January 18, 2017

Jan. 18

January 18, 2017:  Wednesday, 2nd week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Melchizedek, 'king of Salem' = 'king of peace' (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  “Sit at my right hand” (psalm); man with withered hand (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Jesus was grieved at the Pharisees' hardness of heart (gospel)
  • 'Star' tie pin:  "Before the daystar I've begotten you” (psalm)

For Week of Prayer for Christian unity
Pope Francis audience
Today begins the week of prayer for Christian unity.  We look more to what unites us rather than what divides us.  We continue the journey together to deepen our communion and to give it a more visible form.  In Europe, this common faith in Christ is like a green thread of hope.  Communion, unity, and reconciliation are possible.  We're responsible for this message and must bear witness to it with our lives.
Remember how Jonah sought to flee from the difficult mission the Lord entrusted to him.   When a storm tossed the ship he was on, the pagan sailors asked him to pray they escape death.   The story reminds us of the link between hope and prayer.  Anguish in the face of death often makes us recognize our frailty and need to pray for salvation.  Jonah prayed on the sailors' behalf, and they came to acknowledge the true God.  As the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection makes clear, our own death can be an invitation to hope and an encounter in prayer with the God of our salvation. 
    'Hand' cloud
  • Heb 7:1-3, 15-17  Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God, met and blessed Abraham.  He was “king of Salem (peace).”  Resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.  It's even more obvious if another priest is raised up by the power of an indestructible life.  You are a priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
  • Ps 110:1-4  "You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek."  The Lord said: “Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool.”  Your princely power will stretch from Zion.  “Before the daystar, I've begotten you.”
  • Mk 3:1-6  They watched Jesus to see whether he'd cure the man with a withered hand on the sabbath.  He told him, “Come up,” then asked the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good and save life on the sabbath?”  He told the man, “Stretch out your hand”; the man did and was restored.  The Pharisees took counsel against Jesus...
    • Creighton:  Paying attention to what we feel about what's happening in our lives tells us a lot about who we are and our relations with others.  In today's gospel Jesus has strong feelings; Mark's gospel shows a Jesus passionate about people and the situations he faced.  Savoring individual instances of Jesus' emotions can lead us to rethink our assumptions.  How do we converse with God?...
      Christ heals the man with paralysed hand
      (Byzantine mosaic)
    • One Bread, One Body:  "You are a priest":  The Israelites were enslaved, defeated, starved, exiled, and oppressed; when they asked the Lord to free them, they received the revelation they'd be saved by the priesthood.  Christians persecuted and martyred by the Roman government suffered mockery, scourging, chains, imprisonment, stoning, and the sword; Jesus the High Priest saved them.  May we share in his priesthood and live our priesthood, e.g. by participating at Mass, encouraging priestly vocations, offering and bearing life's hardships, worshipping by our actions, offering our work, prayer, and life, and consecrating the world to God through our holy living....
    • Passionist:  Those opposed to Jesus are watching whether he'll heal the man with the withered hand so they can accuse him of violating the Sabbath.  After he asks them, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than evil, to save life rather than destroy it?,” he heals him, and they plot to kill Jesus.  Knowledge of Church law or liturgy has been used to put down or scold; we disapprove of someone's dress or attitude at Mass, or let disputes between families influence how we treat others, even in church.  But does that bear witness to being the Body of Christ?  We need to stand up for what's right, but conflicts don't need to keep us apart.  Jesus’ words call us to lift others up, not put them down, to bring life to worship, not death.  May our desire to worship God not keep us from showing hospitality and joy!
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Is it lawful... to save life or to kill?"  The scribes and Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus breaking the Sabbath to accuse him of breaking God's law; they were filled with contempt for him because they put their thoughts above God, ensnared in legalism.  Jesus points to God's intention for the Sabbath:  doing good and saving life.  Christians celebrate the Lord's Day to commemorate God's work of creation and redemption. May we take our sabbath rest seriously, honoring God and letting our love of God overflow to love of others....

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