June 30, 2017

June 30

June 30, 2017:  Friday, 12th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Scroll' pin:  I will maintain my covenant (1st reading)
  • 'People' pin:  Great crowds followed Jesus (gospel)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  "Walk in my presence and be blameless" (1st reading); blessed are you who walk in the Lord's ways!... (psalm)
  • 'Fruits' tie with grapes:  ...For you'll eat the fruit of your handiwork.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine... (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Jesus stretched out his hand and cleansed the leper (gospel)
  • Green shirt and suspenders:  Ordinary Time season

  • Gn 17:1, 9-10, 15-22  God to Abram (99) : “Walk in my presence and be blameless.  Keep my covenant:  circumcise every male.  Call your wife Sarah, not Sarai; I'll give you a son by her and bless him.  I'll maintain my covenant with your son Isaac and will also bless Ishmael....
  • Ps 128:1-5  "See how the Lord blesses those who fear him."  You'll eat the fruit of your handiwork, your wife shall be fruitful, and your children like olive plants....
  • Mt 8:1-4  Leper / Jesus:  “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” / “I do.  Be made clean.  Tell no one, but show yourself to the priest...
  • Creighton:  Do you stop and listen to the Spirit, or get sidetracked with everyday concerns?  May we be present here and now, not in the past or worrying about the future.  “Many are the plans in our hearts, but it's the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  Be a child of God today; don't let adulthood get in the way.
    Christ cleansing a leper/ Doze
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Super premium":  Abram was blessed with a son, Ishmael.  Abram was willing to settle for this blessing, but the Lord wanted to give him an "upgrade" with the miraculous birth of Isaac from 99-year-old Sarah.  The leper in today's gospel reading asked the Lord for a miracle physical healing, but Jesus gave another healed leper an "upgrade" to salvation.  Am I settling for blessings when the Lord wants to give me even more?...
  • Passionist:  We have leprosy on a social scale:  anger eats away at harmony; understanding is the cure.  Fear eats away at hope; courage is the cure.  Greed is eating up our planet; sharing is the cure.  Hypocrisy eats away at trust; truth is the cure.  Prejudice eats away at unity; respect is the cure.  Unforgiveness eats away at peace; compassion is the cure.  Violence in the womb and near the tomb eats away at civilization; respect is the cure.  Violence is tearing apart the human family; belief in God and knowing we're all God’s children is the cure.
At an individual level:  self-doubt eats away at self-confidence; belief in God’s power is the cure.  Sorrow eats away at joy; trust in God is the cure.  Selfishness eats away at our hearts; love is the cure.  At Mass we ask the Spirit to transform our bread and wine into Christ.  The bread and wine represent us; we ask the Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Christ.  So nourished, we who were part of the problem are sent forth to be part of the cure....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Lord, you can make me clean":  Jesus approached the unapproachables and touched the untouchables.  Lepers were outcasts of society, regarded as dead even by family.  The leper approached Jesus confidently and humbly; he wasn't stoned for it but rather met with Jesus' compassion, tenderness, and touch.  The Holy Spirit inflames our hearts with Christ's love so we may reach out with compassion and kindness.  Allow the Spirit to fill you with love for others...
  • Universalis:  First Martyrs of the See of Rome,  persecuted by Nero in 64.  They were thrown to beasts or soaked in tar then used as torches.

June 29, 2017

Peter and Paul

June 29, 2017:  Peter and Paul, Apostles

See 35 connections with today?
Legend below

  • Angels/ Grant (1st reading d)

