March 31, 2015

Holy Tues.

March 31, 2015:  Tuesday of Holy Week

Nine connections with today's readings and celebration!
(Legend below)

  • Is 49:1-6  The Lord called me from my mother’s womb:  "You are my servant, through whom I show my glory."  I'm made glorious in the sight of the Lord, my strength!  "I'll make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth."
  • Ps 71:1-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15, 17  "I will sing of your salvation."  Rescue me; be my refuge and give me safety.  You are my rock and hope; from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
  • Jn 13:21-33, 36-38  Jesus, troubled:  “One of you will betray me.”  Peter:  “Who?” / “The one to whom I give the morsel,” then he handed it to Judas Iscariot.  Judas took it, and Satan entered him.  Judas left; it was night.  Jesus:  “Now is the Son of Man glorified...  I won't be with you much longer, and ‘where I go you can't come.’  Peter / Jesus:  “Where are you going?” / “You can't follow me now but will later.” / “Why not?  I'll lay down my life for you.” / “Will you?  You'll deny me.”
      Judas leaves The Last Supper/ Bloch
    • Creighton:  Jesus, “deeply troubled,” said, “One of you will betray me,” knowing a close friend would disappoint him.  Maybe he was troubled because Judas was but a shadow of who he might have been, or because Judas was deaf to what Jesus had told and showed him....  Jesus is about relationship, not religion.  Jesus loved Judas.  Maybe the betrayal came because Jesus was frustrated he hadn't conveyed his message; maybe he felt his life of compassion, courage, and miracles wasn't enough, and something had to change.  “What you're going to do, do quickly.”  When we look at the story this way, Judas is more catalyst than villain....  Prayer for today.  Stations of the Cross.
    • One Bread One Body:  "Trouble-shooters":  We may become deeply troubled, by other people, betrayers, deniers, the apparent uselessness of our lives, by thinking we've been like Judas and Peter at their worst.  But the Spirit not only convicts us of our sins but also convinces us of God's mercy....
    • Passionist:  How often have we made a decision that trapped us, and having us feel as though there’s no hope?  How often have we turned from our loved ones?  But God is waiting for us to cry for help.  He seeks us out, meets us where we are, and walks with us.  Jesus shows us how full life can come from what seems like a hopeless crucifixion.  Loving God, thank you for finding us, no matter where we’re stuck.  Grant us the grace to take your hand, stand up, and live a new life with you.
    •  Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart which no unworthy thought can drag downwards; an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  (St. Thomas Aquinas)
    Dress legend
    • 'Hearts with arrows' suspenders:  "He made me a polished arrow" (1st reading)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  "The Lord 'called' me from birth" (1st reading)
    • 'Sword' tie pin:  "He made of me a sharp-edged sword" (1st reading)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  "You are my rock" (psalm)
    • 'Hands' tie:  "Rescue me from the hand of the wicked" (psalm); post-'Palm' Sunday (subseason)
    • 'Coin' button:  "Judas kept the money bag" (gospel)
    • 'Rooster' button:  "The cock will not crow before you deny me" (gospel)
    • 'Night blue' shirt, 'Star' tie pin:  After the betrayal, "it was night" (gospel)

    March 30, 2015

    Holy Mon

    March 30, 2015:  Monday of Holy Week

    See 11 connections with today,
    and 6 with yesterday?
    (Legend at bottom)


