February 3, 2017


February 3, 2017
Friday, 4th week, Ordinary Time / St. Blase, Bishop and Martyr
See 12 connections with today?
Legend below


For Psalm 27

  • Dance of the Seven Veils, from Salome/ Strauss (gospel):  no link because I marked this site as free of adult content, but if you understand and tolerate the risk, you can search

When Jesus' parents brought him to the Temple, Spirit-guided Simeon held the Child, the long-awaited hope, and praised God.  He rejoiced that God had come to dwell among his people; he felt his presence in the flesh.  The Lord was both outwardly fulfilling the Law and coming to meet his people, and encounter that brought joy and renewed hope.  Simeon’s canticle is our hymn too:  “Hope in God never disappoints.”  Aged Simeon and Anna were capable of new fruitfulness and sing about it.  Life is worth living in hope, because the Lord keeps his promise.  Jesus will later explain this promise:  the sick, prisoners, those who are alone, the poor, the elderly, sinners, are all invited to sing the same hymn; he is with them and us.
We inherited this hymn of hope from our elders.  We see how they embodied this praise in their lives.  We're heirs to their dreams, heirs to the hope that didn't disappoint them, heirs to those who had the courage to dream.  Like them, we want to sing, “God doesn't deceive; hope in him doesn't disappoint.”  God comes to meet us.  We want to make Joel's prophecy our own:  “I will pour out my spirit; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”
We do well to take up our elders' dreams, so we may prophesy and encounter what ignited our hearts, remembering their dreams and carrying them on with courage.  This attitude will make us fruitful and protect us from the temptation of survival, an evil that can make us reactionaries, fearful, shutting ourselves up in our houses and preconceived notions, making us look back and look for shortcuts instead of rekindling the prophetic creativity born of our elders' dreams.  Survival mentality robs our charisms of power, “domesticating” them, making them “user-friendly,” robbing them of their force.  It makes us want to protect structures instead of undertaking new initiatives.  The temptation makes us forget grace; it turns us into professionals, not fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters of hope.  It withers our elderly, taking away their ability to dream.  It cripples the prophecy our young are called to proclaim and help achieve.  It makes opportunities for mission seem dangerous and threatening.
The song of Simeon and Anna wasn't the fruit of self-absorption; they weren't worried something bad might befall them.  It was born of the hope that sustained them in their old age, hope that was rewarded when they encountered Jesus.  Whenever Mary puts Jesus in the midst of his people, they encounter joy; only putting Jesus in the midst of his people will save us from a survival mentality and make us fruitful.  We're called to be leaven in the dough of the world.  Maybe there are better brands of flour, but the Lord called us to help the wheat, often sown among weeds, grow.  Putting Jesus in people's midst means having a contemplative heart, capable of discerning how God is walking today; it means carrying others' crosses, wanting to touch Jesus' wounds in the wounds of a world in pain crying out for healing.
Put yourself with Jesus in the midst of his people!  You're forgiven sinners anointed in baptism and sent to share that anointing and God's consolation, to go out of yourself and join others.  It'll turn your life and hopes into a hymn of praise.  But we can only do this if we take up our elders' dreams and turn them into prophecy.  Accompany Jesus as he goes to meet his people and be in their midst.  Go forth with serenity, patience, and songs of praise, not complaining, anxiety, or apprehension.  Trust in the Spirit, the Lord of dreams and prophecy, and share the hymn born of hope.   More
  • Heb 13:1-8  Let brotherly love continue.  Don't neglect hospitality, through which some have entertained angels.  Remember prisoners and the ill-treated.  Honor marriage and be faithful.  Don't love money; be content with what you have.  Remember your leaders who spoke God's word to you; imitate their faith.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
    Wordle: Readings 2-6-15
  • Ps 27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc  "The Lord is my light and my salvation."  Whom should I fear?  You'll shelter me.  I seek You.
  • Mk 6:14-29  King Herod heard Jesus called John the Baptist raised from the dead, Elijah, or a prophet.  Herod liked to hear John but wanted to kill him because he said it wasn't lawful for him to have his brother’s wife.  At Herod's birthday banquet after his daughter's dance, he promised her anything.  She asked her mother what to ask for, then ask her dad for John's head.  Distressed though he was, he had him killed and brought her the head.  John's disciples came and buried him.
    • Creighton:  The recipients of Hebrews were flagging in their faith and Christian life.  The author addresses their lack of faith in the sacrifice and priesthood of Jesus.  We all need to grow in faithfulness and love in our daily lives.  Today's selection, from the last chapter, summarizes how to follow Jesus effectively in our daily lives:  live simply, trust the Lord, don't fear, be hospitable, remember prisoners, honor marriage, don't love money....  Do I offer hospitality to those I meet?  Do I see Christ in them?  How do I respond to refugees in faith, hope, and love?
      Salome with the head of John the Baptist
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Never, my love":  We live in a world of broken and hurting relationships; most are touched by divorce, unforgiveness, unfaithfulness, treachery, revenge, backstabbing, gossip, slander, or other problems stemming from interpersonal breakdowns.  But Jesus loves each of us personally, individually, uniquely; he became a human being so we could relate to him more intimately. He will never reject us, he calls us friends, and he's always with us and for us....
    • Passionist:  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” is so consoling.  We can build our lives on Jesus, our Rock, our foundation, our anchor, who loves us no matter what we do or don't do.  It seems our country is in a precarious position, and it can be easy to get nervous, but it's wonderful to know we can count on Jesus....
      St. Blase
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Herod's guilty conscience":  King Herod had all he wanted, except a clear conscience and peace with God.  John the Baptist rebuked him for his adulterous relationship with Herodias, was imprisoned, then beheaded because of Herodias' hatred.  When Herod heard about Jesus, he assumed John had returned from the dead. Herod was a weak man taking a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right. God's pardon frees us from a guilty conscience and enables us to pursue holiness, fight fear with faith, and overcome temptation.
    "How was [John] harmed by his imprisonment and violent death?  Who are those he didn't set back on their feet... because of what he spoke, suffered, and still proclaims, the message he preached while he was living?  So don't ask why John was allowed to die.  What occurred wasn't death but a crown, not an end but the beginning of a greater life.  Think and live like a Christian; you'll reap the greatest benefits."  (John Chrysostom, On the Providence of God 22.10, paraphrased)

      • Blase (Blaise), bishop, missionary, martyr; see also Wikipedia.  “Through the intercession of St. Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from ailments of the throat and from every other evil.”
    Dress legend
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Let brotherly love continue (1st reading)
    • 'Angel' pin:  Some have entertained angels (1st reading)
    • 'Penny pincher' button:  Be free from love of money (1st reading)
    • 'Clock' pin:  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (psalm)
    • 'Lights' tie:  "The Lord is my light" (psalm) +remember yesterday's Presentation feast
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  The Lord will set me high upon a rock (psalm)
    • 'Question mark' tie pin:  King Herod was perplexed (gospel)
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Herod gave a banquet... (gospel)
    • 'Headless skeleton' tie pin:  ...and had John beheaded (gospel)
    • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  Today's martyrs

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