December 6, 2013

St. Nick

December 6, 2013:   Friday, 1st week, Advent | St. Nicholas

    Wordle: Readings 12-6-13
  • Is 29:17-24  The deaf shall hear; the blind shall see; the lowly and poor will find joy.  The tyrant and the arrogant will be gone, evildoers cut off.  My name shall be held holy; those who err shall understand.
  • Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14  "The Lord is my light and my salvation."  Whom should I fear?  I seek to dwell in God's house.  Wait for Lord with courage.
  • Mt 9:27-31  Two blind men cried to Jesus for pity.  “Do you believe that I can do this?” Their eyes were opened.  They spread the word.
Pope Francis
  • Homily:  Prayer nourishes faith; it's needy and certain God will answer.  Don’t fear disturbing God; Jesus taught us to pray like the annoying friend or importunate widow.  Praying is like annoying God.  Pray with insistence; don't give up.  Jesus said, “Knock,” and knocking makes noise, disturbs, or annoys.  Insist with certainty.  Jesus feels our need, certainty, and truth.
      Cultural challenges:  We evangelize when we confront challenges, be they attacks on religious freedom, persecutions, indifference, or relativism.  The outward gets attention; the real gives way to appearances.  Mass media threatens traditional values, especially marriage and family.  Fundamentalist and God-free “spiritual” movements challenge faith and exploit weakness, purporting to offer immediate solutions.  Some Catholics lack a sense of belonging in part because we don't welcome them or we deal with them bureaucratically; evangelization can't take a back seat to administration.
      Some want to put faith and Church in the private arena.  Ethics is deteriorating, our sense of sin is weakening, relativism is on the rise, teens and young adults are disoriented, and our information-driven society bombards us; we must counter by teaching critical thinking and moral values.  Many do consider the Catholic Church credible and respect our concern for the needy.  We've helped find solutions to promote peace, respect of life, and human rights, but we haven’t made people see our convictions also motivate our raising less popular issues. 
      Families, communities, and society are in crisis.  Weakening of the family is particularly serious because it's where we learn to live with others and pass on the faith.  The value of marriage goes beyond couples’ needs.  Individualism weakens relationships and distorts family bonds.  We must bring out that relationship with God demands communion that heals and reinforces those bonds.  We want to respect others, heal, build bridges, and strengthen relationships.  (2.I, 61-67; pp. 51-56)
          • Creighton:  Today is St. Nicholas Day.  I'm a co-creator, collaborator with God, praying for the ability to listen, be attentive in prayer.
          •  Where are my blind spots?  Mercy = "sorrowful at heart" but also removes suffering; Jesus never refused the lowly.   With transforming faith we see God's power, experience healing. 
          • Universalis:  St. Nicholas, bishop, helper of the poor
          • Marian retreat, day 32:   Bl. John Paul II recap:  mother (maternal mediation), entrust (take home), mercy (Mary leads us to Jesus, Fount of Mercy) 

            • Castle pin:  house of the Lord (psalm)
            • Eyeball tie pin:  the blind shall see (1st reading); their eyes were opened (gospel)
            • Purple shirt and suspenders:  Advent season
            • "Ho ho ho" tie with Santa Claus:  St. Nicholas (memorial)
            Dress your life!

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