May 17, 2016

May 17

May 17, 2016:  Tuesday, 7th week, Ordinary Time

  • NEW 'Gun' pin (thanks Damian and Franca!  I wasn't sure when this would fit :-):  "Where do your wars and conflicts come from?...  You kill but can't obtain." (1st reading)
  • '?'tie pin:  "You ask wrongly" (1st reading)
  • 'Hands' tie:  "Cleanse your hands" (1st reading); "Son is to be handed over" (gospel)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  "Purify your hearts" (1st reading)
  • 'Bird' tie pin:  "Had I but wings like a dove..." (psalm)
    • 'Catcher's mitt' tie pin:  "Throw your cares on the Lord" (psalm)
    • 'Children' pin:  "Whoever receives a child receives me" (gospel)
    • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
    • Orange suspenders:  Shhh; I'm still celebrating Pentecost!

    Pope Francis
    Homily:  While Jesus was warning his disciples about his coming humiliation and death, they were concerned with worldly matters like who would become most powerful.  Jesus warned, "If you wish to be first, be the last of all and the servant of all."  Service guides us on the path Jesus shows us.  The greatest is the one who serves others most, not the one who boasts or who seeks power, money, vanity, or pride.  And this is what happened with the apostles, even with the mother of John and James; it happens every day in the Church, in every community.  There's ambition for power in every community, parish, or institution.
    Service is still the Church’s message to us.  The world speaks about who has more power, but Jesus reminds us he came to serve.  Vanity and power…  not to serve but to be served, and sparing no efforts to get there:  gossip, speaking ill of others…  Envy and jealousy create this path and they destroy.  This occurs in every institution of the Church:  parishes, colleges, dioceses…  Desire for worldliness is all about wealth, vanity, and pride.
    When great saints spoke of being sinful, they saw worldliness inside them.  No one can say, "I'm holy and pure."  We're tempted to destroy others to climb higher; this can divide and destroy the Church.  Imagine the scene:  Jesus saying these words and his disciples saying, "better to not question him too much; let’s go ahead" and argue among ourselves who's the greatest.  Think about the times you've seen this in the Church and when you might have done it, and ask our Lord to show the way, to understand that worldliness, love of this world, is an enemy of God.”
    La Croix interview excerpts:  

    What about the priest shortage?  Korea was evangelized by missionaries from China, then by laymen; now the Church is strong there.  You don't need priests to evangelize; baptism gives you the strength, and the Holy Spirit received in baptism grows outward to carry the message with courage and patience.  Too many Christians don't know the Spirit is the Church’s engine.  Clericalism is a danger to the Church, a sin that takes both priests who want to 'clericalize' the laity and the laity who demand to be clericalized for the sake of ease.
    Can Europe accommodate all the migrants seeking refuge here?  We can't open doors irrationally.  Why are there so many migrants?  It started with wars in the Middle East and Africa and with the underdevelopment of Africa, causing hunger... The problem is especially arms traffickers.  Unemployment is from the lack of the investment Africa needs.  The global economic system has fallen into an idolatry of money; about 16% of the population has over 80% of the wealth.  The market is good, but it takes a fulcrum, the state, to control and balance it.  Migrants must be integrated, not ghettoized.  This is even more necessary today in the face of Europe's low birth rate, due to selfish search for well-being; a demographic vacuum develops.
    Is fear of welcoming migrants fed by fear of Islam?  I think the fear is of Daesh [so-called Islamic State] and its war of conquest, not of Islam itself.  Conquest is inherent in Islam, but it could be interpreted as the same ​​conquest in end of Matthew, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations.  We should question how too Western a model of democracy was exported to countries where there was strong power.  We can't move forward without considering the culture....  Deep down, coexistence between Christians and Muslims is possible.
    • Jas 4:1-10  Loving the world means enmity with God.  God gives grace to the humble.  Submit yourselves to God; draw near.  Cleanse your hands and hearts.  Humble yourselves before God, and he will exalt you.
    • Ps 55:7-11a, 23  "Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you."  If I had wings, I'd fly far away and wait for him.
    • Mk 9:30-37  They didn't understand The Son of Man is to be handed over, be killed, and rise.”  As they discussed who was the greatest, Jesus told the Twelve, “To be first, be the last and servant of all....  Whoever receives a child in my name, receives me and the One who sent me.”
      • Creighton:  Today's readings can seem jarring in light of the complexity, unity, and harmony of our created world.  James speaks of the conflicts within the Christian community and within each person that divide, destroy, and separate us from each other and God.  Humility leads us home; 'humble' is from 'humus' ('earth,' 'from the earth').  When we're “grounded” in creation, knowing we're creatures, born from and returning to earth, we're humble; we remember to whom we belong, and that we don't create ourselves or anything else.  We're in harmony with earth and one another and we surrender to God.  Jesus' taught the greatest is the servant; he put his arms around a child and said, “Whoever receives one such as this in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives... the One who sent me.”  To serve is to receive as a child, with directness, wonder, and humility.  It's to embrace the child within us, non-judgmental, open, lacking the shell of life’s conditioning.  It's to receive the child within that needs care and a listening presence.  To serve is to receive the child in others that needs understanding and guidance, not judgment and punishment.  Ignatius of Loyola writes in the “[First] Principle and Foundation” [#23] of the Spiritual Exercises, “The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.  All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.”
        Who's the greatest?
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Rankled with rankings":  Our culture thrives on ratings, polls, and standings; we argue about who's most important, as did the apostles, as part of our nature.  Jesus gave us a new nature that brings us into his kingdom, where we don't "act out of rivalry or conceit."  Jesus makes people complementary (1 Cor 12:12ff), not competing ones. We are to be "like-minded" and not rivals (see 1 Cor 1:10). "Let all parties think humbly of others as superior to themselves" (Phil 2:3).
      • Passionist:  It all comes down to what we love.  James says we can choose to love the world and so be God's enemies, or love God and so be the world's enemies; we can't choose both because they lead to different ways of life.  The trouble starts when we start preferring lesser things over more important goods, when we “covet” things that can't bring us the happiness only God can give us.  Christian life is about transforming our desires, changing our hearts, becoming like the child in today's gospel.
      •  "Who's the greatest in God's kingdom?"  There can be no share in God's glory without the cross.  When Jesus prophesied his betrayal and crucifixion, it didn't fit his disciples' understanding of the Messiah, but they didn't ask questions; we can reject what we don't want to see.  Like the disciples, we can compare ourselves with others.  When Jesus said children were the greatest in God's kingdom, he gave a place of honor to people who had no rights of their own, elevating humble servants.  Jesus, our model, came to serve; he lowered himself and took on our nature that he might raise us up.  God gives grace to the humble.  We need to empty ourselves of pride and self-seeking glory, becoming an empty vessels God can fill with his glory, power, and love.

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