September 22, 2016

Sept. 22

September 22, 2016:  Thursday, 25th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Sun' pin:  What profit do you have from your labor under the sun?  Nothing is new under the sun  (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  The eye is not satisfied with seeing (1st reading)
  • 'Clock' pin:  1,000 years to you are as a watch of the night (psalm)
  • Green shirt:  The next morning they're like changing grass (psalm); Ordinary Time season
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  Teach us to number our days aright,... (psalm)
  • 'Owl'' pin:  ...that we may gain wisdom of heart (psalm)
  • 'Hands' tie:  Prosper the work of our hands! (psalm)
  • '?' tie pin:  Herod was greatly perplexed... (gospel)
  • 'Decapitated skeleton' tie pin:  Herod said, “John I beheaded.  Who's this?" (gospel)

Pope Francis
Homily:  The gospel describes Herod as perplexed or anxious because he felt threatened by Jesus; he was worried just as his father was after the Magi's visit.  There are two kinds of anxiety:  a “good” one the Holy Spirit gives that makes us restless to do good things, and a “bad” one born from a dirty conscience.  The Herods tried to resolve their anxiety by killing.  People who do evil and have a dirty conscience can't live in peace; they live with an itch, a rash.  Greed, vanity, and pride are the roots of all evil; they don't allow the restlessness of the Spirit in but bring anxiety and fear.
The 1st reading speaks about vanity.  Vanity makes us swell up but doesn't give us true gain; it's short-lived, like a soap bubble.  Vanity covers up real life; it makes the soul sick.  What's the gain if you cover up life to appear a certain way?  Vanity is osteoporosis of the soul:  the bones seem good on the outside but are ruined inside. Vanity makes us a fraud.  Con artists mark cards to win, but the victory is fake.  Vanity is living to pretend, to seem, to appear; it makes the soul restless.  “Think of what you'll be:  food for worms” (Bernard).  Putting make-up on life is a lie.  Driven by pride to wickedness, vanity covers everything and doesn't allow you to see your mistakes.
People, even holy people, can appear one way (going to Mass, supporting the Church...) but be corrupt inside.  You try to look pretty, but your truth is otherwise.  But our refuge and strength is only in the Lord  Jesus, the way, truth, and life; may he free us from greed, vanity, and pride....
To journalists:  Few professions have so much influence on society as journalism.  You're usually the ones who record the first draft of history, introducing the interpretation of events.  Your profession adapts to changes in the way people digest news through new media.  To improve society through your work, love the truth, embody professionalism, and respect human dignity:
Truth:  Don't just state the truth, but live it and bear witness to it.  Discern between shades of grey surrounding the events we're called to tell.
Professionalism:  Where there's professionalism, you're a cornerstone, a fundamental element for the vitality of a free and pluralistic society.
Respect human dignity:  Do responsible journalism.  Rumors are a form of terrorism.  You can kill with language.  Don't let journalism become a weapon of destruction of people and nations.  Criticism is legitimate, as well as denunciation of evil, but always respect the other, their life, their affections.
You should benefit from the renewal of Holy See communications.  The Secretariat for Communication will be your natural reference point.
  • Eccl 1:2-11  All things are vanity!  What profit is labor?  Nothing is new under the sun.
  • Ps 90:3-6, 12-14, 17bc  "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge." 1,000 years to you are as yesterday.  Teach us to number our days.  Have pity!  Fill us with your kindness.  Prosper our work!
  • Lk 9:7-9  Herod was perplexed because people were saying, “John has been raised,” “Elijah has appeared,” and “A prophet has arisen.”  But he said, “John I beheaded.  Whom are these things about?”  He kept trying to see him.
    • Creighton:  We're challenged to live each day as a new opportunity to share and to live the compassion, love, humility, and forgiveness Jesus lived.  May we live each day as something new, looking for the beauty and sacredness that surrounds us.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The misery of money, power, and sex":  The book of Ecclesiastes is attributed to Solomon because its author is identified as David's son.  He announced that everything is vanity, useless, empty.  This is quite a statement from the wisest, richest man in the world.  Our hope is in Jesus alone....
    • Passionist:  Heraclitus:  “You can't step into the same river twice”; everything changes like the waters.  Today’s 1st reading says the opposite:  everything is always the same.  In the gospel, Herod is curious about Jesus and the happenings he's heard about. Perhaps they invite us to reflect more deeply upon our lives.  Qoheleth is speaking for an exiled community; they didn't see or hear God so wondered where he'd gone.  But in the gospel, everything and everyone has possibilities.  Promises are being fulfilled.  Jesus is bringing the Hebrew Scriptures to life with hope, expectation, love, and possibilities of a more intimate life with the Father.  Herod can't understand; he's curious but unwilling to reflect on his own life and so remains a bystander, not a pilgrim.  Today we're asked to listen as God directs us in pathways of love, compassion, caring, justice, humility, and generosity.  Qoheleth was trying to remake God into his own design but couldn't live in the mystery of God’s presence so found himself going in circles.  We may be tempted the same way trying to find God in our lives, or tempted to sit on the sidelines like Herod, rather than take the energy to engage in the mystery of life with God.  The exile sapped Qoheleth, and Herod held his energy in reserve, but we must remain engaged.  Are we energized disciples moving toward the Kingdom?  Perhaps the observation of Heraclitus makes even more sense in our faith context....
    •  "Suppressing truth to ease a guilty conscience":  Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist but was more of a people-pleaser than God-pleaser; he silenced and eventually beheaded John to please his family and guests.  When reports of Jesus reach him, he became troubled, thinking John had risen.  He sought to meet Jesus more out of curiosity and fear than desire to know God; he didn't want to be troubled.  We can try to suppress the truth or what points us to truth, but only God can set us free from a guilty conscience or slavery to sin....

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