  • Ostensibly 90+ Peter/Paul hymns, but some are duplicates or false positives.  I only know five...
Pope Francis
Homily:  Today's readings offer us three words essential for an apostle:
Confession.  Peter makes his confession of faith; he acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, the living God, Lord.  Today Jesus looks at you, asks, “Who am I for you?,” and demands a response of life.  Knowing the articles of faith doesn't count if we don't confess Jesus as Lord.  “Am I the Lord of your life, your heart's longing, the reason for your hope?”  Renew your choice to be Jesus’ disciple, aflame with love.  Don't just tread water or take the easy way out, but renew your self-offering and put out into the deep.
Persecution.  Paul was “poured out as a libation”; to live was Christ, Christ crucified, who gave his life for him.  He followed the Master and offered his own life.  There's no Christian without the cross; “virtue is a matter both of doing good and tolerating evil” (Augustine), as Jesus did.   Tolerating evil is more than patience; it's imitating Jesus, shouldering our burden for the sake of Jesus and others, accepting the cross, pressing on with the Lord is at our side, “afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but not forsaken.”  It's overcoming evil with Jesus, his way.  Paul considered himself a victor to be crowned.  He lived for Jesus and others, giving his all, keeping only his faith.  He accepted trials, suffering, and humiliation.  In the mystery of suffering offered up in love, embodied today by many who are persecuted, impoverished, infirm, marginalized, vilified, or discriminated against, the power of Jesus’ cross shines. 
Prayer.  The apostle's life flows from confession, becomes self-offering, and is of constant prayer, the water needed to nurture hope and increase fidelity.  Prayer makes us feel loved, enables us to love, makes us press on in darkness because it brings God’s light, and helps us overcome difficulties.  “Peter was in prison, but the Church prayed earnestly for him.”  The Lord cares for the praying Church.  When we pray, we entrust our lives to his loving care.  Prayer is the power that unites and sustains us, the remedy for isolation and self-sufficiency that can kill us; without it, we remain captive in our interior prisons.  May the Apostles obtain for us a heart like theirs, wearied because it's constantly interceding, weighed down by people and situations needing to be handed over to the Lord, yet at peace because the Spirit brings consolation and strength as we pray.  It's urgent that we be people of prayer!  The Lord is faithful to our love for him, and close to us when we're tried, accompanying us as he did the Apostles.
To new cardinals:  Jesus walks ahead of his apostles, resolutely towards Jerusalem, knowing what awaits him.  He's patient with them, knowing the Spirit can bridge the distance between his heart and theirs.  The disciples are distracted by their own concerns, like sitting at Jesus' side.  They don't see and understand but think they do.  The reality is what Jesus sees, the sin of the world and the cross.  The innocent suffer, are enslaved or discarded, or die.  He made the Father’s tender love known by healing all oppressed by the evil one.  Journey with Jesus; follow him on this path.  Look at reality; don't let other interests distract you.  Serve like him and with him; face the sin of the world and its effects.  Follow him, eyes fixed on his cross and resurrection.  Ask the Spirit to bridge the gap between our hearts and Christ's, so our lives may be at the service of God and all our brothers and sisters.
Angelus:  Peter and Paul suffered persecution and gave their lives in service to the first Christian communities.  Today's readings remind us that even in the most difficult moments, the Lord remains close.  God holds out his hand, helps us, and frees us from the threats of our enemies.  Our real enemy is sin, but when we're reconciled with God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we're liberated from evil and the burden of sin.

