January 31, 2014

St John Bosco

January 31, 2014:  St. John Bosco, priest

Wordle: Readings 1-31-14
  • 2 Sm 11:1-4a, 5-10a, 13-17  David saw a beautiful woman bathing, learned she was Uriah's wife, and had relations with her.  He sent Uriah home; when he didn't go, he ordered him placed up front to be killed in battle.
  • Ps 51:3-7, 10-11  "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned."  I acknowledge my offense against you.  Let me rejoice.
  • Mk 4:26-34  The Kingdom is like a man scattering seed that yields fruit he harvests.  The Kingdom is like a mustard seed that grows large.  He spoke parables to all and explained them to his disciples.
Pope Francis
  • Homily:  David fell for Uriah's wife, took her, and had her husband killed, trying to solve a problem instead of asking forgiveness.  When the Kingdom of God diminishes, you lose the sense of sin and the sense of the Kingdom of God.  Don't fall for Christian mediocrity; pray daily.
Time is greater than space:  Work slowly but surely, not obsessed with immediate results.  Endure difficulties and changes.  Accept the tension between fullness and limitation.  Give priority to time, to initiating processes, to actions that engage others who can develop them to bear fruit.  Keep clear convictions and tenacity.  Foster development of full human existence.

Evangelization calls for attention to the big picture, openness to processes, and concern for the long run.  Jesus warned that there were things they wouldn’t understand till the Spirit came. The enemy can sow harm but is defeated by goodness.  (4.III, 222-25, pp. 170-72)
  • To the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:  Don't consider doctrine in a merely ideological or theoretical sense; it's to serve God’s people and ensure a solid foundation to our faith.  Don't try to control or domesticate the gifts of salvation according to the views of the world.  Safeguard the faith in collaboration with Pastors and Episcopal Conferences; safeguard the right of all to receive it in its purity and entirety.  Maintain constructive, respectful and patient dialogue and show charity. 
    • Creighton:  Who in my life needs my trust, charity, and gentleness?
    • RC.net:  God's kingdom starts in hearts receptive to God's word and transforms them. We can't change till God gives us the Holy Spirit.  Am I ready to be changed?
    • Universalis:  St. John Bosco, priest dedicated to youth, founder of the Salesians.  SS. Alban Roe and Thomas Green, priests and martyrs
    Music for the psalm

    • "Hearts" tie:  "Create in me a clean heart" (psalm)
    • "Eyeball" tie pin:  David spying Bathsheba (1st reading), "I have done evil in your eyes" (psalm)
    • "Skeleton" tie pin:  "the bones you have crushed will rejoice" (psalm)
    • White shirt:  "wash me, and I'll be whiter than snow" (skipped verse of psalm)
    • "Grapes" pin:  "of its own accord the land yields fruit" (gospel)
    Special blessings to and prayers for all connected with Don Bosco Technical Institute, Bishop Mora Salesian College Preparatory, and the Salesians of Don Bosco!

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    January 30, 2014

    January 30

    January 30, 2014:  Thursday, 3rd Week, Ordinary Time


    • 2 Sm 7:18-19, 24-29  King David prayed:  “Who are we that you have brought me to this point?  You've established your people and have become their God.  Confirm the prophecy you made concerning your servant and his house, and do as you have promised.  Bless the house of your servant, and it shall be blessed forever.”
      Wordle: Readings 1-30-14
    • Ps 132:1-5, 11-14  "The Lord God will give him the throne of David, his father." Remember David and his anxious care; God swore to set his offspring on the throne.
    • Mk 4:21-25  Is a lamp to be placed under a basket?  All that is hidden will come to light.  The measure you measure will be measured out to you. Those who have will be given more; the others will lose the little they have.
    Pope Francis
    • Homily:  Think and feel with the Church, which we joined at Baptism; we find holiness through the Church that brought us the Gospel.  The three pillars of belonging to the Church are humility (so I can understand I'm a small part of the people of God and can feel with the Church, not just what I want), fidelity/obedience (to the creed, the Church and her teaching, in safeguarding/transmitting the gift of the Gospel message, and service including prayer with and for the whole Church (as David prayed for his house). [This reminds me of the Rules for thinking with the Church of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola]
    The common good and peace in society:  Peace isn’t just the absence of violence or structures that appease the poor; don’t overlook redistribution of wealth, concern for the poor, and human rights.  Human dignity and the common good rank higher than the comfort of the privileged.  Peace isn’t true unless it’s from efforts to establish the just world God wills. 
    People enhance their lives by acting as committed citizens; responsible citizenship is a virtue and moral obligation.  Becoming a people calls for integration and for a peaceful culture of encounter.  Building peace, justice, and fraternity depends on four principles of Church social teaching; applying them can lead to true world peace:  time is greater than space, unity prevails over conflict, realities are more important than ideas, and the whole is greater than the part. (4.III, 217-21, pp. 168-70)
      • Creighton:  David recognized God's hand and grace.  Seeing that success is from our choices and from circumstances can make us humble, committed to help further, and more aware of Go'd's guidance.  Our engagement with God and others is like the lamp of today's gospel.
      • RC.net:  Lamps help people avoid stumbling.  "Light" was also understood as God's beauty, truth, and goodness.  God's grace fills us with light, joy, and peace.  How do I live in and share the light of God's truth and love? 

