March 21, 2015

March 21

March 21, 2015:  Saturday, Fourth Week of Lent

  • 'Lamb' tie bar:  Like a trusting lamb led to slaughter... (1st reading)
  • 'Tree' pin:  Let's destroy the tree in its vigor (1st reading)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  God searches hearts, saves the upright of heart (1st reading)
  • 'Lion' pin:  Save me lest I become like the lion's prey (psalm)
  • 'Shield' pin:  God is a shield before me (psalm)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin: a 'division' arose because of Jesus (gospel)
  • 'Hands' tie:  No one laid hands on Jesus (gospel)
  • Purple shirt:  Lenten season
Pope Francis Naples homily

The Lord's word causes division between those who welcome it and those who reject it; it sparks inner conflict when we perceive its attractiveness, beauty, and truth but see it challenges us, puts us in difficulty, and costs so much to observe.  Jesus alone has the words of mercy to heal us; he alone has the words of eternal life.  His word has God's power and is strong in humility.  Its power is of boundless love that makes us love others before ourselves.  His word gives strength and teaches that true blesseds are poor in spirit, non-violent, meek, and work for peace and justice; it's the only way to change the world.  He wants to reach everyone, especially those on the peripheries, that they find in him the center of their lives and the source of hope.  Bring everyone God's mercy, tenderness, and friendship.

Parishes must become sanctuaries for those seeking God and welcoming homes for the poor, elderly, and needy.  To go and to welcome: it's the heart of Mother Church and her children.  Go, welcome, seek; bring love, mercy, and tenderness.  When hearts open to the Gospel, the world changes and humanity rises again!  If we welcome and live the Word of Jesus, we rise with him.  May you be full of the hope of Christ, the Lord!  Open yourselves to the power of the Risen Jesus and you'll bear the fruits of new life, sharing, reconciliation, service, and brotherhood.  Be enveloped, embraced by the mercy only Jesus can bring.

Be open to hope and don't let it be stolen from you!  Don't give in to the lure of money or dishonest income.  React firmly to organizations that exploit and corrupt the young, the poor, and the weak.  May corruption and delinquency not disfigure your joy.  Convert to love and justice!  Jesus wants to embrace and love you; let yourselves find God's mercy!  Our forgiving God will help you return to an honest life.  In the mercy of Christ, who makes all things new, go forward with strength and hope, resisting evil, seeing the world through God's eyes and heart, betting on God's mercy.  Jesus is Lord!

Pope Francis in Scampia
Immigrants aren't 2nd-class citizens; we're all God's children, immigrants on the journey of life.  Unemployment robs people of their dignity.  Exploitation of workers isn't Christian.  Corruption in society stinks, and a Christian who succumbs to it isn't Christian.  Have the courage to hope; it's at the core of life, joy, religion, and mercy.
East and West:  Before the Mystery of the Holy Spirit, Lenten sermon of papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa

Toward Filioque agreement:  East and West disagree about the procession of the Holy Spirit.  We all believe “in the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets” (381); it doesn't explicitly say the Spirit is God or mention the Spirit's other work, but the Church later agreed on it.  It's silent on the Spirit/Son relationship, though the creed says Jesus “was incarnate by the power of the Spirit.” 

Greek Fathers said the Spirit proceeds from the Father “through the Son,” that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and receives from the Son.”  The Latin Church coined Filioque to say the Spirit proceeds “from the Father and from the Son”;  Ambrose formulated the formula, highlighting the Son and Spirit's common origin from the Father.  Augustine justified it without putting Father and Son in the same role:  “the Spirit principally proceeds from the Father and, as the Father's gift to the Son, from both at the same time”; his conception of Trinitarian relationships as based on love required this, and it explained the procession of the Spirit vs. the generation of the Word.  Fulgentius of Ruspe introduced Filioque; silent regarding principally, he said “the Spirit proceeds from the Son just as from the Father” and “is completely from the Father and completely from the Son.”  An 809 synod advocated adding Filioque to the creed; the pope found it unnecessary, but a later pope added it.

In light of today's Orthodox/Catholic dialogue and mutual esteem, the Filioque no longer seems an insurmountable obstacle.  Qualified Orthodox representatives are disposed to accept the Latin doctrine. Theologian Zizioulas:  The “golden rule” must be Maximus the Confessor’s explanation:  by professing the Filioque, our Western brethren don't wish to introduce another cause in God’s being except the Father, and a mediating role of the Son in the origination of the Spirit relates to the divine nature.  Once East and West agree on that, there's basis for rapprochement.  The words maintain the Orthodox position that the Father is the unique cause that is “not caused” of the procession of the Holy Spirit, which is compatible with Augustine's position.  These words are also in line with the Latin point of view attributing to the Son an active role in the procession of the Spirit from the Father, even if they don't share the Latins' precise specification, “as though from a single principle.”

The Catechism speaks of a “legitimate complementarity, provided it doesn't become rigid or affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed”; the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity speaks along these same lines.  As a sign of this willingness for reconciliation, John Paul II started omitting the Filioque from the Latin creed in certain ecumenical celebrations. (continued tomorrow)

  • Jer 11:18-20  Lord, you showed me their doings; I hadn't realized they were plotting against me.  I trusted you; let me see your vengeance.
  • Ps 7:2-3, 9bc-12  "O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge." I'm innocent; save me. God is just; he saves the upright.
  • Jn 7:40-53  Some heard Jesus and said, “He's the Prophet,” “He's the Christ,” or “The Christ won't come from Galilee; Scripture says he'll come from Bethlehem.”  A division arose.  Pharisees / guards: “Why didn't you bring him?” / “No one has spoken like him.” / “Have you been deceived?  Have the authorities believed in him?”  Nicodemus / Pharisees: “Does our law condemn someone before we find out what he's doing?” Prophets don't come from Galilee.”
    • Creighton:  Only the Lord is truly trustworthy.  In the gospel, people trust Jesus because they hear him and don’t trust the Pharisees because they're ready to condemn him without even hearing him.  We want to trust but can’t always trust others. Trust your gut; trust your heart; trust God.
      Pharisees/ Schmidt-Rottluff
    • One Bread One Body:  "Cross-word puzzles":  The guards were impressed by Jesus' words, but the Pharisees said Jesus had taken them in.  It had happened before:  "The chief priests were looking for a way to destroy him but had no idea how, for everyone was hanging on his words."  Jesus' words protected him for years from those antagonized by them.  "I gave them your word, and the world has hated them for it." We'll either hate him, his word, and those who proclaim it or find his words our joy and happiness....
    • Passionist:  Esteemed prophet Jeremiah underwent grueling treatment but portrays himself as a trusting lamb being led to slaughter.  Jesus, the greatest prophet, was the center of attention, meeting with mixed response.  May we abide by our convictions and commitments undeterred from opposition or criticism.  We're called to be prophets in our conduct, if not in word.
    •  Do I respond to opposition with fear or faith?  Am I ready to give Jesus my full allegiance?  Do I choose God's kingdom of justice, peace, and joy?  The costly grace and freedom the Lord offers those who embrace the cross leads to joy and blessing; cheap grace, that tries to bypass the cross  leads to emptiness and futility. What's my choice?

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