    Highlights from Sunday
    • Is 42:1-7  Here is my servant, my chosen one, upon whom I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice.  The Lord, creator and lifegiver, says:  I have called, grasped, and formed you and set you as a covenant, to open the eyes of the blind and to release prisoners and those in darkness.
    • Ps 27:1-3, 13-14  "The Lord is my light and my salvation."  My foes stumble and fall.  I will trust, not fear; I believe I shall see the Lord's bounty in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord.
    • Jn 12:1-11  Jesus came to Bethany, where they gave him a dinner; Lazarus reclined at table with him.  Mary anointed Jesus' feet with costly perfumed oil and dried them with her hair.   Judas / Jesus: “Why wasn't the oil sold and the money given to the poor?”  (He held the money bag and used to steal from it.) / “Leave her alone.  You always have the poor, but you don't always have me.”  The crowd found out that he was there and came for him and Lazarus; many were believing in Jesus because of Lazarus.
      • Creighton:  Imagine how Mary's tender anointing soothed Jesus in his emotional pain.  We're called to be Mary for one another....
      • One Bread One Body:  "Never enough":  The chief priests wanted to kill Lazarus as well as Jesus. When you choose death, one isn't enough; only Jesus and his followers have victory over death....
      • Passionist:  Christian tradition sees the 1st reading fulfilled in Jesus, though blindness and injustice are still among us.  May we be Christ in action today, giving light to those in ignorance and fear, helping free those shackled by selfishness and sin, wiping out oppression with love, drawing strength from the Lord, our "hope and salvation."
        Anointing of Jesus at a Pharisee's home
      •  Mary did something only love can do:  she spent her most precious posession on Jesus; her extravagant love and gratitude moved her.  Oblivious to modesty, she unbound her hair to anoint him as no married Jewish woman would.  How do I show the Lord my love and gratitude?  Jesus showed extravagant love in pouring out his blood for our sake and anointing us with his Spirit.  Judas criticized Mary because of his greed, and perhaps because he imputed unworthy motives to her.  Judas was in charge of the common purse, likely because he was gifted in financial matters; our greatest temptations are likely to come in the area of our gifts.  Do I impute wrong motives to others?
        "Give us, Lord, lively faith, firm hope, fervent charity, and love of you.  Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation, dullness in prayer.  Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you and your grace, your tender compassion towards me.  Give us grace to labor for what we pray for...."  (St. Thomas More)
        Dress legend
        • 'Scales of justice' pin:  Servant of Yahweh will establish justice (1st reading)
        • 'Hand' tie pin:  "I have grasped you by the hand" (1st reading); 'Palm' Sunday (Sunday's celebration :-)
        • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "I have set you... to open the eyes of the blind" (1st reading)
        • 'Clock' tie/bar:  "Wait for the Lord" (psalm); “My time draws near”; "Peter, you couldn't keep watch with me one hour?" (Sunday gospel); countdown to Easter
        • 'Silverware' tie bar:  They held a dinner for Jesus in Bethany (gospel)
        • '?' tie pin, 'coin' button:  Judas:  "Why wasn't the oil sold?" (gospel)
        • 'Wooden' suspenders:  wood of the cross
        • NEW 'Dogs' tie:  "Many dogs surround me" (Sunday psalm; another tie trumped it yesterday, and I had to show it off)
        • Purple shirt:  color of the day

        March 29, 2015

        Passion Sun.

        March 29, 2015:  Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion

        26 connections with today's readings and celebration,
        but watch out for 1-2 tricks.  Find 'em?
        Legend below


