July 31, 2017

Ignatius of Loyola

July 31, 2017:  St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

Find a dozen connections with today?
Legend at bottom

    Music for St. Ignatius's Contemplation to Gain Love / Contemplatio ad amorem (SpEx §234)

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    Pope Francis Angelus
    Contemplate the joy of the farmer who sells everything to purchase the field with the hidden treasure, and the joy of the merchant who sells everything to purchase the pearl.  It's our joy when we discover Jesus' closeness and consoling presence, a presence that transforms hearts, opens us to others' needs, and opens us to welcome the weakest.

      Adoration of the Golden Calf/ Poussin
    • Ex 32:15-24, 30-34  Moses, coming down with the two God-given tablets of the commandments:  “I hear cries of revelry.”  Seeing them dancing around a golden calf, he angrily threw the tablets down and broke them, fused the calf, ground it to powder, scattered it on the water, and made the Israelites drink.  Moses / Aaron:  “How is it that you led them to this?” / They asked me to make them a god because they didn't know what happened to you.  I threw their gold into the fire, and the calf came out.”  Moses to people:  “You committed a grave sin.  Maybe I can make atonement to the Lord.”  Moses / Lord:  If you would only forgive them!  Otherwise, strike me from your book.” / “I'll only strike out the sinner.  Go lead the people; my angel will go before you....
    • Ps 106:19-23  "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good."  Our fathers made and adored a calf; they forgot the God who saved them.  He spoke of exterminating them, but Moses withstood him to turn back his wrath.
    • Mt 13:31-35  “The Kingdom is like a mustard seed a person sowed, the smallest seed that becomes the largest plant.”  “The Kingdom is like yeast a woman mixed with flour till the whole batch was leavened.”  Jesus spoke to them only in parables to fulfill, I will open my mouth in parables....
    • Creighton:  The Israelites decided they needed a new god, made a calf out of their their gold jewelry, and worshiped it.  I too can kneel before gods:  of success, praise, perfection....  When we're not sure where God is and get too busy to pray, we can get distracted by "shiny things" that are easier to see, but those things interfere with my seeing God.  
    Ignatius of Loyola's doubts and sense of sinfulness distracted him, but he eventually understood God loves each of us beyond measure and we're happiest when in tune with him.  In his Spiritual Exercises he put our idols in context:  Gold and money aren't bad in themselves, but what's their place in our lives?  Neither poverty nor riches, health nor illness, are a greater good.  The central question is what will help us find intimacy with God?  He believed we'll be happiest if we put aside whatever distracts us from God.   So long as God is central in our lives, we'll be at piece whether we succeed or fail. 
    Jesus tells us the Kingdom is like a mustard seed that grows to stretch its branches.  The reign of God can be hard to see, growing imperceptibly.  A small seed can produces startling results.  A small opening in our hearts can change our relationships.  A gesture of kindness to someone annoying can plant a seed of compassion.  Seeing humanity in someone who annoys or infuriates us can begin a new capacity for love.  A small effort to stop our negative reactions and thoughts can transform our outlook.  Lord, open our hearts so the seed of your love may grow and spread in us so we may share it.
      St. Ignatius of Loyola
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Leaders":  Aaron's leadership style was to satisfy people; when they approached him, he tried to satisfy them irrespective of God's wishes.  He let them run wild; under him, sinfulness, chaos, and confusion reigned.  Diotrephes enjoyed being a Church leader; he tried to satisfy himself and dominate others, not acknowledging Church authority and expelling those who submitted to it.  But Moses was a true servant-leader, meek, listening to people's needs, exercising authority as needed; his leadership style was to satisfy God and love his people.  He sought God's direction, submitting his leadership to God.  He interceded on behalf of his people, to the point of suffering.  "With a leader to break the path they shall burst open the gate and go through."
    • Passionist:  “The Kingdom is like yeast a woman mixed with flour till the whole batch was leavened.”  All the flour is mixed till the whole batch is leavened.  Plus yesterday’s parable:  “The kingdom is like a net that collects fish of every kind....”  Every fish has a chance.  There's hope for me and our society and world; we're all fertile ground.  It’s about making the most of the God who lives in us.  With care branches grow.  Each of us is called to care for our seeds and others', especially those we don’t want to care for.  Let God plant the seed of his Kingdom in you so you may become fertile ground, yeast, gardener, and caretaker.  Help plant the seed in others, and watch the Kingdom grow; no matter we're not perfect.  God will go before us, so we need not fear.  Lord, help us tend the garden of our hearts and all faces of Christ we meet.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "What the kingdom of heaven is like":  As mustard seeds grow to big trees, God's kingdom starts from small beginnings in receptive hearts and transforms from within.  As leaven (and heat) transform dough to rich, wholesome bread, God's kingdom transforms all who receive the life Christ offers.  When we allow his word to take root, the Spirit makes us holy.  "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the power belongs to God, not us."
          Today's saints, thanks to Universalis
          Dress legend
          • 'Mountain' tie pin:  Moses turned and came down the mountain (1st reading)
          • 'Fire' pin:  Aaron threw the gold into the fire; Moses fused the calf in the fire (1st reading)
          • 'Ten commandment tablets' tie:  Moses, seeing the idolatry, broke the tablets (1st reading)
          • Gold-colored accessories:  "Take off your gold jewelry" (1st reading)
          • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  The Israelites formed a calf and danced around it (1st reading); our fathers made and adored a calf (psalm)
          • 'Angel' pin:  "My angel will go before you" (1st reading)
          • 'Bird' tie pin:  The birds come and dwell in the mustard bush (gospel)
          • 'Love' sticker:  St. Ignatius's Contemplation to Gain Love
          • White and green shirt:  White for St. Ignatius memorial, green for Ordinary Time

