February 15, 2018

Feb. 15

February 15, 2018:  Thursday after Ash Wednesday

See 14 connections with today?Legend at bottom
Listen
For the gospel
Lent is a time to remedy the dissonance in our life and receive the joyful, hope-filled proclamation of the Lord’s Passover, paying special attention to whatever could dampen or corrode us.

Each of us knows temptation and difficulty.  People take advantage of pain and uncertainty and sow distrust, apathy, and resignation, demons that paralyze and kill.  Lent is the ideal time to unmask temptation and allow our hearts to beat with Jesus' vibrant heart.  Lent offers us three words to rekindle the heart:  pause; see; return.

Pause, leaving behind unrest that fills us with bitterness.  Pause from fast-paced life that scatters, divides, and destroys time with family, friends, children, grandparents, and God.

Pause, don't show off to be seen; remember the value of intimacy and recollection.

Pause, refrain from haughty looks, pejorative comments; remember tenderness, compassion, and reverence for others, particularly the vulnerable, hurt, and sinners.

Pause, don't try to control, know, and destroy; be grateful for life and the good we receive.

Pause, refrain from noise that confuses our hearing; remember the fruitful and creative power of silence.

Pause, refrain from isolation and self-pity; encounter others and share their burdens and suffering.

Pause, refrain from what's empty, momentary, and fleeting; remember your roots, ties, and the value of continuity and your journey.

Pause, look, and contemplate!

See what extinguishes charity; look at faces alive with God’s tenderness and goodness at work.

See families striving to move forward, committed to making their homes a school of love.

See children's yearning, hope, and opportunities. 

See the elderly reflect God's wisdom at work and reveal the living memory of our people.

See the sick and their caregivers; they remind us of the value of each person.

See those trying to repair their errors, transform their situations, and move ahead.

See the face of Crucified Love, who brings us hope, his hand held out to those who feel crucified or experience failure, disappointment, and heartbreak.

See the face of Christ crucified out of love for everyone; it defeats distrust, apathy, and resignation and invites us to cry out, “God's Kingdom is possible!”

Return to the house of your merciful Father, who awaits you with outstretched arms.

Return without fear; this is the time to come home and let your heart be touched; the path of evil leads only to disappointment and sadness; we know true life is quite distinct.  God will never tire of holding out his hand.

Return and celebrate those who are forgiven.

Return and experience God's healing and reconciling tenderness.  Let the Lord heal the wounds of sin, give you a new heart and new spirit, take out your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh.

Read

  • Dt 30:15-20  Moses:  “I've set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  If you love God and walk in his ways, you'll live and grow, and the Lord will bless you, but if you turn away, you'll perish.  Choose life and live.”
  • Ps 1:1-4, 6  "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord."
  • Lk 9:22-25  The Son of Man must suffer and be rejected, be killed, and be raised.  “To come after me, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you lose your life for my sake, you'll save it.  What profit is there to gain the world but forfeit yourself?”
Reflect
  • Creighton:  In Lent we're invited to reflect on how we're living our baptismal identity and mission; it's a time of spiritual housecleaning, interior coming to life.  Choosing life is the theme of the 1st reading. The laws in Deuteronomy are invitations to live gratefully for and within God's goodness.  Sin is the violation of gratitude by not choosing life, but death to our relationship with God.  Today's gospel also has the theme of losing or gaining life.  In choosing life by living his identity, Jesus would suffer, die, and rise; he offered his followers a similar invitation.  Life is a gift, not gained or won.  At the Eucharist we celebrate our poverty with empty, open hands, and Jesus enters it and invites us to live in generous gratitude.  The relationship which God initiates, God sustains and we extend through grateful living.  We wash away the ashiness of our lives and brightly enter this season and prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed, with a spirit of loving reverence for God and willing service to others.
The wicked are like chaff
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Addiction to self":  Because of our fallen nature, we're addicted to self, thinking ourselves as center of the universe, out of touch with reality.  To free us from our addiction, God became human.  Not addicted to self, he emptied himself, even unto dying for us, breaking the spell of self over us.  When we're baptized, we receive a new nature, free from addiction to self, but when we sin, we return to 'selfaholism,' but when we repent, we're set free.  Lent is a time of denying ourselves and even dying to ourselves (see Jn 12:24). Then we can love ourselves and not be dominated by our addiction.
  • Passionist:  We have something in abundance that God wants:  our weakness.  “My grace is sufficient for you; my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Ashes are a symbol of our weakness.  To follow Jesus, we must die to ourselves, lose our lives, in his grace and power.  That's repentance, metanoia.  Lent is a time to change our heart, mind, and direction to follow Christ.  But we can disguise our weaknesses as strengths, even virtues.  Only when we die self and the ego that disguises weakness as virtue, only when we lose our lives in Christ's, that we'll be strong.  Take up the cross of your weakness and follow Jesus....

  • DailyScripture.net:  "Take up your cross daily and follow Christ":  Jesus' obedience reversed the curse of Adam's disobedience; his death won pardon, freedom, healing, and new life.  We lose what we gain and gain what we lose. When we try run our life our own way, we lose it to futility.  Only God can free us from our ignorance and sinful ways. When we surrender to God, he gives us new life. God wants us to be fit to serve him. When the body is weak, we try to nurse it to health; how much more should we work towards spiritual health.  Will you part with anything that might keep you from following Christ?  Each decision we make shapes us. Some may gain all they aim for, then discover they missed the most important things.  Disciples will give up all they have in exchange for true happiness and life with God.  The cross leads to freedom and victory. What cross is Christ commanding me to take up today?  Where does my will cross his?  The cross involves the sacrifice of laying down my life daily for his sake, possible only because God's love has been poured into us....
Dress legend
  • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  If you serve other gods, you'll perish (1st reading)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  Walk in the Lord's ways (1st reading); don't walk in the way of sinners (psalm)
  • 'Scroll' pin:  Blessed those who delight in the law of the Lord (psalm); if you keep God's commandments...  (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  ...but if you turn away your hearts... (1st reading)
  • OneLife LA button:  I set before you life and death; choose life. (1st reading)
  • 'Tree' pin:  One who delights in the Lord is like a tree... (psalm)
  • Blue shirt:  ...planted near running water... (psalm)
  • 'Fruits' tie:  ...that yields its fruit in due season (psalm)
  • 'Cross' pin:  "Deny yourself, take up your cross..." (gospel)
  • 'WWJD' pin:  "...and follow me" (gospel)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  What's the profit of gaining the world but losing yourself? (gospel)
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season
In St. Claude's memory,
special greetings to and prayers for the community at
St, Margaret Mary Alacoque School and Parish, Lomita