January 8, 2016

Jan. 8

January 8, 2016:  Friday after Epiphany

See 15 connections with today?
Legend at bottom of page


‘Love’ is used so many times, but when we use it, we don’t know exactly what it means. What is love?  Not soap-opera love or a crush that fades, but God.  Don’t say, "Every love is God"; no, God is love.
John underlines how God loves us first.  There are many examples in the gospel, such as the multiplication of the loaves and the prodigal son parable.  When we want to ask God to forgive us, it’s he who's waiting to forgive us. Why?  To embrace us, nothing more.  To tell us, "I love you.  I let my Son be crucified for you:  this is the price of my love, the gift of my love.”  The Lord is waiting for me; he wants me to open my heart.  We must have this certainty he'll wait for us just as we are and not as we're told to be.  We must go to him and say, "You know how much I love you," or "You know I'd like to love you, but I'm such a sinner."  And he'll do as he did with the prodigal son who squandered all his money; he won’t let you finish your speech and with an embrace will silence you.  The embrace of God’s love. 

  • 1 Jn 5:5-13  The one who believes Jesus is God's Son is victor.  The Spirit, the water, and the Blood testify God gave us eternal life in his Son.  Whoever possesses the Son has life.
  • Ps 147:12-15, 19-20  "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem."  God has strengthened your gates, blessed your children, given you peace, and filled you with the best of wheat.
  • Lk 5:12-16  A leper saw Jesus, fell prostrate, and pleaded with him:  “Lord, you can make me clean.”  Jesus touched and cleansed him.  News spread, crowds came to listen and be cured, and he withdrew to deserted places to pray.
    • Creighton:  In this Epiphany subseason, the Church has us meditate on how God has disclosed himself within the human condition.  Today's 1st reading invites us to consider God’s plan to unite humans to God via the water and blood of Jesus.  Water and blood in Johannine writings generally refer to humanity and divinity.  John speaks of the outpouring of water and blood from Jesus’ side.  This outpouring is upon the Church who transforms our humanity through Baptism and the Eucharist.  The Spirit and Jesus offer us the invitation to be restored to the divine nature.  Those who participate in Jesus' mission are united with him and in him to the Father.  Epiphany invites us to consider how we're drawn through our humanity into divine life.  We're not saved by trying to be super- or sub-human.  Pope Francis recently invited us to laugh heartily and weep in sorrow and sympathy to be more human.  The more human we become, the better we disclose God’s plan to perfect our humanity by restoring its life in God.  Our dependence on God and others makes us more fully human.  When we acknowledge dependence we become grateful.  Gratitude is our response to divine mercy that integrates divine life with our human life.  Think about how drinking cool water, or sliding into a pool or river, makes you feel on a hot day.  Together water and blood signify fullness of life and open us to the gift of Jesus' divinity in his humanity.  May God's mercy arouse gratitude and trigger in us the power to receive his gift of life as his grace and our receptivity transform water, our humanity into divine life within us.
      Christ cleansing a leper/ Doze
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Making God a liar?"  The three persons of the Trinity placed such a high priority on gaining the love of each person that they subjected themselves to the critical judgment of each one.  We're at great risk if we don't pay attention to God's testimony about Jesus.  God has given us the free will and power to choose to love God, or to reject him.  Do I choose to be God's witness and help others to accept him?
    • Passionist:  John is speaking to a people who didn’t have a strong belief in eternal life, but also to us.  Though the average life expectancy of 67 years is infinitesimal in comparison to eternity, we can still focus on this life.  What am I doing to get ready for eternal life?
      In the gospel, Jesus goes beyond curing the leper, sending him to the priest so the leper could resume life without being shunned; he cured and cared.   Do we do acts of mercy, caring about the recipients?
      • DailyScripture.net:  "Lord, you can make me clean":  No one who sought Jesus was refused.  Jesus' contemporaries fled at the sight of a leper, but he touched this leper and cleansed him.  Lepers were outcasts, driven away and left to fend for themselves; they were shunned and regarded as dead.  But this leper approached Jesus confidently, expecting healing, and instead of being stoned or warded off, he was cleansed and felt God's love and tenderness in his touch.  Though contacting the leper would have been seen as risking infection, Jesus met the man with compassion and kindness.  The Lord is always ready to show mercy and free us from what makes us unclean, unapproachable, or unloving.  How do I approach those who seem hard to love, or who others shun?
      • Universalis:  St. Nathalan (Nachlan, Nauchlan), bishop, distributed his harvest to the poor.
      Dress legend

    • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  The Spirit testifies (1st reading)

    • Blue shirt:  The water testifies (1st reading)

    • 'Blood donor' pin:  The blood testifies (1st reading)

    • Wheat pin:  God fills you with the best of wheat (psalm)

    • 'Children around Christmas tree' tie:  "God has blessed your children" (psalm), Christmas season

    • 'Happy birthday, Jesus' pin:  The one who believes Jesus is God's Son is victor (1st reading); Jesus heals leper (gospel)

    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  God granted peace in your borders (psalm)

    • 'Hand' tie pin:  Jesus stretched out his hand and cleansed the leper (gospel)

    • 'Star' tie pin:  star guiding the magi (Epiphanytide)

    • Christmas pin, 'clocks' suspenders:  It's Christmas season through Sunday 

    • White socks:  liturgical color of day and season

    • 'Caged lion' pin (oops, forgot this one):  God has strengthened the bars of your gates (psalm)
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