March 2, 2016

March 2

March 2, 2016:  Wednesday, 3rd week, Lent

  • 'Scroll' pin:  the law (1st reading, gospel)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  observe law; give evidence of your wisdom (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Don't forget the things your eyes have seen (1st reading)
  • 'Children in classroom' tie:  teach your children (1st reading); teach the commandments (gospel)
  • 'Letter' tie bar:  not the smallest letter or part of a letter will pass from the law (gospel)
  • Purple:  Lenten season
Listen to settings of Psalm 147

Pope Francis audience
When we err, God calls lovingly and never disowns us; he always calls us to be close to him.  This is our Father's love and mercy.  To have a Father like this gives us hope and trust.  When we sin, we must turn to God as the sick turn to a doctor.  We often choose the wrong paths to justification, justice, and peace, but if we choose the right path and turn to God, he'll give them to us.
God's fatherly love involves correction and a summons to conversion.  When he chastises us, it's to move us to repentance and conversion.  Be open to our Father’s merciful invitation to come back to him and experience his love and forgiveness.
Papal preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 2nd Lenten sermon, continued from yesterday
Lectio divina:  Contemplate the Word
After we receive the word, we “fix our gaze” on it, placing ourselves before the mirror in meditation and contemplation of the word.  The Fathers used images of chewing:  “Reading puts food whole into your mouth, meditation chews it and breaks it up” (Guigo II).   “When we listen, we're like an animal eating, and when later we call to mind what we heard,... we're like the animal ruminating” (Augustine)
People who look at themselves in the mirror of the word learn to understand how things are; they learn to know themselves and discover their dissimilarity to God and Christ.  Jesus said, “I don't seek my own glory”; do you seek your own glory?  “Blessed are the poor in spirit”:  are you full of attachments, superfluous things, or yourself?  “Love is patient...”; are you impatient, envious, or concerned with yourself?  More than “searching the Scriptures,” this is is letting Scripture search you.  "God's word is living and active, sharper than a sword, dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, discerning the heart's thoughts and intentions.  Before him no creature is hidden; all are laid bare....
In the mirror of the word, we don't only see our shortcomings; first we see God’s face and heart.  “What is Scripture but a God's letter to us?... Learn God's heart in God's word” (Gregory the Great, paraphrased).  Jesus' “Out of the heart's abundance the mouth speaks” is also true of God.  God has spoken to us in Scripture of what fills his heart:  love.  Scripture was written so we'd understand how much God loves us and become enkindled with love for him.  This Year of Mercy is a great time to reread Scripture as the history of God’s mercy.  (to be continued)

Yodh (from gospel; see below)
  • Dt 4:1, 5-9  Moses:  “Observe these statutes, live, and take the land God is giving you.  All will say, ‘This nation is a wise and intelligent people, close to the Lord.’  Don't forget what you've seen; teach your children.”
  • Ps 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20  "Praise the Lord, Jerusalem."  He's strengthened your gates, blessed your children, proclaimed his word and statutes to you like no other.
  • Mt 5:17-19  “I came not to abolish the law and prophets but to fulfill them.  Whoever breaks the least commandment will be called least in the Kingdom, but whoever obeys and teaches the commandments will be called great.”
    • Alphabet:  Consider Yodh (Yud), the "smallest letter" of the Hebrew alphabet, with its top spur, "the smallest part of a letter" (Mt 5:18).  God gave Yodh the honor of being the first letter of the Divine Name.  God changed Ya'akov/Jacob's name to Yisrael, keeping only the Yodh.  God chose Israel because they're the smallest.  Not the smallest letter or even its spur will disappear from the Word.  God won't forget the poor.  God uses the small to demonstrate his power; we'll find fulfillment in Jesus.
      Tetragrammaton (YHWH)
      starting with Yodh
      (remember Hebrew is right-to-left)
      • Creighton:  God, seeing the importance of laws, gave us the Ten Commandments.  But the readings call us to do more than obey the laws; they urge us to teach the law and instill the importance of following it.  “Teaching” it involves studying it more and putting it into practice, so people can learn by seeing us live our faith, not just talk about it.  How is God calling me to live in line with the commandments?  How are my actions demonstrating their importance and meaning?
      • One Bread, One Body:   "Loving the sword":  Jesus overcame the devil's temptations by using God's Word; we should too.  To do this, we must believe the Bible is God's word at work within us who believe" and hear, read, pray, live, and share it.  Victory through God's Word is based on living in God's Word. Before we use God's Word as a sword, we must cherish it as our "joy and happiness" of our hearts....
      • Passionist:  Today’s 1st reading reminds us that we're accountable to God.  May we heed this in our lives and political choices....
      •  "Whoever relaxes one of the commandments":  Jesus' loved and meditated on God's law.  For the Israelites, 'law' could refer to the ten commandments, the Pentateuch, God's whole teaching to his people, or oral or scribal law.  Jesus condemned scribal law because the scribes added more to it than God intended, overburdening people.  But Jesus said God's commandments and way of life must be fulfilled.  Jesus taught reverence for God's law:  respect for God, the Lord's Day, parents, life, property, people's good name, oneself, and one's neighbor.  Reverence for God's commandments teaches us the way of love.  Through the Holy Spirit the Lord transforms us, giving us the grace to love, forgive, think, and act as he does....
      • Universalis:  St. Chad, bishop, abbot, outstanding in humility and simplicity of life.

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