January 31, 2017

John Bosco

January 31, 2017:  St. John Bosco, Priest

Find 18 connections with today?
Legend below

For Psalm 22
The 1st reading exhorts us to run in the faith with perseverance, eyes fixed on Jesus.  In the Gospel, Jesus looks at us and sees us.  He's is close to us, always in the crowd.  He didn’t walk around with guards so nobody could touch him.  No; people surrounded him.  And there were more people every time.  He sought people, and people sought him; they fixed their gaze on him and he on them, on each individual.  Jesus doesn't standardize people; he looks at each one.
The gospel narrates two miracles:  Jesus heals a woman suffering from hemorrhaging who touched his cloak, and he raises Jairus' 12-year-old daughter.  His gaze falls on the big and the small.  He sees all but looks at each of us; he sees our problems and joys.  He's not afraid of the big things, but he also takes account of the little ones.
If we run with perseverance, eyes fixed on Jesus, we'll be astonished, as the people were when Jairus' after he raised Jairus’ daughter.  When I go forward, looking at Jesus. I find his gaze is fixed on me!  And I feel the astonishment of encountering Jesus.  But don't be afraid!  The woman wasn't afraid to touch Jesus’ mantle.  Run down this road with your gaze fixed on Jesus, and he'll fill you with awe.
  • Heb 12:1-4  We're surrounded by a cloud of witnesses; rid yourself of sin and run the race, keeping eyes fixed on Jesus who endured the cross and took his seat at God's right.  He endured opposition so you wouldn't lose heart.  You haven't struggled to the point of shedding blood.
    'Cloud of witnesses' word cloud
  • Ps 22:26b-28, 30-32  "They will praise you, Lord, who long for you."  I'll fulfill my vows.  The lowly shall eat their fill.  All shall turn to the Lord and bow.
  • Mk 5:21-43  Synagogue official Jairus asked Jesus to lay hands on his daughter to heal her; they went off.  A woman with hemorrhages touched Jesus' cloak and was cured.  "Who touched my clothes?"  She told him everything.  "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."  To Jairus:  "Your daughter has died."  Jesus, hearing the wailing:  "She's asleep."  He took her by the hand:  "Arise!"  She rose; all were astounded....
        • Creighton:  How we "rid ourselves of burdens" reflects who we are, how we show compassion, and prepares us for the final "race" with eyes fixed on Jesus. It's a struggle, but the reward is to be with the "author and perfecter of faith."
        • One Bread, One Body:  "Second wind":  If you've run the Christian race for years, you might be tempted to stop running.  To keep going, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and he'll draw you to himself.  In him we have strength for everything.
        • Passionist:  On the surface, the gospel is about Jesus healing the sick, but note the faith of the people crying out for his power.  They turn to someone they’ve never met.  Jesus' saving power is limitless and available to everyone.
        St. John Bosco
        Jairus waits patiently while Jesus spends time with the woman, and he's not disappointed.  Later, Jesus would wait to go to Lazarus, then raises him from the dead.  God’s miracles know no limits.  God walks with us in all our actions and trials, even situations that seem hopeless to us and times we're impatient or don't understand.  We may not get what we want or when we want it, but it's always right to trust in God’s saving power.
          • DailyScripture.net:  "The woman who took heart in Jesus": Helpless people weren't disappointed when they sought Jesus out.  Jesus gave hope in apparently hopeless situations; he hoped in God, spoke words of hope, and ignited faith.  Jesus showed his concern for others and readiness to heal and restore life.
          "Glory to you, Son of God; your healing power is proclaimed through the woman's suffering.  Through her they could see the divinity that can't be seen. Through his healing power his divinity became known.  Through her healing her faith was made manifest.  She caused him to be proclaimed and was honored with him.  For truth was proclaimed together with its heralds.  She was a witness to his divinity; he was a witness to her faith... He saw her hidden faith and gave her a visible healing" (Ephrem the Syrian)
          Jesus gave hope to Jairus who had the courage to go to him openly, inviting scorn.  People had no hope, but Jesus took his daughter by the hand and delivered her from death.  Peter Chrysologus:  "The man was a ruler of the synagogue, versed in the law.  He'd surely read that God created man.  He trusted his daughter would be recreated and restored by that same hand...." (Peter Chrysologus)
            • John Bosco, priest, cared for the young (night classes, boarding house...), founded the Salesians
          Dress legend
          • 'Boat' tie bar:  Jesus crossed in the boat (gospel)
          • 'Feet' pin:  Jairus fell at Jesus' feet (gospel)
          • 'Coin' tie bar:  Hemorrhaging woman had spent all her money (gospel)
          • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "Go in peace and be cured" (gospel)
          • 'Runner' tie pin:  Persevere in running the race... (1st reading)
          • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  ...keeping eyes fixed on Jesus (1st reading)
          • 'Cross' tie pin:  Jesus endured the cross (1st reading)
          • 'Blood drop' pin:  You haven't struggled to the point of shedding blood (1st reading); woman with hemorrhage (gospel)
          • 'Hands' pin:  Woman suffered at doctors' hands; "lay your hands on my daughter"; Jesus took her by the hand (gospel)
          • 'Heart' pin:  Don't lose heart (1st reading); may your hearts be merry (psalm)
          • Clothes:  "If I just touch his clothes, I'll be cured"/"Who touched my clothes?" (gospel)
          • 'Kids, school bus, clouds' tie:  "We're surrounded by a cloud of witnesses" (1st reading); St. John Bosco cared for youth; Catholic Schools Week

