January 27, 2016

Jan. 27

January 27, 2016:  Wednesday, 3rd week, Ordinary Time

See 11 connections with today?
Legend below
For gospel
For psalm

Pope Francis
General Audience:  The Lord always accompanied the Israelites, and God continues to work.  The Joseph story is an example of grace and reconciliation, and the Jubilee of Mercy is a good opportunity to reconcile with family members.  Moses' leading the Israelites shows that mercy can't remain indifferent in the face of suffering, violence, or slavery.  Suffering can make us feel impotent and tempt us to indifference, but God isn't indifferent; he never looks away from suffering.  He hears the groaning of the poor and intervenes to save them, raising up people to hear their cries and work on their behalf.  As Moses was God’s instrument to free the Israelites, we too can be mediators of God’s mercy.  We can do so many good things!  God made a covenant with his people, creating a privileged relationship.  This relationship, brought to fulfilment in Christ, destroys our sin through forgiveness, and makes us God's children.  May we, because of the mercy God has shown us, cooperate with God in accomplishing works of mercy.
Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter (World Communications Day message), concluded:  Email, txt, social networks, and chats can be human communication.  The heart and our capacity to use available means determine whether communication is authentic, not the technology itself.  Social networks can facilitate relationships and promote good but can also lead to polarization and division.  The digital world is a public square where we can either encourage or demean, discuss or attack.  May that this Jubilee Year, lived in mercy, open us to more fervent dialogue so we might know and understand one another better; and that it eliminate closed-mindedness and disrespect, and drive out violence and discrimination” (Misericordiae Vultus, 23).  The internet can help us to be better citizens.  Access to digital networks entails responsibility for the neighbor we don't see but who's nonetheless real and has dignity we must respect.  The internet can be used wisely to build a healthy society open to sharing.
Communication has opened up broader horizons for many; it's a gift of God that involves great responsibility.  I refer to this power of communication as “closeness.”  The encounter between communication and mercy will be fruitful inasmuch as it generates closeness that cares, comforts, heals, accompanies, and celebrates.  In a broken, fragmented, polarized world, communicating with mercy helps create healthy, free, fraternal closeness between God's children and the one human family. 
  • 2 Sm 7:4-17  God told David via Nathan:  Should you build me a house?  Did I ever ask my judges to build me a house?  I chose you; I've been with you.  I'll establish a house for you.  Your heir shall build me a house, and I'll make his Kingdom firm; I'll be a father to him and won't withdraw my favor.  Your house shall endure.
  • Ps 89:4-5, 27-30  "For ever I will maintain my love for my servant."  I've made a covenant with David my chosen to make your dynasty endure.  I'll maintain my love for and covenant with him.
  • Mk 4:1-20  Jesus taught a parable:  "A sower sowed:  some seed fell on the path; birds ate it.  Other seed fell on rocky ground and withered.   Some fell among thorns that choked it.  And some fell on rich soil and produced fruit....  The sower sows the word. To the ones on the path, Satan comes and takes it away.  The ones on rocky ground receive it but have no roots and so fall away.  The ones among thorns hear it but, choked by anxiety and cravings, bear no fruit.  Those on rich soil accept it; they bear fruit.”
    • Creighton:  God is faithful!  God tells David all he had done for him and will do for him and his descendants.  In the psalm, God reconfirms his covenant.  God wants to be with us and asks our permission, and that we open our heart to him.  But we sometimes hold back, wondering what we'll have to do, what will need to change....  The parable is about God's invitation and what we do about it.  Do I let God into my heart, life, relationships, thoughts, activities?  May we trust God’s unconditional love for us....
      The Sower/ Van Gogh
    • One Bread, One Body:  "God's seed; God's methods":  Modern agriculture sows seed very precisely, but in Jesus' time they used the "broadcast" method, scattering seed by the handful while walking, in the hope that a good harvest grows.  Often we share the Gospel with friends like us but "space over" people who are poor, different, or enemies.  Jesus tells us to spread the Gospel everywhere, in all directions, and allow God to work in each person's life.  God's Word can do the job in every heart; we just need to get the Word out.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus taught people using parables":  Jesus used parables to help people understand God and his kingdom, using images and characters from everyday life to illustrate his message. Over a third of the synoptics contain his parables.  "Parables are word pictures not of visible things, but rather of things of the mind and spirit.  What our eyes can't see, a parable reveals to the eyes of the mind, informing the intellect by means of things perceivable by the senses." (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Sermon 41)
    The sower parable is aimed at hearers of Jesus' word. There are different ways of accepting God's word and they produce different kinds of fruit:  prejudiced ones with closed minds, unteachable and blind to what they don't want to hear; shallow ones who don't think things through and eventually wander off; ones with many cares who don't hear what's really important; and open-minded ones willing to listen, learn, and understand, never too proud or busy.
    Origen re why Jesus distinguishes between those ready to hear and understand from those not ready:  "Sometimes it's not an advantage to be healed quickly or superficially, especially if it makes the disease more shut up inside to rage.  So God, who knows all, delays healing of such persons, healing by not healing, lest premature recovery render them incurable.  This pertains to those our Lord addressed as 'those outside,' whom he searches out.  Jesus covered up deeper mysteries to those not yet ready to receive his teaching directly; he wanted to prevent them from being speedily converted and only cosmetically healed.  If the forgiveness of their sins were too easily obtained, they'd fall into the same sin they imagined could be cured easily" (On First Principles 3.1.7, paraphrased)
    The Lord will give us understanding if we approach him with faith, humility, and readiness to be taught....
      • Bl. Edward Oldcorne, Jesuit priest, martyr
    Dress legend
    • 'Castle' pin:  House of David (1st reading)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  I'll raise up your heir and make his Kingdom firm (1st reading); I'll establish his throne (psalm)
    • 'LOVE' suspenders sticker (thanks, Lucy):  Forever I'll maintain my love for my servant (psalm)
    • 'Boat' tie bar:  Jesus got into a boat... (gospel)
    • 'Birds' tie:  birds ate seed that fell on the path (gospel)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  seeds that fell on rocky ground withered (gospel)
    • 'Roses' pin:  thorns choked some seeds (gospel)
    • 'Apple' pin:  seeds on good soil bore fruit (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  To those outside everything comes in parables, so they may see but not perceive (gospel)
    • Green in shirt and suspenders:  Ordinary Time season

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