January 18, 2018

Jan. 18

January 18, 2018:  Thursday, 2nd week, Ordinary Time

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

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Pope Francis in Chile

To bishops:  If the shepherd wanders off, the sheep will stray.  Your fatherhood with your presbyterate should be neither paternalistic nor authoritarian but be a gift of closeness.  Help them grow and develop the charisms the Spirit wants to pour out.  Many feel orphaned, as if they don't belong to anyone.  We and our clergy can fall into this; we can forget we're part of God’s holy people, and the Church is not, nor will it ever be, an elite of priests and religious.  If we're not conscious of being a people, we won't be able to sustain our life, vocation, and ministry, and we can fall into clericalism.


Failure to realize the mission belongs to the Church, not to an individual priest or bishop, limits our horizon and stifles the Spirit.  “Clericalism... extinguishes the prophetic flame the Church is called to bear witness to.  Clericalism forgets that the Church's visibility and sacramentality belong to all God's people.”  Seminaries must prepare future priests to serve God’s people and renounce clericalism.  The priest is a minister of Jesus Christ.  Tomorrow’s priests' ministry will be in a secularized world; we must discern how best to prepare them for those circumstances.  Their mission is in unity with the People of God; they must support and encourage the laity with discernment and synodality.  Implore the gift of dreaming and working for a missionary and prophetic option to transform everything, so our customs, schedules, language, and structures can be channeled towards evangelization.  Strip yourself of everything that separates you from the missionary mandate.  Full text

To priests, religious, and seminarians:  Tell the Lord: “Here I am,” and renew your “yes” to his call.  An apostle's life has inseparable personal and communitarian dimensions.  Where vocation is concerned, there is no such thing as a selfie; somebody else has to take your picture.

Peter disheartened:  Even after the disciples saw the risen Jesus, they needed time to understand.  Some went home to fish, but their nets were empty.  They were dismayed and confused at their Master's death.  His death raised conflicts in his friends' hearts.  Peter denied him; Judas betrayed him; the others fled; only a handful of women and the beloved disciple remained.  At times of persecution, tribulation, and doubt, it's hard to find the path, and we're tempted to debate ideas, avoid the matter at hand, be too concerned with our enemies, and dwell on our unhappiness.  Side by side with fidelity, evil, scandal, and desertion have sprung up.


I'm attentive to how you're responding to the evil of abuse of minors.  I know you've been insulted and pay for wearing clerics.  Ask God for clear sight, strength to seek forgiveness, and the ability to listen to him.  Our societies are changing, and often we don't know how to deal with new situations.  We can forget the promised land ahead, isolate ourselves, defend our way, be apathetic, and shut our eyes to challenges, forgetting the gospel is a journey of conversion, not just for others but us too.  We must face reality, our own and our communities'.  What became of the strong, enthusiastic disciples who felt chosen and left everything to us follow Jesus, so sure of themselves that they went to prison and gave their lives for him, who to defend him wanted to send fire on the earth and fight?  What became of Peter who reproached Jesus?

Peter shown mercy:  Peter had to confront his limitation, frailty, weakness, and sinfulness.  He failed the one he promised to protect.  At times we too have to face our weakness.  Jesus took Peter aside and asked, "Do you love me?"  He didn't reproach or condemn; he just wants to save him from being closed in on his sin, dwelling on his frailty and giving up.  Jesus wants to save him from self-centeredness, isolation, the attitude of becoming a victim or thinking “what does it matter?,” which waters down commitment.  Jesus wants to free him from being upset by opposition, downcast, and negative.  Jesus asks him to listen to his heart and discern.  God’s didn't defend truth at the cost of charity, or charity at the cost of truth, or smooth things away at the cost of both; Jesus didn't want Peter to hurt others by telling the truth, or be kind by telling lies, or be paralyzed by uncertainty.


As Peter responds, Jesus confirms him in his mission and makes him his apostle.  The mercy we received confirms and sustains us as apostles.  Jesus looks on us sinners, draws near, and shows mercy.  We're sent, joyful, conscious of having been forgiven.  See your wounds as signs of the resurrection and its power.  
Jesus' wounds enabled Thomas to profess his faith.  Don't ignore or hide your wounds.  A wounded Church can understand the wounds of today’s world and make them hers, suffering, accompanying, and healing them.  A wounded Church puts Christ the Healer, not herself, at the center.  Knowing we're wounded sets us free from thinking ourselves superior or trusting in ourselves.  In Jesus, our wounds are risen; they break us out of elitism and impel us to build bridges and encounter those yearning for Christ's love.  I'm concerned when I see communities more worried about their image than touching people's suffering.  God’s people need persons who know compassion, who can help the fallen break out of endless remorse.

