February 27, 2016

Feb. 27

February 27, 2016:  Saturday, 2nd week, Lent

See 10 connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis
At Cor Unum conference:  Benedict XVI's Deus Caritas Est, about charity, retraces Church history, a story of God's love carried to the world, the fulcrum of the history of the Church and each of us.  Charity includes loving attentiveness towards the other, considering the other as “one with yourself” and desires to share friendship with God.  St. Thérèse said charity is the heart of the Church.  Charity is the first and greatest commandment.
The Jubilee Year is an opportunity to return to the heart of our life and witness: “God is love.”  He can't be closed in on himself because he's communion, charity is his essence, and charity by nature is communicated.  God associates us with his life of love, and even if we turn away, he goes out to meet us.  This going out, culminating in the Incarnation, is his mercy, how he expresses himself to us sinners; he looks at us and cares for us.  “Jesus’ program is ‘a heart that sees’ where love is needed and acts accordingly.”  Charity and mercy are closely related; they're God’s way of being and acting.
Our expressions of love reflect God who pours out his love on us.  We're called to witness to his love.  We should look to God's love as a compass before embarking on any activity:  from it we learn how to see our brothers and sisters and the world.  "Where there's love, there's the ability to see."  Only by “remaining in his love” can we understand and love others.
This charity needs to be reflected in the life of the Church.  Our charitable organizations provide poor people with a dignified life, important because concrete love can make everyone feel loved by the Father and destined for eternal life.  Thanks to all who commit to this challenging mission.  We can all experience the grace of the Jubilee by putting the works of mercy into practice, conjugating “to love” according to Jesus.  We can contribute concretely to the Church's mission to communicate God's love.
  • Ps 103:1-4, 9-12  "The Lord is kind and merciful."  Bless the Lord, who pardons, heals, redeems, crowns, doesn't remain angry or requite our crimes; he's put our transgressions far from us.
  • Lk 15:1-3, 11-32  A man gave his younger son his inheritance; the son left, squandered it, found himself in need, got work tending swine, and returned home to be treated as hired hand.  His father ran to him and prepared a feast for his lost son come back to life.  His brother, faithful all along, became angry...
    • Creighton:  The "prodigal son" grievously offended his father, but the father awaited his return, forgave him,  and threw him a feast.  The father is "prodigal" in his mercy.  The father stands for God the Father, the son for the repentant sinner, the brother for those stuck in judgment.  The compassionate, forgiving Father waits for us to return and is joyful when we do....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "God's heart for the lost":  We rejoice over a sinner's repentance because it's so important to Jesus, who so wants sinners to return that he died to make it possible.  "One who brings a sinner back from his way will save his soul and cancel a multitude of sins."  To lead someone to repentance we must repent ourselves, intercede, and profess the truth in love, and lead them back to Jesus....
    • Passionist:  "God never tires of loving and forgiving":  Sometimes we prefer a stingy God, at least for other people!  Call it the “elder son syndrome” when we get resentful that God extends mercy to all!  Why should we find fault when God is generous or merciful?  God lavishes us with bounteous gifts, with unconditional love.  The father "wasted" his love on a son not mature enough to respond in an adult, loving way.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Father, I have sinned against heaven and you":  God does not abandon us, even if we turn our backs on him; he keeps calling us back.  Jesus contrasts the father's merciful love with the elder son's harsh reaction to his brother and the party.  The son realized his father had given him love which he hadn't returned; he repented and decided to confess to his father.  The robe, ring, and banquet he received symbolize the new life of those who return to God.  The parable (the longest in the gospels) contrasts mercy and unforgiveness:  the father, who had been wronged, forgave, but the elder son, who had not been wronged, didn't; his resentment led to his isolation and estrangement.  God doesn't lose hope or give up when we stray....
    Dress legend
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "Shepherd your flock" (1st reading)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord crowns you with kindness and compassion (psalm)
    • 'Abacus' tie pin:  The Father 'divided' the property between his two sons (gospel)
    • 'Pigs' suspenders:  Prodigal son tended the pigs (gospel)
    • 'Musical notes' tie:  Elder son heard sound of music (gospel)
    • 'Cow' pin (still cracked; see here):  Dad killed the fattened calf to celebrate (gospel)
    • Sandals (not shown):  "Put sandals on his feet" (gospel)
    • 'Clock' tie bar:  "I've served you all these years, but you never gave me a feast" (gospel)
    • Purple shirt and button:  Lenten season

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