December 1, 2017

Dec. 1

December 1, 2017:  Friday, 34th week, Ordinary Time

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Pope Francis in Bangladesh
To bishops:  Pastoral plans engaging the people of God in an ongoing process of discernment and action can be fruitful.  Your plan, with communion at its heart, continues to inspire missionary zeal.  Your episcopal leadership has been marked by collegiality and mutual support.  Your collegial spirit is shared by your priests and has spread to parishes, communities, and other apostolates.  You make pastoral visits and show concern for your people's welfare.  Your ministry of presence strengthens the bonds of communion.
Show ever greater pastoral closeness to the lay faithful.  Value their charisms, and encourage them to use them to serve the Church and society.  Your catechists are essential for growth of the faith and for formation of the next generation.  Be concerned for their spiritual needs and their continuing education in the faith.  As we prepare for the next bishops' Synod, think about how to share our faith's joy, truth, and beauty with our young people.  Continue to assist families and work for the advancement of women.  Thanks to all who work to support Christian families in their mission of bearing witness to the Lord’s love and making known its power.  “The family is one of the Church’s most effective agents of evangelization.”
You can be proud of your service to the poor, including your educational apostolates, health care centers, and charitable works, but more needs to be done!  Recognize human woundedness and respond with generosity, one person at a time.  By creating a “culture of mercy,” you demonstrate your option for the poor, reinforce your proclamation of the Father’s mercy, and contribute to the integral development of your homeland. 
Here ethnic diversity is mirrored in diverse religious traditions.  The Church’s commitment to pursuing interreligious understanding spreads good will and harmony.  Build bridges and foster dialogue; it facilitates communication and awakens spiritual energies needed to foster unity, justice, and peace.  Speak with one voice against violence, and seek to replace the culture of conflict with the culture of encounter.  Educate the young in the way of justice; teach them to respond to the logic of evil by working for the growth of goodness.
May all entrusted to your care find strength in their efforts to proclaim the good news both with words and by a life transfigured by God’s presence.  Holy Spirit, grant us courage to proclaim the Gospel with boldness, even when met with opposition.
Dhaka ordination homilyGod made his entire holy people a royal priesthood in Christ, but Christ our great Priest chose certain disciples to carry out publicly in his name a priestly office in the Church.  He sent the Apostles into the world, so that through them and their successors he might continue to exercise his office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd.  Priests are co-workers of the Bishops, joined with them in the priestly office and called with them to serve God's people.  Our brothers are now to be ordained to the priesthood to serve Christ by whose ministry the Church is built and grows into the people of God.  In being configured to Christ and joined to the priesthood of the Bishops, they'll be consecrated to preach the Gospel, shepherd God’s people, and celebrate the Liturgy.
Dear sons, you'll exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ.  Impart the word of God that you've received with joy.  Meditate on the Lord's law, believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.  Let what you teach be nourishment for God's people.  Let your holy lives be a delightful fragrance to Christ’s faithful, so that you may build up God’s Church.
You'll also exercise in Christ the office of sanctifying.  By your ministry the faithful's spiritual sacrifice will be made perfect, united to Christ's sacrifice, to be offered with them through your hands on the altar.  Understand what you do, and imitate what you celebrate.  Put to death whatever is sinful in you, and walk in newness of life.
When you gather others into God's people through Baptism, when you forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church in Penance, when you comfort the sick, when you pray throughout the day, remember you're appointed on people's behalf for things that pertain to God.  Carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with joy and love, attending to the concerns of Jesus Christ.  Strive to bring the faithful together, so that you may lead them to God through Christ in the Spirit.  Keep before you the example of the Good Shepherd, who came to serve and seek out and save what was lost.
At interreligious and ecumenical meeting for peaceWe gather to deepen our friendship and express our shared desire for genuine and lasting peace.  The world's religions yearn for harmony, fraternity, and peace.  We all wish to live together in mutual respect and good will.  It's gratifying that believers and all people of good will feel called to shape a culture of encounter, dialogue, and cooperation in service of humanity.  This challenges us to reach out in trust and understanding, to build a unity that sees diversity as a potential for enrichment and growth.  It challenges us to open our hearts to view others as avenues, not barriers.  Here are some essential features of "openness of heart":
It's a door, not an abstract theory but an experience enabling us to embark on a dialogue of life, not merely an exchange of ideas.  It calls for good will and acceptance, not indifference or reticence to express our convictions.  We must share our distinct religious and cultural identity with humility, honesty, and respect.
It's a ladder reaching to the Absolute.  Our hearts need to be purified, so we can see all things in perspective.  With each step our vision becomes clearer and we receive strength better to understand and value others and find wisdom and strength to extend the hand of friendship.
It's a path leading to the pursuit of goodness, justice, and solidarity and to seeking others' good.  “Overcome evil with good.”  Concern for others' welfare flows out like a river to quench the wastelands of hatred, corruption, poverty, and violence that damage lives, families, and creation.
