January 22, 2018

Pray for the unborn

January 22, 2018:  Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

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Legend below
For Psalm 89
Pope Francis in Peru

Lima homily:  The Lord directed Jonah to set out towards Nineveh, which was about to be destroyed for its evil.  In the Gospel, Jesus sets out to preach.  God turns his gaze towards cities past and present.  The Lord sets out on a journey, and comes here, to enter into our concrete histories.  Wherever you are, the Lord comes to meet you.  What happened to Jonah can happen to us.  Our cities tempt us to flee, hide, or run.  We can look at "urban remnants" at the roadside, including children, living on the fringe, lacking conditions needed for a dignified existence.  Our cities should be places of encounter, solidarity, and joy, but we end up with "the Jonah syndrome":  we lose heart, want to flee, and become indifferent, deaf to others, cold, hardhearted. When this happens, we wound the soul of our people.  True humanity is measured in relationship to suffering and the sufferer...  A society unable to accept its suffering members, share their suffering, and bear it through ‘com-passion’ is cruel and inhuman (Benedict XVI).

Unlike Jonah, Jesus reacted to the distressing news of John the Baptist’s arrest by entering the city and sowing seeds of hope:  God's Kingdom is at hand; God is among us.  The gospel shows us the contagious joy this brought about, starting with Simon and Andrew, then James and John; it then passed through saints down to us, proclaimed by a cloud of witnesses, as an antidote to indifference.  In the face of Love, you can't remain indifferent.

Jesus invites his disciples to experience a taste of eternity now:  love of God and others, by awakening tenderness, mercy, and compassion and opening our eyes to see reality as he does.  He invites us to generate new bonds, covenants rich in eternal life.  He begins to see, hear, and notice those who have given up in the face of indifference, laid low by the sin of corruption.  He brings to light situations that had killed hope and awakens new hope.  He invites his disciples to set out with him, to walk to the city, to notice what they'd overlooked before; he points out new, pressing needs.  Repent, he tells them.  Find in Jesus a God who gets involved with lives and involves others to make our history a history of salvation.

Jesus continues to walk among us, knocking on our doors and hearts, to rekindle hope and the aspiration that breakdown can be overcome by fraternity, injustice by solidarity, violence by peace.  He wants to anoint us with his Spirit so we may anoint others to heal wounded hopes and renew our way of seeing.  He continues to awaken hope and freedom and to encourage us to enter like leaven into every corner of our life.  God's kingdom is wherever we show tenderness and compassion, create spaces for the blind to see, the paralyzed to walk, lepers to be cleansed, and the deaf to hear, so all may enjoy the resurrection.  How will we kindle hope without prophets?  How will we face the future without unity?  How will he reach those corners without witnesses?  Walk with the Lord in your city.  Become his missionary disciple, so you may become part of the great whisper that wants to keep echoing:  Rejoice, the Lord is with you!  Full text

Prayer before saints' relics God our Father, through Christ you founded your Church on the Apostles, that, guided by the Spirit, she may be a sign and instrument of your love in the world:  we thank you for your gifts to our Church.  Our Church has been made fruitful by the labors of Turibius, enlarged by the prayer, penance and charity of Rose of Lima and Martin de Porres, adorned by the missionary zeal of Francisco Solano and the humble service of Juan Macías, and blessed by the witness of many others.  We thank you for all you've accomplished and ask you to keep us faithful.  Help us to be a Church that goes forth, drawing near to all, especially the less fortunate.  Teach us to be missionary disciples of Christ, Lord of Miracles, living in love, seeking unity, and practicing mercy, so that, protected by Our Lady of Evangelization's intercession, we may live and proclaim gospel joy.

