November 30, 2015


November 30, 2015:  St. Andrew, Apostle

Can you find ten connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis
Bangui homily for today:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” inspires us to give thanks for our faith and to be amazed at the missionary effort that brought the Gospel to Central Africa.  God invites us to cross to another shore, heaven.  Looking to the world to come is a source of strength.  Eternal life challenges us to persevere.  But the more immediate other shore, salvation, is already transforming our lives and the world.  The life of Christ we receive enables us to love God and others and usher in a renewed world.
Thank God for his presence and strength in times of suffering, pain, and grief, for generous acts he inspires in us, for the joy and love he fills our families and communities with, and for his gift of courage.  Christ guides us; thank the Lord for the beautiful, generous, and courageous things he's enabled you to accomplish in your families and communities.  But we haven't yet reached our destination.  We need courage to decide to pass to the other shore.  We need to continue to break with the old Adam, ready to return at the devil's prompting.  It's easy to be led into selfishness, distrust, violence, destructiveness, vengeance, indifference, and exploitation…
We have a long way to go.  We need to beg forgiveness for our hesitation to bear witness.  Determine to begin a new chapter, and put out into the deep.  Andrew and Peter left everything immediately to follow Jesus.  Ask, "Where do I stand with Jesus?  How can I follow him more closely?"  Persevere in enthusiasm for the mission that needs new “bearers of good news,” numerous, generous, joyful, and holy.  We're called to be the messengers our brothers and sisters await.  Be full of hope and enthusiasm.  Jesus is crossing to the other shore with us; our trials are opportunities if we follow him.  Be artisans of the human and spiritual renewal of your country.
To youth at Advent prayer vigil:  Advent is an occasion to begin anew, “go across to the other side.”  Reflect on the grandeur of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where God meets us and helps us go across to where God forgives us and bathes us in his healing, renewing love!  God is waiting with open arms.  The forgiveness we receive enables us to start fresh, with trusting hearts, better able to live in harmony with ourselves, God, and each other.  It enables us to forgive others; forgiving those who have done us harm is difficult, but God offers us the strength and courage to become artisans of reconciliation and peace.  The Christian walks in the footsteps of his Master, who asked his Father to forgive his killers; meditating on that can help convert our heart.
The cross is a scandal, but it's the one sure way; it tells us God is with each of us, in our joys and trials.  Are you convinced the most precious good in this life is your relationship with God?  Do you know your value in God’s eyes?  Do you know God loves and accepts you unconditionally as you are?  As you pray and read Scripture, you'll come to know him, and yourself, better.  Jesus’ counsels can illumine your feelings and decisions.  Be alert and critical of any compromise which runs contrary to the Gospel.  Cultivate your creative dynamism; the Church needs it!  Witness to the joy of meeting Jesus. May he transform, strengthen, and help you, so that you may embrace God’s loving plan for you!  God wills your happiness. Those who open themselves to him are freed from sin, sorrow, emptiness, and isolation and can see others as brothers or sisters, accepting their differences and recognizing they're gifts for us all.  Peace is built through service and humility, and being attentive to others' needs.  For this we need hearts capable of bending low and sharing life with those in need; that's where charity is and how solidarity grows, division disappears, dialogue bears fruit, fraternity is lived and enlarges hearts, and you can do so much good.
The Lord is walking with you. When difficulties, pain, and sadness seem to prevail, he doesn't abandon you.  He left the sacraments as the memorial of his love to aid our progress and give us strength to advance.  Let them give you hope and courage to “go across” with Jesus and open new paths.  May you be anchored in hope and give it to others.  The Lord is with you, trusts you, and wants you to be missionary disciples, sustained in times of difficulty by the prayers of Mary and the Church. I'm sending you out!
Sunday homily with Jubilee of Mercy door opening:  [also in Bangui, CAR]  Advent is the season of joyful expectation of the Savior and a symbol of hope.  I greet everyone of the CAR:  the sick, elderly, hurt, despairing, listless, those needing bread, justice, attention, and goodness.  I come to offer God’s strength and power; they bring healing and enable us to embark on a new life, to “go across to the other side.”  Jesus asks us to cross with him, responding to our own specific vocation.  We can only cross with him, by freeing ourselves of divisive notions to build a Church God’s family, open to all, concerned for those most in need.  Be close to your brothers and sisters.  Share in the life of God’s people, and testify to God's infinite mercy.  Having experienced forgiveness, forgive others.  Love of our enemies protects us from the temptation to revenge and retaliation.  Evangelizers must be specialists in forgiveness, reconciliation, and mercy to help others “go across.”  Show your strength, hope, and joy are from God, grounded in the certainty that he's with us.  The Lord entrusts his gifts to us, so we can distribute them everywhere.
The happiness God promised is presented as justice. Advent is a time we strive to open our hearts to receive the Savior, the just Judge.  People thirst for respect, justice, and equality but see no positive signs; he comes to bring them his gift of justice.  He comes to enrich our histories, dashed hopes, and sterile yearnings, and he sends us to proclaim salvation.  God is justice; this is why we're called to work for peace founded on justice.
