February 28, 2017

Feb. 28

February 28, 2017:  Tuesday, 8th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Peace sign':  Those who observe the commandments sacrifice a peace offering (1st reading)
  • 'Happy faces' tie, 'coin' tie bar:  "With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy." (1st reading)
      • 'Hand' tie pin:  Don't appear before the Lord empty-handed (1st reading)
      • 'Fire' pin:  Your burnt offerings are before me always (psalm)
      • 'Abacus' tie pin:  "The Lord will repay you sevenfold" (psalm); "If you give up house, family, or land for Jesus' sake, you'll receive a hundredfold" (gospel)
      • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season (resumes June 5!)
      Pope Francis
      Homily:  The rich young man wanted to follow the Lord, but his wealth led him to follow money.  Jesus' disciples were worried when  he said it's easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.  Then Peter asks him what will happen to them who have given up everything to follow him.  Jesus’ reply is clear:  you'll receive everything.  The Lord can't give less than everything, just as he gave all of himself.  The word 'persecution' gives us pause:  we need to think and behave differently.  God's fullness is emptied out on the Cross.  God's gift is a fullness emptied out; it's also Christians' way of being:  seeking and receiving a fullness emptied out and following that path.  We must give generously, cheerfully, in a spirit of joy.  A cheerful face and joyful eyes are the signs we’re following the path of fullness emptied out.  The young man’s face fell and he became sad, because he couldn't receive and welcome fullness emptied out, but the saints and Peter could, with cheerful faces and joyful hearts.  Chilean saint Alberto Hurtado worked with the poor amid difficulty, persecution, and suffering, but he said, "I’m happy, Lord."  May he teach us to follow this difficult path and always say, "I’m happy, Lord."

      Scarp interview:  Many parishes have opened their doors to refugees.  Walking in the other's shoes is a way to escape our egoism; we gain understanding and get to know difficult situations.  Words aren't enough.  There are many ways to justify not giving alms:  "He'd just spend it on wine!"  Maybe that's his only happiness in life!  When we give, we must give what is ours!
      Many arriving refugees are fleeing from war or hunger.  We're all part of this situation and need to find ways to help.   Governments are especially responsible....
      • Sir 35:1-12  To keep the law is a great offering:  works of charity, almsgiving, refraining from evil, and avoiding injustice.  Don't appear before the Lord empty-handed.  The offering of the just rises as a sweet odor before the Most High; it won't be forgotten.  Give generously to the Most High as he has given to you; he'll repay you sevenfold.
      • Ps 50:5-8, 14, 23  "To the upright I will show the saving power of God."  Offer praise as your sacrifice.
      • Mk 10:28-31  "We've given up everything and followed you." / "If you give up house, siblings, parents, children, or lands for my sake, you'll receive a hundredfold now:  houses, sibling, mothers, children, lands, with persecutions, then eternal life.  Many who are first will be last, and the last first."
        • Creighton:  The first disciples left everything behind and followed Jesus, but the rich young man (yesterday’s gospel) "went away sad, for he had many possessions." Today Jesus helps his disciples understand that they have given up their human families but receive a community centered on God's will.  We are to love people and use things (not vice versa) inasmuch as they lead us to God. When we give up everything, we can fill ourselves with Christ and expect freedom, peace, and joy....
        • One Bread, One Body:  "Another season of giving":  Jesus said: "There is more happiness in giving than receiving." The Holy Spirit is both the Gift of the Father and the Son and the Giver.  Those baptized into God are reborn to give.  We must not be "sparing freewill gifts"; we must give up everything to give everything to the Lord.  In Lent we'll be able to give alms, pray, and fast.  Christmas, Lent, and Easter are all times of gift-giving; our Lenten gifts should be in the shadow of the cross and the threshold of the resurrection.  May we give the Lord the gifts of Lent to deepen the gift of your love and life.
        • Passionist:  Sirach provides guidance for planning our Lenten journey.  He encourages us to work for justice, give to the needy, observe the commandments... cheerfully!  Whoever sacrifices on behalf of the gospel will be blessed.  May our Lent be a time of encountering Christ in prayer, fasting, rallying against injustice, feeding the hungry, housing immigrants, petitioning our government and church leaders to work for equality and to live as Gospel people....
        • DailyScripture.net:  "We've left everything and followed you":  We lose what we keep and gain what we give away.  When we lose our lives for Christ, we gain an everlasting inheritance.  But when we follow him, we can expect opposition and persecution.  No earthly possession can rival the joy of knowing God and the peace and unity he gives.  The Lord wants to fill us with the vision of his kingdom of justice, peace, and joy.  Holy Spirit, fill me with God's joy and peace and the assurance of his unfailing love for me.
        • Universalis:  St. Oswald, Benedictine monk, bishop, revived monastic life, celebrated liturgy well, loved the poor.

