August 31, 2015

Aug. 31

August 31, 2015:  Monday, 22nd week, Ordinary Time

See nine connections
with today's readings and season?
Legend below

  • 1 Thes 4:13-18  Don't grieve about those who have fallen asleep like those with no hope do.  God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep; we won't precede them.  The Lord, with a command, an archangel's voice, and God's trumpet, will come down from heaven.  The dead in Christ will rise, then we'll meet the Lord too.  We'll always be with the Lord.  Console each other with these words.
  • Ps 96:1, 3-5, 11-13  "The Lord comes to judge the earth."  Sing a new song to the Lord.  Tell everyone his glory and wondrous deeds.  The Lord made the heavens....
  • Lk 4:16-30  Jesus read Isaiah from scroll at Nazareth synagogue:  "The Lord has anointed me to bring glad tidings, proclaim liberty and recovery of sight, let the oppressed go free, and proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."  All looked intently at him. “Today this passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”  All were amazed at his gracious words, but they asked, “Isn't this Joseph's son?”  Jesus:  “Surely you'll quote the proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here what we heard you did in Capernaum.  No prophet is accepted in his native place.  There were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, but he was only sent to one in Zarephath.  There were many lepers in Israel in Elisha's time, but only Naaman the Syrian was cleansed.”  Filled with fury, they rose, drove him out, and were going to hurl him down the hill, but he passed through their midst.
    • Creighton:  What Jesus read from the scroll tells me when the spirit of the Lord is upon me, it can be seen in different ways.  If I follow Christ and become a light to the poor, imprisoned, and the oppressed, I can be counted as a disciple and be renewed in him....
    • Passionist:  The people in the gospel were too closed to see Jesus at work in their lives; they were even going to throw him off a cliff!  God appears to us all the time, knocking, waiting to save, if only we let him in.  Look around…  Who has been God to you?  How have I welcomed them?  How has God touched someone through you?  Lord, grant us the grace to open the door and let you in.
    •  How would you react if Jesus spoke this message at your church?  His hometown folks wondered what sign he'd do there, and he angered them by praising the Gentiles who seemed to have shown more faith than the "chosen."  Jesus came to set people free from sin, death, and destruction....
    • Universalis:  St. Aidan, monk, bishop, kings' adviser, promoted Christian education
    Dress legend
    • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  The Lord will come down with archangel's voice and God's trumpet (1st reading)
    • 'Clouds' tie:  We'll be caught up in the clouds, together with the dead in Christ (1st reading)
    • 'Tree' pin:  Let the trees of the forest exult... (psalm)
    • 'Scroll' pin:  Jesus read from the scroll  (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  Everyone's eyes were on Jesus; The Lord sent me to proclaim recovery of sight to the blind... (gospel)
    • 'Jubilee year' pin:  ...and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord  (gospel)
    • 'Car' tie pin:  They 'drove' him out of the town (gospel)
    • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

    August 30, 2015

    22nd Sun., Ordinary Time

    August 30, 2015:  Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

    • 'Abacus' tie pin:  Don't add to or subtract from the Lord's commandments. (1st reading)
    • 'Owl' tie pin:  Your observance will give evidence of your wisdom.  (1st reading)
    • 'Scales of justice' tie:  Those who do justice will live in God's presence (psalm)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  Whoever thinks the truth in his heart... shall never be disturbed (psalm); "This people's hearts are far from me" (gospel)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  Pharisees saw disciples ate without washing their hands (gospel)
    • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