      • "Kneeling person" tie bar:  King David's prayer (1st reading)
      • "Suns" [with sun-glasses] tie:  All that is hidden will come to light (gospel)
      • Ruler tie bar:  Your measure will be measured to you... (gospel)

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      January 29, 2014

      January 29

      January 29, 2014:  Wednesday, 3rd Week, Ordinary Time

      Wordle: Readings 1-29-14
      • 2 Sm 7:4-17  God told David via Nathan:  Should you build me a house?  Did I ever ask my judges to build me a house?  I chose you; I've been with you.  I'll establish a house for you.  Your heir shall build me a house, and I'll make his Kingdom firm; I'll be a father to him and won't withdraw my favor.  Your house shall endure.
      • Ps 89:4-5, 27-30  "For ever I will maintain my love for my servant."  I've made a covenant with David my chosen to make your dynasty endure.  I'll maintain my love for and covenant with him.
      • Mk 4:1-20  Jesus taught a parable:  "A sower sowed:  some seed fell on the path; birds ate it.  Other seed fell on rocky ground and withered.   Some fell among thorns that choked it.  And some fell on rich soil and produced fruit....  The sower sows the word. To the ones on the path, Satan comes and takes it away.  The ones on rocky ground receive it but have no roots and so fall away.  The ones among thorns hear it but, choked by anxiety and cravings, bear no fruit.  Those on rich soil accept it; they bear fruit.”
      Pope Francis
      • Audience:  The sacrament of Confirmation, with Baptism and the Eucharist, form Christian initiation, in which we become living members of the Church.  Confirmation unites us more firmly to Christ, completes our bond with the Church, and grants us strength of the Spirit to confess and spread the faith.  The Spirit's work is reflected in the spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.  When we welcome the Spirit, Christ takes form in our lives, praying, forgiving, giving hope and consolation, serving, and spreading communion and peace through us.
      Concern for the vulnerable:  Care for the vulnerable, with whom Jesus identified. Recognize Christ in the homeless, the addicted, refugees, indigenous peoples, the elderly, migrants, and others.
      Human trafficking involves everyone, and many are complicit.  Victims are mistreated, enslaved, killed in warehouses or prostitution rings, or exploited. Unborn children are denied dignity; their lives are taken, laws keep people from standing in the way, and our defense of the unborn is ridiculed—but we must defend them as any other person, sacred and inviolable.  When people are seen as means, not ends, human rights give in to the powers that be.  Every violation is an offense against the Creator.  We need to do more to accompany women in situations where abortion appears as a quick solution.
      Others are at the mercy of economic interests or exploitation.  We're both beneficiaries and stewards of other creatures.  Destroying the earth affects our lives and those of future generations.  Protect the world and all its peoples.  (4.II, 209-216, pp. 163-68)
        • Creighton:  My parents sowed seed on good soil by example, daily prayer, sending us to Catholic school; it helps me now avoid the weeds of complacency, irritability, self-centeredness, etc..  God’s hand can lead me through the weeds.
        • RC.net:  Different ways of hearing God's word produce different fruits:  prejudiced/closed-minded, shallow, too busy to recognize what's most important, or open, humble, and willing to listen and learn.  May we hunger for God's word and understand and live in accord with God's will.
        • Psalm 89/ Barrie (psalms) [requires free Scorch plug-in to hear/see]

