September 24, 2015

Sept. 24

September 24, 2015:  Thursday, 25th week, Ordinary Time

Pope Francis

Junípero Serra canonization homily:  Rejoice in the Lord!  Paul's command resonates ‎with our desire for a fulfilling, joyful life.  But daily struggles can get ‎in the way; they can lead us to apathy ‎that can numb our hearts.‎  How can we keep from ‎becoming anesthetized and make joy take ‎deeper root?‎  Go ‎forth!  ‎Proclaim!  We can only experience Gospel joy through giving it away, giving ourselves away.‎
We share responsibility for each other and the world.  Go proclaim by anointing and anoint by proclaiming.  A Christian finds joy in mission, in answering a call.  Jesus sends his disciples out to every people.  He didn't provide a short list of who's worthy ‎of ‎receiving him; he embraced life in faces of ‎pain, ‎hunger, sickness, sin, wounds, weariness, and doubt, no matter whether it was dirty, unkempt, or broken.  Go tell everyone the ‎good ‎news; embrace life as it is.  ‎Proclaim the Father's mercy to all who have lost the joy of living, to those burdened by pain and ‎failure, ‎who feel their lives are empty.  Go proclaim that ‎error and ‎illusions don't have the last word.  Go with ‎the ‎ointment that soothes wounds and heals hearts.‎
Mission is ‎the fruit of a life that knows what it is to be found, healed, encountered, and ‎forgiven.  ‎We're not afraid of losing our way; we are afraid of ‎becoming self-enclosed, ‎frozen into élites, clinging to our own security.  We know self-‎enclosure causes apathy.‎  So go offer the life of Jesus Christ.  We can embrace everyone because we're disciples of the One ‎who knelt ‎before his own to wash their feet.‎
We're here because others responded to that call, believing "life grows by being given away and weakens in isolation and comfort" ‎‎(Aparecida ‎Document, 360).  We're heirs to the missionary spirit of many ‎who ‎preferred not to be “shut up within structures that give us a false sense of security… within ‎habits ‎that make us feel safe, while people are starving” (Evangelii Gaudium, 49).  We ‎'re ‎indebted to a chain of witnesses who made it possible for the Good News to be both “good” and “news.”‎
Today we remember one who testified to Gospel joy, ‎Father Junípero Serra; he embodied a Church going forth to bring God's reconciling tenderness.  He left his native ‎land and ‎way of life, blazed trails, went to meet many people, ‎learned and valued ‎their ways of life, learned how to bring to birth and ‎nurture God’s life, made brothers and sisters of those he met, defended the dignity ‎of the native community.  His motto inspired his life and work:  ‎¡siempre ‎adelante!  It was his way to experience Gospel ‎joy, to keep his heart from growing numb.  He kept moving ‎forward, ‎because the Lord was waiting, because his brothers and sisters were ‎waiting.  May we keep ‎moving forward!‎
At White House welcome:  American Catholics are committed to building a tolerant, inclusive society, to safeguard the rights of individuals and communities, and to reject unjust discrimination.  We're concerned that efforts to build a just society respect the right to religious liberty.  That freedom remains one of America’s most precious possessions; we're called to preserve and defend it.
The problem of climate change can't be left to future generations; now is the time to care for our “common home.”  We have time to make changes to bring a sustainable and integral development; it demands serious recognition of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children, but also to the millions living under a system that's overlooked them.  Our home cries out to heaven.  We've defaulted on a promissory note; now is the time to honor it (M. L. King).  The Creator doesn't abandon us, forsake his loving plan, or regret having created us.  We can still work together to build our common home (Laudato Si’, 13).  We want to commit ourselves to conscious and responsible care of our common home.
The efforts recently made to mend broken relationships and to open new doors to cooperation are positive steps toward reconciliation, justice, and freedom.  Protect the vulnerable and stimulate integral and inclusive models of development so all may know peace and prosperity.  God bless America!
