December 13, 2016


December 13, 2016:  St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

  • 'Alps' pin:  You shall no longer exalt yourself on my holy mountain (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  The remnant of Israel shall pasture their flocks (1st reading)
    • 'Pierced hearts' suspenders: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted (psalm)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  I'll purify them that they may 'call' on and serve the Lord (1st reading)
        • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  St. Lucy's martyrdom
        • 'Eyeball' pin:  Lucy, patroness of the blind and people with eye disorders
        • 'Jubilee year' pin (oops, fell off; hope to find...):  Look to him that you may be radiant with joy (psalm)
        • '[Christmas] lights' tie:  Lead us to your light (season), today's Christmas luncheon
        • 'No-L' button:  Today's Christmas luncheon

        For Psalm 34
        Pope Francis
        Homily:  Jesus turned to the chief priests and elders, those with authority.  Annas and Caiaphas, for example, decided to kill Lazarus, and Judas sold Jesus to them.  They arrived at this arrogance and tyranny by remaking the law, regulating everything, making nuances, without the First Commandment:  “Walk in my presence and be blameless.”  They didn't walk but stopped in their own convictions, and they weren't blameless!  They'd forgotten the Commandments:  they made the law intellectualistic, sophisticated, casuistic, disconnected from Revelation.  Their victim was Jesus, and they cast aside Judas, who sinned gravely and forcefully, but then repented and tried to return the money.  The pastors didn't welcome him because they'd forgotten what it was to be a pastor; they were intellectuals of religion, advancing catechesis with their own morality, not revelation.
        This still happens in the Church. Clerics feel superior, far from the people, with no time to hear the poor, suffering, prisoners, or the sick.  Clericalism is ugly!  And the victim is the same: the poor and humble people that trust in the Lord, the discarded, the repentant, those who suffer injustice.  The Father has always sought to be close to us; he sent his Son.  We wait in joyful expectation, but the Son didn’t join these people's game; he went with the sick, the poor, the discarded, publicans, sinners, prostitutes.  Today Jesus says to us all, even to those seduced by clericalism, sinners and prostitutes will go before you into heaven.
        Wish him a happy 80th birthday!
        • Zep 3:1-2, 9-13  Lord:  Woe to the rebellious city!  She accepts no correction, hasn't trusted in or drawn near to the Lord.  I'll purify the peoples, that they may call on the Lord and serve him; I'll remove the braggarts from your midst and leave a humble remnant.  They'll do no wrong; they'll pasture their flocks undisturbed.
        • Ps 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-19, 23  "The Lord hears the cry of the poor."  I'll always praise the Lord.  Look to him and be radiant with joy.  The Lord saves the poor and crushed in spirit, is close to the brokenhearted, confronts evildoers, and hears and rescues the just.
        • Mt 21:28-32  Jesus to chief priests:  “What is your opinion?  Man / 2 sons:  ‘Go work in the vineyard.’ / #1:  ‘No,’ but he changed his mind and went.  #2:  ‘OK,’ but he didn't go.  Jesus:  “Who did his father’s will?” / “The first.” / “Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom before you.  You didn't believe John, but they did, and you still didn't change your minds.”
          • Creighton:  Humility is underrated.  In a world that seems to reward the unapologetic, humility is seen as weakness.  Jesus came to us humbly, in a manger.  Today's crèches don't do the real setting justice:  Mary just through labor, likely clueless Joseph, the smell, real donkeys...  Our salvation began so humbly and was consummated in a degrading and painful way, before the Resurrection.
          • Passionist:  In the face of the religious leaders' offense, how did Jesus keep showing up in the temple, not losing hope or getting discouraged?  In today's gospel, the first son showed selfless love while the second gave empty promises. Today's readings invite us to see with Jesus' eyes and live aware that those we judge might be responding to self-emptying love in their lives.  Lord, give me freedom to respond to the invitations for growth and truth in my life, to nourished, immersed in the sea of God’s love (Paul of the Cross).  Help me respond with your heart for love and justice, never blinded by preconceptions but called forth by love. As I sing Advent hymns, may my words be authentic; may I live them, not side-tracked by the season's demands....
          •  "Who did the father's will?"  The choices we make shape our future.   In the gospel, the father who provided for his sons and gave them work expected them to show gratitude, loyalty, and honor by doing their share.  The "rebellious" son told his father he wouldn't work but then changed his mind and did what was asked of him; the "good" son said he would work but didn't follow through.  Both disobeyed, but one repented then obeyed the father.  Good intentions aren't enough, and promises don't count unless they're performed.  God wants to change us so we'll show in word and deed that we respect and do his will and receive his peace, and joy....
          • Universalis:  Lucy, virgin, martyr at ~21, patroness of the blind and those with eye disorders

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