          January 30, 2017

          Jan. 30

          January 30, 2017:  Monday, 4th week, Ordinary Time


          For 1st reading

          For gospel
          Without memory there's no hope.  Hebrews 11 speaks of memory, first of all a memory of the docility of so many people.  Today's section is about the Lord's great works accomplished through Gideon, Barak, Samson, David, and others.
          We also remember the martyrs, those who have given their lives, as Jesus did, stoned, tortured, killed by the sword....  The Church is this people of God, sinful but docile, that does great things and bears witness to Christ, to the point of martyrdom.  Martyrs support the Church and carry it forward; there are more now than in the first centuries.  The media doesn’t speak of them because they're not newsworthy, but so many are persecuted, insulted, incarcerated, many just for carrying a cross or confessing Christ!  This is the glory of the Church, our support, and our humiliation:  everything seems easy for us who have much.  The greatest strength of today's Church is in the little Churches, tiny, persecuted, with their bishops in prison.
          A Church without martyrs is a church without Jesus.  Pray for our martyrs, for those not free to express themselves: they're our hope.  “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.”  They, with the witness of their life, sow Christians for the future.  Pray for those now suffering, for Churches that suffer, who don't have liberty.  And thank the Lord for being present with the strength of the Spirit in those bearing witness to him.
          • Heb 11:32-40  I don't have time to tell those who by faith conquered kingdoms, did right, closed lion's mouths, put out fires, escaped the sword; they were made strong and powerful.  Some were afflicted, tortured or killed, or endured mockery or imprisonment.  Yet they all didn't receive what had been promised.  God foresaw something better....
          • Ps 31:20-24  "Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord."  How great is the goodness You have in store for those who fear you.  You shelter them, show mercy.  You heard my pleading....
          • Mk 5:1-20  Jesus / Gerasene with unclean spirit:  “Come out of the man!” / “What have you to do with me, Son of the Most High?  Don't torment me!” / “What is your name?” / “Legion; we are many.  Send us into the swine.”  They entered the swine and drowned all 2,000.  All saw the man cured and were amazed.  “Announce all the Lord has done for you.”
          • Creighton:  Today the symptoms the Legion-possessed man displayed would be interpreted as mental illness, but he was clearly suffering.  Relieving his suffering is right and just. We should use the tools we have to help others and our world. Jesus used his divine powers to heal the man, but even if we use medicine or therapy today, social support and prayer are still needed.  Science and faith can both heal, and people of science can be people of faith....
          • One Bread, One Body:  "Left-overs":  After Jesus drove the unclean spirits out of the man, the townsfolk begged him to leave.  He left, but when he didn't allow the man to accompany him, he assured that his truth, power, and love would stay in the area through the man's new life.
          • Medieval illustration of Jesus healing the Gerasene
          • Today Jesus has been told to leave certain places, businesses, cities, nations, and families, but he's left us behind and is present through us.  May we bear his presence in society.  Satan showed his presence through the swine; may the Lord show his presence through us.
