June 30, 2016

June 30

June 30, 2016:  Thursday, 13th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Sword' tie pin:  "Jeroboam shall die by the sword... Your children shall fall by the sword" (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar, 'tree' pin:  "I was no prophet; I was a shepherd and a sycamore dresser" (1st reading)
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  "Your land shall be divided by measuring line" (1st reading)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  "The Lord's decree gives wisdom" (psalm)
  • 'Heart' tie bar:  "The Lord's precepts rejoice the heart" (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  "The Lord's command enlightens the eye" (psalm)
  • Gold-colored accessories:  "The Lord's ordinances are more precious than gold,..." (psalm)
  • 'Honey' tie:  "...sweeter than honey from the comb." (psalm)
  • 'Boat' tie bar:  Jesus crossed in a boat (gospel)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  "Rise and walk" (gospel)
  • 'Lion' pin, orange suspenders:  Rome martyrs were thrown to beasts, then used as torches (today's saints)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

For Psalm 19
This year we've considered both the gift of God’s mercy and the works of mercy we're called to practice.  It’s one thing to talk mercy but another to live it.  Mercy has eyes to see, ears to listen, hands to help lift.  Mercy without works is dead.  Sometimes we pass by situations of poverty without being touched.  We continue in an indifference which makes us hypocrites and leads to spiritual lethargy that numbs the soul and leaves life barren.  But we who have experienced mercy can't remain indifferent.  To be merciful like God our Father demands constant sensitivity to others' needs.   Jesus' teaching doesn't allow escape routes; we'll be judged by the mercy we show the poor, hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick, imprisoned.  Guard against the temptation of indifference to them.  New forms of poverty are appearing; may we develop new and practical forms of outreach as an expression of the way of mercy.
  • Am 7:10-17  Amaziah:  “Amos has conspired against you, saying you'll be killed and Israel exiled.” [to Amos:]  “Flee!  Don't prophesy here.” / "I was a shepherd, but the Lord told me to prophesy.  Your wife shall be made a harlot, your children fall by the sword, your land divided, and Israel exiled...."
  • Ps 19:8-11  "The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just."  The law of the Lord is perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true, precious, and sweet, giving wisdom, joy, enlightenment, and justice.
  • Mt 9:1-8  People brought Jesus a paralytic on a stretcher.  Jesus:  “Your sins are forgiven.”  Scribes:  “He's blaspheming.”  Jesus:  "Why harbor such evil thoughts?  Is it easier to say that, or ‘Rise and walk’?  So you'll know the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins” [to paralytic:] “Rise and go.”  He rose and went home.  The crowds were awestruck and glorified God...
      • Creighton:  God inspires prophets but doesn't use them merely as megaphones; their own personalities come through.  Amos conveyed doom and gloom without much hope or mercy.  Prophets share warnings to give hearers an opportunity to repent, but his warning is ignored and he's likely killed for giving it.  Do I heed warnings? / Today's gospel reminds me of the prophets and the reactions they received:  Jesus' listeners doubt his words and question his authority to say them.  Jesus, aware of the doubts,  confronts them in a way they can’t ignore by healing the paralytic.  How often do I ignore opportunities for forgiveness and doubt my worthiness or God’s ability to change me?  I can't do anything that will stop my good Father from loving me.
        Read St. John Chrysostom
        on the paralytic's healing
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Chicken soup":  The first words Jesus said to the paralytic were, "Courage, son."  We need courage to be freed from the paralysis of sin and fear.  Amos refused to be intimidated, stampeded out, or manipulated.  Jesus stood his ground when accused of blasphemy and so threatened with execution.  But we've been like Peter, who became paralyzed by fear and then denied Christ.  We can also be like Peter after he repented.  We can stand up for Jesus under any circumstances, even before family or crowds.  The Lord will give us the power to be so courageous that we'd die before giving in to sin or denial. "The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly Spirit, but One that makes us strong, loving, and wise."
      • Passionist:  Most of us aren't physically paralyzed, but we may be crippled by fear, gripped by addiction, straitjacketed by selfishness, or unfree in another way.  “Lord, cure me and set me free!”  Jesus tells us to be reconciled with one another before we ask for anything.  Giving and receiving forgiveness is the first step; then we're ready to receive Jesus’ mercy and healing....
      • DailyScripture.net:  "Take heart ; your sins are forgiven":  Sin and unforgiveness cripple mind and heart and stifle love's healing power.  Only Jesus' forgiveness can heal and cleanse us.  The scribes regarded Jesus' forgiving the paralytic as blasphemy because only God could forgive sins.  Jesus proved his divine authority and power by healing the cripple's physical ailment as well as freeing him from his burden of guilt.  The Lord wants to heal us of mind, body, and soul, to free us from the power of sin.  May nothing keep us from his healing.
      • Universalis:  First Martyrs of the See of Rome,  persecuted by Nero in 64.  They were thrown to beasts or soaked in tar then used as torches.