        • "Castle" pin:  House of David (1st reading)
        • "Birds" tie:  birds ate seed that fell on the path (gospel)
        • "Rock" tie pin:  seeds that fell on rocky ground withered (gospel)
        • "Roses" pin:  thorns choked some seeds (gospel)
        • "Apple" pin:  seeds on good soil bore fruit (gospel)
        • Green in tie, suspenders, and socks:  Ordinary Time (season)
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        January 28, 2014

        2nd quarterversary

        January 25, 2014:  Second quarterversary

        Posted 1/28.  For today's readings, see this morning's post.

        Boldface links are the most visited; italic ones are my favorites.

        Wordle: Readings 2nd quarterversary
        Word cloud of 6th month's readings

        6th month highlights; not all posts are listed
        • Dec. 26, 2013  Stephen
        • Dec. 28  Holy Innocents, City of God
        • Jan. 1, 2014  Mary, Peace, World Day of Peace message starts, Roamin' report reappears, Rutter
        • Jan. 3  Holy Name of Jesus
        • Jan. 5  Epiphany:  16 songs, RC report
        • Jan. 7  Psalty's Beloved
        • Jan. 8  Epiphany carol, links to more
        • Jan. 9  more Epiphany carols
        • Jan. 10  Love has come *2 +1
        • Jan. 11  6 more Epiphany carols
        • Jan. 12  Baptism, blessing music
        • Jan. 13  Work of Christmas begins; Our blessing cup music
        • Jan. 14  Hannah's song, Mary's Magnificat, belated RC report
        • Jan. 15  Here I am!
        • Jan. 17  Holy Tony?
        • Jan. 19  Back to "Ordinary" Sundays
        • Jan. 20  To the upgright...
        • Jan. 22  Protect the unborn; Christian unity
        • Jan. 23  World Communications Day message released; Whom shall I fear?
        • Jan. 24  Francis de Sales; Be exalted, O God
        • Jan. 25, 2014  Paul's conversion, message, eyes, feet, sounds...
        Top traffic:  Dec. 10

        (See 1st quarterversary for highlights of months 1-3,
        4th monthiversary for month 4,
        and 5th monthiversary for month 5.)

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        St. Thomas Aquinas

        January 28, 2014:  St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor

        Wordle: Readings 1-28-14
        • 2 Sm 6:12b-15, 17-19  David danced before God with abandon as he and the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord and placed it in the tent.  He made offerings before God, blessed the people in God's name, and distributed to each man and woman bread, meat, and a raisin cake.
        • Ps 24:7-10  "Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!"  Let the king of glory come in:  the Lord of hosts, strong and mighty!
        • Mk 3:31-35  Jesus' mother and brothers arrived and called him.  He told the crowd, “Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother.”
        Pope Francis
        • Homily:  Israel celebrated because the Ark was returning.  David’s prayer of praise led him to move beyond composure.  After Sarah bore Isaac, she too danced with joy. Praise is a Christian prayer for us all.  The Gloria and Holy, Holy, Holy praise God for his greatness.  If you can shout when your team scores, you can sing praises to God. It's free:  we don't ask for anything or give thanks but just praise!  Pray wholeheartedly; it's an act of justice.  David was so happy, his body prayed with dance.
        Is my whole heart in my praise?  What does the dancing of David and Sarah tell me?  When David enters the city, a party begins; praise leads to the joy of the family feast!  Joy and praise make us fruitful, but those closed in cold, stingy prayer end up sterile in their formality.  Imagine David's dance; how beautiful it is to praise!  Repeat today's psalm:  "Lift up your gates, and be lifted up, and the King of Glory shall enter.  Who is this King of Glory?  The Lord!"
        Effective Christian witness is not about blasting religious messages but rather being available to others, engaging their questions and doubts as they search for truth and meaning; recall the disciples on the way to Emmaus.  Dialogue with people, understand them, and bring them the Gospel, Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us.  Be people of depth, attentive to what's happening around us and spiritually alert.  To dialogue means to believe that the “other” has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective.  Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.