          • Passionist:  "Comfort and companionship amidst challenges":  How do we deal with the demons of lethargy and evil?  Hebrews was written in part to give courage and support to early Christians.  To break the spiritual lethargy of Christians who had lost heart, the author mentioned people who had endured for the Lord, responding to challenges.
          Jesus confronted evil in the person of the possessed man who sought him out and was freed from Legion. Jesus asked him to return to his family and tell them what God had done.  News spread, and all who heard or saw the changed man were amazed!  We believe in Jesus, but despair or lethargy can challenge us too, as can demons of violence, abuse, poverty, and injustice.  Jesus invites us to be in communion with him and the Church, seeking healing and strength in the life he offers us.  Never alone, we face challenges with the Life and fellowship we have in Jesus.  Who knows what miracles Jesus may work through us?
          • DailyScripture.net:  "Tell them  how much the Lord has done for you":  A 'legion' is an army over 5,000 strong, capable of committing atrocities.  Our age has also witnessed mass destruction at the hands of possessed rulers and their armies.  God's word reminds us no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace God offers to those who seek him.  Jesus took pity on the man who was overtaken by a 'legion' of evil spirits.  After Jesus freed him, the people feared Jesus and begged him to leave, perhaps because the price for liberation was more than they wanted to pay.  Jesus is ready to free us from whatever binds us and keeps us from his love.  Are you willing to part with it?
          Dress legend
          • 'Lion' pin:  People with faith closed lions' mouths,... (1st reading)
          • 'Fire' pin:  ...Put out raging fires,... (1st reading)
          • 'Sword' pin:  ...Escaped the sword (1st reading)
          • 'JC' chain:  Jesus Christ expels Legion (gospel); nobody could restrain the possessed man, even with a chain (gospel); others endured chains,... (1st reading)
          • 'Stone' tie pin:  ...Were stoned,... (1st reading); the demoniac bruised himself with stones (gospel)
          • 'Sheep' tie bar:  ...Went about in sheepskin,... (1st reading)
          • 'Alps' tie pin:  ...Wandered about on mountains... (1st reading)
          • 'Heart' pin:  Let your hearts take comfort... (psalm)
          • 'Boat' tie bar:  Jesus got out of the boat, then got in (gospel)
          • 'Pigs' suspenders:  Jesus let the evil spirits enter into the swine (gospel)
          • '?' tie pin:  "What is your name?" (gospel)
          • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

          January 29, 2017

          4th Sun., Ordinary Time

          January 29, 2017:  Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

          • 'Scales' pin:  The Lord secures justice for the oppressed (psalm)
          • 'Silverware' tie:  The Lord gives food to the hungry (psalm)
          • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord gives sight to the blind (psalm)
          • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord shall reign forever (psalm)
          • 'John's Jokers' tie:  God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise (2nd reading)
          • 'Owl' tie pin:  Christ became for us God's wisdom (2nd reading)
          • 'Heart' pin:  Blessed are the clean of heart (gospel)
          • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Blessed are the peacemakers (gospel)
          • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