    Pope Francis Angelus
    The literal observance of precepts is fruitless if it doesn't change the heart or translate into concrete attitudes:  opening you to encounter with God in prayer; seeking justice and peace; and assisting the poor, weak, and oppressed.  We know how much harm people do to the Church, how much scandal they give, when they say they're Catholic and go to church, but they neglect their family, speak ill of others, and so on.  Jesus condemned this counter-witness.
    The border between good and evil passes within us.  Ask, "where's my heart?"  "Your heart is where your treasure is."   If my treasure is Jesus, then the heart is good.  If it's something else, the heart must be purified and converted. Without a purified heart, you can't have clean hands and lips to speak sincere words of love.  Lord, give us a clean heart, free of hypocrisy, so we may live according to the spirit of the law and achieve the law’s true purpose:  perfection of charity.
    • Dt 4:1-2, 6-8  Moses:  “Israel, observe the statutes I'm teaching you, that you may live and have the land the Lord is giving you; don't add to or subtract from them.  Your observance will show your wisdom and intelligence, What nation has gods so close as the Lord is to us or has statues as just as the law I set before you now?
    • Ps 15:2-5  "One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord."  Whoever walks blamelessly, thinks the truth, honors those who fear the Lord, and doesn't slander, harm, or reproach others, lend at usury, or accept bribes won't be disturbed.
    • Jas 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27  Every perfect gift is from above, from the Father of lights.  Humbly welcome the word planted in you that can save you.  Be doers of the word, not just hearers.  Pure religion is to care for orphans and widows and to keep yourself unstained.
    • Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23  Pharisees and scribes observed some of Jesus' disciples not washing their hands before meals.  Jews keep their elders' tradition:  they wash their hands and observe many other things like purification of jugs and beds.  They / Jesus: “Why don't your disciples follow our elders' tradition and wash their hands?” / “Hypocrites!  Isaiah prophesied about you:  They honor me with their lips but not their hearts; they worship me in vain, teaching human precepts as doctrines.”  To crowd:  Nothing that enters you from outside defiles; only what comes out from within.  From the heart come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly; they defile.
      • Creighton:  Sin can come so easily; it's challenging to have my actions match my faith.  My favorite back-to-school item is a day planner.  You can learn about someone's values from their calendar and check book.  Do I make time to be a doer of the word:  work for justice, spend with a friend having a hard time, improve my relationships, make peace...?
      • One Bread One Body:  "How to receive a gift":  Our Father gave us the gifts of birth and rebirth and will give us his word of truth.  If we listen and act on it, we'll receive our gift.  What is my Father trying to give me now?  How do I welcome and act on his word?
      • Passionist:  Evil gets in the heart by our letting in the wrong kind of thoughts.  “Our life is what our thoughts make it”  (Marcus Aurelius Antonius, 2nd c.).  “Change your thoughts and your change your world” (Norman Vincent Peale).  “Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit — and I'm my own gardener” (James Allen)  We need to take charge of our thoughts.  In the 1st reading Moses tells his people to let their thoughts be about God's statutes.  The psalm reminds us that the one “who thinks truth in his heart” will live in the Lord's presence.  James tells us to “welcome the word planted in you…”; reading, reflecting on, and studying Scripture is the first step to care for our thoughts.  The second step is to follow Paul’s advice:  “Whatever is just, pure, lovely, gracious, excellent, and praiseworthy, think about these things.”
      “Two wolves are fighting in my heart:  one is vengeful, angry, and violent; the other, loving, forgiving, and compassionate.  Which will win?” / “The one you feed.”  Feed on God's word and thoughts of beauty, and live in the Lord.
      •  Jesus tells the religious leaders their notions of religion are clouding God's command; he calls them hypocrites.  Jesus says sin springs from our inmost being:  thoughts, intentions, desires....  If we admit our faults and ask forgiveness, Jesus will free us and restore us to life and goodness.  God told Cain:  "Sin is couching at the door; it desires you, but you must master it."  What do I allow into my mind and heart? God can cleanse our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  God's grace enables us to choose good and reject evil....
        • St Margaret Clitherow (Middleton), convert, martyred for hiding priests
        • St Anne Line (Heigham), taught children, took vows, kept safe house for priests, martyred
        • St. Margaret Ward, martyr, arrested after helping priest escape prison; under torture she refused to reveal his hiding place or renounce her faith.
        • Bl. Ghebre Michael ("Servant of Michael"), convert, monastery reformer, considered martyr; see Vincentian page.
        • St. Edmund Arrowsmith, Jesuit priest, martyr

      August 29, 2015

      John the Baptist's Passion

      August 29, 2015:  Passion of St. John the Baptist

      • 'Sheet music with skulls as note heads' tie:  dance, then beheading (gospel); "Sing to the Lord a new song" (psalm)
      • 'Headless skeleton' tie bar:  John's beheading (gospel)
      • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Herod's birthday banquet (gospel)
      • '?' tie pin:  Herod was perplexed when he heard John; "What shall I ask for?"  (gospel)
      • 'Blood drop' pin, red shirt:  John's martyrdom, color of today's celebration
      • 'Hand' tie pin:  "His right hand won victory"; "Let the rivers clap their hands" (psalm)

      • Dance of the Seven Veils, from Salome/ Strauss fits the gospel; find one yourself if you can tolerate possible adult content.
      • 1 Thes 4:9-11  You don't need anyone to write you about fraternal charity; God has taught you to love one another.  But we urge you to progress more, aspire to live a tranquil life, mind your own affairs, and work.

