July 8, 2015

July 8

July 8, 2015:  Wednesday, 14th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Wheat' pin:  People cried for bread; Joseph rationed it (1st reading)
  • 'Bass guitars' tie:  Praise the Lord with 10-stringed lyre [it's as close as I could get] (psalm)
  • 'Zero'-shaped tie pin:  The Lord brings nations' plans to nought (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord's eyes are on those who fear him and hope....  (psalm)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (gospel)
  • 'Car' tie pin:  Jesus gave the Twelve authority to 'drive' out unclean spirits.  (gospel)
  • Green in shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Pope Francis in Quito
To political, economic, and civic leaders:  In a family, no one is excluded; if one has a problem, all lend support.  It should be the same in society, but social/political relationships are often confrontational.  In families, everyone contributes to the common purpose, not denying but encouraging members' individuality; all feel the joys and sorrows of each.  If only we could view our political opponents or neighbors as we view family!  Do we love our society, the community we're building?  Love it through actions more than words!  Love leads to communication, never isolation.  Do small gestures that strengthen personal bonds.  The love, fraternity, and respect we find in the family are essential values for society:  gratitude, solidarity and subsidiarity.
Gratitude:  Parents love their children equally, but when children don't share what they've received, the relationship breaks down.  Parents' love helps children overcome their selfishness and learn to live with others.  In society we come to see that “gratuitousness” is necessary for justice.  All has been given to us so we can serve others, bearing fruit in good works.  Earth's goods are for everyone, and all property has a social mortgage.  We must move beyond merely economic justice towards social justice upholding the fundamental right to a dignified life.  We shouldn't tap natural resources just for short-term benefits; we have an obligation toward all society and future generations.  You can become a teacher of integral ecology.  We received the world as an inheritance from past generations but also a loan from future generations!
Solidarity in society isn't just giving to those in need but feeling responsible for one another; if we see others as our brothers and sisters, we can't leave anyone out or set them aside.  We must offer real opportunities, create employment, ensure true economic growth shared by all, and promote sustainability.
Respect for others must find social expression in subsidiarity, humbly recognizing our choices aren't necessarily the only legitimate ones.  Acknowledge others' goodness and see richness in diversity and complementarity.  Individuals and groups have the right to go their own way.  Society is called to respect that freedom and help each person and organization contribute to the common good in their own way.  Dialogue to seek the truth; everyone is an indispensable participant.
The Church wants to help pursue the common good, through social and educational works, promoting values, and bringing light and hope to all, especially those most in need.
To educators and students:  Jesus taught by accommodating himself to what they could understand; he aimed for people’s hearts and lives, so that they may bear fruit.  The parable of the sower speaks to us of “cultivating”; it speaks of kinds of soil, ways of sowing and bearing fruit, and how they're related.  God has always urged us to cultivate and care for the earth.  God gave us life, earth, all creation, and a mission to be part of his creative work, saying, "Cultivate! I freely give you seeds, soil, water, sun, your hands, and your brothers and sisters."  Our world is a gift from God so that, with him, we can make it ours. Creation is to be shared; God gave it to us to build up with one another, to build a “we” with God, others, and the earth.
In Genesis, after 'cultivate,' 'care' follows.  Those who don't cultivate don't care, and vice versa.  We're invited to care for creation, to be its guardians.  The earth is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor because of the harm we've inflicted on it by irresponsible use and abuse.
There's a relationship between our life and earth's.  We can't combat environmental degradation without attending to human and social degradation (Laudato Sí 48), yet as both can deteriorate, we they can also support one another; the relationship can lead to openness, transformation, and life, or destruction and death.  It's wrong to turn aside from what's happening, as if it had nothing to do with us.  God's question to Cain, Where is your brother?,” is urgent; we can't answer, “Am I my brother’s keeper?
Our academic institutions are seedbeds full of possibility, fertile soil we must care for, cultivate, and protect.  Do you watch over your students and help them develop open, critical minds capable of caring for the world and seeking new answers to today's challenges?  Do you make a place in your curriculum for life?  Do you support debate and dialogue in pursuit of a more humane world?  Do we make education a mark of greater responsibility in the face of today’s problems, needs of the poor, and concern for the environment?  Don't just analyze and describe reality; shape environments of creative thinking and discussions that develop alternatives to current problems.
Keep reflecting on and talking about our situation. Ask what kind of culture we want for ourselves and our children and grandchildren, what kind of world you want to leave behind, what meaning and direction you want for your lives, why you've been put here, what's the purpose of your efforts, and what the world needs you for.  See reality as organic and ask where we stand in relation to others, inasmuch as everything is interconnected.  May the Spirit inspire us and always be our teacher and companion.
Mass for evangelization of peoples:  I'd like to see Jesus' cry for unity so the world may believe joined with our cry for independence that arose from lack of freedom, under the challenge of evangelization.  We evangelize not with words or concepts but with gospel joy that fills all who encounter Jesus. For those who ac­cept his salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, emptiness, and loneliness” (Evangelii Gaudium 1).  We point to a horizon of beauty and invite others to a banquet.
Jesus' prayer for unity arose in a context of mission: “I've sent them....”  The Lord was experiencing the worst of the world, a world he loved despite its intrigues and betrayals.  Our world is torn by violence, not just struggles between countries or groups but manifestations of individualism that sets us against one another, the legacy of sin in our hearts.  But Jesus sends us into this world; we must respond by taking up his cry and accepting the grace and challenge of being builders of unity.
Evangelization can unite our hopes, concerns, ideals, and visions.  In the face of conflict, we respect others, heal wounds, build bridges, strengthen relationships, and bear one an­other’s burdens.  Desire for unity involves the joy of evangelizing, the conviction that we have a treasure to share that grows stronger from being shared and becomes more sensitive to others' needs.  Work for inclusivity, avoid selfishness, build communication, and encourage collaboration.  Give your heart without suspicion or distrust; trust is an art, and peace is an art.  We can't show unity if we feud in a quest for power, prestige, pleasure, or security.
Unity is an act of mission.  Evangelization isn't proselytizing but attracting by our witness, drawing near to those who feel distant from God and Church, the fearful or indifferent, saying, “The Lord is calling you.”  The Church’s mission as sacrament of salvation is related to her identity as pilgrim people called to embrace all nations.  The more intense our communion, the more effective our mission.  We must foster communion, since mission isn't just outreach; we need to be missionaries within the Church, showing she's a mother who reaches out, welcoming home, a school of missionary communion (Aparecida Document 370).
Jesus’ prayer can be realized because he's consecrated us.  An evangelizer's spiritual life is born of this truth; Jesus consecrates us so we can encounter him, and this encounter leads us to encounter others, to become involved with our world, and to develop a passion for evangelization.  Intimacy with God is revealed by images which speak to us of communion, communication, self-giving, and love. God calls us not to uniformity but to harmony in diversity, encompassing everyone.  
Woe to me if I don't preach the Gospel!”  May you be a witness to a communion shining forth in our world!  May all admire how much we care for, encourage, and help each other.  Giving of ourselves establishes an interpersonal relationship, letting the power of love, of the Spirit, take root. When we give, we discover our identity as God's children and givers of life; we discover we're brothers and sisters of Jesus.  Evangelization is the new revolution and our deepest and most enduring cry.

