December 6, 2018

Dec. 6

December 6, 2018:  Thursday, 1st week, Advent / St. Nicholas

See ten connections with today?
Legend below
Listen

For the gospel
For 1st reading
For St. Nicholas
Psalm 118 settings (including mine)
Pope Francis
Homily:  Speaking and acting:  Speaking is a way of believing, but superficial.  I can say I'm Christian but not act like one.  It's like just dressing as a Christian.  But Jesus was concrete:  when someone asked him for advice, he suggested concrete things.  The works of mercy are concrete.
Sand and rock:  Sand is not solid; it's a consequence of speaking but not acting, of a life without foundations.  But the rock is the Lord, our strength.  Those who trust in the Lord may not be seen or have success, but they're steady; they hope in the Lord, the rock, not in speaking, vanity, pride, or the ephemeral.  Concrete Christian life makes us go forward and build on the rock, God, Jesus, the truth, not on appearances or recommendations…
High and low contrasts the path of the proud and the vain with the footsteps of the humble.  The Lord humbles those in high places, and brings down the lofty city, trampled by the needy and the poor.  The Isaiah reading has the air of Mary's Magnificat:  The Lord raises the humble, those in the concreteness of every day, and beats down the proud, those who build their lives on what doesn't last.

Ask, “Am I a Christian of words, or deeds?” “Am I building my life on the Rock, or on the sand of worldliness?” “Am I humble, trying to serve the Lord along the lowly path, without pride?”
December prayer intentionJesus adapted himself to people to bring God's love to them.  Pray that people involved in the service and transmission of faith listen much and find language suited to the conditions of the time.
Read
  • Is 26:1-6  In Judah they'll sing: “God sets up walls and ramparts to protect us. Let in a just nation, one that trusts in you.” Trust in the Lord, an eternal Rock! He humbles those in high places; the poor and needy trample the lofty city.
  • Ps 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a  "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." The Lord is good; his mercy endures forever. Take refuge in the Lord. I'll enter the gates of justice and thank the Lord who answered and saved me. The Lord has given us light.
  • Mt 7:21, 24-27  “Only those who do my Father's will will enter the Kingdom.  Everyone who acts on these words will be like one who built his house on rock, but those who don't will be like fools who built on sand.”
Reflect
  • Msgr. Jim Halley homily video:  Found your life on, entrust yourself to Jesus, the Rock:  Listen to him; do his will; withstand life's storms.
  • Creighton:  A 'foundation' is something that supports other things, usually structures.  Care must be taken to maintain a foundation; external factors or internal faults can weaken it.  A foundation on rock will still fail if what binds it to the structure weakens.  But foundations can be restored and their lives extended.  An organization's foundations can also deteriorate, and it's the stakeholders' responsibility to strengthen it so the organization can continue to thrive.  Leaders must discharge their duties and be held accountable.  People have foundations too:  family, heritage, culture, faith traditions, personal histories.  Just as building engineers must inspect foundations, so too must we examine our foundations to discern and address faults to prevent future problems.  We must listen and act on Jesus' words to understand his call and deepen our commitment, strengthen our foundation, and build God's kingdom.  By examining our foundations, we can find how we need to change to be more focused on God’s call.  Lord, help us examine our foundations and give us strength to repair the flaws....
    House built on rock
    vs. house built on sand
    ...
  • One Bread, One BodyMary prophesied:  God "deposed the mighty, raised the lowly, gave the hungry good things, sent the rich away empty."  This year her prophecy will again be fulfilled.  God "chose... those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who were something."  "He humbles those in high places and levels the lofty city."  Humble yourself and the Lord will exalt you. Choose to be poor, and Christ's kingdom will belong to you, and you'll receive more than you gave up; or else you'll be humbled, leveled, and sent away empty.  Will you collapse, or are you built on the rock of obedience to God, especially his call to humility and poverty?
  • Passionist:  Jesus wants us to know how challenging and rewarding it is to follow him, but we're saturated with advertising, propaganda, and lies about what gives security and happiness.  Later in the gospel Matthew implies that the scribes attempt closeness to God through mere words and legal observance.  Nor are status seeking, consumerism, exploitation God’s Way....  May Jesus’ words penetrate and transform us so we'll be different and experience peace and joy.

  • DailyScripture.net:  "Who shall enter the kingdom of heaven?"  A strong city and a secure house were built on rock to withstand the nature and attack.  God is the rock of refuge and deliverance in whom there's no wrong.  Jesus invites us to stake our lives on the coming of his kingdom.  Jesus likely had in mind, "When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm."  The foundation we build determines how we survive upcoming storms.  Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions.  The only way to prove your sincerity is by your practice.  Our choices reveal our character.  May I build on the Rock, listen to him, and be honest and reliable before God, others, and myself.
Dress legend
  • 'Clef' pin:  They'll sing this song... (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  You keep the nation in peace, for its trust in you (1st reading)
  • 'Feet' pin:  The poor and needy trample the lofty city underfoot (1st reading)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  The Lord's mercy endures forever (psalm)
  • 'Street lamp' tie bar:  The Lord God has given us light (psalm)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  The Lord is an eternal Rock (1st reading); wise man built his house on rock (gospel)
  • 'Santa Claus' suspenders, "Ho ho ho" tie:  St. Nicholas memorial
  • Dust on tie and suspenders not worn for a year (a stretch :-):  The Lord levels the lofty city with the dust (1st reading)
  • Purple shirt:  Advent season