December 14, 2016

John of the Cross

December 14, 2016:  St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor

  • 'Scales of justice' pin:  Let justice descend... (1st reading); justice shall look down from heaven (psalm)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  Let the earth open (1st reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The Lord proclaims peace; justice and peace shall kiss... (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Jesus granted sight to the blind (gospel)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  Tell John the lame walk (gospel)
  • 'Cross' pin with purple robe:  St. John of the Cross, Advent season
  • 'Doctor's office' tie:  John of the Cross, 'doctor' of the Church; Jesus cured their diseases (gospel)
  • White shirt:  Color of St. John of the Cross memorial
  • 'Street lamp' tie bar with dark background:  "I form the light, and create the darkness" (1st reading)

  • Turn to me/  Foley (1st reading, though we usually hear this song only during Lent)
For the psalm
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news...  your God reigns":  these words help us prepare for Christmas by opening ourselves to the hope of salvation.  This prophecy was fulfilled in the kingdom brought by Jesus, the kingdom whose dawning we celebrate at Christmas.  The prophet calls us to rejoice, for the Lord is near, bringing freedom and the promise of renewal and redemption for the faithful “remnant” who hope in his word.  Isaiah speaks not of the messenger but of the messenger’s feet.  So also the messenger of peace races to proclaim liberation, salvation, and God's reign.
God’s kingdom means God hasn't let evil overcome us, because he is faithful and his grace is greater than sin.  And the fulfillment of his love will be that Kingdom of pardon and peace, which we celebrate at Christmas and is manifested conclusively in Easter.  This is why we hope. When all seems over, in the face of negative realities faith grows weary and we're tempted to say all is lost, look to the good news brought by those feet:  God is coming to make something new, to establish a kingdom of peace, to bring liberty and consolation.  Strengthened by this promise, we can face difficulties confident that God’s reign has begun, and that we're called to be its joyful heralds in a world yearning for justice, truth, and peace.
Open your heart to the message of salvation brought by the Christ Child, who shows his power by embracing smallness, weakness, and poverty.  This is the surprise of a child God, of a poor God, of a weak God, of a God who abandons greatness to draw near to each of us.
  • Is 45:6c-8, 18, 21c-25  I am the Lord, there is no other; I create light and darkness, well-being and woe.  Let justice descend like dew or rain; let the earth open and salvation and justice bud forth; designed and made the earth to be lived in.  Turn to me and be safe!  To me every knee shall bend and tongue swear, “Only in the Lord are just deeds, power, and the vindication and glory of the children of Israel.”
  • Ps 85:9ab, 10-14  "Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior."  The Lord proclaims peace to his people, salvation to those who fear him.  Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace kiss.  The Lord will give his benefits:  land, justice, salvation.
  • Lk 7:18b-23  Are you the one to come, or should we look for another?” / “Go tell John the blind regain sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.   Blessed the one who takes no offense at me.”

  • St. John of the Cross
      • Creighton:  God invites us to a heightened awareness of Jesus Christ, Word of God, our savior.   How is God inviting me to open my heart to allow the Father to “rain down” our savior?  Jesus' miracle-working can heal our restlessness.  We also seek heightened sensitivity to God in creation.  God created the earth for us to be lived in and cherished.  "Contemplation of creation allows us to discover teachings God wishes to hand on to us....  Alongside scriptural revelation there is a divine manifestation in sun and nightfall" (Laudato Si 85).  How do I experience God’s “caressing” us in sun and nightfall?  Have I acknowledged that being drawn to created beauty is being drawn to their Creator?  May I be open to God’s presence in the manger scene and the starry night....
      • Passionist:  “Let justice descend like dew from above; like gentle rain let the skies drop it down.”  This cry is called the Rorate Cœli, and the response is "Let the earth be opened and send forth a Savior."  In the 1st reading, Israel's northern kingdom had fallen to Assyria, apparently introducing gloom and destruction.  Isaiah was to remind his people that the Lord would not fail them.  Today we also long for justice, goodness, and kindness instead of greed, violence, and hatred.  Dear God, send us the long-awaited Savior.  Free us all from darkness and evil, and may your justice reign....
      •  "The blind see; the lame walk; the poor receive good news":  John the Baptist sent his disciples to question Jesus about his claim to be Messiah.  Maybe he had doubts, but maybe not, since he'd revealed Jesus' mission, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God,..."  seeing Jesus would redeem us and make us God's children, citizens citizens of his kingdom.  John likely wanted his disciples to hear and see proof that the Messiah had come.  Jesus' miracles and message fulfilled prophecy. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would come in the power of the Spirit to bring freedom.  His miracles and exorcisms are signs of God's power and presence and confirm the Father sent his Son to be our Messiah and Savior, forgiving our sins, adopting us as his children, giving us life in the Spirit....

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