          'Beatitunes' for today's gospel
          For Psalm 146
          For future Sundays
          Pope Francis Angelus
          The Gospel of Matthew is the keystone of the New Testament; it tells how Jesus manifested God’s will to show us the path to happiness.  The prophets had already highlighted God's liberating closeness to the poor and the oppressed, but Jesus pointed to a different path that exhorts us to trust in God as Christian happiness is found in the promise of salvation.  
          The poor in spirit know how to be humble, obedient, and available to God's grace.  They use material goods with moderation.  The need for voracious consumption weighs us down.  "The more I have, the more I want" kills the soul; if you have this attitude, you'll never be happy.
          Poverty of spirit is revealed in how you praise and acknowledge the Lord's creative love and how you trust God.  The poor in spirit don't trust in material riches, aren't obstinate about conveying their opinions, listen with respect, and defer to others' decisions.  The more who are poor in spirit, the fewer divisions, disagreements, and controversies!  Humility, like charity, is essential for living together in Christian communities.
          Gospel poverty is the path to the Kingdom of Heaven, a path that favors sharing over possession.  You can walk the path of love only if you have an open heart and are docile to the Lord's will, as Mary was.
          • Zep 2:3; 3:12-13  Seek the Lord, you humble, who observe his law; seek justice and humility.  I'll leave as a remnant a lowly people, who shall take refuge in the Lord.  They'll do no wrong and speak no lies; they'll pasture their flocks, and no one will disturb them.
          • Ps 146:6-10  "Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!"  The Lord keeps faith, secures justice, gives food to the hungry. frees captives, gives sight to the blind, loves the just, protects strangers, and sustains the fatherless and the widow.  Your God shall reign forever!
          • 1 Cor 1:26-31  Consider your calling; not many of you were wise or power by human standards.  God chose the foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, the lowly and despised, who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so no one might boast before God.  Because of him you're in Christ, who became God's wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  Boast in the Lord!
          • Mt 5:1-12a  "Blessed the poor in spirit, mourners, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the clean of heart, peacemakers, and those persecuted for justice's sake.  They'll be comforted, satisfied, and shown mercy.  They'll inherit the land, see God, and be called God's children.  Rejoice when they utter evil against you because of me; your reward will be great in heaven.
            • Creighton:  We seek the Lord by seeking justice, peace, and humility.  The way to seek the Lord is to seek justice and peace, but even Jesus didn't get justice and peace here on earth; he took the form of the lowly to shame the higher-ups, but they didn’t understand.  Many still don’t.  We have to seek justice and peace, even if we don’t get it. We need to do the right thing, even if we don’t get what’s right in return. We are blessed who show mercy, seek justice, and are humble and helpful.  Our blessings come from knowing we're acting appropriately.  Even if we suffer for our actions, our rewards will be great in heaven....
              Sermon on the mount/ Bloch
            • One Bread, One Body:  "Jesus:  the Beatitude":  The Beatitudes go together:  we won't be poor in spirit unless we've mourned for our sins, have the strength of meekness, and seek God's kingdom.  But if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we'll be persecuted.  Only those committed to the Lord and clean of heart will accept the privilege of being persecuted.  The clean of heart mourn for their sins and hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The Beatitudes are eight ways of looking at one thing.  The basic Beatitude is: "Blessed are the disciples of Jesus, who live to imitate him."  Happiness is found by living in and for Jesus. The Beatitudes are revealed by Jesus and are revelations of his character.  Only Jesus can save us and make us happy.  God has made Jesus our Wisdom, Justice, Sanctification, and Redemption."  Blessed are all living in Jesus, our Love, Hope, Joy, Lord, Savior, and God.
            • Passionist:  'Seek' can mean search for, be in quest of, or ask for.  Seeking God can mean we're lost, or seeking God’s will, or asking for a need; it's a lifelong journey of conversion that scripture, the Eucharist, and prayer guide us in.  The beatitudes tell us what to take along:  meekness, showing mercy, making peace, being hungry for justice, and more.  And the journey has its trials, insults, and persecutions.  If we're on the right path, it can be hard for us and those around us.  The 2nd reading explains the difference between God's wisdom and the world's.  It's important to reflect on situations, events, or what people say and discern how to respond....
            • DailyScripture.net:  "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven":  We long for true happiness, the complete good, the sum of all goods?  Jesus says we can live a very happy life.  We can be holy, pursuing God's will, by living the beatitudes.  The beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness God has placed in every heart.  God calls us to his kingdom, the vision of God, to enter into his joy and rest.  The beatitudes confront us with decisive choices about the life we pursue and how we use the goods he puts at our disposal.  Jesus tells us only God can satisfy our deepest needs.  God offers us the greatest good:  life in Christ, joy and happiness with God.  The beatitudes are a sign of contradiction to the world's understanding of happiness.  Poverty of spirit finds room and joy in possessing God.  Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God's word and Spirit.  Sorrow and mourning over sin leads to freedom from guilt and spiritual oppression.  God reveals to the humble the true source of life and happiness.  Jesus promises his disciples that heavenly joy will more than compensate for this world's hardships.  "No one can live without joy.  A person deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures" (Thomas Aquinas).

