July 13, 2015

July 13

July 13, 2015:  Monday, 15th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  The more they were oppressed, the more they 'multiplied.' (how to multiply) (1st reading)
  • 'Bird' pin:  We were rescued like a bird  from the fowlers’ snare (psalm)
  • 'No peace' button:  "I came not to bring peace..."  (gospel)
  • 'Sword' pin:  "...but the sword."  (gospel)
  • 'Cross' pin:  "Whoever doesn't take up his cross and follow me isn't worthy of me."  (gospel)
  • 'Cups' tie:  "Whoever gives a cup of water to one of these won't lose his reward."  (gospel)
  • Blue and green in shirt:  blue for cup of water (gospel), green for Ordinary Time (season)

For gospel
Pope Francis
To Paraguay youth:  Manuel, you experienced hard times but want to help others.  Liz, you showed maturity in being your parents' mother and wisdom when you said, “I hand it over to God; I'm barely making up for what  my mother did for me.”  Young Paraguayans, you show great goodness and courage and try to move forward.  Friends and spiritual retreats are key.
Friendship is one of the greatest gifts one can have and offer.  Jesus tells us, “I've called you friends, for all the Father told me I've made known to you.”  When you love someone, you spend time with them, watch out for them, help them, tell them what you're thinking, and never abandon them.  That’s how Jesus is with us....
Retreats:  St. Ignatius has a famous meditation on the two standards.  He describes the banners of the devil and of Christ then asks what team we want to play for.  He has us imagine what it would be like to belong to each team.  He says the devil, to recruit players, promises riches, honor, glory, and power, but that playing with Jesus is about humility, love, and service.  The devil is called the father of lies; he makes you think that, if you do certain things, you'll be happy, but later you realize you weren’t, that you felt empty, even sad.  The devil is a con artist; he promises but never delivers.  He makes you want things he can’t give and hopes for things that will never make you happy.  Everything he promises is divisive, about comparing ourselves to others, stepping over them to get what we want.  He tells us we have to abandon our friends.  He makes you think your worth depends on what you possess.
But Jesus doesn’t con us, promise the world, wealth, power, or pride; he says, “Happy the poor in spirit, mourners, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, those persecuted for righteousness’ sake; rejoice!”  He doesn’t lie; he shows us the path of life and truth.  He's the proof:  his way of living is friendship with his Father, and that's what he offers us.  He makes us realize we're beloved children.
He doesn't trick you; he knows the happiness that can fill our hearts, isn't from designer clothing but in drawing near to others, weeping with those who weep, being close to those who are feeling low or in trouble.  If we don’t know how to weep, we don’t know how to laugh or live.  Jesus knows happiness comes from patience, respecting others, not condemning or judging them.  “When you get angry, you lose.”  Don’t give in to anger or resentment.  Happy the merciful, those who put themselves in someone else’s shoes, embrace, and forgive....
Sunday's Paraguay homily:  Disciples are called to confidence; Jesus invites is to be his friend, to share his life.  Disciples dwell in this confidence born of friendship.  Jesus sent his disciples out with instructions, challenging them to attitudes and actions we could interpret symbolically, but he's quite precise.  “Take nothing for the journey except a staff....  When you enter a house, stay until you leave.”  It might seem unrealistic, but concentrate on “welcome”; Jesus sent them out to be welcomed, to learn a hallmark of the community.  A Christian is someone who's learned to welcome, to show hospitality.  Jesus didn't send them out as landlords or officials but made them see the Christian journey is about changing hearts, learning to live differently, turning from selfishness, conflict, division, and superiority, to life, generosity, and love; from domineering, stifling and manipulation to welcome, acceptance, and caring.
We can see mission and evangelization as programs and strategies, but we can't convince people with those; you need to welcome them.  The Church is an open-hearted mother, welcoming and accepting, especially those in greater need or difficulty.  Speak the language of hospitality, of welcome!  Welcome the hungry, the thirsty, strangers, the naked, the sick, prisoners, those who don't think like we do, who don't have faith or who have lost it.  Welcome the persecuted, the unemployed, different cultures, sinners.  Isolation underlies our sins, a bitter root that causes damage, finds a place in us, and eats away at life.  It makes us closed in, turning our back on others and God.  The work of the Church isn't project management but living with others.  Welcome-filled fraternity is the best witness that God is our Father; “if you love one another, all will know you're my disciples.”  Jesus opens a horizon of life, beauty, truth, and fulfillment.  God handed over his Son to us so we can learn the way of fraternity, of self-giving.  He sheds light on exclusion, disintegration, loneliness, and isolation; he breaks the silence of loneliness.
When worn down, remember we were created for what the Gospel offers us:  friendship with Jesus and love of others.  We can't force anyone to receive, but nobody can force us not to be welcoming.  No one can tell us us not to embrace the lives of others, especially those who have lost hope and zest for life.  Think of our parishes and communities as centers of encounter between ourselves and God.  The Church is a mother, like Mary who provided a home for the Word, bore it in her womb, and gave it to others.  We must provide a home, like the earth, that receives seed, nourishes it, and makes it grow.  Be Christians like Mary, accepting and welcoming God’s life in others, in confidence....
    Not peace but the sword
  • Ex 1:8-14, 22  A new king came to power in Egypt:  “The children of Israel are powerful and growing more than we!”  He set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor, but they multiplied even more.  Then the Egyptians reduced them to cruel slavery.  Pharaoh then commanded his subjects to throw every boy born to the Hebrews into the river.
  • Ps 124:1b-8  "Our help is in the name of the Lord."  Blessed be the Lord, who rescued us like a bird from the hunters' snare.
  • Mt 10:34-11:1  “I came to bring the sword, not peace, setting family members against each other.  “If you love others more than me or don't take up your cross and follow me, you're not worthy of me.  If you lose your life for my sake, you'll find it.  Whoever receives you receives me and him who sent me.  Whoever gives a cup of water to a disciple will be rewarded....”
    • Creighton:  Jesus wasn't telling leaders how on target they were.  The swift, heavy, decisive, sharp impact of the truth in action and word cuts through religious fluff like a sword....  Conditional love is cruel....
    • One Bread One Body:  "Taming of the shrewd":  Like then in Egypt, many conspire against us.  We need new Daniels to speak out against corruption, new Johns to confront immorality, new Pauls to call society to holiness, people to love Jesus more than anyone or anything....
    • Passionist:  Jesus was challenging his disciples, and later Jewish and Gentile Christians who heard, to trust in their commitment to Jesus as they struggled with their new identity.  Some may have experienced conflict with family members who didn't share the same faith.  This “Way” was such a departure from the old, familiar world.  In the 1st reading, the Israelites had become a threat and were being treated as slaves.  May we recover a sense of our worthiness as God's children, detach from whatever keeps us bound to our old life, pay attention to how God is calling us to follow Jesus.
    • DailyScripture.net:  Jesus came to bring a 'sword'  to cut through our core to expose our corruption and Satan's deception.  Scripture speaks of God's word as "sword of the Spirit," dividing soul and spirit, discerning thoughts and intentions, with power to destroy whatever binds us to sin and deception and bring us freedom to live as God's children.  Jesus said following him would be costly.  Great calls inevitably cause division between those who accept and reject them.  Placing anyone or anything above God is idolatry.

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