March 2, 2015

March 2

March 2, 2015:  Monday, Second Week of Lent

  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "We the sheep of your pasture will give thanks..." (psalm)
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  "The measure you measure will be measured to you." (gospel)
  • White shirt:  Transfiguration clothing (Sunday gospel)
  • 'Jubilee year' button:  Gospel fills us with joy (Cantalamessa homily)
  • Purple in suspenders:  Lenten season

From the Vatican
Pope Francis homily:  The ability to judge oneself is a Christian virtue, the first step for those who want to be Christian.  We're masters self-justification with alibis to explain away our shortcomings and sins.  It’s easy to blame others, but if we look at what we're capable of doing, we'll feel disgust but then receive peace and health.  When I feel envy and know it's capable of speaking ill of others and assassinating them, it's the wisdom of judging oneself.  If I don't learn this step, I'll never be able to take other steps along the Christian road.
Judge yourself:  I'm capable of doing bad things.  The roots of sin are in each of us.  Recognize the shame of your sin and the greatness of God's mercy.  "Be merciful as your Father is merciful."  When you accuse yourself first, you're merciful to others:  who am I to judge, if I can do worse things?  "Stop judging and condemning, and you won't be judged and condemned.  Forgive and you'll be forgiven."  May the Lord give us grace to judge ourselves, ask for shame and mercy, and be merciful to others.
Pope's Angelus:  At the Transfiguration Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem, where the 'Servant of God' prophecies would be fulfilled.  The crowds, facing the prospect Jesus wouldn't liberate them from Roman rule as they thought the Messiah would, abandoned him.  Peter, James and John witness Jesus on a mountain, praying, transfigured, radiant, revealed as perfect icon of the Father in glory.  "Listen to him!"  Listen to and follow the Savior; the journey leads us to happiness.  We too climb the Mount of Transfiguration and stop in contemplation of Jesus' face, to receive the message and translate it into our lives; love can transfigure us.
Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's homily: Gospel Joy Fills Heart and Life (concluded, from yesterday)
4. Faith, works and the Spirit:  We don't reduce the Gospel to faith, neglecting works.  The Bible speaks of conversion to those who have already believed.  A child can do nothing to be conceived, but once born, it must use its lungs and suck milk or else the life it received is extinguished.  In the same way, “faith apart from works is dead.”  “Faith renders itself active through love”:  we're not saved by good works, but we're not saved without good works.
Evangelii Gaudium reflects the faith/works synthesis:  the gospel says no to egoism, injustice, idolatry of money and yes to service of others, social commitment, and the poor.  The personal encounter with Jesus becomes the spring for evangelization and sanctification.  The need for commitment doesn't attenuate the promise of joy but reinforces it.  The grace God offered by sending his Son doesn't leave us alone; it does in and with us what it commands, making us “overjoyed also in tribulation.”  The Holy Spirit “helps us in our weakness”; he's our great resource.  The promised joy is the fruit of the Spirit, maintained only through continuous contact with him.
Human breathing takes place in two phases:  inspiration and expiration.  It's a good symbol of what should happen in the spiritual organism:  through prayer, meditation, sacraments, mortification, and silence, we inhale the Spirit; we diffuse the Spirit when we go out towards others to proclaim the faith and do works of charity.  The Lenten Season a time of inspiration.  Take deep breaths; fill your soul's lungs with the Spirit, so our breath will have the scent of Christ.
  • Dn 9:4b-10 “Lord, we've sinned, but compassion and forgiveness are yours!” 
  • Ps 79:8-9, 11, 13 "Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins." O God, help us, deliver us, and pardon our sins; then we'll will give thanks and praise you.
  • Lk 6:36-38 Be merciful like your Father. Stop judging, stop condemning, forgive, and give; the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. 
    • Creighton:  The gospel gives us a blueprint for loving and generous relationships with others.  It's also the kind of relationship God wants with and for us:  mercy and compassion, not judging or condemnation.  We can only experience the covenant relationship with God we've been promised when we get out of the way. God is love and God is generous!
    • One Bread One Body:  "Permissiveness and compassion":  Today's readings speak of ever-increasing awareness of sin.  Sin results in being brought low.  People who rebel against God will reap sin's harvest, disaster and death; the measure rebels measure will be measured back to them.  A Christian can't encourage a lost sheep to wander into sin rather than the Good Shepherd's loving protection.  Permissiveness can be seen as an act of indifference, the opposite of compassion.  Compassion doesn't judge motivation but doesn't ignore sin's effects; it embraces the lost and stands ready to rescue them from the consequences of its rebellions.
    • Passionist:  "Give....  The measure you measure will be measured to you" is a great standard for a Lenten project.  All day we give and receive greetings, food, talk, right of way on the road, smiles,....  Will I give in good measure?  Will I receive in humble gratitude?  Will my Lent prepare me for God's greatest gift, Jesus' sacrifice on a cross, so that we too might rise? 
    •  Do I pray for mercy and pardon for myself and others who need it?  Do I forgive, or allow resentment to grow?  Daniel was shamefaced before God because he recognized many had been unfaithful.  He acknowledged the sins and pleaded for compassion.  When we're confronted with our sins, we experience guilt and shame.  If we're honest and humble, we'll ask for mercy and forgiveness and turn towards good.
    Jesus, knowing us, said "don't judge lest you be judged":  we judge with mixed motives, impure hearts, and prejudice.  We must be cleansed to discern right judgment with grace and mercy.  Ephrem the Syrian:  "With the judgment you judge shall you be judged is like 'Forgive, and it will be forgiven you.'  One who's judged with justice should forgive with grace, so that when he's judged, he may be forgiven.  It was on account of judges who seek vengeance that he said, 'Don't condemn' (don't seek vengeance for yourselves).  Don't judge from appearances and opinion and then condemn, but admonish and advise.  (Commentary on Tatian's Diatessaron, 6.18B, paraphrased) 
    Treat others as God wishes, with forbearance, mercy, and kindness.  God, good to saint and sinner alike, seeks what's best and teaches us to seek others' good.  Our love must be marked by the kindness God shows us, though it's hard when we can expect nothing in return.  Prayer for those who do us ill breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love.  God makes it possible for us to love those who cause us grief; God's love conquers all, even our hurts and fears.
      • Universalis:  St. Chad, bishop, abbot, outstanding in humility and simplicity of life.

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