      • Ps 98:1, 7-9  "The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice."  Sing to the Lord who's done wondrous deeds!
      • Mk 6:17-29  John the Baptist to Herod:  “It's wrong for you to have your brother’s wife [Herodias].”  She had a chance to get him killed at his birthday banquet:  her daughter danced, delighted Herod, asked for John's head.  He had him beheaded; John's disciples buried him.
        • Creighton:  'Regret' =  feel sad/sorry about (something you did/didn't do).  Herod saw John as a holy and righteous man but had him arrested and imprisoned.  When he had him beheaded, he likely felt great regret.  Think about a time you did something wrong and knew that it was a mistake:  when did you feel regret?  How did the action affect others?  What's better the next time?  St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of conversion.  St. John the Baptist, pray we do right even when it's hard.
        • Passionist:  Pope Francis illustrates Herod’s motives:  “When human beings place themselves at the center, they give priority to convenience and all else becomes relative.  Hence we shouldn't be surprised to find... the rise of a relativism that sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests”  (Laudato Si’ 122).  John's preaching against Herod’s relativism cost him his head.  Where do I place myself in my universe?  Am I at the center, or am I making compassionate efforts to place another there?
          Salome with the Head of John the Baptist
        •  Herod had all he wanted but a clear conscience and peace with God.  He respected John as prophet and servant of God but imprisoned him because of Herodias' jealousy.  To please family and friends, he had John beheaded; he was bent on that vs. doing right.  God gives strength and courage to do right to those who depend on him.  Martyrs' blood testifies to the truth of the Gospel and people's willingness to suffer for their faith.  They know death can't separate them from God's love, and the Holy Spirit fills them with courage, love, and boldness.
        • UniversalisJohn the Baptist and Joseph are the only saints with two feasts:  June's celebrates John's birth; today's, his death.  John was a prophet from before birth, leaping in the womb to announce Jesus' coming.  He courageously announced he was least in the kingdom.  When the great or talented come across someone greater, they'll feel like we do.  Pray they, like John, may pass that test.  See Catholic Encyclopedia.

        August 28, 2015


        August 28, 2015:  St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor

        • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is king (psalm); The Kingdom is like... (gospel)
        • 'Waxy mountain' pin:  The mountains melt like wax before the Lord (psalm)
        • 'Hand' tie pin:  God delivers the faithful from the hand of the wicked (psalm)
        • '[Christmas] lights' tie:  Light dawns for the just (psalm); 10 virgins took their lamps... (gospel)
        • 'Clock' tie bar:  Bridegroom was long delayed (gospel)
        • 'Roadrunner' tie pin:  Our hearts are restless till they rest in You (St. Augustine) 
        • White shirt:  today's liturgical color (for St. Augustine)
        • 'Key' tie pin:  "Then the door was locked." (gospel)

        • Restless Heart, from St. Augustine, the music and the restless heart, the musical
        • 1 Thes 4:1-8  Conduct yourselves to please God even more.  Refrain from immorality, acquire a wife in holiness.  God called us to holiness, not impurity; if you disregard this, you're disregarding God.

        • Ps 97:1, 2b, 5-6, 10-12  "Rejoice in the Lord, you just!"  Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.  The Lord loves all who hate evil; he guards the lives of his faithful.  Light dawns for the just, gladness for the upright.

        • Mt 25:1-13  “The Kingdom will be like ten virgins who went out to meet the groom with their lamps.   The foolish ones brought no oil, but the wise did.  The groom was long delayed, and they all fell asleep.  When they heard the groom was coming, they got up and trimmed their lamps.  Foolish / wise:  ‘Give us some oil; our lamps are going out.’ / ‘No; there may not be enough for us all.  Buy some.’  While they went to buy it, the groom came, the ones who were ready went into the feast, and the door was locked.  When the other virgins came and said, ‘Open the door for us!’  Master:  ‘I don't know you.’  Stay awake; you don't know the day or hour.