        May the Good Samaritan be our inspiration.  May our communication relieve pain and gladden hearts.  May we be loving neighbors to the wounded and abandoned.  Let us boldly become citizens of the digital world, concerned for and present in the world of communication, to dialogue with people and help them encounter Christ.  We need to be at the side of others, accompanying them.  The communications and technology revolution is a thrilling challenge; may we respond with energy and imagination as we share the beauty of God. 
          Economy and the distribution of income:  Don’t delay resolving the causes of poverty; we need to be cured of a sickness that’s weakening us and can lead to new crises. Welfare projects are only temporary responses; until absolute autonomy of markets is rejected and structures causing inequality are attacked, no solution will be found. Inequality is the root of social ills.  Human dignity and the common good should shape all economic policies, not be an add-on.  Business is a noble vocation when those engaged in it are challenged by greater meaning in life and so serve the common good by making the world’s goods more accessible to all. 
          Don’t trust unseen forces and the market; justice takes decisions, programs, and processes geared to better distribution of income, employment, and promotion of the poor beyond a welfare mentality.  May God give us politicians disturbed by the state of society and capable of dialogue to heal the roots of our evils!  Politics is a lofty vocation and high form of charity when it seeks the common good. .Charity must go beyond friends and family to social, economic, and political relationships.  Government and financial leaders, broaden your horizons:  ensure everyone has dignified work, education and healthcare; ask God to inspire you.

          Share responsibility; local economic decisions have worldwide repercussions. To achieve a healthy economy, we must ensure the economic well-being of all countries.  Any Church community without concern and cooperation in helping the poor to live with dignity and reaching out to everyone will drift into spiritual worldliness.  I want to help the individualistic, indifferent, and self-centered be freed from those chains and attain a way of living and thinking more humane, noble, and fruitful.  (4.II, 202-208, pp. 159-63)
          St. Thomas Aquinas
            • Universalis:  St. Thomas Aquinas, Dominican priest, studied under St. Albert the Great   May the Spirit inspire us to love God with mind and heart and to seek the truth.
            • Creighton:  Pope Francis referred to St. Thomas Aquinas as brilliant in his America interview and quoted him on mercy as the greatest virtue:  Our moral teaching has a hierarchy of virtues and related acts.  Works of love of neighbor are the most perfect manifestation of grace:  'The foundation of the New Law is in the grace of the Spirit, who is manifested in faith that works through love.'  Thomas explains that mercy is the greatest virtue, 'since the others revolve around it, and it makes up for their deficiencies. (Evangelii Gaudium 37)
            St. Thomas original works online
            St. Thomas Aquinas quotes (thanks, Fr. Chris)
            • Pain and sorrow are assuaged by sleep and baths. (ST I-II, 38a5)
            • A captain doesn't intend preservation of his ship as his last end, since a ship's end is navigation. [so go out] (ST I-II, 2a5)
            Music, mostly from St. Thomas
              • RC.net:  Jesus told his disciples they would have new friends and family relationships in his kingdom. Whoever does the will of God is a friend of God and a member of his family.  Kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood. Adoption as God's children transforms our relationships and requires loyalty to God first.

              • "Children [imagine them line-] dancing" tie:  David's dance (1st reading)
              • "People" tie pin:  Israel (1st reading), crowds (gospel)
              • "Medical" pin:  St. Thomas Aquinas, 'doctor' of the Church

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              January 27, 2014

