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?

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