To US bishops:  My mission is to testify to God's immense love.  Whenever a hand reaches out to do good or to show Christ's love, I'm at your side, support you, and put my hand on yours.  I thank God for the power of the Gospel that's brought growth of Christ’s Church here and enabled it to contribute to society and the world.  Thanks for your commitment to life and the family, for welcoming immigrants, for your efforts to fulfill the Church’s mission of education and charitable service.  You've faced difficult moments with courage, sacrifice, and commitment to bring healing to victims and work to ensure such crimes won't be repeated.  The Church of Rome has always been close to you and encouraged you.
Our greatest joy is to be selfless, devoted shepherds; don't let yourselves be robbed of this joy.  Pray, preach, and shepherd the flock entrusted to you.  Our prayer must be familiar union with Christ.  Preaching is joyfully proclaiming Christ who died and rose for us.  Make hearers feel the message is meant “for us.”  Speak words of appreciation for their efforts, and proclaim “we must work for food that endures.”  Step back, “decrease,” to feed God’s family with Christ.  Ascend the cross, the standpoint that opens us to our flock's heart.  Raise your gaze to the horizons God opens.  Flee the temptation to narcissism.  Focus on the core:  “You did it unto me.
Don't confuse the power of strength with the strength of the powerlessness with which God redeemed us.  Be aware of the battle between light and darkness.  Allow yourselves to be wounded and consumed.  Don't let fear paralyze you; we've been given a spirit of courage.  
Promote the culture of encounter.  Be sacraments of the embrace between God’s riches and our poverty, witnesses of God's condescension.  Dialogue, faithful to the One who never wearies of proposing his offer of love.  Dialogue fearlessly among yourselves, your priests, lay persons, families, and society.  Share humbly with parrhesiaListen, understand others, and avoid divisive language.
Jesus’ yoke of love is a pledge of refreshment.  We can be burdened by loneliness, feel the yoke, think we're laboring in vain, and forget the Lord gave it to us.  Learn Jesus, meek and humble; contemplate his way; lead our Churches and stress-burdened people to his yoke.  The world is torn, divided, and broken; we can't allow the Church to be rent, broken or fought over.  Solidify unity in Christ.  Safeguard, promote, and bear witness to that unity....
Visiting Little Sisters of the Poor
May the Year of Mercy be a privileged moment for strengthening communion, perfecting unity, reconciling, forgiving, and healing.  This nation's resources impose responsibilities.  Your witness can reassure people that a sure haven awaits them....  Victims of abortion, children who die of hunger or violence, immigrants, the elderly or the sick considered burdens, victims of violence, the devastated environment:  at stake in all this is the gift of God, of which we are stewards.  Don't remain silent.  No less important is the Gospel of the Family. 
Preserve and communicate these aspects of the Church’s mission, even in the face of resistance and hostility (Evangelii Gaudium, 34-39).  Witness with creativity, love, and humility.  The US Church must be a humble home that attracts people through love.  The Lord challenges us through our brothers and sisters' plea.  Grow in the certainty that God precedes us and will remain, or else we won't dispense the light and warmth that inflames hearts.  Be close to people; be neighbors; be servants.  Be close to your priests.  Support them, so they can serve Christ with an undivided heart.  Encourage their spiritual growth, lest they become bureaucrats instead of reflect the Church's motherhood.  Train them to be ready to stop, care for, soothe, lift up, and assist.
The US Church knows immigrants' hopes.  No American institution does more for them than your communities.  I thank and encourage you.  They possess resources meant to be shared.  Welcome them, offer them the warmth of Christ's love, and unlock their heart; they'll enrich America and its Church.
Greeting to Jewish community on Yom Kippur:  May the Lord bring his blessing of peace....
Participate in the papal visit

  • Hg 1:1-8  Lord through Haggai to Judah governor Zerubbabel and high priest Joshua:  This people says:  “The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the Lord.”  Consider your ways!  You've sown much but brought in little, eaten but not been satisfied, drunk but not been exhilarated, clothed yourselves but not been warmed; and whoever earned wages earned them for a bag with holes.  Consider your ways!  Go bring timber, and build the house, that I may receive glory.