            January 28, 2017

            Thomas Aquinas

            January 28, 2017:  St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church

            • 'Star' tie pin:  From Abraham came descendants as numerous as the stars (1st reading)
            • 'Fire' pin:  By faith Abraham offered up Isaac (1st reading)
            • 'Hands' pin:  The Lord promised he'd save us from the hands of all who hate us (canticle)
            • 'Cross' pin:  "Let us cross to the other side" (gospel)
            • 'Doctor's office' tie:  St. Thomas, 'doctor' of the Church
            • 'Boat' tie bar:  Disciples took Jesus with them in a boat, and other boats were with him (gospel)
            • White in shirt:  Liturgical color for St. Thomas
            For gospel

            For 1st reading
              For canticle

            By  St. Thomas Aquinas
            Pope Francis
            To March for Life participants:  Warm greetings to the many thousands of young people from throughout America gathered for this year's March for Life!  I'm close to you in prayer.  I'm grateful for your impressive testimony to the sacredness of every human life.  “So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right…  can justify a decision to terminate that life.”  May this event, where so many speak out on behalf of the most defenseless, mobilize consciences in defense of the right to life and help ensure effective measures to protect it.
            To Congregation for Consecrated Life:  Today's hemorrhaging of religious orders is weakening consecrated life and the Church herself.  Though some leave for good reasons, discerning they don't have a religious vocation; but what happened to those who leave years after their final profession?  Many factors affect fidelity to one’s vocation.  The primary factor is a “provisional” culture, which leads to an a la carte life, a slave to fashion.  This culture induces the need for 'side doors' open to other possibilities; it feeds consumerism and forgets the beauty of a simple and austere life, and it can cause a void.  It can also produce a powerful practical relativism that judges everything by self-realization, often extraneous gospel values.  In society economic rules replace morality and propose a vision that discards people.
            Young people seek a genuine spiritual life but can be seduced by worldliness, looking for success at any price, easy money, easy pleasure.  We must counter this by infecting them with gospel joy, or else they can succumb.
            People living the consecrated life sometimes offer “counter witness” to fidelity:  routine, fatigue, the weight of managing structures, internal divisions, seeking power, worldly governance, authority that's either authoritarian or laissez-faire.  For consecrated life to keep its prophetic mission and its fascination, and be a school of faithfulness, it must maintain the centrality of Jesus, its strong mission, show the beauty of following Christ, and radiate hope and joy.
            Pay special attention to your communal life:  communal prayer, prayerful scripture reading, active participation in the sacraments, internal dialogue and communication, fraternal correction, mercy towards sinners, and shared responsibilities.  It's hard to stay faithful walking alone or guided by people who don't listen carefully and patiently...  Many religious vocations are lost for lack of good leaders.
            • Heb 11:1-2, 8-19  Faith is the realization of what's hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.  By faith Abraham obeyed, going out, dwelling in tents, receiving power to generate, thinking the one who promised was trustworthy; from him came countless descendants....  They died in faith, not receiving what had been promised but seeing it from afar.  They desire a heavenly homeland, and God prepared a city for them.  By faith Abraham offered up Isaac...
            • Lk 1:69-75  "Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel; he has come to his people."  He raised up for us a savior.  He promised he'd save us from our sins and all who hate us.  He promised to show mercy and remember his covenant.  He swore to set us free from our enemies to worship him, holy in his sight, forever.
            • Mk 4:35-41  Jesus' disciples took him in the boat, and other boats were with him.  Waves were filling the boat, but Jesus was asleep.  "Teacher, we're perishing!" / [to sea] "Be still!"  The wind ceased.  “Why are you terrified?  Don't you have faith yet?" / “Who is this whom wind and sea obey?”
            St. Thomas Aquinas
            • Universalis:  St. Thomas Aquinas, Benedictine-educated Dominican, reconciled Christianity and Aristotle, wrote Summa Theologica and poetry for Corpus Christi liturgy.  After vision at Mass that made his writings seem like straw, he stopped.  [This great theologian and philosopher is patron of all Catholic educational establishments.]  May the Spirit inspire us to love God with our minds as well as hearts; and if we come across something apparently contradicting our faith, may we investigate...
            Original works online
            • Passionist:  Jesus was frustrated with the apostles' lack of faith as they gave into their fears in a situation that called for belief.  We all fail to put faith in God.  May we continue to nurture the gift of faith; it'll see us through both good and challenging times.
            • DailyScripture.net:  "Why are you afraid?"  Jesus' sleeping presence on the sea reveals his disciples' sleeping faith; they were afraid even though their Lord was with them.  The Lord is ever present to us, still asking why we're afraid.  Faith enables us to relate to God with trust and reliance, believing and keeping his word.  If we want to live, grow, and persevere in faith, then it must be nourished with the word of God.  Courage working with faith enables us embrace God's word with confidence and act on it with hope.  The Holy Spirit strengthens our faith and trust and enables us to act with justice and kindness even in the face of opposition.

