February 19, 2015

Thurs. after Ash Wed.

February 19, 2015:  Thursday after Ash Wednesday

See 9 connections with the readings?  Key below

Pope Francis
Today's homily:  “Today I set before you life and prosperity, death and doom.  Obey the Lord's commandments, loving him and walking in his ways.”  We're faced with that hard choice daily.  It's easier to let inertia, situations, habits, carry you.  The choice is between God and other gods who can only give little things that pass.  "Stop and choose!"  Think every day, What's my lifestyle like?  What path am I on?

Dig deep and ponder your relationship with God, Jesus, parents, siblings, spouse, and children.  The search for success without thought of God or family is wrong.  Ask, How's my relationship with God and my family?  What pace do I live my life?  Do I reflect?  Ask for courage to choose him.  "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord"  When we think and choose, God is with us and wants to help us, but we need to trust him.
Lenten message:  Make your hearts firm:  “If one member suffers, all suffer together” – The Church (part 2 of 4):  God's love breaks through indifference, that fatal withdrawal into ourselves.  The Church's witness and teaching offer us God's love, but we can only witness to what we've experienced.  Let God clothe you with goodness and mercy, with Christ, to become servants of God and others.  Peter came to realize Jesus doesn't want just to be an example of how we should wash one another’s feet.  Only those who first allow Jesus to wash their feet can wash others' feet.

This Lent we can hear God's word and receive the sacraments, letting Christ serve us so we may become more like him.  In the Eucharist we become what we receive:  the Body of Christ, in which there's no room for indifference.  We belong to one body and so can't be indifferent to one another.  The Church is a communion in holy things:  God's love revealed in Christ and his gifts including the response of those touched by his love.  We share with others and can help those we could never reach on our own.
Ash Wed. homily:  In Lent we try to unite ourselves more closely to Christ, to share the mystery of his passion and resurrection.  Joel insists on inner conversion: “Return to me with all your heart”; that means a conversion neither superficial nor transient, but a spiritual journey reaching deep, extending to the community too:  “Gather the people. Sanctify the congregation....”  Ask for the gift of tears to make our conversion more authentic.  In Jesus' time, almsgiving, prayer and fasting became external or even a sign of superiority; he warns against hypocrisy.   The Lord wants to forgive us again, inviting us to return with a new heart and take part in his joy.   We accept by "being reconciled to God,” possible only through his mercy.  Don't let the “acceptable time” pass.  We're limited creatures, sinners needing repentance and conversion.  Return to the arms of God, tender and merciful Father; trust him and entrust yourself to him.
    The wicked are like chaff
  • Dt 30:15-20  Moses:  “I've set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  If you love God and walk in his ways, you'll live and grow, and the Lord will bless you, but if you turn away, you'll perish.  Choose life and live.”
  • Ps 1:1-4, 6  "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord."
  • Lk 9:22-25  The Son of Man must suffer and be rejected, be killed, and be raised.  “To come after me, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you lose your life for my sake, you'll save it.  What profit is there to gain the world but forfeit yourself?”
  • Creighton:  "Choosing life" is doing 'ordinary' things every day:  obeying, loving, walking, and keeping; they lead to life, growth, blessing, and security.  Good choices can become a part of our lives.  Following Jesus involves daily self-denial.  Thank God we're not abandoned when we make a wrong turn.  God sends companions to encourage us; the psalmist speaks of companionship's power and perils, suggesting the company we keep can enhance our vitality or kill us.  May we choose well....
  • One Bread One Body:  "A life-giving Lent?"  Lent is a matter of life or death.  The Lord is working through us so that all people may be saved.  If we choose life, the Lord will use us to lead many into God's kingdom; otherwise we may defeat God's plan for ourselves and others.  Have the Lent of a lifetime.
  • Passionist:  Who'd want to choose death and doom?  But people do, with hatred from the heart, even though killing degrades humanity and history teaches us that choosing death won't bring new life, peace, or prosperity.  Lent invites us to examine ourselves and explore what's in our heart.  We can't live in both worlds....
  • DailyScripture.net:  Jesus' obedience to his Father reversed the curse of Adam's disobedience; his death gave us freedom to live as God's children.  We lose what we gain; we gain what we lose.  When we try run our own life, we lose it to futility; when we surrender to God, he gives us life in his Spirit.  When the body is weak, we try to nurse it back to health; we should attend even more to our spiritual health!  A true disciple is ready to give everything up for life with God; the cross leads to freedom and victory.  When my will crosses with God's, his must be done; my cross involves laying down my life daily for Jesus' sake.  God gives us more than we can expect.  Am I ready to lose all for Christ to gain all with him?
    Apparel key
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  If you turn away your hearts, you'll perish... (1st reading)
    • OneLife LA button:  I set before you life and death; choose life. (1st reading)
    • 'Tree' pin:  one who delights in the Lord is like a tree... (psalm)
    • Blue shirt:  ...planted near running water... (psalm)
    • 'Fruit' pin:  ...that yields its fruit in due season (psalm)
    • 'Wheat' pin:  The wicked are like chaff... (psalm)
    • 'Cross' pin:  "Take up your cross" (gospel)
    • 'No-excuses' button:  deny yourself (gospel)
    • 'World' tie:  what's the profit of gaining the world but losing yourself? (gospel)

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