February 15, 2016

Feb. 15

February 15, 2016:  Monday, 1st week, Lent

See 14 connections with today?
(Again, shirt is blue.)
Legend below

For the gospel

For the psalm
Pope Francis in Mexico
Mexico City homily:  When Mary went to meet Elizabeth, she set out without delay or doubt to be with her cousin who was in the last part of her pregnancy.  Her encounter with the angel didn't hold her back but rather renewed and inspired her to say yes, to surrender to God and her brothers and sisters.  This 'yes' prompted her to give her best.  As she went through Judea and Galilee, she also walked through Tepeyac to serve you.  Just as she accompanied Elizabeth, so too does she accompany the development of your land.  Just as she made herself present to Juan Diego, so too she reveals herself to us, especially those who feel “worthless,” showing a preference not against anyone but rather in favor of everyone.  Little Juan became the trustworthy ambassador.
When God met Juan, he awakened his and his people's hope, choosing him to oversee and promote the building of this Shrine.  Juan told Mary he wasn't the right one and that she should choose learned people who could make it happen, but she with persistence born from the Father’s merciful heart told him he'd be her ambassador.  She awakened love and justice in him:  no one could be left out of building the shrine of life, of our communities, societies, and cultures.  All are necessary, especially those who normally don't count because they're not “up to the task” or don't have the funds.  God’s Shrine is the life of his children, especially of the young exposed to painful and risky situations, and the unacknowledged and forgotten elderly.  God's Shrine is our families in need only of the essentials; it's the faces of the people we encounter each day.
What happened to Juan Diego can happen to us.  Look at Mary from within our sufferings, fear, hopelessness, and sadness, and ask, “What can I offer?”  Many situations leave us powerless, make us feel there's no room for hope or change.  Repeat, "I look at you, Mother, without saying anything, telling you everything.  Cradle my stolen solitude with your loving eyes.  Hours pass, and the wastage of life and death sinks its teeth into fools.  Mother, I simply contemplate you with a heart quieted by your tenderness, your silence, chaste as lilies."  We'll hear her:  “What saddens you?  I'm with you, I who have the honor of being your mother.”  We don't suffer or weep in vain.  Our silent prayer rises to heaven and finds a place in Mary.  God is our brother and companion, carrying our crosses with us so our sufferings don't overwhelm us.  Mary sends us out anew:  "be my ambassador, the one I send to build new shrines, accompany lives, wipe away tears.  Walk in your neighborhood, community, parish; we'll build shrines by sharing the joy of knowing we're not alone, that she accompanies us.  Give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, refuge to those in need.  Clothe the naked.  Visit the sick.  Help your neighbor, forgive, console the grieving, be patient, and pray to God.  Help me lift up the lives of my children, your brothers and sisters.
Ecatepec Angelus:  Moses  directed the people not to forget their beginnings.  Thanksgiving is born and grows among a people who can remember; it's rooted in the past and shapes the present.  Moses invites them to remember by enumerating the problems they've overcome.  Thank God for this time together, our children, grandchildren, dreams, plans, cultures, languages, traditions, concerns…  How you've "walked" and suffered to reach this point.  How others who have helped us have walked.  Keep the memory of God alive.  Our children will inherit not only land, culture, and tradition but also faith.
“Christians must show solidarity… to solve the situation of those who haven't yet received culture or an honorable job… they can't remain insensitive while new generations haven't realized their aspirations....  Be on the front line… to improve the situation of those in need, to see in people as your brothers and sisters and as Christ.”  Be first in initiatives to make Mexico a land of opportunities, where people won't have to emigrate to dream, to be exploited in order to work, to despair, to be destroyed at the hands of death dealers.  Pray:  Blessed Virgin, help us bear witness to communion, service, faith, justice, and love of the poor, that Gospel joy reach and illuminate even the fringes of our world.
At pediatric hospital:  When Jesus' parents took him up to the Temple to present him to God, they met old Simeon who was moved and grateful to see him.  Looking at Jesus inspired him to be grateful and to bless.  Simeon is “the uncle” who teaches us gratitude and blessing.  Seeing your eyes, smiles, and faces has filled me with gratitude.  Thank you for welcoming me with kindness, for recognizing the tenderness with which you're cared for, and for the efforts of all who are doing their best so you can get better.  I also wish to bless you.  God bless you, your families, and all who work here:  not only doctors but also those who provide “kindness-therapy.”
When his uncle was sick, Juan Diego was worried and distressed.  Then, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to him:  “Don't be disturbed or upset.  I, your mother, am here with you.”  Ask Mary our Mother for the gift of her son, Jesus.  Ask her for what you seek 
