August 26, 2017

Aug. 26

August 26, 2017:  Saturday, 20th week, Ordinary Time

  • 'Grain' pin:  "Let me glean ears of grain..." (1st reading)
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  Blessed are you who walk in the Lord's ways! (psalm)
  • 'Fruits' tie with grapes:  You who walk in God's ways shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; your wife shall be like a fruitful vine (psalm)
  • 'Hand with raised fingers' pin:  "They lay burdens on people but won't lift a finger to move them" (gospel)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "They love places of honor at banquets" (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
Pope Francis to Our Lady of Częstochowa pilgrims

Mary is not a distant Queen on a throne but the Mother who embraces the Son and all of us, her children.  She's a true Mother, one who suffers because she takes our problems to heart.  She's close, never letting us out of her sight.  She's a tender Mother, holding us by the hand on our daily journey.  Feel that no one of us is an orphan.


  • Ru 2:1-3, 8-11; 4:13-17  Naomi had a prominent kinsman named Boaz.  Ruth / Naomi:  “Let me glean grain.” / “Go,” and she went.  Boaz, to whom the section she entered belonged:  Don't leave here.  Watch to see which field is to be harvested, and follow my servants.  I heard what you did for your mother-in-law....”  They married, she bore a son, she became its nurse, neighbors named him Obed.  He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
  • Ps 128:1b-5  "See how the Lord blesses those who fear him."  You'll eat the fruit of your handiwork.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine, your children like olive plants around your table.
  • Mt 23:1-12  “Do whatever the scribes and Pharisees tell you, but don't follow their example; they don't practice what they preach.  They burden people but won't help them.  They do things to be seen.  They love places of honor.  You have but one teacher, one Father in heaven, and one master, the Christ.  The greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
  • Creighton:  It's a great temptation to feel good about yourself and look down on others, but lifting ourselves up for honor or attention looks silly and is self-defeating; when we set ourselves up as better than others, we set ourselves up for distrust, lack of respect, and ridicule. Others' respect is seductive, but if people are impressed with self-promotion, it's not for long.  We need to humble ourselves; 'humble' is from 'humilis' (low), from 'humus' (earth).  Respect and integrity come from simplicity and transparency, being ourselves before God and others, starting from being ourselves before ourselves, knowing and befriending ourselves.  Jesus knew honest comfort with self opens the way to grace, while denial or blindness make little room for it.  If I don't see I'm in need, I don't know I need God, but genuine self-assessment will lead me to see my poverty, emptiness, hunger, lack of integration, and sin.  In that humble place I'll find the blessings promised to the "poor in spirit."
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Redeeming qualities":  Boaz redeemed Ruth from a present and future of poverty:  he took her, entered into a contract, and brought her into a future of hope as his wife; he raised her to an intimate relationship with himself and gave her a royal heritage.  Jesus is our Redeemer: he sacrificed himself to redeem and cleanse us and make us his own.  Like Boaz, he paid the price and offers us a future and royal heritage with him.  He offers us such intimacy with him that we might live in him and he in us.  Boaz asked Ruth to stay with him.  She could have said no, but she abandoned herself to his care.  Jesus asks us to stay with him and let him be our head.  May we like Ruth abandon ourselves to our Redeemer.
  • Passionist:  Jesus enjoins his followers to listen to, but not act like, the scribes and Pharisees.  Ruth lived quite a different life from them; Boaz is moved by how she has cared for others.  In this time of grandstanding, quiet work of caring for our family, paying attention to co-workers, and making our communities more peaceful may not garner people's attention, but discipleship does make a difference.
  •  "Humble yourself; be exalted":  Jesus warned the scribes and Pharisees to teach and serve with humility, but they drew attention to their status and practices.  In trying to be good models, they sought recognition for themselves rather than God and made practicing their faith a burden for those they were supposed to serve.  Respect for God inclines us to humble ourselves and listen and submit to God.
Jesus wanted to warn about the temptation to seek honors that draw attention to ourselves, not God.  Pride tempts us to put ourselves above others; it goes before destruction.   "You have one teacher, and you are all brothers to each other... Ministers don't put themselves forward to be called teacher; they know when they do well it's Christ within them.  They should only call themselves servants..." (Origen).
Respect for God inclines us to humility and simplicity, readiness to seek God.  Humility isn't feeling bad about yourself or thinking yourself inferior; it frees us from preoccupation with ourselves, vs. low self-esteem that focuses attention on ourselves.  Humility is truth in self-understanding and action, seeing ourselves the way God sees us.  The humble assess themselves realistically.  Humility frees us to be ourselves, not despair or be proud, not wear a mask to look good to others, not be swayed by fame, reputation, success, or failure.  Humility is the foundation of the other virtues because it enables us to see and judge correctly.  It helps us to be teachable, directs our energy and will to give ourselves to something greater, and frees us to love and serve selflessly.  The greatest example is Jesus who humbled himself and became obedient to death on a cross.
Today's celebrations, from Universalis
  • Bl. Dominic Barberi, Passionist priest, missionary. priest, house founder, zealous preacher, warm to non-Catholics, received Anglicans into full communion.
  • St. David Lewis, convert, Jesuit priest, “Popish Plot” martyr:  “discover the plot I could not, as I knew of none; and conform [=recant] I would not, for it was against my conscience.”

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