November 22, 2016


November 22, 2016:  St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

See 12 connections with today?
Legend below
In this final week of the Church year, the Lord calls us to think about the end of our lives.  We don't like to think of death, but it's real.  I keep a diary with people's dates of death and remember the anniversaries; it makes me think about what I'll leave behind, what will be the trace of my life, and how I'll be judged.
Think, "What will it be like when Jesus asks me how I've used the talents he gave me, how my heart was when the seed was dropped, how I received his Word?"  "Don't be deceived" speaks of the deception of alienation, estrangement, superficial things, living as though we never had to die.  When the Lord comes, will he find me waiting for him or in the midst of ‘alienations’ of life?
As I child I was taught death, judgment, hell or glory.  If we don't take care of our heart, if we live estranged from the Lord, perhaps there's the danger of continuing to live estranged from him forever!  Think about your judgment day, but don't fear it, because the Lord promises the crown of life to the faithful.  If you're faithful to the Lord, you won't be afraid when death comes.  You'll look at the Lord:  "I have many sins but have tried to be faithful."   Our Lord is good....
  • Rv 14:14-19  There was a white cloud, and sitting on it one like a son of man, crowned, sickle in hand.  An angel cried out, “Reap the harvest!”  Another cried out in a loud voice, “Use your sickle and cut the clusters from the vines.”....
    'Sickle' from today's readings
  • Ps 96:10, 11-12, 13  "The Lord comes to judge the earth."  Say, The Lord is king; he governs with equity.  Rejoice; he'll rule with justice.
  • Lk 21:5-11  “The days will come when all the stones will be thrown down.” / “When?  And what sign will there be? / “Don't be deceived; many will say, ‘I am he,’ but don't follow them.  Don't be terrified of wars/insurrections; they must happen.  There will be earthquakes,  famines, and signs from the sky.” 
    • Creighton:  Today's gospel offers an invitation to find peace through Jesus' words:  don't be terrified by the world's challenges and fearful happenings.  Don't let fear drive your life.  Are we searching for God’s peace, or caught up in the negativity hurled at us?  We're continually exposed to scenes of trauma and sorrow.  We can’t block out the world but can search for stillness.  Whether through music, prayer, meditation, poetry, art, a walk, lunch with a friend, or a beautifully written book, stillness is within our reach.  May we find the peace and stillness we need in order to hear God.  St. Cecilia, pray for us and guide us on our path.
      St. Cecilia/ Guercino
    • Passionist:  As we read Revelation, remember it's apocalyptic writing, about “end times” (not the end of the world as we know it).  Its language and images are highly symbolic, both to ground readers in the mystery of God’s presence and action and to keep the meaning hidden from those who would use it to persecute believers.  It was written to encourage and give hope to persecuted Christians.  In today’s reading, one like the son of man comes to harvest the earth and bring about a new creation.  He first harvests the good deeds, then the evil ones.  Evil is destroyed, and goodness enjoys a new beginning.  It's a wonderful and powerful message for living our faith.  We're being asked to consider the end and to take stock of our past year’s living.  How have I lived in faith, trust , hope, compassion, justice, concern for the less fortunate, forgiveness?  The author invites us to take responsibility for our living, and to hope in a new beginning in a new church year.  We pray for wisdom to see and take new pathways of goodness.
    •  "Don't be led astray":  Jesus foretold signs that would shake peoples, to point us to the truth of his eternal kingdom.  God works to renew us in hope and help us set our hearts on him alone.  His prophecy of the destruction of their temple was a warning of judgment. When they asked for a sign about when it would happen, he admonished them to pray for God's grace and mercy instead.  Jesus said there would be many signs of disasters leading to the last days, when God's anointed King would usher in the reign of God and the last judgment.  But Jesus' prophecy also pointed to God's saving action and mercy.  Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem, knowing he'd be betrayed, rejected, and crucified, but his death brought freedom and victory for all who would accept him.  God extends grace and mercy to all who heed his call....
    • Universalis:  St. Cecilia, perfect example of a Christian woman; patroness of music and musicians because her death candentibus organis (with red-hot pipes) was misread cantantibus organis (with organ playing)?
    Dress legend
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  Son of man wore gold crown (1st reading); "The Lord is king" (psalm)
    • 'Angel' pin:  An angel cried out, “Reap; the time has come.” (1st reading)
    • 'Fire' pin:  Angel in charge of the fire (1st reading)
    • Tie with grapes:  "Cut the clusters from the vines, for its grapes are ripe" (1st reading)
    • 'Scales of justice' pin:  The Lord comes to judge the earth (psalm)
    • 'Tree' pin:  The trees shall exult (psalm)
    • 'Ruler' tie bar:  The Lord shall rule with justice (psalm)
    • 'Stone' tie pin:  Temple adorned with stones; stones will be thrown down (gospel)
    • 'Clocks' suspenders:  The time is coming when stones will be thrown down (gospel)
    • 'Blood drop' pin, red in shirt:  Martyrdom of St. Cecilia
    • 'Blinged piano' pin, angel's trumpet:  St. Cecilia, patroness of music

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