January 23, 2017

Pray for the unborn

January 23, 2017:  Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

  • 'Blood drop' pin:  Unlike the high priest's annual offering of blood not his own, Christ appeared once for all to take away sin (1st  reading)
  • 'Horns' tie:  Sing joyfully before the Lord with the sound of the horn (psalm)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  All the earth has seen God's salvation.  Sing praise, all you lands (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord's right hand has won victory (psalm)
  • 'Dove' pin:  Whoever blasphemes against the Spirit won't have forgiveness (gospel)

For 1st reading
For Psalm 98
Pope Francis homily
Jesus is the High Priest, and the priesthood of Christ is the great wonder that makes us sing a new song to the Lord.  The three stages of his priesthood:  He offers himself; he intercedes for us; he'll return to bring us to the Father:
1.  Redemption:  Old Covenant priests had to offer sacrifices every year, but Christ offered himself once for all, bringing us to the Father, re-creating the harmony of creation.
2.  Intercession:  The Lord is praying for each of us now that our faith not falter.
3.  Return:  Christ will return to establish the definitive Kingdom and bring us all to the Father.
Contrary to this threefold wonder of Jesus' priesthood is the ‘unforgivable blasphemy,’ hard as it is to hear.  The Holy Spirit anointed Jesus a priest in Mary's womb.  The Lord forgives everything, but those who blaspheme about the redemption, re-creation, Christ's priesthood, the foundation of God's love, are closed to forgiveness, not allowing themselves to be forgiven!  Blasphemy against the Spirit doesn't allow itself to be forgiven, because it denies the Spirit's priestly anointing of Jesus.
On this altar the living memorial is made:  Jesus offers his life for us, intercedes for us, we look forward to his return, our hope of glory.  Lord, keep our hearts open to this great, freely given wonder!
  • Heb 9:15, 24-28  Christ is mediator of a new covenant.  He entered into heaven, not a copy, to appear before God on our behalf, to take away sin once for all.  Christ will appear again not to take away sin but to bring salvation....
  • Ps 98:1-6 "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds."  The Lord has revealed his salvation, justice, kindness, and faithfulness. Sing praise!
  • Mk 3:22-30  Scribes:  “Jesus is possessed; he drives out demons by the prince of demons.” Jesus:  “A divided kingdom or house can't stand, nor can Satan if he's divided.  To plunder a strong man's house, you have to tie him up first.  All sins will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Spirit won't have forgiveness...
    • Creighton:  Today's readings remind us Jesus is really the Son of God.  The first speaks of God's new covenant, established when Jesus  entered heaven following his crucifixion to appear before God on our behalf, once and for all, to take away our sins and assure our salvation.  It's only because of Christ's love and sacrifice that any of us will ever know the 'real-ness' of God and Christ, when we enter that heavenly sanctuary.  In the gospel, the scribes were afraid of Jesus' power and unwilling to ascribe his works to God; they accused him of obtaining his power from the prince of demons.  Jesus let them know that to blaspheme God by rejecting the Spirit's work is unforgivable.  We may not God, Christ, or the Spirit, but how often do we fully accept God's work in our lives?  When I struggle to see and trust God, God is with me and I with him, and I'm grateful....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Sin-cere":  Jesus' mission was to save sinners.  Today, it's unfashionable to talk about sin; we don't want to sound judgmental or be negative.  But when we don't talk about sin, we warp God's saving plan and conclude we don't need a Savior.  Let's call sin sin, not a fault or shortcoming; let's hate sin, love sinners, and speak of Jesus' loving forgiveness.
      OneLife LA highlights
    • Passionist:  Today, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, is the day the US bishops call for prayer for legal protection of unborn children.  I admire those who listen to women who have had abortions, and I admire programs that seek to bring healing and reconciliation.  In upholding life and working against a culture of death, may we not in turn denigrate others' lives.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus frees us from Satan's power":  Evil is not an impersonal force; it has a name and face and seeks to master us.  Jesus came to overthrow Satan's power and kingdom; his exorcisms freed many.  Jesus himself battled Satan in the wilderness and overcame him through obedience to his Father's will.  Some Jewish leaders opposed Jesus, saying he was in league with Satan; Jesus retorts that no divided kingdom can survive for long.  "Kingdoms are established by subjects' fidelity and obedience.  Houses are established when their members agree in will and deed, never thwarting one another.  Satan doesn't cast himself out; devils depart from people unwillingly.  Satan helps his kingdom; he doesn't injure his own armor bearers.  Jesus crushes Satan by divine power” (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Homily 80, paraphrased).  Jesus' authority to cast out demons demonstrates the reign of God, whose power is clearly at work in Jesus' exorcisms.
    Satan is stronger than we are and wants to rob us of our faith and willingness to follow God; we can't withstand him except with God's strength.  He only has power over us if we listen to him.  We're either for Jesus and the kingdom, or in opposition.  If we disobey God's word, we open the door to Satan's influence.  To live in freedom from Satan's power, our 'house' (mind and heart) must be occupied and ruled by Jesus Christ.
    A sin can only be unforgivable if repentance is impossible. If I repeatedly close my eyes and ears to God and reject his word, I can't recognize God and become spiritually blind. But if I fear such a state, I'm not dead to God and am conscious of the need for grace and mercy.  We share in Christ's victory over sin and Satan, receive adoption as God's children, and can live a new life of love and freedom. The Lord makes his home with us and gives us his Spirit's power and help....

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