November 3, 2016

Nov. 3

November 3, 2016:  Thursday, 31st week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  Look to the Lord in his strength (psalm)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  Wouldn't you leave your sheep to seek a lost one? (gospel)
  • 'Coin' tie bar:  Wouldn't you sweep the house to look for a lost coin? (gospel)
  • 'Dove' pin:  We worship through the Spirit of God (1st reading)
  • 'Scroll' pin:  Paul was an observer of the Law (1st reading)
  • 'Hearts' tie:  Rejoice, hearts that seek the Lord (psalm)
  • 'Lamp' pin:  A woman who lost a coin would light a lamp and look carefully (gospel)
  • 'Angel' pin:  The angels will rejoice over one sinner who repents (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Pope Francis
To reps of many religions:  Celebrate God's mercy by a life of love, service, and sharing.  Be messengers of peace and builders of communion.   Show compassion to the weak and needy, and seek occasions of encounter that open us to dialogue and mutual understanding; the summons to love is at the soul of all authentic religion.  Our consciences call us to be open to the Other and to others.
'Mercy' comes from Latin misericordia, evoking a heart (cor) sensitive to those who suffer, sharing their suffering.  In Semitic languages the root expresses God’s mercy; it has to do with a mother’s womb, the mother's feelings for the child she'll bear.  “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb?  Even if she forgets, I'll never forget you.”  Sad to say, we do forget, grow indifferent, distance ourselves from God and others, and repeat past errors.  Yet merciful love draws near to human misery to relieve it, like a mother who sees past sin to recognize her child.  We need this gratuitous, lifegiving love.  No technology can quench our thirst for mercy.  We seek love that endures beyond momentary pleasures, a safe end to our wanderings, an infinite forgiving, reconciling embrace.
Many fear it's impossible to be forgiven, rehabilitated, and redeemed.  But we too must forgive those who trespass against us, who have offended us; we receive God’s forgiveness to share it.  Forgiveness is the greatest, and most costly, gift we can give; it's what makes us most like God.  Mercy extends to the world, our common home.  We must educate to sobriety, respect, more simple living, wiser use of the resources of creation, concern for humanity and coming generations, looking to the common good.  May we reject disagreement, closed-mindedness, and conveying messages out of tune with mercy.  Sad to say, people invoke religion or God to justify violence or conflict.  May such attitudes be condemned and may peaceful encounters and religious freedom be fostered.  We must make great effort together, with hope.  May religions be wombs of life bearing God's merciful love to a wounded and needy humanity; may they be doors of hope penetrating walls erected by pride and fear.
    "Lost sheep"
    original / animate
  • Phil 3:3-8a  We are the circumcision.  I can be confident in the flesh, as a circumcised Hebrew Pharisee faithful to the law.  But I now consider any gains I had as loss because of Christ.  I consider everything as loss because of the good of knowing Christ my Lord.
  • Ps 105:2-7  "Let hearts rejoice who search for the Lord."  Sing praise to him; proclaim his wondrous deeds.  Look to the Lord, serve him, and recall his wondrous deeds...
  • Lk 15:1-10  Jesus to Pharisees and scribes:  “Who among you having 100 sheep and losing one wouldn't leave the 99 to go after the lost one, then rejoice on finding it?  In the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than 99 righteous who have no need of repentance.  What woman who lost one of her 10 coins wouldn't sweep the house to find it, then rejoice on finding it?  In the same way, there will be rejoicing among the angels over one sinner who repents.”
    • Creighton:  The woman who lost one of her coins lights the lamp, sweeps, and searches carefully, determined, with hope.  Once she finds it, she celebrates with her friends and neighbors.  The angels of God celebrate over one sinner who repents.  This story fills me with hope.  When I sin, I'm still embraced with love, and angels celebrate when I repent.  I can learn from my mistakes and to strive to do better.  How can I welcome my friends and neighbors to help me use my gifts to serve others?  What can I learn from my mistakes?  How do I show compassion to someone struggling in sin?  How do I support someone who wants to repent?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Lost and found":  Paul thought himself a magnificent Jew; then Jesus struck him blind, and he repented of his prideful self-evaluation of himself and realized he was nothing without Christ.  He gave himself to Christ and begged his friends to offer themselves as a living sacrifice to God and not to think more highly of themselves than they ought. The Lord rejoiced that he, who was lost, was found.
    • Passionist:  We need to learn the detachment Paul discovered.  Many of us own homes and fill them with things we cling to.  We know they'll pass away, but they may trigger a memory, or bring joy by their beauty, or...  Can we let them go?  What takes first place in our hearts?  What do we spend the most time doing? Two other translations use 'liability' and 'worthless' for 'loss.'  Things can keep us from being closer to God. May we hold things lightly so we may serve God and further his Kingdom....
    •  "Sinners were drawn to Jesus":  The scribes and Pharisees took offense at Jesus going out of his way to meet with sinners and treating them like friends.  When they questioned him about it, he told the parables about the lost sheep and lost coin to challenge their way of judging and shunning sinners.  Shepherds counted their sheep at day's end to account for them.  An isolated sheep can become bewildered, so a shepherd's anxiety turns to joy when he restores a lost sheep to the fold.  The housewife who lost a coin worth her husband's daily wage faced an economic disaster; her anxiety turns to joy when she finds it.  Both shepherd and housewife search till they find what they lost; their persistence pays off, and they share their joy with the community. Jesus insisted that sinners be sought out. God wants everyone to be saved and restored to fellowship with him. Do I pray for and seek after the lost?
    • Word of the day:  σκύβαλον, from 1st reading in Phil 3:8.  Paul counts all as 'loss' because of the good of knowing Christ...
      • Malachy, bishop, abbot, monastery founder

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