          July 30, 2017

          17th Sun., Ordinary Time

          July 30, 2017:  Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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          Legend below
          For gospel
          Pope Francis:  End human trafficking
          Today is the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, promoted by the UN.  Each year, thousands are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as normal.  This is ugly, cruel, criminal!  Help to counter this aberrant plague, this slavery.  Let us pray for victims of trafficking and for the conversion of the traffickers' hearts.
          Related:  Five common myths about human trafficking

          • 1 Kgs 3:5, 7-12  Lord in dream / Solomon:  “Ask something of me and I'll give it to you.” / “Lord, you made me, your servant, king, but I don't know how to act.  Give me an understanding heart to judge and distinguish right from wrong.”  God, pleased:  “Because you asked for this—not long life, riches, or your enemies' life but understanding—I give you a heart more wise and understanding than anyone before or after you.”
            "Treasure chest" from
            words of today's readings

          • Ps 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130  "Lord, I love your commands."  Your law is precious to me.  Let your kindness comfort me.  I observe your wonderful decrees.  Your words give understanding to the simple.
          • Rom 8:28-30  All things work for good for those who love God, whom he foreknew, predestined to be conformed to his Son, called, justified, and glorified.
          • Mt 13:44-52  “The kingdom of heaven is like buried treasure a person finds then buys with all he has.  The kingdom is like a merchant who finds a fine pearl then buys it with all he has.  The kingdom is like a net thrown into the sea which when full of fish is hauled ashore; what's good is put into buckets, and the rest is thrown out.  At the end of the age, angels will separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the furnace.”
              • Creighton:  We need discernment to look at options and make daily choices pleasing to God and in line with his purposes.  Solomon asked God for the best gift, a gift God was very pleased to give him. Solomon could have asked for anything. But he chose to ask for “an understanding heart, to... distinguish right from wrong.”  The closer we draw to God, the better we'll know his heart and be inclined to ask for the right things.  The 2nd reading concerns discernment about what's going on in our life. “Don’t worry when things don’t seem to be going well; just trust that God will turn this problem into good.”  Remember God is Love and loves you; don't let disappointment or despair engulf you.  In the gospel Jesus tells us to discern the pearls of wisdom and grace around us.  May we recognize, value, and seek them....
              • One Bread, One Body:  "Close is not in":  Being in the Lord's net doesn't guarantee he'll retain us.  Being in his field doesn't men we're his wheat; we may be weeds.  Living amidst Christians doesn't make us Christians; living in Christ does.  We're Christians not because we live among Christians but because we sell all we have to buy his kingdom. We live in Christ when we give him our lives and live for him, not ourselves....
              • Passionist:  Whether we're in physical pain, emotional distress, or relational heartache, we're challenged to place ourselves in God’s hands and know all will work for good.  The pattern of a life of faith is cross to resurrection, death to life, sadness to joy.  May we trust in God....
              • DailyScripture.net:  The Kingdom is the greatest possible treasure:  God.  Selling all to obtain this treasure could mean losing friends, job, lifestyle, free time....  Treasure is connected to desire, will, and focus. / As a dragnet takes in all kinds of fish, flotsam, and jetsam, the church gathers all comers; net and church don't discriminate.  God's kingdom is open to all....
              Dress legend
              • 'Heart' pin:  "Give me an understanding heart,..." (1st reading)
              • 'Owl' tie pin, 'scales' tie:  "...wisdom to judge, to distinguish right from wrong" (1st reading)
              • 'Street light' tie bar (oops, forgot):  "The revelation of your words sheds light" (psalm)
              • Gold- and silver-colored accessories:  Your law is more precious than gold and silver (psalm)
              • 'Pearl' tie bar:  A merchant who finds a pearl of great price sells everything and buys it (gospel)
              • NEW 'PC on the net' pin:  "The kingdom is like a net thrown into the sea..." (gospel)
              • 'Fish' pin:  "...that collects fish of every kind." (gospel)
              • 'Angel' pin:  "The angels will separate the wicked from the righteous..." (gospel)
              • 'Fire' pin:  "...and throw them in the furnace" (gospel)
              • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

