February 4, 2017

Feb. 4

February 4, 2017:  Saturday, 4th week, Ordinary Time

How many connections with today can you find?
Legend below

For Psalm 23
Pope Francis to Economy of Communion
Contemporary culture often considers 'economy' and 'communion' as opposites, but you've accepted the invitation for entrepreneurs to become agents of communion and changed how business is seen and lived.  Business can edify and promote communion.  The spiritual communion of hearts is fuller when it becomes communion of goods, talents, and profits.
The communion of your profits must be at the center of the economy of communion.  Money can be an idol:  Jesus’ first public act in John is the expulsion of the merchants from the temple.  To understand God's kingdom, we need to free ourselves of idols, including money.  Money is important, especially when needed for food and school, but it becomes an idol when it's the aim.  When capitalism makes profit its only purpose, it risks becoming an idolatrous framework.  The ‘goddess of fortune’ destroys families, and you rightly oppose that.  Products wear out, but when I can just replace them using money or credit, I can feel I'm conquering death.  The best way to avoid idolizing money is to share it, especially with the poor, or to enable young people to study and work.  Sharing your profits is a spiritual act, telling money through your deeds that it's not God.
Poverty is a central theme of yours.  Initiatives to combat poverty show growth in humanity.  We care for, feed, and teach the poor, in part through taxes.  Tax evasion denies the basic law of mutual care.  Capitalism produces discarded people it then wants to care for.  The dilemma is the creation of those people, then trying to hide them.  A civilization is poor when it doesn't see its poor, discarded then hidden.  Aircraft companies pollute then use part of their revenue to plant trees.  Gambling companies finance campaigns to care for the compulsive gamblers they create.  The economy of communion must not only care for victims but also build a system where there are ever fewer, or no, victims.  Work to change the rules:  it's not enough to imitate the Good Samaritan; you have to act before the man is robbed, to battle frameworks that produce robbers and victims.  Imitate the merciful Father:  wait for those who've done wrong, embrace them, and celebrate with and for them, not impeded by the meritocracy of those who deny mercy in merit's name.  Do all you can so even those who do wrong can hope for work with dignity, not wind up eating with the swine.
The changes in the order of the spirit and of life aren't linked to big numbers.  The prophets announced the age of salvation through the sign of a child, Emmanuel, and speaking to us of a faithful ‘remnant.’   Salt and leaven don't deteriorate.  Don't lose the ‘active ingredient.’   When people, even the Church, try to save the world in numbers, they produce power structures and forget the poor. We save our economy by being salt and leaven:  hard, because everything deteriorates with time.  How do we not lose the active ingredient, the ‘enzyme’ of communion?
When there were no refrigerators, to preserve dough you gave a neighbor some of your dough, and when you needed to make bread again, you received dough from the neighbor.  Communion is not only sharing but also multiplying goods, creating new bread, new goods, new Good.  If we hold on to everything, it goes moldy and dies.  Give economy of communion to everyone.  Give it to poor and the young, who need it most and can make the gift bear fruit!  To have abundant life, learn to give:  not only profits, but yourselves.  Money doesn't save if not accompanied by the person.  The poor and young need your spirit, your fraternity, your will to live, then your money.
It's easy to share profits, without embracing the people who receive them.  Five loaves and two fishes can feed many if they're the sharing of our life.  If you don't give all of yourself, you're not giving enough.  Share more profits to combat idolatry, change structures to prevent the creation of victims, give more leaven to leaven the bread of many.  Say no to an economy that kills, yes to one that lets live, because it shares, includes the poor, and uses profits to create communion.  Continue with courage, humility, and joy.  God loves your joyfully given profits and talents.  Continue to be the seed, salt, and leaven of the economy of the Kingdom, where the rich share their wealth, and the poor are called blessed.
  • Heb 13:15-17, 20-21  Through Jesus, offer God a sacrifice of praise, fruit of your lips.  Do good and share what you have.  Obey your leaders; they keep watch over you.  May the God of peace furnish you with all that's good, that you may do his will.  May he carry out in you what pleases him....
    Offer God a sacrifice of praise,
    fruit of your lips (animate)
  • Ps 23:1-6  "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."  You lead, guide, and anoint me, giving me repose and refreshment.  You're at my side, giving me courage.  You spread the table before me.  Goodness and kindness follow me, and I'll dwell in your house.
  • Mk 6:30-34  The Apostles reported what they'd done and taught.  Jesus:  “Come away by yourselves and rest.”  They went off in the boat, but people saw and hastened there.  When Jesus saw them all, he was moved with pity—they were like sheep without a shepherd—and began to teach them.
    • Creighton:  We all need a break, time to gather our thoughts and energy.  Jesus told the apostles to come away for rest, but the people followed them and they didn't rest then.  We need to make time for ourselves and for prayer:  a deep breath, a moment to be grateful, a time to ask help in our struggle and ask help in being present for others.  I need to schedule these breaks:  to breathe, pray, open myself up to God, to find God in all things.  The psalm offers a good starting place:  “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want....  He gives me repose.... beside restful waters leads me, refreshes....”
    • One Bread, One Body:  "A people of sacrifice":  Because Jesus offered his sacrifice on Calvary , we're a people of sacrifice, baptized into the death and so sacrifice of Jesus.  We center our lives on the sacrifice of the Mass.  We must offer our bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices.  Through Jesus, we can "continually offer God a sacrifice of praise."  Our good deeds and generosity are to be sacrifices pleasing to God.  "Those who observe the commandments sacrifice a peace offering."  Life is about love, freedom, and self-sacrifice, not pleasure, enjoyment, and comfort.  "Even if my life is poured out as a libation over the sacrificial service of your faith, I'm glad and rejoice with you."
    • Passionist:  "The Great Commandment… practically speaking":  Today’s readings speak of applying the Great Commandment:  The 1st reading calls us to “offer God a sacrifice of praise,” “do his will,” give God glory, do good, and share what you have.  Jesus invited his disciples to a deserted place to rest.  When the crowd pursued Jesus, he put his rest on hold and reached out to them.  Love God; love self; love others!  Today we rally around the Great Commandment and try to provide a prophetic example to the needy inspired by Jesus' example  Join Jesus for a few moments of peace and perspective....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Come away and rest awhile":  Shepherding came even before farming; the Chosen People had to move their flocks as they themselves traveled.  It was hard; herds could number in the thousands, and shepherds put their life on the line, battling with hyenas and wolves, to defend their flocks and bring back strays.  Sheep and shepherds lived together, and sheep recognized their shepherd's voice and came when called.  God leads us like a good shepherd.  Do I submit my life to the Good Shepherd and trust in his help?
    Dress legend
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  May the God of peace furnish you with all that's good... (1st reading)
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  God raised the great Shepherd (1st reading); The Lord is my shepherd (psalm); they were like sheep without a shepherd (gospel)
    • Green and blue in shirt:  Verdant pastures (psalm), Ordinary Time season; blue for restful waters (psalm)
    • 'Boat' tie bar:  They went off in the boat to a deserted place (gospel)
    • 'Precious feet' pin:  They hastened on foot (gospel)
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Jesus' heart was moved with pity (gospel); God's merciful love (First Reconciliation is today at St. Bede)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  God brought the great shepherd up from the dead by the Blood of the covenant (1st reading)
    • 'Roads' tie:  The Lord guides me in right paths (psalm) (trumps 'cups' tie for "My cup overflows," also for psalm)

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