February 8, 2017

Feb. 8

February 8, 2017:  Wednesday, 5th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Tree' pin:  God made various trees grow in the garden of Eden (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  When you open your hand, they're filled with good things (psalm)
  • 'Earth' tie:  When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth (psalm)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  "What comes out from your heart defiles you" (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Pope Francis

General audience:  Paul encourages us to sustain one another in hope through mutual prayer and practical concern for those in need.  Christian hope is intensely personal yet also communitarian.  We must help one another in the many needs of everyday life, but also when we need hope.  We must especially help and support the poor, the weak in faith, the suffering, and those tempted to despair.  No one can learn to hope on their own; hope needs to be “embodied” in a community of support and concern.  When you hope, you hope one day to hear, "Come to me, for the whole of eternity.”  Hope is no easy virtue, especially in times of darkness and difficulty.  The Spirit dwelling in our hearts teaches us to trust in the Lord’s provident care and to strive to be living signs of hope for the human family.

Fight human trafficking:  I urge all in government positions to combat the scourge of human trafficking with firmness, giving voice to our younger brothers and sisters who have been wounded in their dignity.  Do all you can to eradicate this crime.  St. Josephine Bakhita was enslaved, exploited, and humiliated but never lost hope; she persevered in faith and ended up as a migrant hearing the Lord's call and becoming a nun.  Pray to her for all migrants and refugees who are exploited and suffer so much.
Tuesday we beatified Justo Takayama Ukon, a Japanese layman who died a martyr in 1615.  He remained faithful to Christ and the Gospel, renouncing honor and wealth and accepting humiliation and exile, rather than compromising.  He represents an admirable example of strength in faith and dedication in charity. 
  • Gn 2:4b-9, 15-17  When God made the earth and the heavens, the Lord formed man out of clay gave him the breath of life, so man became a living being.  Then the Lord planted a garden in Eden and placed there the man he'd formed and made trees grow, delightful to look at and good for food, with the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  The Lord settled the man in the garden, to care for it, ordering, “You may eat from any tree but the tree of knowledge of good and evil; if you eat from it, you're doomed.”
  • Ps 104:1-2a, 27-30  "O bless the Lord, my soul!"  You are great, clothed with majesty, robed in light.  All creatures look to you to give them food.  When you send your spirit, they're created, and you renew the face of the earth.
  • Mk 7:14-23  Jesus to crowd:  “Nothing entering you from outside can defile you; but what comes out from within defiles.”  To disciples:  “What goes into a person from outside can't defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out.  But what comes out from the heart defiles:  evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy....”
    • Creighton:  Jesus says that rather than focus on what goes into your mouth, pay attention to what comes out of your heart.  What do I need to change about myself to free myself and open my heart more to God?  Selfishness, jealousy, harsh judgment, impatience...?
      St. Josephine Bakhita
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Cleaning is an 'in-thing'":  It's important to be cleansed inside and to remain clean inside.  May we take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the penitential rite at Mass, God's cleansing Word.  May we forgive others, be and stay clean, and so be free and holy.
    • Passionist:  In Jesus' time, doctors of the law were preoccupied with ‘uncleanliness.’  Natural bodily functions, or illness, could render someone unclean and so excluded from many aspects of social and religious life.  Jesus saw through all that, redefining ‘uncleanliness’ and moving the discussion away from externals to inner life.  What you eat or hear doesn't make you ‘unclean’; the determining factor is our disposition or intention.  We have to choose good.  Sin's origin is in the heart:  attitudes and tendencies we choose to follow.  Jesus sees people as created in God's image.  God’s plan for us is life in the midst of delightful creation, open to and trusting God.  May we be open daily to God’s healing love and respond wholeheartedly.
      St. Jerome Emiliani
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Out of the heart come evil thoughts":   The religious leaders were concerned about avoiding ritual defilement, either out of reverence for God or to be seen as observant Jews.  Jesus said true defilement comes from evil desires inside us.  When Cain became jealous of Abel, God warned him, "Sin is couching at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it."  But Cain allowed his jealousy to grow into spite, hatred, and murder.  How do I respond to sinful desires?  God gives us the grace we need....

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