  • Gn 41:55-57; 42:5-7a, 17-24a  When hunger came to Egypt and people cried to Pharaoh, he directed them to go to and obey Joseph, who rationed grain.  When Joseph’s brothers camehe recognized them but concealed his own identity, locked them up, then told them, “Come back with your youngest brother, and you'll live.”  They agreed but said to one another, “We're being punished because of our brother.”  Reuben:  “I told you, but you didn't listen; now comes the reckoning.”  They didn't know Joseph understood them.  Joseph turned away and wept.
  • Ps 33:2-3, 10-11, 18-19  "Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you."  Sing the Lord a new song; he brings nations' plans to nought, but his plan stands forever.  The Lord's eyes are on all who fear him and hope for his kindness; he preserves them in spite of famine.
  • Mt 10:1-7  Jesus gave his Twelve Apostles authority to drive out unclean spirits and cure diseases.  He sent them out after instructing them, “Don't go into pagan territory but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  Proclaim, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
    • Creighton:  Some still want the death penalty, out of revenge and/or fear the criminals would commit similar crimes later.  Mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation are hard whether personally or communally.  Joseph's forgiveness is perhaps the first such story in the OT; he felt anger from how they treated him, but his heart was moved.  Love triumphed over sin.  May we do likewise, not falling into retaliation.  Our world needs hearts who can forgive and reconcile.  To live joyfully, we need to let go of anger, wrath, violence, and revenge (Misericordiae Vultus 9).  Our call to discipleship includes a call to mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Jesus gave authority to cure, not punish, the sick.  Jesus wants us to show the face of our merciful God, as mercy has been shown to us.  Mercy is a criterion for ascertaining who God’s true children are (ibid)....
    • Passionist:  “Turning away from his brothers, Joseph wept.”  He also cried when he saw his younger brother, when he saw his father, and when his brothers repented.  Maybe this time he was saddened by seeing his brothers and thinking of the life he missed, or happy to see his family, or he realized the bitterness he had from what they did to him might not be warranted.....
    • DailyScripture.net:  The kingdom of God is near!  God's kingdom is that society of people who know God's love and mercy and obey and honor God as Lord and King.  In the Our Father Jesus teaches us to pray for God to reign in our lives and world:  May your kingdom come and your will be done....  Jesus demonstrated the Gospel's power with signs and wonders, healing and freeing people, and he gave his disciples the same authority.  If we believe in the Lord Jesus and the Gospel's power, we'll experience the freedom, joy, and power to live and witness as his disciples.  In the apostles Jesus chose ordinary, common people, non-professionals with no wealth, special education, or privileged position; he wanted ordinary people who could take an assignment and do it well. When the Lord calls you, don't think you have nothing or little to offer; he'll use you for greatness in his kingdom.

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