January 22, 2017


January 21, 2017:  St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

  • 'Wheat' pin:  The Holy Place houses the lampstand, table, and bread of offering (1st reading)
  • 'Hands' pin:  Clap your hands (psalm); Christ passed through the tabernacle not made by hands... (1st reading); 
  • 'Cow' pin:  ...not with calves' blood but his own (1st reading)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  Christ's blood will cleanse us (1st reading); St. Agnes's martyrdom
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is king over all the earth (psalm)
  • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  The Lord mounts his throne amid trumpet blasts (psalm)
  • White and red shirt:  St. Agnes, virgin and martyr
  • 'Question mark' tie pin (oops, cropped out):  "He's out of his mind" (gospel)
  • OneLife LA button (oops, cropped out):  It's today!

For Psalm 47
Pope Francis homily (ending Dominicans' jubilee)
Paul warns against worldly curiosity that sees people seeking after new teachers, doctrines, and ideologies.  Our tendency to seek novelties is at home in a society of appearances and consumption, where even truth is “made-up,” covered with cosmetics to appear novel.  Against this carnival stands the opposite scenario, found in Jesus' words, “that they may glorify your heavenly Father through the good works of his disciples who become “salt” and “light.”  This is the response of Jesus and the Church, solid support in a fluid environment:  good works accomplished thanks to Christ and his Spirit, leading us to give the Father thanks and praise.
Today we thank the Father for the work that St. Dominic, full of Christ's light and salt, accomplished 800 years ago:  a work at the service of the Gospel, preached with words and action; a work that, with the grace of the Spirit, has helped many to not lose themselves in the midst of the worldly carnival but rather taste sound doctrine and become light and salt, doers of good works, glorifying God and teaching others to glorify God through their good works.
    "He's out of his mind"
  • Heb 9:2-3, 11-14  When Christ came as high priest, he passed through the tabernacle, entered the sanctuary with his own Blood, and obtained our redemption.  If goat blood can cleanse the defiled, how much more will Christ's Blood cleanse us from dead works to worship God.
  • Ps 47:2-3, 6-9  "God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord."  Shout to God with gladness, for the Lord is king of all the earth.
  • Mk 3:20-21  As Jesus came with his disciples into the house, the crowd gathered.  His relatives tried to seize him:  "He's out of his mind."
    • Creighton:  The early responses to Christ’s ministry were sharply divergent.  His preaching and healings left onlookers spellbound, amazed, and awestruck; he attracted crowds wherever he went.  Even when he slips away, they find him.  The scribes and Pharisees, sensing their sway erode, moved from resistance to plotting.  If Jesus is truly out of his mind, then everybody just needs to chill.  Together his press to proclaim the Kingdom and hunger for solitude and reflection bring his ministry to life.  The balance can be hard for us to strike....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Relative-ly crazy":  Jesus' relatives thought he was out of his mind.  We're called to imitate him.  As we become more like him, those like his relatives will conclude we're crazy too; we may even be persecuted for the sake of his name.  Since today there may be more like Jesus' relatives than like Jesus, those like Jesus can expect to be considered crazy and be persecuted, even martyred....
    • Passionist:  Agnes is esteemed because of how she prevailed against overwhelming odds, depending on God's protection.  Her name is close to agnus, Latin for lamb.  Many of us are like sheep, wandering from the path of safety and protection.  Jesus, Good Shepherd, came to show us the way.  The Church prescribes a special vestment for archbishops, the pallium, to remind them and us of their role as shepherd; it's made from lamb's wool and bestowed in memory of St. Agnes.
    Though lambs are seen as helpless, Agnes was strong enough to turn down her suitors' proposals, refuse to abjure her faith under pressure, and endure torture and decapitation.  Like Jesus who didn't turn away those who came to him for help, she helped others through her steadfastness and determination.  Lord, give us the strength to abide by our convictions....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "People were saying of Jesus, 'He's beside himself'":   His relatives were upset with him and came to seize him; they thought he'd gone mad or become a religious fanatic.  He'd thrown away the security of his trade and family and gone off to become a traveling preacher.  Jesus probably expected opposition from the religious authorities, but it must have been harder to get it from his own relatives. When we follow Jesus, we can expect opposition, even from those close to us....
    • Universalis:  We don't know much about St. Agnespartly because she died at 12 or so.  She was filled God's love from an early age, vowed herself to celibacy, and didn't shy away from martyrdom.

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