Salvation is flavored with love.  In Advent we relive the pilgrimage which prepared God’s people to receive the Son, who came to reveal God as both justice and love. Christians are called to give witness to God who is love.  The distance between this ideal and our witness is at times great, so I pray with Paul, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love.”  Salvation has power that will make it prevail.  “When these things take place, look up; your redemption is drawing near.”  Paul speaks of love that “grows and overflows” because Christian witness reflects the gospel's power.  Jesus wants to show his power amid devastation, the power of love that stops at nothing.  Knowing God's strength gives us serenity, courage and the strength to persevere.  God will have the last word, and the word is love!
To those who make unjust use of weapons, lay down instruments of death, and arm yourselves with righteousness, love, and mercy, the guarantors of peace.  Discover the Lord as 'center' of all good; incarnate God's heart.  May he “strengthen you in holiness, that you may be blameless before our God at the Lord's coming...” 
At Bangui Grand Mosque:  Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters; we must consider and conduct ourselves as such.  We know recent acts of violence weren't grounded in properly religious motives.  Believers must be people of peace.  Christians, Muslims and members of the traditional religions have lived together in peace for years; they ought to remain united in working for an end to acts that disfigure the Face of God and and try to defend interests against the common good.  We must say no to hatred, revenge, and violence, especially violence perpetrated in God's name.  God is peace.  Christian and Muslim leaders have played an important role in re-establishing harmony and fraternity.  Thank you.  Recall the many acts of solidarity Christians and Muslims have shown regarding their fellow citizens of other religions, welcoming and defending them.
We hope the upcoming national consultations will provide you with leaders who can bring Central Africans together to become symbols of unity rather than representatives of factions.  Make your country a welcoming home for all its children, so the CAR will prove a stimulus to the continent, a positive influence, and help extinguish the tensions that keep Africans from benefitting from the development they deserve and have a right to.  Pray and work for reconciliation, fraternity, and solidarity, and don't  all people, and don't forget those who have suffered the most.  May God bless you and protect you! Salam alaikum!
  • Rom 10:9-18  All, Jew or Gentile, who confess Jesus as Lord, believe God raised him, and call on the Lord will be saved.  People need to be sent to preach so others can hear, believe, and call on the Lord.  Faith comes from what is heard, through Christ's word.  How beautiful the feet of those who bring good news!  Their voice has gone forth to all the earth.
  • Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11  "The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just." or "Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life."  The law of the Lord is perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true, just, precious, and sweet, giving refreshment, wisdom, joy, and light.
  • Mt 4:18-22  Jesus to fishermen Simon and his brother Andrew:  “Come; I'll make you fishers of men.”  They followed him.  He called James and John; they left their boat and father and followed him.
      St. Andrew
    • Creighton:  Today’s gospel narrates Andrew’s calling, but John’s version brings it back to the beginning of Jesus’ public life and presents us with insights into discipleship.  Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist but left him to follow Jesus.  He and John were attracted to the one the Baptist identified as the Lamb of God, not to his teaching since he hadn't started teaching yet.  Attraction to Jesus is at the root of discipleship; pondering his teaching helps deepen the attraction.  Andrew had an urge to share his experience with others; he couldn't wait to tell his brother Simon about his encounter.  It left a mark in him.  Andrew and John might have become successful fishermen, but we would have never heard of them.  Embrace your baptismal call to discipleship....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Are you saved?"  A Christian can answer, "I've been saved by Christ's death and resurrection." We have been saved, are being saved now as we hold fast, and will be saved as we persevere.  Love motivates us to lead others to salvation.  Andrew is a great example and intercessor for us.
    • Passionist:  Our feet can be Christ's feet:  "Christ has no body but yours…  Yours are the feet he walks with to do good..." (Teresa of Avila).  “How beautiful... the feet of those who bring good tidings.”  The apostles answered Jesus' call and walked with him.  May we keep walking with the Lord and announcing the Good News with word and deed.
      • Andrew, fisherman, apostle, one of the first to follow Jesus, introduced his brother, Simon Peter, to him.
      • Cuthbert Mayne, priest, martyr
    Dress legend
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  All who 'call' on the Lord will be saved (1st reading); Jesus called fishermen (gospel)
    • 'Fishes' tie:  Jesus called during fishing expedition (gospel)
    • 'Fishing pole' tie bar: Peter and Andrew were fishermen (gospel)
    • 'Boat' tie bar: James and John were in a boat with their dad (gospel)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  One believes with the heart and is justified (1st reading); the Lord's precepts rejoice the heart... (psalm)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  ...and enlighten the eye; (psalm)
    • Gold-colored accessories:  they're more precious than gold... (psalm)
    • Comb (in pocket):  ...and sweeter than honey from the 'comb' (psalm)
    • Red shirt:  St. Andrew, apostle
    • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

