August 18, 2016

Aug. 18

August 18, 2016:  Thursday, 20th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Streets' tie:  The servants went out into the streets (gospel)
  • NEW 'Hands' pin, 'feet' pin:  "Bind his hands and feet" (gospel)
  • 'Stone' tie pin:  "I'll taking from your bodies your stony hearts" (1st reading)
  • Blue shirt:  "I'll sprinkle/pour clean water on you" (1st reading/psalm)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "I'll give you a new heart" / "Create a clean heart for me" (1st reading/psalm)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  King's wedding feast (gospel)
  • 'Cow' pin:  "My calves are killed" (gospel)

Pope Francis Amoris Laetitia capsule:  Love bears all things

Paul’s list ends with four phrases containing the words “all things.”  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. What countercultural power in a love that can face whatever might threaten it!
Paul says that love “bears all things” (πάντα στέγει); it's about more than putting up with evil; it's about  the tongue.  The verb can mean “holding one’s peace” about what may be wrong with someone; it implies limiting judgment, checking the impulse to condemn.  It runs contrary to how we normally use our tongues:  “Don't speak evil against one another.”  Being willing to speak ill of another is a way of asserting ourselves, venting resentment and envy without concern for harm we may do.  Slander can be quite sinful, especially when it harms someone's good name and causes hard-to-repair damage. The tongue “is a world of iniquity” that “stains the whole body,” a “restless evil, full of poison.”  It can be used to “curse those made in God's likeness,” but love cherishes people's good name, even enemies.'  Never forget this requirement of love.
Married couples joined by love speak well of each other; they try to show their spouse’s good side, not their weakness and faults.  It springs from an interior attitude:  not claiming not to see others' problems and weaknesses but rather seeing them in a wider context.  Each of us is a mix of light and shadow; a person is more than the sum of the things that annoy me.  Love doesn't have to be perfect for us to value it; its imperfection doesn't mean it's untrue .  It's real, albeit limited and earthly.  If I expect too much, the other will let me know; nobody can play God or serve all my needs.  Love coexists with imperfection; it can hold its peace before the beloved's limitations. (IV:111-113)
  • Ez 36:23-28  "I'll take you from among the nations, gather you, return you to your land, sprinkle clean water upon you, cleanse you from your impurities and idols, and give you a new heart and spirit, replacing your hearts of stone with hearts of flesh.  I'll put my spirit in you and make you live by my statutes.  You shall be my people; I, your God."
  • Ps 51:12-15, 18-19  "I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins."  Create a clean heart for me; give me joy.  You won't spurn a contrite, humble heart.
  • Mt 22:1-14  “The Kingdom is like a king who gave a wedding feast.  Some ignored the invitation; others mistreated those who bore it.  King:  ‘The invited were unworthy, so go invite whomever you can.’  They filled the hall.  To man not in wedding garment:  ‘How is it you came in without a wedding garment?...  Bind him and cast him out.’  Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
    • Creighton:  Several years ago I never appreciated good music that was happening and was always disappointed.  Then a colleague said, “it must be nice to surrounded by music all day.”  The wrongs I was correcting were less than 5% and I was missing the best 95%.  It was nice to enjoy the music again.
      Today's gospel carries a similar message:  Why wouldn’t guests want to go to the wedding feast?   Let's not question why they wouldn't; let's just answer the call and go.  The Kingdom invitation is waiting for us!
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Doctor donor":  The human heart is beyond remedy; it can't be fixed or improved enough to please God or allow us to live a free, fully human life.  We need a heart transplant, but all possible donors have the same defective heart.  Only Jesus is Savior, Doctor, and Donor, giving us his heart and rising from death to operate?  The Doctor was human with a human heart, and God.  Only the God-Man could fulfill God's promise to give us a new heart....
      • Passionist:  Put aside your sympathy for the guest who didn’t have a wedding garment, then gets thrown out.  The host provided the garments, so the guest in refusing to wear it was insulting his host.  He even remained silent, not offering an excuse or mitigating circumstances.  
        St. Helen (Sr. Ellen Francis, OSH)
        God promised to gather his people, bring them back, cleanse them, give them a new heart and spirit, and put his spirit in them.  Jesus re-imagines this as a great feast, with God as King inviting people.  But some reject the salvation he offers.  Our life in God is an invitation, a free gift not forced on us, and if we reject it, he offers again.  But our participation in the kingdom requires action.  We can respond to God and enter into relationship with him.  God makes it as simple as putting on the garment he provided, following the promptings of the Spirit in us.
        •  "They wouldn't come to the feast!"  The Lord invites us to the most important banquet of all, as members of Christ's body, the church!  The Bible ends with an invitation to the Lamb's wedding feast.  The Lord invites us to be united with himself in his kingdom of justice and peace.
          The first part of the gospel is about the original invitees.  The king invited them in advance so they'd have time to prepare; how insulting for them to refuse!  They put their interests above the king's, insulting both king and heir, refusing to give the king the honor due him.  Jesus was telling the Jews how much God wanted them to share in his joy and warning them about the consequences of refusing.
            The second part focuses on those who would have never considered getting an invitation.  The "good and the bad" referred to Gentiles and sinners.  It's an invitation of grace, but it also also has a warning for those who refuse or who approach the feast unworthily.  God's grace is both gift and responsibility.
              Bonhoeffer contrasted "cheap" and "costly" grace:  "Cheap grace is what we bestow on ourselves:   forgiveness without repentance, grace without discipleship, the cross, or Jesus Christ,  Costly grace is the gospel we must continually seek, the gift we must ask, the door we must knock on.  It's costly because it calls me to follow Christ and costs my life; it's grace because it gives me the true life." (The Cost of Discipleship, paraphrased)
                Are you ready to accept God's invitation to celebrate with him at his heavenly banquet?
                  • St. Helen/Helena, empress, Constantine's mom, innkeeper, church builder, helped the poor and imprisoned.  Found true cross?

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