  • Ps 149:1b-6a, 9b  "The Lord takes delight in his people."  Sing to the Lord a new song.  Be glad in your maker; rejoice in your king; praise his name.  For the Lord loves his people and adorns the lowly with victory.

  • Lk 9:7-9  Herod heard what was happening; he was perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised”; others, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “A prophet has arisen.”  But Herod said, “John I beheaded, so who is this about?”  He kept trying to see him.
Roamin' Catholic Report:  St. Junípero Serra canonization Mass

Watch the whole Mass
I was blessed to attend, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, via "jumbotron"-like screen of 60 cooperating monitors, in a full church including hundreds of Catholic school students.  I was scared by a rough start interrupted by frequent video hiccoughs; thanks to the tech team for switching to a feed that wasn't maxed out.  We participated in response, song, posture, and received Communion.  Though we had better seats, I did feel the distance, but the DC attendees didn't get to see the moving Communion procession of the reverent kids.

About the cantors
About the music

  • Creighton:  Today’s Gospel features King Herod [Antipas] the Tetrarch.  He asks about Jesus:  “Who is this about whom I hear such things?”  His question echoes many others' earlier in Lk:  Scribes and Pharisees seeing Jesus forgive the paralytic ask, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies?"   John the Baptist’s disciples ask, "Are you the one who is to come?”  Pharisees at dinner with him ask, "Who is this who forgives sins?"  Apostles ask,  “Who is this who commands the winds and the water...”  Luke then narrates more miracles:  exorcising the Gerasene, restoring a girl to life, healing the woman who touched his garment.  Jesus then sends his apostles out, then Herod expresses his perplexity, curious, and afraid Jesus will usurp him.  Then comes the pivotal "Who do you say I am?" scene; Peter’s answer, “The Messiah,” acknowledged by Jesus, answers all the “Who is he?” questions.  “Messiah” describes Jesus then and now:  the Anointed, King, Prophet, Priest, Servant, Christ, Savior, Redeemer, Lamb of God, Promised One, Lord, Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God.  Who do I say Jesus is?
  • One Bread One Body:  "Time management":   Timing is of the essence.  The people didn't think it was time to rebuild the house of the Lord, but the Lord disagreed.  The people's selfishness deceived them.  Haggai pointed out that bad timing and wrong priorities are recognizable by our being deprived and dissatisfied, sometimes even to the point of emptiness....
  • Passionist:  "Build Me a House!"  The Lord's message through Haggai is that God is most important.  Where's God on my list? 
  •  Herod was more of a people-pleaser than a God-pleaser.  He sought to meet Jesus out of curiosity and fear and to quell his conscience.  We can try to rid ourselves of guilt by suppressing the truth and avoiding people that point us to truth, but only God can set us free.  What messages take priority in my life?....
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "You have eaten but not been satisfied" (1st reading)
  • 'Clothing' tie:  "You have clothed yourselves but not been warmed" (1st reading)
  • 'Wood block' tie pin:  "Bring timber, and build the house..." (1st reading)
  • 'Musical note' tie pin:  Sing to the Lord a new song (psalm)
  • '?' tie pin:  Herod was greatly perplexed...  Who is this I hear these things about?  (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Today's saints, from Universalis
    Our Lady of Walshingham
    from shrine

  • Our Lady of Walsingham:  In a vision, the Virgin Mary told the lady of the Walsingham manor to build a replica of the house in Nazareth where the Annunciation took place.
  • St. Stephanie, martyr at 18 with 500 others
  • Bl. Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin, widow devoted to charity, first leader of Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor (now Sisters of Providence)

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