    November 27, 2015

    Nov. 27

    November 27, 2015:  Friday, 34th week, Ordinary Time

    • 'Lion,' 'bear' pins: beasts in Daniel's vision (1st reading); "beasts, bless the Lord" (psalm) 
    • 'Eyeball' pin: Horn had eyes like a man (1st reading)
    • 'Books' tie: The books were opened (1st reading) 
    • 'Tree' pin: Read signs like the tree (gospel) 
    • 'Crown' tie bar: Son of man received kingship (1st reading); Christ the King 
    • 'Clock' tie bar: countdown to end of liturgical year (tomorrow) 
    • Green shirt: Ordinary Time season
    Pope Francis
    To Kenyan youth:  Why do divisions, wars, deaths, and destruction occur?  The spirit of evil takes us to destruction, disunity, tribalism, corruption, drugs, and destruction out of fanaticism.  You lose the worst of your humanity if you forget how to pray, feel powerful, and don’t feel the need to ask the Lord for help.  You can look at difficulties as destroying you or as opportunities.  You can choose the path of destruction, or to overcome difficulties.  Earth is full of difficulties, opportunities, and invitations towards evil.  Do you choose the path of difficulty and division or of opportunity to overcome self and difficulties?  Do you want to overcome challenges or be overcome by them?  If you don’t listen to and dialogue with each other, you’re going to have division.  Stand up against tribalism.  Every day try to overcome the tendency to tribalism,  It’s a work of opening your heart to and offering your hands to others.
    At Kangemi slum:  Your joys, hopes, troubles, and sorrows matter to me.  I realize the difficulties you experience daily and denounce the injustices you suffer.  Wisdom is found in poor neighborhoods, wisdom born of the “stubborn resistance” of the authentic, from Gospel values that an opulent society, anesthetized by unbridled consumption, seems to have forgotten.  You can weave bonds that convert overcrowding into community, tearing down walls and overcoming selfishness.
    Poor neighborhoods express values like solidarity, self-giving, preferring birth to death, providing Christian burial, finding a place for the sick in your home, sharing bread with the hungry, and showing patience and strength in adversity:  values grounded in the importance of human beings.  The path of Jesus began on the peripheries; it goes from and with the poor towards others.  But urban exclusion is a dreadful injustice, inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who squander others are forced to flee to the peripheries.  Unjust distribution of land makes it even worse; developers” hoard land, even school playgrounds, forgetting God gave the earth to us all for the sustenance of all, without excluding or favoring anyone.
    One problem is the lack of access to infrastructure and services like safe drinkable water, toilets, sewers, refuse collection, electricity, roads, schools, hospitals,....  May authorities embark on the path of inclusion, education, sport, community action, and protection of families; it's the only guarantee of peace.  These realities are a consequence of pressure to adopt policies typical of the culture of waste, like lowering the birth rate, legitimizing the present model of distribution, where a minority believes it has the right to consume 
    We need integrated cities belonging to everyone.  We need to implement initiatives to improve living situations and plan better urban developments to house future generations.  We must respect the right to the “three Ls”: land, lodging, labor.  Take initiative against injustice, be involved in your neighbors’ problems, accompany them, protect the fruits of their labor, and celebrate every victory.  It may be the most important task, because the Gospel is addressed in a special way to the poor.  Pray, work and commit to ensure every family has dignified housing, access to drinking water, a toilet, and energy; that every neighborhood has streets, schools, hospitals, and areas for sport, recreation, and art; that basic services are available to all; that your appeals and pleas are heard; and that all enjoy the peace and security they deserve on the basis of their human dignity.
    To UN officials in Nairobi:  I was happy to plant a tree in the UN park.  It's an invitation to continue battling against phenomena like deforestation and desertification.  It reminds us it's important to safeguard our planet's "lungs" and we need to appreciate and encourage agencies and organizations to draw attention to these issues and cooperate, to ensure that each government carries out its responsibility to preserve the environment and natural resources.  Planting a tree is also an incentive to keep trusting, hoping, and working to reverse injustice and deterioration.  We can choose to improve or destroy the environment.  Every step in caring for creation opens a path for creativity that brings out our best.  The climate belongs to all and is meant for all; climate change is one of the principal challenges facing us.  Our response needs to account the rights of the poor and the underprivileged.  Misuse and destruction of the environment are accompanied by a process of exclusion.  I hope COP21 will reach an agreement based on solidarity, justice, equality, and participation, to lessen the impact of climate change, fight poverty, and ensure respect for human dignity.  We're one people living in a common home.  If we want positive change, we must accept our interdependence.  We need to dialogue and cooperate.  We can rise above ourselves, choose good, and make a new start, so we hope we'll be remembered for having shouldered our responsibilities.  The economy and politics must be placed at the service of peoples, so human beings, in harmony with nature, structure the system so each individual's abilities and needs find suitable expression.  The human person and human dignity must be the point of departure and goal.  A new culture calls for education that fosters care for, vs. use and discarding of, oneself, others, and the environment.  By promoting awareness of our common origin, mutual belonging, and shared future, we'll favor development of new convictions, attitudes, and lifestyles.
