February 18, 2016

Feb. 18

February 18, 2016:  Thursday, 1st week, Lent

See 11 connections with today?
Legend below
Pope Francis
Ciudad Ju√°rez homily:  St. Irenaeus wrote that God's glory is full human life.  The Father's glory is the life of his children.  Nineveh was self-destructing as a result of oppression, dishonor, violence, and injustice.  The Father called and sent Jonah to warn the people that they're creating destruction, suffering, and oppression by how they're treating each other.  Make them see this is no way to live.  God sent him to wake up a people intoxicated with themselves.
Mercy takes the person in earnest, appealing to their latent goodness.  Mercy seeks to transform from within.  Divine mercy invites us to conversion and to see the damage being done.  Mercy pierces evil to transform it. 
The king listened to Jonah, the Ninevites responded, God’s mercy entered.  We still have time to transform what's destroying and demeaning us.  Mercy encourages us to look to the present and trust the good in every heart.
 Jonah helped them to become aware.  The people were capable of weeping over injustice, corruption, and oppression.  The tears lead to transformation, soften the heart, purify our gaze, and enable us to see the cycle of sin.  They can sensitize our gaze, break us, open us to conversion.  I beg for God’s mercy and plead for the gift of tears, of conversion.
In this and other border areas there are thousands of immigrants, so many the consequence of human trafficking.  This humanitarian crisis has meant migration for thousands of people.  Forced migration is a global phenomenon; we want to measure it with names and stories, not statistics.  Faced with legal vacuums, they get caught up in a web that ensnares and destroys the poorest.  They suffer poverty and must also endure this violence.  Injustice is radicalized in the young.
Ask for the gift of conversion, for hearts open to his call heard in these people's suffering.  No more death!  No more exploitation!  There's still time to change, to implore God's mercy.  May we be signs lighting the way and announcing salvation.  Those working to support migrants' rights are prophets of mercy, the Church's heart and feet.  This is the time for mercy....

  • Est C:12, 14-16, 23-25  Queen Esther, in anguish:  “God, help me, an orphan; I'm taking my life in my hand.  Give me persuasive words, and turn the lion's heart, so that he and his co-conspirators may perish. Save us from our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness.”
  • Ps 138:1-3, 7-8  "Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me."  I'll praise you in the angels' presence.  God will complete what he's done for me.
  • Mt 7:7-12  Ask, seek, and knock.  All who ask receive; all who seek find; to all who knock the door will be opened.  Your Father will give good things to all who ask!  Do to others what you'd have them do to you.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "God alone":  We've been taught to have something to fall back on.  We avoid getting in the position where we'd have to depend on God for our next meal.  But God may be trying to leave us with nothing but him to depend on.  When he sent his apostles out, he commanded that they not have gold, silver, or copper in their belts, no traveling bag, no extra shirt, no sandals, no walking stick."  Paul:  "We were left to feel like men condemned to death so we might trust not in ourselves but in God...."  The Lord wants to take food, comfort, and support; he wants us to know the people and possessions he's given us are his gifts, not crutches.  He can love us without intermediaries.  He wants us to be alone with him and have no help but him.
    Queen Esther/ Long
  • Passionist:  Many with goods, money, or fame have unsatisfied deep needs.  Despite their busy lives and full houses, they discover an emptiness.  This can cause even more unease and spur even more activity and accumulation of things, but it won't satisfy either.  Each person cries out for meaning, belonging, and authenticity.  Without them, life can seem overwhelming, lonely, or discouraging; with, many of life’s challenges can be met.  But they must be nurtured slowly and cultivated throughout life, and we need help.  Lent is an ideal time to review our lives in this light.  Its readings, prayers, and activities invite us to self-examination and renewal.  Today's readings invite us to trust in God:  "Help me; I'm alone and have no one but You."  Jesus states what we know as the 'golden rule' as central to all else, as the meaning of the law and prophets.  Making Jesus, his message, and his way of life central to us can be our way to meaning, belonging, and authenticity.  The Spirit will help us....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Ask and you'll receive from your Father":  Esther's prayer is a model for us. She prayed for help according to God's promise of faithfulness.  God wants us to remember his promises and to count on his help.  Jesus wanted to raise his disciples' expectations when he taught them how to pray:   How much will the heavenly Father give what's good to those who ask!  Our Father gives beyond our expectations. 
    "Prayer is a treasure undiminished, a mine never exhausted, a sky unclouded, a haven unruffled by storm.  It's the root, the fountain, and the mother of blessings.  It exceeds a monarch's power...  Not cold, feeble prayer devoid of zeal; what proceeds from a mind outstretched, a contrite spirit, a converted soul mounts to heaven...  Prayer has subdued the strength of fire, bridled the rage of lions, silenced anarchy, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, enlarged the gates of heaven, relieved diseases, averted frauds, rescued cities, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the thunderbolt.  Prayer can destroy whatever is at enmity with the good" (John Chrysostom)
      Jesus reminds us we must treat our neighbor the way we want God to treat us.  We must not just avoid doing them harm; we must seek their good and, thus loving God with all our being and loving our neighbor as ourselves....
      Dress legend
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  Queen Esther (1st reading)
      • 'Lion' pin:  "turn the lion's heart" (1st reading)
      • 'Hand' tie pin:  I'm taking my life in my hand; save us from our enemies' hand (1st reading); your right hand saves me; don't forsake the work of your hands (psalm)
      • 'Angel' pin:  In the sight of the angels I'll praise you (psalm)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  When I called, you answered (psalm)
      • 'Stone' tie pin:  Who'd hand his son a stone... (gospel)
      • 'Wheat' pin:  ...when he asked for bread...? (gospel)
      • 'Snake' tie pin:  ...or a snake... (gospel)
      • 'Fish' tie:  ...when he asked for a fish?  (gospel)
      • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season 

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