April 4, 2017

April 4

April 4, 2017:  Tuesday, 5th week, Lent

  • 'Serpent' tie pin:  Bronze serpent (1st reading)
  • 'I ♥ my dad' tie:  Jesus always does what pleases the Father (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  "All kings shall revere your glory" (psalm)
  • Purple shirt and suspenders:  Lenten season

For Psalm 102
Pope Francis at Populorum progressio conference
In Populorum progressio Bl. Paul VI expresses the principle of solidarity and calls for dialogue and collaboration so developing countries no longer risk being overwhelmed by debt.  Today "integral human development" means integrating the different peoples of the earth.  Solidarity requires us to seek fair sharing, because there's such an inequality between those who have too much and have-nots, those who discard and those who are discarded.  Only integration can bring peace and hope.
Integral human development is to offer viable models of social integration.  Everyone has a contribution to make, a feature that can be used to live together; making something for the good of all is both a right and a duty.  “Development is not mere economic growth, having more goods…”  The development of the person means integration of  body and soul, but no development work can achieve its purpose unless it respects the place where God is present to and speaks to us.
  • Nm 21:4-9  The children of Israel complained, “Why did you bring us to die in this desert with its wretched food?!”  In punishment the Lord sent saraph serpents; many died from their bites.  The people told Moses, “We've sinned in complaining.  Pray the Lord to take the serpents away.”  After Moses prayed, the Lord told him, “Mount a saraph; whoever looks at it will live.” He did; it worked.
  • Ps 102:2-3, 16-21  "O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you."  The Lord looked down to hear the groaning of the prisoners and release those doomed to die.
  • Jn 8:21-30  Jesus to Pharisees:  “I'm going away.  I don't belong to this world.  If you don't believe I AM, you'll die in your sins.  I say only what the Father taught me.  The one who sent me is with me.  I do what is pleasing to him.”  Many came to believe.
    • Creighton:  The Evangelists use Old Testament language to speak about Jesus, thus evoking the words' associations; e.g. “lifted up” or “I AM.”  “Lifted up” (hypsothēnai) occurs three times in John, referring to being lifted up on the cross and in resurrection.  The 1st time refers to God’s instruction to Moses in today's 1st reading:  “As Moses lifted up the serpent,... so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Is 52:13-15 also provides context for understanding Jesus’ suffering and glorification.  John's next “lifted up” is in today’s gospel.   The embedded “I AM” is an Old Testament (especially Ex and Is) name for God.  To truly “see” Jesus is to know him as the Son of God, sent by the Father.  Remember "I AM" in Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, at 13:19, and in the garden.  The 3rd “lifted up” begins with "'And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself,' indicating how he would die."  The words also refer to the effect of his risen life.  We can recall these sayings to help us see how Jesus’ divinity “hides itself; that is, how he could destroy his enemies but does not; and how he allows his... humanity to suffer” (Ignatius of Loyola).
      Deliverance from the serpents
      Michelangelo (Sistine Chapel)
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Need a lift?"  When the Son of Man is lifted up, Jesus will draw all people to himself so that they may realize he is God and receive eternal life.  Lifting up Jesus unleashes life-changing, world-changing events.  Ensure Jesus is always being lifted up.  He's lifted up on the cross, in the Eucharist, at Eucharistic adoration, in the praises of his people, when the book of the gospels is raised.  May we always lift up the name of Jesus.
    • Passionist:  "Following Jesus with heart and soul":  The Pharisees interpreted Jesus' strong words to mean he was going to commit suicide and so go where they, “righteous” people, couldn't.  What irony!  Jesus would lay down his life and pass to glory where the self-righteous Pharisees couldn't go because of their sins.  Jesus was stern with them because they took the heart and spirit out of religion; they relied on their descent from Abraham and reduced religion to hypocritical observance of minute regulations.  They saw themselves as beyond Jesus' message.  Jesus comes to save us and share God’s infinite love.   May we awaken to the power of God's mercy, renew our faith, and share the Good News.
      Moses and the Brazen Serpent/ Bourdon
    • DailyScripture.net:  "When you have lifted up the Son of man":  The sign of the serpent being lifted up reminded them that sin leads to death and repentance leads to God's mercy and healing.  The lifting up of the serpent on the pole points to Jesus' being lifted up on the cross.  The cross won pardon, healing, and life for all believers.  Jesus' "going away" was his return to his Father.  Jesus warned his opponents that if they rejected him, they'd shut themselves off from God and die in their sins; he was echoing the warning to Ezekiel that people would die in their sins if they didn't turn to God.  God gives us time to turn to him and receive his mercy and pardon; that time is now.
    'Sin' literally means 'miss the mark,' be off target.  Sin diverts us from God and our purpose, knowledge of and union with God.  When Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to hide themselves from God.  Sin separates us from the all-seeing, ever present, all loving, merciful God eager to receive, forgive, and heal us.  Jesus explains that if they don't recognize him when they hear his word, they'll have the opportunity when he's "lifted up" on the cross, the ultimate proof of God's love for us.  To not recognize Jesus is to remain in darkness, but if we look and listen to him, we'll find the way to peace and joy with God.  How we live now has consequences....

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