    St. Peter and St. Paul/ El Greco
    • Acts 3:1-10  When the cripple at the Beautiful Gate asked Peter and John for alms, Peter said, “I'll give you what I have:  in the name of Jesus Christ, walk!”  He leaped up, walked, jumped and praised God.  They all recognized him as the beggar and were amazed.
    • Ps 19:2-5  "Their message goes out through all the earth."  The heavens declare God's glory and handiwork.
    • Gal 1:11-20  The Gospel I preached is not of human origin; it came through a revelation of Christ.  I used to persecute the Church, but when God revealed his Son to me, I went to Arabia and returned to Damascus, then went to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas....
    • Jn 21:15-19  Jesus / Simon Peter, after miraculous breakfast:  “Do you love me more than these?” / “You know I love you.” / “Feed my lambs.  Do you love me?” / “You know I do.” / “Tend my sheep.  Do you love me?” / Peter, distressed he asked a third time:  “Lord, you know I love you.” / “Feed my sheep.  When you were younger, you used to go where you wanted; but when you grow old, someone else will lead you where you don't want to go.  Follow me.”  He said this signifying by what kind of death he'd glorify God.
    (Not this Peter and Paul :-)
    • Acts 12:1-11  The Church was praying for Peter, whom King Herod imprisoned.  Angel to Peter:  “Get up, put on your belt, sandals, and cloak, and follow me!”  His chains fell, he dressed, he followed him past the guards, the gate opened, they went, and the angel left.  Peter:  “Now I know the Lord rescued me.”
    • Ps 34:2-9  "The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him."  I'll always bless the Lord; let's extol him together.  He delivered me.  Look to him and be radiant.  When the poor one called out, he heard and saved him.  Taste and see how good the Lord is...
    • 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18  Paul:  I'm being poured out; I've competed well, finished the race, and kept the faith.  The Lord will award a crown to me and to all who have longed for him.  He gave me strength so through me all Gentiles might hear the proclamation.  The Lord will rescue me and bring me safe to his Kingdom.
    • Mt 16:13-19  Jesus / disciples, at Caesarea Philippi:  “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” / “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or a prophet.” / “Who do you say I am?” / Simon Peter:  “The Christ, Son of the living God.” / “Blessed are you, Simon; my Father revealed this to you.  You're Peter, and upon this rock I'll build my Church.  I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom; what you bind or loose shall be so in heaven.”
    • Creighton:  Peter and Paul are examples to us of how we can trust God.  “The Lord stood by [Paul] and gave [him] strength.”  “The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat...”  When struck down, he allowed himself to be guided to the city, then waited.  He experienced the Lord standing by him trusted him to rescue him, not literally from death, but to union with God.  “The Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod and all that the Jewish people had been expecting.”  His experience bolstered his faith.  What is binding me?  How am I imprisoned?  Do I trust the Lord will free me?
    Peter was gifted with the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ.  When Jesus called him, he immediately “dropped his nets and followed.”  After he denied Jesus, he returned to the community; he trusted he'd be accepted back and forgiven.  Peter and Paul trusted Jesus would rescue them.  Jesus and his Father would always be with them, when they're in prison, blind, sinking, struggling, or dying.  Can I trust that much?  What is binding me?  How am I imprisoned?  Do I trust God is with me and I'll be freed?
    • Commentary on Jesus' questions to Peter in the vigil gospel:  love vs. love....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The Church frees":  Only Jesus can set us free, by his truth.  Because the Church is the pillar of truth and has been given the keys of God's kingdom, Jesus uses her to free us.  When Peter was on death row, as James had been, "the church prayed fervently to God on his behalf," then Jesus freed him.  Peter was guarded by 16 soldiers, chained, and locked; we like him need multiple miracles to be set free.  Because of the Church's prayers, angels are sent to wake us, clothe us with God's armor, and accompany us....
    • About "binding and loosing" (daytime gospel, future perfect original); it also includes exegetical links and online resources to compare and explore Bible texts
    • Passionist:  Peter and Paul were ordinary men, one a fisherman and the other a Pharisee and tentmaker, who recognized God called them to proclaim God's kingdom and suffered greatly doing so.  Peter didn't recognize the angel's presence nor understand what was happening but followed the Lord's lead out of prison, open to God.  When we suffer, it can be hard to see a compassionate God standing with us.  I used to try to work through pain alone, but now I realize God stands by me and gives me strength through prayer and other people, and I humbly ask for help.  When I suffer, do I look beyond my pain to our compassionate God?