        February 27, 2017

        Feb. 27

        February 27, 2017:  Monday, 8th week, Ordinary Time

        • 'Roads' tie:  To the penitent God provides a way back (1st reading); as Jesus set out on a journey,... (gospel)
        • 'Runner' tie pin:  ...a man ran up to him (gospel)
        • '?' tie pin:  "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" / "Why do you call me good?" (gospel)
        • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

        For gospel
        For Psalm 32
        Pope Francis at Anglican parish
        Christ looks at us with a gaze of salvation, love, and compassion, asking, “Are you ready to leave everything for me?  Do you want to make my love and mercy known?”  His gaze is the source of Christian ministry:  “Having this ministry by God's mercy, we don't lose heart.” God sustains our ministry and prevents it losing its vigor.  Paul overcame his differences with the Corinthian Christians.  By living his ministry in the light of mercy received, he didn't give up in the face of division but devoted himself to reconciliation.  When we're confronted with disagreements and turn towards the face of Christ, we're doing what Paul did.  He began the task with humility, not only a beautiful virtue but a question of identity.  He saw himself as servant, proclaiming Christ the Lord, and served not on the basis of his own strength but by trusting that God was watching over him and sustaining him.  The starting point is becoming humble, drawing attention away from yourself and recognizing your dependence on God, begging for mercy.  Evangelization is “a beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”  Paul who knew he was “fed by mercy” shared his bread with others:  the joy of being loved by, and loving, the Lord.
        This is our treasure, and “we have this treasure in earthen vessels.”  We're just earthen vessels but have the world's greatest treasure.  The Corinthians knew it was foolish to preserve something precious in easily cracked earthen vessels, running the risk of losing it.  Paul humbly recognized he was fragile, just like such a vessel, but he experienced and knew that human misery opens itself to God’s merciful action there.  Trusting in this humble power, Paul serves the Gospel.  He teaches that only in realizing we're weak sinners in need of mercy can God be poured into us and others.  If we recognize our weakness and ask forgiveness, God's healing mercy will shine in us, and others will see Christ's beautiful face through us. The tensions in Paul's fellowship with the Corinthian Christian community didn't have the last word.  The relationship was restored, and the Corinth Christians resumed their work to sustain those in need.  This is a powerful sign of renewed communion.  True communion grows when people work together for those in need.  Through a united witness to charity, Jesus' merciful face is made visible.
        We Anglicans and Catholics are grateful we recognize one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, friends, pilgrims wanting to grow closer and witness to and serve our Lord together.  May we strengthen our ties, to the praise of Christ, in service of the Gospel.  Let's encourage each other to become more faithful disciples, more liberated from prejudice.  May the prayers of all Christians open for us the way to a fraternal, shared Christian journey.  When we're united in Jesus, he turns his merciful gaze towards us and calls us to devote ourselves in the cause of unity and love.