A spirit of openness, acceptance and cooperation is the beating heart of the culture of harmony and peace.  Our world needs this heart to beat to counter the virus of corruption, destructive religious ideologies, and the temptation to turn a blind eye to the poor, refugees, the persecuted, and the most vulnerable.  Openness is needed to reach out to all, especially the young, who feel alone and bewildered as they search for meaning.  By demonstrating the common commitment of believers to discerning and practicing good, may we help all believers grow in wisdom and holiness and cooperate in building a more humane, united, and peaceful world.
Read
    Daniel's vision of the four beasts/ Merian
  • Dn 7:2-14  I, Daniel, saw four beasts emerge from the sea.  One was ordered to devour flesh.  Another was given dominion.  Then thrones were set up, the Ancient One took his throne, thousands ministered to him, court was convened, one beast was slain, and the Ancient One gave glory and kingship to one like a son of man.
  • Dn 3:75-81  "Give glory and eternal praise to him!"  All creation, bless the Lord!
  • Lk 21:29-33  “When trees' buds open, you know summer is near; similarly, when you see these things happening, know the Kingdom is near.  This generation will not pass away until all this has taken place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but not my words.”
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Take note of signs of God’s presence; don’t let noise detour your path toward Jesus’ love.  The 1st reading's beast imagery reminds us that even in turmoil God is there, even if he's harder to find.  To survive loss, difficulty, and uncertainty, look for God in and around us, and navigate back to his love.  The fig tree parable tells us to be ready, not just for the afterlife:  note the signs of the time to discern what's of real value.  Search for God’s will and decide how to respond, hard as it might be in the context of our daily life.  Jesus became one of us and modeled the attitudes and values.  Lord, help us look for and see signs of your work in and around us....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Abba-love":  With Jesus, come before "the Ancient One," your Abba, Daddy. Let the Spirit cry out in you, "Abba!"  Hear the Father call you his beloved son or daughter in whom he's well pleased.  He loves you so much, he sent his son to die for you.  He loves you perfectly, unconditionally, infinitely, and forever, even if you don't love him, even if you choose to be separated from him. Live and love in his love.  Love not to gain his love but because he's loved you from before you were ever aware he did.
    Grow your own fig tree
  • Passionist:  Today’s readings reflect a climactic moment in the Church’s reflection on time and history.  The 1st reading, a dream sequence, is of chaos and threat; Daniel sees a disturbing vision of wild beasts unleashed.  It's apocalyptic literature, communicating via visionary experiences and disturbing imagery. The message reflects the assaults Israel had to endure from enemies that devastated the country.  But the end of the passage ushers in a different dimension:  the Ancient One's saving power subdues the beasts.  In the dream, God empowers a “son of man” with “dominion, glory, and kingship.”  Early Christians saw Jesus in this figure.  The psalm response, also from Daniel, is of triumph and praise.  All nature praises God.  The gospel picks up both moods.  Jesus warns the disciples to be alert to the signs and also assures them that his words of justice and peace and his acts of love won't pass away.  We're encouraged to view the world with open eyes, recognizing its beauty and accomplishments but also the chaos and violence, and to see that God’s love is stronger than death.  We trust God’s love will have the last word.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "My words won't pass away":  Jesus used the fig tree to teach about reading the signs of the times.  The fig tree bore fruit in autumn and early spring.  As signs of a changing season are evident, so too are the signs of God's kingdom and his return.  The kingdom's 'budding' starts in those receptive to God's word, who will bear the kingdom's fruit of justice, peace, and joy in the Spirit.  The Lord gives us signs, not only to warn us but also to rouse us to be ready to receive his kingdom.  The "Day of the Lord" will be a day of rejoicing for those who long to see the Lord.  The Lord Jesus wants us to be filled with joyful anticipation.  While we wait for his physical return, we can know his presence through the Holy Spirit.  The Lord comes to those who long for him, speaks tenderly to us, shows us the way to our Father, and gives us hope.
Today's saints, from Universalis
  • St. Edmund Campion, Jesuit priest, martyr: “In condemning us, you condemn your own ancestors, our ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, the most devoted child of the See of Peter.”
  • St. Ralph Sherwin, priest, martyr: “We stand here because of religion, not treason.”
Dress legend
  • 'Alps' pin:  "Mountains and hills, bless the Lord" (canticle)
  • Blue and white in shirt:  Great sea, Ancient One's snow-bright clothes and wool-white hair (1st reading); "Seas, rivers, water creatures, bless the Lord" (canticle)
  • 'Bird' pin:  "Birds of the air, bless the Lord" (canticle); lion with eagle's wings, 3rd beast's wings (1st reading)
  • 'Lion' pin:  Lion (and other beasts) (1st reading); "All you beasts, bless the Lord" (canticle)
  • 'Feet' pin:  1st beast was raised to stand on two feet, 4th beast tramples with its feet (1st reading)
  • 'Bear' tie bar:  Beast like a bear (1st reading)
  • 'Car' pin showing mouth with teeth:  4th beast's mouth, great teeth (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Daniel's vision, 4th beast's humanoid eyes (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  Ancient One's throne (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  Ancient One bestows kingship on son of man (1st reading)
  • Tie with clouds:  One like a son of man coming on the clouds (1st reading)
  • 'Tree' pin:  Consider the trees (gospel)
  • Green shirt, 'clocks' suspenders:  Ordinary Time season, in its final days