August 5, 2016

Aug. 3

August 3, 2016:  Wednesday, 18th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Sword' tie pin:  The people that escaped the sword...
  • Congress 'Boundless mercy' pin:  I have kept my mercy toward you (1st reading)
  • 'Fruit' pin:  You shall plant vineyards and enjoy the fruits (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "The Lord will guard us as a shepherd his flock" (psalm); “I was sent to the lost sheep....” (gospel)
  • 'Dogs' tie:  “Even the dogs eat the scraps from their masters' table” (gospel)
  • Green in shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Today's gospel speaks of a place, a disciple, and a book.
Place:  where the disciples gathered at Easter, and 8 days later, when Jesus enters and brings peace, the Spirit, and forgiveness:  God’s mercy.  “As the Father sent me, I send you.”  Jesus sends; he wants a Church on the move, going out, taking a slave's form, serving, bringing the Good News.  The disciples closed the doors out of fear, but Jesus sent them out to open doors and to spread pardon and peace.  We can be tempted to remain enclosed, but we too need to “open the doors,” going forth from ourselves, giving ourselves for Christ's sake, renouncing our security, with him as our strength.  Our life must be shaped by concrete love, marked by service and availability, with no closed spaces or private property.  We must go where we're sent, responding to the One who calls, seeking nothing but the Lord, fleeing the satisfaction of being at the center, not building on worldly power, settling into comfort, or wasting time planning a secure future.  Burn with the desire to bear witness and reach out.  Take risks and set out, faithful to the Spirit.  Rejoice to evangelize.
Disciple:  Thomas, a bit like us.  He brings us closer to God, who doesn't hide.  Jesus shows him his glorious wounds, making him touch God's tenderness.  Put your humanity in touch with the Lord's flesh; bring him your whole being.  Seek God through transparent prayer, unafraid to hand over your troubles, struggles, and resistance.  Openness wins Jesus’ heart...  Jesus wants consecrated hearts that draw life from his forgiveness and pour it out with compassion, hearts open and tender towards the weak, docile hearts.  Disciples ask questions, face their misgivings with courage, always discern, and train daily to flee duplicity.  Thomas not only came to believe but found Jesus his Lord.  Pray “My Lord and my God!” my one treasure, my life, my all.
Book:  The Gospel that doesn't include Jesus' many other signs.  After the great sign of his mercy, we could say nothing more is needed, but there is room for the signs we need to work, spreading mercy.  The living book of God’s mercy has many blank pages left; it's an open book we're called to write in the same style, by our works of mercy.  What are the pages of your book like?  May Mary, who welcomed God's Word, give us the grace to be living Gospel writers, taking care of Jesus' wounds in the needy and so honor Christ.  May she help us spend ourselves for those entrusted to us and show concern for each other.
You hold a page of the book of God’s mercy, the story of your calling.  Rekindle the memory of his call, and thank him for having entered through our closed doors with his mercy, like Thomas, by name, and for the grace to continue writing his Gospel of love.
  • Jer 31:1-7  I will be the God of Israel, and they shall be my people.  With age-old love I have loved you.  I will restore and rebuild you.  You'll dance, plant vineyards, and enjoy the fruits.  You'll shout with joy when the Lord delivers his people....
  • Jer 31:10-12b, 13  "The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock."  The Lord shall ransom Jacob.  They'll stream to the Lord’s blessings, dance, and be joyful after their sorrows.

  • Mt 15: 21-28  A Canaanite woman called out, “Have pity on me, Lord!  A demon is tormenting my daughter.” / “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” / “Lord, help me.” / “It's not right to throw children's food to the dogs.” / “Please; even the dogs eat the scraps from their masters' table.” / “Great is your faith!  Let it be done....”
    • Creighton:   We might paraphrase the woman's response, “Some of you may think we Gentiles are no better than dogs, but if God is as great as you think, then there should compassion even for us.”  Christ doesn't explicitly correct the bystanders’ narrow attitudes but perhaps is taking the long view.  Later, Peter settles the Gentile controversy:  "God shows no partiality.  Those of any nation who fear God and act uprightly are acceptable to him.”
      Jesus and the Canaanite woman
    • Passionist:  The woman’s ability to pursue Jesus even after he ignored and rebuked her came from a mother’s heart; she was asking him to heal her daughter.  Don’t give up!  Keep seeking God and asking for help....
    •  "Great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire":  Today's gospel describes the only time Jesus ministered outside of Jewish territory.  A Gentile put Jesus on the spot by pleading for help.  The Jews often spoke of the Gentiles as "unclean dogs" since the they didn't follow the law and were excluded from God's covenant with Israel.  "Dog" was a symbol of dishonor used to describe a shameless woman.  Jesus tested the woman's faith.  Jesus praised her for her faith and love; she was willing to suffer rebuff to obtain healing for her loved one, and she was persistent. Her faith grew:  she began with a request and ended in prayer to God....
      • Oswaldking, brought Christianity to his people, man of prayer and charity to the needy.
      • Nicodemus (I didn't even know he had a day)

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