February 5, 2018

Agatha

February 5, 2018:  St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Listen

Today's 1st reading recounts how the tribes of Israel came to King Solomon to bring up the Ark of the Covenant to the temple.  It was an uphill journey, with the two stone tablets God had given Moses on Mt. Horeb.  Our Christian journey is also an upward climb, not always easy.  The Israelites are carrying the Ark to its resting place, and they bear the memory of election.  The Ark was stripped down to the tablets, devoid of ornamentation.
As soon as the priests carrying it left the sanctuary, the glory of the Lord filled the temple:  from the sacrifices they made on the uphill journey, to the silence of humiliation and adoration.  Teach the prayer of adoration.  We teach people how to pray, sing, and praise God, but to adore?  Adoration is the prayer that annihilates us without annihilating us.  Teach people to adore in silence.  It's an uphill journey with the memory of election.  We only arrive there with the memory of having been chosen, of bearing the promise that pushes us ahead with the covenant in our hand and our heart.  In God's presence words disappear; we don't know what to say.  Use the two words Solomon did:  listen and pardon.  Remember your journey, graces received, election, the promise, the covenant; and adore.
Read
  • 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13  The leaders came to King Solomon to bring up the ark. The priests carried it and the meeting tent with vessels, sacrificed sheep and oxen, and brought the ark to its place, with nothing in it but the stone tablets Moses had put there.  When they left, the cloud filled the temple.  Solomon said, “The Lord intends to dwell in the cloud; I've built you a house where you may abide forever.”
  • Ps 132:6-7, 8-10  "Lord, go up to the place of your rest!"  Let us enter into his dwelling; let us worship at his footstool.
  • Mk 6:53-56  Jesus and his disciples came to land.  People immediately recognized him and brought in the sick.  They touched his cloak, and all who did were healed.
Reflect
  • Creighton:  "Where does God dwell?" is the question hovering over today’s readings.  In the 1st reading, the Ark of the Lord will have a “princely house,” the Temple, Solomon’s legacy to Israel.  No wonder the community came up with Solomon and offered sacrifice.  But the Babylonians destroyed Solomon’s temple 400 years later, and the Romans its successor 600 years afterwards.  But God is bigger than our houses and sacrifices; he meets us by the lake where the sick scurry about to receive healing.  God meets us in persecution, as we learn from St. Agatha.  God meets us in Jesus Christ, who entered into and transformed our humanity.  God dwells wherever we seek him in self-giving love.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "You are my hiding place":  God dwelt in the Temple but hid in the cloud that filled it.  In today's gospel, God incarnate left the Temple for Gentile territory, then hid himself and didn't want to be recognized.  The people had to search for him.  God reveals himself by hiding; he wants to be known by love.  He wants to draw us out of ourselves, the world, the flesh, and the devil, seek him, and find him. Jesus hides on the cross, humbling Himself.  He hides in his Word, the tabernacle, the host, and the chalice.  Jesus is thirsty; give him a drink. He's hiding for, not from, you.  Let him hide in your heart.
  • Passionist:  The Church pairs today's gospel of Jesus' healings with Solomon's dedication of the temple and the Spirit filling it.  God honored Solomon's work and filled the Temple, and all celebrated.  We make items, events, places, special, significant, even holy.  The more we bring God into our lives, the more things we consider special, even sacred.  But instead of our trying to bring God into our realm, the incarnation is about God coming to us and saying human life is good and matters.  Jesus' encounter with each person is sacred.  Jesus doesn't need attention or act like raising someone from the dead is more exhausting than curing a headache.  He teaches and heals to reveal the Father and his love....

  • DailyScripture.net:  "Many were made well":  When Jesus disembarked, people immediately recognized him.  Surely they recognized his healing power.  Jesus is ready to heal us too....
Dress legend
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  The priests and Levites carried the ark of the Lord and the meeting tent (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  They sacrificed sheep and oxen (1st reading)
  • 'Stone tablets' tie:  There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets Moses had put there (1st reading)
  • 'Castle' button:  "I've built you a house" re ark of the covenant (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Solomon (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  Sacrifice of sheep (1st reading)
  • 'Stone' tie pin:  stone tablets in the ark of the covenant (1st reading)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  "Let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy" (psalm)
  • 'Boat' tie bar:  As they left the boat, people recognized Jesus (gospel)
  • Red and white shirt:  Agatha's martyrdom and virginity
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  Agatha's martyrdom
Blessings to and prayers for the community at
St. Agatha parish, Los Angeles!