        Pope Francis homily
        At the heart of this celebration are the words “He humbled himself,” Jesus’ humiliation.  God’s way and the way of Christians is humility.  It disturbs us; we'll never get used to a humble God!  God humbles himself to walk with us and put up with our infidelity.  How humiliating for the Lord to hear the grumbling and complaints against Moses but ultimately against him!
        This week we'll take this path of Jesus’ humiliation; only then will it be “holy” for us too!  We'll feel the leaders' contempt.  We'll be at the betrayal of Judas.  We'll see Jesus carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged around, condemned, beaten, and insulted.  We'll hear Peter deny him.  We'll hear the crowd's shouts.  We'll see him mocked and crowned with thorns.  We'll hear the jeering of those who scoff at his being King and Son of God.  This is God’s way, Jesus' way, the way of humility.  And there can be no humility without humiliation.
        The Son of God took on the “form of a slave.”  Humility means service, making room for God by stripping oneself, “emptying oneself,” the greatest humiliation of all.  The world proposes the way of vanity, opposed to the way of Christ.  The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus, but he rejected it.  With him, we too can overcome this temptation, also helped by the example of so many who sacrifice themselves daily to serve others....  Think of the humiliation endured by all who encounter discrimination and pay a price.  Think of those persecuted because they're Christians, the martyrs of our time, who, refusing to deny Jesus, endured insult and injury with dignity.  Set out with determination along this same path, with love for our Lord and Savior.  Love will guide us and give us strength.  For where he is, we too shall be.
        East and West before the Mystery of Salvation,
        Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 4th Lenten homily (concluded, from yesterday
        The Spirit, a chance for the West:  The East is seen to have a more optimistic and positive view of the human person and salvation, the West a more pessimistic one.  The golden rule in East-West dialogue is "both/and," not “either/or.”  The East's idea of human grandeur and dignity as the image of God highlighted the possibility of the Incarnation; the West's focus on sin and human misery highlighted the necessity of the Incarnation.  Augustine, Anselm, and Luther insisted on the gravity of sin to reach the grandeur of Christ's remedy; they accentuated “the abundance of sin” to exalt “the superabundance of grace.”  Jesus' work is the key to everything.  I believe the shortcoming in Western soteriology is that we reduce grace to its negative dimension as remedy for sin; even the jubilant Easter cry—“O happy fault that earned so glorious a Redeemer!”—is from the negative perspective.
        For more than a century, grace has run through Western Churches in the charismatic renewal; it's a current of grace to be diffused through the Church, then disappear as a distinct phenomenon.  We can't ignore it or consider it marginal; it's reached hundreds of millions of believers including tens of millions of Catholics; Paul VI called it  “a chance for the Church and the world.”  Yves Congar spoke of today's awakening of the Spirit:  "The charismatic stream has spread like a brushfire.  It's far more than a fad.  It resembles past revivals: spiritual action which changes people’s lives and brings the old Church freshness and new possibilities."  It's a chance for the Christian Church to restore to salvation the positive content summed up in the gift of the Spirit.  The primary goal of Christian life is shown to be “the acquisition of the Spirit.” 
        The Catholic charismatic movement is a fruit of Vatican II, which led to extraordinary flourishing in Church movements sensitive to the Spirit's action.  How many lay faithful have experienced the Spirit's amazing power, rediscovered the faith, prayer, and God's word, and been moved to generous service!  It gives an outward picture of Christian life:  joyous, contagious Christianity without gloomy pessimism.  Sin is not trivialized because one of the first effects of the Spirit's coming is to “convince the world of sin.”  It's not a matter of belonging to a movement but of opening oneself to the Spirit's action.  Don't remain outside the current of grace flowing through Christianity but see it as God’s initiative and a chance for the Church, not a threat or infiltration.
