August 16, 2017

Aug. 16

August 16, 2017:  Wednesday, 19th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Eyeball' pin: “This is the land I promised; I've let you feast your eyes on it"; Moses' eyes were undimmed when he died (1st reading)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom... (1st reading)
  • 'Hands' pin: ...since Moses had laid his hands upon him (1st reading)
  • 'Signs with words' tie:  Moses had no equal in the 'signs' the Lord sent him to perform (1st reading); when I appealed to him in words, praise was on the tip of my tongue (psalm)
  • 'Fire' pin:  "Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!" (psalm)
  • 'People' pin:  If the offender doesn't listen, return with others; where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name... (gospel)
  • "Prayer:  the original wireless connection" T-shirt (under dress shirt; see here but mine is gray):  Pray in agreement (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
Listen to settings of today's psalm
  • Dt 34:1-12  The Lord, showing Moses the land:  “This is the land which I swore I'd give.  I've let you see it, but you shall not cross over.”  Moses died and was buried, but still nobody knows where.  He was 120 but still vigorous.  The Israelites wept for him for a month.  Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands on him; the Israelites obeyed him.  Since then no prophet has arisen like Moses.
  • Ps 66:1-3a, 5, 8, 16-17  "Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!"  Shout joyfully to God:  “How tremendous your deeds!”  Come see God's works; hear while I declare them....
  • Mt 18:15-20  “If your brother sins against you, speak with him privately.  If he listens, you've won him over.  If not, go back with others.  If he refuses to listen, tell the Church.  If he still refuses to listen, treat him as you'd treat a tax collector.  What you bind or loose on earth shall be so in heaven.  If two of you pray in agreement, my Father will give it to you; where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.”
Pope Francis Amoris Lætitia capsule:  Parents' love (concluded)

In Western culture, the father figure is said to be absent. “At first, this was perceived as a liberation from father as master, representative of imposed law, arbiter of his children’s happiness, and obstacle to autonomy.”  But now fathers are often caught up in themselves, their work, and at times their self-fulfillment, and neglect their families.  The amount of time given to media affects the father's presence and authority.  Authority is often considered suspect, and adults don't offer their children sure and solid guidance.  Children need to experience love, guidance, and a proper process of development.
God sets the father in the family so that by his gifts he can be close to his wife and share everything... and be close to his children as they grow....  To be a father always present, though not controlling.  Too-controlling fathers don’t let their children develop.  Children need a father waiting for them when they return home, even if they don't admit or show it.  It is not good for children to lack a father and to grow up before they are ready. (V:176-77)
  • Creighton:  Today's gospel reminds me it's important to be accountable, transparent, authentic, genuine, caring, and responsible. I value constructive conflict as important, necessary, and a means to strength, resilience, and greater good.  When I acknowledge God's presence in community, I can trust issues will work out.  If I don’t understand, I trust someone else does. If I don’t see the good, I trust my family, friends, and colleagues mean well.  I trust a greater plan is at work even if I don't see it.  I have faith in my family, church, work, and neighborhood.  I have faith God is present there.  I have faith issues will work out.  I don’t always have to understand.  Trust and faith allow me to hand my need for control over to God.   Trust in God’s word; have faith in it, and believe in the power of community:  "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am...."
  • One Bread, One Body:  "End-times talk":  God is into happy endings, more than we can ask or imagine, "life on high in Christ," but we can be tempted to question God's handling of endings on earth.  Moses' seems tragic:  after 40 years of faithfully leading the Israelites, God didn't let him enter the promised land. But otherwise he might have died without commissioning Joshua, and Israel would have been in disarray.  We're privileged to have God present every day; each day in his service is its own reward.  If we stay focused on Jesus present with us, he'll be our "End."  If we hope in the Lord of the End, no worldly ending will disappoint us. "Let this be the end."
    Mt 18:20
  • Passionist:  Matthew is concerned about members of his community who have departed from their first fervor.  The community needs to help them before giving up on them, but if they don't repent, the community must separate itself from them.  Jesus guarantees the efficacy of our prayers in this situation.  Matthew offers a process and encouragement to those willing to reach out and help those who have gone astray:  (1) Approach the offender privately with kind correction and hope. (2) Try again with 2-3 community members.  (3) Take the offender to the “whole community.”  (4) "Expel" the member for the community's welfare.
Jesus has the power to forgive sin and transmits it to his disciples.  This is the only time Matthew uses the term 'Church.'  We must forgive and seek conversion so the community may pray together, support each other, and inspire each other to improve.  Community is best when virtue triumphs over evil.  The Mennonite tradition has a maxim:  “Don’t argue; don't deny; don't withdraw.”  Peter Drucker, father of modern management, said, “Be fair; be firm; be friendly.”  Matthew recognizes the gift of forgiveness.  Rabbis said, “You can forgive up to three times; then God takes care of the forgiveness....”
  •  To repair a damaged relationship, don't brood over an offense; first speak directly and privately.  Seek the help of wise Christians to foster reconciliation.  If that fails, don't give up; seek the Christian community's help to restore the broken relationship. If none of that works, even though Jesus tells us to treat the offender like a Gentile or tax collector, remember that he reached out to them too, never giving up....  Am I willing to put my grievance and injury to help one who offended me?  The Lord wants to free us from resentment, ill will, and unwillingness to forgive.  The love of Christ frees us to do good even to those who cause us grief.  Don't give up on praying for those who cause us offense; try to win them with God's healing love.  Do you tolerate broken relationships or try to repair them as God gives you the opportunity?
  • About "binding and loosing," with exegetical links and online resources to compare and explore Bible texts (A couple of links had changed or died, so I just updated the page.)
    • Roch (Rock, Rocco), model worker of mercy

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