Peter transfigured:  Once Peter discerns as Jesus asks him, events in his life begin to come together, like the washing of feet.  Peter, who resisted, now understands that greatness comes from humble service.  
Jesus' prophetic gesture points to the prophetic Church that, washed of sin, goes out to serve a wounded humanity.  Peter experienced the wound of sin, and his own limitations and weaknesses, but learned that his wounds could be a path of resurrection.  To know Peter disheartened and transfigured invites us to become a Church that serves the unhappy and disheartened, serving her Lord in the hungry, imprisoned, thirsty, homeless, naked, infirm…, converting hearts.  The poor, naked, sick, prisoners, and homeless have the dignity to sit at our table, at home among us, part of a family.  This is the sign that God's kingdom is in our midst, the sign of a wounded Church shown mercy and made prophetic by his call.

Make it possible for every disheartened person to encounter Jesus.  Love persons, not ideal situations or communities.  
Recognizing our limitations enables us to return to Jesus, knowing he can renew us and our communities.  When we recover the freshness of the Gospel, new avenues arise.  Let Jesus renew your heart.  Renew your “yes,” a realistic one sustained by Jesus' gaze.  “I love the holy Church of each day, Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the bread, the Eucharist, the humble Body of Christ.  With the faces of the poor, the faces of people who sing, struggle, and suffer.”  Do you love the wounded Church that encounters life in Jesus' wounds?  Full text

To authorities:  Goodness, love, justice, and solidarity have to be realized each day.  You can't just enjoy past achievements; many today still endure injustice we us can't ignore.

Work to make this democracy a place of encounter, where everyone feels called to help build a house, family, and nation, generous, welcoming, committed to harmony, looking ahead with hope.  The future depends our ability to listen, which is most important here, where diversity must be preserved and inspire us to greater concern for the common good.  Listen to the unemployed, native peoples, migrants, young people, the elderly, children.  

Give preferential attention to our common home, adopting a distinctive way of looking at things, thinking, policy making, education, and living that resists assaults to the common good.  Never turn your back on the land, and all on it.  Radically choose life, especially in all forms where it's threatened.
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To academics:  New processes and changes call for reflection and making the University a privileged place for the dialogue that shapes encounter.

Peaceful coexistence as a nation is possible to the extent we have educational processes that are transformative, inclusive, and favor such coexistence.  Establish a dynamic of coexistence.  Teach how to think and reason in an integrated way, forma mentis.  Develop an “integrating literacy” to encompass processes of change now taking place.  Integrate intellect/head, affections/heart, and activity/hands to offer personal and social growth.  Teach how to reflect on what we feel and do, to feel what we're thinking and doing, to do what we're thinking and feeling, to serve the person and society.  Such literacy will engage students in an educational process that prepares them to face the challenges ahead.  
Points of reference people use to build themselves are disappearing.  The new meeting place seems to be "the cloud," where everything evaporates and so loses consistency.  Lack of consistency may be a reason people don't transcend private interests to foster public life.  A culture where only the individual appears important has lost its memory and the bonds that and make its life possible.  Life becomes more fragmented, conflictual, and violent.  Generate processes that overcome fragmentation of knowledge.

Progress as a community:  Your vital chaplaincy's evangelizing outreach is a sign of a young, lively Church that “goes forth.”  Your missions broaden your outlook and keep you on the move.  Missionaries learn to be sensitive to God’s pace through their encounters.  Broaden the concept of the educating community, so it's more concerned about those it's intended for.  Acquisition of knowledge must lead to interplay between the classroom and the wisdom of the peoples who make up this land, wisdom full of intuitions and perceptions not to be overlooked.  A synergy will develop between scientific rigor and popular insight; the interplay will prevent a divorce between reason and action, thinking and feeling, knowing and living, profession and service.  Knowledge must be at the service of life and confront it directly.  The educational community must continually be challenged to participation.  Think in the plural, conscious of the interdisciplinary and interdependent nature of learning.

Allow yourself to be enriched and challenged by all who are part of the educational enterprise.  Strive for quality and integration.  Aim for excellence in the service of national coexistence, to become a laboratory for the future of the country:  embodying the people's life and progress, and overcome antagonistic and elitist approaches to learning.  Don't let knowledge gain the upper hand over creation; don't deprive creation of the Mystery that has moved generations to seek the just, good, beautiful, and true.  Awaken wonder in your students, at the world and a universe to be discovered!  Propose a humanism that eschews reductionism.  Seek spaces for dialogue, encounter, and friendly disagreement.  Then the Spirit will guide you to bear fruit for the good of the Chilean people and the glory of God.  Full text

To youth:  Be protagonists of change.  Faith excites feelings of adventure.  You get bored when there are no challenges.  Your ability to mobilize is a sign of your generosity.  You have so many good ideas.  You're seekers and idealists.  We adults may think you think this way because you have to grow up, as if that means accepting injustice, believing nothing can be done or that things have always been done like this.