              July 29, 2017


              July 29, 2017:  St. Martha

              See 10 connections with today?
              Legend below


              For the gospels
              Pope Francis
              Children receive nourishment, care, and the spiritual gift of knowing they're loved.  Through their name, language, looks, and smiles, they learn relationships touch our soul, seek freedom, accept differences, and show respect.  Parents' love contains a spark of God’s love!  Children have the right to receive love from a mother and father, necessary for their development.  Each spouse contributes differently to the child's upbringing.  Respecting children's dignity means affirming their need and right to have a mother and father.  We speak not only of each parent's individual love but also of their mutual love, source of life and foundation of family.  Husband and wife cooperate with the Creator's love and are in a sense his interpreters, showing their children God's maternal and paternal face, teaching reciprocity, respect for differences, and give and take.  If one parent is lacking, it's important to compensate for the loss for the sake of the child.
              The sense of being orphaned is deep.  As desirable as it is for women to study, work, develop their skills, and have personal goals, children need a mother’s presence, especially in their first months.  Weakening her presence and its qualities poses a grave risk.  Feminism mustn't demand uniformity or negate motherhood; women's grandeur includes both their human dignity and also their feminine genius, essential to society.  Their specifically feminine abilities, particularly motherhood, also grant duties, because womanhood entails a specific mission, one society needs to protect and preserve for the good of all. (V:172-73)
                St. Martha, from
                the Isabella Breviary
              • Ex 24:3-8  The people answered Moses, "We'll do everything the Lord told us."  He built an altar, had sacrifice offered, splashed and sprinkled the blood, and read the book of the covenant.
              • Ps 50:1b-2, 5-6, 14-15  "Offer to God a sacrifice of praise."  "Fulfill your vows.  Call on me; I'll rescue you and you'll glorify me."
              • Jn 11:19-27  When Martha heard Jesus was coming, she went to meet him.  Martha / Jesus:  “Lord, if you'd been here, my brother wouldn't have died.  But I know God will give you whatever you ask.” / “He'll rise.” / “Yes, in the resurrection.” / “I am the resurrection; whoever believes in me will live, and anyone who believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?” / “Yes, Lord.  I believe you're the Christ, the one who is coming into the world.”
              • Lk 10:38-42  Jesus entered a village where Martha welcomed him.  Her sister Mary sat at his feet listening to him.  Martha / Jesus:  “Lord, don't you care that my sister left me by myself to serve?  Tell her to help.” / “Martha, you're anxious about many things, but only one is needed.  Mary has chosen the better part and it won't be taken from her.”
              • Creighton:  Martha didn't shy away from voicing her concerns to Jesus.  Her questions reveal a depth to their relationship; she knows he can handle it.  Through her honesty Jesus invites Martha to deeper faith; he hears her, honors her questions, and leads her to healing and grace.  “Do you believe your brother will rise?”  “You're worried about many things.  Only one is needed.”  How honest am I with Jesus?  Do I trust our relationship enough to be candid?  What would it feel like to tell him, “If you'd been here...” or “Don't you care about…”?  Do I stay close enough to hear him respond?  Do I “show up then shut up”?   Do I balance give and take?  May we be honest with Jesus in prayer, then stick around long enough to hear him.
