January 19, 2017

Jan. 19

January 19, 2017:  Thursday, 2nd week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Hand' tie pin: Our high priest has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin: "Your law is within my heart!” (psalm)
  • 'Boats' tie:  Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready for him (gospel)
  • 'Fire' pin:  Jesus doesn't need to offer daily sacrifice for his and the people's sins (1st reading); you wanted obedience, not sacrifice (psalm)
  • 'Scroll' pin:  "In the written scroll it's prescribed..." (psalm)
  • 'Alps' pin:  "Make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain" (1st reading)
For Psalm 40
For week of prayer for Christian unity
Pope Francis
Homily:  Jesus came to destroy the influence of evil on us.  Why were the crowds attracted?  Some were sick and wanted healing, and others listened to him because he touched their hearts.  The Father drew people to Jesus so much so that Jesus told his disciples to have a boat ready so the crowd wouldn't crush him.  He was moved because he saw them as sheep without a shepherd, and the Father was drawing them to him.
Whenever we try to approach God, unclean spirits try to prevent us, waging war against us.  If you're Catholic but never have temptations, pray because you're on the wrong path.  When the Father draws people, an opposite force causes conflict.  That’s why Paul speaks of Christian life as a daily struggle, a fight.  Jesus came to destroy Satan's empire, the empire of evil, its influence in our hearts.  While the Father is attracting you to Jesus, the spirit of evil is trying to destroy that attraction.  Fight on and feel the heart that struggles for Jesus' victory.  May the Lord help us discern what's going on in us and choose the path to Jesus.
To Finland ecumenical delegation:  True ecumenism is based on shared conversion to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Redeemer.  If we draw close to him, we draw close to one another.  Let us pray more fervently to the Spirit so we may experience this conversion that makes reconciliation possible.
We Catholics and Lutherans, with other communities sharing our ecumenical journey, reached a significant step when we gathered last year Lund to pray and commemorate the beginning of the Reformation.  We're grateful that after years of official dialogue, we've articulated points of agreement, but we're also contrite for our faults.  The theme of this year's week of prayer for Christian unity is “Reconciliation – The love of Christ compels us.”  Luther's intention was to renew the Church, not divide her.  The Lund gathering gave us courage and strength to look ahead to the ecumenical journey we're called to walk.   
Theological dialogue remains essential for reconciliation and is advanced through commitment.  In harmony , under the Spirit's influence, we'll converge further on doctrine and moral teaching and draw closer to  full, visible unity.  May the Lord bless the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue Commission as they work towards a common understanding of Church, Eucharist, and ecclesial ministry.
This commemorative year of the Reformation is a privileged occasion for us to live the faith, rediscover the Gospel, and seek and witness to Christ, drawing inspiration from our common witness to faith and joint commitment to help the suffering, needy, persecuted, and those facing violence.  May your pilgrimage contribute to further cooperation among Orthodox, Lutherans, and Catholics, and may our common witness of faith, hope, and love bear abundant fruit.
Wordle: Readings 1-22-15
  • Heb 7:25—8:6  Jesus can save those who approach God; he's our high priest, holy and undefiled.  He offered himself as sacrifice....
  • Ps 40:7-10, 17  "Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will."  You wanted obedience, not sacrifice.  I delight in doing your will.
  • Mk 3:7-12  People came to Jesus from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, Tyre, and Sidon.  He'd cured many, so those with diseases wanted him to touch them.  Unclean spirits fell before him, shouting "Son of God!"
    • Creighton:  Jesus needed to get away; in the midst of his hectic life, he found peace and refreshment on the water, likely on a fishing boat.  Where in your day does God refresh you?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The mob scene":  The gospel says a crowd followed Jesus from Galilee, and multitudes came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, Transjordan, Tyre, and Sidon.  He told his disciples to have a boat ready so he could avoid the press of the crowd against him.  Because he'd cured many, all with afflictions pushed toward him....  When we become aware Jesus is near, we want to run to him and hold on for dear life.  May we throw ourselves at his feet and hold on....
      The sick await the passage of Jesus/ Tissot
    • Passionist:  Imagine those sick people coming to Jesus, believing in his power, hoping for healing.  Illness, tragedy, injury, injustice, and other things make us feel powerless and drive us to prayer,  Our efforts aren't enough.  Prayer to a loving, saving, healing God is a proper response.  Many pray to get well, get out of difficulties, or help others in trouble, but when we realize that prayer is deepening our relationship with God, we may start to pray more like, "Not my will but Thine be done!"
    • DailyScripture.net:  "All pressed upon Jesus to touch him":  Jesus offered freedom to all who sought him.  People hungry for God and healing heard about his miracles, came to him in faith, and were healed.  
    "We touch Jesus by faith.  Far better to touch him by faith than with hands only.  Even his oppressors touched him when they apprehended, bound, and crucified him, but by their touch they lost what they were laying hold of.  O church!  By touching him faithfully your faith has made you whole." (Augustine)
    "Jesus performed miracles, rebuking demons, delivering from disease whomever drew near, and displaying divine power, so both Jews and Greeks might know Christ was not some ordinary man but God.  He honored these chosen disciples with the dignity of the apostolate.  He was the Word made man but retained his glory.  'Power went forth from him and healed all.'  He didn't borrow strength from another person, but being God, though he'd become flesh, he healed them all, by demonstrating power over the sick." (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Homily 25)
    Demons trembled in Jesus' presence because they recognized his divine power and authority, but they didn't respond in love.  Do I respond with indifference, hesitation, or skepticism, or with faith, love, and obedience?
      • Wulstan, monk made bishop, known as confessor, cared for poor and sick, demanded high standards.

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