I called the young people's meeting and the Synod so you can feel, and be, protagonists in the Church, keeping the Church’s face young by letting her be challenged and helping her to be more faithful.  The Church needs you to help us draw closer to Jesus, as we're invited to do.

A young man told me he's unhappy when his phone battery runs down or he loses internet access, because it shuts him off from the world till he finds a charger or Wi-Fi.


Similarly, at times we lose our faith connection and power and become unhappy, depressed. and listless; we falter and view everything in a bad light.  Without a connection to Jesus, we drown our thoughts, dreams, and faith, and so get frustrated and annoyed, feeling what we do makes no difference.  We too feel shut off from the world.  Once they lose their "connection," many think they have nothing to offer; they feel lost.  Never think like that!  You do have something to offer.


The people in today's gospel wanted that “connection”; they wanted to charge the power cells of their heart.  Andrew and the other disciple—imagine it's you—were looking for the password to connect with the “way, truth, and life”; John the Baptist showed them the way.  You too have a saint to guide you:  Alberto Hurtado.  His password was simple:  he asked, “What would Christ do in my place?”  He is the password, the power source that charges us, ignites our faith, and gives our eyes sparkle.  That's being a protagonist of history:  discovering Jesus as the source of life and joy.  Pass on that sparkle to hearts grown cold and gloomy who have lost hope, are deadened, waiting for someone to challenge them.  Do what Jesus did, always and everywhere.  The only way to remember a password is to keep using it.  The time will come when you'll know it by heart, and your heart will beat like Jesus’.

Live as Jesus lived.  To do that, the young people in the gospel asked, “Lord, where do you live?”  Put yourself on the line; be courageous.  Go out knowing you'll always be “connected” to the “power source,” enjoying the company of Jesus, Mary, and a community that though not perfect has much to love and give.  Be young Samaritans; never walk past someone lying on the roadside.  Be young Simons of Cyrene who help Jesus carry his cross and help alleviate suffering.  Be like Zacchaeus, who turns from materialism to solidarity.  Be like Mary Magdalene, passionately seeking love, who finds in Jesus the answers she needs.  Have the heart of Peter, so you can abandon your nets.  Have the love of John, so you can rest all your concerns in him.  Have the openness of Mary, so you can sing for joy and do God’s will.
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Temuco homily:  Jesus prays, “Father, may they may all be one.”  He knows what a great threat division is.  Cling to his prayer, and ask the Father that we too may be one.  Unity must be persistently sought.


False synonyms:  Don't confuse unity with uniformity.  Jesus doesn't pray that all may be equal or identical; unity doesn't neutralize differences.  Unity isn't harmony bought at the price of leaving some people on the fringe.  Unity can't be stifling uniformity imposed by the powerful, or segregation that doesn't value others' goodness.  True unity acknowledges what each people is called to contribute.  Unity is reconciled diversity; it won't let wrongs be perpetrated in its name.  We need the riches that each has to offer.  The art of unity requires artisans who can harmonize differences; it demands attention and understanding.  Unity requires we listen to and esteem one another.  The path of solidarity weaves unity.  We need one another, and our differences; it's our only weapon against the “deforestation” of hope.


Weapons of unity:  Two kinds of violence threaten unity and reconciliation:  Be on your guard against agreements that will never be put into practice; they frustrate hope.  And a culture of mutual esteem can't be based on violence and destruction.  Destruction leads to more violence and division.  Violence makes a just cause into a lie.  Seek the path of active nonviolence.  Seek dialogue.  Pray with Jesus:  may we be one; make us artisans of unity
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Iquique homilyThe angel tells Mary, “Rejoice!”  Rejoice, shepherds, elderly barren Elizabeth, thief.  The gospel is a wellspring of contagious joy we've inherited.  At the Cana wedding feast, Mary acted to make joy continue, approaching her Son to say the wine ran out.  Today she notices our problems, then tells Jesus, “they have no wine.”  As she told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you,” so she tells us today.  She elicited Jesus' first miracle and made his friends feel they were part of it.  As the miracle began once the servants approached the jars, so too can we begin the miracle and be part of it for others.