    • DailyScripture.net:  "You are the Christ, Son of the living God":  Peter and Paul worked to spread the gospel to Israel and the nations, risking their lives and pouring out their blood in loyalty to Christ.  Peter recognized Jesus as the "anointed one" (Messiah, Christ) and Son of God; only God could have revealed this to him.  Jesus gave Peter authority to govern the church, giving him the name "rock" (Aramaic, Greek), a great compliment.  Rabbis said that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed:  "I've discovered a rock to found the world on."  Abraham put his trust in God and founded his faith and life on God's word; through him God established a nation.  Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus was.  The church, the people of God, is a spiritual house and temple of the Holy Spirit with members joined as living stones.  Faith in Christ makes us into spiritual stones.  "Who do you say I am?"
      • Peter put his foot in his mouth, panicked on the water, blundered after professing faith, refused to be washed, and betrayed his master.  Yet he was chosen as rock on which the Church is built over James, John, or financially savvy Judas.  The Church’s foundation-stone and first leader is not all-wise, all-knowing, good, heroic, and beautiful but an ordinary man; if he'd been great and noble hero, we could have despaired of becoming like him and told ourselves the Church is only for saints.  But the Church is for confused, impetuous, cowardly people like him and us; grace holds it together and helps it grow.  Grace taught Peter patience and forbearance and helped him bear witness when it counted.  Admire that grace and pray we may receive and use it too.
      • Paul:  Many don't find him attractive, saying he badgered people into submission or invented a Christianity worse than Christ's, but God needed and called him, and he said and did what God wanted.  Paul reminds people of his weakness.  May we love the Lord our God with heart, soul, mind, and strength as Paul did.
    Dress legend*
    • Silver- and gold-colored accessories:  "I don't have any silver or gold, but I give you what I have:  in Jesus' name, walk!"  (1st reading v)
    • 'Feet' pin:  Cripple's feet grew strong (1st reading v)
    • 'Walker/runner' tie pin:  "Walking and jumping and praising God" (1st reading v); "I have finished the race" (2nd reading d)
    • 'Children around the earth' tie:  "Their message goes out through all the earth." (psalm v)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  "I didn't immediately consult flesh and blood" (2nd reading v); Peter's martyrdom (gospel v); "flesh and blood has not revealed this to you" (gospel d)
    • 'Lamb' and 'sheep' tie bars:  “Feed my lambs.” / "Tend my sheep" / "Feed my sheep" (gospel v)
    • 'Hands' pin:  Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up (1st reading v); Herod laid hands on some Church members (1st reading d); the time of Paul's departure is at 'hand' (2nd reading d); "When you grow old, you'll stretch out your hands....” (gospel v)
    • 'What would Jesus do?' pin:  "Follow me" (gospel v)
    • 'Sword' pin:  Herod had James killed by the sword (1st reading d)
    • 'Street light' tie bar:  Light shone in the cell (1st reading d)
    • Tie bar with descending chains:  Chains fell from Peter's wrists (1st reading d)
    • 'Angel' pin:  The angel of the Lord frees Peter from prison (1st reading d); "the angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him" (psalm d)
    • 'Clock' pin:  "I'll bless the Lord at all times" (psalm d)
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Peter/Jesus post-breakfast dialogue (gospel v)
    • 'Heart' pin:  “Simon, do you love me?” (gospel v)
    • Belt and sandals (not shown):  “Put on your belt and your sandals.” (1st reading d) [call me a 'belt and suspenders man']
    • 'Caged lion' pin:  Cage for prison (1st reading d), lion for "I was rescued from the lion’s mouth." (2nd reading d)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  "The crown of righteousness awaits me" (2nd reading d)
    • '?' tie pin:  “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” / “Who do you say that I am?” (gospel d)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  "Upon this rock I will build my Church" (gospel d)
    • 'Keys' tie pins:  "I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom.” (gospel d)
    • Red shirt:  Color of the day, martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul
    • DISC lanyard (and T-shirt, not shown):  DISC 2017 ends tonight
    • 'Eyeball' pin (ouch; forgot to pack):  Peter to paralytic:  “Look at us.” (1st reading v); Peter thought he was seeing a vision (1st reading d); Taste and see the Lord's goodness (psalm d)
    *v for vigil, d for daytime reading