        St. Augustine
        • Universalis:  St. Augustine of Hippo (present Algeria) led dissolute youth but was converted through his mother's prayers and St. Ambrose's teaching.  Held Manichaean heresy, then became neo-Platonist.  Had brilliant legal and academic career.  34-year bishop.  See Catholic EncyclopediaWikipedia.
          St. Augustine
        • St. Augustine and music:  See what he really said; it's not "He who sings prays twice" or "He who sings, prays; he who sings well, prays twice."  (You'll also find links to his inner conflict about music, the keyboard player named "Confessions of St. Augustine," and the country band named "Restless Heart" :-)
          • One Bread One Body:  "You're fired":  As each virgins had to have her own oil, each of us must develop our own relationship with Jesus, through prayer, study, worship, service.... God will give us a faith that won't burn out.
          • Passionist:   Faith helps us "stay awake":  without it, our timing is off and we get overwhelmed, perplexed, and frustrated; with, things can fall into place easier.  May we focus on becoming wise virgins with oiled lamps ready to lead us along God's path.
          •   Being unprepared can lead to trouble and disaster!  Ancient Palestine wedding customs required preparation.  Bride and groom didn't take a honeymoon but celebrated a week with family and friends.  A guest showing up without proper attire and arrangements is like crashing a ticketed event today.  When the Lord comes to lead us to his heavenly banquet, will we be ready?  Not if we don't listen here and now....
          • Here's a link to the Creighton reflection too.
          Special greetings to and prayers for all at 

          St. Augustine Church and School (Culver City)

              August 27, 2015


              August 27, 2015:  St. Monica

              • 'Jubilee year' button:  What thanksgiving can we render to God, for all the joy we feel on your account? (1st reading, upcoming Jubilee of Mercy)
              • 'Girl with heart' pin:  May the Lord make you abound in love for one another, to strengthen your hearts (1st reading)
              • 'Clock' tie bar:  Years in your sight are as yesterday (psalm); You don't know the day your Lord will come (gospel)
              • 'Numbers' tie:  Teach us to number our days aright...  (psalm)
              • 'Owl' tie pin:  ...that we may gain wisdom of heart.  (psalm)
              • 'Hand' tie pin:  "Prosper the work of our hands!" (psalm)
              • White shirt:  color of St. Monica day

              • Be prepared/ Lehrer:  don't let your 'preparation' run amok like this :-)
              • 1 Thes 3:7-13  How can we thank God for you, for the joy we feel before God because of you?  We pray to see you and remedy the deficiencies of your faith.  May God direct us to you, and may the Lord make you abound in love, as we love you, to strengthen your hearts and be blameless before God at Jesus' coming.
              • Ps 90:3-5a, 12-14, 17  "Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!"  You turn us back to dust.  A thousand years in your sight are as yesterday.  Teach us to number our days aright and gain wisdom.  Have pity on us!  May your gracious care be ours; prosper the work of our hands!
              • Mt 24:42-51  “Stay awake!  You don't know when your Lord will come.  If the master of the house had known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake.  Be prepared, for the Son will come when you don't expect it.  “Who is the faithful servant the master put in charge of distributing food?  If his master finds him faithful, he'll put him in charge of all his property, but if the servant beats his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, his master will come at an unexpected time and punish him severely....
                • Creighton:  "Stay awake’ or else!"  I want always to ‘stay awake,’ alert, aware of God’s presence, faithful.  If I don't, I may miss something beautiful, amazing, or unexpected.  I may not recognize Jesus near me.  I may miss seeing the Lord’s call, gentleness, compassion, longing, peace, justice, joy, love, healing around me   I may miss hearing the Lord calling my name revealing Love and/or gently revealing my brokenness....
                • One Bread One Body:  "Prep school":  We must prepare to be ready to meet the Lord today.  We must be prepared for the Lord to come back soon, so we must spread God's Word with urgency as Paul and the apostles did.  We must also be prepared for Jesus not to return in our lifetime, by being faithful diligent, persevering, in prayer and suffering.
                  Mother and son
                  (SS. Monica and Augustine)
                • Passionist:  The admonition to pay attention or stay awake is not meant to intimidate or threaten; it's the persistent care and love of a parent refusing to abandon her child.  Pope Francis calls us to wake up the world, not getting anesthetized to God in the poor, not so overworked as to be numb to God’s love seen in creation, not so busy or preoccupied with material things as to miss moments of God's favor and compassion.
                •  The Lord promises us a great celebration when he returns again; it'll be joy and peace for those prepared, grief and sorrow for the rest.  Jesus' parable about the householder and the thief in the night is about preparing for his second coming; he wants us to guard our relationship with him.  He knocks at the door of our heart and invites us to let him enter.  Jesus' parable about the master and his servants also includes surprise, reward, and punishment; the master gives back what they gave him.  The Lord calls us to be vigilant and ready.  God's judgment is good news for those ready to meet him, whose reward is God himself.
                • Universalis:  St. Monica, woman of faith and virtue, married young, had Augustine and other children, was exemplary mother.  Her prayer for her wayward son's conversion was answered.  See Catholic Encyclopedia. Reformed problem drinker (Confessions IX.8.18; thanks Fr. Fox :-)
                Special greetings to and prayers for all at

                St. Monica Parish,
                St. Monica Elementary School,
                and St. Monica High School!

