March 11, 2017

March 11

March 11, 2017:  Saturday, 1st week, Lent

  • 'Sun' pin:  Your Father makes the sun rise on the bad and the good (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Observe God's command with your whole heart (1st reading); blessed are those who seek the Lord with all their heart (psalm); love your enemies (gospel)
  • 'Walker' pin (oops, forgot):  Walk in the Lord's ways (1st reading, psalm)
  • 'Children' pin:  Love your enemies... that you may be your Father's children (gospel)
  • 'Coin' tie bar:  Even tax collectors love those who love them (gospel)
  • Purple in shirt:  Lenten season

Listen to settings of today's psalm

Papal Preacher Fr. Cantalamessa's 1st Lenten sermon, continued from yesterday

The sublime knowledge of Christ:  De Lubac believed we lack the enthusiastic faith and the sense of the Scriptures' fullness and unity needed to revive a spiritual reading of Scripture like the Fathers'.  But later he said, “To find their spiritual interpretation of Scripture, we must reproduce a a spiritual movement.”  The same can be applied to the spiritual understanding of Christ.  If we lack a lived experience of the Spirit, whatever is said will remain external to the real issue; we'd never rise to the level where the Paraclete operates:  enthusiasm, boldness, “sober intoxication of the spirit.”  We can't present Christ with the anointing of the Spirit if we don't live in that anointing.

In the last century a “spiritual movement” arose, the Pentecostal and Charismatic renewal, that's formed the basis for a renewal of pneumatology that begins from an experience of the Spirit and his charisms.  In its first fifty years, the movement deliberately ignored theology and has been ignored, even ridiculed, by academic theology, but when the movement penetrated traditional churches and their hierarchies welcomed it, theology could no longer ignore it.  What understanding of Christ is emerging in this new atmosphere?  The lordship of Christ is being rediscovered!

Paul speaks of a “superior,” “sublime” knowledge of Christ:  knowing him and proclaiming him as Lord.  This proclamation, accompanied by faith in the Resurrection, can "save" you.  Only the Spirit can make such knowledge possible.  Anyone can mouth the words, but without the Spirit it wouldn't save them.

The objective power of the statement, “Jesus is Lord,” is that it makes history, particularly the paschal mystery, present; it follows from Christ's death for our sins and resurrection for our justification.  "Christ died and lived again that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”  The events that led to it become present and operative in it. Being.”  The kerygma and later Christian preaching developed from it.  The subjective power of the proclamation is that it entails a decision; whoever proclaims it is deciding the direction of their life, as if they're saying, “You are my Lord; I submit myself to you and acknowledge you as my savior, master, and teacher....”

Some believe it's possible, even necessary, not to affirm Christ's uniqueness to promote interfaith dialogue, but to proclaim Jesus “Lord” proclaims his uniqueness.  The creed article reads, “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ.”  "Though there may be so-called gods..., for us there is one God, the Father [and] one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist."  Paul wrote these words when the Christian faith faced a world dominated by other cults and religions, where it took great courage proclaim Jesus as “the only Lord.”  The “power of the Spirit” is granted to those who proclaim Jesus Lord in its original meaning.  Only after you decide to gamble everything on Christ do you experience new certainty and power in your life.

From the “personage” of Jesus to the “person” of Jesus:  This discovery of Jesus as Lord is the innovation and grace God is granting to his Church now.  By the third century, 'Lord' was no longer understood in its kerygmatic meaning.  
People spoke of “the Lord” Jesus, but it became a name for Christ among others.  But to say “Jesus Christ is our Lord” is more.  The Holy Spirit leads us to understand that the proclamation of Jesus as Lord leads us into the knowledge of the risen and living Christ.  Christ is no longer a personage but a person; no longer merely a set of dogmas and a figure to remember, but a living person always present in the Spirit.  This knowledge of Jesus as Lord doesn't lead to the neglect of objective, dogmatic, and ecclesial knowledge of Christ but instead revitalizes it.  “By the Spirit, revealed truth, renewing its youth, as if it were a precious deposit in an excellent vessel, causes the vessel containing it to renew its youth also” (Irenaeus).  "I invite all Christians, everywhere, right now, to a renewed personal encounter with Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; do this each day without fail.  This invitation is meant for you"  (Evangelii Gaudium 3).

  • Dt 26:16-19  Moses:  “God commands you to observe these commands; do it with your heart and soul.  You're agreeing to walk in God's ways, and the Lord is agreeing to make you his own and raise you high.”
  • Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8  "Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!"  I'll give you thanks and keep your statutes.
  • Mt 5:43-48  “You've heard it said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say, Love your enemies.  So be perfect, just like your heavenly Father.”
    • Creighton:  Reconciliation, staying tuned to others, and keeping my mind and heart on path occurs only if I increase my quiet time with God, so God may quiet my misgivings and feelings of inadequacy and tell me to give thanks for all encounters, to recognize that all time with others is precious and the grace to forgive is from God.  When I succeed, I can deflect hurt, disappointment, and rejection and recognize something deeper going on.  My heart extends extraordinary love and understanding that meets no resistance and is extended to others....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Forgiveness is impossible" without God's help, but God offers us the grace.  The Lord commands us to forgive, even enemiesimmediately, repeatedly, sacrificially, even while we're being crucified or if others keep sinning against us.  God who lives in us will give us the grace to forgive everyone for every sin against us.  By the power of Christ decide to forgive.
    • Passionist:  “Your enemies and persecutors” were Romans who unjustly taxed and oppressed them, but Jesus challenged his disciples to love and to pray for them.  We can find such love of enemies/forgiveness today, e.g. in the Amy Biehl story.  When we respond to persecution with love and forgiveness, we become like the Father “who makes his sun rise on the bad and good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”
    •  "Love and pray for your enemies":  God's love can free us from every evil:  selfishness, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, envy....  Jesus transforms the old law of justice and mercy with grace and loving-kindness.  God, whose love embraces everyone, teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even our enemies. Our love must show the same kindness and mercy God shows us, though it's hard when we expect no return.  Our prayer for them breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love.  God gives us power and grace to conquer our hurt, fear, prejudice, and griefs, frees us from malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment, and gives us courage to return evil with good and so bring healing.  Jesus' command to "be perfect" parallels God's telling Abraham to "be perfect" or "blameless" before God; 'perfect' originally meant 'complete,' 'whole,' 'not lacking in essentials.'  Another parallel is God's command to Moses and the Israelites: "Be holy, for I am holy."  God who made us in his image calls us to grow to be like him, to love as he loves, choose to do good, and reject what's contrary to his will.  God who knows our sinfulness assures us of his love, mercy, and help.  Holy Spirit, transform so I may walk in the joy and freedom of the Gospel.
      • Aengushermit, martyrology co-author, poet

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