February 20, 2016

Feb. 20

February 20, 2016:  Saturday, 1st week, Lent

  • 'Sun' on DISC 2003 t-shirt:  the sun rises on the bad and the good (gospel)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  observe God's command with your whole heart (1st reading); blessed are those who seek the Lord with all their heart (psalm); love your enemies (gospel)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  walk in the Lord's ways (1st reading, psalm)
  • Purple lettering on t-shirt:  Lenten season
Pope Francis
Audience:  This Lent the Church invites us to deepen our commitment to express God’s mercy in every aspect of our lives.  Such faithful witness is our way to respond to God’s commitment to us, as expressed in creation and in his sending his Son.  In Jesus, God committed himself to offering hope and redemption to the poor, the sick, sinners, and all in need.  Despite our attempts to ruin creation, he's committed to keeping it alive.  Jesus is the living expression of God’s mercy.  We're called to bear witness to the Gospel message of hope and solidarity. 
To world at work, from Ciudad Juárez:  This city has a special relationship with the world of labor.   Anything we can do to foster dialogue, encounter, and search for better alternatives is worthwhile.  Pursue dialogue!  Wars arise from lack of talking and encounter.  More needs to be done than that, but we can't miss a chance to encounter, discuss, confront, or explore; we build for tomorrow by creating sustainable relationships, rebuilding bonds damaged by lack of communication and respect.
Workers’ organizations and business associations could be considered as adversaries, but they all seek to create beneficial employment opportunities. In many cases, lack of opportunity for study and work leads to poverty and rejection, the best breeding ground for drug trafficking and violence.  Face-to-face dialogue and work opportunities are needed to forge a constructive path.
We live in times where economic utility is the starting point for relationships.  The prevailing mentality advocates for the greatest possible profit, at any cost.  This causes business ethics to be lost, and it forgets that our best investment is in people, creating opportunities.  The prevailing mentality puts people at the service of capital, resulting in exploitation of employees.  God will hold us accountable for this slavery, and we must make sure these situations don't happen again.
People object that Church social teaching would transform businesses to philanthropic institutions.  Church social teaching is to guard people's integrity and social structures.  Whenever this integrity is threatened, our social doctrine will protect us from being lost.  When a person’s integrity is violated, society begins to decline.  Church Social Doctrine is in favor of all.  Every sector must look out for the good of all.  Work must humanize and build up society.  This attitude provides an immediate improvement and will transform society to promote human dignity.
Do you want to leave your children a world of exploitation, insufficient pay,  harassment, and trafficking, or a dignified labor, proper lodging, and land to be worked?  To generate is to co-create with God.  Don't leave the future in the hands of corruption, brutality, and injustice.  It's hard to bring all parties together in negotiations, but it's worse when there's a lack of negotiations and appreciation.  It's hard get along in a competitive world, but it's worse to allow the world to ruin our destiny.  Profit and capital are not a good above the person; they're at the service of the common good.  When the common good only serves profit and capital, it's exclusion and strengthens the throwaway culture.  We need to lose at times so all can win.  Dream of a Mexico your children deserve. 
  • Dt 26:16-19  Moses:  “God commands you to observe these commands; do it with your heart and soul.  You're agreeing to walk in God's ways, and the Lord is agreeing to make you his own and raise you high.”
  • Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8  "Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!"  I'll give you thanks and keep your statutes.
  • Mt 5:43-48  “You've heard it said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say, Love your enemies.  So be perfect, just like your heavenly Father.”
    • Creighton:  Jesus commands his disciples to love their enemies.  He's telling us to “take the higher road,” to look beyond divisions or past offenses. His message offers the promise of freedom to live as "children of your heavenly Father."  Jesus calls us to look at people as God does.  We were created to love, not to judge the world.  Am I complicit in systems that keep our “enemies” at bay and affect flesh human beings?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "I firmly resolve":  We're weak human beings, subject to temptation, but with the psalmist, we pray to resist temptation....
    • Passionist:  Moses gave the people the terms of God’s covenant.  We see God’s commitment to us, but it's not always easy to “hearken” to Jesus’ voice.  Today’s gospel is a tall order.  Would we be so willing to enter into a covenant if part of the deal was to love our enemies?  God has gone beyond what is considered acceptable; he doesn't give up on his own!  God is faithful even when we turn our backs on him.  We're called to love as God loves.  May we go beyond worldly wisdom and convention and take the risk to enter into a covenant with God that commands us to love always.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Love and pray for your enemies":  God renews his love for us daily.  God is good to the unjust and the just.  God teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even "enemies."  Our love for others must be marked by the same mercy God has shown us.  Praying for those who do us ill breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love.  We can only love as God does with his help, through the Spirit.
    God instructed Abraham to "be perfect" or "blameless" before God.  The original meaning of "perfect" in Hebrew and Aramaic is "complete," "whole," "not lacking in what's essential."  God commanded Israel to "be holy, for I am holy." God made each of us in his image and calls us to grow to be like him, loving as he loves, choosing good, and rejecting evil.  Holy Spirit, purify and transform me in the image of the Father that I may walk in the joy and freedom of the Gospel.

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