August 11, 2016


August 11, 2016:  St. Clare, Virgin

  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "They have eyes but don't see" (1st reading)
  • NEW 'Airplane' tie pin:  "Migrate to another place" (1st reading)
  • 'Signs' tie:  "I've made you a sign for the house of Israel."  (1st reading)
  • 'Arrow' tie bar:  "They recoiled like a treacherous bow." (psalm)
  • 'Sword' tie pin:  "He abandoned his people to the sword" (psalm)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  "Forgive 70 × 7 times" (gospel)
  • NEW 'Penny' tie bar (with a real penny; thanks, Bernardine :-):  "His master handed over the merciless servant to repay the last penny" (gospel)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  "My Father will do likewise unless you forgive from your heart.” (gospel)

  • Look it up/ Presley, Orrall:  country song with verse about how hard it is for us to forgive ("forgiveness...  It's what Jesus has in store for you, but I don't...") This Bailey and Lowe cover avoids the original's bad language.  Lyrics+ (gospel)
Pope Francis
More on yesterday's audience:  Rise up; human pain and God's compassion meet at the Holy Door of Mercy.  The Door is like the Nain city gate, where the widow met Jesus who raised her son from the dead with the words, “Rise up!”  Though the gospel recounts a great miracle, the heart of the story is actually Jesus' tender compassion towards the boy's grieving mother.  Great compassion guided Jesus, who decided to confront death definitively on the Cross.
Remember this gospel when you enter the Holy Door, the Gate of Mercy.  When Jesus saw this mother in tears, she entered his heart!  At the Door we present our joys, sufferings, projects, failures, doubts, fears to the mercy of the Lord, confident that he's near and comforts each of us.  It's the door where human suffering encounters God's compassion.  To each of us he says. "Rise up."  God created us to be on our feet and wants us to stand.
His word can raise us, revive us, give us hope, restore tired hearts, and open us to a world view that goes beyond suffering and death.  Mercy, in Jesus and us, starts from the heart and goes to the hands.  Jesus heals you with his mercy, tells you to get up, and your heart is new.  With this new heart, do works of mercy with your hands, trying to help, to heal those in need.  Mercy travels from the heart to works of mercy.  One bishop established two Holy Doors:  an entrance and an exit:  to enter and cross the first is to ask pardon and receive Jesus' mercy, and you exit the other door to bring mercy to others with works of mercy.
  • Ezk 12:1-12  Lord:  "You live amid a rebellious house; they have eyes but don't see, ears but don't hear.  Prepare your baggage and set out as if driven into exile; maybe they'll see they're rebellious.  I've made you a sign for Israel."  When I did, God's word came:  "Tell them, 'I'm a sign for you:  as I've done, it'll be done to them; they'll go into exile....'"
  • Ps 78:56-59, 61-62  "Do not forget the works of the Lord!"  They rebelled against and angered God.  God abandoned his people to the sword...
  • Mt 18:21-19:1  Peter / Jesus:  “If my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?  Seven times?” / “Not 7 but 77.  The Kingdom is like a king who settled with his servants.  He ordered sold a debtor and his family and property, but the debtor begged, ‘Be patient; I'll repay you!’  Moved, he let him go and forgave the loan.  The servant then seized one who owed him much less:  ‘Pay what you owe.’ / ‘Be patient; I'll repay you.’  But he refused.  His fellow servants, disturbed, reported him; his master said:  ‘Wicked servant!  I forgave your debt when you begged me, but you didn't take pity on your servant!’  He handed him over to torturers.  So will my Father do to you unless you forgive.”
    • Creighton:  We rely on God's mercy to forgive us, but we find it hard to forgive others, holding grudges, not letting go of debts.  It's easier to keep our hearts closed and protected instead of open and vulnerable, but forgiving others opens us to God.  As we keep forgiving, we'll feel our hearts grow more open....
    • Passionist:  Peter thought he knew about forgiveness but must have been stunned when Jesus responded he must forgive without limit.  In the parable, the king forgave the servant an unfathomable debt, but the servant didn't allow more time for his fellow servant, who owed a much smaller amount, to pay.  God’s forgiveness far outstrips our own, but we are still to forgive others....
    •  "Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother?":  Amos speaks of God forgiving transgression three times but warns that God may not revoke punishment the fourth. When Peter asked, he offered an answer he thought Jesus would like, but Jesus made it clear there's no limit.  He drove the lesson home with the debtors parable.  The man forgiven his enormous debt (more than a king's ransom) couldn't forgive his neighbor a small debt (about 1/100,000 of his own).  No offense of another compares with my debt to God.  Jesus forgave a debt we couldn't repay on our own.  As God has shown mercy in pardoning our sins, we must show mercy to all who have offended us. Forgiving is a sacred duty.  We must let go of resentments, grievances, or ill will.  Pray for the grace and strength to forgive as God has forgiven you. 
    Mercy is the flip side of God's justice; without mercy, justice is cold.  Mercy follows and perfects justice; it seasons it as salt meat.  Showing mercy without addressing the wrong and to pardon the unrepentant is license, not mercy.  "Mercy will flower only when it grows in the crannies of the rock of Justice: transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating weed, more dangerous because it's still called by the same name as the mountain variety" (C. S. Lewis).

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