February 13, 2016

Feb. 13

February 13, 2016:  Saturday after Ash Wednesday

See 9 connections with today?
(BTW the shirt is blue!)
Legend below

Pope Francis in Mexico
To bishops:  The Blessed Mother guards our aspirations and hopes, understands us, and responds with a Mother’s tenderness.  La Guadalupana is the starting point of all I will tell you.  She teaches us that only God's tenderness can conquer our hearts, the omnipotent weakness of divine love.
Begin from your people's need for a place of rest.  The restful place of our faith can reconcile past with future.  Only there can we discover that all are called to be God's children.  Bow toward and discover your people.  Familiarity with pain and death are forms of courage and pathways to hope, and the view that the world needs redemption is an antidote to the self-sufficiency of those who think they can do without God.  Reflect God's tenderness.  Be transparent.  Be vigilant.  Don't let materialism or illusion corrupt you.

Many view life as without a firm foundation.  Technology brings closer what's distant, but unfortunately also distances what should be close.  Grasp your people's plea, and respond that God exists and is close in Christ.  God is the only reality we can build on; God has a human face.

Don't waste time or energy with gossip, slander, or careerism.  For us ministers it's enough to have the grace to “drink the cup of the Lord” and protect what's been entrusted to us.  Don't be concerned with affairs that aren't the Father’s lest we lose our identity and empty his grace.  If we don't witness to having seen Jesus, then our words will be empty.  Love youths and understand what they seek.

The drug trade is a challenge to society and Church.  It takes courage and a reliable pastoral plan to build a relationships without which we'd all be defeated.  Start with families, embrace the fringes of our cities, seek the involvement of parishes, schools, communities, and institutions, to rescue drug trade victims and those with blood-soaked hands, full pockets, and deadened consciences.

Imitate God's freedom to choose the humble, and his patience, to weaving the new people your country awaits. Your fathers in faith learned and taught the grammar needed to dialogue with God.  Imitate Jesus' humility and bowing down to help us.  Show tenderness to indigenous peoples and their cultures.
Remind your people of their powerful roots; they've allowed a Christian synthesis of human, cultural, and spiritual unity.  Your people have risen above changing situations.  Inspire their hope.

May your vision, resting upon Christ, help unify people, reconcile differences, integrate diversities, solve problems, remember high standards, motivate the nation to not be content with less than what's expected of a Mexican way of living. 

Don't fall into standard responses to new questions.  Mine your past of riches that can inspire the present and illumine the future.  Protect your inheritance through constant work.  Look to the Lord’s vineyard, plan the sowing, and wait for the harvest.

Evangelize and deepen the faith by means of a catechesis that treasures people's religiosity.  Pay pastoral attention to all who hope to encounter Jesus.  Only conversion can seek, generate, and nourish today's disciples.  Overcome the temptation of aloofness, clericalism, coldness, indifference, triumphalism, and self-centeredness.  Closeness and bowing down are more powerful than force.

People look to us in their search for God.  Gather them to our hearts and guard them.  Only a Church able to shelter people will be able to speak to them of God.  If we don't understand their needs, we can offer nothing.  Our richness flows when we encounter the smallness of those who beg.

Guard your priests.  Don't leave them exposed to loneliness and abandonment.  Rejoice with them when they feel joy, don't step back when they feel humiliated, and offer your support.  Encourage communion among them; seek the perfection of their gifts; involve them in great ventures.

Our Lady of Guadalupe asks for a small holy home.  When the Church congregates in a Cathedral, she should see herself as a “small home” where her children can feel comfortable.  We remain in God’s presence only when we're little ones.  The casita is sagrada, filled by God’s greatness.  Disregard for the sense of greatness has led to a partial loss of reverence.  We're invited in, unworthy though we are.  Our having forgotten to “take off our shoes” is perhaps why we've lost the sacredness of human life, of fundamental values, of wisdom, and of respect for the environment.  Without rescuing these roots, the sap will be lacking; and it comes only from a source humanity can't procure.
The mission the Church entrusts to you demands a vision embracing the whole.  La Guadalupana has the Son in her womb.  She prefigures the Church's fruitfulness.  Clothe Mexico with God’s fruitfulness.  Don't lose heart.  Promote missionary zeal, especially towards the most needy.  The Church's mission is critical, because only evanglizers' enthusiasm can attract.   Form and prepare the lay-faithful, overcoming clericalism and involving them actively in the mission of the Church, making the Gospel present by personal witness.

Preserve unity.  Communion is the essential form of the Church.  Mexico needs bishops who are servants and custodians of  unity.  We need a community of the Lord’s witnesses.  Christ is the light; from him comes forth the Spirit.  In Christ the King, kindle the light and be filled by his presence; breathe the air of the Spirit.  Sow Christ; set the sails so the Spirit may fill them, never allowing the Church to run aground.  Woe to us pastors if we allow the Supreme Pastor's Bride to wander because we set up tents where the Bridegroom can't be found!  Many left their roots to brave the future in hope.  Your efforts won't be in vain when your dioceses pour balm on injured feet, sharing their resources; the divine Samaritan will enrich the person not indifferent to him as he lies on the side of the road.