            January 27, 2017

            Jan. 27

            January 27, 2017:  Friday, 3rd week, Ordinary Time

            • 'Classroom with blackboard' tie:  Jesus taught with parables then explained to his disciples (gospel)
            • 'Heart' pin:  Take delight in the Lord, and he'll grant you your heart’s requests. (psalm)
            • 'Precious feet' tie pin:  The Lord makes our steps firm (psalm)
            • 'Plant' pin:  Kingdom:  seed sprouts, grows, yields fruit... (gospel)
            • 'Wheat' pin:  ...then the full grain (gospel)
            • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

            Pope Francis homily
            Today's 1st reading exhorts us to live with reference to past, present, and future.  It invites us to remember, because Christian life continues (not begins) today.  Remember the good and less good.  Call to mind your first days of going forward in the faith, your trials....  You can't understand or live Christian life without memory:  memory of God's salvation in my life, my troubles, how the Lord saved me from them....  Ask for the grace of memory.
            The reading makes us understand we're on a journey, expecting to encounter the Lord; it exhorts us to live by faith.  Just as you can't live a Christian life without memory, you can't without looking ahead with hope of encountering the Lord.  When you're young, you think so much time is ahead, but then you learn how time passes.
            It then invites us to live in the present with courage and patience:  with frankness and endurance, without shame.  We're all sinners, but we go forward.
            Finally, we're urged not to commit the sin that takes away memory, hope, courage, and patience:  faintheartedness.  It doesn’t let us go forward, through fear, but Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid.”  The fainthearted always go backward, guard themselves too much; they fear everything, never taking risks.  It paralyzes you; it makes you forget the graces you've received; it robs you of hope, because it doesn’t let you go forward.  And the present of such a Christian is like when you meet an unexpected rain without a good garment.  May the Lord make us grow in memory, hope, courage, and patience and free us from faintheartedness, a confined soul.  "If you want to save your life, you'll lose it."
            • Heb 10:32-39  Remember when you suffered, exposed to abuse and affliction, joining in prisoners' suffering, and losing your property.  Remain confident; endure, do God's will, and receive what he promised.  "He'll come without delay.  My just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him."  We don't draw back and perish but have faith and live.
              Mustard bush
            • Ps 37:3-6, 23-24, 39-40  "The salvation of the just comes from the Lord."  Trust in the Lord and do good.  Take delight in him; he'll grant your requests.  He'll make justice dawn for you.  The Lord makes our steps firm and sustains and saves, helps, and delivers us when we take refuge in him.
            • Mk 4:26-34  “The Kingdom of God is as if a man scattered seed, slept and rose, and the seed sprouted, grew, and yielded fruit, and the man wielded the sickle at harvest.”  “The Kingdom is like a mustard seed, small when sown but becoming so large that birds can dwell in its shade.”  He spoke with many such parables and explained them privately to his disciples.
              • Creighton:  The 1st reading exhorts us to stay the path and be willing to suffer humiliations and worse from those who don't accept it.  Enlightenment, suffering, endurance, and knowledge of a greater truth are also central to Buddhist teachings.
