December 7, 2013

St. Ambrose

December 7, 2013:   St. Ambrose, bishop and doctor

Wordle: Readings 12-7-13Readings
  • Is 30:19-21, 23-26  He will be gracious and answer you, give you what you need, not hide, say, “This is the way; walk in it,” give rain, wheat, and light, and heal.
  • Ps 147:1-6  "Blessed are all who wait for the Lord."  The Lord is good, gracious, mighty, and wise; he gathers, heals; he sustains the lowly.
  • Mt 9:35–10:1, 5a, 6-8  Jesus went around, teaching, proclaiming the Gospel, curing diseases.  They were troubled, like sheep without a shepherd; he was moved.  “Harvest is abundant but laborers few; ask the master to send laborers.”  He summoned the Twelve, gave them authority, and sent them out:  “Go to the lost sheep, proclaiming, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Cure the sick, raise the dead, expel demons.  Freely you've receive; freely give.”
Pope Francis
  • Proclaiming Christ in the digital age, to Council for the Laity:  The Fathers neither shut out deep philosophies steeped in pagan elements nor compromised Faith; they transformed them in the light of God’s Word and held fast to the good.  On the internet, test everything, guided by the Spirit, and find opportunities to proclaim the Gospel and lead people to God.  Use the internet to meet hurting people and offer hope.  Announcing the Gospel requires human relationships and leads to a personal encounter with the Lord; the internet isn't enough but can help.  It's a living environment for many; the Church's presence there is essential to awaken questions about the meaning of existence and to show the way to the Answer, the Lord Jesus.
  • For World Day of the Sick:  Dear sick people, the suffering Christ is in you.  God gives you courage to face adversity united to Him.  God's Son didn't take away disease and suffering but took them to himself and transformed them.  The test of faith is giving oneself to spread love, especially for those who don't deserve it, for the suffering and the marginalized.  Approach those needing care with tenderness.  Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, is the model, attentive to God's voice and our needs.  John, with her at the foot of the Cross, takes us to the source of faith and charity, to God who is Love.  We can't love God if we don't love our neighbor. 
      Challenges to inculturation:  Christian subcultures, with faith and preserving Christian values, have resources:  values encouraging development of a more just and believing society, and wisdom.  We must inculturate the Gospel, fostering existing richness and using new ways.  All need purification and growth:  The Gospel can heal machismo, alcoholism, domestic violence, low Mass attendance, fatalism, and superstition; popular piety can be the starting point. 
      Some place more emphasis on outward expression, "private revelations," or sentimental devotions than on true Christian piety concerned for people and society.  There's a breakdown in how Catholics pass faith to the young.  Many feel disillusioned and no longer identify with Catholicism.  More parents don't bring their children for baptism or teach them how to pray, and many leave for other faith communities.  Causes include lack of family dialogue, the influence of media, subjectivism, unbridled consumerism, lack of pastoral care among the poor, failure to be welcoming, and ineffective restoring of faith amid pluralism. (2.I, 68-70; pp. 57-59)
          • Creighton:  The most common word to describe the best teachers was "caring."  St. Ambrose cared for his student, St. Augustine.  The God who creates us cares for us.
          •  The core of the gospel message:  God's kingdom—God's power at work in people who trust and honor him—is at hand!  Do I believe in the power of God's kingdom in my life?  Do I give what I've received?
          • Universalis:  St Ambrose, conscientious bishop of Milan, taught and showed charity, wrote hymns, helped convert St. Augustine
          • Marian retreat, day 33, from consecration:  I, repentant sinner, renounce Satan and resolve to follow Christ.  Mary, set me fire with love for Jesus; make me attentive to his thirst for love.  Help me love Jesus and others.  I entrust myself to you; make me fit to bring glory to God, and lead me back to Jesus if I fall.  Help me always to trust in God's love.  With you I unite myself to Jesus offering himself for the world. 

            • Eyeball tie pin:  with your eyes you'll see your Teacher (1st reading)
              • Wheat pin:  the wheat will be abundant (1st reading), harvest is plenty (gospel)
              • Clock tie bar:  blessed all who wait for the Lord (psalm)
              • Suspenders with pierced hearts:  God heals the brokenhearted (psalm)
              • Star tie pin:  Lord numbers the stars (psalm)
              • Owl tie pin:  Lord's wisdom is unlimited (psalm)
              • Sheep tie bar:  crowds, like sheep without shepherd, moved Jesus; "go after lost sheep" (gospel)
              • White shirt:  day's color (for St. Ambrose)
              • Christmas tie with music manuscript and Santa Claus holding music:  St. Nicholas (yesterday's memorial), tonight's Christmas concert at St. Bede; pray I don't bump anyone or get bumped while singing or else this will be heard.
              Dress your life!

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