  • Is 58:9b-14  If you remove oppression... and satisfy the afflicted, the Lord will guide and renew you.  If you honor the sabbath, you'll delight in the Lord, and I'll nourish you.
  • Ps 86:1-6  "Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth."  Have mercy on me.  I lift my soul to you; gladden it.  Attend to my pleading.
  • Lk 5:27-32  Jesus to Levi:  “Follow me”; he left everything and followed.  He gave a banquet for him with tax collectors and others; Pharisees complained:  “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”  Jesus:  “The healthy don't need a doctor; just the sick.  I came to call sinners.”
    • Creighton:  Today's 1st reading continues yesterday’s.  The rewards are attractive; they sound like promises to those beginning boot camp.  In the gospel, Jesus calls Levi, tax collector for the ruthless Roman Empire, to follow him.  Later, Levi threw a dinner for Jesus, fellow money-men, and other sinners, and Jesus accepted his being welcomed as “Invited Inviter.”   The legalists found it hard to see Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus says he came to encourage repentance as a doctor comes for the sick. Jesus is the Inviter to the table of relationship; he promises life as a relational blessing and extends his mercy.  Jesus calls us out of self-idolatry to self-reverence, to spend life  not protecting ourselves and our stuff as if they were ours but to acceptance God's holiness shared with us.  In Lent we walk with those about to enter the Church through baptism.  We can't repent on our own but can with God's grace.  We walk with Jesus who reverences our humanity as God's gift and for all it will be through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Restoring ruined families":  Family life has been in disarray.  We think the last generation was better than today's, but it was in ruins too.  The good news is that the ruins shall be rebuilt.  If we let Jesus be our Lord and we repent of our sins and accept his grace, then the ruins of family life will be repaired.  God wants to make holy families; the devil tries to prevent him but can't.  May we be part of the Lord's family-miracle.
    • Passionist:  Our journey with God begins with a personal invitation.  I can take sides when I read exchanges between Jesus and the Jewish leaders, but Jesus is the ultimate repairer, restorer, unifier, and lover.  Maybe the Pharisees were trying to understand Jesus' action since it went against their interpretation of the Law?  Maybe he's talking to me about something for which I need deeper understanding?  Once we accepted Jesus' invitation, we're challenged to shed our old ways and put on the mind of Christ.  We're called to align our will with God’s.  Corporal works of mercy take us beyond our ideas and comfort, paving the way for us to see light and be light for others.  May Love and Grace touch our hearts; may we be an instrument of light and healing.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus calls sinners to follow him":  Isaiah tells us God repays each in kind.  When we bless others, God blesses us.  Jesus' call of Levi surprised everyone including Levi.  People in Palestine were divided into orthodox Jews who rigidly kept the law and those who didn't.  The orthodox treated the others like second-class citizens.  Jesus' association with the latter shocked the sensibilities of the orthodox.  When the Pharisees challenged Jesus, Jesus' defense was that doctors treat the sick, not the healthy.  Jesus sought out the neediest.  Physicians seek healing the whole person.  Jesus came as the divine physician and good shepherd.  The orthodox were preoccupied with their religious practice that they didn't help those who needed the greatest care.  They were selfish because they didn't want to have anything to do with people not like themselves.  Jesus said he came to call sinners; ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised.  "By 'follow' he meant not so much the movement of feet as of the heart, carrying out of a way of life.  One who says he lives in Christ ought to walk as he walked, not to aim at earthly things, not to pursue perishable gains, but to flee base praise, to embrace the contempt of all that's worldly for the sake of heavenly glory, to do good to all, to injure no one in bitterness, to suffer patiently injuries that come to oneself, to ask God’s forgiveness for oppressors, never to seek one's own glory but God's, and to uphold what helps one love heavenly things.  This is what's meant by following Christ.   By disregarding earthly gains, Matthew attached himself to the followers of One who had no riches.  For the Lord, who outwardly called Matthew, inwardly bestowed on him an invisible impulse so he could follow."
    Dress legend
    • 'Wheat' pin:  Bestow your bread on the hungry (1st reading)
    • 'Scales of justice' pin:  To fast, do justice (1st reading)
    • 'Feet' pin:  Hold back your foot from following your own pursuits on the sabbath (1st reading)
    • 'Walker' tie pin:  "Teach me Your way, that I may walk in Your truth." (psalm)
    • 'Coin' button:  Jesus saw tax collector Levi (gospel)
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Levi gave a great banquet... (gospel)
    • 'Medical' tie:  Only the sick need a doctor (gospel)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  To you I call all the day (psalm); I came to call sinners (gospel)
    • Blue shirt:  If you remove oppression, give the hungry your bread, and satisfy the afflicted,... you'll be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. (1st reading)

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