                Jesus at the house of
                Mary and Martha/ Copping
              • One Bread, One Body:  "Blood replacement":  We've made a covenant with God, a matter of life and death, but have broken it by our sins.  But Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, taking on our consequences for our breaking the covenant, freeing us from destruction.  It's always fitting to praise the blood of Jesus, but July has been marked as a special month to do so.  Praise the blood of Jesus by receiving it in the Eucharist, applying it through Reconciliation, reading about it in Scripture, and praying and speaking about it....
              • Passionist:  Moses bound the people to God by their promise to keep the Covenant and by offering and sprinkling blood.  The blood made the covenant more binding than mere verbal agreement.  Moses let the people know the Covenant is a serious matter.  Baptism and Confirmation remind us of that today.  In the Gospel, Martha professes faith “in the resurrection on the last day” and that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God, the one who coming into the world”; she believes Jesus will raise her brother.  Jesus responds with an “I AM” statement:  “I am the resurrection; all who believe in me, even if they die, will live, and all who live and believe in me will never die.”  This conversation is like a covenant dialog:  Martha makes statements of faith, and Jesus replies with the promise of life.  Martha and the apostles didn't fully understand Jesus' message, nor do we; we profess our faith as well as we can. May we engage God in covenant dialog, then listen, and so deepen our faith and relationship with God.
              • Prayers for the month of Jesus' Precious Blood, and why are we devoted to body parts?  (I would have posted this earlier if I'd seen it.)
              • DailyScripture.net:  "I know he'll rise again":  The loss of a loved one produces grief and anguish.  When Martha heard Jesus was coming to pay his respects, she immediately went out to meet him.  She believed in resurrection; her loss didn't diminish her hope.  She even chides Jesus for not coming soon enough to save Lazarus.  Jesus gave her belief a new meaning:  he came to restore life to all who believe in him.  The life he offers is from God himself....
              • Universalis:  Martha, sister of Mary of Bethany and Lazarus.  Lazarus deserves our sympathy for being brought back to life by Jesus so as to have to die again.  Think of him when preparing to make spectacular acts of charity on behalf of people who may not appreciate it.
              Dress legend
              • 'Words' tie:  Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord (1st reading)
              • 'Alps' tie pin:  Moses built an altar at the foot of the mountain (1st reading)
              • 'Fire' pin:  Gather those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice (psalm); Moses sent men to offer sacrifice... (1st reading)
              • 'Blood drop' pin:  ...and put the blood in bowls, splashed it on the altar, and sprinkled it on the people (1st reading)
              • 'Phone' tie bar:  'Call' on me in time of distress (psalm)
              • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Martha's doing the serving (gospel)
              • 'Feet' pin:  Mary sat at the Lord's feet (gospel)
              • 'Question mark' tie pin:  Jesus' to Martha, Martha's to Jesus (gospels)
              • White shirt:  Color of St. Martha's memorial

