March 8, 2017

March 8

March 8, 2017:  Wednesday, 1st week, Lent

  • 'Whale' tie pin:  Jonah before the 1st reading
  • 'Heart' pin:  Create a clean heart in me (psalm)
  • 'Dove' pin:  Don't take your Holy Spirit away (psalm)
  • 'Fire' pin:  You're not pleased with burnt offerings (psalm)
  • 'Signs' tie:  No 'sign' will be given but the sign of Jonah (gospel)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  The queen came to hear Solomon's wisdom (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar, 'beast' and 'cow' pins, 'sheep' tie bar:  Nineveh king:  “Neither man, beast, cattle, nor sheep shall taste anything” (1st reading)
  • Grey suspenders:  King of Nineveh sat in ashes (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  Call loudly to God (1st reading)
  • Purple shirt:  Lenten season

  • Jon 3:1-10  Lord to Jonah:  “Set out for Nineveh, and prophesy.”  He began his journey, announcing, “40 days and Nineveh shall be destroyed”; they believed and proclaimed a fast.  The king rose, covered himself with sackcloth, sat in ashes, and proclaimed a fast: “Repent; God may relent and save us.”  God saw; he repented and didn't carry out the evil he'd threatened.
  • Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19  "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."  Have mercy on me.  Create a clean heart for me.
  • Lk 11:29-32  “No sign will be given this evil generation but Jonah; the Son of Man will be a sign like Jonah.  At the judgment, the queen of the south who came to hear Solomon's wisdom will condemn this generation; at the judgment, repentant Nineveh will condemn this generation.  Something greater than Solomon and Jonah is here.”
    (Not this "sign of Jonah" :-)
      • Creighton:  How does our faith help us cope with human suffering?  The 1st reading illustrates the dominant Old Testament approach:  Through Moses God made a covenant with his people.  The First Commandment specifies the stark consequences of observing it or not: reward for fidelity, punishment for infidelity.  The Ninevites sinned, God sent Jonah to proclaim punishment, they repented, and God relented.  If God sends suffering as a warning and punishment for violating the Covenant, the appropriate response is simple:  What have we done to deserve this?...  The New Testament presents a different approach:  Jesus announces new life through the sending of the Holy Spirit; Paul calls it a “new creation.”  Suffering isn't presented as a punishment. Believers are exhorted to remember God is present even amid suffering; in fact God's power is manifested even more in suffering.  Paul boasts in his suffering so that God's power is manifested in him.  Jesus invites all who are burdened to come to him, and Jesus on the cross is the exemplar of trusting in God amid suffering.  Our response to suffering is simple:  love our neighbor, and help alleviate suffering.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Millions convert in one day":  120,000 wicked people converted to the Lord in one day through Jonah's prophecy, and we "have a greater than Jonah here":  Jesus, Savior, King of kings, Lord of lords, Son of God.  Not only is Jesus greater; so is each Christian born into God's kingdom.  Jesus has promised that those who believe in Him will do greater works than he.  Considering the "surpassing glory" of the new covenant, what can we expect now when we fast, pray, and sacrifice?  Jesus has given us the privilege of being a part of his work....
        St. John of God saving the sick
        from Royal Hospital fire/ Moreno
      • Passionist:  We naturally seek ‘signs’:  signs we're going the right way, signs we're being understood, signs of reassurance, signs of encouragement....  We also give signs that we're thinking of someone, that they mean a lot to us, that we support them.  In today's gospel the crowd is looking for reassurance or 'proof' that what Jesus is saying is true and worthy of their trust.  But Jesus offers us a new kind of relationship, based on a dynamic that doesn't lend itself to signs.  God freely offers us a personal relationship we don't deserve, but it requires our assent and surrender.  Jesus revealed God's love, offered it to us, and modeled human response to God through his life and fidelity; look at the 'sign' of his passion, death, and resurrection as our model for giving ourselves to God.
      •  "The sign of Jonah for an evil generation":  When the religious leaders demanded a sign from Jesus, he gave them a warning to avert spiritual disaster.  Jews characteristically demanded "signs" from God's messengers to authenticate their claims.  When they pressed him for proof of his claims, he basically says he himself is God's sign and that they need no further evidence.  The Ninevites recognized Jonah's prophecy as God's warning and repented, and the Queen of Sheba recognized God's wisdom in Solomon, but the leaders weren't satisfied with the signs before them:  they rejected John the Baptist and now Jesus.  Simeon had prophesied Jesus was destined for the falling and rising of many and would be a sign opposed so that the thoughts of many would be revealed.  Jesus confirmed his message with miracles in preparation for the sign of his resurrection.  James says that wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.  May we be singleminded in desiring God's pleasure....
        • Senanbishop, apostle of Ireland, monastery founder; see Clare Library's article.
        • Duthac, bishop

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