March 18, 2016

March 18

March 18, 2016:  Friday, 5th week, Lent

  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Lord, you probe mind and heart (1st reading)
  • 'Musical note' tie pin:  "Sing to the Lord" who's rescued the poor (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  "I called on the Lord, and he heard me" (psalm)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  Lord, my Rock (psalm); Jews started to stone Jesus (gospel)
  • 'Shield' tie pin:  God, my shield (psalm)
  • '?' tie pin:  Jesus' questions to the Jews (gospel)
  • "I ♥ my dad" tie:  Jesus' relationship with the Father (gospel)
  • Purple shirt:  Lenten season


Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 5th Lenten sermon
The ecumenical path after Vatican II
According to Gadamer’s "history of effects" hermeneutic, to understand a text we need to take into account the effects it produced in history.  It says we can't fully understand the Old Testament except in the light of its fulfillment in the New, and we can't fully understand the New except by the fruit that it's produced in the life of the Church. Studying a text's sources isn't enough; we must take into account the influences it's exercised.  As Jesus said, trees will be known by their fruit,  We can apply this principle to the texts of Vatican II.  Today I'll show how it can be applied to the Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis redintegratio.  Fifty years of journeying in ecumenism demonstrate the decree's vitality.  The Council Fathers express its purpose like this:  "The Council, moved by a desire for the restoration of unity among all followers of Christ, wishes to set before all Catholics the ways they too can respond to this grace and call."  The fruits of this document have been of two kinds:  the Council for Promoting Christian Unity has been established, and dialogues with almost all Christian confessions have been initiated in the hope of promoting better reciprocal understanding of our positions and of overcoming prejudices.
Alongside this official ecumenism, an ecumenism of personal encounters and reconciliation has arisen.  Some famous meetings stand out: Paul VI with the Athenagoras, the John Paul II and Benedict XVI with Christian church leaders, Pope Francis with Bartholomew and Kirill.  This ecumenism includes initiatives in which believers pray and proclaim the gospel together, remaining faithful to their churches, and not proselytizing.  At the 2009 “Jesus Manifestation,” believers from various churches processed from around the city to the center. where some 18,000 merged to proclaim the Lordship of Christ; a demonstration “for” Jesus became one “of” Jesus.
These developments from the decree are a fruit of the Spirit and sign of a new Pentecost.  The Risen One convinced the apostles to welcome Gentiles into the Christian community by leading Peter to Cornelius' home to witness the Spirit coming on the ones there the same way the apostles experienced.  Peter concluded that if God gave them the same gift,who was he to withstand God?
The Lord is doing the same thing today. sending his Spirit and charisms, often with identical manifestations, on believers of different churches, including those whose beliefs we'd thought far from ours.  How can we not see in that a sign that he's urging us to welcome and acknowledge them even if we're still on the journey to more complete unity?  (to be continued)
  • Jer 20:10-13  Many whisper:  “Let's denounce him!  Perhaps he'll be trapped and we can take vengeance.”  But the Lord is with me; they'll be put to shame.  Lord, I've entrusted my cause to you; let me witness your vengeance.  You've rescued the poor!

  • Ps 18:2-7  "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice."  I love you, Lord, my rock, my deliverer; I'm safe from my enemies.
  • Jn 10:31-42  The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus for blasphemy:  “You, a man, are making yourself God.”  Jesus:  “Can you say the one the Father has sent blasphemes by saying, ‘I'm the Son of God’?  If I perform his works, at least believe the works, so you may realize the Father is in me and I'm in the Father.”  He went back to the place where John first baptized; many there began to believe in him.
    • Creighton:  We try to listen to the voice of good and follow the path, but it lead us into darkness to face opposition, as with the prophets.  If we call out to God to find our way and discover God within us, we'll get through the darkness and fulfill our mission.  When Jeremiah challenges the community to turn away from idols, they threaten his life.  Knowing their history of sin and grace, he desperately asks God for vengeance.  But Jesus announces a new covenant and presents a vision of a loving, not vengeful, God, one of peace who wants an intimate relationship with us.  He calls God his Father, who has anointed him to heal, restore sight, and set free.  But his own people threaten, and eventually kill, him.  Today's prophets, who challenge global and national affairs, are also threatened, and sometimes killed.  As we prepare to walk with Jesus to Jerusalem and his death, ask:  What drives my thoughts and actions?  Have I considered the dark side of my life as well as our national/global history of sin and grace?  Who are the prophets of today I want to follow?  What keeps me from following them?  
    • One Bread, One Body:  "A rocky relationship":  The Jews reached out for rocks to throw at Jesus instead of reaching out for Jesus, the Rock.  These pious Jews were in the Temple area, likely celebrating the Feast of the Dedication, praising God, perhaps addressing him as "my Rock and my Salvation."  They sang 'soft-rock' praises but had 'hard-rock' hearts, scorning their saving Rock, forgetting the Rock who made them, speaking haughtily against the Rock, accusing and condemning Jesus.  May we bring our rocky hearts before God and ask him for new hearts of love....
    • Passionist:  Jesus' words, and vision of unity with God, challenged his audience's world views so much that they pick up stones to throw at him, fueled by fear of change / closed mindedness.  A true perspective belief system is open and can dialogue with other viewpoints.  Jesus challenged his audience, and challenges us, to listen with the heart and see into another's heart; such mutual respect and openness is sorely needed.  A closed mind denies others a voice and closes down consideration of other views.  Jesus was forced to flee.  Am I growing in tolerance, openness, and acceptance of others?
    • Today's moment of irony, from the gospel:  “We're stoning you for blasphemy.  You, a man, are making yourself God.”  (Wait; didn't God make Jesus a man?)
    •  "I am the Son of God":  The religious leaders charged Jesus with blasphemy, punishable by stoning, because he made himself God's equal.  He countered:  consider his good works, his right to call himself Son of God, and his consecration by and mission from the Father.  Jesus shows us the way to truth and holiness and gives us his power to live the gospel....
      • Edward the Martyr, king

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