      June 29, 2016

      Peter & Paul

      June 29, 2016:  SS. Peter and Paul, Apostles

      See 21 connections with today?
      Legend below


      • Angels/ Grant (1st reading d)

      • Ostensibly 66 Peter/Paul hymns, but some are duplicates or false positives.  I only know five of them...
      Pope Francis
      Homily:  Today's readings present a clear contrast between closing and opening.  In this context we can consider the symbol of keys Jesus promises to Peter so he can open the kingdom of heaven, not close it like hypocritical scribes and Pharisees.  The Acts reading gives three examples of “closing”:  Peter is cast into prison, the community gathers behind closed doors in prayer, and Peter knocks at the closed door of the house of Mary, mother of John Mark.  In these examples, prayer is the main way out.  It's a way out for the community, which risks closing in on itself out of persecution and fear.  It's a way out for Peter whom Herod imprisoned; while he was in prison, the church prayed for him.  The Lord responded, sending his angel to rescue Peter from Herod's hand.  Prayer, as humble entrustment to God and his will, is always the way out of becoming closed.
      Paul too spoke of his experience of liberation, of finding a way out of his impending execution.  He tells us the Lord stood by him and gave him strength, but he also speaks of a greater “opening,” to the infinite horizon of eternal life awaiting him.  His life was “going out” in service to the Gospel, projected forward, in bringing Christ to those who didn't know him, then rushing into Christ’s arms to be “saved for his heavenly kingdom.”
      Peter's profession of faith and the mission Jesus entrusted to him show us that his life, like ours, opens when it receives faith from God.  Simon sets out on a difficult journey that leads him out of himself, leaving human supports behind, especially his pride.  In his process of liberation, Jesus' prayer is decisive:  “I have prayed that your faith may not fail.”  Likewise decisive is Jesus' compassionate gaze after he'd denied him, piercing the heart and bringing tears of repentance.  Peter was set free from the prison of his selfish pride and fear and overcame the temptation to close his heart to Jesus’s call to follow him along the way of the cross.
      When Peter found himself freed from prison, he went to John Mark's mother's home.  He knocked on the closed door, and a servant named Rhoda came.  She recognized his voice, and instead of opening the door, she ran to tell her mistress.  The account makes us perceive the climate of fear that led Christians to stay behind closed doors, but also closed to God’s surprises.  The Church is always tempted to close in on herself in the face of danger, but we also see the openings through which God can work.  In that house “many had gathered and were praying.”  Prayer opens a way out from closure to openness, from fear to courage, from sadness to joy, from division to unity.  May Peter and Paul intercede for us, so that we may joyfully advance, experience God's liberating action of God, and witness to it everywhere.
      Angelus:  The entire Church considers Peter and Paul pillars and great lights who shine in the hearts of all believers.  They were very different:  Peter, a humble fisherman and Paul, highly educated.  Their decision to embark on a difficult journey to Rome gave this territory the Christian spiritual and cultural foundation.  Both came to witness to the Gospel and sealed their mission with martyrdom.  Today, they knock on the doors of our hearts.  They still desire to bring us Jesus' merciful love, consolation, and peace; let us welcome their message!”...
          St. Peter and St. Paul/ El Greco
        • Acts 3:1-10  When the cripple at the Beautiful Gate asked Peter and John for alms, Peter said, “I'll give you what I have:  in the name of Jesus Christ, walk!”  He leaped up, walked, jumped and praised God.  They all recognized him as the beggar and were amazed.
        • Ps 19:2-5  "Their message goes out through all the earth."  The heavens declare God's glory and handiwork.
        • Gal 1:11-20  The Gospel I preached is not of human origin; it came through a revelation of Christ.  I used to persecute the Church, But when God revealed his Son to me, I went to Arabia and returned to Damascus, then went to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas....
