November 13, 2015

Mother Cabrini

November 13, 2015:  St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin

  • 'Lightning' pin:  If they were struck by their might and energy, let them realize how much more powerful their Maker (1st reading)
  • Olympics tie pin:  Their message resounds throughout the earth (psalm)
  • 'Food' tie:  "They were eating and drinking,... and the flood destroyed them, or fire and brimstone destroyed them." (gospel)
  • Green shirt (and socks):  Ordinary Time season

For the psalm
We're tempted to deify earthly things, even idolize our habits, as if it all lasted forever.  Instead, God is the greatest glory.  The problem is that we often bow down before things whose splendor is only a reflection that will be extinguished, or we become devoted to fleeting pleasures.
Many people practice the "idolatry of immanence"; they can't look beyond things' beauty towards the transcendent.  They're astonished by the power and energy; they haven’t thought about how much greater their Creator is, the origin and author of this beauty.  It’s idolatry to gaze at these beautiful things without believing they'll fade.  We all run the risk of having this idolatry of being attached to the beauty of the here and now, without the transcendence.  We believe these things are almost gods and will last forever.
The other trap or idolatry many fall into is daily habits that deafen our hearts; Jesus illustrated this when he described the people of Noah's and Sodom's time who ate and drank and got married without caring about anything else till the flood, or fire and sulfur, came.  Life is according to habit:  we live without thinking about the end.  Attachment to our habits, without thinking this will come to an end, is also idolatry.  But the Church makes us look at the end.  Even our habits can be thought of as gods....  Look beyond towards the God who's beyond the end of created things; don't look back like Lot’s wife.  Life is beautiful; so will its end be.  Go forward, looking at beautiful things and with our habits but without deifying them; they'll end.
  • Wis 13:1-9  All ignorant of God were foolish.  God, creator, is more excellent than their idols, created things.  God-seekers are distracted because the things they see are fair.
  • Ps 19:2-5ab  "The heavens proclaim the glory of God" through all the earth.
  • Lk 17:26-37  “As it was in Noah's day, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, then the flood destroyed them.  Similarly, in Lot's time, they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, and fire and brimstone destroyed them.  When the Son of Man is revealed, don't go back to get what you left behind.  Some will be taken, some left....
    • Creighton:  How easy it is to worship created things, and people, instead of the God who called them into being.  What 'gods' do I worship?   Trends, tech, 'important' people?  We need the Lord to make us look in his direction, and we need the strength of others’ faith, to get realigned and refreshed.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Ready for the big surprise?"  The end of the world will be surprising and quick; most people will be oblivious when it comes, and there won't be time to do anything.  The way to be ready is to lose our lives for love of Jesus, living not for ourselves but for him, denying ourselves, taking up Jesus' cross, and being his disciples.  When we choose his will, we've been crucified with Christ, and he lives in us....
      St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
    • Passionist:  Jesus references Noah and the flood, and Lot and Sodom.  What does the warning mean? Luke wrote to Gentile Christians not familiar with Hebrew scriptures, traditions or law, and untouched by the Roman Empire’s crushing of the Jewish Revolt and destruction of the Temple.  Luke’s point is to be ready, to follow Christ and be prepared for “the days of the Son of Man.”  Amidst our enemies, persecutions, natural disasters, disease, and daily challenges, we're invited to “watch and be ready,” holding fast to our faith and trust, living Jesus' teachings....
    •  "One will be taken and the other left":  Jesus quoted a proverb his audience knew: Where the body is, there eagles/vultures will gather.  Eagles, like vultures, are attracted to carrionJob describes the eagle spying its prey.  Eagles catch their prey when conditions are right, especially if it's is exposed and vulnerable; weak or dying prey don't have a chance.  When judgment day comes, it'll be obvious.  The Lord will vindicate and reward believers, but those who have rejected God will perish.  His return is certain, but the time unknown. Judgment will come unexpectedly.  Jesus warns not be caught off guard.  The Lord offers each of us the grace, strength, and help we need to embrace his will; he gives his Spirit to lead us in wisdom, truth, and love.  The Day of the Lord will be a cause for joy for those who have put their trust in the Lord.  The people in Noah's time ignored the Lord's warning; when the flood came, they "missed the boat."  Whose boat or safety net are you staking your life on?
      • Frances Xavier Cabrini, youngest of 13, judged too weak to enter convents, devoted herself to teaching, founded Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to spread devotion to the Heart of Jesus by works of mercy, running orphanages, schools, and homes for the old and sick; founded 67 institutions across the US, South America, and Europe.

      • Machar, bishop

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