November 21, 2014

Mary's Presentation

November 21, 2014:  Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • 'Angel' pin:  I went up to the angel...  (1st reading)
  • 'Honey' tie:  In your mouth the scroll will taste as sweet as honey. (1st reading)
  • Gold-colored suspenders bar [what is it really called?]:  Your law is more precious than gold (psalm)
  • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  "My house shall be a house of prayer" (gospel)
  • 'Car' tie pin:  Jesus 'drove' out those selling things in the temple (gospel)
  • 'Piano' pin in anticipation of tomorrow's memorial of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music and musicians


Pope Francis homily:  Keep the Lord's temple clean
Jesus drove merchants from the Temple because it and God's People had been profaned.  People didn't go to the Temple for the merchants; the corruption scandalized them.  Recall Samuel's mother, Hannah, a humble woman who went to the temple to ask for a child, praying silently while the priest and his two sons were corrupt, exploiting pilgrims, scandalizing people [1 Sam 1-2].  Think how our attitude and unpriestly habits can scandalize; even now people are scandalized when a church has a price list for baptisms, blessings, or Mass intentions.  Jesus tells those who cause scandal, 'Better to be thrown into the sea!'
When those in the Temple become merchants, people are scandalized.  We're responsible; if I see this, I need to tell the parish priest.  The people of God can forgive priests who sin but not ones attached to money or who mistreat people.  It's scandalous when God's House becomes a place of business.  Jesus wasn't angry; it was God's wrath and zeal for God's House, because you can't serve two masters.
Jesus had an issue with money and purified the Temple because he came to bring God's gratuitous love and redemption.  When we do business, salvation doesn't seem free.  Today we celebrate the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin in the Temple:  entering as a simple young girl, like Hannah.  May she teach us to keep the Temple clean and to receive with love all who come.
    Honey pot (1st reading)
    (Animate it)
  • Rv 10:8-11  “Take and swallow the scroll; it'll turn your stomach sour but taste sweet.”  I did; it was sweet but turned my stomach sour.  “Prophesy again...”
  • Ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131  "How sweet to my taste is your promise!"  Your decrees are my delight, my counselors, my inheritance, my joy.  I gasp with open mouth in my yearning for your commands.
  • Lk 19:45-48  Jesus entered the temple area and drove out people selling things:  “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you've made it a robbers' den.”  He taught daily there.  The chief priests, scribes, and leaders were seeking to kill him but couldn't find a way because the people were hanging on his words.
    • Creighton:  Prophets have always angered the authorities.  I’ll have to risk that too and suffer the consequences if I want to follow Jesus.
    • One Bread One Body:  A prophet calls people to repent and come back to God.  The 1st reading is John's prophecy:  The scroll is the message of the New Testament.  Anyone who speaks in God's name must digest it so it becomes part of him; the sweetness helps deal with the subsequent bitterness.  One who digests Christ's message will be misunderstood and persecuted.  We're called to be prophets (Catechism, 1546), champions of truth.  Am I a prophet?  Am I willing to accept the consequences?
    • Passionist:  A close relationship between church/temple and Mary developed over time:  both housed God's Word.  The cleansing of the temple parallels Mary's own cleansing, her immaculate conception:  a cleansing from sin of the woman in whom God was to dwell, as in his temple.  This suggests why we associate Mary with religious buildings; they house, protect, and nourish God's Word.
    •  This is the only place we see Jesus using physical force.  His judgment in the temple is a prophetic sign and warning that God takes worship seriously.  The money changers dishonored God and were unjust, taking advantage of the poor.  Do I allow God to transform me?
    • Universalis:  The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates Mary’s “dedication” of herself to God from her infancy, inspired by the Spirit, whose grace had filled her since her immaculate conception; see Wikipedia.

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