    We're growing accustomed to others' suffering and resigned to “using and discarding” via slavery, trafficking, forced labor, and prostitution.  We can't remain indifferent.  We've also witnessed urbanization that's led to cities unhealthy to live in; they show symptoms of social breakdown, increased violence, social aggression, drug trafficking, drug use, loss of identity, lack of rootedness, and social anonymity.  I encourage all those working to ensure urbanization is effective, guaranteeing everyone dignified living conditions, land, lodging, and labor.  City planning and maintenance projects must move forward, and local residents' views must be considered.  We have yet to attain an equitable system of commerce that battles poverty and exclusion.  Relationships between States can harm the environment, or renew and preserve it.  Free trade treaties dealing with protection of intellectual property should not only maintain intact the powers already granted to States but also ensuring basic health care for all.  Set aside partisan and ideological interests, and serve the common good.  The Catholic community, and I myself, pray and work that the fruits of cooperation, may be pursued and take the common good into account.
    • Dn 7:2-14  Daniel's vision:  beasts emerge:  lion with eagle wings, given human mind; bear ordered to eat flesh; leopard with bird wings, four heads, receiving dominion; terrifying, strong beast with horns, devouring with iron teeth, trampling with feet.  Snow-bright Ancient One took throne; myriads attended him.  Beast is slain, burnt up.  One like a son of man comes, receives dominion and glory.
    • Dn 3:75-81  "Give glory and eternal praise to him!"  Mountains, hills, growing things, springs, seas, rivers, dolphins, water creatures, birds, beasts, bless the Lord!
    • Lk 21:29-33  As when tree buds open you know summer is near, when you see these signs, know God's Kingdom is near.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but not my words.
      • Creighton:  We've been reading hard-to-understand apocalyptic writings (and will in the first part of Advent); today's 1st reading and gospel are examples.  God alone discloses the wonders of his love.  A comic strip shows an ascetic in flowing robes holding a sign:  “The End is not near, so figure out how to live in an imperfect world!”  God has revealed himself in Jesus, who showed us how to live; he brings God's Kingdom to our imperfect world and invites us to join him in helping illuminate the Kingdom.  We can get scared by violence, anger, and wars that threaten us, but Jesus showed us how to respond:  love God and neighbor; live the Beatitudes; trust in God's goodness; open up to the poor....  "The end is near" is a challenge and blessing from God.  The effects of our acts of faith, hope, and love go beyond the present into a future of hope God has planned for us.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Black Friday or Good Friday?"  Every Friday is a reminder of Good Friday. Jesus gave his life so we may have life; he took on the punishment of our sins so we could take on God's holiness.  Malls, parties, earth, stars, and sky  will pass away, but not Jesus' words.  May Jesus transfer us from Black Friday to Good Friday.
      • Passionist:  Jesus admonishes his disciples to stay awake and attentive.  He wants us to notice lessons from nature, too.  Obstacles aren't always extrinsic evils or influences; they might come from within.  Sometimes we're tempted to rush to a quick answer or crave certitude, but "When I despair, I remember the way of truth and love has always won.  Tyrants and murderers may seem invincible but in the end always fall" (Gandhi).
      •  "My words will not pass away":   Jesus used the fig tree image to teach about reading the "signs of the times."  The fig tree was an important source of food for the Jews, bearing fruit in the autumn and early spring.  The Talmud said the first fruit came the day after Passover.  The Jews believed that the Messiah would usher in God's kingdom at Passover time.  As signs of a change in season are evident, so too the signs of God's kingdom and his return.  The "budding" of God's kingdom begins in the hearts of those receptive to God's word.  Those who trust in God's word will bear the fruits of his kingdom:  justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  The Lord gives the first-fruits of his kingdom to those who open their hearts to him with faith.  We don't know when Jesus will come again, but he does give us signs to "wake us up" and "rouse our spirits" to be eager to receive his kingdom when he comes.  The "Day of the Lord" will be a day of joy and rejoicing for those who long to see the Lord.  While we wait for the Lord's return in glory, we can know his presence through the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts.  Jesus comes frequently to those who long for him and speaks tenderly to us.  He shows us the way to our Father and gives us hope.
      • Universalis:  St. Ferga (Vergilius of Salzburg), monastery founder, abbot, bishop

