June 5, 2016

10th Sun., Ordinary Time

June 5, 2016:  Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 'Gun' pin:  Paul persecuted the Church and tried to destroy it.
  • 'Crosses' tie:  Lord, you have rescued me (psalm); God revealed his son to me (2nd reading)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
Pope Francis:  The scent of Christ and the light of his mercy
Priests retreat, 3rd meditation
The works of mercy are closely linked to the “spiritual senses.”  We ask for the grace to savor the Gospel so it can make us more sensitive.  Moved by the Spirit and led by Jesus, we can see the fallen with the eyes of mercy.  We can ask for the grace to taste the gall of those who share his cross, and to smell the stench of misery.  Mercy doesn't disguise this stench but awakens new hope.
When her mother reproached her for care for the poor and the sick, Rose of Lima told her, "When we serve them, we're the good odor of Christ" (Catechism 2449).  That scent is the hallmark of the Church.  Paul tells us Peter, James, and John “asked only that we remember the poor.”  “The poor are the object of preferential love by the Church, which has always worked for their relief, defense, and liberation” (2448).
We've failed and still do, but we've followed the Spirit in serving the poor by works of mercy.  Love for the poor draws people to glorify the Father.  Failure to be merciful to the poor strikes against Christ who became poor.  Mercy heals by losing something of itself; we feel regret and lose part of our life, because we reached out to someone else instead of doing what we wanted.
It's not about God showing me mercy as if I were otherwise self-sufficient, or about us performing some act of mercy.  We seek the grace to let ourselves be shown mercy by God and to show mercy in all we do.  “If I don’t have charity in my heart, I'm not even a Christian” (Brochero).
To anticipate and see needs and bring relief is the mark of a father’s gaze.  We must learn this gaze and enrich our plans and projects with it.  Lord, give us a gaze that can discern the signs of the times, knowing “what works of mercy our people need today” to feel and savor God who walks among them.  “In our works, our people know we understand their suffering” (Aparecida 386).
The proof that we understand is that our works of mercy are blessed and meet with help and cooperation.  If a plan or project isn't blessed, it's because it lacks mercy.  It lacks the mercy found in a field hospital, not expensive clinics; it lacks the mercy that values goodness and opens the door to an encounter with God, rather than turning someone away with criticism…
In the story of adulterous woman, Jesus takes time to judge and forgive; he gives her time to look into her heart.  In talking to her, he opens the space of non-condemnation that makes her see things through his eyes.  Then he make her look around.  “Where are those who condemned you?”  Once he has opened before her the space freed of others' judgments, he tells her that he won't condemn her either.  Then he opens another free space:  “Go and sin no more.”  His command has to do with the future, to help her start over and “walk in love.”  Mercy looks with compassion on the past and offers encouragement for the future.
“Go and sin no more” aren't easy words.  The Lord helps her put into words what she feels, a free “no” to sin like Mary’s “yes” to grace.  In her it was a social sin; people approached her either to sleep with her or throw stones at her.  The Lord sets her on her way so she can stop being the object of others' gaze and instead take control of her life.  “Sin no more” refers to sin that keeps her from living her life.  Jesus also told the paralytic to sin no more.  That man justified himself with all the sad things that “happened to him”; he had a victim complex.  Jesus challenged him:  “…lest something worse happen to you.”  The Lord took advantage of his fears to draw him out of his paralysis.  Each of us has to hear “sin no more” in his own personal way.
God walks at his people’s side, leads them forward, accompanies our history.  The object of his mercy is everything that keeps us from walking to where he sends them.  People who get lost, fall behind, or try to go it on their own end up nowhere; they're not there for the Lord, ready to go wherever he sends them.  They don't walk humbly before him; they don't walk in love.
The “contemplation to attain love” connects prayer to life.  Love has to be put into action, works of mercy the Father “prepared to be our way of life” and the Spirit inspires for the common good.  In thanking the Lord for all he's given us, we ask for the grace to bring his mercy to everyone.  The Lord makes the connection between what we've received and what we're called to give; we read these conclusions in the key of “works of mercy.”  The Lord sends his Apostles to make disciples, “teaching them to obey everything I've commanded.”   “Instructing the ignorant” is one of the works of mercy; it spreads to the other works:  those in Mt 25, the “corporal works of mercy,” and the commandments and evangelical counsels, such as forgiveness, fraternal correction, consoling the sorrowing, and enduring persecution.
The Lord “collaborates” with the Apostles and “confirms the word by signs that accompany it”  that resemble the works of mercy.  Luke continues his Gospel with the “Acts,” relating how they acted, led by the Spirit.  Jn ends by referring to the “many other things” or “signs” Jesus performed.  The Lord’s actions aren't mere deeds but signs by which he personally shows his love and mercy.
We can contemplate the Lord using the image of the merciful Jesus revealed to Sr. Faustina, where we see mercy as a ray from within God, passing through Christ's heart, and emerging in many colors, each representing a work of mercy.  The works of mercy are endless, but each bears the stamp of a particular face.  They are much more than the lists.  The lists are like the raw material that, worked and shaped by the hands of mercy, turns into an individual work of art.  Each work multiplies like the bread; each gives growth like the mustard seed.  Mercy is fruitful and inclusive. 
We usually think of works of mercy in relation to a specific initiative:  hospitals for the sick, soup kitchens for the hungry, schools for those to be educated,...  But if we look at them as a whole, we see mercy's object is life itself and all it embraces.  Life hungers and thirsts, needs to be clothed, given shelter and visited, and receive a proper burial.  In death everyone becomes a pauper.  Life needs to be educated, corrected, encouraged, and consoled.  We need others to counsel, forgive, put up with, and pray for us.  These works of mercy are practiced in the family so normally that we don’t realize it.
We have to act, to create a culture of mercy.  To energize and sustain these works, the Spirit chooses signs and instruments, even ones that may not seem suitable to us.  The Spirit tends to choose the poorest, humblest, most insignificant instruments, who most need divine mercy; they can best be shaped and readied to serve most effectively.  The joy of realizing we're “useless servants” the Lord blesses with fruitfulness and seats at his table is a confirmation that we're engaged in his works of mercy.
Let the faithful's sensus fidei and "sense of the poor" guide you; both have to do with the sensus Christi, their love for and faith in Jesus.  The Anima Christi implores mercy from the Lord; we ask him to show mercy to us and to his people.  We ask him to sanctify us, save us, inebriate us, wash us, strengthen us, and remove thirsts that aren't for him.  Comfort your people!  May your wounds “shelter us”…  Grant that your people may never be parted from you.  Let nothing separate us from your mercy.  We'll sing your mercies with all your saints when you bid us come to you.
  • 1 Kgs 17:17-24  Elijah went to a widow's house in Zarephath.  The son fell sick.  Widow / Elijah:  “Why have you done this to me?” / “Give me your son.” “O Lord, will you afflict even the widow by killing her son?  Let his life breath return.” The Lord heard his prayer; the boy revived.  Elijah brought him to his mother.  “Now I know you're a man of God....
  • Ps 30:2, 4-6, 11-13  "I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me."  Praise the Lord.  His anger lasts a moment; his good will, a lifetime.  You changed my mourning into dancing.

