February 28, 2015

Feb. 28

February 28, 2015:  Saturday, 1st week of Lent

  • 'Sun' tie:  the sun rises on the bad and the good (gospel)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  observe God's command with your whole heart (1st reading); love your enemies (gospel)
  • 'Walker' [or shot-putter?] tie pin:  walk in the Lord's ways (1st reading, psalm)
  • Purple shirt:  Lenten season


    Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's homily: Gospel Joy Fills Heart and Life: Reflections on Evangelii Gaudium
    1.  Personal Encounter with Jesus:  Evangelii Gaudium presents three intertwined poles of interest:  who must evangelize, what must be evangelized, how one should do it.  All the baptized should evangelize.  Pope Francis invites us all to a renewed daily personal encounter with Christ.  The purpose of evangelization isn't transmission of doctrine, but encounter with Jesus.  Jesus is alive and wants to walk next to you, as he walked with the disciples en route to Emmaus and was was in their hearts.  We've preferred to speak of ecclesial encounter with Jesus through the sacraments, but a personal encounter isn't a substitute.  Both must be be free, willed, and spontaneous.
    In the Church's first 3 centuries, you became a Christian after a long initiation/catechumenate, and it was a personal decision.  When Christianity became tolerated, favored, even imposed, becoming Christian shifted to a social decision, and mass baptisms were the norm; the king's religion was also the kingdom's.  Focus shifted from becoming Christian to living morally.  But monasticism and religious orders arose in which baptism was radically lived and Christian life was the fruit of a personal decision.  Centuries later, modernity, the French Revolution and Enlightenment, the emancipation of State from Church, the exaltation of individual freedom, and radical secularization, changed the situation of the faith in society.  Hence the urgency of a new evangelization that, moving from nontraditional bases and taking new situations into account, creates occasions to enable today's people to make free, personal, and mature decisions to become real, not nominal, Christians.  [continued tomorrow]
    Wordle: Readings 2-28-15
    • Dt 26:16-19  Moses:  “God commands you to observe these commands; do it with your heart and soul.  You're agreeing to walk in God's ways, and the Lord is agreeing to make you his own and raise you high.”
    • Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8  "Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!"  I'll give you thanks and keep your statutes.
    • Mt 5:43-48  “You've heard it said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say, Love your enemies.  So be perfect, just like your heavenly Father.”
            • Creighton:  If we dwell on our failures to observe the commandments or think that commands are an end in themselves, we can forget God promised a redemptive embrace even in the midst of shortcomings and a Spirit that will empower us to be perfect like our Father.  Recognize God’s desire for an eternal embrace, even now.  He wants to embrace our failures, struggles, and humanity, free us from guilt. and make us a people sacred to him.
            • One Bread One Body:  "Abba":  The Holy Spirit will confirm our Father's love through our Lenten prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Trust God completely and let him lead you; let the Spirit cry "Abba" in your heart.
            • Passionist:  A contract is a civil agreement, but a covenant is an agreement between two persons and God.  The covenant in the 1st reading called for people to observe God's commandments and to hearken to God's voice.  If we follow the commandments and walk in God's footsteps, we'll enjoy a lasting relationship with God.  We slip and fall, but God is there to pick us up and remind us of the love that makes our relationship powerful!  Matthew says we can be faithful to the covenant by heeding the law of love.  Love of enemies takes willingness to lay down jealousy, stubbornness, and impatience in order to embrace others; we can't if we view our relationship with God as a mere contract.  May God lead us to an ever-deepening relationship with him....
            • DailyScripture.net:  God's constant love can free us from every evil.  Jesus' teaching on the law transforms the law of justice and mercy with grace and loving-kindness.  God is good to the just and unjust alike; he seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek others'.  It's hard when we expect nothing in return, but his love, power, and grace make it possible.  Jesus' "be perfect" command parallels God's command to Abraham to "be perfect"/"blameless" before God (Hebrew/Aramaic "perfect" = "complete," "whole," "not lacking in what's essential") and God's "be holy, for I am holy" command to Moses and Israel, calling us to become like him.  God knows our sinfulness and assures us of his mercy and help.
            • Universalis:  St. Oswald, Benedictine monk, bishop, revived monastic life, celebrated liturgy well, loved the poor.

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