              January 27

              January 27, 2014:  Monday, 3rd Week, Ordinary Time

              • 2 Sm 5:1-7, 10  Israel to David:  “When Saul was king, you led Israel and brought them back.  God told you, ‘You shall be commander of Israel.’”  David made an agreement, and they anointed him king.  David reigned for forty years.  The king and his men set out against the Jebusites.  David took the stronghold of Zion.  He grew more powerful, for the Lord was with him.
                Wordle: Readings 1-27-14
              • Ps 89:20-22, 25-26  "My faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him."  I have anointed David, that my hand be with him and make him strong.
              • Mk 3:22-30  Scribes:  “Jesus drives out demons by their prince.” Jesus: A kingdom divided cannot stand.  No one can plunder property unless he first ties up the strong man.  All sins will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes the Spirit is guilty of an everlasting sin.
              Pope Francis
              • Homily:  Without anointing, David would have been just a CEO, but God chose and anointed him, and the Spirit came to him; so too now for  bishops and priests.  Bishops, though sinners, are anointed and have the Spirit.  We want to grow in faithfulness to our anointing.  Priests [and presumably deacons], sharing in the bishops' mission of service, are anointed too.  Anointing brings us closer to God, giving us strength to carry people forward and help them serve.  It gives the joy of feeling chosen and watched lovingly by God.  Papers don't carry news of priests' good work—one falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest—but they've strengthened people, taught the faith, and given the sacraments; thank them.
              It's not enough just to be connected on the digital highway; connections need to grow into encounters.  Don't live closed in on yourself, but love and be loved.  We need tenderness.  Strategies don't ensure beauty, goodness, and truth in communication; media producers need to be concerned with humanity and show tenderness.  The digital world can be a network of people, rich in humanity.  Only those who go out of themselves in their communication can help others; personal engagement is the basis of a communicator's trustworthiness.

              Prefer a bruised Church on the streets to a self-absorbed one.  The “streets” are where people live and can be reached.  The digital highway is teeming with people who are  hurting, looking for salvation and hope.  Over the internet, the Christian message can reach the ends of the earth.  Keeping church doors open also means keeping them open in the digital world so people can enter and the Gospel can reach them.  Can we communicate the image of a Church that's the home of all?  Communication, including over social networks, can express our missionary vocation; networks are one way to discover the beauty of encountering Christ.  In the area of communications, we need to bring warmth and stir hearts.
                Special place of the poor:  God who himself became poor and worked with his own hands, has a special place for the poor. They’re present throughout salvation history, including in Mary, families around the manger, crowds, the beatitudes....  Since we’re called to have the mind of Christ, we made an option for the poor, primacy of charity.  I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. We must let them evangelize us: they know the suffering Christ. Acknowledge the saving power at work in them, put them at the center of the Church’s journey, find Christ in them, lend our voice to their causes, be their friends, listen to them, speak for them, and embrace their wisdom. 
                Our commitment isn’t just to promote and assist them but also to be united with them, be attentive, appreciate their goodness, experience, culture, and faith life, be concerned, and seek their good. Love permits us to serve because the other is beautiful beyond appearances.  The poor, when loved, are esteemed as of great value; we need to be close to them to help liberate them; they must feel at home in every Christian community.  Without the option for the poor, the proclamation of the Gospel, the prime form of charity, risks being misunderstood.

                We Catholics have discriminated against the poor regarding spiritual care.  The poor are especially open to the faith; offer them God’s friendship, blessing, word, sacraments, and spiritual growth.  Don’t say you can’t be close to the poor because other areas need more attention; no one is exempt from concern for the poor and for justice:  Find creative ways of accepting this call.  (4.II, 197-201, pp. 155-59)
                  • Creighton:  If I don't give everything to God all the time, I'm a "house divided."
                  • RC.net:  Jesus asserted his authority to cast out demons as evidence of God's reign.  Jesus speaks of blasphemy against the Spirit as the unforgivable sin.  A sin can only be unforgivable if repentance is impossible.  If people repeatedly close themselves to God, they no longer recognize God nor seek forgiveness.  (To fear such a state means one is not dead to God.)
                  • Universalis:  St. Angela Merici, religious, educator, foundress.  Bl. Edward Oldcorne, Jesuit priest, martyr, reconciled many to the Church.