      November 26, 2015


      November 26, 2015:  Thanksgiving Day / Thursday, 34th week, Ordinary Time

      See 13 connections with today?
      Legend below


      For Thanksgiving Day
      For weekday 1st reading

      For Thanksgiving gospel
      For the psalms and canticle
      Pope Francis
      Nairobi homily:  Kenyan society has been blessed with strong family life, deep respect for the wisdom of the elderly, and love for children.  The health of a society depends on the health of its families.  Let the great values of Africa’s traditions, the wisdom and truth of God’s word, and the generous idealism of your youth guide you to shape a society more just, inclusive, and respectful of human dignity.  Be concerned for the needs of the poor, and reject everything that leads to prejudice and discrimination; they're not of God.  Stand strong in faith!  Don't be afraid; be missionary disciples who radiate the Gospel's truth, beauty and life-changing power.  
      To Kenya leaders:  The young are a nation’s most valuable resource.   Protect them, invest in them, and offer them a helping hand, to ensure a future worthy of the wisdom and values dear to their elders, values that are a people's heart and soul.  The world's environmental crisis demands great sensitivity to the relationship between human beings and nature.   Pass on the beauty of nature to future generations, and exercise a just stewardship of the gifts you've received.   In a world that exploits rather than protects our common home, inspire efforts to promote responsible models of economic development.
      Protecting nature and building a just society are linked.  Our relationship with nature can't be renewed without renewing humanity.  To the extent we experience divisions, we must work for reconciliation, peace, forgiveness, and healing.  Strengthening cohesion and integration, tolerance and respect for others, and pursuing the common good must be primary.  Violence, conflict, and terrorism feed on fear, mistrust, and despair born of poverty and frustration.  The struggle against them must be carried on by people who fearlessly believe in, and witness to, the values that inspired the nation's birth.  The advancement of these values is entrusted to you leaders.  It's a great responsibility, a calling, in the service of the people.  Work with integrity and transparency for the common good, and foster solidarity at every level.  Show concern for the poor, the young, and just distribution of natural and human resources.  The Catholic community will keep contributing in these areas.  May you cultivate a society of solidarity, justice, and peace in Kenya and throughout Africa.  God bless Kenya!
      To Kenya religious leaders:  Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue is essential.  Religious beliefs and practice condition who we are and how we understand the world; they're a source of enlightenment, wisdom, and solidarity, and so enrich society.  By caring for our communities' spiritual growth, by forming people in the truths and values our religious traditions teach, we bless our communities.  Cooperation between religious leaders and communities is an important service to the common good.
      Together we must defend the God-given dignity of individuals and peoples, and their right to live in freedom and happiness.  Religions play an essential role in forming consciences, instilling values, and training citizens to infuse society with honesty and integrity, and a world view that values the person.  Our common conviction that the God we serve is a God of peace; his name must never be used to justify hatred or violence.  Young people are being radicalized in the name of religion to sow discord and fear.  We must be seen as peacemakers who invite others to live in peace, harmony, and mutual respect!  May God touch those who engage in violence, and grant peace to our families and communities.
       I reaffirm the Catholic Church's commitment to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in the service of understanding and friendship; it's born of our conviction of God’s universal love and offer of salvation.  The world expects believers to work together with others of good will in facing the problems affecting humanity.  Pray that everyone will see themselves as brothers and sisters, peacefully united in and through our differences.  Pray for peace!

