February 16, 2016

Feb. 16

February 16, 2016:  Tuesday, 1st week, Lent

  • "I ♥ my dad" tie:  Pray:  Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name... (gospel)
  • 'Jubilee year' button:  "Look to him that you may be radiant with joy" (psalm)
  • 'Fruit' pin:  God's Word is fruitful (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  The Lord has eyes for the just (psalm)
  • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders:  God is close to the brokenhearted (psalm)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  "Thy Kingdom come" (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  "Rain and snow make the earth fruitful, giving bread" (1st reading); "Give us our daily bread' (gospel)
  • Blue shirt:  As rain that waters the earth and makes it fertile, so my word... (1st reading)

  • Our Father/ Malotte (seems to be at Mass in Italy, and this setting wouldn't be my first choice for assembly singing at Mass anywhere) (gospel)
  • Familiar Our Father chant (though sung more slowly and, unfortunately, less 'spoken on pitch') (gospel)
Pope Francis in Mexico
Chiapas homily:  The law of the Lord is perfect; it revives, gives wisdom, gladdens the heart, gives light....  The law of Moses helped the People of God, who were slaves subject to tyranny and oppression, live in freedom.  When God said, “Enough!” we see God's true face; he suffers as he sees pain, mistreatment, and injustice.  His word, his law, is a symbol of freedom, happiness, wisdom, and light.  “The dawn rises on all tribes together.  The sun healed the earth,”  The sun rose for people who had walked in history’s darkest moments.  We yearn to live in freedom and long for a promised land free of oppression, mistreatment, and humiliation, a land of fraternity, solidarity, and peace.  Our Father has inspired this longing.  In Jesus Christ we discover the solidarity of the Father who walks by our side.  In him, the perfect law takes a human face and walks with and sustains us; he becomes the Way, Truth, and Life.  People have tried to dull this yearning, anesthetize our soul, and suggest to our children their dreams can't come true.

We see ourselves as lords of the earth, entitled to plunder her.  The violence in our hearts wounded by sin is also reflected in the sickness in the soil, water, air and forms of life.  The earth is among the most maltreated of our poor.  The environmental challenge demands our response.  You have much to teach us about this.  You know how to interact harmoniously with nature.  Yet your people have been misunderstood and excluded.  Some consider your values, culture, and traditions inferior.  Others have stolen or contaminated your lands.  May all examine their consciences and say, “Forgive me!”
Today's youth need to cling to their elders' wisdom!  We need to learn the value of gratitude!  We rejoice that the Creator never forsakes his loving plan.  Jesus dies and rises again in each gesture we offer to the least of our brothers and sisters.  Be witnesses to his Passion and Resurrection, by giving flesh to these words: "The law of the Lord is perfect and comforts the soul."
To Tuxtla Gutiérrez families:  The Spirit wants to put a new heart into us, giving us reasons to take risks, dream, and build a life that has this sense of home, of family.  God has dreamed of and fought for a new heart for us.  He put a new heart into Adam and Eve and told them all was not lost.  When the Israelites felt they couldn't go on through the desert, God put his heart into it by giving them manna.  God gave humanity the eternal gift of his Son.

God has put his heart into it for us.  His name is love, gift, self-giving, mercy; he showed us in Jesus, who risked everything to make God's Kingdom possible, a Kingdom with the feeling of family, the flavor of a life shared.  Jesus can change our perspectives, attitudes, and feelings, into joy and celebration; he can heal our hearts and invite us to begin anew.

Adolescents are disillusioned, on a wrong path, deflated, tired, and without aspirations; the attitude often comes from loneliness.  Uncertainty and not having essentials can make us anxious, lead to despair, threaten our soul, demoralize us, and sap our energy.  Uncertainty born of isolation can creep in surreptitiously; and isolation is always a bad counselor.  The greatest temptation we face is to cut ourselves off; isolation can dry up our souls.  Solutions can be found on different levels:  legislation to protect life's necessities so everyone can develop through education and employment; service; and generous giving.

The family is being weakened, questioned, and regarded as a model whose time has passed.  Living in family can be painful and stressful, but I prefer a wounded family that tries to put love into play, to a society sick from isolation and afraid of love.  I prefer a family that tries to begin again to a narcissistic society obsessed with comfort.  I prefer a faces tired from generous giving, to faces with makeup that don't know tenderness or compassion....


  • Is 55:10-11  My word shall be fruitful:  it won't return to me void but shall do my will.
  • Ps 34:4-7, 16-19  "From all their distress God rescues the just."  The Lord has eyes for the just and is close to the brokenhearted; he saves the crushed in spirit.
  • Mt 6:7-15  Your Father knows what you need.  Pray:  “Our Father....  Deliver us from evil.”  If you forgive, your Father will forgive you; if you don't, he won't.

    • Creighton:  In his poems, Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins connects justice with being one with Christ; by being truly human and Spirit-filled one proclaims God’s justice woven with mercy.  God's power enables us to become Christ.  When God's word goes forth, it transforms all it touches, bringing forth fruit.   We need God’s Spirit in order to be fruitful.  When in the Our Father we pray God’s will be done, we become our true selves.  To be spared from evil is to be spared from separation from God.  When I'm in union with God, I'm merciful to others.  Whom have I not forgiven?  To whom have I not responded with mercy? 
    • One Bread, One Body:  "My dad loves me":  The Holy Spirit cried out in Jesus' heart, "Abba" (Father).  May we emerge from Lent confirmed by the Spirit in our Father's love for us as his adopted children....
    • Passionist:  God knows me intimately but still loves us tenderly....
      This is the image Fr. Chris referred to
      in his homily
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Your heavenly Father knows what you need":  God's word can penetrate our dry hearts and give them life.  God wants his word to guide how we think, act, and pray.  "If you're occupied with Christ, why don't you talk with him?  By reading the Scriptures, we listen to Christ" (Ambrose).
    God waits for us with open arms.  That's why Jesus gave his disciples the prayer that dares to call God Father and teaches us how to ask God for what we need.  We can approach him with confidence because Jesus opened heaven to us through his death and resurrection.  When we ask God for help, he responds with grace and mercy.  He expects us to treat our neighbor the same.
    "God's mercy is beyond description.  While he offers us a model prayer, he teaches us how to please him and gives us an easy way to attract merciful judgment.  What else could he do when we forgive others and ask him to pardon us?  Some of us treat our sins against God gently but severely exact reparation for sins against us.  Anyone who hasn't forgiven one who's done him wrong will only obtain from this prayer his own condemnation" (John Cassian, paraphrased).  
    Do I treat others as I think they deserve, or as the Lord has treated me, with mercy, steadfast love, and kindness?
    Gospel-related bonus
    • The Our Father has inspired other prayers:  see Alternative Lord's Prayers including from the New Zealand Prayer Book, Emerging Church Movement, Dominican Sisters 1993 Retreat (Kansas), and a "retranslation" from the Aramaic

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