        • Sir 17:20-24  God provides the penitent a way back, encourages those losing hope.  Return to him, give up sin, pray, hate what he loathes, know his justice, stand firm, and offer praise.  How great the Lord's mercy and forgiveness!
        • Ps 32:1-2, 5-7  "Let the just exult and rejoice in the Lord."  Blessed those whose fault is taken away, those in whose spirit there is no guile.  I acknowledged my sin, and you took away the guilt.  You'll preserve and free me.
        • Mk 10:17-27   “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” / “You know the commandments....” / “I've observed them.” / “Sell what you have, and give to the poor and you'll have treasure in heaven; then follow me.”  He left sad, for he had many possessions.  “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom!  It's easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye, but all is possible for God.”
          • Creighton:  How can we sell all we have and give it to the poor?  This is about the spirit of the Gospel.  We're to do all we can to love others.  Remember first Jesus "looked at the man and loved him."
          • One Bread, One Body:  "Saving face":  Jesus gave the man five more commandments:  go, sell, give, come, and follow....
            "Eye of the needle" arch
          • Passionist:  As our navigation apps recalculate our routes, Jesus asks the young man to recalculate his life for the kingdom's sake.  Some of our lives have frequent recalculations, sometimes voluntary, sometimes forced.  People die, get sick, lose relationships, experience poverty, and make wise and unwise choices. People make commitments they can’t keep and commitments they shouldn’t have made in the first place.  Recalculations are a part of life, both welcome and unwelcome.  My own recalculations are very human, steeped in emotions, full of change, sometimes mystery.  May we recalculate with the end in mind, focusing on Jesus Crucified and his mother Mary....
          • DailyScripture.net:  "Give, and you'll have treasure in heaven":  The young man who wanted the peace and happiness money can't buy got an answer he didn't expect.  When Jesus challenged him to make God his one true possession and treasure, he became sad, afraid to lose what he'd gained.  Treasure is connected to the heart, place of desire, longing, will, and focus.  The Lord is the greatest treasure we can have. Giving up everything to have him is the greatest joy.  Selling everything is letting go of what keeps us from loving God first and giving him our best.  God blesses us with freedom from fear, the power of sin, selfishness, pride, isolation, rejection, hopelessness, despair, and disillusionment.  God alone can satisfy our deepest longings.  Better a poor man who walks in integrity than a perverse rich one.  The camel was regarded as the largest animal; the "eye of the needle" could be interpreted literally or describe the narrow city gate used after dark.  Wealth can make us falsely independent and lead us into hurtful desires and selfishness.  We lose what we keep but gain what we give away.  Where's your treasure?

