September 30, 2015


September 30, 2015:  St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor
Find 12 connections with today?
Legend at bottom


Pope Francis
General audience:  wanted to embrace all Cubans, proclaim the transforming power of God’s mercy, and renew the hope that Cuba will open itself to the world and the world to Cuba.  Travelling from Cuba to the US was symbolic; God is rebuilding a bridge.   God always wants to build bridges when we build walls.  Walls collapse.
Recall America’s tradition of religious freedom and its contribution to the life of the nation. 
At the UN I renewed the Church’s encouragement for their efforts to promote peace, justice, integral human development, and care for creation; I reaffirmed the call to stop and prevent violence against ethnic and religious minorities and civilian populations.
My participation in the World Meeting of Families was an opportunity to celebrate the beauty of God’s plan for the family.  The fruitful covenant between a man and a woman is the key to a future of prosperity and solidarity.  Pray for the Synod on the Family which opens Sunday, and be witnesses of God’s presence in the world and through family life.
At Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (Philadelphia) [deferred from Monday's post]:  Your time of struggle is painful for you, your families and all of society.  Any society or family that can't share its children's pain and views it normal or expected is “condemned” to remain hostage to itself.  I'm here as pastor and brother to share your situation.  I came so we can pray and offer God everything that causes us pain, and everything that gives us hope, so we can receive the power of the resurrection.
When Jesus washed his disciples' feet, his disciples found it hard to accept.  In those days, that's how people were welcomed; roads were covered with dust, and stones got stuck in your sandals.  People's feet were dusty or cut.  That's why Jesus washes feet, then and now.  Life is a journey along roads that leave their mark on us.  Jesus seeks us out; he wants to heal us, soothe our hurt feet, wash us clean; he doesn’t ask where we've been or what we've done.  Jesus comes to us so he can restore our dignity.  He wants to help us set out again, resume our journey, recover hope, restore trust.  He wants us to keep walking, to realize we have a mission, and that confinement isn't the same as exclusion.  Life is “getting our feet dirty.”  We all need to be washed.  The Teacher stretches out his hand and wants to help us move on.
It's painful to see prison systems that don't care for wounds, soothe pain, or offer possibilities.  It is painful to see people who think only others need to be cleansed and don't see their own weariness, pain, wounds.  The Lord washes our feet so we can come back to the table to which we're all invited.  This time is to help you get back on the right road, and rejoin society.  We're all part of that, called to encourage enable your rehabilitation, one which benefits and elevates the whole community.  Jesus invites us to share his way of living and teaches us to see the world through his eyes, not scandalized by the dust; he asks us to create new opportunities for inmates, their families, correctional authorities, and society.  Make new opportunities, journeys, and paths possible!
Each of us has something we need to be cleansed of.  May that knowledge inspire us to support one another and seek the best for others.  Look to Jesus, who washes our feet, “the way, and the truth, and the life”; he comes to save us from the lie that says no one can change.  He helps us to journey along paths of life and fulfillment.  May the power of his love and resurrection lead you to new life.
  • Neh 2:1-8  I offered some wine to the king, who asked me, “Why do you look sad?”  I answered, How could I not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins?”  “What do you wish?” / “If it please you, send me to Judah to rebuild it.” / "How long will it take?"  I set a date acceptable to him, and he agreed that I might go.  “If it please you, give me letters for the governorsthat they may afford me safe conduct till I arrive in Judah; and a letter for the keeper of the royal park, that he may give me wood.”  He granted my requests, for God's favor was upon me.
  • Ps 137:1-6  "Let my tongue be silenced if I ever forget you!"  We wept by the streams of Babylon when we remembered Zion.  Our captors asked the lyrics of our songs, and our despoilers urged us to be joyous, but how could we sing of the Lord on foreign land?  Let me never forget you or place my joy ahead of Jerusalem.
  • Lk 9:57-62  Someone / Jesus:  “I'll follow you wherever you go.” /  “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son has nowhere to rest his head.”  Another:  “Let me bury my father first.” / “Let the dead bury their dead.  You go proclaim the Kingdom.”  Another:  “I'll follow you, but first let me say farewell to my family.” / “No one who looks back is fit for the Kingdom.”
St. Jerome
  • Universalis:  St. Jerome, unwillingly ordained a priest, founded monastery, hospice, and school, translated Bible into Latin, wrote many works, including letters and commentaries on Scripture, and helped refugees and those in need.  See Catholic Encyclopedia.

    • Creighton:  King Artaxerxes asks about Nehemiah’s interior life, and Nehemiah answers honestly and asks for the king’s help; he longed to return home. / Few answering Jesus’ call face the stark choices from today's gospel.  We follow him while doing other good things like caring for our families and making a living.  But in our multitasking, we need to pause to make sure we're really following Jesus, not just being carried along....
    • One Bread One Body:  "Jump when I say jump":  Jesus calls us to follow him on his terms, not ours.  He doesn't even let us choose our own pace.  Now is the acceptable time.  Jesus demands our all as only he can.  After what he's done for us, how can we give him any less?  We're indebted to him for the honor of serving him.
      St. Jerome/ Spada
      (See below re skull)
    • Passionist:  Jesus was committed to and focused on doing his Father’s will; not even death could deter him.  He looks for that dedication in his followers.  Once we commit, amazing things happen:  our imagination opens up, our inner resources are tapped, we discover energy and courage that stiffens our backbone.  Commitment opens our senses and intuition and hastens our learning.  Commitment forges our identity, centers our attention, and excites others to join us.  Great people have a purpose.  Jesus asks us to pursue the purpose of love and service with heart, soul, mind, and body, chin facing the wind, eyes ahead.  Part of the peace Jesus promises comes from a meaningful purpose and knowing we give our best, as he did.
    •  When the Lord calls, he discloses the cost and gives grace to respond and strength to persevere.  Detachment is a necessary step; it frees us to give without reserve.  We must be willing to part with whatever might stand in the way.  A plowman who looked back caused his line to become crooked.  Crooked lines can make the whole field a mess.  If we look back on what we leave behind, our path can diverge and we'll miss what God has for us.  Am I ready?
    Dress legend
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  "If you're not sick, you must be sad at heart." (1st reading)
    • Orange suspenders:  "The city gates were eaten out by fire" (1st reading)
    • 'Letters' tie:  "Give me letters for the governors..." (1st reading) [trumps "doctor's office" tie for St. Jerome, 'doctor' of the Church]
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  The favoring hand of God was on me. (1st reading); "If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand be forgotten" (psalm); “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom.” (gospel)
    • Blue shirt:  We sat and wept by the streams of Babylon (psalm)
    • 'Musical note' tie pin:  Our captors asked the lyrics of our songs (psalm)
    • 'Bird' tie pin:  "Birds have nests, but the Son has nowhere to rest his head" (gospel)
    • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  “Let the dead bury their dead.” (gospel); skull (unfortunately missing here) as image of St. Jerome's asceticism
    • White in tie:  color of St. Jerome's memorial

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