      • Sir 50:22-24  Bless God who's done wondrous things and fashions people.  May he grant you joy and peace; may his goodness endure and deliver us.
      • Ps 145:2-11 "I will praise your name for ever, Lord."  Great are you, Lord; your majesty, wondrous works, goodness, justice, mercy, kindness, and compassion.  May your faithful bless you, speaking of your kingdom's glory and your might.
      • 1 Cor 1:3-9  I thank my God for God's grace given to you as you await Christ's revelation.  He'll keep you firm to the end.  By our faithful God you were called to fellowship with Christ our Lord.
      • Lk 17:11-19  Ten lepers:  “Jesus, have pity on us!” / “Show yourselves to the priests.”  They were cleansed on the way.  One returned, glorifying God and thanking Jesus.  Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks?  Go; your faith has saved you.”
      • Dn 6:12-28  Men find Daniel praying, tell King Darius who orders him cast into the lions' den.  King returns to den, finding Daniel unhurt.  Daniel was removed; his accusers were cast into the den and crushed.  King Darius:  Reverence the God of Daniel:  he lives forever, saves, works signs, and delivered Daniel from the lions.
      • Dn 3:68-74  "Give glory and eternal praise to him."  Dew, rain, frost, chill, ice, snow, nights, days, light, darkness, lightnings, clouds, earth:  bless the Lord!
      • Lk 21:20-28  Time of punishment, woe, signs, calamity, and judgment will come.  People will fall, be taken captive, and trampled.  The Son of Man will come with power and glory.  Stand erect; your redemption is at hand.
          The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth/ Brownscombe
        • Creighton:  End-time passages often lead people to speculate about the when and what of end-time events, but Jesus doesn't want us to focus on that.  When the temple was destroyed as he prophesied, people speculated the end was near. Mark assured his fellow Christians “the end was still to come,” although he associated the destruction of with the apocalyptic sign of the “desolating sacrilege” Daniel prophesied.  By the time Luke wrote, the destruction of the temple had become the Judeans’ “9/11.”  More time had elapsed without the parousia, but Christians still speculated about contemporary events as signs of the end. Luke’s response was to further develop Mark’s point that the end is coming and Christians needed to be alert, ready, and attentive to the mission of the Church:  he affirmed the destruction of Jerusalem happened as Jesus prophesied; he relegated it to history by removing Mark's allusion to Daniel’s “desolating sacrilege” and spoke of an extended period, “the times of the gentiles,” that would unfold before Jesus came in glory; he warned of false Messiahs; he developed the theme of “today,” the current period of the Church’s life under the risen Lord, as the necessary focus of Christians.  This theme shows up in Luke’s version of Jesus’ prophecy before the Sanhedrin, as compared to Mark’s.  Jesus via Mark:  “You'll see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (a reference to Daniel 7 applied to the second coming); via Luke: “From now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God” (a reference to Jesus' resurrection and the "today" that followed.  Pope Francis writes from the same perspective in Laudato Si, when he writes to wake us up to our place in the today of our history.  The effects of climate change aren't signs of the end but rather a call to take responsibility for the damage we've done to Earth, a call to change our ways to mitigate those effects and make reasonable adaptations.
        • One Bread, One Body:  "Break the law!"  Three times a day, Daniel broke the law prohibiting praying to God.  There's an unwritten law that you don't pray openly at most jobs.  Many married couples have a law that each keep their faith and prayers private.  In our "culture of death," it's not politically correct to pray anywhere other than at church and possibly at home.  The Lord commanded us to pray always; that implies we pray everywhere, in all circumstances.  If there were a law forbidding open communication with someone you love, would you break it?  Love Jesus openly, publicly, boldly, deeply, enthusiastically, and totally. Break any laws contrary to the law of love.