    June 28, 2017


    June 28, 2017:  St. Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

    Find 15 connections with today?
    Legend below
    Listen to settings of today's psalm
    The hope of the martyrs gave them strength to die for their faith in Christ.  Jesus warned his followers that, in proclaiming God's Kingdom, they'd encounter opposition and hostility.  He asks us to proclaim the Gospel by lives of detachment from wealth and power, rejection of hatred and violence, and trust in his triumph over sin and death.  We know the Lord will never abandon us.  By imitating his love and self-sacrifice, we demonstrate our faith and hope and become his witnesses.  Every Christian is a martyr, witness, to hope.  Martyrs lay down their lives out of love.  By their example and intercession, may we become more convincing witnesses in daily lives to our hope in Christ's promises.  More
    • Gn 15:1-12, 17-18  "Fear not, Abram!  I'll reward you." / "But you've given me no offspring." / "No, your descendants shall number as the stars." Abram put his faith in the Lord.  The Lord made a covenant with him: "To your descendants I give this land."
      "Beware wolves in sheep's clothing" (animate)
    • Ps 105:1-4, 6-9  "The Lord remembers his covenant for ever."  Sing praise to the Lord; make his wonders known.  Rejoice, look to him, and serve him, you his chosen ones!
    • Mt 7:15-20  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but are wolves underneath.  By their fruits you'll know them.  Good trees bear good fruit; rotten trees, bad fruit.  Every tree that doesn't bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
      • Creighton:  "Talk a Walk":  Jesus’ uses agrarian language to convey a message about relationship,  intimacy, honor, respect, nurturing, knowing, and tending.  Farmers walked their land, knew their fields, soil, fertilizer, and crops, were sad about losses.  Dating people get to know each other, walking through each other’s story.  Mother and baby bond right away.  Walk with scripture with 1st century mindset, then today's....
      A covenant is an antidote to fear and an assurance God will fulfill his promises.  The Lord has made with us the ultimate covenant in his blood; we entered it at baptism.  By living it, we overcome fear and know God will fulfill his promises.... 
      • Passionist:  Jesus reminds us to beware of false prophets.  They can confront us in family, friendships, community, business, government, or church; they focus on their own interests over the greater good.  They infiltrate our relationships with mistrust and bickering; they're in power-hungry communities that ignore the poor; they tear down instead of building up.  They can be Church leaders who focus on the letter of the law rather than its heart....
      • DailyScripture.net:  "You'll know them by their fruits":  Jesus' audience was familiar with his 'fruit-imagery.'   As berries on a thorn bush can resemble grapes and a flower can resemble a fig, what we "hear" might resemble the truth but actually be false.  Jesus connects good fruit with sound living.  Isaiah warned against falsehood; it produces 'Christianity' without the cross, Jesus' hard sayings, or a sense of sin.  We avoid falsehood by being true to God, his word, and his grace.  Disciples' fruit is marked by faith, hope, and love, justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance.
      Dress legend
      • DISC lanyard (and T-shirt, not shown):  DISC 2017 is underway
      • 'Shield' pin:  "I am your shield" (1st reading)
      • 'Star' tie pin:  "Count the stars if you can" (1st reading)
      • 'Cow' pin:  "Bring me a three-year-old heifer" (1st reading)
      • 'Bird' tie pin:  Birds swooped down (1st reading)
      • 'Sun' pin:  A trance fell on Abram as the sun was about to set (1st reading)
      • 'Fire' pin:  A smoking fire pot appeared (1st reading)
      • 'Scroll' pin:  The Lord made a covenant with Abram (1st reading); he remembers his covenant (psalm)
      • 'Heart' pin:  Hearts that seek the Lord, rejoice (psalm)
      • 'Sheep' tie bar: “Beware false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing" (gospel)
      • 'Grapes and other fruits' tie: "Do people pick grapes from thornbushes?" "By their fruits you will know them." (gospel)
      • 'Tree' pin: "Every good tree bears good fruit" (gospel)
      • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin, red in suspenders:  Martyrdom of St. Irenaeus
      • 'Eyeball' pin (oops; didn't pack):  Abram's vision (1st reading); look to the Lord (psalm)

      June 27, 2017

      June 27

      June 27, 2017:  Tuesday, 12th week, Ordinary Time

      See at least a dozen connections with today?
      Legend below

      Guest dressers

      Michael's coin
      Christine's pearl earrings
      and necklace


      For Psalm 15
      Blessings on Pope Francis, ordained bishop 25 years ago today!
      Anniversary homily:  God told Abram, Father of Faith:  “Arise!” “Look out!” “Be hopeful!”  God called Abraham at retirement age as if he were a young man:  "Get up, go, look, and hope!"  The message he gave Abraham then he give to us now:  be on the way, look to the horizon, and hope.  Some say we're the Church's "gerontocracy," but we're grandfathers, not tired old fools.  Our grandchildren look to us; we must share with them what life is about.  We're not closed off in melancholy but open to give this gift of meaning.  Our "Arise!  Look outward!  Hope!" imperative is called ‘dreaming.’  We're called to dream and pass on our dream; today's youth need it, that they might take from it power to prophesy and carry on their work.
      To Ecumenical Patriarchate:  Peter and Paul were courageous, farsighted pastors; both bore witness to God's merciful love and sacrificed themselves for love of the Lord.  They encourage us to press forward towards full communion.  In the first millennium, Christians of East and West shared the same Eucharistic table and the same truths of faith but with a variety of theological, spiritual, and canonical traditions.  That inspires our efforts to restore full communion, not bland uniformity.  My recent meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew highlighted our common approach to the challenges facing the Church and world.  We have a foretaste of communion in our fraternal encounter, shared prayer, and common service to the Gospel.
      Recall Jesus’ prayer for unity.  We trust God to answer it, but we must also be docile and obedient to his will.  Peter, Paul, and Andrew, ask the Lord to make us instruments of unity and peace.
      • Gn 13:2, 5-18 Abram was rich in livestock, silver, and gold.  Lot also had flocks, herds, and tents, so the land couldn't support them bothAbram told Lot, “Let there be no strife between us or between our herdsmen.  Please separate from me; go the way you want, and I'll go the other.”  Lot chose the Jordan Plain, seeing how well watered it was, and they separated; Abram stayed in Canaan,while Lot pitched his tents near Sodom.   Sodom's inhabitants were wicked.  The Lord told Abram, “Look around; I'll give you and your descendants all the land you see.  I'll make your descendants too numerous to count.”  Abram settled at Hebron and built an altar to the Lord there.
      • Ps 15:2-4ab, 5  "He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord."  Those who walk blamelessly, think the truth, honor those who fear God, and don't slander, harm, take up reproach, lend at usury, or accept bribes will never be disturbed. 
      • Mt 7:6, 12-14  “Don't give what's holy to dogs, or your pearls to swine, lest they trample them then tear you to pieces.  Do to others what you'd have them do to you.  Enter through the narrow gate; many take the wide gate to destruction, but few find the narrow gate to life.”