        • Jn 21:15-19  Jesus / Simon Peter, after miraculous breakfast:  “Do you love me more than these?” / “You know I love you.” / “Feed my lambs.  Do you love me?” / “You know I do.” / “Tend my sheep.  Do you love me?” / Peter, distressed he asked a third time:  “Lord, you know I love you.” / “Feed my sheep.  When you were younger, you used to go where you wanted; but when you grow old, someone else will lead you where you don't want to go.  Follow me.”  He said this signifying by what kind of death he'd glorify God.
          (Not this Peter and Paul :-)
        • Acts 12:1-11  The Church was praying for Peter, whom King Herod imprisoned.  Angel to Peter:  “Get up, put on your belt, sandals, and cloak, and follow me!”  His chains fell, he dressed, he followed him past the guards, the gate opened, they went, and the angel left.  Peter:  “Now I know the Lord rescued me.”
        • Ps 34:2-9  "The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him."  I'll always bless the Lord; let's extol him together.  He delivered me.  Look to him and be radiant.  When the poor one called out, he heard and saved him.  Taste and see how good the Lord is...
        • 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18  Paul:  I'm being poured out; I've competed well, finished the race, and kept the faith.  The Lord will award a crown to me and to all who have longed for him.  He gave me strength so through me all Gentiles might hear the proclamation.  The Lord will rescue me and bring me safe to his Kingdom.
        • Mt 16:13-19  Jesus / disciples, at Caesarea Philippi:  “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” / “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or a prophet.” / “Who do you say I am?” / Simon Peter:  “The Christ, Son of the living God.” / “Blessed are you, Simon; my Father revealed this to you.  You're Peter, and upon this rock I'll build my Church.  I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom; what you bind or loose shall be so in heaven.”
          • Creighton:  Peter was in prison because some hated Jesus’ followers.  Luke matter-of-factly mentioned Herod killed the apostle James because disciples were always killed.  When the angel comes, Peter eventually realizes the Lord sent his angel to rescue him.  Paul is certain of his salvation because of his relationship with the Lord.  If Jesus rescued him from the lion, why wouldn't Paul be confident one day he'll stand in God's presence?  Peter and Paul had a different view of world, Church, God, and the future than many of us do. What might change if we began to see as they did?
          • Passionist:  Peter and Paul were ordinary men, a fisherman and a tentmaker, who recognized that God called them and who had courage to speak the truth Christ gave them.  They endured hardships for their words and actions but kept believing.  Even in prison Peter hoped in Christ.  Paul didn't fear death in prison either; he knew he completed what Christ asked of him.  He was so passionate about his earlier faith he persecuted the first Christians, but once Jesus caught his attention, he carried the message of Christ to the Gentiles.  His passion came from the truth in his heart; he wasn't afraid to recognize it and act on it.  Each of us are called to become greater; it's possible only through faith, prayer, hope and trust in Christ.  What is Christ calling you to today?
          • DailyScripture.net:  "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God":  Peter and Paul worked to spread the gospel to Israel and the nations, risking their lives and pouring out their blood in loyalty to Christ.  Peter recognized Jesus as the "anointed one" (Messiah, Christ) and Son of God; only God could have revealed this to him.  Jesus gave Peter authority to govern the church, giving him the name "rock" (Aramaic, Greek), a great compliment.  Rabbis said that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed:  "I've discovered a rock to found the world on."  Abraham put his trust in God and founded his faith and life on God's word; through him God established a nation.  Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus was.  The church, the people of God, is a spiritual house and temple of the Holy Spirit with members joined as living stones.  Faith in Christ makes us into spiritual stones.  "Who do you say I am?"

