December 5, 2015

Dec. 5

December 5, 2015:  Saturday, First week of Advent

See 14 connections with today?
Legend at bottom

From Papal Preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 1st Advent sermon
“Christ, the Light to the Nations”: A Christological Reading of Lumen gentium (continuing from yesterday, A Christological Ecclesiology)
2. The Church as the Body and the Spouse of Christ
Lumen gentium presents the Church as spouse of Christ and body of Christ:  'The church, “that Jerusalem which is above,” and “our mother” is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless Lamb, whom Christ “loved ... and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify her.”  It is the church he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and that he constantly “nourishes and cherishes.”  It is the church that, once purified, he willed to be joined to himself, subject in love and fidelity.'
Concerning the “body of Christ” it says, 'The Son of God... redeemed humanity and changed it into a new creation.  For by communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constituted as his body his brothers and sisters who are called together from every nation.... Really sharing in the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with him and one another. “Because the bread is one, we, though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread.”'
The former Cardinal Ratzinger highlighted the intrinsic relationship between these two images of the Church:  the Church is the body of Christ because she's the spouse of Christ!  The Pauline image of the Church as the body of Christ is not primarily based on the metaphor of the harmony of the human body’s parts (even though he applies it at times this way) but rather on the spousal idea of the one flesh a man and a woman form when they join themselves in marriage and on the eucharistic idea of the one body formed by those who partake of the same bread: “Because the bread is one, we, though many, are one body, all of us who partake of the one bread.”
This was at the heart of the Augustinian concept of the Church, so much so that he at times gave the impression of identifying the body of Christ, the Church, with the body of Christ, the Eucharist.  The meaning of “mystical body” of Christ evolved from the Eucharist to the Church; this perspective brings Catholic ecclesiology closer to the eucharistic ecclesiology of the Orthodox Church.  Without the Church and without the Eucharist, Christ would not have a “body” in the world. [to be continued]
  • Is 30:19-21, 23-26  God will be gracious to you when you cry out; he'll answer as soon as he hears you, give you the bread and water you need.  You'll see your Teacher and hear a voice, “This is the way; walk in it.”  He'll give rain, wheat, pasture for your flock, meadows for the lambs, food for the oxen, water for everyone.  He'll bind his people's wounds and heal their bruises.
  • Ps 147:1-6  "Blessed are all who wait for the Lord."  Praise the Lord, good, gracious, mighty, and wise, who rebuilds Jerusalem, gathers the dispersed, heals the brokenhearted, calls by name, and sustains the lowly.
  • Mt 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8  Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease and illness.  Seeing the troubled crowds, like shepherdless sheep, he was moved with pity.  “The harvest is abundant but laborers are few; ask the harvest master to send laborers.”  Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority:  “Go to the lost sheep, proclaiming, ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.  Give freely as you've received.
    • Creighton:  Isaiah's prophecy uses words that represent our humanity, transcend time, and use our senses.  How do we hear God's voice today?  The people of Jerusalem likely heard it in prayer and attentiveness, and it probably wasn't any easier for them as for us....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "No one is an island":  The Lord promised happiness, sustenance, guidance, abundance, light, and healing.  If his promises are true, why aren't we seeing them fulfilled?  We need laborers for the harvest, a community of disciples, to call us to faith and commitment.  Be a laborer; people need you, and you need them.
    • Passionist:  Isaiah speaks of the goodness of God that is to come. He paints a picture of the abundant blessings to be ours:  material ones, plus God will no longer be hidden from us.  Our hurts will be healed, and there will be rain!  And the time is now!  But we seem farther away from the Kingdom than ever.  How can the Kingdom be “at hand” when we see war, strife, pain, suffering, hatred, and fear?
      Today's psalm says, “blessed all who wait for the Lord.”  Maybe we just need to await the day God lifts us up and binds our wounds?  I think Jesus is proposing another way to ‘wait for the Lord’:  go out, seek those in pain, and to give freely.  Curing the sick could be speaking with someone grieving; raising the dead could be giving hope to one in despair.  If I carry the Kingdom in my heart, greet people as if it is at hand, and help those around me, maybe it will be at hand.
      •  "The kingdom of heaven is at hand":  Isaiah foretold that God's kingdom would bring peace and prosperity.  Jesus understood his mission to bring the kingdom to us.  God's kingdom is God's power at work those who trust and honor him.  Signs and wonders accompanied Jesus' preaching of the kingdom.  Jesus commissioned his disciples to carry on the works he did:  speaking God's word, healing the weary and oppressed.  God's kingdom is still available to those ready to receive it, accepting Jesus' love and mercy.
        • John Almond, priest and martyr
        • Birinus, missionary bishop
        • Hedda, bishop
      Dress legend
      • 'Teachers in classroom' tie, purple dress:  "Your Teacher won't hide himself any more..." (1st reading); Advent season
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  "...but you'll see your Teacher with your own eyes" (1st reading)
      • 'Walker' tie pin:  This is the way; walk in it (1st reading)
      • Blue shirt: The Lord will give you the water you thirst for (1st reading)
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  Crowds were like shepherdless sheep; go to the lost sheep (gospel);  your flock will be given pasture... (1st reading)
      • 'Lamb' pin:  ...and the lamb will graze (1st reading)
      • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders:  He heals the brokenhearted (psalm); Jesus' heart was moved with pity (gospel)
      • 'Star' tie pin:  God tells the number of the stars (psalm)
      • 'Owl' tie pin:  God's wisdom has no limit (psalm)
      • 'Hand' tie pin:  Proclaim, "The Kingdom of heaven is at 'hand.'" (gospel)
      • 'Car' tie pin:  Jesus gave them authority over unclean spirits to 'drive' them out (gospel)

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