        One thing can ruin this chance:  Scripture affirms the primacy of the Spirit's sanctifying work over its charismatic activity (1 Cor 12-13).  Don't let an emphasis on visible charisms overshadow efforts for authentic life “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” based on the conformity to Christ, putting works of the flesh to death and seeking the fruits of the Spirit.  Thanks to the East for having cultivated and defended a beautiful, inspiring ideal of Christian life. May the Eastern and Western saints help us realize the same communion of love they now enjoy.
        • Mk 11:1-10 (palm procession gospel)  Jesus sent two disciples:  “Bring the colt you find to me.”  They did, and he sat on it.  Many spread their cloaks and cried “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
        • Jn 12:12-16  The crowd went out to meet Jesus with palm branches, crying “Hosanna!  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel.”...
          Jesus emptied himself...
        • Is 50:4-7  I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from spitting.  God is my help; I know I won't be put to shame.
        • Ps 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24  "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"  All mock me:  “He relied on the Lord; let him deliver him, if he loves him.”  Evildoers surround and pierce me; they cast lots for my garments.  Help me, Lord; I'll proclaim your name.
        • Phil 2:6-11  Christ Jesus didn't grasp at equality with God but emptied himself, coming in human likeness.  He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death.  God exalted him, so that at Jesus' name every knee should bend and every tongue confess that he is Lord.
        • Mk 14:1—15:47  The chief priests were seeking a way to put Jesus to death.  In Bethany a woman poured an jar of perfumed oil on Jesus, and some were indignant.  Jesus:  “She's done good.  You'll always have the poor, but not me....”  Judas made a deal to hand him over.  Jesus told the disciples where to prepare the Passover, and they went and prepared it.  Jesus:  “One of you will betray me; woe to him.”  They denied it.  He took bread and a cup, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them:  “Take it; this is my body and blood....”  Jesus at the Mount of Olives:  “You'll have your faith shaken, but I'll go before you to Galilee.” (to Peter:)  “Before the cock crows twice, you'll deny me three times.” (at Gethsemane:)  My soul is sorrowful even to death.  Keep watch.”  He fell and prayed that if possible the hour might pass by him, then returned to find them asleep.  (to Peter:)  Couldn't you keep watch one hour?  Watch and pray....”  He prayed again, then returned to find them asleep.  Again:  The hour has come!  The Son is to be handed over.”  Judas arrived with a crowd; they arrested him, and the disciples fled.  The chief priests tried to get testimony to put Jesus to death but found none.  High priest:  “Are you the Christ?” / “I am....” / You heard the blasphemy!”  They condemned him.  Peter denied him three times then wept.  The Sanhedrin bound Jesus and led him to Pilate:  “Are you the king of the Jews?” /  “You say so.” / (to crowd:)  “Shall I release the king of the Jews?” / (incited crowd:) Barabbas / “What about [Jesus]?” / “Crucify him.”  He handed him over.  Soldiers clothed him in purple, put a crown of thorns on him, mocked him, and led him out, pressing Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross.  They gave Jesus myrrh-drugged wine, but he didn't take it.  They crucified him and cast lots for his clothes.  Inscription:  “The King of the Jews.”   Crucified with him:  two revolutionaries.  Passers-by reviled him:  “Come down and save yourself!”  Chief priests:  “He saved others but can't save himself.  Let him come down that we may see and believe.”  3pm:  My God, why have you forsaken me?”  He expired.  Centurion:  “Truly he was the Son of God!”  Women looked on:   Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and of Joses, and others.  Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body; Pilate gave it to him.  Joseph took him down, laid him in a tomb, and rolled a stone against its entrance; Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Joses watched.
