June 6, 2016

June 6

June 6, 2016:  Monday, 10th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "I lift up my eyes toward the mountains" (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  "The Lord is at your right hand." (psalm)
  • 'Precious feet' pin:  "May he not let your foot slip" (psalm)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  "The clean of heart will see God" (gospel)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "Peacemakers will be called God's children" (gospel)
  • 'Bird' tie pin:  "I've commanded the ravens to feed you" (1st reading)
  • Blue shirt:  "You shall drink of the stream" (1st reading)
  • 'Lights' tie:  Beatitudes shine light on our path (homily)

For Psalm 121

"Beatitunes" (gospel)
Pope Francis
Today's homily:  The Beatitudes are “navigators” shining light on the pathway of Christian life.  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount didn't erase the old law; it ‘perfected’ it, bringing it to fullness.  The Beatitudes is the Lord's new law for us, our road map giving us indications to proceed on the right path.
Luke also lists "four woes":  "Woe to the rich, the satiated, those who laugh now, and to those all speak well of."  Riches aren't bad, but attachment to riches becomes idolatry.  This is the wrong navigator, slippery steps leading to perdition, just as the Beatitudes are the steps that take us forward:
    • Attachment to riches, because I need nothing;
    • Vanity:  all must speak well of me, make me feel important, make a fuss…  and I'm convinced to be right;
    • Pride:  satiation and laughter that closes my heart. [Parallel to "riches, honor, pride" in the Spiritual Exercises Two Standards meditation.]
"Blessed are the meek" induces us to much reflection.  Jesus says:  "Learn from me for I am meek of heart," humble and gentle.  Being meek brings us close to Jesus.   The opposite attitude causes enmities and wars, but meekness of heart is not foolishness; it’s the capacity to be deep and to understand God's greatness and worship him.
Sunday [canonization] homily:  Today's readings proclaim God’s victory over suffering and death.  The Gospel of hope calls us to remain united to the Lord's Passion, so that the power of his resurrection may be revealed in us.  In the Passion we find God’s response to the cry that the experience of pain and death evokes.  We can't flee from the Cross but must remain at its foot.  In suffering with Jesus, Mary hoped against hope.  This was the experience of St. Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary and St. Maria Elizabeth Hesselblad, who remained united to the Passion; in them the power of his resurrection was revealed.
Today's 1st reading and Gospel offer amazing signs of death and resurrection:  the first at Elijah's hand, the second, Jesus'.  In both cases a widow's child was given back alive to his mother.  The Zarephath widow was upset with Elijah and God because her child had died.  Elijah said to her, “Give me your son.”  God doesn't say “Sort it out yourself!”  Elijah takes the child and in prayer “fights with God.”  The Lord heard him:  God spoke and acted in the person of Elijah; he'd told the woman, “Give me your son” and now gave the child back alive to her. 
God’s tenderness is revealed in Jesus, who felt “great compassion” for the Nain widow who was accompanying her teen son to burial.  Jesus drew close, touched the bier, stopped the procession, and must have caressed the mother’s face.  “Don't weep”, he said, as if to say: “Give me your son.”  Jesus asks to take our death upon himself, free us, and restore our life.  The man awoke as if from sleep and began to speak.  Jesus “gave him to his mother.”  Jesus is no wizard; God’s tenderness and compassion are at work in him.
Paul's experience was also a resurrection:  An enemy of Christians, he became a witness; this change was a gift of God’s mercy.  God chose and called him.  In him God revealed his Son, so Paul might proclaim Christ.  God revealed his Son not only to him, but in him, impressing in his own person Christ's death and resurrection, so the Apostle was not only a messenger but a witness.  So it is with every sinner.  Jesus makes the victory of grace shine.  He says to Mother Church:  “Give me your children,” all of us.  He takes our sins upon himself, takes them away, and gives us back alive.  The Church today offers two of her children as exemplary witnesses to this resurrection; both can sing “You have changed my mourning into dancing; I'll thank you forever.”  We say, “I'll extol You; you raised me up.” 
  • 1 Kgs 17:1-6  Elijah to Ahab:  “There shall be no dew or rain except at my word.”  Lord to Elijah:  “Leave here, hide, drink of the stream, and you'll be fed.”  He did, and so it was.
  • Ps 121:1bc-8  "Our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth."  The Lord, beside you, never sleeps; he'll guard you from all evil, now and forever.
  • Mt 5:1-12  Jesus went up and began to teach:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, mourners, the meek, those hungry for justice, the merciful, the clean of heart, and peacemakers; the Kingdom belongs to them, and they'll be comforted, inherit the land, be satisfied, be shown mercy, see God, and be called God's children.  Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness' sake; theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when they insult and persecute you and utter evil against you falsely.  Rejoice and be glad; your reward will be great in heaven.
    • Creighton:  'Beatitude' is Latin for 'abundant happiness.'  Each beatitude begins with 'blessed' (Gk. 'extremely fortunate, well off, truly happy, favored by God').  Our loving God sent his son to teach us by word and action how to achieve 'abundant happiness.'  Pope Francis reminds us Jesus "asks us to follow him and to travel with him along the path of love, the only path to eternal life.  It's not easy, but he promises his grace and never abandons us."  He challenges us to "remember all who feel unloved ... meet them, look into their eyes, and listen to them."  I see parallels between the Beatitudes and the Works of Mercy; both invite us to a way of life that brings happiness, peace, and being centered on God.  What helps me to live out today's gospel at home, work, community life, in the world?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "New leaders for a new world":  The Lord is raising up new Elijahs.  To strengthen them, the Lord is calling them aside to drink from the life-giving waters of the Spirit.  "From the brook by the wayside he'll drink; therefore he'll lift up his head."  They'll be transformed through the power of God's Word.  Moses spent forty days in communion with God.  When Jeremiah found God's words, he devoured them and they became his joy and happiness.  The apostles heard God's Word from Jesus.  The Antioch church received the Holy Spirit and spent a year in God's Word.  May we let the Lord prepare us to be new Elijahs by being in the Spirit and the Word.
      The Sermon on the Mount/ Bloch
    • Passionist:  "Opening and using the gifts of the Spirit":  The Spirit gives us words, make known all that Jesus taught us, and enable us to do great things.  The Spirit will be companion, advocate, source of life and joy.  The Beatitudes teach us to live as if we possess the fulfillment of the kingdom:  comforted, gentle, merciful, with a vision of God, satisfied, happy.  Things that take away our living of the ‘blessings’ are still at work among us, but we can draw upon Jesus' victory and Kingdom for strength to live the Kingdom now and make it present as he did.  The Spirit helps and guides us to draw Kingdom strength into daily life.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Blessed are the poor in spirit":  We can live a happy life by living the beatitudes.  They respond to the desire for happiness God placed in our hearts.  They teach us God calls us to his Kingdom, seeing him, and entering into his joy and rest.  They confront us with choices about our life and how we use the goods he puts at our disposal.  God offers us the greatest good:  life in Christ and the promise of unending joy and happiness with God.  The beatitudes are a sign of contradiction to the world's understanding of happiness.  Poverty of spirit finds joy in possessing God as our treasure.  Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment in God's word and Spirit.  Sorrow and mourning over sin leads to freedom from guilt and spiritual oppression.  God reveals to the humble the true source of abundant life and happiness.  Joys in heaven will more than compensate for today's troubles and hardships.  "No one can live without joy.  That's why one deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures" (Thomas Aquinas).

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