          • About "binding and loosing" (daytime gospel, future perfect original); it also includes exegetical links and online resources to compare and explore Bible texts
            • Commentary on Jesus' questions to Peter in the vigil gospel:  love vs. love....
              • Peter put his foot in his mouth, panicked on the water, blundered after professing faith, refused to be washed, and betrayed his master.  Yet he was chosen as rock on which the Church is built over James, John, or financially savvy Judas.  The Church’s foundation-stone and first leader is not all-wise, all-knowing, good, heroic, and beautiful but an ordinary man; if he'd been great and noble hero, we could have despaired of becoming like him and told ourselves the Church is only for saints.  But the Church is for confused, impetuous, cowardly people like him and us; grace holds it together and helps it grow.  Grace taught Peter patience and forbearance and helped him bear witness when it counted.  Admire that grace and pray we may receive and use it too.
              • Paul:  Many don't find him attractive, saying he badgered people into submission or invented a Christianity worse than Christ's, but God needed and called him, and he said and did what God wanted.  Paul reminds people of his weakness.  May we love the Lord our God with heart, soul, mind, and strength as Paul did.
            Dress legend*
            • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Peter to paralytic:  “Look at us.” (1st reading v); Peter thought he was seeing a vision (1st reading d); Taste and see the Lord's goodness (psalm d)
            • Silver- and gold-colored accessories:  "I don't have any silver or gold, but I give you what I have:  in Jesus' name, walk!"  (1st reading v)
            • 'Walker' tie pin:  "Walking and jumping and praising God" (1st reading v)
            • 'Children around the earth' tie:  "Their message goes out through all the earth." (psalm v)
            • 'Lamb' and 'sheep' tie bars:  “Feed my lambs.” / "Tend my sheep" / "Feed my sheep" (gospel v)
            • 'Hand' tie pin:  "When you grow old, you'll stretch out your hands....” (gospel v)
            • 'Sword' pin:  Herod had James killed by the sword (1st reading d)
            • 'Angel' pin:  The angel of the Lord frees Peter from prison (1st reading d); "the angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him" (psalm d)
            • 'Hearts' suspenders:  “Simon, do you love me?” (gospel v)
            • Belt and sandals (not shown):  “Put on your belt and your sandals.” (1st reading d) [call me a 'belt and suspenders man']
            • 'Caged lion' pin:  Cage for prison (1st reading d), lion for "I was rescued from the lion’s mouth." (2nd reading d)
            • 'Crown' tie bar:  "The crown of righteousness awaits me" (2nd reading d)
            • '?' tie pin:  “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” / “Who do you say that I am?” (gospel d)
            • 'Rock' tie pin:  "Upon this rock I will build my Church" (gospel d)
            • 'Keys' tie pins:  "I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom.” (gospel d)
            • Red shirt:  Color of the day, martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul
            *v for vigil, d for daytime reading

            June 28, 2016


            June 28, 2016:  St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

            • 'Lion' pin:  Does a lion roar in the forest when it has no prey?  Does a young lion cry out from its den unless it has seized something?  The lion roars—who won't be afraid!  (1st reading)
            • 'Bird' tie pin:  Is a bird brought to earth by a snare when there is no lure for it?  (1st reading)
            • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  If the trumpet sounds in a city, will the people not be frightened?  (1st reading)
            • 'Boats' tie:  As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.  (gospel)
            • Red and blue in shirt:  Red for martyrdom of St. Irenaeus, blue for storm at sea (gospel)
            • 'Blood drop' pin:  Martyrdom of St. Irenaeus

