August 6, 2016

John Vianney

August 4, 2016:  St. John Vianney, Priest

See 12 connections with today?
Legend below


Pope Francis
World Youth Day welcome:  What better opportunity to renew our friendship with Jesus than building friendships and sharing Christ with others in painful and difficult situations!  "Blessed are the merciful; they shall find mercy."  Blessed indeed are they who can forgive, show compassion, and offer their best to others.
Young hearts Jesus touches become capable of great things.  It's a gift of God to see you trying to make a difference!   The Church wants to learn from you about the face of the Father's Mercy.  A merciful heart wants to move beyond its comfort zone, to meet others, to embrace everyone, to be a refuge for those without a home, to build a home for those forced to emigrate; it knows tenderness and compassion, shares with the hungry, welcomes refugees.  Mercy is opportunity, future, commitment, trust, openness, hospitality, compassion, and dreams.
Some “throw in the towel,” glum as if life lacks meaning.  They're bored… and boring!  It's also troubling to see people looking for thrills via dark paths and having to pay for it.  It's disturbing to see people squander their lives running after illusions.  We help each other so illusions don't rob us of our energy, joy, and dreams.  For power that gives you life and fulfillment, turn to Jesus Christ; he can give you passion, inspire you to give your best, challenge you, help you keep trying when tempted to give up, and push you to keep your sights high. 
Jesus was welcomed in the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, and he spent time with them.  The women knew he was open and attentive.  Our jobs and responsibilities can make us busy and scattered like Martha, but we can also be like Mary, stopping to think and listen.  Stop and enter your home; Jesus will wait for you to listen and make space for him.  Whoever welcomes Jesus learns to love as he does.   If you want a full life, be open and attentive!  Happiness is sown and blossoms in mercy.  Mercy is God's answer, offer, challenge, and adventure.   Mercy has a youthful face, like Mary of Bethany's; she sat at Jesus' feet and listened, knowing she'd find peace.  Like Mary of Nazareth's; her daring “Yes” launched her, Mother of Mercy, on her adventure of mercy.
Lord, launch us on the adventure of mercy, of bridge building, of tearing down walls, of helping the poor, lonely, and abandoned.  Send us to listen to those we don't understand, even those we fear as threats.  Make us attentive to our elders to learn from them.  Send us to share your merciful love.  Our lives are fulfilled when shaped by mercy.
To WYD volunteers:  Thank you for your commitment, generosity, dedication, and witness:  a sign of hope Church and world.  You've experienced the beauty of commitment to a noble cause and the enrichment of joining in a project that repays your efforts with joy, knowledge, and openness to Jesus, others, and important life decisions.  When you serve, have the attitudes Mary showed in the Visitation gospel:
Listening:  Mary heard the angel's word before setting out.  She knew how to listen to God attentively and receptively, and be ready to help.  How often we fail to listen!  She listened to events, was attentive to realities, and went below the surface.  She saw God's mercy in Elizabeth's expecting a child.  In our lives too, the Lord stands at the door and knocks many ways; he posts signs he calls us to read in the light of the Gospel.
Decisiveness:  Mary knows how to take a step forward, as with her fundamental life decision:  “Let it be with me according to your word.”  When she saw the problem at the Cana wedding feast, she decided to speak to Jesus and ask him to do something.  It's often hard to make decisions; we can postpone them, allow others to decide in our place, or follow the “trend.”  We may know what to do but lack courage to go against the grain and do it.   Mary wasn't afraid to go against the grain; she listened and decided, accepting the risk, with God.
Action:  Mary "went with haste…"  Despite hardships and criticisms she may have heard, she didn’t hesitate, because she had the strength of God's word.  She acted with charity and love.  She visited Elizabeth not to have others praise her but to be helpful, bringing the most precious thing she had, Jesus.  Every act of service we do is important, an expression of openness to Jesus' presence; it makes us experience the love that propelled us and fills us with joy.
Once Mary finished helping Elizabeth, she returned home quietly, as she came.  You won't see the fruits of your work now, but those you served will and rejoice.  God, who knows your dedication, commitment, and generosity, will repay you for all you've done.  I commend you to God and entrust you to Mary, model of all Christian volunteer service.
  • Jer 31:31-34  I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, not like the one their fathers broke.  I will place my law within them; I will be their God, and they my people.  All shall know me, for I'll forgive and forget their evildoing.
  • Ps 51:12-15, 18-19  "Create a clean heart in me, O God."  Give me back the joy of your salvation.  My sacrifice is a contrite spirit....
  • Mt 16:13-23  “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” / “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” / “But who do you say I am?” / “The Christ, Son of God.” / “Blessed are you, Simon; my Father revealed this to you.  You are Peter, and upon this rock I'll build my Church.  I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom.  What you bind or loose on earth shall be so in heaven.”  Jesus began to show his disciples he must suffer, be killed, and be raised.  Peter started to rebuke him, but he told him, “Get behind me, Satan!  You're thinking like people, not God.”
    • Creighton:  Remember Christ is within, offering and giving forgiveness, a clean heart.  How am I thinking as a human, not God?  Where am I missing the invitation to new life?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "God's voice on earth":   Though made up of sinners, the Church strives to have the mind of Christ....
    • Passionist:  "Building the Church":  Jesus used this encounter with his disciples to share his plan for the building up of the Church; it included rejection, suffering, and death.  Jesus freely embraced his suffering and death, then rose and sent the Spirit.  St. John Vianney had a zeal to spread God’s love and build the Church!  He's known for his ministry of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, sharing God’s mercy with thousands.  His ministry flowed from a life of prayer and mortification.  How zealous am I for my faith?  Do we forgive those who hurt us?  Do we listen?  Do we give ourselves in service to others?...
    •  "You are the Christ, Son of the living God":  Through the gift of faith, Peter recognized Jesus as the "anointed one" (Messiah, Christ), the Son of God.  Jesus conferred on him authority to govern the church.  The church, the people of God, is a spiritual house, a temple of the Spirit, with members joined as living stones.  Faith makes us into spiritual rocks,  Who do you say Jesus is?
    Dress legend
    • 'Scroll' pin:  "I'll make a new covenant" (1st reading)
    • 'Hearts' tie:  "I'll write my law on their hearts" (1st reading); "Create a clean heart in me" (psalm)
    • "Holy Spirit" chain:  "Your Holy Spirit take not from me" (psalm)
    • "?" tie pin:  “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” “Who do you say I am?” (gospel)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you" (gospel)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  "Upon this rock I'll build my Church" (gospel)
    • 'Keys' tie pins:  "I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom" (gospel)
    • 'Crucifix' pin:  Jesus showed his disciples he must go to Jerusalem, suffer, and be killed... (gospel)
    • Green suspenders with 'love' sticker:  St. John Vianney ministered God's merciful love; Ordinary Time season
    • White shirt:  Color of St. John Vianney memorial

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