December 5, 2014

Dec. 5

December 5, 2014:  Friday, 1st week, Advent

  • 'Apple' pin:  Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  The eyes of the blind shall see (1st reading); Jesus restores sight (gospel)
  • 'Hands' tie:  When they see the work of my hands, they'll keep my name holy. (1st reading)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  Wait for the Lord (psalm)
  • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

Pope Francis
To Theological Commission:  Studying doctrinal problems requires both intellectual competence and spiritual dispositions, especially listening.  Theologians must believe, hear God's word, and humbly listen to the Spirit.  In virtue of their feminine genius, female theologians can take up unexplored aspects of the mystery of Christ.  The Commission's international nature reflects the Church's catholicity; diverse viewpoints should enrich our catholicity without harming unity.  Under the Spirit's guidance, Mary continues to enter into ‘all truth’; may she obtain for us increases in charity, knowledge, and perception.
To FOCSIV volunteer federation on Volunteer Day:  You offer an image of a Church that rolls up its sleeves and serves those in difficulty.  Persevere on your unselfish path.  The poor want to practice solidarity among those who suffer; become instruments at the service of their activism, making history with them, turning away from works that would reduce them to passivity.  An economic system that ransacks nature is a main cause of poverty.  Respect and care for God's gift of creation, using it for everyone's benefit.  Help make peace and build bridges.  Your activities for refugees give hope to suffering people forced to abandon their homes and loved ones; take some burden from them via closeness and evangelical welcome.
Thursday homily:  Follow God's will; don't just apply Christian make-up and collapse at the first temptation.  There are many hidden "saints of daily life" who put Jesus' love into practice, building their houses on the Rock:  the sick who offer their sufferings for others; the elderly who are alone and pray; parents who work, rear children, and bear problems with hope; priests who work in parishes with love; sinners who seek pardon....
‘Christians in appearance’ will be humbled, but the poor in spirit will triumph.  “Today we are; tomorrow we'll be food for worms….  If we don't have this rock, we'll end up trampled down”  (St. Bernard).  Ask the Lord to be founded on Christ the rock, our hope.  If we, weak sinners, hope in him, we can go forward.  In him there's hope, pardon, peace, and joy; don't hope in things that won't be there tomorrow.
Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's Advent homily:
  • We're at peace with God through Christ!  From "vertical peace" between God and humanity flow both "horizontal peace" between peoples and inner peace.  As a GPS offers a new route when a driver doesn't follow its directions, God decided on a plan of redemption after our rebellion.  Preparation began with biblical covenants of peace and developed as prophecies of universal peace (e.g., Is 2:4, Is 11:6-7) are realized in Jesus' coming to bring peace (Jn 14:27).  "Shalom" includes all the content of the redemption.  Peace comes through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, not only via remission of sin but above all a positive element:  the Holy Spirit with grace and peace.  Christ united sinner and victor in himself.   “Violence is the secret heart and soul of the sacred” (Girard). Religions have "scapegoat rites" involving death, but Jesus breaks the mechanism that makes violence holy, making himself victim.  In the Cross, God acts so we'll cease our enmity against him (vs. Jesus placating an irate God); cf. 2 Cor 5:19, Rom 5:10.
  • Christ's peace becomes active in us through the Holy Spirit:  The ultimate source of peace is the “Blessed Trinity, ocean of peace.”  Peace, like love, is beautiful relations, so needs more than one person; the Trinity is this perfection of relations.  When Jesus says, “Shalom!  Receive the Holy Spirit,” he communicates God's peace/grace.
  • The gift of peace must change our relation with God:  As in the Sistine Chapel Michelangelo's image of the Father was restored from darkness to living color, our image of God must be restored.  The "default" image of God is enemy of celebration, joy, and pleasure.  “Lord, have mercy,” has come to be a request for forgiveness from a God about to punish, but Kyrie eleison should be translated, “Lord, have your tenderness descend upon us.” “My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him” (Jer 31:20).  When the sick, lepers and blind cry out, “Lord, have mercy!” they're asking for compassion, not forgiveness.  We've considered mercy the means to moderate justice and seen God as one to bargain with, loving and forgiving only if we do, presupposing that relationship with God depends on us—but when we're open to the Spirit, we see God not only as God of the Law but primarily as God of love and of grace  (Ex 34:6), ally and friend “who didn't spare for himself his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Rom 8:32), a tender Father.  The Spirit communicates to us the feeling Jesus had of his Father.  We say, “Now I know you love me.”  What's my idea of God?  [You've missed a lot in this my capsule about 10% as long as the original; now read the original!]
The blind shall see... (animate)

  • Is 29:17-24  Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard.  The deaf shall hear, the blind see, the lowly and poor find joy, and evildoers be cut off.  When the children of Jacob see my handiwork, they'll keep my name holy and be in awe of God.
  • Ps 27:1, 4, 13-14  "The Lord is my light and my salvation."  I seek to dwell in God's house and gaze on his loveliness.  Wait for the Lord with courage....
  • Mt 9:27-31  Two blind men / Jesus:  “Son of David, have pity on us!” / “Do you believe I can do this?” / “Yes, Lord.” / “Let it be, according to your faith,” and their eyes were opened. “See that no one knows about this,” but they spread the word.
    • Creighton:  Sin can be like an eye growing blind, creeping into life almost imperceptibly:  we know something's wrong but adapt to it and don't feel we need to address it till something/someone makes us accountable. / God gives us an opportunity to recognize him and deepen our relationship.  May we remember the season is about Christ, source of joy and reason for hope.
    • One Bread One Body:  Jesus' healing the blind applies not only to the physically blind, but also to the spiritually blind, those blinded by sin and "the god of the present age." Spiritual blindness blinds us to our blindness; only through Jesus' intervention can we see it and ask for help.
    •  Where are my blind spots?  The blind men begged Jesus for mercy ('sorrowful at heart').  The merciful share others' suffering as if it were their own.  Jesus gave them sight, including spiritual sight of God's kingdom....
    • Universalis:   St. John Almond, priest, martyr; St. Birinus, bishop.

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