March 17, 2017


March 17, 2017:  St. Patrick, Bishop

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Psalm 105-inspired
Pope Francis Thursday homily
Trusting in vanity, pride, and riches distances us from the Lord.  Those who trust in the Lord are fruitful; those who rely only on themselves and what they can control, sterile.  When people are surrounded by wealth and trust in their own devices, they lose direction, have no idea of their limitations, and ignore the poor.  The rich man knew who Lazarus was but didn’t care.  The Lord forgives sinners who repent, but the rich man’s heart was killing him.  There's a moment, a line we cross, when sin turns into corruption.  The rich man wasn't simply a sinner but corrupt because he knew of the suffering but didn't care.  Damned are those who hope in themselves.  When you have a hardened heart, it's hard to be healed.
What do we feel when we see the homeless or the children begging?  What do we feel for the poor, even if they're well dressed but unemployed?  Do we see them as part of the city landscape, like bus stops?  If we just give a coin, it's not enough; we must realize when we're on the slippery slope from sin to corruption.  When a bomb kills poor children, do I just say a prayer, or is my heart touched?  Sinners can turn back, but it's very hard for those with closed, corrupt hearts.
  • Ps 105:16-21  "Remember the marvels the Lord has done."  The Lord sent Joseph, sold as a slave, weighed down and bound till God's word proved him and the king made him master of his house.
  • Mt 21:33-43, 45-46  “A landowner leased a vineyard and went on a journey.  When he sent servants to obtain his produce, the tenants beat or killed them.  Finally, he sent his son, but they killed him too.  What will he do when he returns?” / “Kill the tenants and lease to others.” / “As the stone the builders rejected became the cornerstone, the Kingdom will be taken away from you and given to others to produce fruit.”
St. Patrick

  • Universalis:  Patrick, missionary bishop, Ireland patron saint, remembered for simplicity and pastoral care, humble trust in God, and fearless preaching to those who enslaved him in youth; see also New Advent.
    • Creighton:  Today’s readings are about speaking, and hearing, truth.  Joseph tries to speak truth to his brothers who don't want to hear it; Jesus speaks truth through a parable the priests and Pharisees don't want to hear.  Both speakers are threatened or killed, but the truth will ultimately be heard:  Joseph’s dream-based prophecies earn him the trust of those who initially enslaved or imprisoned him; the truth of Jesus' parables earn him the people's trust, and he's not arrested because the leaders fear revolt.  Faith in the truth carries the speakers through disbelief to vindication.  Now that truth is being debated and counter-truths are being offered, adherence to truth is hard, but faith can keep us on the right track.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Hoping when life is the worst":   The Lord can take the worst in our lives and make it the best; he makes miracles from sins, injustices, and defeats, making everything work together for good of those who love him.  Joseph's brothers decided to murder him, then just to sell him into slavery; they broke their father's heart by lying to him about Joseph's death.  The Lord turned this evil to good by putting Joseph in a position to save the thousands of people.  Joseph, almost left to starve to death, saved many from starvation.  The worst evil ever perpetrated is Jesus' Passion and death. The Lord took it to bring about the salvation of the world.  If you're in hard times, there may be reason to hope.
    • Passionist:  "Gift or threat?":  If we see someone as a gift, we open our lives to them; if a threat, we pull back in fear or find ways to eliminate the threat.  Today’s readings tell of two groups who could see those close to them as threats.  Joseph’s brothers are so hateful that they plot his murder; they can't bear his presence or even the thought of him.  Joseph is saved only because his brothers sell him as a slave.
    Jesus addresses a parable to those who had hardened their hearts against him.  Jesus is aware he's a threat to those he was sent to and will be killed.  Instead of receiving him as the Gift of God’s love and mercy, they're so threatened, they want him dead.  How do we see those we live and interact with?
    •  "The stone the builders rejected":  Joseph's betrayal and suffering led to redemption and reconciliation for his brothers.  "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, so that many should be kept alive."  Joseph prefigures Jesus who was betrayed by one of his disciples and put to death for our redemption.
    Jesus' story about wicked tenants offended the scribes and Pharisees:  they would have understood it as about God's dealing with a rebellious people in "the vineyard of the Lord."  The parable tells us of God's generosity and trust:  as the owner left the vineyard in the tenants' hands, so does God trust us and give us freedom.  It also tells of God's patience and justice:  the owner forgives the tenants many times, but his justice prevails in the end.
    Jesus foretold his death and ultimate triumph. The Lord gives us his kingdom and promises we'll bear fruit if we abide in him.  He entrusts his gifts to us, gives us work, and promises our labor won't be in vain if we persevere.  We may be tried and persecuted, but we'll triumph.  "Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you've given us:  all the pains and insults you've borne for us. O most merciful redeemer, friend, and brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly...." –Richard of Chichester
    Dress legend
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  “What's to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood?" (1st reading) 
    • Multicolored suspenders including purple:  Joseph's coat (1st reading); Lenten season
    • 'Hands' pin:  Reuben wanted to rescue Joseph from their brothers' hands (1st reading)
    • Silver-colored 'ruler' tie bar:  Joseph fetched 20 pieces of silver (1st reading); the 'ruler' of the peoples set Joseph free and made him ruler (psalm)
    • 'Chain links' tie bar:  Joseph was bound by chains (psalm)
    • 'Stone' tie pin:  Tenants stoned one of the owner's servants; the stone the builder rejected became the cornerstone. (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  It's wonderful in our eyes (psalm)
    • 'Fruit' pin:  Parable of the vineyard; God's Kingdom will be given to a people that will produce its fruit (gospel)
    • 'Shamrocks' tie, green shirt and blazer:  St. Patrick 

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