March 24, 2017

March 24

March 24, 2017:  Friday, 3rd week, Lent

See 18 connections with today?
Legend below

Listen to music for the 1st reading, plus a psalm setting

  • Hosea/ Norbet, composer-sung
Pope Francis Thursday homily
When we don't listen to the Lord, we end up moving away, turning our backs, listening to other voices, idols' voices.  Eventually we become deaf to God's Word.  If we look at our hearts, we'll see how often we close our ears.  When a community becomes deaf to the Lord, they search for other voices, other lords, idols, and distance themselves from God.
If our heart hardens, we become “Catholic pagans,” “Catholic atheists.”  As we move away from the Lord, our hearts harden.  If I don't listen, my heart closes, unable to receive anything, and I live in that world that does me no good and move further from God.  Deafness to God's Word and a hardened, closed heart cause infidelity.  You lose your sense of fidelity and become unfaithful because you have no reference to God's love.

The infidelity ends in confusion:  you don't know where God is; you confuse God with the devil as in today's gospel.  Ask, "Do I listen to God, or harden my heart?"  That's blasphemy, the end of the path that begins with not listening, hardening of the heart.  This makes you forget fidelity and, ultimately, blaspheme.  Ask, "Have I stopped listening to the Word of God, taking the Bible into my hands, and talk only to myself?  Has my heart been hardened?  Am I far from the Lord?  Have I lost my fidelity?  Do I live with the idols that offer me worldliness?  Have I lost the joy of the wonder of my first meeting with Jesus?"  "Listen to his voice!  Harden not your hearts!’’  Lord, give us the grace to listen...

  • Hos 14:2-10  Return to the Lord, your God; you've collapsed through your guilt.  Say, “Forgive all iniquity.  We'll no longer say, ‘Our god’ to the work of our hands.”  God:  "I'll heal their defection, I'll love them freely; my wrath is turned away from them.  Israel shall strike root and put forth shoots in splendor.  They shall dwell in his shade, raise grain, blossom, and have fame.  I've humbled Ephraim but will prosper him.  Because of me you bear fruit!  Let the wise know and understand these things.  The just walk in the Lord's straight paths, but sinners stumble.
  • Ps 81:6c-11ab, 14, 17  "I am the Lord your God: hear my voice."  “I relieved him of the burden.  You called, and I rescued you.  I'll admonish you; won't you  hear me?”  “Don't worship any alien god.  I led you from Egypt.”  “If you hear me and walk in my ways, I'll feed you with the best of wheat and fill you with honey.”
  • Mk 12:28-34  Scribe/Jesus:  “Which is the first of the commandments?” / “God alone is Lord!  Love the Lord with your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  The second:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  No commandment is greater.” / “Well said.  You're right to say, There is no other.  To love him with heart, understanding, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all sacrifices.” / “You're not far from the Kingdom.”  No one dared to ask him more questions.
    • Creighton:  "Ours for the asking":  God insists: you are made for love of God, neighbor, and self.  Who/what functions as God in my life?   What gospel do I live by?  How am I saved?  "Return to the Lord..."
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Uninhibited love":  The Lord wants to love us freely, but many aren't open to his love.  Sin makes us afraid of the consuming fire of God's love, so the Lord must heal our sinful defection.  God, Love, clears away our sins, convicting us of them, assuring us Jesus is "an Offering for our sins...," commanding us to repent and confess our sins, and delegating the apostles' successors to forgive sins in his name.  May we be immersed in repentance and plunge into God's love....

    • Passionist:  "Turn to God" occurs 37 times in Scripture; Hebrew suv (turn, face, often translated 'repent') 1050 times!  It summarizes spiritual life.  The Lord is the sun we turn to to grow; to flower we must bask in the light of Christ.  Scripture expresses facing Christ in different ways:  come to him (literally pauo (rest) ana (up) as for another day of work; in Mt people come to him or he to them over 100 times.  “He had healed many; all who had afflictions pressed (ĕpipiptō, fell upon, crushed) around him to touch him.”  Prayer is an unpretentious way of turning or repenting.  In prayer may we touch the human and divine Christ.
    •  "You're not far from God's kingdom":  Hosea's people, living in fear and economic anxiety, were tempted to put their security in their possessions and political alliances.  Hosea called them return to God for pardon, healing, and restoration.  God brings strength and blessing to those who obey him.  Jesus startled the Pharisees with his profound simplicity and mastery of God's law and purpose.  Love as God loves!  The more we know of God's love and truth, the more we love what he loves and reject what's contrary to his will, and the more we believe and hope in his promises.  The Lord, through the Holy Spirit, gives us freedom to love.  What keeps me from the love of God and joy of generous service?
    Dress legend
    • 'Horse' tie pin:  We won't have horses to mount (1st reading)
    • 'Words' tie:  Take with you words, and return to the Lord (1st reading)
    • 'Fruit' pin:  Because of me you bear fruit (1st reading)
    • White tie pin:  Israel shall blossom like the lily (1st reading)
    • 'Straight line' tie bar:  Straight are the Lord's paths....  (1st reading)
    • 'Hands' pin:  We won't say ‘Our god’ to the work of our hands (1st reading); his hands were freed from the basket (psalm)
    • 'Tree' pin:  He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar; his splendor shall be like the olive tree. I'm like a verdant cypress... (1st reading)
    • 'Owl' tie pin:  Let the wise understand these things (1st reading)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  You 'called' in distress, and I rescued you (psalm)
    • 'Wheat' pin, "bees' knees" button, 'rock' tie pin:  If you'd hear me and walk in my ways, I'd feed you with the best of wheat and fill you with honey from the rock. (psalm)
    • '?' pin, 'scroll' pin:  “Which is the first of all the commandments?” (gospel)
    • 'Heart' pin:  Love the Lord with all your heart... (gospel)
    • 'Fire' pin:  To love God is worth more than all burnt offerings...  (gospel)
    • Blue shirt:  I tested you at the waters of Meribah (psalm)
    • 'Scales' pin (fell off last week?  Please ask for "Holy Tony"'s help in recovering it):  God's judgment shines forth (1st reading, gospel); Pharisee judges tax collector (gospel)
    • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season

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