August 10, 2016


August 10, 2016:  St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr

  • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  St. Lawrence's martyrdom
  • 'Plant' pin:  Sow sparingly, reap sparingly; sow bountifully, reap bountifully.  (1st reading)
  • 'Money' tie:  God loves a cheerful giver (1st reading); Blessed those who lend to those in need... (psalm)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "...their hearts are firm, trusting in the Lord"  (psalm)
  • 'Abacus' pin:  God will 'multiplyyour seed (1st reading)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  "If a wheat grain falls and dies,..."  (gospel)
  • 'Fruit' pin:  " produces much fruit"  (gospel)
  • Dying to live/ Chapman:  lyrics  (gospel) [from a children's Christian musical our daughter sang this in]

Pope Francis
General Audience:  At the miracle of Jesus’ raising of the son of the widow of Nain. Jesus, moved by compassion, confronts the reality of death and restores life to her son. This encounter can inspire our own encounter with the Lord’s mercy.  When we approach Door of Mercy, we bring our past and trust Jesus will grant us a new beginning and hope.  The new life given to the widow's son reminds us that we too have been raised from the dead and given new life through baptism.  The Church has become our mother and we're called to be witnesses of God’s merciful love.  May we turn to Jesus, the Door leading to salvation and new life.  May the mercy we've received pass from our hearts to our hands and find expression in our practice of the works of mercy.
In Assisi:  St. Francis said, "I want to send you all to heaven!”  Heaven is the mystery of love that unites us to God.  We believe in the communion of saints:  we live the faith in the company of saints and loved ones who bore witness to the faith.  Baptism makes us one body moved by one Spirit.  “In my Father’s house are many rooms....  When I prepare a place for you, I'll take you to myself, that where I am you may be too.”  Forgiveness is our direct route to heaven.  What a gift that the Lord taught us to forgive and touch the Father’s mercy!  Why should we forgive?  As God has forgiven us, we should forgive those who harm us.  We pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we've forgiven our debtors.”  The debts are our sins; our debtors are those we must forgive.
We can be burdened with such debt that we can't repay it.  We often fall back into the same sins, but God offers forgiveness whenever we ask.  His pardon is full and complete; he never stops loving us.  God feels compassion, a mixture of pity and love.  Our Father, moved to compassion when we repent, sends us home in calm and peace, telling us all is forgiven.  God’s limitless forgiveness is greater than anything we can imagine; it comes to all who know they've done wrong and want to return to him.  The problem comes when we have to deal with someone who's offended us.  When we're indebted to others, we expect mercy; but when others are to us, we demand justice!  This is unworthy of Christ’s disciples.  Jesus teaches us to forgive without limit; he offers us the Father’s love, not our claims to justice.  Forgiveness can renew the Church and the world.  No one is exempt from witnessing to mercy.  The world needs forgiveness; too many are caught up in resentment and hatred and ruin their lives and others' rather than finding joy and peace.  May we be humble signs of forgiveness and channels of mercy.

  • 2 Cor 9:6-10  Whether you sow sparingly or bountifully, that's how you'll reap.  God loves a cheerful giver.  God can make every grace abundant for you.  The one who supplies seed and bread will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
  • Ps 112:1-2, 5-9  "Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to those in need."  His heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.  Lavishly he gives to the poor,  His generosity shall endure.
  • Jn 12:24-26  “Unless a wheat grain falls and dies, it remains just a grain; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.  To serve me, follow me, and the Father will honor you.”
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Consumer or consumed":  St. Lawrence is the patron of bountiful giving.  It is said that he gave the Church's treasures to the poor. He sowed bountifully and cheerfully and reaps the harvest of transformed lives even now.  He gave his life for the Lord in martyrdom by fire; he was like a grain of wheat that fell, died, and produced much fruit.  God wants our all:  time, energy, relationships, work, love, life....  We're consumers, but when we give ourselves to the Lord, we're consumed.  Something will consume us:  work, a compulsion, food, anger, jealousy; let it be God....
    Martyrdom of St. Lawrence
    (Masters of the Acts of Mercy)
    [See Tibaldi's]
  • Passionist:  We're here to savor and live the life we have been given, appreciating what God pours out for us.  Maybe today's gospel is more about our tendency to grasp and control life, “loving” it the wrong way. We want to be masters of our destinies, in charge of what we love.  But when it falls apart, I'll be smacked with the reality that I'm not in control.  If I try to control people I love, they'll turn away and I'll lose them.  No matter what, I'm not in control.  I have no right to grab what I have for myself, “loving” it too much to let go.  No; I need to be a cheerful giver, willing to share time, talent, and treasure. It's not 'my' money, success, or life.  I need to be grateful and share my blessings.  It's hard:  I want to cling to the life I love, and the fact that I'm one phone call away from loss increases my fear and desire to cling.  Lord, loosen my grasp, so I may be able to give generously.  Help me place my security in Your love and grace, not my possessions and abilities.  May I consider others' welfare at least as much as my own. May I die to all that is holding me back from discipleship.
  •  "If it dies, it bears much fruit":  Jesus' audience understood new life produced by dead seeds sown.  Jesus was referring to his own death and resurrection, and our death and rebirth.  Jesus knew that  his victory would come only through the cross.  When we "die" to ourselves, we "rise" to new life in Christ.  God gives us grace to say "yes" to him and reject what's contrary to his plan for us, and he promises we'll bear much "fruit" for him if we deny ourselves for his sake....

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