              July 28, 2017

              July 28

              July 28, 2017:  Friday, 16th week, Ordinary Time

              See a dozen connections with today?
              Legend below

              • Ex 20:1-17  God delivered the commandments:   “I'm your God; don't worship others.  Don't take my name in vain.  Keep the sabbath holy.  Honor your father and mother.  Don't kill.  Don't commit adultery.  Don't steal.  Don't bear false witness against your neighbor.  Don't covet your neighbor’s house.  Don't covet your neighbor’s wife or slave or anything that belongs to him.”
                On stone tablets...
              • Ps 19:8-11  "Lord, you have the words of everlasting life."  The law of the Lord is perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, pure, true, just, precious, and sweet; it refreshes, gives wisdom, brings joy, enlightens, and endures.
              • Mt 13:18-23  “Hear the parable of the sower.  The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word without understanding, and the Evil One steals it away.  The seed sown on rocky ground is the one with no root who receives the word with joy but loses it in tribulation or persecution.  The seed sown among thorns is the one whose anxiety or desire for riches choke the word and it bears no fruit.  But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who understands the word and bears fruit.”
              • Creighton:  A parishioner approached me complaining that in our parish we have to "turn away from Christ" to receive Communion; she meant we have to turn to the left or right of the risen Christ at the front.  I replied that the front of the church has an image of Christ, but what we receive is Christ; at Communion we're turning toward him, not away.  From today's 1st reading:  "You shall not carve idols...."  Images can awaken us to God's presence, but let's not make idols of them.
              • One Bread, One Body:  "Robbed blind":  If we've been exposed to God's word but don't live it, the devil is robbing us.  But we can despoil the robber and recover what he took by remembering God's Word and applying it so as to be holy. We need Jesus to "deliver us from the evil one"; he'll both sow and guard the seed.
                Moses descends from Mount Sinai
                with the Commandments/ Bol
              • Passionist:  "The Gospel we preach is the Gospel we're called to live.”  We're called to bear the gospel despite adverse situations and complications, to march in solidarity for the oppressed, to challenge our government leaders to focus on the common good, to sow the Good News.  The rich soil of God’s love for all bears abundant fruit....
              • DailyScripture.net:  "Whoever hears the word and understands it":  God is ready to speak to you and give understanding of his word, but preoccupation can distract us from what's important and worthwhile.  God's word can only take root in a receptive, docile heart....
              • Remember the psalm is about Torah; the English translation 'law' loses much.
              Pope Francis Amoris Lætitia capsule:  Love and pregnancy (continued)
              Babies' somatic traits are written their genetic code in the womb, so we can know their hair color or illnesses in advance, but only the Creator knows their deepest identity and worth.  Expectant mothers need to ask God for the wisdom to know and accept their children.  Parents who feel their child isn't coming at a good time should ask the Lord to strengthen them to accept their child wholeheartedly.  Children should feel wanted, not as accessories or solutions to a personal need; it matters little whether they're convenient, have pleasing features, or fit into your plans.  Children are a gift, each irreplaceable; we love them because they're children, not because they're beautiful or think like us.  God shows his love through parents' love; he awaits the birth of each child, accepts them unconditionally, and welcomes them freely.

              Future mothers, keep happy and let nothing rob you of the joy of motherhood.  Your child deserves your happiness.  Don’t let fears or others' comments or problems lessen your joy.  Prepare for your child's birth, but don't obsess.  Join in Mary’s song:  “My soul proclaims the Lord's greatness...  God has looked with favor on his lowly servant servant.”  Experience this serene excitement, and ask the Lord to preserve your joy, so that you may pass it on.  (V:170-71)
              Today's saints, from Universalis  
              Dress legend
              • 'Commandments' tie for 1st reading (trumped 'honey' tie for psalm)
              • 'Precious feet' pin:  Seed sown on the footpath (gospel)
              • 'Stone/rock' tie pin:  Commandments on stone tablets (1st reading); seed sown on rocky ground (gospel)
              • 'Roses' pin:  Seed sown among thorns  (gospel)
              • 'Fruit' pin:  Fruit borne by ones who understand the word (gospel)
              • 'Owl' tie pin:  The Lord's decrees give wisdom to the simple (psalm)
              • 'Heart' pin:  The Lord's precepts rejoice the heart (psalm); seed sown in the heart (gospel)
              • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord's command enlightens the eye (psalm)
              • Gold-colored accessories:  The Lord's ordinances are more precious than gold (psalm)
              • Comb (in pocket, not shown):  God's precepts are sweeter than honey from the 'comb' (psalm)
              • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season