April 29, 2016

Catherine of Siena

April 29, 2016:  St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor

  • 'Letter' tie bar:  Apostles and presbyters chose reps to go with Paul and Barnabas and to send them to Antioch to deliver a 'letter.' (1st reading)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  "My heart is steadfast" (psalm); "Love one another as I love you" (gospel)
  • 'Apple' pin:  "I chose you and appointed you to go bear fruit."  (gospel)
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Holy Spirit and we decided not to put extra burdens on you (1st reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  Abstain from... blood... (1st reading)
  • 'Doctor office' tie:  St. Catherine of Siena, "doctor" of the Church
  • White shirt and socks:  Easter season; St. Catherine of Siena, virgin

Pope Francis homily
If you say you're in communion with the Lord, walk in the light.  No to double lives, the lie we're used to seeing and where we sometimes fall.  To say one thing and do another is the never-ending temptation, a lie from the devil, ‘father of lies.’  Don’t be a liar!  Do works of light.
The affectionate beginning of John's letter, "Children," has the tender tone of a grandfather towards his young grandchildren; it also recalls Jesus’ promise of rest to all “who labor and are overburdened.”  John urges his readers not to sin, but if somebody does, not to be discouraged.  We have an advocate, a defender at the Father’s side; it’s Jesus Christ, the Upright One, who pardons us.  A sin is a bad thing, but if you've sinned, look at who's waiting to pardon you.  Always!  Our Lord is greater than our sins.  This is God’s mercy and greatness.  We must walk in the light because God is Light.  Don’t walk with one foot in the light and the other in darkness.  If you sin, he's waiting and pardons you because he's merciful.  May the joy of this Letter carry us forward in the simplicity and transparency of the Christian life.
  • Acts 5:22-31  The Apostles and presbyters sent representatives to Antioch with this letter:  "Since some went out without a mandate from us and upset you, we chose and sent you representatives with Barnabas and Paul.  The Holy Spirit and we decided not to place on you any burden beyond the necessities:  abstain from unlawful marriage, meat sacrificed to idols, meats of strangled animals, and blood.  If you do, you'll be doing right."  When they arrived, they called the assembly together and delivered the letter, and the people were delighted.
  • Ps 57:8-10, 12  "I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord."  I'll sing praise for your mercy and faithfulness.  Be exalted, O God!
  • Jn 15:12-17  “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.  No one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You're my friends if you do what I command.  I chose you and appointed you to bear lasting fruit.”
    • Creighton:  St. Catherine of Siena shows us what it looks like to love as Jesus does.  She served others humbly, helping the poor and sick in hospitals and homes.  She was also called to intervene in social and political tensions.  She told people that renewal could come through love for God.  May we focus on how Jesus loves and bring that to the world.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Obedience school":  Early church leaders commanded Gentile Christians to change their eating habits and sexual practices; the Gentile Christians were delighted and encouraged.  For those in love, obedience, in when difficult, is a delight.  "To do Your will is my delight."  Obeying God is fulfilling:  "My food is to do the will of him who sent Me and complete his work."  "You will live in my love if you keep my commandments."  "You are my friends if you do what I command you."  "His commandments are not burdensome."  We're privileged the Lord has given us the opportunity and grace to obey him.  Out of love of us, Jesus obeyed even to death on the cross.  May we learn obedience from what he suffered and let him perfect us in obedience.
      The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine of Siena
      di Paolo (about/more)
    • Passionist:  “If you are what you should be, you'll set all of Italy ablaze!” (Catherine of Siena, Letter T368)  St. Catherine's influence on the Church during the Great Schism was divine intervention because she listened to God and lived out that quote.  In the 1st reading, the Apostles were listening to the Spirit for guidance for a solution to a problem.  They didn't understand Jesus till after his Resurrection. They were the first examples of how to open your heart to the Spirit, listen to God, and take action. They listened to God with love, became the Apostles God created them to be, and “set the world ablaze” fueled by their love for and friendship with Jesus.  After the Resurrection and Pentecost, they began to understand what was being asked of them as they learned to listen to the Spirit and form their lives in the model Jesus had given them.  He told them that because of their friendship they were chosen to “bear fruit that will last.”  They needed to love as they had been loved.
      Becoming the person God created us to be is a lifelong journey, and important part of which is reflecting on our relationship with God and what God is calling us to be.  Is God calling you to set your family, friends, workplace ablaze with the love of Christ?  “If you are what you should be, you will set all of... ablaze!”
      • DailyScripture.net:  "I have called you friends":  Jesus defines friendship as willingness to give of oneself, even to the point of laying down one's life.  God, who is Love, made us in love for love.  We have hope and joy because God poured his love into us through the Spirit, an unlimited, enduring love that can transform us to be merciful, gracious, kind, loving, and forgiving like him.  Jesus' love was directed toward others' good.  Our love for God and willingness to lay down our life for others is a response to God's love in Christ.  Jesus calls his disciples his friends.  He cared for them, sought their welfare, enjoyed their company, ate with them, shared what he had with them, spending himself doing good for them.  To know Jesus is to know God and the love and friendship he offers each one of us.  Abraham is called God's friend. God spoke with Moses as one with his friend.  Jesus calls the disciples friends, not servants.  Friendship with God entails love that goes beyond obedience.  "A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity."  Jesus loved his own to the end.  The essence of Jesus' new commandment is love to the death, purifying love that overcomes selfishness, fear, and pride, total self-giving for others' sake, selfless love oriented towards others' welfare ahead of mine.  We prove our love for God and others when we embrace the way of the cross.  What is my cross today?  Jesus wants us to love one another as he loves us, unreservedly.  His love frees us to give ourselves in loving service to others.  If do, we'll bear much fruit.
      "Teach us to serve You as You deserve, to give and not count the cost, to fight and not heed the wounds, to toil and not seek for rest, to labor and not ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will."  (Ignatius Loyola?)

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