December 15, 2016

Dec. 15

December 15, 2016:  Thursday, 3rd week, Advent

  • 'Phone' tie bar:  The Lord 'calls' you back (1st reading)

  • 'Alps' tie pin:  "Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, my love won't leave you" (1st reading)

  • Purple suspenders and tie:  Advent season

For gospel

    • John/ Winter:  leadsheet and note
Pope Francis
Homily:  Many went out to find John the Baptist:  some to see a prophet and be baptized, others to judge him.  John was the last of the prophets, because after him came the Messiah; he was great because he did what the Lord asked.  He preached forcefully, saying not “Friends, behave yourselves!” but “You vipers!”  He called Herod an adulterer to his face.  Today if a pastor preached, “Some of you are vipers and adulterers,” people would ask his bishop to send him away....
John began with small things:  “Don't ask for more than what is just.”  First this step, then we'll see.  "Don't threaten or denounce."  "Be content with your pay."  He understood people's situations and helped them go forward with the Lord.   Great though he was, John still had dark moments.  In prison he began to doubt, because Jesus wasn't as he'd imagined; he sent disciples to ask Jesus whether was the Messiah, and Jesus corrected John's vision:  “The blind see, the deaf hear, the dead rise.”  The great can afford to doubt, because they're great.  When the Lord makes them see a new street of the journey, they doubt.
Ask from John the grace of apostolic courage to say things with truth, from pastoral love, to receive people with the little they can give; God will do the rest.  And the grace of doubting.  May John, least in the kingdom of Heaven, and for this reason great, help us along this path....
At Baby Jesus Children's Hospital:  Not even Jesus had an answer to why children suffer, but he shows us how to give meaning to the experience; he suffered, offering his own life for our salvation.  We can only be close to the child who suffers, cry with him, pray with him, look to the crucified Jesus.  Don't neglect the value of gratitude:  always say thank you.  It's a medicine against hopelessness, a contagious ailment.  Saying thanks nurtures hope, and hope is the fuel of Christian life that allows us to go forward every day.
Don't transform a hospital into a place of profiteering; one of the worst cancers in a hospital is corruption.  We're all sinners, but we must learn from children and never be corrupt.  Never stop doing good and wishing to give life to great projects.  A life without dreams is not worthy of God; a tired, resigned life lacking enthusiasm is not Christian.  Those who dedicate their lives for others have special strength and joy.  Sowing life, helping young lives to grow, giving to others is your best reward.
  • Is 54:1-10  Rejoice, you barren one, for numerous are your children.  Your descendants shall people the desolate cities.  You won't be disgraced.  Your Maker, the Lord, has become your husband; the Holy One is your redeemer.  I call you back with great tenderness.  I won't be angry with you.  Though the mountains leave their place, my love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken.
  • Ps 30:2, 4-6, 11-12a, 13b  "I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me."  You preserved me.  Your anger lasts but a moment, your good will forever.  You changed my mourning to dancing.
  • Lk 7:24-30  Jesus to crowd re John:  “What did you go out to see:  a wind-swayed reed?  Someone well-dressed?  A prophet?  Yes, and more than a prophet.  Scripture says, "I'm sending my messenger to prepare your way."  No one born is greater than John, but the least in God's Kingdom is greater.”  (All baptized with John's baptism acknowledged God's righteousness, but the Pharisees and law scholars rejected God's plan for themselves.)
    • Creighton:  Advent takes hold in my heart when I have hope in my life.  Many of us have made bad choices or have been hurt by others' bad choices.  We might blame God for not intervening or turn on him if he doesn't do what we think he should.  Today's readings offer us the opportunity to hope based upon God's fidelity, trusting God's undying love and mercy.  Advent takes us closer to accepting and believing God's assurance faithful love, rejoicing that nothing can shake us.  Sinners listened to Jesus' words and acknowledged God's goodness and justice, but the self-righteous didn't see need for conversion.  Hope, joy, confidence, and freedom come from experiencing mercy and knowing God's love endures; self-absorption falls away.  We notice and care about others' suffering and reach out to them.  We pay attention to what disturbs others and leads to anger and hatred; we move to heal, comfort, and show compassion,
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Looking for love":  Jesus asks, "What  did you go out to see?"  Crowds look for Santa, good cheer, and maybe love.  Good news and love are available in Jesus whose love is enduring, who has mercy on you."  When the Magi went to see baby Jesus, they found Love.  When we look for Love, He finds us.
      St. John the Baptist/ da Vinci
    • Passionist:  Today's 1st reading is near the end of the Book of Consolation, which began with God's cry. “Comfort my people.”  Today we're invited to break into joy.  Looking at the world's violence and suffering, we can feel helpless.  But we hear, “With great tenderness I'll take you back.”  God’s mercy always embraces us....
    •  "My steadfast love and covenant of peace shall not depart from you":  People recognized John's prophetic ministry of reconciliation with God and submitted to his baptism of repentance, hoping for new life and restoration.  Isaiah prophesied God would not forget his unfaithful people because of his steadfast love.  Now John announces the Messiah's coming and so the beginning of the promised restoration. John completed the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah.  John preached repentance:  turning from sin to God's word.  He pointed his disciples to Jesus, "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."  Jesus came to fulfill God's promise to set people free; he won pardon, reconciliation, and adoption for us.  John announced the Lord would baptize people with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Lord fills us with the Spirit and his purifying fire so we may shine with his love and holiness and proclaim the gospel with courage and boldness....

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