March 24, 2015

March 24

March 24, 2015:  Tuesday, Fifth Week of Lent

  • 'Serpent' tie pin:  Bronze serpent (1st reading)
  • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  "Lord, hear my prayer" (psalm)
  • 'I ♥ my dad' tie:  Jesus always does what pleases the Father (gospel)
  • Purple shirt and suspenders:  Lenten season


Pope Francis
Accept God's ways (today's homily):  God offers us salvation so many ways, but we often can't accept them, just as the Israelites objected to the "wretched food" God provided.  We can becoming sullen and grumbly, poisoned by dissatisfaction, wanting salvation on our own terms, but to not accept God’s gift the way it's offered is a sin; it poisons us, depriving us of joy. Jesus solved the problem by taking the poison on himself on the cross. 
 Don't be a tepid halfway Christian showing enthusiasm at the start but becoming dissatisfied on the way; look at the Cross, the serpent, the venom in the Body of Christ, the poison of the world's sins, and be healed.  How many Christians today die in the desert of their sorrow, not accepting God’s way?  Ask for the grace to accept difficult moments, God's way of salvation, the "wretched food," the grace to accept the ways the Lord leads us. 
Corruption vs. mercy (Monday homily):  Susanna, the adulteress, and the poor widow represent allegorical figures of the Church:  holy, sinning, and needy.  Evil, corrupt judges condemned them all.

The scribes and Pharisees who took the adulteress to Jesus were corrupted by rigidity; they thought themselves pure from observing the law but didn't know mercy.  Rigidity leads one live a double life:  condemning the women but seeking them out for fun; Jesus called them hypocrites.  Those in the Church who judge and condemn others have double standards too.  The lustful elders/judges who tried to blackmail Susanna were corrupted by depravation.  The judge the widow called on to render a just decision was corrupted by greed.  None of them knew mercy; their corruption kept them from understanding one must be merciful.  Justice is found in mercy. 
The women—the saint, the sinner, and the needy, figures representing the Church—suffer for lack of mercy.  Today we can find ourselves before ‘judges’ who lack mercy, in civilian or church environments.  When God’s people ask for forgiveness, one of these judges may condemn them.  People can exploit us, rob us of hope, punish sinners for sins they themselves conceal; this is lack of mercy.  "Neither do I condemn you" is one of the most beautiful scripture passages because it's full of mercy.
Nm 21:4-9  The children of Israel complained, “Why did you bring us to die in this desert with its wretched food?!”  In punishment the Lord sent saraph serpents; many died from their bites.  The people told Moses, “We've sinned in complaining.  Pray the Lord to take the serpents away.”  After Moses prayed, the Lord told him, “Mount a saraph; whoever looks at it will live.” He did; it worked.
  • Ps 102:2-3, 16-21  "O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you."  The Lord looked down to hear the groaning of the prisoners and release those doomed to die.
  • Jn 8:21-30  Jesus to Pharisees:  “I'm going away.  I don't belong to this world.  If you don't believe I AM, you'll die in your sins.  I say only what the Father taught me.  The one who sent me is with me.  I do what is pleasing to him.”  Many came to believe.

  • Creighton:  In today's gospel Jesus shows great confidence in his mission.  May God give us courage, conviction, and confidence in God's ability to use us.
    Moses and the Brazen Serpent/ Bourdon
  • One Bread One Body: "Food poison?" The Israelites' basic sin was idolatry, and a part of it was their craving for the food of slavery: meat, fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, garlic grain, figs, grapes, and pomegranates (Nm 11:4-5;20:5); they were disgusted with God's "wretched" food, the miraculously delivered manna. What's my relationship with food?
  • Passionist:  People in Exodus grumbled, mistakenly accusing God of not caring for them.  We must learn to look on Christ crucified, "lifted up," to learn how deeply God cares for us.  A priest visiting the Holy Land bought a crucifix for his parish; Security x-rayed it for explosives.  He thought, if only they knew how explosive the cross really is!
  •  The bronze serpent reminded the people that sin leads to death and repentance leads to God's mercy and healing. The wooden pole points to Jesus' being lifted up on the wooden cross to break the curse of sin and death and win pardon, healing, and life.  To sin literally means to 'miss the mark' (be off-target).  Sin diverts us from God and our true purpose . Sin separates us from the all-seeing, ever present, all-loving, merciful One.  How do I hide or distract myself from God's voice?
  • Universalis:  St. Macartan, bishop, companion of St. Patrick

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