June 1, 2016


June 1, 2016:  Justin, Martyr

  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Peace from God the Father and Christ our Lord (1st reading)
  • Orange suspenders:  Stir into flame the gift of God you have... (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  ...through the imposition of my hands. (1st reading)
  • 'Bear' tie bar:  'Bear' your share of hardship for the Gospel... (1st reading)
  • NEW 'Snoopy with barbells' tie:  ...with the strength that comes from God. (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  He called us to a holy life (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  "To you, Lord, I lift up my eyes." (psalm)
  • 'Angel' pin:  When they rise from the dead,... they're like angels (gospel)
  • Red in shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  Justin's martyrdom

In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus contrasts the arrogance and self-righteousness of the Pharisee’s prayer with the tax collector’s humble recognition of his need for the Lord’s mercy.  True prayer is born of a heart that repents of its faults and failings yet pleads for grace to love God and neighbor.  The Pharisee's disdain for the sinner prevents him from being righteous in God’s sight.  To pray well, look into your heart and let the Lord speak to you there, in humble silence.  God asks us to be honest and humble to receive his mercy.  Mary is the model of such prayer.  In her Magnificat, she tells us God looks with favor on and hears his humble servants.  May she, our Mother, help us pray as we ought.

Fan into a flame...

  • 2 Tm 1:1-3, 6-12  Stir God's gift into flame.  God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-control.  Don't be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, but bear hardship for the Gospel with God-given strength.  He saved us and called us according to his design and grace.  I'm suffering for preaching the gospel but am not ashamed, for I know him in whom I have believed and am confident he'll guard what's been entrusted to me.
  • Ps 123:1b-2f  "To you, O Lord, I lift up my eyes."  As servants' eyes are on their masters, so ours are on the Lord till he have pity on us. 
  • Mk 12:18-27  Sadducees, who deny the resurrection / Jesus:  “Moses wrote that if someone’s brother dies, leaving no child, his brother must take the wife.  Seven brothers married the same woman in succession; all died leaving no descendants.  When they and the woman die, whose wife will she be?” /  “When they rise, they neither marry nor are given in marriage.  In the passage about the bush, God told Moses, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He is God of the living, not the dead.

    • Creighton:  The images of the Holy Spirit can't be confined:  wind, fire, a dove, and breath.  Starting a fire takes work, and the right help and tools. When Paul tells Timothy to stir the gifts God has given him into a flame, it takes work.  It's not easy to use our God-given gifts for others.  We glorify God by what we do with our gifts, but it takes work.  God is God of the living; may we bring greater dignity to people.  God prods us to build the kingdom each day; it takes work in a world where caring for others is counter cultural.  Read Sr. Peggy O'Neill, SC's poem Pentecost (p. 19).
      St. Justin
    • One Bread, One Body:  "I'm dying to be married":  Tomorrow's readings focus on the beauty of love and marriage, but today's focus on death and marriage.  An insult from his wife, who was just responding to his unjust accusation, drove Tobit to the brink of death.  Sarah had seven husbands die on seven wedding nights.  Today the Sadducees illustrate marriage using a series of failures and deaths.  A living marriage takes two "dead" people, each dead to themselves, carrying Jesus' dying so his life may be revealed.  In dying to self, we learn our true identity and become alive.  Mutual dying to self opens the floodgates of love....
    • Passionist:  Paul addresses Timothy affectionately and says he thanks God for him and always prays for him.  Paul encourages him “to stir into flame the gift of God you have....”  Paul transmits his courageous spirit, reminding Timothy “God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-control.”  So don't “be ashamed of your testimony,” and “bear hardship for the Gospel with strength from God.”  Paul recalls his vocation as “preacher, Apostle, and teacher” willing to suffer because of the strength God gave him:  “I know him in whom I've believed and am confident God can guard what's been entrusted to me....”  “I've fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith.  Now the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, just judge, will give me, and not only me but also all who have longed for his appearing.”  Early Christians wanted to take to heart the strength and encouragement of Paul’s words.  God has given us the same gift, to live and proclaim the gospel with courage.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "You don't know the scriptures or God's power":  Like the Sadducees, we can try to make heaven into an earthly image.  The Sadducees, whose religion was grounded in an earthly image of heaven ending in death, tested Jesus to make the resurrection look ridiculous.  Jesus responded that God is a living God of a living people.  God's friendship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob didn't end with death. David also spoke of immortal life:  "I am continually with you.  You guide me, and afterward will receive me to glory."  God wants to share his love with us forever:  Paul quotes Isaiah:  “No eye has seen, ear heard, nor heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love him....”  The promise of unending life with God is beyond our understanding.
    • Universalis:  St. Justin, martyr, philosopher led to Christianity, opened philosophy school in Rome and defended Christianity, which have survived (as well as the transcript from his trial). He was denounced as a Christian and beheaded.   Justin treats the philosophy he studied as true but incomplete; he saw God as sowing wisdom throughout the world, to grow wherever soil would receive it.  When we dispute with people, may we assume they also seek wisdom and have found some truth.

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