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....

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