October 22, 2015

Oct. 22

October 22, 2015:  Thursday, 29th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Walker' tie pin:  Blessed those who don't walk in the way of sinners;  (psalm)
  • 'Tree,' 'fruit' pins:  they're like trees planted near running water that yield fruit... (psalm)
  • 'Leaf' pin:  ...and whose leaves never fade (psalm)
  • Orange and red in shirt, tie, suspenders, and socks:  "I've come to set the earth on fire" (gospel)
  • 'No peace' button:  I've come not to establish peace... (gospel)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin: ...but division (gospel)
  • Green in tree, leaf, and pin:  Ordinary Time season

  • But who shall abide the day of his coming? from Messiah/ Handel:  traditional, "soulful" (gospel-inspired)
Pope Francis homily
Conversion is a job we must work at every day.  Paul uses the image of the athlete who trains to prepare himself for game, and makes a great effort.  What about us, who should be striving to win the victory of Heaven?  Paul exhorts us to go forward with this effort.  But sanctification doesn't come through our effort. We're not fakirs; our efforts to serve the Lord only open the door to the Spirit to enter in and save.  It's hard, because our weakness and the devil try to get us to turn back.  The author of Hebrews warns us not to go back, not to fall.  Go forward every day, even when there's difficulty.
I met a mother with an ugly cancer, but she acted healthy and happy; she told me, "I'd do anything to beat the cancer!"  It’s that way with us:  we've passed from sin to life in Jesus, in the Spirit; we must take a step every day.  Against the desire to gossip, make the effort to be silent.  When you don't have the will to pray, try to pray a little anyway.  Small efforts to overcome temptation help us to go forward toward the promise of Christ of encounter with him.  Lord, make us strong in this training of life towards the encounter, that we might receive the gift of justification, of grace, of the Spirit.

  • Rom 6:19-23  Present your bodies as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.  Sin's wages is death, but God's gift is eternal life in Christ.
    "Not peace..."
    (animate; see original here)
  • Ps 1:1-4, 6  "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord."  Blessed those who delight in and meditate on God's law.  They yield fruit, prosper.  God watches over the just.
  • Lk 12:49-53  I came to set the earth on fire; how I wish it were already blazing!  I've come not to establish peace but division; families will be divided....
    • Creighton: Jesus the Divine Inviter presents an opportunity for each person to accept or reject him.  Family unity was sacred and identifying, the basis of cultural stability, so he was asking for a dramatic response, personal, intimate, and interior.  Mary felt the division when she found Jesus in the temple.  The early disciples were challenged as they left the old way for the new Way.  The Gospels tell of those who accepted or denied Jesus' invitation.  Relationships provoke tensions.  Jesus knew he was a gift of the Father and offered his life; his mother felt the divisive call to exchange comfort and certainty for confusion.  Her family fell apart when she heard her Son violated the Law, but she allowed the invitations to keep coming.  Invitations are offered and received with freedom on both sides.  Force doesn't produce a response of faith, but resentment.  Jesus offers gestures and words, not to convince or convict, but for us to accept his love, healing, and freedom.  Jesus says he didn't come to offer the false peace that comes from not caring, but a personal response that flows from a decision to accept God's care no mater what.  Jesus invites us to receive the peace that is the fruit of his baptism on the cross...
    • One Bread One Body:  "Choose your pay":  A man interviewed for two jobs, was offered both, and now had to make his choice.  What would I choose?
      • Sin, Inc.:  Initial responsibilities/compensation:  flexible hours/pleasure.  Future pay:  guilt, self-hatred, shame.  Supervisor:  initially lenient, then a stern taskmaster.  Retirement:  condemnation.
      • Righteousness, Inc.:  Responsibilities:  labor in the field, travel (sometimes without lodging or per diem), increased responsibility over time, expectations of increasing productivity.  Requirement:  discipline.  Morale:  high, overflowing with love and joy. Supervisor:  seems hard but tender and forgiving.  Retirement:  endless joy and bliss.
      Another twist on "no peace"
    • Passionist:  We prefer the freedom of God’s children and the peace Jesus says he left us, but today's readings speak of slavery and division.  By virtue of our baptism, we're “enslaved” to the Lord and his people, a slavery of love, joy, and union leading to everlasting happiness.  The more we empty ourselves for God and his people, the fuller we become.  We grow to the person God intended us to be by placing ourselves in service to God and others.  In today's gospel Jesus speaks of a commitment so intense that he aches for its fulfillment.  He came to be our Savior, to fulfill God's promise to redeem us, to reveal God is true to his promise.  As Jesus journeys toward Jerusalem, he sees himself on a path to his unjust sufferings and death.  When we follow him, the commitment will cause others to question, reject, move away from, and become hostile to us.  If we “enslave” ourselves to the Good News and announce it, we may experience division, but the Word will be out there.  It's an “enslavement” of love and of joy to God and the kingdom.  We need divine strength and others' support to live as Jesus' disciples.  St. John Paul II was persistent and intense in announcing the Good News; may we be blessed with joy, peace, and persistence as we do the same.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "I came to cast fire upon the earth":  Fire was associated with God and his action.  God sometimes manifested his presence via fire, such as to Moses through the burning bush.  God assured the Israelites of his presence, guidance, and protection with a pillar of fire.  Elijah called down fire to reveal God's presence and power and to purify the people of idols.  Fire was also a sign of God's gloryholiness, protective presence, just judgment, and wrath against sin.  Fire is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit.  John the Baptist said Jesus would baptize with the Spirit and fire.  When the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost, "tongues of fire" appeared.  God's fire purifies and cleanses to make us clean and holy; it inspires reverence and respect for God and his word. 
    Jesus used hyperbole to warn that the Gospel has serious consequences for our lives.  When he spoke about division within families, he likely had in mind Micah's prophecy:  your enemies are from your own household.  A disciple is willing to forsake all for Christ; loyalty to him takes precedence over every other relationship.  The love of God compels us to place him first; placing another relationship over him is idolatry.  Family and friends can become our enemies if they keep us from following Christ.  Do I put God first?
    • Universalis:  St. John Paul II, pope, known for apostolic zeal, particularly for families, young people, and the sick, took part in Vatican II, made pastoral visits worldwide. promulgated Catechism and [1983] Code of Canon Law.
    Today's post is in honor of Fr. Jim Erps, SJLMU Campus Ministry Director,
    who chose the first verse of today's gospel for his first Mass in 1980.
    Blessings on him and those he serves.

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