                  • "Keyboard with dove" tie pin:  Spirit came to anointed David (1st reading)
                  • Abacus tie pin:  A kingdom divided (gospel) [here's how to divide on an abacus]
                  • "Fish" tie:  Jesus called fishermen (yesterday's gospel)

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                  January 26, 2014

                  3rd Sunday Ordinary

                  January 26, 2014:  3rd Sunday, Ordinary Time

                  Wordle: Readings 1-26-14
                  • Is 8:23-9:3 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. You smashed the yoke that burdened them and brought them joy.
                  • Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14 "The Lord is my light and my salvation."  Whom should I fear?  I ask to dwell in God's house forever.  Wait for the Lord. 
                  • 1 Cor 1:10-13, 17 Be united in mind and purpose; no divisions!  Is Christ divided?
                  • Mt 4:12-23 Jesus went to Capernaum, fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy, "The people in darkness have seen a great light."  He preached:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  He told fishermen Simon and Andrew, “Come; I'll make you fishers of men,” and they followed him.  He called James and John in a boat; they followed him.  He proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom and cured people.
                  Pope Francis
                  • Angelus:  Galilee's diverse cultures meant encounter was needed, as now.  We can be tempted to build walls, but the Good News is for all.  As Jesus chose simple fishermen, the Lord continues to call us to work for God’s reign.  Hear him say ‘follow me’ and go; he never disappoints.
                  • Vespers at end of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:  Perfect union comes from looking to Christ who wants to draw us to himself, to self-emptying.  He alone can be the principle, cause, and driving force.  Divisions wound Christ’s body, impair witness, contradict God's will, and scandalize.  Pray we put on Christ, overcome conflicts, and be united in love.  Christ cannot be divided!
                  How can communication serve a culture of encounter?  A scribe–a communicator–asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”  Communication is “neighborliness”:  How can we be neighborly in use of media and in the digital environment?   The Good Samaritan parable, also about communication, gives an answer:  those who communicate become neighbors.  The Samaritan draws near to the man he finds and takes responsibility for him; it's not just about seeing, but about making myself like the other.  Communication is about realizing we're all human beings, children of God. 
                  Communication aimed at consumption or manipulation is violence like that suffered by the man beaten and left abandoned.  As rules of ritual purity conditioned the Levite and priest to keep him at a distance, today certain media can condition us to fail to see our real neighbor. 
                    Fidelity to the Gospel:  We hearing the poor when moved by others' suffering: “Blessed are the merciful; they shall obtain mercy.”  Mercy to others will vindicate us.  “Almsgiving will purge sin.” “Almsgiving atones for sin as water extinguishes fire.”  “Love covers a multitude of sins”  “If we sin, we should rejoice at a chance to do a work of mercy.”  Don't relativize or weaken this clear message  but accept it with zeal.  The Bible exhorts us to service, justice, love, and mercy to the poor; Jesus set the example in word and deed. 
                    The apostles urged Paul to remember the poor.  A new self-centered paganism is growing; never lose the option for the least, whom society discards.  If we get carried away by possibilities for consumption and distraction, it becomes harder to offer ourselves and to establish solidarity, and we become alienated. (4.II, 193-196, pp. 152-55)
                      • Creighton:  In Jesus God brought light into a dark world.  God has made us fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light, delivering us from darkness and transferring us to his Son's kingdom.  Jesus tells his followers:  You are the light of the world.... Shine, so others may see your good deeds and glorify your Father.
                      • RC.net:   Jesus calls disciples to believe in the good news:  peace with God, hope of resurrection, truth of God's word, promise, immortality, salvation, and freedom—God's power and wisdom.  Repent and believe:  change your heart, mind, and life, and accept God's word of love as true.  God chose smelly fishermen, ordinary folks like us.  Do I let God work in and through me?  Do I show Gospel joy to others?
                      • The Lord is my Light, from I will bless the Lord at all times/ Haas (newer; related but different)

                      • My "fish" tie, guest dresser's fish blouse (thanks, Mom :-):  Jesus called fishermen (gospel)
                      • "Fishing pole" tie pin (also a key :-):  Pre-apostles were fishing (gospel); Christ is the 'key' to unity (week)
                      • Green shirt and suspenders (not shown):  Ordinary Time (season)

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                      January 25, 2014

