January 28, 2014

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

        Dress your life!

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