February 17, 2016

Feb. 17

February 17, 2016:  Wednesday, 1st week, Lent

Found ten connections with today?
Legend below

    Pope Francis in Mexico
    To Michoacán youth:  You're the wealth of Mexico and the Church, but you can't live in hope if you don't value yourselves.  Hope is born when you experience all is not lost; and for that you need to start at home, with yourself:  I'm worth a lot.  Hope's biggest threats are words that devalue you, make you feel you don't matter or have been left aside.  Don't believe you're valuable only when you wear the right clothes, enjoy prestige, or have money.  Don't believe you're unworthy of kindness or love.  Don't feel you need money to buy everything, even love.
    It can be hard to feel your worth when you lose friends or relatives to drugs or criminal organizations. It's hard to feel your nation's wealth when you can't study or find work, when your rights are trampled, or when you're used for selfish purposes, seduced by false promises.
    Jesus Christ renews my hope and invites me to conversion; he brings out the best in me.  Hand in hand with him, we can move forward.  Don't entrust yourself to drug dealers or others who sow destruction.  You don't have to live in poverty and in the exclusion of opportunity, training, education, or hope.  Christ refutes all attempts to render you useless or to be mercenaries for others.
    Here's the word of hope you asked me for:  Jesus Christ.  When the world seems to be crashing around you, embrace his Cross, draw close to him, and don't let go.  Hold his hand and believe it's worth the effort to give your best, to be leaven, salt, and light among others.  Don't let yourselves be excluded, devalued, or treated like a commodity.  You won't have pockets of money, but you'll be loved, embraced, and accompanied, and no one can take that from you.
    The Lord calls you, draws you close, and invites you to build a shrine:  not a physical place but a community, a parish, a nation.  Being a family and knowing we're citizens is an antidote to what threatens us; it makes us feel we're part of God's family.  Don't flee; go out, invite others, and proclaim that being young in Mexico is the greatest wealth and can't be sacrificed.  Be disciples, not assassins.  Jesus speaks of life, not death.
    To Michoacán children:  To be good Christians, love God above all else and love others as yourselves.  Pray for your parents and grandparents, teachers, and all who take care of you.
    To Michoacán priests and religious:  There's a saying: “Tell me how you pray, and I'll tell you how you live; tell me how you live, and I'll tell you how you pray.  Showing me how you pray shows me the God you live for, and showing me how you live shows me the God you pray to.”  The school of prayer is the school of life, and in the school of life we progress in the school of prayer.  Jesus ate, slept, cured, preached, and prayed with his companions.  He invited them to share his life and touch the Father's life.  With the words “Our Father,” he knew how to live praying and to pray living.
    Jesus invites us to do the same.  Experience the Father's merciful love.  He introduces us to love and sonship.  We need to learn “Our Father”/Abba and to evangelize, to witness to what we've seen and heard.  We're not “administrators of the divine” or God’s employees; we're invited to share his life, enter into his heart, and say "Our Father" with our lives.
    We pray, "Lead us not into temptation" as Jesus prayed that his disciples not fall into temptation.  The violence, corruption, drug trafficking, disregard for human dignity, and indifference around us can tempt us to “resignation” that paralyzes us, terrifies us, prevents us from making the journey, entrenches us in false security, prevents us from proclaiming, inhibits giving praise, hinders looking ahead, and thwarts risk-taking and change.  When you're tempted, tap into your memories and look at the stuff you're made from.
    Remember evangelizer Vasco Vázquez de Quiroga, "the Spaniard who became an Indian," who said of himself, “They put me in charge of the priesthood for my sins.  Me, useless and unable to carry out such a great undertaking; me, they chose to be first Bishop of Michoacán.”
    The situation of the Purhépechas Indians, “sold, humiliated, homeless, picking up bread scraps from the ground,” didn't leave him listless and resigned; it kindled his faith, strengthened his compassion, and inspired him to act.  His brothers' and sisters' suffering became his prayer, and his prayer led to his response.  He was known as “Tata Vasco” (Daddy).  Father, lead us not into the temptation of resignation, losing our memory, forgetting our elders who taught us by their lives to say, “Our Father.”
    • Jon 3:1-10  Lord to Jonah:  “Set out for Nineveh, and prophesy.”  He began his journey, announcing, “40 days and Nineveh shall be destroyed”; they believed and proclaimed a fast.  The king rose, covered himself with sackcloth, sat in ashes, and proclaimed a fast: “Repent; God may relent and save us.”  God saw; he repented and didn't carry out the evil he'd threatened.

    • Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19  "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."  Have mercy on me.  Create a clean heart for me.
    • Lk 11:29-32  “No sign will be given this evil generation but Jonah; the Son of Man will be a sign like Jonah.  At the judgment, the queen of the south who came to hear Solomon's wisdom will condemn this generation; at the judgment, repentant Nineveh will condemn this generation.  Something greater than Solomon and Jonah is here.”
      • Creighton:  The response to Jonah's message of repentance was astonishing, but Jonah was angry at God’s change of heart.  We too want prosperity for ourselves and others but also want “evildoers” punished. Mercy offends our sense of justice and fairness. But God's mercy is an abyss beyond our comprehension (Pope Francis homily 3-17-13).  Today's preachers of repentance generally don't get the kind of results Jonah did:  fear doesn't motivate now, and we think destruction comes from our actions, not God's.
      (Not this "sign of Jonah" :-)
      We hunger for God’s love and mercy, for everyone.  Let God's mercy renew and transform transform you; become agents of mercy.... (Pope Francis, Easter 2013)
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Greater prophecy, repentance, and fasting":  As the people of Nineveh heard the prophet Jonah, the people of today hear prophets such as John Paul II.  Will we repent?....
      • Passionist:  It's hard to admit wrongdoing.  It couldn't have been any easier for the king of Nineveh.  But repentance is the pathway to God’s love....
      • DailyScripture.net:  "The sign of Jonah for an evil generation":  People would be safer if they paid attention to warning signs>  When the religious leaders demanded a sign from Jesus, he gave them a warning.  Jesus himself was God's sign, but they didn't recognize him....
        • Bl. William Richardson, priest, martyr
      Dress legend
      • 'Whale' tie pin:  Jonah before the 1st reading
      • 'Girl with heart' pin:  Create a clean heart in me (psalm)
      • 'Holy Spirit' tie pin:  Don't take your Holy Spirit away (psalm)
      • 'Signs' tie:  No 'sign' will be given but the sign of Jonah (gospel)
      • 'Owl' tie pin:  Queen came to hear Solomon's wisdom (gospel)
      • 'Crown' tie bar, 'Beast' pin:  Nineveh king:  “Neither man nor beast shall eat or drink.” (1st reading)
      • Grey shirt:  Nineveh king sat in ashes (1st reading)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  Man and beast shall call to God (1st reading)
      • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season

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