            From the Vatican
            Communications reform, 1 year post Motu Proprio:  The Motu Proprio puts today's digital culture at the center of the reform, makes the perspective a “user first” one, challenging us to stop assuming others are listening and looking at us.  The reform is of all Vatican media outlets.  85% of people connect to media via mobile devices.  The Pope invited us to leave unidirectional communication behind and bring the gospel message to people immersed in new media.  In the past year, 400 people have been at work; some have invested in professional training including MBAs and master's degrees in communications.
            Prefect Msgr. Viganò
            It’s fine to have more advanced technology, but real reform takes place behind the scenes.  We're working on a system where everything will be produced by team effort.  We need to learn and approach the reform with humility.  The new portal will feature videos, podcasts, images, articles, and radio.  People will no longer be confused or “cannibalized” by turning to us.  We've been nonexistent in the public eye; we have much to do regarding web reputation and positioning.  We must become an important source for Vatican and papal news.
            We've analyzed our organizations and concluded that people's work is ultimately penalized; it's like a motor that has everything but doesn't work efficiently, overheating instead of producing energy.  We want our motor to function properly so it can go fast, brake, or pass when needed.  A ‘repositioning’ and ‘empowerment’ of Vatican Radio’s local broadcasts will come soon; it's important that radio remain and people continue to listen to Vatican Radio in Italian, but it may feature broadcasts in other languages too.  Vatican Radio is no longer a radio station.  There will be many multi-linguistic and multi-cultural programs with text content and audio offered via podcasts.

            • Am 3:1-8; 4:11-12  Children of Israel, I favored you alone, so I'll punish you for your crimes.  Does a lion with no prey roar?  When the trumpet sounds, won't people be frightened?  I brought upheaval upon you, but you didn't return to me, so I'll deal with you; prepare to meet me!
            • Ps 5:4b-8  "Lead me in your justice, Lord."  At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.  You hate evildoers and destroy all who speak falsehood.  But I, because of your mercy, will enter your house and worship in fear of you.
            • Mt 8:23-27  As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed.  When a storm came up, they woke him:  “Lord, save us!” / “Why are you terrified, you of little faith?”  He rebuked the winds and sea, there was calm, and they were amazed:  “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and sea obey?”

              • Creighton:  The 1st reading talks about how God told the Israelites that he'd punish them because he favored them; then follows questions asking us to think about how and why God acts, then says we may endure hardships we can't understand but must remember God has things figured out.  The gospel has the same message of faith.  When the disciples were afraid as their boat was being storm-tossed, they asked Jesus to save them; he asked them why they didn't have faith, then calmed the seas.  Amazed, they wondered what sort of man could command the wind and sea.  We're all called to faith and trust in the Lord, even when we ask, “Why would God do this?”
                St. Irenaeus
              • One Bread, One Body:  "Seek prophecy":  Prophecy is speaking or writing what God wants said when he wants it said.  The Spirit knows the right word for the right moment to penetrate us.  God's word cuts to the depths of the heart, bringing change, life, and conversion, or rebellion.  A prophet must listen attentively, discern what God wants said, and say it at the proper time.  Ask for the gift of prophecy.
              • Passionist:  “Why are you terrified, you of little faith?”  We lack faith and trust like the disciples did.  We may know Jesus is in charge, present, trustworthy, and faithful but still forget, jump to conclusions, judge, and mess up!  But Jesus is all about love, goodness, and forgiveness.  It’s easy to trust him when things are going our way, but when a little storm comes, we can cry “Why?” and despair.  Faith is caught, not taught:  caught up in how live, serve, and celebrate.  Events like the Orlando massacre can test us...  We must challenge church leaders who remain silent, who refuse to speak out for human dignity...  May we walk in faith and hope.
              • DailyScripture.net:  "Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?"  The disciples' faith was asleep; they feared even though their Lord was with them.  When we're tested, Jesus asks us too, Have you no faith?  Recognize the Lord's presence, even in adversity, sorrow, and temptation:  "It is I; don't be afraid."  Believing is only possible through the Holy Spirit, who moves us and opens our mind to truth.  Faith enables us to relate to God with reliance, believing and adhering to his trustworthy word.  Faith must be nourished with the word of God.  Fear doesn't need to cripple us.  Courage with faith enables us to embrace God's word confidently and act on it with hope.  God's love strengthens us and enables us to act with justice and kindness....

