is as unnatural and inhuman as not breathing" (Stuhlmueller).
  •  "How often shall I forgive my brother?"  Since Amos spoke of God forgiving three times but warned God may not revoke punishment the fourth, when Peter asked Jesus "how often:  7 times?," he likely thought he was being generous, so Jesus' answer and parable must have startled him.  No offense done to us can compare with our own debt to God, forgiven through Christ.  We owe God gratitude for such mercy.  We must show mercy towards all who offend us; we must be willing to let go of any resentment, grievance, or ill will.  Jesus teaches us to pray that we may forgive others as God has forgiven us.  "Judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy."
Without mercy justice is cold, calculating, even cruel.  Mercy follows and perfects justice.  Justice demands that the wrong be addressed.  Mercy and pardon without addressing the wrong is license, not true mercy.  "Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice" (C. S. Lewis).  Lord, purify my heart that I may show mercy to all, especially those who cause me grief....

September 16, 2017

Cornelius and Cyprian

September 16, 2017:  SS. Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs

  • 'Crown' tie bar:  Honor and glory to the king of ages...  (1st reading)
  • 'Smiling sun' button:  Praise the Lord from sunrise to sunset (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord looks on heaven and earth (psalm)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  "Why do 'call' me 'Lord...' but not do what I command?" (gospel)
  • 'Tree' pin:  A tree is known by its fruit..." (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  People produce fruit from what's in their heart (gospel)
  • 'Houses' tie, NEW 'rock' tie pin:  Build your house on rock (gospel) :-(The 'rock' of the tie pin I used to wear for this came off the rest of the tie pin Thursday afternoon.)
  • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin, red in suspenders:  Today's martyrs

For the gospel

For Psalm 113
Pope Francis homily for Our Lady of Sorrows
We need to contemplate the Mother of Jesus, this sign of contradiction, because Jesus is victorious, but on the Cross, a mystery it takes faith to come close to understanding.  Mary lived with a pierced heart, always right behind her Son, hearing the people's comments for or against him; that’s why we call her the first disciple.
She was there at the end, silent, at the Cross, watching her Son, perhaps hearing comments like: “Look:  the Mother of one of the criminals.”  At that moment she gave birth to the Church and all of us:  “Woman, behold your children.”  Today’s Gospel is a call to contemplation.  May the Spirit tell each of us that which we need to hear.”
  • 1 Tm 1:15-17  Christ Jesus came to save sinners.  He treated me the foremost with mercy so he might show patience as an example....
  • Ps 113:1b-7  "Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever."  From sunrise to sunset praise the Lord.  He raises up the lowly and poor....
  • Lk 6:43-49  "Every tree is known by its fruit.  A good person out of the goodness in his heart produces and speaks good; an evil person produces evil.  Why do you call me, "Lord," but not do what I command?  One who listens to and acts on my words one is like one building a house on rock; a flood won't shake it.  One who doesn't act on them is like one building a house with no foundation; when the river burst, the house collapsed."
    House built on rock
    vs. house built on sand
  • Creighton:  In a related parable about non-productive fruit trees, the manager convinces the owner to allow a tree to rejuvenate instead of removing it.  “Out of the store of goodness in his heart” a good person brings forth good.  'Store' implies an inventory that can grow or shrink; we control it by doing good or evil.  We change the harvest by how we live.  Some years trees are better cared for and produce more fruit.  Recently homes collapsed in the face of water torrents and strong winds.  We strengthen our foundations by growing a tree of goodness and building on a relationship with God, following his call.  No untended tree always bears good fruit.  No foundation can protect against all possible storms.  But pruning makes trees stronger, and building our foundation protects us against temptation.  If we do one good act at a time and prune our non-productive branches, we'll become strong and bear fruit.  Jesus is patient and forgives our shortcomings.  May we be a good stewards of the tree of our lives, with grace to prune what doesn't yield fruit.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Future floods":  Our lives are like houses about to face floods; only the ones with solid foundations will stand.  We're well founded if we hear and do God's Word, be founded only on Christ and his Body, the Church, itself founded on the apostles and prophets.  We build a solid foundation by giving our lives to Jesus and living our Baptisms and loving the Church.  May we build our foundations to withstand anything....
  • Passionist:  We can be a source of goodness toward others, or a source of evil and hatred.   When we see others' good actions, we want to get to know them.  When we seek goodness in others, is it our way of seeking Christ?  Is our foundation strong enough to withstand crises or storms, or will it be destroyed?  May we allow ourselves to be enveloped in God’s grace and know his love will save us....
    St. Cyprian
    St. Cornelius
  •  "Build on a solid foundation":  "Sow an act; reap a habit.  Sow a habit; reap a character.  Sow a character; reap a destiny" (Reade?).  Jesus connects soundness with good fruit.  Good fruit is the result of sound living.  Isaiah warned against the dangers of falsehood.  Falsehood produces an easy, cross-free Christianity without Jesus' hard sayings, sin, or judgment.  We avoid bad fruit by being true to God, his word, and his grace.  Disciples' fruit is marked by God-given faith, hope, love, justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance.  "When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm."  The foundation we build determines how we survive the storms to come.  Builders lay foundations when weather and soil conditions are best; it takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand.  Our practice proves our sincerity.  Our choices reveal our character.  True persons are reliable before God, themselves, and others.
    Today's saints, from Universalis