Remember the greatness of migrants, who search for life in the face of adversity, not giving up.  They're an icon of the Holy Family, who had to cross deserts to keep living.  Work to ensure this land of dreams remains a land of festive hospitality.  Like Mary, be attentive, notice those whose lives "have no wine," no reason to celebrate.  Raise your voices and say, “They have no wine.”  The cry of God's people, the cry of the poor, is a prayer that opens us and teaches us to be attentive.  Be attentive to injustice and exploitation that rob so many of joy.  Be attentive to those who profit from the irregular status of immigrant, to the lack of shelter, land and employment so many experience; then say with faith, "They have no wine."

Like the servants, offer what you have.  Learn migrants' values, wisdom, and faith and make them your own; don't deprive yourself of the good they can contribute.  And let Jesus complete the miracle by turning us into living signs of his joyful presence; make room for him in our midst.  Exclude no one from the proclamation of the Good News.  “Do whatever he tells you.”
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Read
  • 1 Sm 18:6-9; 19:1-7  After David slayed Goliath, women met King Saul singing, “Saul has slain thousands, and David ten thousands.”  Saul became jealous and told his son Jonathan his plans to kill David; Jonathan warned David.  Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul, Saul swore not to kill him, and Jonathan told David and brought him to Saul.
  • Ps 56:2-3, 9-13  "In God I trust; I shall not fear."  Have mercy on me; many fight against me.  You rescued me that I may walk before you.
  • Mk 3:7-12  People came to Jesus from all around.  He'd cured many, so the sick wanted him to touch them.  Unclean spirits fell before him, shouting "Son of God!"
Reflect
  • Creighton:  Anger, jealousy, and envy [jealousy vs. envy] are in the first reading of today with Saul ready to strike David.  Saul's son Jonathan saves David and provide his father with the true view of David to dissipate his anger and mistrust.  How often do I stay silent, thinking a matter doesn't concern me or my voice won't make a difference?  My friends set a good example and remind me to trust God and speak up.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Jealous rage":  Saul went to sleep jealous and woke demon-possessed.  Cain's jealousy led to fratricide, and the jealousy of the religious leaders in Jesus' time ' led to Jesus' crucifixion.  Since then, many religious leaders have crucified Jesus by persecuting his followers, also out of jealousy.  Jealousy is a stronghold of the devil; it's led to killing of people and God, and it's still strong. "Never act out of rivalry or conceit; let all think humbly of others as superior to themselves, each of you looking to others' interests rather than your own."
    The sick await the passage of Jesus/ Tissot
  • Passionist:  Jesus was known as a miracle worker, and everyone wanted to be healed.  But after we're healed, we should believe, follow him, even change our ways.  Do I have a relationship with Jesus, or do I just ask for help?  What do I need to grow my relationship with the Son of God?
  • DailyScripture.net:  "All pressed upon Jesus to touch him":  Jesus offered freedom to all who sought him.  People hungry for God and healing heard about his miracles, came to him in faith, and were healed.
"We touch Jesus by faith.  Far better to touch him by faith than with hands only.  Even his oppressors touched him when they apprehended, bound, and crucified him, but by their touch they lost what they were laying hold of.  O church!  By touching him faithfully your faith has made you whole." (Augustine)
"Jesus performed miracles, rebuking demons, delivering from disease whomever drew near, and displaying divine power, so both Jews and Greeks might know Christ was not some ordinary man but God.  He honored these chosen disciples with the dignity of the apostolate.  He was the Word made man but retained his glory.  'Power went forth from him and healed all.'  He didn't borrow strength from another person, but being God, though he'd become flesh, he healed them all, by demonstrating power over the sick." (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on LukeHomily 25)
Demons trembled in Jesus' presence because they recognized his divine power and authority, but they didn't respond in love.  Do I respond with indifference, hesitation, or skepticism, or with faith, love, and obedience?
Dress legend
  • 'Clef' pin:  Women's song to Saul and David (1st reading)
  • '10' pin:  “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” (1st reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  "Why should you become guilty of shedding innocent blood?" (1st reading)
  • 'Boundless mercy' button:  "Have mercy on me" (psalm)
  • 'Precious feet' pin:  Upcoming OneLife LA; you've rescued my feet from stumbling... (psalm)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  ...that I may walk before God... (psalm)
  • 'Street light' tie bar:  ...in the light of the living (psalm)
  • 'Hands' pin:  David took his life in his hands (1st reading); the sick pressed upon Jesus to touch him (gospel)
  • 'OneLife LA' button:  It's the day after tomorrow!
  • 'Boats' tie:  Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready for him (gospel)