March 12, 2015

March 12

March 12, 2015:  Thursday, Third Week of Lent

See 10 connections with today's readings
and celebration?  Legend below

God says bitterly that his people walked in hardness of heart; God gave them everything but received only unfaithfulness and bad things.  It’s as if God were weeping.  When Jesus looked at Jerusalem, he also wept, remembering the history of unfaithfulness.  We follow our will, but that makes our heart stone hard, and God's Word can't penetrate it, so we grow more distant.  Ask, "Do I listen to God's voice, or do what I please?”
The Gospel offers an example of a hard heart, deaf to God:  Jesus drives out a demon and in return is accused of being a demoniac sorcerer.  It's also happened in the Church:  inquisitors following rules but far from God's love burned St. Joan of Arc at the stake as a heretic.  More recently, it was considered a sin to read Antonio Rosmini's writings, but now he's a Blessed.  God sent prophets to tell us that he loved us; now the Lord sends the Saints who carry forward the life of the Church.  Saints are those who aren't afraid to let God's mercy caress them. That’s why they understand pain, suffering, and misery and accompany God's people.
Jesus says, "Whoever is not with me is against me"; there's no compromise or third way.  You're either on the path of love or of hypocrisy; you either let God love you or do as you please and let your heart harden day by day.  Either you're a saint, or you take the other route. Whoever isn't receptive wastes and wrecks; they're corrupt and they corrupt.
  • Jer 7:23-28  I commanded, "Listen; walk in my ways," but they walked in the hardness of their evil hearts.  This is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the Lord or take correction.  Faithfulness has disappeared...
  • Ps 95:1-2, 6-9  "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts."  Sing to the Lord our God, the Rock of our salvation.  Worship; kneel before our Maker.  He shepherds us.
  • Lk 11:14-23  Some said, “Jesus drives out demons by Beelzebul's power”; others asked him for a sign.  He said, “If Satan is divided, how will his kingdom stand?... Whoever is not with me is against me.”
      • Creighton:  Lent reminds us we're all houses divided against ourselves.  We have one foot in material concerns and one in the spiritual world.  Material concerns are OK, but not letting them push matters of the soul into a corner....
      • One Bread One Body:  "Hardly praying?"  A hard heart leads as much to spiritual death as hard arteries can stop blood flow and kill the body.  Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like Yours.
      • Passionist:  We're sent among many who don’t walk in God's ways.  Paying attention to God’s voice is recognizing the “muteness” around us, and speaking of God's love.  For Karl Rahner, Lent is to “stand up and face the God-distance of a choked-up heart.  What God is really far away from you in emptiness of heart?  Not the true and living God,... the God of your measureless heart; only a God who doesn't exist, one of our small thoughts and cheap feelings....  Know God is with you, waiting and listening, even though you don't let him get a word in.”  At Gethsemane Jesus “lay on his face; death crept into his heart and the world's….  The earth gulped down the blood of his mortal terror… In this death-silence the Son's voice floated, the only sign from God still left.  But miraculously the voice remained; the Son spoke with a voice like a dead man’s:  ‘Father, Thy will be done.’” Through, in, and with him our soul is laid in the Father's hands.  Our Lenten sacrifices deliver us from muteness to respond to life's burdens and bitterness.  Fasting is standing firm, drinking the cup of poverty, want, and God-distance.  Lord, give me your grace to do this.
      •  True peace and security come to those who trust and obey God.  We can't win the struggle between my will and God's by our strength alone.  Jesus' exorcisms brought freedom to many oppressed by evil spirits; he himself battled with Satan when tempted in the wilderness. He overcame him through his obedience to the Father.  Jewish leaders reacted vehemently to his healings and exorcisms, slandered him, and attributed his power to Satan.  Jesus answered with two arguments:  they were also incriminating themselves (the other exorcists), and no divided kingdom can survive.  His reference to the finger of God points to Moses' confrontation with Pharaoh and his magicians (Ex 8:19); he claims to carry on the tradition of Moses whose miracles freed the Israelites by the finger of God.  God's power is at work in Jesus' exorcisms; they give evidence God's kingdom has come.
      Clothing legend
      • 'Walker' tie pin: Walk in the ways I command you (1st reading)
      • 'Hearts' suspenders:  They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts (1st reading); If you hear God, don't harden your heart (psalm)
      • 'Rock' tie pin:  Acclaim the Rock of our salvation (psalm)
      • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  Kneel before the one who made us (psalm)
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  We're the flock he guides (psalm)
      • 'Signs' tie:  Some asked Jesus for a sign from heaven (gospel)
      • 'Car' tie pin:  "Do I drive out demons by Beelzebul or God's power?" (gospel)
      • 'Abacus' tie pin:  Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste.  How can Satan be divided against himself? (gospel)
      • Purple shirt:  Lenten season

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