                      St. Paul's conversion

                      January 25, 2014:  Conversion of St. Paul, apostle


                      • Acts 22:3-16  Paul:  I, a Jew, persecuted this Way to death.  On my journey, a light shone around me, and I fell and heard, ‘Why are you persecuting me?  I am Jesus.  Go to Damascus and do as you're told.’  Ananias came and said, ‘Regain your sight,’ and I did.  ‘God designated you to know his will and hear his voice; you'll be his witness.  Call on him and have yourself baptized and your sins washed away.’
                        Wordle: Readings 1-25-14
                      • Acts 9:1-22  Saul asked for authority to bring to Jerusalem in chains any who belonged to the Way.  A light flashed; he heard, “Why are you persecuting me?  I am Jesus.  Go to the city and do what you're told.” Saul, blinded, was led to Damascus and didn't eat or drink.  God told Ananias: “Ask for Saul; he had a vision of you laying your hands on him to restore his sight.”  He replied, “He's done such evil and can imprison us all” but heard, “I've chosen him and will show him what he'll have to suffer.”  He entered and said, “God sent me that you may regain sight and be filled with the Spirit.”  He regained his sight, was baptized, recovered his strength, stayed with the disciples, and began to proclaim Jesus.  All were astounded.
                      • Ps 117:1bc, 2  "Go out to all the world, and tell the good news."  Praise the kind and faithful Lord!
                      • Mk 16:15-18  Jesus told the Eleven:  “Go into the world and proclaim the Gospel.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.  Believers will drive out demons, speak new languages, pick up serpents, drink poison without harm, and cure the sick.”
                      Pope Francis
                      • To Italian Women's Center (CIF) conference:  Women share pastoral responsibilities with priests; may the space for women to contribute incisively to Church life increase further.  Women's contribution to family life is vital.  Developing presence in public and professional life while maintaining a special presence within the family takes assiduousness, prayer, and reflection on the reality of women in society.  Christian women, answer the call in dialogue with God, supported by Mary.  May she show the path to understanding.
                      Problems:  information is communicated so fast, we can't reflect on and digest it.  We can limit ourselves to our own ideas and interests and lose our bearings instead of expanding our knowledge.  Digital connectivity can isolate us from those close to us.  Those who lack access can be left behind. 

                      Don't reject social media because of the drawbacks; communication is human, not technological.  Grow in humanity and mutual understanding in the digital environment:  Recover deliberateness and calm.  Understand and accept those who are different.  People need to know they're accepted before they express themselves fully.  Listen attentively, see with different eyes, appreciate the richness of human experience and the values inspired by Christianity, such as the vision of the human person, the nature of marriage and family, the distinction between religious and political, and solidarity and subsidiarity.
                      In union with God, we hear a plea:  Be God’s instrument for the liberation of the poor; be attentive to their cry and help them.  God hears their cry:  “I know their sufferings, and I have come to deliver them… so I will send you.”  “When they cried out, the Lord raised up a deliverer”  How does God’s love abide in one who refuses help?  Heed this plea born of the liberating action of grace within you: “You give them something to eat!”  Work to eliminate poverty’s causes and to promote the poor. 
                      “Solidarity,” more than generous acts, takes a community-oriented mindset. Privately owned goods are for the benefit of all.  We must restore to the poor what belongs to them.  Solidarity opens the way to structural transformations; structures changed without generating new convictions eventually become ineffectual. 
                      Earth belongs to and is for the whole human race; one’s dignity shouldn’t depend on where they were born.  The more fortunate should place goods at others’ service.  We should hear the plea of those beyond our countries and allow all to become artisans of their destiny.

                      We’re called to ensure not only sustenance but also prosperity including education, health care, and employment; people express and enhance their dignity through free, creative, and participatory labor.  A just wage unlocks access to other goods destined for common use.  (4.II, 187-92, pp. 147-52) 
                        • Creighton:  We have conversion moments too, whether from new awareness, wanting to stop a bad habit, responding to a loved one who confronts us, accept it, or a religious experience.  Our hearts are drawn to God's love opening us to change.  Ask for the grace of conversion.  Jesus identified with the people Paul persecuted; let us be one in him, experience the Gospel joy of God's love for us, and spread that joy.
                        • RC.net:  Jesus promised to give the disciples power, and they were filled with joy. We share their task to proclaim the good news to the world, with God working in and through us.
                        • Universalis:  Christ comes to and converts Saul, who supported Stephen's stoning and persecuted Christians.
                        Music for gospel
                        Apparel for Acts readings

                        "Eyeball" pin:  Saul's blindness and recovery of sight 

                        "Hands" tie:  Ananias laid hands on Saul
                        (OK, I didn't really wear this today)
                        Dress your life!

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