May 20, 2016

May 20

May 20, 2016:  Friday, 7th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Clock' tie bar:  Prophets' example of patience (1st reading)
  • Black and white shirt:  Let your "Yes" mean yes and "No" no (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord crowns you with kindness and compassion (psalm)
  • 'Classroom' tie:  Jesus taught the crowds (gospel)
  • 'Two linked jewels' tie bar, 'OneLife LA' button:  "the two shall become one" (gospel)
  • 'Girl with heart' pin:  Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of your hearts (gospel)
For the psalm
  • Patience, People/ Foley (1st reading, including "grumbling" verse, though usually for Advent)
  • Patience/ Guns 'n' Roses (1st reading)
Pope Francis homily
Pharisees and law doctors keep trying to trap Jesus by catching him off guard to undermine the authority and favor he enjoys.  Today they ask whether it's OK for a man to put away his wife.  Jesus escapes from the trap of the casuistry of some enlightened theologians” convinced of their knowledge and wisdom; he goes beyond to the fullness of matrimony, as he did with the Sadducees.  He looked to the “eschatological fullness” of marriage and the fullness of the harmony of creation:  “God created them male and female,” and “the two became one flesh.”  “They're no longer two, but one,” so “no one must separate what God has joined.  Jesus responds with truth. never negotiating with it like these "enlightened theologians" did.  But merciful Jesus never closes the door to sinners, so he doesn't just proclaim God's truth but also asks the Pharisees what Moses had established in the Law.  When they said he permitted divorce, Jesus said it was "because of the hardness of your hearts"; he distinguished between the truth and human weakness.  Today the reality of sin is so strong, but Jesus tells us, “There's sin and hardness of heart; something can be done: forgiveness, understanding, accompaniment, integration, discernment…   Jesus states this while being so understanding with sinners, with the weak.
Jesus teaches us truth and understanding.  The “enlightened theologians” don't, closed in the trap of an equation and therefore incapable of great horizons and of love for human weakness.  See how delicately Jesus treated the adulteress:  “I don't condemn you:  Go, and sin no more.”  May Jesus teach us to adhere to the truth and to understand and accompany those in difficulty.
  • Jas 5:9-12  Don't complain about one another.  Take the prophets as examples of hardship and patience.  Those who have persevered are blessed.  Don't swear; let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” “No.” 
  • Ps 103:1-4, 8-12  "The Lord is kind and merciful."  Bless the Lord who pardons, heals, redeems, and crowns you.  He shows surpassing kindness and has put our transgressions far from us.
  • Mk 10:1-12  Pharisees / Jesus:  “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?  Moses permitted it.”  “A man shall leave his parents and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.  What God has joined, no one must separate.
    • Creighton:  Before and after today's 1st reading (part of the Advent readings):  “Be patient... until the Lord's coming.  See how the farmer waits for the fruit of the earth....  You too must be patient.”  Today's reading ends instead admonishing us not to swear by anything but only to say yes or no and mean it, emphasizing fidelity to our commitments.  The gospel picks up the fidelity theme, counseling spouses to remain faithful.  The 1st reading gives us an entrance into the compassionate nature of today's gospel:  James challenges us to patient perseverance in essential commitments; it requires us to take our voice and behavior seriously.  The foundation of marriage is mutual faithful self-donation, a “yes” to relationship that flows from and participates in God’s salvation through irrevocable mercy.  Just as the prophets endured in the face of hardship, so do happy long-term marriage partners show such patient endurance.  It takes prayer, patience, love, forgiveness, and commitment.   No one knows what marriage will require, but if we take our faith seriously, we believe it takes confidence in God’s fidelity, death to our selfishness, donation of what we didn’t know we had, and choosing each other.  Love makes married life possible; perfect love makes it a joy.
    • Passionist:  Recent readings ask whether we're fully invested in following Jesus.  James gives advice about living Christian life:  don't complain or be jealous or selfish; don't rely on earthly possessions; draw near to God; be pure, peaceable, gentle, merciful, and fruitful; endure hardships patiently; and keep following Jesus.  Recent passages from John also challenge us about what it means to follow Christ.  Jesus said anything can be accomplished if our faith is strong enough, though our hard hearts often keep us from understanding what he's trying to show us.  When Jesus says he'll be killed yet will rise on the third day, his disciples don’t understand but are afraid to ask questions.  He tells them the way to be first is to be servant of all and to remove all obstacles that keep them from being faithful.  Today Jesus says that “hardness of heart” kept Moses from teaching the sacredness of the marriage commitment.  We've been challenged to assess the depth of our own commitment to Christ.  May God patiently transform us as we struggle..
    •  "What God has joined together":  Jesus deals with divorce by recalling the beginning of creation and God's plan for us including the indissolubility of marriage; he says Moses permitted divorce as a concession.  Jesus sets the high ideal of marriage for those willing to accept his commands.  We belong to God; the Lord through the Spirit gives the grace and power to those who seek to follow him; they bring freedom, discipline, and strength to live a life of love, joy, and holiness....

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