          8th Sun., Ordinary Time

          February 26, 2017:  Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

          Find 15 connections with today?
          Legend below
          • Isaiah 49/ Edwards (chapter of 1st reading)
          • All good gifts, from Godspell/ Schwartz; more including original German text and march tune (gospel)

          For Psalm 62
          Selections from Ed Bolduc's blog
          For future Sundays (and this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday)
          Pope Francis Angelus
          Trusting in God won't magically solve our problems, but it lets us face them with the right frame of mind.  God isn't distant or anonymous; he's our refuge, source of serenity and peace.  When we distance ourselves from God, we end up obsessively pursuing worldly goods and riches.  But Jesus tells us that this search is an illusion and brings unhappiness.  "You can't serve God and wealth"; you have to keep choosing the road that leads to God, because the temptation to reduce everything to money, pleasure, and power is pressing.  Choosing God’s path may not immediately bear fruit but ultimately leads to fulfillment and the realization of his plans for us.
          Wordle: Readings 3-2-14
          • Is 49:14-15  Can a mother forget her infant?  Even should she, I will never forget you. 
          • Ps 62:2-3, 6-9  "Rest in God alone, my soul."  He is my rock, hope, safety, refuge, and salvation.  Trust in him; pour out your hearts before him. 
          • 1 Cor 4:1-5  We're servants of Christ, stewards of God's mysteries.  Stewards must be trustworthy.  Don't judge.  God will bring what's hidden to light; then everyone will receive God's praise.
          • Mt 6:24-34  No one can serve two masters.  You cannot serve God and mammon.  Don't worry about your life, body, or clothes.  Birds don't sow or reap, but your Father feeds them, and you're more important.  Flowers don't work, but look how they're clothed!  Your Father knows what you need, will provide for you?  Seek first God's kingdom and righteousness, and all will be given you too.
            • Creighton:  The 1st reading says God's love is stronger than a mother's for her infant.  Jesus tells us that when we focus on the work of the kingdom, God will provide we need....
            An app for that
            • One Bread, One Body:  "The God of lifestyle":  If we're set on the things of the world, we're enemies of the cross.  God chose us out of the world.  We're crucified to the world and the world to us.  We rate all as loss and consider it dung. We must focus on doing God's will.
            • Passionist:  So many people feel forgotten:  workers now unemployed, immigrant families, volunteers defending life against abortion and assisted suicide. immigrant families learning a new culture, people buried in debt, families threatened by separation, children feeling as outcasts in their own families....  The Lord tells them, “I'll never forget you.”  We shouldn't forget them either.  How will they know God's love if not through us?
            • DailyScripture.net:  "Why are you anxious?  Seek God's kingdom first":  "Serving two masters" and "being anxious" both arise from being divided within oneself; the root of 'anxiety' means "being of two minds."  Fear cripples the anxious, as well as one who lives in opposing kingdoms:  of light and goodness, and of darkness and sin.
            What shapes my thought life, ideals, desires, and values?  Love of money, power, harmful desires, addictive cravings?  Only Christ can set us free from slavery to sin, fear, pride, greed, and other hurtful desires.  God provides food, water, light, and heat to sustain life.  We can expect him to sustain our body, mind, heart, and soul; it's his nature to love, heal, forgive, and make whole.
            Jesus taught us to pray, Give us this day our daily bread.  Anxiety is neither helpful nor necessary; it robs us of confidence in God’s mercy and help and saps our energy.  May we put away anxiety and seek God's kingdom and justice.  God knows our needs and gives generously to those who trust him.
            Dress legend
            • 'Rock' tie pin:  God alone is my rock (psalm)
            • 'Heart' pin:  Pour out your hearts before God (psalm); Lord will manifest the motives of our hearts (2nd reading)
            • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Don't judge before the appointed time (2nd reading); can you by worrying add a moment to your life span? (gospel)
            • 'Street lamp' tie bar:  The Lord will bring what's hidden to light (2nd reading)
            • 'Scales' pin:  The Lord is my judge; I don't care who else judges me.  Don't judge (2nd reading)
            • 'Penny pincher' button:  You can't serve God and mammon (gospel)
            • 'Flowers' pin: Learn from the wild flowers (gospel)
            • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Don't worry about what you'll eat; life is more than food (gospel)
            • Tie with birds:  You're more important than the birds... (gospel)
            • Green shirt:  Grass of the field (gospel); Ordinary Time season
            • All clothing:  Don't worry about your clothes; life is more (gospel)

