September 7, 2016

Sept. 7

September 7, 2016:  Wednesday, 23rd week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Clock' tie bar:  "Time is running out" (1st reading)
  • 'World' tie:  "The world in its present form is passing away." (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "See and bend your ear" (psalm); Jesus raised his eyes toward his disciples (gospel)
  • NEW 'Train' tie pin:  Behind the king's daughter the virgins of her 'train' are brought to you (psalm)
  • Gold-colored tie bar:  "Her raiment is threaded with spun gold." (psalm)
  • 'Bitten apple' pin:  "Blessed you hungry; you'll be satisfied" / "Woe to you full; you'll be hungry." (gospel)

For the gospel

John the Baptist, imprisoned both in a cell and in the darkness of a heart that didn't understand Jesus’ humble style, was upset because his expectations of Jesus’ ministry weren't what he anticipated.
God didn't send his Son to punish sinners but to invite them to conversion.  Jesus is the concrete instrument of the Father’s mercy that brings consolation and salvation to all.  Don't create false images of him; it keeps you from experiencing his real presence.  Some use his name to justify their interests, even hatred and violence.  Some seek him only in hard times, and others consider him just as one of many masters of ethical teachings.
Faith calls us beyond ourselves to be God's missionaries.  Let's remove every obstacle that prevents us from experiencing our Father's merciful works, and ask him for deeper faith so we may be instruments of his mercy.
  • 1 Cor 7:25-31  My opinion re virgins:  because of the present distress, it's good to remain as you are.  If you're bound to a wife, don't seek separation.  If you're free of a wife, do not look for one; if you marry you don't sin but will experience affliction....  The world in its present form is passing away.
  • Lk 6:20-26  “Blessed are you:  poor; the Kingdom is yours.  ...hungry; you'll be satisfied.  ...weeping; you'll laugh.  ...when people hate, exclude, insult, and denounce you...; your reward will be great.  But woe to you:  rich; you've received your consolation.  ...full; you'll be hungry.  ...laughing; you'll grieve.  ...when all speak well of you....”
    • Creighton:  1 Cor is a reply to vocation questions.  Paul confides God hasn't given him a commandment about young unmarried people, but he offers his own insight:  if you can remain as you are, you'll have less affliction, but marrying wouldn't be a sin.   Paul likely viewed marriage as a distraction from full practice of faith, so his advice was in line with the urgency he sensed.
    Today's gospel:  If you're poor, hungry, weeping, hated, insulted, or thought to be evil an account of your faith, blessed are you; your reward will be great.  But if you're rich, satiated, laughing, and well-liked, you'll receive the opposite.  Sacrifice of earthly joys and happiness for him brings us closer to God and our reward; woe to us if we get our rewards primarily pursuing wealth and happiness here....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The beatitudes battle":  "The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus' preaching" (Catechism 1716), "paradoxical promises" (1717) that "confront us with decisive choices concerning earthly goods" (1728).  The world, flesh, and devil pressure us to keep us from living the beatitudes.  Luke helps us to live them by focusing on four, addressing them directly to us ("you" vs "they"), omitting nuances from Mt (which we can turn to loopholes), and saying we'll be cursed if we don't live them.  May we accept God's grace to live them.
      Luke vs. Matthew
      (See also this deck)
    •  "Blessed are you poor; God's kingdom is yours":  No one can escape life's trials.  Jesus gave his disciples a "way of happiness" that transcends difficulty and trouble.  'Beatitude' means happiness/blessedness.  Jesus' way demands transformation from within, conversion only possible through the Spirit's gift and work.  To be filled with joy and happiness, we must empty ourselves of whatever shuts God out.  The poor in spirit possess God alone as their treasure.  Hunger seeks nourishment and strength in God's word.  Sorrow and mourning over sin leads to freedom. 
    Ambrose links the beatitudes with the four cardinal virtues "See how Luke encompassed the eight blessings in the four.  There are four cardinal virtues:  temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude.  One who is poor in spirit is not greedy.  One who weeps is submissive and tranquil, not proud.  One who mourns is humble.  One who is just doesn't deny what's given to all for us.  One who is merciful gives away his goods.  One who bestows his goods doesn't seek another's or contrive traps.  These virtues are interwoven, so that we see that one with one has several. Where virtue abounds, so too the reward; thus temperance has purity of heart and spirit, justice compassion, patience peace, and endurance gentleness" (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke 5.62–63, 68, paraphrased).
    God reveals to the humble the true source of happiness. Jesus promises heaven's joys will more than compensate for this world's troubles and hardships. "No one can live without joy.  One deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures" (Thomas Aquinas).

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