February 20, 2015

Fri. after Ash Wed.

February 20, 2015:  Friday after Ash Wednesday

  • 'Clothes' tie, 'nude' tie pin:  Clothe the naked (1st reading) [skeleton represents the naked]
  • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  "Lift up your voice like a trumpet blast" (1st reading)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  share your bread with the hungry (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  You'll call and the Lord will answer (1st reading)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  You won't spurn a contrite heart (psalm)

For the psalm (I keep offering these; please comment with settings you like):
For 1st reading
Pope Francis
Homily:  Jesus wants fasting that breaks evil chains, frees the oppressed, clothes the naked, and does justice—not just outward appearance but from the heart.  The laws of love of God and love of neighbor go together:  if you follow one, you must follow the other.  To show genuine penance, show it before God and neighbor.
It's good you go to Sunday Mass, but do you pay your employees under the table, maybe less than the going rate, maybe without contributing to social security?   It's good you contribute to the church, but are you generous with your children, grandparents, and employees?  Don't make offerings to the Church on the shoulders of injustice; don't use God to cloak injustice. 
Reach out to the less fortunate, whether children, elderly who have to wait hours for a doctor, or prisoners.  If you’re not in prison, it’s because God helped you not to sin.  Do you have room in your heart for prisoners?  Do you pray for them so the Lord can help them change?  May the Lord accompany us so our external observance becomes profound renewal of the Spirit.
Lenten message:  Make your hearts firm:  “Where is your brother?” – Parishes and Communities (part 3 of 4):  What we said about the Church also applies to parishes and communities:  do they enable us to experience being part of one body, one that receives and shares what God wants to give, one that cares for its weakest, poorest, most insignificant members, or do we fail to see the Lazarus sitting among us?  To receive what God gives us and to make it bear fruit, we need to press beyond the boundaries of the visible Church in two ways:
  • Unite in prayer with the Church in heaven:  Our prayers establish a communion of service and goodness that reaches up to God.  With the saints, we're part of the communion that conquers indifference with love.  The Church in heaven is not triumphant because she turned her back on suffering and rejoiced in isolation; the saints triumphed over indifference, hardness of heart, and hatred through Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Until this victory of love penetrates the whole world, the saints continue to accompany us on our pilgrim way.  The joy in heaven remains incomplete as long as someone cries out in pain:  “I won't remain idle in heaven; I want to keep working for the Church and for souls” (St. Therese).  We share in the saints' merits and joy, even as they share our struggles and longing for peace; their joy gives us strength as we strive to overcome our indifference and hardness of heart.
  • Go out and be engaged in life, especially with the poor and those far away:  The Church is missionary, not self-enclosed; her mission is to witness to the One who wants to draw everyone to the Father, to bring them a love that can't remain silent.  We follow Jesus Christ along the paths to the ends of the earth.  Each neighbor is a brother or sister for whom Christ died and rose.  What we've received, we've received for them too, and all they have is a gift for the Church and all humanity.
May all places where the Church is present, especially parishes and communities, become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference!
    Bride and groom (gospel)
  • Is 58:1-9a  On your fast day you quarrel and carry out your own pursuits, but the fast I want is releasing those bound unjustly, freeing the oppressed, sharing your bread, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, and caring for your own.  Then you'll have light, healing, and vindication, and God will answer you.
  • Ps 51:3-6ab, 18-19  "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."  Have mercy on me.
  • Mt 9:14-15  John's disciples / Jesus:  “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but not your disciples?” / “Wedding guests can't mourn while the groom is among them, but when he's taken away, they'll fast.
    • Creighton:  As Lent proceeds, we're tempted to lose commitment to our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving plans, and protest self-denial.  Our sacrifice should include doing justice and charity.
    • One Bread One Body:  "Pulling a fast one":  Fasting is not a matter of quantity but obedience.  Lenten fasting is intentional imitation of Christ who fasted in the desert; we seek union with him and growth in our relationship.  Our Lenten Friday abstinence from meat expresses our unity and encourages us to persevere and to focus on unity with Jesus and Catholics. "Fast so as to make your voice heard on high!"
    • Passionist:  To fast, we might cut down on food, drink, entertainment, and curb our temper, quick judgment, sharp criticism, and other unGodly behaviors.  But that's just a start:  penitential acts are to open us to others' needs.  Lord, transform our hearts, make us attentive and responsive to people and ready to receive your overwhelming love.
    • DailyScripture.net:  Hunger for God and fasting go hand in hand.  God takes delight in us as a groom in his bride.  For disciples there's a time for rejoicing and a time to seek God with humility and fasting.  If we hunger for God, he'll satisfy.  Fasting can help free us from bad habits or addictions, share in others' suffering, and grow in our hunger for God.  St. Basil: "True fasting is to refrain from vice.  Shred all your unjust contracts.  Pardon your neighbors."  Do I hunger to know God more and live the life of grace he offers?

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