            February 25, 2017

            Feb. 25

            February 25, 2017:  Saturday, 7th week, Ordinary Time

            See 15 connections with today?
            Legend below

            For Psalm 103
            Pope Francis
            To Comunità di Capodarco:  You make a better society by choosing to be on the side of people who are less protected and offer them hospitality, support, and hope.  A society's quality of life is measured by how it includes its weakest members and respects their dignity.  Even the disabled and frail must be able to participate in society and be helped to implement their potential.  Society shouldn't just have room for fully functional, independent people; discrimination based on efficiency is as deplorable than that based upon by race or religion.
            In the face of economic problems and negative consequences of globalization, you help people not to feel excluded or marginalized but to walk tall with the witness of personal experience; this promotes the dignity and respect of each person, making life's "losers" feel God's tenderness.  Those with physical or mental impediments have a special place in the Church; their participation opens the way to simple and fraternal relations, and their prayer invites us all to pray.
            To volunteers:  Promote a culture of mercy, where no one looks to the other with indifference or runs away from suffering.  Walk the streets of fraternity and build bridges between peoples.  You render visible a poor Church, one that empathizes with the suffering, marginalized, and excluded.
            Solidarity is more than generous acts.  We need a new mindset that thinks in terms of the community where everyone is respected.  Thinking in this way contributes to an ecological conversion recognizing the dignity, value, creativity, and ability of every person.  Be at the service of a Church that allows everyone to recognize God's closeness, compassion, and love and welcome the strength he gives us in Christ.
            • Sir 17:1-15  God made man in his own image, endows him with strength, gives him power over everything else on earth, fear of God, an inventive heart, the discipline of understanding, knowledge of the spirit, wisdom, precepts. He made an everlasting covenant with them, revealed his justice and glory. He tells them to avoid evil, knows their ways, places rulers over them,.
            • Ps 103:13-18  "The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those who fear him."  As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him....
            • Mk 10:13-16  “Let the children come to me; the Kingdom belongs to such as these. Whoever doesn't accept the Kingdom like a child won't enter it.” Then he embraced and blessed the children.

              • Creighton:  Jesus seems irritated in today’s gospel; maybe he's mobbed by children and their parents and the disciples shoo them away so he could be left alone.  But the children, innocent and vulnerable, are exactly the ones he wants to be with.  Jesus wants us to protect the fragile and to become like them.  Children rely on us for food, love, and protection; Jesus wants us to have that trust in God, even though we've learned not to trust so willingly.  Jesus asks us to care for the vulnerable, the poor, the marginalized, and strangers.  Am I open to those dependent on me?  Do I see myself as brother/sister of the poor?  Do I protect and show loving concern to each person, especially those in need?  Who do I consider my brothers and sisters?
              • One Bread, One Body:  "Completely known, perfectly loved":  God knows all our ways.  So thank him for his love, live to please him, and ask him to help us understand ourselves and make us holy.  Today, with countless threats to immigrants, refugees, safety nets for the poor, and the environment, we too must be indignant.
              • DailyScripture.net:  "Receive God's kingdom like a child":  The parents wanted Jesus to lay his hands on and heal their children; Jesus rebuked his disciples for keeping the kids away.  God comes to each person to touch them with healing love and power.  Do you show kindness, interest, and care for young people and pray for them?  In Jesus' time children were at the bottom of the ladder, without rights, privileges, or resources, totally dependent on their parents, as we are on God.  Jesus teaches us to honor and respect God and trust him for all we need, as children trust their parents.
              Dress legend
              • 'Children around the earth' tie:  God from the earth created us, makes us return to earth (1st reading); "let the children come to me"; "accept God's kingdom like a child" (gospel)
              • 'Bird,' 'beast' pins:  God gives us rule over beasts and birds (1st reading)
              • 'Ruler' tie bar:  God places a 'ruler' over every nation (1st reading)
              • 'Sun' pin:  Our actions are clear as the sun to God (1st reading)
              • 'Hands' pin:  Jesus placed his hands on the children (gospel)
              • Green shirt:  Our days are like those of grass (psalm), Ordinary Time season
              • 'Clock' pin:  God gives us limited days of life (1st reading)
              • Flesh-colored suspenders:  God puts fear of him in all flesh (1st reading)
              • 'Eyeball,' 'heart' pins:  God created eyes and an inventive heart for us; our eyes behold his glory (1st reading)
              • 'Flowers' pin:  Like a flower of the field we bloom (psalm)
              • 'Owl' tie pin (oops; forgot to pack):  God fills our heart with wisdom (1st reading)

