September 21, 2015


September 21, 2015:  St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

See 11 connections with today?
Legend below


Pope Francis
Havana homily:  As Jesus asks his disciples, “What were you discussing?,”  he could ask us, “What do you talk about?”  “What are your aspirations?”  The disciples were ashamed to answer because they were arguing about who was the most important”; we can also be caught up in such questions.

Jesus gives our aspirations a new horizon and sets before us the “logic” of love:  “To be first, be the servant of all.”  He tells his disciples to live in a concrete commitment to others, caring for their vulnerability with love that takes shape in action, fighting and living for others' dignity.  Don't be tempted by self-serving “service”:  helping “our people” to others' exclusion.  Care for each out of love; don't look to see what they are or aren't doing.  Jesus doesn't say:  if your neighbor wants to be first, let him be the servant!  Put others at the center:  look, touch, sense their closeness, and try to help. Serve your frail brothers and sisters.  “Whoever doesn't live to serve, doesn't serve’ to live.”

Angelus:  The disciples couldn't imagine Jesus suffering on the cross.  We're also tempted to flee from our crosses/suffering and others'.  May Mary teach us to stand beside the cross of those who suffer, to see Jesus in those bent low, hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, or sick, to see who's truly “the greatest,” to be attentive to others' needs, to be concerned with life's details, to pray for one another that all have love and joy.

The sons and daughters of  Colombia are seeking to build a peaceful society.  May they achieve definitive reconciliation, justice, love, and peace.  Mary, help us place our concerns and hopes before Christ.  We pray to you for the hopeless, victims of injustice, abandonment and loneliness, the elderly, the infirm, children and young people, families experiencing difficulty:  dry their tears, comfort them, and restore their hope and joy....
Havana vespers with priests, religious, and seminarians:  The Gospel brings us to the heart of the intimacy between the Father and the Son.  Jesus prayed for his disciples, for us, asking for our unity and joy, that we be saved from isolation, from finding refuge in our comfort zones, from indifference and “cliques.”  Such situations lead to isolation, ennui, sadness, resentment, and complaints.  That's why Jesus prays sadness and isolation not prevail in us.  We join in his prayer:  “Keep them in Your name… that they may be one....”  Unity is a grace only the Spirit can bestow; ask for and be transformed by it.  Unity is often confused with uniformity, but conformity kills the life of the Spirit.  Unity is threatened when we try to turn others into ourselves; it's not to be imposed.  Lord, increase our desire to be close, to be neighbors, there for each other, with our differences, to speak straightforwardly, despite our disagreements, not behind others' backs.  May we be close to our people, open to their questions.  Conflicts and disagreements in the Church are a sign she's alive and the Spirit is enlivening her; communities without disagreements are like couples who no longer argue because they've lost their love.  The Lord prays we be filled with his joy; joy is a sign of Christ’s presence in our lives.  Sad faces warn us something is wrong.  You've borne difficult sacrifices, but Jesus prays we'll never lose the joy of knowing he overcomes the world; this certainty inspires us to renew our faith with tenderness capable of restoring our joy and starting anew.  May we be one, have Jesus' joy, and unite ourselves to one another in prayer.
To students:  Hope speaks to us of something deep within, of thirst, aspiration, longing for fulfillment, desire to achieve great things that lift our spirit to truth, goodness, beauty, justice, and love.  But it also involves risk, not being seduced by false promises of happiness, selfish pleasures, mediocrity, and self-centeredness.  Hope boldly looks beyond convenience, security, and limited horizons to open us to ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile.  What that shapes your life?  What's in your heart?  Where are your hopes?  Will you put yourself on the line for something greater?  It's natural to feel weighed down by demanding things, but don't yield to disenchantment or apathy; they end in flight from reality or in isolation and cynicism deaf to the cry for justice, truth, and humanity.  To keep hope alive:

    • Hope is a path of memory and discernment with a practical goal that lights our way.  It looks to past, present, and future; to move forward, we need to know where we come from, who we are, and where we want to go, or else you risk losing your identity and destroying your future.  Remember your spiritual and moral heritage.  Good discernment is essential for us to see what's good and just.
    • Hope is a path taken with others.  See different ways of thinking in terms of richness and growth....
    • Hope is a path of solidarity.  The culture of encounter should naturally lead to a culture of solidarity.  Solidarity is a source of strength to overcome obstacles.  Be concerned for others, including those who think differently.  Go beyond tolerance to acceptance, cooperation, and service.

The hope born of our faith lights our path.  Jesus encourages and accompanies us.  Faith in his presence, friendship, and love lights our hopes and dreams.  Don't fear hope or the future; God believes in and hopes in you.
  • Eph 4:1-7, 11-13  Live worthy of your call, with humility, gentleness, patience, love, unity, peace, hope.  One Lord, faith, baptism, God, Father gave each of us grace to be Apostles, prophets, evangelists, or pastors/teachers..., for ministry, unity, faith, knowledge of Son.
  • Ps 19:2-5  "Their message goes out through all the earth."  The heavens declare God's glory, handiwork.
  • Mt 9:9-13  Jesus to Matthew:  “Follow me.”  He followed.  Tax collectors and sinners sat with Jesus.  Pharisees:  “Why?”  “The sick need a physician.  I came to call sinners.”
    • Creighton:  Jesus called Matthew in a simple form, but living the response isn't simple.  But Matthew got up and followed, not knowing what it would mean.  He helped make it possible for us to answer the call....
      St. Matthew
    • One Bread One Body:  "I'd love to":  The Lord still calls today's "Matthews" to follow him, but we can be afraid to say yes.  If we knew deep down that he died out of love for each of us, wouldn't be afraid to follow Jesus.  When I know God loves me unconditionally, sacrificially, and eternally, I'm free to obey him and not worry about what others think...
    • Passionist:  Matthew's gospel emphasized how Jesus' ministry was in many ways a development of Judaism, not a departure.  He may have seen his following Jesus as a way to strengthen his Jewish rootedness.  Paul’s words help us remember the kind of experiences someone like Matthew had to undergo, and help explain the emphasis he gave to Matthew's gospel, stressing the continuity between discipleship of Jesus and its Jewish heritage.  Matthew was anxious to establish bonds with those who held him at arm’s length; this was Paul’s concern in writing to the Ephesian church.  It also corresponds to Pope Francis's concern for those on the fringes of church life as he invites them in.
    •  Jesus chose Matthew not because Matthew was religious, learned, popular, or saintly.  God searched his heart and searches ours.  John Chrysostom re Matthew's call:  "Why didn't Jesus call Matthew when he called Peter, John, and the rest?  He came to each when he knew that they'd respond....  He who knows our inmost hearts and secrets knows when each of us is ready to respond."  Jesus the Divine Physician sought out those in greatest need to heal them in body, mind, and spirit.  The Pharisees were so preoccupied with their practice of religion that they neglected to help the people who needed it.  But Jesus came to call sinners.  Ironically the "orthodox" were as needy as those they shunned....
    Dress legend
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  Live worthy of the 'call' you received (1st reading)
    • 'Clock' tie bar:  Live with patience (1st reading)
    • 'Bear' tie bar:  'Bear' with one another through love (1st reading)
    • 'Holy Spirit' chain, 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (1st reading)
    • 'OneLife LA' button:  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (1st reading); remembering AB x2-15 on Governor's desk, a hard pill
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Jesus was at table in Matthew's house with tax collectors and sinners... (gospel)
    • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Sick people need a doctor (gospel)
    • Red shirt:  liturgical color for apostles' feasts
    • Green in suspenders:  Ordinary Time season

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