September 2, 2016

Sept. 2

September 2, 2016:  Friday, 22nd week, Ordinary Time

  • Wedding band:  "Can you make the wedding guests fast while the groom is with them?" (gospel)
  • 'Fruits (with grapes)' tie:  "We fast, but your disciples eat and drink";  "No one pours new wine into old skins." (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin and tie bar:  The Lord will bring what's hidden to light and manifest the motives of our hearts (1st reading); Take delight in the Lord, and he'll grant your heart’s requests (psalm)
  • Green and white shirt:  Green for Ordinary Time, white for Our Lady of the Angels

Pope Francis message for World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (continued from yesterday)
Show Mercy to our Common Home:  
Changing course:  Self-examination, repentance, and confession lead to a purpose of amendment that must translate into ways of thinking and acting that respect creation better, such as avoiding plastic and paper, reducing water use, separating refuse, cooking just what can reasonably be consumed, caring for other living beings, using public transportation, carpooling, planting trees, and turning off unnecessary lights.  Don't think these efforts are too small to improve our world; they call forth goodness that will spread, and they encourage a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle capable of enjoyment free of obsession with consumption.  The resolve to live differently should affect our contributions to culture and society.  Care for nature is part of a lifestyle where we can live in communion.  Economics, politics, society, and culture can't be dominated by thinking only of short-term gains; they need to be directed to the common good, including sustainability and care for creation.  Repaying the “ecological debt” between the global north and south requires treating poorer nations' environments with care and providing financial and technical resources to help them promote sustainable development.  We must insist that governments honor their commitments toward sustainable development, and that businesses also do their part, and we must advocate for more ambitious goals.  Changing course means preserving creation from harm.  What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us?
A new work of mercy:  Nothing unites us to God more than an act of mercy, for by mercy the Lord forgives our sins and gives us grace to practice mercy.  Mercy without works is dead.  In response to new forms of poverty that are appearing, we need creatively to develop new, practical forms of outreach as expressions of the way of mercy.  Christian life involves the practice of the traditional corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We usually think of them individually and in relation to a specific initiative (hospital, soup kitchen, shelter, school, confessional...), but if we look at the works as a whole, we see the object of mercy is human life itself and all it embraces, including care for our common home.  So I propose a complement to the two sets of seven:  may the works of mercy also include care for our common home.  As a spiritual work of mercy, it calls for grateful contemplation of God’s world that allows us to discover in each thing the teaching God wants to hand onto us; as a corporal work of mercy, it requires daily gestures that break with the logic of violence, exploitation, and selfishness and is felt in every action seeking to build a better world.
In conclusion, let us pray:  Despite our sins and the challenges before us, we don't lose heart.  The Creator does not abandon us, forsakes his loving plan, or regret having created us; he's united himself to our earth, and his love impels us to find new ways forward.  Let us pray:  God of the poor, help us rescue the abandoned and forgotten, so precious to you.  God of love, show us our place in the world as channels of your love for all creatures.  God of mercy, may we receive your forgiveness and convey your mercy.  Praise to you!
    New wine, fresh skins!
  • 1 Cor 4:1-5  People should regard us as servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries.  I don't care who judges me; the Lord is my judge.  Don't judge before the Lord comes; he'll bring to light what's hidden and manifest our motives; then everyone will receive praise from God.
  • Ps 37:3-4, 5-6, 27-28, 39-40  "The salvation of the just comes from the Lord."  Trust in the Lord and do good, and he'll act.  Take delight in the Lord, and he'll grant you your heart’s requests.  The Lord helps and saves the just who take refuge in him.
  • Lk 5:33-39  Scribes and Pharisees / Jesus:  “John the Baptist's and the Pharisees' disciples fast, but not yours.” / “Will wedding guests fast while the groom is with them?  But when he's taken from them, they'll fast.  No one patches an old cloak with new fabric, lest the new be torn and not match the old.  No one pours new wine into old wineskins, lest the new wine burst the skins and be spilled.  New wine must be poured into fresh skins....
    • Creighton:  In the 1st reading we learn we must be trustful stewards of God's mysteries; the gospel reminds us we have new life in Christ.  The new supplants the old.  When I put the worldly above the spiritual, things don't turn out well.  Will I grow as a disciple or revert to old ways and burst the wineskin?  This requires a daily commitment to Christ.  I fail, but I can make progress.  As I become more cognizant of my failings, I'm also more willing to commit to Christ.  I'm responsible for maintaining my change of heart.  How does the change manifest in me?  Am I a trustworthy steward in my family, at work, with friends?  When I become an example of Christ’s message, my Christian lifestyle is attractive to those around me, and I can start making disciples...
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Life in the fast lane":  When we're baptized and decide to live our baptisms, "the old order has passed away; all is new!"  Fasting becomes new; the Lord uses it to drive out demons, initiate missionary outreach, and to establish Church leaders.  We'd be foolish to fast in Jesus' name before accepting the new wineskin of life in Christ.  Let's live the radical newness of our baptisms, then fast accordingly and help renew the earth.
    • Passionist:  Paul speaks of his indifference to 'judgment' by individuals or institutions.  In a literary sense, 'judge' means 'separate' or 'choose.'  To carry out our role as servants and stewards, we must exercise discerning judgment and propagate the “mysteries of God” by bringing it into our daily witness to the Gospel, witnessing to God's absolute mercy, even in today's political debate.  The ultimate judgment is what the Lord will render at his coming, how the Lord will praise every person.  A more faithful translation of "everyone will receive praise from God" is "our due praise will be from God." The measure of that praise will be how I was a trustworthy steward of God’s mercy.
    •  "The unity of the new and the old":   John's disciples were upset with Jesus' because they didn't fast, one of the most important religious duties (with prayer and almsgiving).  Jesus said there's a time to fast and a time to celebrate.  To follow Jesus is to experience a new joy like a wedding party's, but there are times his disciples must bear the cross.  There's a time for rejoicing and celebrating, and a time for humility, fasting, and mourning over sin.
    Jesus warns his disciples about having a mind closed to new things. Just as there's a time for fasting and for feasting, so too for the old and the new.  Jesus says the kingdom is like a householder who brings out what's new and what's old.   The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old is unveiled in the New; the two shed light on each other. The New unveils and brings to light the hidden meaning in the Old pointing to God's plan of redemption in Jesus Christ. The Lord gives us wisdom so we can make the best use of both old and new; he doesn't want us to resist the new action of his Spirit but wants us to be like new wineskins, open and ready to receive the Spirit.

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