September 4, 2016

23rd Sun., Ordinary Time

September 4, 2016:  Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 'Cross' pin:  Carry your cross (gospel)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  wisdom (1st reading, psalm)
  • 'Clock' tie pin:  "A thousand years in your sight are as yesterday... or a watch of the night" (psalm)
  • 'Hands' pin:  Prosper the work of our hands (psalm)
  • 'Heart' pin:  I'm sending Onesimus, my own heart, to you (2nd reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin, 'calculator' tie: "Calculate the cost" of discipleship (gospel); "teach us to number our days"(psalm) [instructions for +, −, ×, and ÷]
  • Green shirt:  Grass (psalm), Ordinary Time season

For the gospel
For the psalm
Pope Francis
Mother Teresa canonization homily:  “Who can learn the counsel of God?”  Our life is a mystery we don't have the key to understanding it.  Our task is to perceive God's call, then do his will.  To ascertain God's call, we must ask and understand what pleases God.  The prophets proclaimed, “I want mercy, not sacrifice.”  God is pleased by every act of mercy, because in all we assist, we recognize God's face which no one can see.  Whenever we bend down to others' needs, we feed, clothe, help, and visit the Son of God.  We're called to translate what we pray for and profess into concrete acts.  There's no alternative to charity:  whoever serves others, even when they don’t know it, loves God.  But Christian life isn't just helping in times of need, a lovely, beneficial expression of solidarity but rootless and so sterile.  No; the Lord calls us to charity in which each of us puts our life at his service, so to grow in love.
Crowds were travelling with Jesus.”  Today, this crowd is seen in all the volunteers for the Jubilee for Volunteers and Workers of Mercy.  You follow the Master and make visible his concrete love.  I've received much joy and comfort from your love, because you've refreshed the saints' hearts.  Your service gives voice to faith and expresses the Father's mercy.  Following Jesus is a serious task, and joyful; it takes daring to recognize the Master in the poor and give yourself in their service.  To do so, volunteers don't expect thanks or recompense; they renounce it because they've discovered true love.  Just as the Lord has met me and stooped to my level in my hour of need, so do I meet him in those who have lost faith or live as though God didn't exist, in young people without values or ideals, families in crisis, the ill, the imprisoned, refugees, immigrants, the weak and defenseless, abandoned children, the elderly on their own.  Wherever someone is reaching out, asking for help, this is where we, and the Church that sustains and offers hope, must be.
Mother Teresa was a generous dispenser of divine mercy, available for everyone through her welcome and defense of life, the unborn, abandoned, and discarded.  She defended life, proclaiming “the unborn are the weakest, smallest, most vulnerable.”   She bowed before those left to die, seeing in them their dignity; she made her voice heard before world powers, so they might recognize their guilt for the poverty they created.  For her, mercy was the “salt” that flavored her work, the “light” that shone in those who no longer had tears to shed for their poverty and suffering.  Her mission to the peripheries remains an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poor.  I pass on this emblematic figure of womanhood and consecrated life to the world of volunteers:  may she be your model of holiness and help us understand that our only criterion for action is love offered freely to everyone.  Mother Teresa loved to say, “Perhaps I don’t speak their language, but I can smile.”  Carry her smile in your heart and give it to those you meet, especially the suffering.  Then will open up opportunities of joy and hope for the discouraged who need understanding and tenderness.
Angelus:  I greet the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa's spiritual family. Your holy Foundress watches over you and obtains for you the ability to be faithful to God, the Church, and the poor.  I greet the high Authorities present, especially those from countries joined most closely to the new Saint, as well as all the delegations and pilgrims.  God bless your nations.
And I greet all of you, dear volunteers and workers of mercy.  I entrust you to Mother Teresa's protection:  may she teach you to contemplate and adore Jesus Crucified and recognize and serve him in the needy.  Let's ask this grace also for all united to us.  I want to recall all who spend themselves in service in difficult and risky situations, especially the religious women who give their lives, especially Spanish missionary Sr. Isabel, who was just killed in Haiti, and other Sisters who have suffered violence.  We do this by turning to Mary, Mother and Queen of all saints.
  • Ps 90:3-6, 12-17  "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge."  Centuries are as hours to you.  Teach us to grow in wisdom.  Have pity; fill us; prosper our work.
  • Phmn 9-10, 12-17  Old Paul returns Onesimus ["Useful"] to be a beloved brother.  Welcome him.
  • Lk 14:25-33  “To be my disciple, 'hate' yourself and everyone else, carry your cross, come after me, count the cost, and renounce your possessions."
St. Teresa of Calcutta