  • Gal 1:11-14a, 15ac, 16a, 17, 19  The gospel preached by me is not of human origin.  It came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.  I persecuted the Church, but when God revealed his Son to me, I went to Arabia, returned to Damascus, then went to Jerusalem to talk with Cephas....

  • Lk 7:11-17  Jesus journeyed to Nain,  Near the city gate, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his widowed mother.  The Lord. moved with pity, told her, “Don't weep.”  He said, “Young man, arise!”  He began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.  They glorified God:  “God has visited his people.”  The report spread....
      Jesus resurrecting the son of the widow of Naim/ Bouillon
    • Creighton:  All life is precious, so precious that God sets us apart from our mother's womb to have his Son revealed to us!  We hear about living and dying and how close they're related.  The women experiencing their sons' death had already experienced their spouses' death.  Jesus is available to touch us and return life to our soul.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Firsthand":  Unlike Paul, we've received the gospel from others; most of us have been schooled in it.  But like Paul, we must base our relationship with Jesus not on what others have said but on who we say he is; we must know him personally, not just know about him....
    • Passionist:  I’ve learned to pray for compassion instead of patience; when I'm more compassionate, I'm more patient.  Compassion is a significant part of God’s energy and Christ's healing power.  The stories in today's 1st reading and gospel are parallel.  If Elijah can raise the dead, then so can Jesus who we claim to be greater than Elijah.  Both stories have the holy man concerned with the widow.  For the gospel widow to lose her only son is to lose her only connection in society, her identity, voice, status, and rights.  When Jesus sees her so deeply torn, he's moved with pity and must do something about it.  Both stories are about the power of compassion, the need to do something that brings life.  How do we discover the power of compassion to do something about situations that need life?  We can start with a small yet significant thing.  May we bring compassion into the areas of our hearts where we're judgmental towards others....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "The Lord had compassion on her":  Our use of 'compassion' doesn't convey the deeper meaning of the Hebrew word:  heartfelt sympathy and identification with the person's grief and condition.  Jesus grieved the young man's death and was concerned for the woman who lost both her husband and child, and so her security and livelihood.  Jesus made physical contact with the dead man, making himself ritually unclean.  Jesus' touch and identification with the her loss showed his love and his desire to free people from sin and death.  Jesus' word restored him to life, freedom, and wholeness.  This miracle took place near where Elisha raised another mother's son back to life.  By his word Jesus, Lord of the living and the dead, restored a boy marked for death.  Jesus, who triumphed over the grave, promises believers abundant life now and forever....
    • Sunday-trumped saint, from Universalis:  Boniface AKA Wynfrith, Benedictine monk, teacher, preacher, missionary, bishop, martyr

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