              In the gospel, Jesus finds ways to communicate with diverse audiences:  to the people in the streets, he speaks in parables, but to his disciples he "explains everything."  He tailored what he was saying to make his message understandable by those hearing it:  seed parables for agricultural-based people, fishing metaphors for coastal people....  Seed sowing corresponds with the people's gradual understanding of Jesus' message:  he sows seed with his parable, the people think about it, it takes hold, it grows, as they talk about it and hear more, the full grain of their faith appears, and when faith is “ripe,” they're "harvested," brought fully into our faith as believers.  That loops us back to the 1st reading:  once you're enlightened, harvested for the faith, stay true to your belief, be strong, and go forth.
                St. Angela Merici icon/ Williams
              • One Bread, One Body:  "Feed your faith":   We must live by faith to please God.  We're saved by grace through faith.  "All depends on faith."  Faith is "assurance" resulting from a good relationship with God.  Relationships need to be constantly nourished, so faith needs to be fed.  Feed faith with God's Word, Holy Communion, and daily, committed, prayer.  Protect and nourish God's precious gift of faith.
              • Passionist:  Where have we decided to plant our own mustard seeds:  in a comfortable, safe environment, or on the outskirts and periphery of the world’s suffering people?  May we consider, pray about, and discern the choice.
              • DailyScripture.net:  "What God's kingdom is like":  As a mustard seed grows to be a tree that attracts birds who love its seeds, God's kingdom starts from small beginnings in our hearts, works unseen, and transforms us from within.  When we yield to the Spirit and allow God's word to take root, we're transformed.
              The "tree of the cross" spread its branches and grew into a community of faith offering the world its fruit:  "We must sow this seed in our minds and let it grow into a tree of understanding elevating our faculties; then it'll spread out branches of knowledge, the taste of its fruit will make our mouths burn, and its kernel will inflame us.  A mustard seed is an image of God's kingdom:  Christ is the kingdom of heaven.  Sown like a seed in Mary's womb, he grew up into the tree of the cross whose branches stretch across the world.  Crushed in the mortar of the passion, its fruit has flavored and preserved every living creature it comes in contact with.  As long as a mustard seed remains intact, its properties lie dormant; but when it's crushed they're evident.  So it was with Christ, who chose to have his body crushed to reveal its power….  He became all things to restore us in himself.  He received the mustard seed that represents God's kingdom; as a man he received it, though as God he'd always possessed it.  He sowed it in his garden, his bride the Church, a garden extending over the world, tilled by the plow of the gospel, fenced in by doctrine and discipline, cleared of weeds by apostles' labor....  When he promised the patriarchs a kingdom, the seed took root in them; with the prophets it sprang up; with the apostles it grew; in the Church it became a great tree of gift-laden branches.  Take the wings of the psalmist’s dove, gleaming in the sunlight, and fly to rest among those branches, where no snare will trap you; fly with confidence and dwell in its shelter" (Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 98, paraphrased).
              May God's word take deep root in your life and transform you....