November 28, 2016

Nov. 28

November 28, 2016:  Monday, 1st week, Advent

  • 'Fire' pin:  The Lord will create a light of flaming fire (1st reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  The Lord will purge Jerusalem’s blood (1st reading)
  • 'Feet' pin:  We've set foot within your gates (psalm)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! (psalm)
  • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Jesus healed centurion's servant (gospel)
  • 'Fruit' pin:  The fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor (Sunday 1st reading)
  • 'Sword' tie pin:  They'll beat their swords into plowshares (Sunday 1st reading)
      • Purple in shirt and suspenders:  Advent season
      For Psalm 122
      Pope Francis homily
      Encountering Jesus is the grace we desire in Advent.  The season's liturgy shows us many encounters with Jesus:  with Mary in the womb, John the Baptist, the shepherds, the magi.  Advent is a time for journeying and meeting the Lord, not standing still.
      How do I prepare for encountering the Lord?  Vigilant prayer, industrious charity, and exultant praise.  I must pray with vigilance.  I must work hard to show charity – fraternal charity, not only giving alms, but being tolerant of people who annoy me, being tolerant when family members are difficult or children make too much noise.  And I must praise the Lord with joy.
      But there will be a surprise, because he's the Lord of surprises.  The Lord doesn't stand still either.  I'm on a journey to encounter him, he's on one to encounter me, and when we meet we see the surprise that he was seeking me before I began to seek him.  He's always first.  He makes his journey to find us, as with the Centurion.
      We take one step and he ten.  His grace, love, tenderness never tire of seeking us, even with small things.  We think encountering the Lord will be magnificent, like Naaman did.  It’s not easy; God surprised him too.  God seeks and awaits us, asking only our good will.  We must want to encounter him; then he helps.  He'll accompany us throughout our life, even if it seems to us he's far away.  He waits like the prodigal son's father.  When he sees we want to draw close, he comes out to meet us.  The encounter with the Lord is the important thing!  Faith is an encounter with Jesus, not a theory, philosophy, or idea.  If you haven't encountered his mercy, you can recite the Creed from memory and not necessarily have faith.
      The doctors of the Law knew everything but didn't have faith, because their hearts were far from God.  Father, give us the desire to meet your Christ, with good works, vigilant prayer, industrious charity, and exultant praise.  Then we'll encounter the Lord and will have a beautiful surprise. 
        Flaming fire....
      • Is 4:2-6  The branch of the Lord will be luster and glory, the fruit of the earth honor and splendor.  Those who remain in Zion will be called holy, everyone marked for life.  When the Lord purges Jerusalem’s blood with searing judgment, he'll create a smoking cloud by day and flaming fire by night.  His glory will be shelter and protection for all....
      • Ps 122:1-9  "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord."  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
      • Mt 8:5-11  Centurion / Jesus:  “My servant is home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” / “I'll come and cure him.” / “I'm not worthy to have you enter; just say the word and he'll be healed, just as soldiers do what I say.” / “In no one in Israel have I found such faith.  Many will come and recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom.”
        • Creighton:  At Mass, as we're invited to Communion with our Lord, we say, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed,” the words the centurion uttered after Jesus said, “I will come and cure him.”  Do we feel unworthy to have Christ enter under our roof and into our lives, because our house is not in order?  It'll never be, but the Lord knows and just asks that we believe in his love and his willingness to forgive us.  Advent reminds us of Jesus' birth and return.  He's ready to enter under our roof and save us; all we have to do is ask.  How willing am I to let Jesus under our roof?  What am I afraid of?
          Jesus healing the servant of a Centurion/ Veronese
        • One Bread, One Body:  "Can you believe this?"  Advent readings start with mind-boggling prophecies from Isaiah, painting a glorious picture of restoration fashioned by the coming Messiah.  Even now as Jerusalem is besieged by suicide bombers, the Lord wants to purge "Jerusalem's blood from her midst," to so transform it that instruction and God's word will go forth, not conflict.  Isaiah proclaims a powerful Messiah who can cause Israel and the Palestinians to cash in their weapons for seed and tractors....  The Messiah has awesome power and fantastic plans for good that include us.  Nearly everyone missed the Messiah's first coming, despite all the prophecies; now the readings tell us to get ready for Jesus' coming.  Will we also shrug off the prophecies and so miss his coming?
        • Passionist:  As we journey through Advent, may we focus on spreading the message of peace and joy among God’s people.  The centurion's faith amazed Jesus.  How's our faith?  May we rest in God’s love and protection in this busy season, taking time to share the Lord's peace and joy.  May this season be a time of renewed faith, hope, and love as we rest in the transforming joy of the Lord....
          St. Catherine Labouré, pray for us.
        •  "Many will sit at table in the kingdom of God":  God invites everyone who will turn to him with faith and obedience.  Jesus promised that everyone who believed in him would feast at his Father's table; he said it in response to a centurion, an outsider despised by many, not one of the "chosen."  The Romans represented everything the Jews stood against:  foreign domination, pagan beliefs and practices....  This centurion was courageous and faith-filled; in seeking Jesus' help, he risked ridicule and mockery, but he approached with confidence and humility.  Slaves were usually treated as animals, but he loved his slave and wanted Jesus to heal him.  Am I willing to suffer ridicule in practicing my faith?  Do I approach the Lord with faith?
        Isaiah foretold a time of restoration and universal peace.  Jesus fulfills this prophecy by restoring Jews and Gentiles to friendship with God through his victory on the cross.  When he returns, he'll fully establish peace and justice and unite all things in himself.  His promise extends to all who believe in him.  The Lord wants us to seek him and his kingdom in our lives. We can approach him with faith, like the centurion did, knowing he'll show us mercy and give us help.
        RIP, Fr. General Peter-Hans Kovenbach, SJ

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