  • Bio from Canonization Mass: Throughout her life, following the example of Christ the Good Samaritan, she was close to anyone in need she encountered, sharing the suffering of those on the outskirts and witnessing to God’s boundless love.  As an adolescent she became more active in her parish.  She was received in the convent of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Sisters of Loreto, near Dublin.  Sent to India, she made her final profession and took the name Teresa.  She served as teacher and spent 17 years at Saint Mary’s Bengali School, near Calcutta.  While travelling from Calcutta to Darjeeling, she received “the call within the call” to begin a religious institute to “satisfy the infinite thirst of Jesus on the Cross for love and for souls by working for the salvation and the sanctification of the poorest of the poor.”  So she founded the Missionary Sisters of Charity, to which she later added the Missionaries of Charity Brothers, lay organizations, and the Movement open to the diocesan priesthood.  Mother Teresa was tireless, dedicating herself to announcing the Gospel through charitable and aid works to the needy.  At the heart of all her initiatives she placed daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, prayer, and universal love that inspired her to see and serve Jesus in the poor.  Her heroic witness won the admiration of the Church and world.  In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize.  Exhausted, but strong in spirit, she died peacefully on Sept. 5, 1997, enveloped in an odor of sanctity.
    • Creighton:  Don't put anything before God.  Whatever distracts you from God has to go. A builder calculates his plan and expenses to make sure he can accomplish the project.  Our goal is heaven; to get there, we need similar focus.  If we get distracted, our goal will slip away.  It's hard to know what God wants because God is in heaven and we're here.  We need to set our sights on heaven, focused on our goal and not allowing distractions.  Possessions will be no good in the end....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Supreme and extreme love":  We must love Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  When we give him our all, our relationship with him is in a class by itself, we die to ourselves and take up our cross daily, and we renounce our possessions.  God owns us and everything we supposedly own.  To love Jesus like that seems, and is, extreme, but Jesus loved us to the extreme too.  To give all to Jesus is the most and least we can do.  He died on the cross for love of me.  He is God.  He must be loved accordingly.  By grace, we can love Love.
    • Passionist:  "The cost ofdiscipleship":  Jesus tells the crowd that, to follow him, you must “hate” your family and even your life.  He invites his followers to consider how “costly” discipleship is, comparing discipleship to building a tower or going to war; one would be foolish to embark upon a project without research, planning, and resources.  In your discipleship, you've likely been blessed and also faced hard times.  Jesus challenges us to go deeper and check on our resources and resolve:  is he first in our lives?  What gets in the way?  Are we open to growth and change?  God provides the grace, the Spirit, to help us, and we have others' support in living as disciples.  Be grateful for the gift of faith, cultivated by family, friends, and spiritual leaders, and for our discipleship and vocation.  Continue growing as disciples, accepting the challenges and crosses that make us unique, faithful, loving disciples.  May we be blessed as we share our faith and gifts with the needy.
    •  "The true cost of discipleship":  In Biblical times 'hate' often meant 'prefer less.'   Nothing should take precedence over God who created us in his image to be his beloved children, and puts us first in his love.  Our love is a response to his.  Love is costly because it holds nothing back; it'll sacrifice all for the beloved.  God gave his only Son, Jesus Christ, who, freely offering his life for us, brought us pardon, healing, life in the Spirit, and peace with God.  Jesus knew the cross was the Father's way for him.  He counted the cost and said 'yes.'  If we want to share in his glory and victory, we too must count the cost and say yes to his call.  Our 'way of the cross' is is doing God's will even when it crosses with ours; it involves sacrifice, laying down my life for Jesus' sake.  God's love poured out through the Holy Spirit makes such sacrifice possible and "sweet" for us.  We can never outmatch God's mercy and kindness.
    The tower builder and the ruler risked serious loss if they didn't plan ahead to make sure they could finish what they started.  "By wisdom a house is built;... by wise guidance you can wage a war."  Every landowner who could afford it built a wall around his orchard/vineyard to protect it from intruders.  Leaving a project unfinished because of poor planning or insufficient resources invited scorn.  A king who without a good plan waged war against a stronger opponent would be considered foolish.  Counting the cost and investing wisely are necessary to secure a good return on investment.
    If you prize something and want it, it's natural to ask what it'll cost before investing in it.  Jesus told his disciples it would cost them everything, with no room for compromise.  "We are not our own; we were bought with a price."  Christ has set us free to choose whom to serve; we're either for or against God's kingdom.  God's love compels us to choose who/what will be first for us.  To place anyone/anything above God is idolatry.  Jesus challenges us to examine who/what we love foremost.  Only the Lord can set us free from the power of sin, greed, and destruction.  If we choose and trust the Lord, he'll show us the path to joy and happiness in heaven.

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