              June 27, 2016

              June 27

              June 27, 2016:  Monday, 13th week, Ordinary Time

              • 'Tree,' 'fruit' pins:  "I destroyed the Amorites, who were as tall as cedars and as strong as oaks.  I destroyed their fruit..." (1st reading)
              • 'Horse' tie pin:  "The horseman won't save his life." (1st reading)
              • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "I'll draw evildoers up before your eyes." (psalm)
              • 'Birds' tie:  "Birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” (gospel)
              • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

              For gospel
              Pope Francis
              Joint statement on justice and peace:  We, Pope Francis and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II thank the Almighty for the growing closeness between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church in their witness to the Gospel.  We're grateful we could be together to oppose discrimination and violence and to commemorate the victims of “the extermination of a million and a half Armenian Christians, in... the first genocide of the 20th century.”  We praise the Lord that the Christian faith is again vibrant in Armenia, and that the Churches collaborate on their mission to build a world of solidarity, justice, and peace.
              Tragically, innocent people are being killed, displaced, or forced into exile by conflicts, and minorities have become the target of persecution and cruelty, suffering for their belief.  Martyrs' suffering is an “ecumenism of blood” transcending divisions and calling us to promote unity.  We pray for a change of heart in all who commit such crimes and all who can stop the violence.  We implore leaders to listen to the millions longing for peace and justice, who demand respect for their rights, who need bread.  Religious values are being presented in a fundamentalist way to justify hatred, discrimination, and violence:  unacceptable, for “God is the author of peace.”  Respect for religious differences is necessary for peaceful cohabitation.  We're called to work towards reconciliation and peace.
              Mindful of Matthew 25, we ask the faithful to open their hearts and hands to victims of war and terrorism, to refugees and their families.  At issue is the sense of our humanity, solidarity, compassion, and generosity.  Much is being done, but much more is needed to ensure the right to peace and security, to uphold the rule of law, to protect minorities, and to combat human trafficking and smuggling.
              Secularization leads to a desacralized and materialistic vision of humanity.  We're concerned about the crisis of the family.  Our Churches share the same vision of the family, based on marriage, an act of freely given, faithful love between man and woman.  Despite divisions among Christians, we realize that what unites us is more than what divides us.  The relationship between our Churches has entered a new phase, strengthened by our prayers and efforts.  We're convinced of the importance of furthering this relationship, engaging in deeper collaboration in theology, prayer, and active local cooperation, with a view to sharing full communion and concrete expressions of unity.  We urge our faithful to work together for the promotion of Christian values that contribute to building a civilization of justice and peace.  May the Holy Spirit sustain every genuine effort to build bridges of love and communion between us.
              Read about his inflight press conference too.
              • Am 2:6-10, 13-16  Lord:  Israel has committed crimes.  I who led you through the desert and destroyed the strong Amorites, will now crush you, and you won't escape.
              • Ps 50:16bc-23  "Remember this, you who never think of God."  Why do you recite my statutes but hate discipline?  You steal, commit adultery, speak against others, and spread rumors.  I'll correct you.  Those who offer praise as a sacrifice glorify me, and I'll save all who go the right way.
              • Mt 8:18-22  Jesus, seeing the crowd, gave orders to cross to the other shore.  Scribe / Jesus:  “I'll follow you wherever you go.” / “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest.”  Disciple / Jesus:  “Let me go bury my father first.” / “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.”
                • Creighton:  Amos, a common man from a village, points out God is aware of the people's sins, they often forget God's forgiveness and deliverance, and that judgment and discipline are often the result of their choices.  The psalm reinforces the message, detailing consequences of actions of those who “never think of God.”  We can fall into the same trap.  Are we aware of God’s presence?  Do our thoughts, words, and actions grasp that God is beside us?  Are my quick judgments,  unkind thoughts and words, and blindness to others' needs any worse than Amos's list?  We can find it hard to keep focus on God, instead following worldly influences that lead to pain and forgetting when God brought us through hard times and blessed us in spite of our wandering.  God can use each of us to make a difference.  We must focus on following Jesus....