          • Creighton:  Today we begin to walk with Jesus in his sorrow, fear, and suffering.  Compassion = "suffer with."  It’s hard to stay with suffering; we can focus on ourselves, but we're called to open to vulnerability.  The more I'm with Jesus in his suffering, the more I feel his love.  He suffers with me and asks me to enter into others' suffering.  Spread the word of Jesus and his love, remain vulnerable, be a witness for him, and feel his deep love.
          • One Bread One Body:  "Uninterrupted Sanctus":  The Church hopes our "Holy, holy, holy" and "Hosanna" will last forever.  Jesus' admirers changed their tune from "Hosanna!" to "Crucify him!"  When Jesus told the apostles they'd turn from him, they asserted they'd rather die for him, but then they deserted him.  Will I crucify Jesus by sin or praise him by repentance?
            The Agony in the Garden/ El Greco
          •  Does the King of glory find welcome in your heart?  Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing betrayal, rejection, and crucifixion awaited him.  The people were ready to hail him as king but didn't know his entry into Jerusalem was a fulfillment of Zechariah's Messianic prophecy.  He came riding on a colt, a sign of peace; he entered in humility, offering victory and peace through the cross and resurrection.  Augustine re Jesus' entry:  "The master of humility is Christ....  He doesn't lose his divinity when he teaches humility.... What was it to the king of the ages to become the king of humanity?  Christ was not the king of Israel to equip an army to vanquish an enemy.  He was the king in that he rules minds, gives counsel, and leads those who believe, hope, and love.  It's condescension, not advancement, for the Son of God, the Word, to become king; it indicates pity, not power."  (Tractates on John 51, paraphrased)
          Thanks to guest dressers Lori and Jamie!
          Dress legend
          • 'Hand' tie pin:  "They pierced my hands and feet" (psalm); they laid hands on Jesus (gospel); 'Palm' Sunday (today's celebration)
          • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  "I can count all my bones" (psalm)
          • NEW 'Gambling' tie:  "For my vesture they cast lots." (psalm) [I'll have to save my 'dogs' tie, for "many dogs surround me" (also from psalm), for another day.]
          • Crucifix pin:  Jesus became obedient to the point of ... death on a cross (2nd reading)
          • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  At Jesus' name every knee shall bend (2nd reading); Jesus' prayer at Gethsemane; we kneel when we read Jesus gave up his spirit (gospel)
          • 'Wheat' and 'grapes' pins, 'silverware' tie bar:  Last Supper:  he took bread... and a cup, saying...; they gave him myrrh-drugged wine (gospel) [Ouch; I can't find my 'grapes' pin.  "Holy Tony, look around; it's lost and gotta be found..."]
          • 'Blood drop' pin:  “This is my blood..." (gospel)
          • 'Rooster' pin:  "Before the cock crows twice, you'll deny me three times" (gospel)
          • 'Coin' button:  They paid Judas thirty pieces of silver (gospel)
          • 'Clock' tie bar:  “My appointed time draws near”; "Peter, you couldn't keep watch with me one hour?" Darkness came from noon to 3pm (gospel)
          • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed" (gospel)
          • 'Sword' tie pin:  Have you come out with swords...? (gospel)
          • '?' tie pin:  Pilate first questions Jesus, then the crowd (gospel)
          • 'Roses' pin:  they wove a crown out of thorns (gospel)
          • 'Stone' tie pin:  he rolled a stone against the tomb entrance (gospel)
          • 'Crown' tie bar:  They weaved him a crown of thorns (gospel)
          • 'Wooden' suspenders:  wood of the cross (gospel)
          • Red in tie and pins:  today's liturgical color
          • Purple shirt:  Lenten season, but not today's color (that's the trick)