    Wordle: Readings 1-27-14
  • 2 Sm 5:1-7, 10  Israel to David:  “When Saul was king, you led Israel and brought them back.  God told you, ‘You shall be commander of Israel.’”  David made an agreement, and they anointed him king.  David reigned for forty years.  The king and his men set out against the Jebusites.  David took the stronghold of Zion.  He grew more powerful, for the Lord was with him.
  • Ps 89:20-22, 25-26  "My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him."  I have anointed David, that my hand be with him and make him strong.
  • Mk 3:22-30  Scribes:  “Jesus is possessed; he drives out demons by the prince of demons.” Jesus:  “A divided kingdom or house can't stand, nor can Satan if he's divided.  To plunder a strong man's house, you have to tie him up first.  All sins will be forgiven, but not blasphemy against the Spirit....
  • Creighton:  The Israelites' pride rests in the goodness of God who blesses their tribes with strong and faithful children, but many today show hostility rather than joy towards life in the womb.  Today's gospel is about the religious leaders' opposition to Jesus.  Jesus staves off the scribes' and Pharisees' hostility.  We know Jesus ultimately triumphs.
    OneLife LA highlights
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Water and blood":  David became king because he was their flesh and blood.  But today the waters of baptism and blood of Jesus are thicker than the blood of family relationships. That's why Jesus left his relatives to invest his life in his apostles.  "Blest are they who hear and keep God's word."  "Anyone who comes to me without turning his back on his [family and himself] can't be my follower."  May we make our baptismal relationships our highest priority; our unity in Jesus' kingship is more important than kinship.  Living out our baptism strengthens all our relationships.
  • Passionist:  We're always bombarded with voices moving us to choose, think, speak, or act a particular way; we must decide what to listen to and let influence us.  In the 1st reading, God chooses King David, who is then anointed.  In the gospel there are contrary voices:  Jesus and his accusers.  To say that God's works are evil is a sin against the Holy Spirit, unforgivable not because God’s forgiveness is limited but because the accuser has turned a deaf ear to the voice that calls him to salvation.  Which voices reflect the values of Jesus' mind and heart, to which we long to be conformed?  How are responding to them?  May we review our listening, and make Jesus' voice the foundation of our speech and choices.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus frees us from Satan's power":  Evil is not an impersonal force; it has a name and face and seeks to master us.  Jesus came to overthrow Satan's power and kingdom; his exorcisms freed many.  Jesus himself battled Satan in the wilderness and overcame him through obedience to his Father's will.  Some Jewish leaders opposed Jesus, saying he was in league with Satan; Jesus retorts that no divided kingdom can survive for long.  "Kingdoms are established by subjects' fidelity and obedience.  Houses are established when their members agree in will and deed, never thwarting one another.  Satan doesn't cast himself out; devils depart from people unwillingly.  Satan helps his kingdom; he doesn't injure his own armor bearers.  Jesus crushes Satan by divine power” (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Homily 80, paraphrased).  Jesus' authority to cast out demons demonstrates the reign of God, whose power is clearly at work in Jesus' exorcisms.
Satan is stronger than we are and wants to rob us of our faith and willingness to follow God; we can't withstand him except with God's strength.  He only has power over us if we listen to him.  We're either for Jesus and the kingdom, or in opposition.  If we disobey God's word, we open the door to Satan's influence.  To live in freedom from Satan's power, our 'house' (mind and heart) must be occupied and ruled by Jesus Christ.
A sin can only be unforgivable if repentance is impossible. If I repeatedly close my eyes and ears to God and reject his word, I can't recognize God and become spiritually blind. But if I fear such a state, I'm not dead to God and am conscious of the need for grace and mercy.  We share in Christ's victory over sin and Satan, receive adoption as God's children, and can live a new life of love and freedom. The Lord makes his home with us and gives us his Spirit's power and help....
    • Publius, honored as Bishop of Malta, welcomed Paul and his companions
Dress legend
  • 'Boundless mercy' button:  "My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him" (psalm)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  “On a champion I have placed a crown" (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin;  "I've anointed David that my hand may be always with him" (psalm)
  • 'Horn' pin:  "Through my name shall [David's] horn be exalted" (psalm)
  • Tie:  You can't enter a strong man's house unless you 'tie' the man up (gospel)
  • 'Dove' pin:  Spirit came to anoint David (1st reading); whoever blasphemes against the Spirit won't have forgiveness (gospel)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  A kingdom divided (gospel)
  • Green and white shirt:  Colors for today's celebration