                • One Bread, One Body:  "Discipleship comes first":  Jesus didn't allow a potential disciple to bury his father first.  Exegetes point out that the father had not yet died; to be Jesus' disciple, we must renounce our possessions.  In the language of Jesus' time, there were no words to express loving more and loving less, just 'love' and 'hate.'  Loving Jesus comes first; in comparison, other relationships seem hateful.  When Elisha asked to say farewell to his parents, Elijah permitted it.  Elisha proved his commitment to being Elijah's disciple by slaughtering his oxen and chopping his plow for fuel; he had no way to return to farming.  Jesus calls us to be his disciples; following him comes first.
                • Passionist:  God's Kingdom demands such attention to the present moment.  Jesus' words stun us from our complacency and shock us into the realization that the Kingdom is now.  Thinking about the past or worrying about the future is not being immersed in awareness of the present.  So many distractions can keep us from being present to the reality of the Kingdom among us now....
                • DailyScripture.net:  "Teacher, I'll follow you wherever you go":  It costs our lives to be Jesus' followers, but he promises us all we need to follow him and more.  One prospective follower paid Jesus the highest compliment by calling him "teacher"; Jesus advised him to count the cost.  Am I willing to part with whatever might stand in the way of following Jesus?  Another would-be disciple said he had to bury his father (=care for him till he died); Jesus appealed to him to choose God's kingdom first, detaching from whatever might keep him from discipleship.  We can only say yes with the help of the Holy Spirit...  Fear, preoccupation, and attachment can get in the way of having God alone as our Treasure if we put them first.  Detachment frees us to give ourselves unreservedly to the Lord and his service.  Jesus promises that those willing to part with what's dear to them for his sake "will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life."  What's holding me back?

                June 26, 2016

                13th Sun., Ordinary Time

                June 26, 2016:  Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

                • 'Cups' tie:  Lord, my portion and cup (psalm)
                • 'Heart' tie bar:  My heart exhorts me; my heart is glad (psalm)
                • 'Hand' tie pin:  With the Lord at my right hand I won't be disturbed; you'll show me the delights at your right hand (psalm); "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom" (gospel)
                • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Live by the Spirit; Spirit vs. flesh (2nd reading)
                • Orange suspenders, DISC 2015 T-shirt:  "Lord, shall we call down fire from heaven?" (gospel); DISC 2016 ("Technology on fire:  Igniting ministry") just ended
                • 'Bird' tie pin:  "Birds have nests, but the Son has nowhere to rest his head" (gospel)
                • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  "Let the dead bury their dead" (gospel)
                • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