  • Lv 19:1-2, 11-18  Be holy; fear the Lord.  Don't steal, lie, swear falsely, defraud or rob, withhold wages, or curse the deaf or blind.  Judge justly, not dishonestly or with bias.  Don't spread slander.  Don't hatehold grudges, or take revenge.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.
  • Ps 19:8-10, 15  "Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life."  The law of the Lord is perfect, trustworthy, clear, pure, true, and just.  May I find favor with you, O Lord, my rock.
    • Mt 25:31-46  The Son of Man will separate people, saying to the righteous, ‘Come, you blessed; inherit the kingdom, for when I was in need you fed me, gave me drink, welcomed me, clothed me, cared for me, and visited me.’ / ‘When?’ / ‘What you did for the least, you did for me.’  Then he'll say to the rest, ‘Depart from me, for when I was in need, you didn't feed me, give me drink, welcome, clothe, or care for me.’ / ‘When?’ / ‘What you didn't do for the least ones, you didn't do for me.’  They'll go to punishment; the righteous to life.
    • Creighton:  The rules in the 1st reading focus on our relationships:  how we treat, judge, and interact with others.  If you love your neighbor, you don't harm them, but our competitive world influences us to forget this.  We place ourselves first and take actions to stay there.  But how can I expect mercy if I don't show it?  I make rash decisions about others, drawing conclusions from what I see in them.  Do I judge with mercy?  The psalm tells us God's words point us in the right direction.  We're challenged that our words also ring true.  It's hard to stay focused on what's right; we must seek those whose hearts model that focus.
      The Last Judgment/ Michelangelo
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Full-service fasting":  Our fast can direct heart, mind, body, and life toward God, correct our appetites, and conform ourselves to God's will.  The Lord might be asking us to give the poor what we save by fasting.  If possible, fast for a specific intention.  Fasting from food should be accompanied by feasting on God's Word.  Recycle your money, time, and energy to serve others and build yourself up in the Spirit.
    • Passionist:  Leviticus 17-26 is the "Code of Holiness" Jesus refers to when answering the scribe’s question about the greatest commandment.  Much of the Sermon on the Mount can also be traced to the Code.  The 1st reading's opening is the Code's center:  “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy,” a call to respond to God with your way of life, beyond observing the Commandments.  Today's gospel spells out what love of neighbor means...
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Eternal life versus eternal punishment":  "There are two kinds of people, because there are two kinds of love:  one holy, the other selfish; one subject to God, the other trying to equal him" (Augustine).  Jesus came not only to fulfill the law but to transform it through his love and mercy towards us.  His death brings freedom and life for us. Do I let God's love purify my heart and transform your mind to think, act, and love others as Christ taught through word and example?
    During the day, goats and sheep grazed together; at night, the shepherd separated them.  Goats are aggressive, domineering, restless, and territorial; they came to symbolize evil.  Our choice is to either follow Jesus or to be our own master.  Separation is inevitable:  one way leads to sin, rebellion, and death; the other to faith, hope, and love.
    Judgment day will reveal what kind of love we chose:  unselfish love of God and others, or disordered love that put self above them.  When Martin of Tours met a poor beggar on the road, he took pity on him, cutting his own cloak to share it. That night Martin had a dream of Jesus in heaven robed in a torn cloak like the one he shared.  An angel asked Jesus why he wore that cloak, and Jesus replied that Martin gave it to him.  Martin flew to be baptized. 
    "Christ is above and below:  above in Himself, below in his people.  Fear Christ above, and recognize him below. Here he is poor, with and in the poor; there he is rich, with and in God.  Have Christ above bestowing his bounty; recognize him here in his need" (Augustine, Sermon 123, 44).  On judgment day  Jesus will ask, "Whom did you love?"
    Dress legend
    • 'Coin' button:  Don't withhold your laborer's wages (1st reading)
    • 'Block' tie pin:  Don't put a stumbling block in front of the blind (1st reading)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin: Don't bear hatred in your heart (1st reading); God's precepts rejoice the heart; let my heart find favor with you (psalm)
    • 'Scales of justice' tie:  judge justly (1st reading); God's ordinances are just (psalm); Last Judgment (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord's command enlightens the eye (psalm)
    • 'Scroll' pin:  The Lord's law is refreshing, trustworthy, right, and clear (psalm)
    • 'Owl' pin:  The Lord's decree gives wisdom (psalm)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  Lord, my Rock (psalm)
    • 'Angel' pin:  "When the Son of Man comes, and the angels..." (gospel)
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  Son will separate sheep from goats on judgment day (gospel)
    • Blue shirt:  I was thirsty and you gave me drink (gospel)

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