February 3, 2016


February 3, 2016:  Wednesday, 4th week, Ordinary Time

Do you see ten connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis audience
The Bible presents God as both mercy and justice.  God's mercy leads us to true justice.  Courtroom justice punishes and limits evil but doesn't conquer it; only responding with good conquers evil.  In Biblical justice, victims invite the guilty to convert, helping them understand the harm they've done, appealing to their conscience, opening it to forgiveness.  This is how to resolve family conflicts, where the injured party loves the guilty.  It's hard, demanding the victim be disposed to forgive and want the perpetrator's good, but it's the only way justice can triumph and the guilty find the way of good.
God treats us sinners the same:  he offers forgiveness and helps us welcome him and be aware of our evil so as to free ourselves of it.  The Lord of Mercy seeks our salvation, not condemnation; our challenge is to let him in.  God has the heart of a Father who loves his children and wants them to live in goodness, justice, and happiness.  His heart goes beyond our meager concept of justice and opens to us the horizons of his mercy, not repaying us according to our sins.  We encounter a Father's heart when we go to the confessional; we seek a father for forgiveness, strength, and help changing our life.
  • 2 Sm 24:2, 9-17  King David asked Joab for a census of Israel but then regretted it: “Lord, forgive me.”  Lord to David via Gad:  I offer you 3 years’ famine, 3 months of pursuit, or 3 days’ pestilence.”  David chose pestilence.  70,000 died before God stopped the angel.  David:  “Punish me and my kin, not them.”
  • Ps 32:1-2, 5-7  "Lord, forgive the wrong I have done."  Blessed is he whose fault is taken away; blessed the one in whose spirit there is no guile.  I acknowledged my sin, and you took away the guilt.  You will preserve and free me.
  • Mk 6:1-6  When Jesus taught, hearers took offense:  “Where did he get this wisdom?  What mighty deeds!  But isn't he the carpenter...?  Jesus:  “A prophet is not without honor except with his neighbors and family.”   Amazed at their lack of faith, he could only cure a few there.
      • Creighton:  “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place....”  The attitude of Jesus' neighbors blocked him from performing “mighty deeds.”  Can it be that healing and “mighty deeds” gain their power by tapping into the relationship between healer and the one needing healing—even when Jesus is the healer?  May we not block God's action today....
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Mega-death and mega-salvation":  The wages of sin is mega-death.  After David committed one of his lesser sins, the prophet proposed three possible wages:  famine, fleeing the enemy in a war, or pestilence.  David chose the pestilence because he hoped in God's mercy.  The Lord extended His mercy, and "only" 70,000 died in the three days.  Thanks to God for what he's done for us and saved us from....
        St. Blase
      • Passionist:  David sinned, repented, and God forgave him, but sins have consequences.  David was allowed to choose, but our consequences usually flow from our actions.  When you hurt someone, you need to make it right, not just apologize....
      • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus marveled because of their unbelief":  Our most severe critics are often familiar to us:  family, neighbors, or co-workers.  When Jesus returned home as a rabbi with disciples, he faced testing.  Jesus startled his audience with the rebuke that no prophet can receive honor among his own people.  They took offense, despising his preaching because he was a layman with no formal training, and despising him because of his family background.  Jesus could do no works there because they were closed-minded and unbelieving.  If people hate and refuse to understand, they see no other point of view and won't love and accept others.  How do I treat those disagreeable to me? / 'Gospel' means 'good news.'  Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would come in the Spirit's power to bring freedom to the afflicted.  Jesus came to set people free.  Only God's power can save us from hopelessness, dejection, and emptiness.  The Gospel is 'good news' for everyone who will receive it.
      Today's saints, from Universalis

      • Blase (Blaise), bishop, missionary, martyr; see also Wikipedia.  “Through the intercession of St. Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil.”

      • Werburg, religious

      • Anne Line (Heigham), convert, martyr

      Dress legend
      • 'Abacus' tie pin:  David:  Take a census...  (1st reading)
      • 'Wheat' pin:  Pestilence occurred at harvest time (1st reading)
      • 'People' tie pin:  70,000 killed in pestilence (1st reading)
      • 'Angel' pin:  God told angel not to destroy Jerusalem (1st reading)
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  David:  I the shepherd sinned, not the sheep (1st reading)
      • 'Classroom' tie:  Jesus taught in the synagogue (gospel)
      • 'Owl' tie pin:  "What kind of wisdom has been given to Jesus?... (gospel)
      • 'Hand' tie pin:  "...What deeds wrought by his hands?" (gospel)
        • 'Question mark' and wood tie pins:  "Isn't he the carpenter?" (gospel)
        • Red in shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  today's martyrs

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