        • Passionist:  Thanksgiving Day allows us to be amazed at family and friends gathered in person or in spirit, feeling welcomed, at home, blessed, and safe.  Yet many don't feel welcomed, at home, blessed, or safe.  Here's a way to bring to the Thanksgiving table those for whom we give thanks:
        I was hungry, and you gave me food.  For my teachers, who fed me when I hungered for knowledge.  For all who work in food pantries or deliver Meals on Wheels.I was thirsty, and you gave me drink.  For my parents who thirsted for justice and taught me how to seek truth.  For all who serve others in developing countries.I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.  For my friends who hugged me when I was shunned.   For all who minister to those living under bridges or in parks, and for all who welcome foreigners and refugees.I was naked, and you clothed me.  For my family that allows me to be vulnerable and not be ashamed when I weep.  For 12-step sponsors and mentors who stand by us as we fall and get back up.I was sick, and you took care of me.  For those who have cared for me.  For nurses and doctors, especially those who minister to the dying.I was in prison, and you visited me.  For my confessors, who visited me in my cell of shame and  sin.  For those who give hope to prisoners by working for a more just legal system.
        •  "The Son of man is coming with great glory":   Jesus' prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem, the destruction of the world, and judgment day, was not new to the Jews; prophets foretold these events centuries before.  Jesus warns of the destruction of Jerusalem as a consequence of rejecting the Gospel.  Over a million died when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.  Jesus speaks about the final judgment.  Only spiritual blindness can keep us from recognizing the signs of judgment day.  Jesus told his disciples what it would cost to follow him and promised he'd never leave them.  Saints and martyrs who underwent torment and death made their prisons a temple and their scaffolds a throne, knowing Christ was with them.  The disciple who walks with Christ may lose body but not soul.  The greatest gift is our redemption through Jesus' blood and our adoption as God's children.  We can be thankful because our hope is in heaven and in the promise Jesus will return to establish his reign of justice and peace.  The Lord will raise our bodies to be like his.  Jesus speaks of his second coming as a certain event to take place when God chooses, marked by signs all will recognize.  When the Lord returns, he'll establish his kingdom of justice and vindicate all who have been faithful....
        Today's saints
        Dress legend
        • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  May peace abide among you (Thanksgiving 1st reading)
        • 'Girl with heart' pin:  "joy of heart" (Thanksgiving 1st reading)
        • 'Stick figures' tie pin:  lepers including the thankful one (Thanksgiving gospel)
        • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Jesus healed the lepers (Thanksgiving gospel)
        • 'Angel' pin:  A mighty angel... (weekday 1st reading)
        • 'Stone' tie pin:  ...picked up a stone; king sealed stone brought to block lions' den opening (weekday 1st reading)
        • Lion pin:  Lions' den (weekday 1st reading)
        • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Darius (weekday 1st reading); Christ the King week
        • 'Sword' tie pin:  They'll fall by the sword (weekday gospel)
        • 'Clock' suspenders:  countdown to end of church year
        • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