        • Creighton:  Focus on the Lord's words to Abram, "Look around; to you I will give it," and the psalmist's promise, "You who do justice will live in Lord's presence."
        • One Bread, One Body:  "Gate, Way, Truth, Life":  There are two gates in life:  narrow and wide.  Many choose the wide gate because it's easy, but you'd think we'd choose based on what's behind it.  Do you go on a road because it's wide or because it leads to your destination?  Jesus is the GateWay, Truth, and Life; he alone can reveal where the roads go. Whoever enters through him will be safe, but those who make their own way will destroy themselves....
        • Passionist:  I want to be treated with kindness, respect, justice, love, forgiveness, attention....  It's not easy to treat people this way; we have to learn to focus in an out-of-focus world....
        • DailyScripture.net:  "Don't throw your pearls before swine":  Pearls were of great value, worn as jewels to make one appear more beautiful.  Holiness, likewise, is a jewel that radiates the beauty of God's truth and goodness through how we think, speak, act, and treat others.  The Talmud calls something that appears incongruous an "ear ring in a swine's snout"; Jesus' "pearls before swine" and "not giving dogs what is holy" expressions are similar.  Swine were considered unclean, and wild dogs were considered unfit for close contact.  Jesus’ concern is with keeping the faith and way of life God entrusted to us.  Before Communion the early church proclaimed:  Holy things to the holy, and the Didache stated, "Only the baptized may eat or drink of your Eucharist; the Lord has said, 'Don't give what's holy to dogs.'"
        Jesus summed up Old Testament law and prophets with the golden rule and raised it to a new level.  God's law of love requires more than not hurting others but rather seeking others' good and giving our best for them.  God's love fuels our love for others.  If we empty ourselves of what's unkind, unloving, and unforgiving, we'll have room for kindness, goodness, mercy, and charity.  May we love others and treat them like we want God to treat us.  Holy Spirit, transform my life with the fire of God's love.
        Jesus reinforced his lesson about choosing the way to peace with God with the illustration of a narrow gate opening to a life of security and happiness. Psalms begins with an image of one who has chosen to follow the way of those obedient to God's word, not those who act contrary to it.  Our choices affect our lives.  Do my choices move me towards loving and following God?  "Let me love you, Lord, and see myself as I am, a pilgrim, a Christian called to respect and love all I touch....  Help me conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor.  Help me forget myself and reach out." (Clement XI)
        Early Cyrillic: thanks, St. Cyril
        Dress legend
        • 'Cow' pin, silver- and gold-colored accessories:  Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold (1st reading)
        • 'Walker' tie pin:  Those who walk blamelessly will never be disturbed (psalm)
        • 'Heart' pin:  Those who think the truth in their heart will live in the Lord's presence (psalm)
        • 'Penny' button:  Those who don't lend at usury won't be disturbed (psalm)
        • 'Dogs' tie:  Don't give what's holy to dogs,... (gospel)
        • 'Pearl' tie pin:  ...or throw your pearls... (gospel)
        • 'Swine' suspenders:  ...before swine... (gospel)
        • 'Precious feet' tie pin:  ...lest they be trampled underfoot (gospel)
        • Gold-colored accessories:  Golden rule (gospel)
        • Green and white shirt:  Green for Ordinary Time season, white for SS. Cyril and Methodius