March 21, 2016

Holy Week Mon

March 21, 2016:  Monday of Holy Week

See a dozen connections with today,
some also with yesterday?
Legend below


Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 5th Lenten sermon, continued from Saturday
Beyond the formulas
Formulas slow down ecumenical dialogue with Protestant churches; they become rigid “watchwords” tied to affiliation.  Formalism began long ago, after the creative phase of the great dogmas; e.g. divisions between Chalcedonian Churches and the 'Monophysite' 'Nestorian' Churches were based on formulas and different meanings given to words that don't affect the doctrine's substance.  Once this was understood, communion with and among the churches was restored.  Similarly, in relation to the Reformation churches. Faith vs. works and Scripture vs. tradition were understandable oppositions, in part justified at first, but they become misleading when maintained as if nothing's changed in 500 years.  For example, if by “good works” one means not indulgences, pilgrimages, fasts, and votive candles (as in Luther's time), but works of charity and mercy, all Christians believe they're necessary.  Similarly, regarding Scripture and tradition, every church has its own tradition, such as ways of interpreting Scripture, and Christian tradition is Scripture as read in the Church and by the Church?
Even the Lutheran formula “At the same time righteous and sinner” isn't a hurdle to communion.  The definition of the Church as “chaste harlot” and “holy and always in need of being purified” has been part of Catholic tradition since patristic times, and what's said about the Church should apply to its members.  The way this coexistence of holiness and sin in the redeemed is understood can be open to complementary explanations, such as the one in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, that justification  brings about genuine renewal in the life of a baptized person—even if that righteousness never becomes a possession on which we could base our relationship with God and is always dependent on the Spirit's action.  There are Catholics and Protestants who need to be convinced that the 'war' is over; we have better things to do than fight with one another!  The world has forgotten, or never known, its Savior, the light of the world, the way, truth, and life, so how can we waste time arguing?  (to be continued)
  • Is 42:1-7  Here is my servant, my chosen one, upon whom I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice.  The Lord, creator and lifegiver, says:  I have called, grasped, and formed you and set you as a covenant, to open the eyes of the blind and to release prisoners and those in darkness.
  • Ps 27:1-3, 13-14  "The Lord is my light and my salvation."  My foes stumble and fall.  I will trust, not fear; I believe I shall see the Lord's bounty in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord.
  • Jn 12:1-11  Jesus came to Bethany, where they gave him a dinner; Lazarus reclined at table with him.  Mary anointed Jesus' feet with costly perfumed oil and dried them with her hair.   Judas / Jesus: “Why wasn't the oil sold and the money given to the poor?”  (He held the money bag and used to steal from it.) / “Leave her alone.  You always have the poor, but you don't always have me.”  The crowd found out that he was there and came for him and Lazarus; many were believing in Jesus because of Lazarus.
    • Creighton:  “The poor you always have with you”:  Hearing Jesus' saying that as cynical or uncaring wouldn’t fit with his concern for those on the margins.  He's quoting from Deuteronomy and reflecting reality.  Deuteronomy proposed a system of redistribution of resources to deal with it.  We don't have to accept the inequalities we find; God gave us the ability to smooth out and prevent inequities.  All our resources are gifts of which we're stuewards.  Our job is to recognize the fact and create an economy that best serves us all.   Those with resources must help those without; it's responsibility, not generosity or charity....
      Anointing of Jesus at a Pharisee's home
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Beyond personalities":  Jesus comes to us this Holy Week quietly and gently and calls us to respond as Mary of Bethany did.  He wants us to throw ourselves at his feet and anoint Him with our love.  He wants to take us beyond our personalities and backgrounds and respond as never before, transcending limitations....
    • Passionist:  This instance of hospitality to Jesus assumed special significance in John’s gospel account; it suggests Jesus, anticipating the upcoming ordeal, sought one last sign of friendship and love before evil overshadowed him.  The reading is paired with the prophet’s mission of comfort and companionship on behalf of a people striving to survive after years of captivity.  It's an ideal framework for a promise of God to come to their assistance, an occasion for God's hospitality to visit a people in need of it.  Treasure this sense of God at hand to save what's on the verge of being lost.  Whether it's the hospitality for Jesus or the sense of safety the Jewish people experienced, it is the week to experience God at hand as Redeemer and Savior.  May we experience God's saving influence, comfort, and support....
    •  "Extravagant love for Jesus":  Mary does something which only love can do:  spend her most precious thing on Jesus; her love was not calculated but extravagant.  She was oblivious to all around her as she loosened her hair to dry his feet.  Jesus showed us his extravagant love in pouring out his blood for us and anointing us with his Spirit.  How do I show him my love and gratitude?  Judas, likely chosen to watch the purse because of his financial acumen, because of his greed viewed her act as wasteful.  Our greatest temptation may come in the area of our greatest strength....
    Dress legend
    • 'Scales of justice' pin:  Servant of Yahweh will establish justice (1st reading)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  "I have grasped you by the hand" (1st reading); 'Palm' Sunday (Sunday's celebration :-)
    • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "I have set you... to open the eyes of the blind" (1st reading)
    • 'Clock' tie/bar:  "Wait for the Lord" (psalm)
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  They held a dinner for Jesus in Bethany (gospel)
    • '?' tie pin, 'coin' button:  Judas:  "Why wasn't the oil sold?" (gospel)
    • 'Wooden' suspenders:  wood of the cross
    • 'Heart' tie bar:  "My heart will not fear"; "be stouthearted" (psalm)
    • 'Dogs' tie:  "Many dogs surround me" (Sunday psalm)
    • Purple shirt:  color of the day

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