June 2, 2016

June 2

June 2, 2016:  Thursday, 9th week, Ordinary Time

  • Tie bar with chain: I'm suffering for the gospel to the point of chains (1st reading)

  • 'Bear' tie bar:  I 'bear' with everything for the sake of the chosen (1st reading)

  • 'Roads' tie:  "Teach me your paths" (psalm)

  • 'Heart' tie bar:  Love the Lord with all your heart...  (gospel)

  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

For 1st reading
For the psalm
Pope Francis priests retreat:  1st meditation
Mercy is the tender love of a mother who, touched by the frailty of her newborn, takes the child into her arms and provides all it needs to live and grow; it's the steadfast fidelity of a father who supports, forgives, and encourages his children to grow. Mercy is both the fruit of a covenant and a free act of kindness and goodness finding expression in charity.  Everyone can appreciate what it means to be merciful, to feel compassion and sympathy for those in need, indignation at injustice, and to respond with loving respect by trying to set things right.  As we reflect on mercy, we start to see how God can be understood as mercy.
Mercy helps us to see that the three ways of classical mysticism—purgative, illuminative, and unitive—aren't successive stages.  We always need conversion, deeper contemplation and greater love.  Nothing unites us to God more than an act of mercy.  Nothing strengthens our faith more than being cleansed of sin.  Nothing can be clearer than Mt 25 and “Blessed are the merciful; they will receive mercy” for our understanding of God’s will and our mission.  “The measure you give will be the measure you receive” can refer to mercy.  Mercy makes us pass from recognizing we've received mercy to wanting to show mercy.  We can feel a healthy tension between sorrow for our sins and the dignity the Lord has given us.  We can pass from estrangement to embrace and see how God uses our sinfulness as the vessel of mercy.  Mercy impels us to pass from personal to communal; we see this in the multiplication of the loaves, a miracle born of Jesus’ compassion.  When we act mercifully, the bread of mercy multiplies as it's shared.
The familiarity that comes between those who treat each other with mercy, the familiarity of God's Kingdom, leads me to offer three suggestions for prayer:
1.  St. Ignatius tells us “it's not great knowledge that satisfies the soul but the ability to savor the things of God” (SpEx 2).  When we savor something we desire, we should pray in peace, “without being anxious to move forward” (76).  In these meditations on mercy we can begin with what we savor most and linger there, for one work of mercy will lead us to others.  If we start thank the Lord for creating and redeeming us, this will lead us to a sense of sorrow for our sins.  If we feel compassion for the poor and outcasts, we'll realize we ourselves need mercy.
 2.  I like to use 'mercy' as a verb:  “We have to ‘mercy’ [misericordiar] to ‘be mercied’ [ser misericordiados].” Mercy joins a human need to God's heart and leads to action.  We can't meditate on mercy without it turning into action.  Don't intellectualize; focus on the sin you most need the Lord’s mercy for, the one you most want to make reparation for.  Speak of what most moves you, of the faces that make you want to do something to satisfy their hunger for God, justice, and tenderness.  Mercy is contemplated in action, an all-inclusive action.  Mercy engages our whole being and other beings too.
3.  Ask for the grace to become ever more ready to “receive mercy” (misericordiados) and “show mercy” (misericordiar).  Mercy it is what's most essential and definitive.  By the stairway of mercy (Laudato Si 77), descend to the depths of our human condition and ascend to the heights of divine perfection:  “Be merciful (perfect) like your Father,” for the sake of reaping greater mercy.  This fruit should also be seen in a conversion of our institutional structures:  unless they're vibrant and make us more open to God’s mercy and more merciful, they can turn into something bizarre and counterproductive.
Follow the path of “evangelical simplicity”:  see and do everything in the key of mercy.  Mercy is dynamic, not so much a noun or adjective but a verb spurring us to action.  “ever greater” (magis), expanding, passing from good to better, from less to more.  Jesus sets before us the model of the Father, whose infinite mercy constantly “grows”; born of his sovereign freedom, it has no roof or walls.
  • 2 Tm 2:8-15  Remember Christ, raised from the dead:  such is my Gospel, for which I'm suffering to the point of chains.  But God's word isn't chained.  So I bear with everything for the sake of the chosen, so they may obtain salvation that is in Christ, with eternal glory.  "If we've died with him, we'll live with him; if we persevere, we'll reign with him.  But if we deny him, he'll deny us.  If we're unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he can't deny himself."  Remind people of these things; disputing harms the listeners.  Present yourself as acceptable to God; impart truth.

  • Ps 25:4-5b, 8-10, 14  "Teach me your ways, O Lord."  Guide me in your truth.  You show sinners the way. guiding the humble to justice through paths of kindness and constancy.
  • Mk 12:28-34  Scribe / Jesus:  “What's the first of the commandments?” / The Lord our God is Lord alone!  Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  The second:  Love your neighbor as yourself.” / “Well said, teacher.  You're right.  Loving your neighbor is worth more than burnt offerings and sacrifices.” / “You're not far from the Kingdom.”
    • Creighton:  2 Tim reminds us of our call to discipleship.  Paul reminds Timothy the persecution ahead will be worthwhile and reflects on how he's shared the Gospel, sustained by God's power.  His suffering gave him great understanding of God's power and grace which he experienced as salvation and truth.  Paul focuses on the character development of a disciple.  He reminded Timothy that suffering can cause us to deny God.  We need to remain faithful, and we need to remind others to remain faithful.  We must persevere.  We're called to die and live with Christ daily.  The psalm is the prayer of a disciple confident that following the paths of the Lord leads to truth and understanding.  If we humble ourselves to receive God’s instruction, a kind and faithful friend will accompany us and sustain us.  Our call to faithfulness is to love God, ourselves, and others wherever we are; it takes humility, eagerness, persistence, strength, patience, fear of the Lord, and God's grace and love....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Stop, in the name of Love":  Saying "I love you" isn't the same as demonstrating your love by devoting your full attention.  Married couples are often so busy that they just sharing an "I love you" on the fly.  Occasionally, one may say: "Time out!  Let's spend the night together."  Nothing is more important than loving God with your all, so take time to talk and share with him....
      SS. Marcellinus and Peter
    • Passionist:  Paul writes to Timothy from prison, where he senses his days are ending; the advice he offers his friend and mentor is still relevant for someone setting out to engage the world.  We endure suffering because we'll ultimately transcend it, and it generates compassion for all who suffer.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength":  Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law, studying its 613 precepts with rabbinic commentaries. When they tested Jesus, he startled them with his simplicity and mastery.  God only requires that we love as he loves. Our love is a response to his.  The more we know of God's love and truth, the more we love what he loves and reject what's against his will.  Faith and hope strengthen us in the love of God.
    "We love you, O God, and want to love you more.  Grant that we may love you as much as we desire and ought.  Dearest friend, who has so loved and saved us, the thought of whom is so sweet, come dwell in our hearts; that you keep watch over our lips, steps, and deeds, and we shall not need to be anxious for our souls or bodies.  Give us love, sweetest of gifts, that knows no enemy.  Give us pure love, born of your love for us, that we may love others as you love us.  O most loving Father of Jesus, warm our hearts, frozen in sin, cold to you and others, by your fire.  Help and bless us in your Son." (Anselm, paraphrased)
    • Universalis:  SS. Marcellinus, priest and martyr, and Peter, martyr

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