          March 28, 2015

          March 28

          March 28, 2015:  Saturday, Fifth Week of Lent

          Where are the 11 connections
          with today's Bible readings and celebration?
          Legend below

          Listen:  Passion Sunday preview
          East and West before the Mystery of Salvation,
          Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 4th Lenten homily (continued from yesterday
          An asymmetrical comparison:  The West’s conception of salvation is more familiar to us, but there's a paradox:  Augustine, who trumpeted the necessity of grace for salvation and identified the gift with the Giver, the Spirit, also restricted its field of action.
          To counter the Pelagians, Augustine highlighted the role of prevenient grace (preserving, helping, healing), but his doctrine of original sin as hereditary caused baptism to be seen as liberation from original sin, though he mentioned other benefits of baptism such as divine sonship, insertion into Christ, and the gift of the Spirit. But in how baptism is administered and viewed, the negative aspect has prevailed over the positive.  If you ask an average Christian what it means to be “in God's grace,” you'll likely hear “to live without sin on your conscience.”
          Heresies push theology to focus on one doctrinal point at the expense of the whole, but what made Augustine's temporary loss of balance so long-lasting is his unique stature and authority. After him, Duns Scotus proposed an explanation closer to the Greeks':  the Incarnation was primarily to sum everything up in Christ, not primarily to redeem from sin, so it would have taken place even if Adam hadn't sinned.  But his voice remained isolated; instead, the one that stood out, Luther's, exacerbated Augustine's:  God extrinsically imputed righteousness, leaving the baptized sinners in themselves but justified in God's eyes.
          Some Orthodox authors considered our concepts of salvation as different on almost all counts:  in the East, theology, spirituality, and mysticism are united (theology is experiential), but in the West, mysticism and spirituality were distinct from dogmatics. The East-West encounter would have produced different results and fewer conflicts if people had taken into account spiritual movements and mystics who lived salvation experientially instead of treating it as theory.
          The "dark night" of the West's John of the Cross is in line with the “God in darkness” of the East's Gregory of Nyssa.  No mention is made of Western monasticism, of St. Francis' positive, Christocentric spirituality, or of mystical writings in harmony with Eastern theology.  We Westerners made the harmful separation between theology and spirituality; we can't ask others to synthesize them when we haven't. (concluded tomorrow)
          • Ez 37:21-28  I'll gather Israel's children, bring them back to their land, and make them one; never again shall they defile themselves with idols and transgressions.  I'll deliver and cleanse them so they may be my people and I their God.  David shall be their prince; they shall live by my statutes.  Forever they'll live where their fathers did.  I'll make with them a covenant of peace, will multiply them, will put my sanctuary among them, and all shall know I'm the one who made Israel holy.
          • Jer 31:10-12abcd, 13  "The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock."  The Lord shall ransom Jacob; he who scattered Israel now gathers them.  They'll come streaming to the Lord’s blessings.  I'll turn their mourning into joy.
          • Jn 11:45-56  Many began to believe, but some went to the Pharisees, who said, “What are we to do?  If we leave him alone, all will believe, and we'll lose our nation.”  High priest Caiaphas:  “It's better for you that one man die, so that the nation may not perish.”  So from then on they planned to kill him, and Jesus no longer walked about in public.  Many who went up to Jerusalem for Passover looked for Jesus.
            • Creighton:  We celebrate the anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's martyrdom.  John said Caiaphas was being prophetic in saying Jesus would die for the people, even though he, just looking to get rid of Jesus, didn't understand.  Romero's death was the result of the military's attempt to get rid of him , to silence him, but his blood was the seed of faith.  His preaching gave oppressed people hope.  We're grateful for Jesus' sacrifice and the witness of all who serve the faith in a way that promotes justice.  May be have the courage to live the Gospel so others might see our love and believe we're Jesus' disciples.
            • One Bread One Body:  "Goings on":  If we let Jesus go on, "let go and let God," we'll lose our lives. If we let him be our Lord, he'll change our plans, dethrone us and invade our comfort zones.  If we don't, he'll keep knocking and challenging us to repent.  Jesus gives no alternative to crucifixion:  either we are crucified with Christ, or we crucify him.  May we carry the cross daily and let Jesus "go on."
            • Passionist:  The Sanhedrin, shaken by news that Jesus raised someone from the dead, and that more people believed in Him, decided to get rid of him, afraid the Romans would take everything from them.  They embraced the death of Jesus instead of new life in him, for fear of losing their old life.  Am I hesitant to embrace new life in Christ out of fear of losing my comfy old life?  If I believe in Jesus, I can trust that any change arising from putting him more at the center of my life will be life-giving. Embracing Jesus will bring us closer to him, to those close to us, and to the rest of the world.
            •  Jesus set his face like flint, knowing what awaited him.  What irony that Caiaphas prophesied Jesus must die for the nation.  Jesus came to lay down his life for the many, waiting till nothing would stop him from fulfilling his Father's mission.  "The passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the hope of glory and a lesson in patience...  He loved us so much that, sinless, he suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved. How then can he, source of righteousness, not give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness?  How can he, whose promises are true, not reward the saints when he though sinless bore the punishment of sinners?  Fearlessly acknowledge and openly proclaim that Christ was crucified for us; confess it not in fear but joy, not in shame but glory." (St. Augustine, paraphrased)  Jesus' cross is the way to glory and victory for us.
            Dress legend
            • 'Children around the world' tie:  I'll take the children of Israel from the nations (1st reading)
            • '2 interlocking rubies' tie bar:  God uniting Israel and Judah (1st reading)
              • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  No longer shall they defile themselves with their idols (1st reading)
              • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  I'll make with them a covenant of peace (1st reading)
              • 'Abacus' tie pin:  I'll 'multiply' them (1st reading); 'division' between Sanhedrin and Jesus (gospel); how to do both.
              • 'Sheep' tie bar:  God will guard us as a shepherd his flock; sheep among Lord's blessings (psalm)
              • 'Kentucky sign' pin:  This man is performing many signs  (gospel)
              • Crucifix:  It's better that one die so that the whole nation may not perish. (not the way Caiaphas intended) (gospel)
              • Purple shirt:  Lenten season

