August 22, 2017

Queen Mary

August 22, 2017:  Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  • 'Mary' pin, 'crowns' tie: Queenship of Mary
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar: The Lord speaks of peace (psalm)
  • 'Angel' pin: Angel who conversed with Gideon (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin: A fire came up from the rock (1st reading)

This would fit the gospel
(100+ camel ties)

This too
(but my wife didn't find either one
in a thrift shop)

  • Mr. Big Stuff/ Knight, a song for the hypocrites Jesus warns (gospel)
For Psalm 85
  • Is 9:1-6  The people in darkness have seen a great light, for a child is born to us; dominion rests on him.  They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace....
  • Ps 113:1-8  "Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever."  He raises the needy and seats the poor with princes.
  • Lk 1:26-38  God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin, Mary, betrothed to Joseph:  “Hail!  The Lord is with you.”  Troubled, she pondered the greeting.  Angel / Mary:  “Don't fear; you've found favor with God.  You'll bear a son; name him Jesus.  He'll be called Son of the Most High, and God will give him David's throne, and he'll rule forever.” / “How?  I'm a virgin.” / “The Spirit will come upon you, and God's power will overshadow you.  Your relative Elizabeth has also conceived in her old age; nothing is impossible for God.” / “I'm the Lord's handmaid.   Let it be done to me.”
  • Jgs 6:11-24a  Angel / Gideon:  "The Lord is with you!" / "Then why has all this happened to us?  The Lord has delivered us into Midian's power." / "I send you to save Israel." / "How?  I'm insignificant." / "I'll be with you." / "Give me a sign."  Fire consumed the meat and cakes he set out.  "I've seen Your angel face to face!" / "Don't fear.  You won't die."  Gideon built an altar to the Lord and called it Yahweh-shalom.
  • Ps 85:9, 11-14  "The Lord speaks of peace to his people."  Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.  The Lord will give his saving benefits....
  • Mt 19:23-30  “It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom; it's easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye.” Disciples, astonished / Jesus:  “Then who can be saved?” / “For men it's impossible, but for God all is possible.”  Peter / Jesus:  “We've given up everything and followed you.  What's in store for us?” / “When the Son is seated on his throne, you'll sit on thrones, judging the tribes of Israel.  Everyone who's given up houses, siblings, parents, children, or land for my sake will receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life.  Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
  • Creighton:  When we start to doubt ourselves, our goals look unachievable.  The doubt can extend to our faith and we can wonder where God is and why he'd let us feel like this.  We may even pray as Gideon did.  The Gospel also talks about doubt:  Peter wasn't sure following Jesus was such a good idea.  Both readings portray the uncertainty of feeling alone, weak, or afraid.  When we feel our faith is being tested, remember God is happy to see us living the gospel.  Focus on the good that's happened to you, and be grateful for God's gifts. 
  • One Bread, One Body:  "With or without?"  "If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?" God answered Gideon, "I shall be with you,"  When Jesus' disciples were overwhelmed at his demands, he answered, "I am with you always."  Humanity is in a rough spot:  our fallen nature, twisted heart, and self-deception.  God's answer is to send Jesus, 'Emmanuel,' 'God with us.'  Jesus is with us in our suffering to strengthen and guide us.  He's with us as our Wealth.  He's fellow Victim and our VindicatorJustice, Love, Peace, Strength, Counselor, Wisdom, Life, All.  To prefer loot instead of the Lord is to preview hell, life without God.  The reward of heaven is being with the Lord forever, not riches.
  • Passionist:  God working with us to unfold his saving plan.  In Isaiah’s prophecy, the lowliest of people are destined to live in the light of a king descended from David who became king from when the least of Jesse’s sons.  Gabriel tells Mary, a simple teen, that she's been chosen to be God's mother.  We're invited to understand how God chooses those we might consider insignificant to advance his plan.  Gideon understands himself to be the least member of the most insignificant family in Israel, but he becomes Champion of Israel and saves them from Midian.  He is cajoled to set aside his doubts and fears and trust in God.  In the gospel, the poor have a keen sense of God's presence and power.  The ones who were last will be first.  Mary recognizes her need for God’s presence and power in the midst of her questions.

Kissing gallery
We need God’s presence and power just as much.  We're astonished God chooses the unlikely, the unexpected, those others would pass by to bring his light into the world.  We're being asked to place our lives into the hands of a God who seeks to further the divine plan through us.  We must recognize the least ones among us, through whom God's designs become manifest.  Recognize God's presence and power around us, and listen to the encouragement in today's readings.
  •  "Who can enter the kingdom?"  Jesus wasn't opposed to wealth or the wealthy; many of his friends were well-to-do.  "Better is a poor man who walks in integrity than a perverse rich man." "Don't wear yourself out to get rich."  The camel was regarded as the largest animal; the "needle's eye" could be interpreted literally or could describe the city's narrow, low gate used by travelers when the larger gate was locked; people had to "lower" themselves to enter.  A camel would have to kneel to crawl through it.  Until we kneel before the Lord and acknowledge our dependence on him, we won't find peace, security, or happiness.
"Even if you possess plenty, you're still poor.  You abound in possessions but need eternal things.  You listen to a beggar's needs but are yourself a beggar of God.  What you do with those who beg from you is what God will do with his beggar.  You're filled and empty.  Fill your neighbor, and God will fill you." (Augustine, Sermon 56,9)
Wealth can make us falsely independent or lead to hurtful desires and selfishness; look at the rich man who refused to help poor Lazarus.  Only those who trust and depend on God and share with those in need will find peace, security, happiness, and everlasting life and joy.  We lose what we keep and gain what we give away.  Is my treasure God and his kingdom?
Pope Francis Amoris Lætitia capsule:  Life in the wider family

The nuclear family needs to interact with the wider family of relatives and neighbors.  This greater family may have members who need assistance, companionship, affection, or consolation.  Today's individualism can lead to creating nests of security where others are perceived as bothersome or threats, but such isolation can't offer peace or happiness; rather, it straitens the family's heart, making its life narrower. (V:187)

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