                August 26, 2015

                Aug. 26

                August 26, 2015:  Wednesday, 21st week, Ordinary Time

                • 'I ♥ my dad' tie:  "We treated each one of you as a father treats his children,..." (1st reading)
                • 'Walker' tie pin:  "...insisting you walk in a manner worthy of God" (1st reading)
                • 'Hand' tie pin: No matter where I go, your hand will guide me and hold me fast (psalm)
                • 'Blinged skeleton' tie pin:  "You look beautiful but inside are full of dead men's bones" (gospel)
                • 'Blood drop' pin:  "You're children of those who murdered the prophets" (gospel)
                • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

                Pope Francis Audience:  Pray
                We know how important prayer is, but it seems so hard to find time for it.  If we love God with heart, mind, and strength, we'll discover the heart of prayer is love of God, who constantly caresses us. 
                A heart filled with God's love can make even a silent thought or a small gesture a moment of prayer.  Ask for the gift of the Spirit who teaches us to pray and grow in God's love.  Parents, teach your children to pray, to read the bible, and to make the sign of the cross.  Through prayer, we give time back to God, find the peace that comes from appreciating important things, and encounter the joy of God’s gifts.  Through prayer may our homes become places where Jesus finds warm welcome.
                • 1 Thes 2:9-13  Recall our toil and drudgery.  We proclaimed the Gospel of God to you, working night and day to not burden you,  You and God know how we behaved toward you, treating you as a father treats his children, exhorting you to walk in a manner worthy of the God.  So we give thanks to God that you received the word of God as it truly is, the word of God, now at work in you who believe.
                • Ps 139:7-12ab  "You have searched me and you know me, Lord."  Where can I flee from your presence?  Wherever I go, you're there guiding me and holding me fast.  For you darkness is not dark, and night shines as day.
                • Mt 23:27-32  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You're like whitewashed tombs, beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and filth.  On the outside you appear righteous, but inside you're filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.  You build prophets' tombs, adorn memorials, and say, ‘If we'd lived in our ancestors' days, we wouldn't have shed prophets' blood like they did,bearing witness that you're children of those who murdered the prophets....
                  • Creighton:  The scribes and Pharisees were religious in outward appearance, but it didn't match what was inside; they were ritually pure but with impure hearts.  Jesus' harsh words for them provide us an opportunity to examine our own hearts.  How do my actions match what's in my heart and vice versa? 
                  • One Bread One Body:  "Our only worthiness":  The Lord commands us to lead lives worthy of Him, the Gospel, and our calling. Will the Lord be able to declare our lives "worthy"?  We pray, "Lord, I am not worthy [that you should enter under my roof...]."  How can we be worthy?  Jesus alone is worthy, and we have been baptized into him.  In Jesus, our lives are worthy of God, the Gospel, our calling, and eternal life.
                  • Passionist:  “What would Jesus have to do if you let him into your life?”  If everything were in its place, what would I need him for?  Jesus experienced the messiness of suffering and death so we might know that our suffering and messiness can be redeemed and healed....
                  •  Appearances can deceive.  Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would not judge by appearances but with righteousness and equity.  Attitudes in the heart form how we treat others.  Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for their vanity and pretense.  Many scribes and Pharisees showed zeal and piety to win honors, privileges, and favors but were intolerant and neglected the poor and weak.  Jesus called them hypocrites because they were set on pleasing themselves rather than God; he warned that bad attitudes corrupt, leading to sinful habits, speech, and acts, but true beauty is a heart set on God, love, and goodness.  He warned the leaders not to condemn them but to call them to examine their hearts.
                    • Bl. Dominic Barberi, Passionist priest, missionary. priest, house founder, zealous preacher, warm to non-Catholics, received Anglicans into full communion.
                    • St. David Lewis, convert, Jesuit priest, “Popish Plot” martyr:  “discover the plot I could not, as I knew of none; and conform [=recant] I would not, for it was against my conscience.”