January 17, 2017


January 17, 2017:  St. Anthony, Abbot

  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  "I will bless you and multiply you" (1st reading)

  • 'Food' tie:  The Lord has given food to those who fear him (psalm)

  • 'Wheat' pin:  Jesus was passing through a field of grain (gospel)

  • White shirt (and socks):  Liturgical color of St. Anthony memorial

  • 'Heart' pin (oops, forgot):  I'll thank the Lord with all my heart (psalm)


Pope Francis homily
A Christian's life is courageous.  The zeal of the 1st reading ought to be our attitude, like that of those who train for victory.  But Hebrews also speaks of the opposite, laziness, living in the fridge so everything stays the same, lacking the will to go forward, not fighting for change, for good.  Lazy Christians have found in the Church a good parking place to provide insurance.  But stagnant water is the first to go bad.
Hope gives Christians courage, but lazy Christians don't have it; they're retired.  Retirement is beautiful after years of work, but spending your life in retirement is ugly!  Cling to hope to keep fighting, even in difficult moments; it doesn't disappoint.  Hope is the anchor:  we throw it and cling to the rope.  Hope is struggling, holding on.  In daily struggles, hope is a virtue of horizons, not closure!  Live in hope; live on hope; look ahead with courage.  Life doesn't come wrapped as a gift; we need courage to go forward and endure.  Courageous Christians might make mistakes, while the stationary ones seem not to, but you need to persevere.
Are you a closed Christian, or a Christian of the horizons?  Can you endure the ugly moments knowing that hope doesn't disappoint because God doesn't disappoint?  Is your faith life one of horizons, hope, courage, and going forward, or one that doesn’t know to endure ugly moments?  May the Lord give us the grace to overcome our selfishness, because parked, stationary Christians are selfish, looking only at themselves, not God.

Wordle: Readings 1-20-15
  • Heb 6:10-20  God won't overlook your work and love shown in your service.  Be eager for the fulfillment of hope:  don't become sluggish, but imitate those who are inheriting the promises.  God swore to Abraham, I'll bless and multiply you, and Abraham obtained the promise.  And so, after patient waiting, Abraham obtained the promise.
  • Ps 111:1-2, 4-5, 9, 10c  "The Lord will remember his covenant for ever."  Thank the Lord; his works are great, and he's gracious and merciful.  He gave food to and delivered his people.
  • Mk 2:23-28  Pharisees/Jesus:  “Why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”  “When David was in need and hungry, he went into the house of God and ate and shared the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat.  The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.  The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
  • Creighton:   Today’s readings start by encouraging the frustrated, "Don't give up!  Don't become sluggish!”  Weighed down by the world's cares, we can run short of the “eagerness for the fulfillment of hope” and even tire of doing good.  When our service becomes mundane, with no relief in sight, we cry for help.  Sometimes we must take solace in others' company; we're in this together....
The Pharisees' question is more of an accusation.  Jesus says he's Lord of the Sabbath.  As the disciples kept following following him, so should we, even when other try to block or complicate the path.  
St. Anthony is known for his role in developing monastic life.  He sought a closer walk with Jesus in the desert; we must find it at work, school, home, wherever we are....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Tie the knot":  On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies to atone for the people's sins; only the priest could enter, and only on that day.  The Ark of the Covenant was inside; people who touched it or entered unauthorized dropped dead; the people tied a rope around the priest so that if he died, they could drag him out.  Their hope for atonement lay with the priest attached to the rope.  The Hebrews author likens an anchor to the High Priest:  an anchor is also tied to a rope, so it remains attached to the ship.  Hebrews proclaims Jesus as our High Priest; he entered the sanctuary to atone with God on our behalf.  Jesus tore open the veil that separated us from God; in him we now have full access!
  • Passionist:  Don't lose zeal for or turn from the most promising possibility God wants to bless us with.  Christians are called to be witnesses of hope because we believe God wants us to share fully in God's joy, love, beauty, and goodness.  We're on a journey towards fulfillment we can anticipate (and already experience to an extent) but not completely enjoy yet.  Hope orients us to a future that transcends anything we could give ourselves but we can doubt.  Don't become "sluggish," but keep your attention fixed on that hope; it's easy to turn away from the good God has in store for us and easy to doubt it's even possible or to get distracted or look to lesser goods, forgetting God is calling us to something lovelier.  We must remember we're heirs to God's love, goodness, and mercy, and keep hope alive by seeking to do good however we can, not finding fault with others.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath":  "Sabbath rest" was to remember and celebrate God's goodness, praising him, his work of creation, and his saving actions, pausing everyday work, resting, being refreshed.  The scribes and Pharisees scold Jesus' disciples not for plucking and eating corn but for doing it on the Sabbath. Jesus responds that human need takes precedence over ritual.  The Sabbath was given for our good; God doesn't ever want us to be indifferent to human need.  How do I honor the Lord and treat others on the Sabbath?
  • Universalis:  Anthony, originator of the monastic life, gave his belongings to the poor, led a life of penitence, poverty, prayer, and work, suffering and overcoming temptation. Disciples gathered round him, attracted by his wisdom, moderation, and holiness.  He supported victims of persecution, helped Athanasius fight Arianism, and lived to be over 100.

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