              March 27, 2015

              March 27

              March 27, 2015:  Friday, Fifth Week of Lent

              • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Lord, you probe mind and heart (1st reading)
              • 'Rock' tie pin:  Lord, my Rock (psalm); Jews started to stone Jesus (gospel)
              • '?' tie pin:  Jesus' questions to the Jews (gospel)
              • "I ♥ my dad" tie:  Jesus' relationship with the Father (gospel)
              • Purple shirt:  Lenten season
              East and West before the Mystery of Salvation,
              Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 4th Lenten homily
              Greek Christians' life goal is divinization; Western Christians', holiness.  The Word became flesh, according to the Greeks, to restore our likeness to God lost through Adam and to divinize us; according to the Latins, to redeem us and pay the debt owed to God’s justice.
              Two aspects of salvation:  Old Testament prophets announced “the new and eternal covenant” with a negative aspect (elimination of sin and evil) and a positive one (the gift of a new heart and new spirit, rebuilding/restoring God's work).  God wants to take out our iniquity (stony heart) and put in a new heart and spirit.  John the Baptist presents Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” and the one “who baptizes with the Spirit.”  In the Synoptics, redemption predominates; Jesus identifies himself as the Servant of Yahweh who atones for sin and speaks of his blood poured out “for the forgiveness of sin.”  John presents Jesus as “the expiation for our sins and the whole world's” but emphases the positive aspect more:  once the Word was made flesh, light, truth, life, and grace came, and the gift of the Spirit receives greater prominence than expiation of sin.  In Paul the two aspects are in perfect balance:  he says Christ came to free us from death, sin, and the law, then says Christ has procured for us the Spirit, sonship, God's love, and final glorification.
              Church Fathers received the aspects differently:  the East assimilated the positive (deification, restoration of image of God), the West the negative (freedom from sin), but the two visions aren't so far apart.  The Latins expressed the positive in the concept of divine sonship, based on the indwelling of the Trinity.  Orthodox soteriology isn't summed up in divinization nor Western in St. Anselm's theory of expiation. Greek fathers also spoke of sacrifice for sin (ransom, debt repayment), seeing the paschal mystery as integral to divinization.  Nature and sin blocked communication between God and us; the Incarnation removed the first, the crucifixion the second.  In some cases the East affirms salvation through the Incarnation of the Word into the human nature present in every person; in an extreme case, divinization is seen to come before baptism.  East and West theories aren't so clearly divided, but the difference is clear in the understanding original sin and the primary effect of baptism.  Eastern Christians never understood original sin as inherited “guilt” but as the transmission of a nature inclined to sin, like a loss of the image of God in us due not only to Adam's sin but to that of succeeding generations.
              We profess “one baptism for the remission of sins,” but in the East baptism's aim isn't to remove original sin but to free people from sin's power, restoring the image of God and inserting us into Christ.  This different perspective leads to different images of Mary:  "immaculate" (conceived without original sin, macula. In the West, she is seen as “immaculate” that is, conceived without original sin (macula). In the East, her corresponding title is Panhagia, the All-Holy. (continued tomorrow)
              • Jer 20:10-13  Many whisper:  “Let's denounce him!  Perhaps he'll be trapped and we can take vengeance.”  But the Lord is with me; they'll be put to shame.  Lord, I've entrusted my cause to you; let me witness your vengeance.  You've rescued the poor!
              • Ps 18:2-7  "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice."  I love you, Lord, my rock, my deliverer; I'm safe from my enemies.
              • Jn 10:31-42  The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus for blasphemy:  “You, a man, are making yourself God.”  Jesus:  “Can you say the one the Father has sent blasphemes by saying, ‘I'm the Son of God’?  If I perform his works, at least believe the works, so you may realize the Father is in me and I'm in the Father.”  He went back to the place where John first baptized; many there began to believe in him.

              • Creighton:  Let go of stress before it becomes distress.  God gives us perspective, gives us examples about how to handle stress (e.g. birds sing), helps us do something about the causes, invites us to give up control and turn our stresses over to him.  We're dependent on him....
                • One Bread One Body"On the threshold of God's glory":  We're approaching Holy Week, the Triduum, and the Easter octave to celebrate God's greatest work, but we may like Jeremiah be denounced.  Let's make it a priority to give God our prime time....
                • Passionist:  "The prophet is never accepted in his own home…":   Yves Congar, O.P., likely influencer of Pope Francis, said true reform is rooted in pastoral concern for ordinary faithful people, especially those on the periphery, and unites us; false reform is driven by ideas in self-enclosed groups distant from the faithful and leads to disunity and loss of identity....
                •  Jesus met the religious leaders blasphemy charge:  the good works he did demonstrated his power came from God; he can speak of himself as Son of God because Scripture speaks of people as gods;  the Father consecrated him for a special task and sent him to carry out his Father's mission.