March 9, 2016

March 9

March 9, 2016:  Wednesday, 4th week, Lent

  • Blue in shirt: Lord guides his people beside springs of water (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  The Lord is near to all who call upon him (psalm)
  • "I ♥ my dad" tie with baby feet:  Can a mother forget her child? (1st reading), Father/Son love (gospel)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  "In a time of favor I answer you" (1st reading); "the hour is coming, and now here, when the dead will hear the Son's voice and live..." (gospel)
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season
Pope/curia retreat:  Sharing is multiplying
Reflection on “How many loaves do you have?”:  What most hurts Christians is the clergy’s attachment to money; what makes them happy is sharing bread.  Some people are so hungry that for them God cannot but have the form of a loaf of bread.  Life begins with hunger.  Consider the millions of hungry people world.  How do we respond? 
At the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus has a very practical approach when he tells the disciples to sum up what they have.  He said that all disciples, including today's, are called to quantify their assets.  How much money do you have?  What standard of living?  Check!  How many cars?  How much jewelry?  The Church must not be afraid of transparency.
If you're transparent, you're truthful.  When you're true you're free.  Jesus didn't allow anyone to ‘buy’ him, and he never entered the palaces of the powerful except as a prisoner.  Jesus’ logic is that of giving, not hoarding.  ‘To love’ in the Gospel translates into ‘to give.’  The miracle of the loaves and fish shows us Jesus is not concerned with the quantity of the bread; he wants the bread to be shared.
When my bread becomes ours, then little becomes enough.  Hunger begins when I keep my bread to myself.  There is enough bread to feed the earth.  There's no need to multiply it; it would be enough just to distribute it.  We need to beat the Goliath of selfishness, waste, and hoarding.

Others' hunger has rights over me.  "Give and gifts will be given to you…."  In this promise of Jesus is the economy of giving and return that turns budgets upside down.  The last question will be, “What have you given to life?”  Life depends on this, not assets.  A gift of five loaves can change the world.  The miracle of the loaves put in the hands of Christ who held nothing back for himself or his disciples, shows us that a drop in the ocean can give meaning and hope to life.

  • Is 49:8-15  I'll restore the land and say to prisoners, "Come out!" and to those in darkness, "Show yourselves!"  They won't hunger or thirst.  I'll lead and guide them.  I'll cut a road through my mountains, comfort you, and show mercy.  Can a mother forget her infant?  Even should she, I'll never forget you.
  • Ps 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18  "The Lord is gracious and merciful."  The Lord is good, faithful, and just, near to all who call on him.  He lifts up the falling.
  • Jn 5:17-30  The Jews tried to kill Jesus because he broke the sabbath and called God his father.  Jesus:  The Son can only do what he sees the Father doing.  The Son, like the Father, gives life; whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life.  The dead will hear the Son and rise:  those who have done good, to life; others, to condemnation.  I seek the will of the one who sent me.

    • Creighton:  The people of Zion felt forsaken and forgotten by the Lord throughout their desert experience; they may have even wondered where the Lord was.  The Lord told Isaiah there would be a road through the mountains.  The psalm reminds us of God’s promises and faithfulness; he'll bring good from every desert situation.  God will help us get through our "desert experiences."  Grant me perseverance to trust and follow you in all circumstances.  And how can I be a light to others struggling in darkness?
    • One Bread, One Body:  When Isaiah prophesied, "I will never forget you," children were considered blessings from the Lord and the strongest human bond was mother-child, but some mothers "forgot" their children and allowed them to be sacrificed to pagan gods.  Some mothers still "forget" their children via mistreatment or abortion, but God will never forget any.  Love children....
      St. Frances of Rome giving alms/ Gaulli
    • Passionist:   Today's readings focus on an identification process by the end of which we may identify things we've been searching for for a long time.  Isaiah urges us to identify God for who he is, the one who liberates prisoners, dispels darkness, nourishes, shelters, shows the way, and remembers us.  Lent is a time to rediscover God.  In the gospel, Jesus engages the Jews in an identification process.  His reference to his Father troubles them, but he still identifies Himself as One loved by the Father, imitating the Father by similar deeds, giving life, judging, raising the dead, and doing the Father’s will.  May we uncover the Father and Son in our life and recommit to them....
    •  "My Father is working still, and I am working":  Jesus claimed authority and power over life and death and showed God's power to heal and restore people.  He showed God's mercy by releasing people from sin and guilt.  Jewish authorities were troubled with Jesus' claims; he had to be a madman and impostor, or God's son as he claimed.  They didn't accept his claims of authority and equality with God or recognize him as the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.  The Father sent Jesus as "a covenant to the people" to reconcile them with God and restore them to life. Jesus reveals God's mercy and  justice.  Religious authorities wanted to kill Jesus because he claimed equality with God; he answered their charge of not keeping the Sabbath by demonstrating God's purpose to save and restore life, acting in union with God.  Jesus' obedience to the Father was based on love.  We're called to submit to God with the same love, trust, and obedience Jesus showed his Father....
    • Universalis:  St. Frances of Rome, married 40 years, had three sons, distributed gifts to the poor, ministered to the sick, founded convent she retired to as widow; known for humility, detachment, obedience, patience, contemplative spirit.  See also Wikipedia.

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