March 22, 2014

March 22

March 22, 2014:  Saturday, 2nd week of Lent

  • Mi 7:14-15, 18-20  Shepherd your people.  Who is like you, God who removes guilt, pardons sin, doesn't stay angry, delights in compassion and clemency?  You will cast our sins into the sea and show faithfulness and grace.
    Wordle: Readings 3-22-14
  • Ps 103:1-4, 9-12  "The Lord is kind and merciful."  Bless the Lord, who pardons, heals, redeems, crowns, doesn't remain angry or requite our crimes; he's put our transgressions far from us.
  • Lk 15:1-3, 11-32  A man gave his younger son his inheritance; the son left, squandered it, found himself in need, got work tending swine, and returned home to be treated as hired hand.  His father ran to him and prepared a feast for his lost son come back to life.  His brother, faithful all along, became angry...
    •  God doesn't abandon us, even if we turn our backs on him.  God doesn't lose hope; he finds and welcomes the lost.  The 'prodigal father' was wronged but forgave.  The older son, not wronged, didn't forgive; his resentment estranged him.
        • Creighton:  How joyous to have a merciful God; how hard to be merciful to others!
          • When selfishness leads to misery, do I surrender to God, admit fault, and return home?  Am I open to mercy and kindness from others?
          • Do I feel entitled because I do things right?  Do I think my work ethic gives me priority over others?
          • When others abandon me or squander what I offer, then return, do I embrace them?  When people self-destruct, do I help them?  Do I forgive?
        Pray for the father's heart, the younger brother's humility, and the older brother's work ethic.
        • Passionist:  Micah confidently asked God for protection, sure of God's love.  We too can be sure of God's faithful love.  Maybe the Scribes refused to accept the story because it demanded they change.  We're unfaithful, but God is ready to celebrate our return.
        • Universalis:  St. Deogratias, bishop; St. Nicholas Owen, hiding-place builder, martyr
        Pope Francis
        • Papal preacher Fr, Cantalamessa's on Church and unity, part 1:  To St. Augustine, the Church is a field of wheat and tares, saints and sinners.  He distinguishes the communion of sacraments from the society of saints:  the first unites all who take part in external signs (sacraments, Scripture, Church authority); the second, those who also share the underlying reality (Holy Spirit, grace, charity).  Church unity is from the One who brings about the Trinity's unity:  the Spirit.  The Church is the Spirit-animated Body of Christ:  as bread and wine, from many grains and grapes, become Christ's Body in the Eucharist, so do believers, many though we are, become Christ's Body in the Church.
        Let's approach Christian unity starting with Jesus, moving from the communion of charity to sacramental communion.  Augustine's distinction between exterior signs and interior grace leads him to say both that there's something non-Catholic in the Catholic Church and there may be something Catholic outside it.  The institutional and spiritual can't be separated, but as a result of history and sin, they don't coincide.  We can't give more importance to the institutional than the spiritual:  can a Catholic feel more in communion with baptized Catholics who nevertheless neglect or malign Christ and the Church than with non-Catholics who love Christ, give their lives for him, spread the gospel, alleviate poverty, and have the gifts of the Spirit?  Other Christians are asking too; the Spirit is working beyond official channels.  
        Augustine identified Church unity with the Spirit instead of bishops and the pope.  The Body of Christ is a mystical fact, reflecting Trinitarian unity, before it's expressed externally; Jesus established this when he prayed “that they may be one as we are.”  Doctrinal unity will be the fruit, not cause, of spiritual unity.  When Christians together proclaim the Lord Jesus, share their gifts, and recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, we move toward unity; peace begins in the heart, and fraternity is its foundation.
        [See Pope Francis's related remarks at vespers for Christian unity and in Evangelii Gaudium.] 

        • Sheep tie bar:  "Shepherd your flock" (1st reading)
        • [Flying] pig pin:  Prodigal son tended the pigs (gospel)
        • Cow pin:  Dad killed the fattened calf to celebrate (gospel)

        Dress your life!

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