              February 24, 2017

              Feb. 24

              February 24, 2017:  Friday, 7th week, Ordinary Time

              • 'Coin' tie bar:  A faithful friend is beyond price (1st reading)
              • 'Eyeball' pin:  Open my eyes, that I may consider your law's wonders (psalm)
              • 'Hearts' tie:  Give me discernment, that I may keep your law with all my heart (psalm); Moses permitted divorce because of the hardness of your hearts (gospel)
              • 'Scroll' pin:  Moses permitted a bill of divorce (gospel)
              • Flesh-colored suspenders:  "Man and wife shall be joined and become one flesh" (gospel)
              • Congress lanyard:  Trust (1st reading)
              • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

              For Psalm 119

              Pope Francis
              Homily:  The law doctors put Jesus to the test, asking, “Is it lawful for a husband to put away his wife?”  He doesn't answer yes or no, the way they thought of faith, but asks, “What did Moses command in your Law?” Then they explained the permission Moses gave to divorce, and Jesus calls them ‘hard of heart.’   He speaks the truth.  But if it's the truth, that adultery is serious, how do you explain that Jesus told an adulteress, “I don't condemn you. Sin no more”?
              The path of Jesus is away from casuistry, towards truth and mercy.  In other passages he calls those testing him, those with yes/no mentality, hypocrites.  They even used their offering to the church as an excuse to not support their parents.  Casuistry is hypocritical; yes/no thinking becomes more subtle, deceptive, and diabolical:  What's the limit for those who can?
              Don't give into casuistry, but follow Jesus' example:  respond with truth accompanied by mercy.  The Incarnation of the Father's mercy and truth can't deny Himself.  His teaching is hard to apply when we're tempted; the path away from casuistry to truth and mercy takes God's grace.  Ask:  "Lord, grant that I may be just, but with mercy, like you."  Someone with a casuistic mindset might ask, "What's more important:  justice or mercy?" What a sick thought!  They're not two things.  In God, justice is mercy and mercy justice.  Lord, help us understand this street and so be happy and make others happy. 

              • Sir 6:5-17  A kind mouth multiplies friends.  Don't be too ready to trust a new friend; some won't be with you in time of distress or will become enemies.  A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter, priceless and life-saving.
              • Mk 10:1-12  Pharisees / Jesus:  “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?  Moses permitted it.”  “A man shall leave his parents and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.  What God has joined, no one must separate.”
                Congress 2017 theme: Trust!
              • One Bread, One Body:  "Hope for every marriage":  Jesus related divorce to stubbornness; it could be pride, selfishness, refusal to repent, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, isolation,....  When he prohibited divorce, he implied stubbornness need not oppress couples. Married couples can be united in love and reconciled if they put their marriages in God's hands....
              • Passionist:  "Behold the Lamb of God":  In 586 BC the Babylonian army destroyed Jerusalem; its King Zedekiah was brought before Nebuchadnezzar, forced to see his children slaughtered; then he was blinded.  How can we understand how the Father felt to see Jesus' Passion?  If only we could see the Lamb of God as he did!   “The Eucharist is marked by the Lord’s passion and death; it's both a reminder and the sacramental re-presentation.  It's the sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated...”  (Sacrosanctum Concilium 47).  The Eucharist is the Body of Christ being given right now for us.  Christ isn't time-restricted; the Eucharist contains all the moments of his life.  “The Eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth:  Christ our Passover and living bread.  The Church's gaze is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his love.”   (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 1, paraphrased).
              • DailyScripture.net:  "What God has joined together":  Jesus deals with divorce by returning to creation and God's plan for people.  Adam and Eve, symbol for all to come, were created for each other and no one else.  Jesus says Moses permitted divorce as a concession, but Jesus sets the high ideal of marriage for those willing to accept it, as well as the ideal for those who freely renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom.  Marriage and celibacy are calls from God to live a consecrated life, as people who belong to God.  The Lord gives his followers the grace and power to live a life of love, joy, and holiness....