        November 25, 2015

        Nov. 25

        November 25, 2015:  Wednesday, 34th week, Ordinary Time

        Find 10 connections with today?
        Legend below

        • Dn 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28  At King Belshazzar's banquet, fingers appear and write on the wall.  Terrified, the king asks Daniel to interpret:  “You rebelled against the Lord.  God sent the hand to write mene, tekel, peres:  God has put an end to your kingdom; you've been found wanting; and your kingdom has been given to the Medes and Persians.
        • Dn 3:62-67  "Give glory and eternal praise to him."  Sun, moon, stars, showers, winds, fire, heat, cold, and chill, bless the Lord!
        • Lk 21:12-19  “They'll persecute you and hand you over because of me, leading to your giving testimony.  I'll give you wisdom nobody can refute.  All will hate you, but by perseverance you'll be safe.
          • Creighton:  "I myself will give you wisdom in speaking":  If relationship with God is central to me, the right words will come when I need them.  The king and his companions had forgotten the sacred; they used the God-given temple vessels for a party though they were intended to remind the people to look to God.
            Belshazzar's Feast/ Rembrandt
          • One Bread, One Body:  "Sober up":  Tomorrow people will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with food and alcohol; some gatherings will be like King Belshazzar's party.  The king's life ended that night; he had no more time to repent and undo the damage he caused.  The Church's Eucharist (Thanksgiving) also features holy vessels, wine, celebration, feasting, and the death of the host.  May we be under the influence of the Holy Spirit, not a substance and give thanks the Church's way.
          • Passionist:  Today Jesus develops the theme (from Monday's gospel) of generosity without counting the cost:  he speaks of the Messiah's and disciples' sufferings:  Don't worry; the words you need will be given to you.  Endure and be saved.  Enter into life; don't escape it.  Enter into suffering and find freedom.  “A life without meaning is not a life.  To live we must choose.  To love we must encounter.  To grow we must suffer” (holocaust survivor Victor Frankel).  Reach into your mind and heart to find patience, kindness, and generosity, and encounter God.
            Santa Caterina d'Alessandria
          •  "Not a hair of your head will perish":  Jesus warns his followers they'll be confronted with wickedness, false teaching, persecution, and temptation to renounce their faith.  Jesus' response to hostility and persecution is love, forbearance, and forgiveness.  He tells us we needn't fear our opponents.  Endurance never gives up hope in God.  Patience looks beyond present difficulties to the reward of perseverance.  Endurance is a gift of the Spirit to enable us to bear trials.  "When persecution comes, God's soldiers are put to the test, and heaven is open to martyrs.  We haven't enlisted in an army to think of peace and decline battle, for we see the Lord has taken first place in the conflict" (Cyprian).  Martyrs live and die as witnesses of the Gospel, overcoming their enemies through hope, courage, love, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and compassion.  Most of us are called to be 'dry' martyrs bearing testimony to the gospel in our daily lives.  May our love, joy, patience, forgiveness, and compassion give good witness....
          Dress legend
          • 'Silverware' tie bar:  King Belshazzar's banquet (1st reading) 
          • Gold- and silver-colored accoutrements:  King ordered gold and silver vessels brought in, promises gold to Daniel if he interprets the writing (1st reading) 
          • 'Hand' tie pin:  Fingers of a hand wrote on king's wall (1st reading); they'll 'hand' you over (gospel) 
          • 'Owl' tie pin:  King heard Daniel has extraordinary wisdom (1st reading); I'll give you wisdom (gospel) 
          • Purple shirt:  King promises purple clothing to Daniel if he interprets the writing on the wall (1st reading)
          • 'Scales' tie:  'Tekel,' you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting (1st reading) 
          • 'Abacus' tie pin:  'Peres,' your kingdom has been divided... (1st reading) 
          • 'Star' tie pin:  Stars of heaven, bless the Lord (canticle) 
          Special greetings to and prayers for the community at
          St. Catherine of Alexandria parish in Avalon