December 3, 2015

Francisco Javier

December 3, 2015:  St. Francis Xavier, Priest

  • 'Rock' tie pin:  The Lord is an eternal Rock (1st reading); wise man built his house on rock (gospel)
  • White shirt:  St. Francis Xavier
  • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

Pope Francis at Evangelization Conference
On “Missionary awareness and young Churches 50 years after Ad Gentes”:  In Africa I had first-hand witness of the dynamism of many young Churches, as well as the serious difficulties of most of the population.  Where there are needs, there's almost always a presence of the Church ready to heal the needy, in whom we recognize Jesus' wounded and crucified body. So many anonymous good Samaritans doing works of charity every day, promoting human dignity!
The nature of the Church is to evangelize, beginning with herself.  Some face ambiguity in the experience of faith; the secular world, even when it is warm to gospel values of love, justice, and peace, isn't as open to the person of Jesus; they consider him an enlightened man, not Messiah or God, separating message from messenger, gift from Giver.  In this situation of detachment, missio ad gentes is both engine and horizon of faith.  Proclaim the Gospel to all, always, everywhere, without repulsion or fear.  Mission can transform the Church within itself.  Embrace missio ad gentes so the Spirit may transform habitual believers into disciples and disaffected disciples into missionaries, drawing them away from their fears, projecting them to the ends of the world.  Stay committed to the spirit of mission.  Listen to the cry of the poor and distant, meet everyone, and proclaim gospel joy.  Let's emerge from our enclosures and emigrate from territories where we're tempted to close ourselves, so we can walk and sow further. 
    House built on rock
    vs. house built on sand
  • Is 26:1-6  In Judah they'll sing: “God sets up walls and ramparts to protect us. Let in a just nation, one that trusts in you.” Trust in the Lord, an eternal Rock! He humbles those in high places; the poor and needy trample the lofty city.
  • Ps 118:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a  "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." The Lord is good; his mercy endures forever. Take refuge in the Lord. I'll enter the gates of justice and thank the Lord who answered and saved me. The Lord has given us light. 
  • Mt 7:21, 24-27  “Only those who do my Father's will will enter the Kingdom.  Everyone who acts on these words will be like one who built his house on rock, but those who don't will be like fools who built on sand.”

    • Creighton:  Jesus’ words describe the importance of choosing priorities.  He compares the end result of choosing to build our lives on him versus on worldly whims.  These decisions surface when storms hit.  Where am I making a worldly pursuit or a transient pleasure the foundation of my work?   How can I better prepare for heaven, become a saint, and serve the Lord?
      St. Francis Xavier
    • One Bread, One Body:  "United nations?"  The twelve tribes of Israel entered the Promised Land after years of wandering. The tribes remained united till after Solomon's death, when Judah remained true to the covenant and the other tribes "seceded," worshiped idols, and formed the Northern Kingdom, despite prophets' warnings.  Their rebellion led them so far from God that the sinful Northern Kingdom was conquered.  A nation that was united fell into disunity; nations do the same today.
    • Passionist:  Sometimes when we are in a storm, it can be hard to sense God’s love even when our lives are built on the secure foundation of faith.  Read my poem, Cloudy Night Sky. Lord, thank you for being our foundation, that we can build our lives on your truth and not be tossed about by storms.
    •  "Who shall enter the kingdom of heaven?"  In the ancient world a strong city, fortress, and house were built on rock to withstand nature and foe.  Isaiah speaks of God as an "everlasting rock."  Scripture warns destruction will come to those who don't place their security in God.  Jesus' story of recalled the proverb, "When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm."  The foundation we build upon will determine how we survive the storms.  Builders lay foundations when weather and soil conditions are best.  It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up.  We can fool people, but not God, who sees the heart.  Only my actions can prove my sincerity.  Fine words don't replace good deeds.  Our choices, especially when we're tested, reveal our character.  May we be honest and reliable before God, others, and ourselves.

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