December 7, 2015


December 7, 2015:  St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor

Can you find 13 connections with today?
Legend below


From Papal Preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 1st Advent sermon
“Christ, the Light to the Nations”: A Christological Reading of Lumen gentium (concluded from yesterday, Going from the Church to the Soul)
"Renew your personal encounter with Christ each day" (Evangelii gaudium 3).  Instead of personal encounter, Catholics have preferred ecclesial encounter through the sacraments, but a personal encounter makes sacramental encounters freely chosen and welcomed.  Free, personal adherence to Christ is the only true way into the Church.  In the early Church, people made risky personal decisions to enter the church and underwent a long initiation, but when Christianity became tolerated, preferred, even imposed, focus shifted from coming to faith to moral living.  Family, education, culture, and society helped people to absorb faith, and new ways of life emerged, like monastic and religious life, where members made a courageous personal decision and lived out baptism radically.
Times have radically changed, so evangelization must create opportunities for people to make a free, personal, mature decision for true Christianity.  RCIA has offered a path to adult baptism, but what of the baptized "Christians in name only"?  Ecclesial movements, lay associations, and renewed parish communities provide context and means for adults to choose Christ, take their baptism seriously, and become active Church participants.
What does it mean to have a personal encounter with Jesus?  Saying, “Jesus is Lord!” as the early Christians said it, and living accordingly.  Then Jesus is a live person we can speak with, present, more than a memory.  It means submitting important decisions to him before making them.  People accept the Church out of love for Christ, not vice versa.  Love Christ and make him loved, and we'll have served the Church best.  If the Church is the spouse of Christ, then she'll generate new children only in uniting herself to her Spouse through love. The Church's fruitfulness depends on her love for Christ.  To serve the Church best, love Jesus and grow in intimacy with him.
  • Is 35:1-10  The parched land will exult; the steppe bloom and rejoice.  They'll see the Lord's glory.  Strengthen feeble hands; make weak knees firm; say to the frightened, "Be strong!"  Your God comes with vindication to save you.  Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears cleared; the lame will leap, the mute will sing, and streams will burst forth in the desert.  A highway will be there; no one unclean may pass over it.  On it the redeemed will walk.  Those the Lord has ransomed will return singing, crowned with joy; sorrow and mourning will flee.
  • Ps 85:9ab, 10-14  "Our God will come to save us!"  God proclaims peace to his people.  His salvation is near.  Kindness and truth shall meet, justice and peace shall kiss.  Truth and justice shall spring forth.  The Lord will give his benefits....
  • Lk 5:17-26  Some men brought a paralyzed man to Jesus, lowering him through the roof because of the crowd.  Jesus, seeing their faith:  “Your sins are forgiven.”  Scribes and Pharisees / Jesus:  “Who is this blasphemer?  Only God can forgive sins!” / “What's easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Rise and walk’?  But so you may know the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins” (to the paralyzed man:)  “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”  He stood immediately, picked up the stretcher, and went home, glorifying God.  All were astonished and glorified God...
    • Creighton:  Re Isaiah's audience:  their bleak climate had little variety, and their natural resources limited; Isaiah emphasizes how the Lord's glory changes their environment to one of abundance and relief.  He reminds people with ears deaf to others' cries and eyes blind to their needs that the Lord's coming will strengthen them.  God will bring the redeemed to a great celebration.  In the psalm, the Lord will come bring peace, truth, justice, change, salvation, and God's kingdom.  When I'm parched, feeble, blind, deaf, or lame, Isaiah reminds me I'll be quenched, strengthened, and made whole, and leap for joy, when the Lord brings salvation.  And it'll be even more gratifying because I've experienced dryness and despair and recognize my limitations.  In Jesus I'm quenched, strengthened, saved, made whole, my sight and hearing restored.   The world experiences true peace if only it listens and follows.  God's kingdom is manifest in the world if we help bring it about by following our Messiah's example....
      Justitia et pax/ Dell'Orto
      "Justice and peace shall kiss" (psalm)
    • One Bread, One Body:  "70 times 7":  Jesus always had forgiveness on His mind:  when a paralytic fell through the roof, when his disciples asked him how to pray, and when he hung on the cross.  "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."  "There will be more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner than 99 who have no need to repent."  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  When Jesus thinks of Christmas, he thinks of forgiveness.  What about me?
    •  "Your God will come and save you'":  What keeps me from receiving the blessings of God's kingdom?  Jesus brought life and healing of body, mind, heart, and soul, but unbelief, indifference, and price can stifle his life and transformation.  Only his forgiveness can heal us.  His treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers. When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of the faith of his friends, Jesus did the unthinkable. He first forgave the man his sins. The scribes regarded his forgiveness of the paralytic as blasphemy because Jesus claimed authority to forgive they understood only God had.  Through healing the cripple, Jesus proved his divine authority and showed the power of God's love.  The Lord is ready to heal us too....
    • 'Flowers' pin:  The desert and the parched land will bloom with abundant flowers,... (1st reading)
    • 'Treble clef with inner cross' pin:  ...and rejoice with joyful song (1st reading)
    • 'Deer' pin:  The lame will leap like a stag (1st reading)
    • Blue shirt:  Streams and rivers will burst forth; burning sands will become pools... (1st reading)
    • 'Highway' tie:  A highway will be there, the holy way (1st reading)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  The eyes of the blind will be opened (1st reading); "We've seen incredible things today" (gospel)
    • White 'jubilee year' pin:  They'll meet with joy and gladness (1st reading), Jubilee of Mercy starts tomorrow; white for St. Ambrose (see this year's ordo)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The Lord proclaims peace to his people (psalm)
    • '?' tie pin:  "What are you thinking in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Rise and walk’?" (gospel)
    • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

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