                For gospel
                From Ed Bolduc's blog, Setting the Tone
                Pope Francis at Armenia Divine Liturgy
                “There is one body, one Spirit,… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all,...”  Saints Bartholomew and Thaddeus who first proclaimed the Gospel here, and Peter and Paul who reign with Christ in heaven, rejoice to see our affection and our longing for full communion.  May abundant blessings of the Most High fill the earth through the intercession of the Mother of God, the saints and doctors, and the martyrs.  May the Holy Spirit make all believers one.  Come, Holy Spirit, bestow on us your fire of love and unity, and “may the cause of our scandal be dissolved by this love.”
                May the Armenian Church walk in peace and may our communion be complete.  May a desire for unity rise up in us, not for “submission of one to the other, or assimilation, but rather acceptance of all the gifts that God has given to each.  This will reveal to the world the mystery of salvation accomplished by Christ through the Spirit.”
                Let us respond to the saints' appeal, let us listen to the voices of the poor and of victims of hatred who suffered and died for the faith.  Let us pay heed to the youths who seek a future free of past divisions.  May a radiant light shine forth, and may the light of forgiving, reconciling love join the light of faith.  As the Apostles, with their hesitations and uncertainties, ran towards the empty tomb, drawn by hope, so may we follow God’s call to full communion and hasten towards it.
                • 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21  “Anoint Elisha as prophet to succeed you.”  Elijah came upon Elisha and threw his cloak over him.  Elisha / Elijah:  “Let me kiss my parents goodbye, and I'll follow you.” / “Go back!”  Elisha left, slaughtered the oxen, boiled their flesh, gave it to his people to eat, then left and followed Elijah.
                • Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-11  "You are my inheritance, O Lord."  I bless the Lord and set him before me.  You won't abandon me or let me undergo corruption.  You'll show me the path to life.
                Yoke (1st and 2nd readings)
                • Gal 5:1, 13-18  Christ set us free; don't submit again to slavery.  Don't use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.  If you bite and devour each other, don't be consumed.  Live by the Spirit, and you won't gratify the desire of the flesh....
                • Lk 9:51-62  Jesus, determined to journey to Jerusalem, sent messengers ahead.  They entered a Samaritan village, but he wasn't welcome there because he was headed for Jerusalem.  James and John asked, "Shall we call down fire to consume them?" Jesus rebuked them, and they journeyed on.  Along the way, someone said, "I'll follow you wherever you go." / "The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."  Another:  "Let me go bury my father first." / "Let the dead bury their dead.  You, go proclaim the kingdom."  Another:  "I'll follow you, but first let me say farewell to my family." / "No one who looks back is fit for the kingdom."
                  • Creighton:  Jesus explained that to follow him, you have to be ready to leave the comforts of home.  Jesus asks me to live my faith. I can best experience and share God's love when I extend out of my comfort zone.  There's always something I can do to get in the way of following Jesus.  Daily responsibilities can be distractions.  Pray about what gets in the way, what's distracting.  How can I support others who get bogged down?
                  • One Bread, One Body:  "Fireplace?"  James and John asked, "Lord, shall we call down fire?"  Jesus reprimanded them.  Jesus proclaimed, "I came to light a fire on the earth!"  Sometimes Jesus wants to call down fire, sometimes no.  Elijah could call down fire, but at least once "the Lord wasn't in the fire."  Why is the Lord in some fire and not in others?  The Lord is in the fire of discipleship.  Elijah's power to call down fire surrounded the calling of Elisha.  After Jesus rebuked John and James, he focused on the call to discipleship.  At Pentecost tongues as of fire came to rest on 120 disciples, and 3,000 were baptized.  The Lord wants us to call down fire if we call forth disciples....
                  • Passionist:  As Jesus “resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,” he likely didn't know exactly how things would unfold, but he knew his Father wanted him to go.  Our life is also a journey, perhaps with dead ends, dark alleys, distractions, acceptance, rejection, and doubts.  But every so often Jesus gently holds out his hand, and we know we're on the right path, that any detours beforehand are unimportant.  He knows where he's going and we can trust that's where we want to be too.
                  • DailyScripture.net:  "No one who looks back":  Jews and Samaritans were opposed.  Jewish pilgrims who passed through Samaritan territory were mistreated, even assaulted, but Jesus, a Jew, traveled through Samaritan territory an  he also asked for hospitality in one of their villages!  When they rebuffed Jesus' offer of friendship, his disciples were understandably indignant and wanted retribution, but Jesus rebuked his disciples for their intolerance.  Jesus was headed for his death that would reconcile Jew, Samaritan and Gentile with God and each other in Christ.  Tolerance is needed today, but we can be tolerant of the wrong thing or for the wrong motive.  Love seeks the highest good of both neighbor and enemy.  Do I seek the good of those who cause me trouble?  The Lord gives us the grace to put aside whatever might keep us from doing his will, but the would-be disciples made excuses.  If we put God first and don't look back, everything else will fall into place....