October 29, 2017

30th Sun., Ordinary Time

October 29, 2017:  Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 'Coin' button:  "If you lend money, don't extort by demanding interest" (1st reading)
  • 'Sword' pin*:  "I will kill you with the sword" (1st reading)
  • 'Rock,' 'shield,'* and 'angel with horn' pins:  "My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation" (psalm)
  • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  "You turned from idols to serve the true God" (2nd reading)
  • 'Hearts' tie:  "I love you, Lord" (psalm); "love the Lord, your God with all your heart... and love your neighbor as yourself" (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
*:  I can't find my sword/shield pin, so look here, and with me pray, "Holy Tony, look around..."
For Psalm 18
For upcoming celebrations
Pope Francis
At 3rd Conference on International Humanitarian LawProtect human dignity in every circumstance, especially armed conflict; we'll be judged on our mercy and solidarity for victims.  The Holy See, with the dignified aspiration to abolish war, ratified the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions.  In conflicts atrocities are perpetrated; our brothers and sisters are tortured, crucified, burned alive, in total disregard for human dignity.  The destruction of cultural treasures, hospitals, schools, and places of worship deprives generations of life, health, education, and religion.  This could lead to saturation that anesthetizes and relativizes the problem, making it harder to be moved to compassion.  What's needed is a change of heart, openness to God and neighbor, that urges persons to overcome indifference and live solidarity.  Despite the dangers, many persons, charities, and NGOs reach out to the wounded, the sick, the hungry, prisoners, and the dead.  Aid to victims calls for works of mercy we'll be judged on.  Would that fighters also practice humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and ‎independence, but where humanitarian law is met with hesitation and omission, individual conscience must recognize the duty to respect and protect human dignity, especially when it's most threatened.
At Secular Institutes ConferenceBe and act the Word of God you hear.  ‎You know what God has to say to the ‎world, where “saying” is acting.  Difficulties could tempt you to withdraw and isolate yourself into a comfortable situation, but you must stay in with the Gospel's transforming ‎presence.  It's difficult, but the Lord wants to walk ‎with you.  Go deeper than your surroundings; discover where God manifests himself.  Be aware of the world, with hearts immersed in God. ‎
Pray to be united to God and listen to him.  Discern between essentials and unimportant things.  Share people's lot even in dark times.  Never lose confidence and courage.  Find ‎good in everything. Be animated by Christ's sympathy for people and the world.  Be free and passionate like salt and ‎yeast in the world.‎  More on secular institutes
At COMECE (Re)Thinking Europe ConferenceWhat's our responsibility when many regard Christianity as a thing of the past, alien, and irrelevant?  When St. Benedict asked with the psalmist, “Who longs for life and desires to see good days?,” he pointed to a different view of the human person.  We're no longer citizens endowed with privileges to be enjoyed at leisure, soldiers serving the powers of the time, or slaves destined for hard labor.  Benedict appealed to human nature, to our longing for life and good days.  Persons are more important than functions.  The principle that we're created in God's image led to monasteries that cradled human, cultural, religious, and economic rebirth.
Remind Europe she's made up of people.  Issues can get reduced to numbers:  votes, quotas, economic markers, poverty thresholds....  Don't reduce the concrete human person to abstract principles.  While disembodied statistics can offer an alibi to not get involved, people force us to assume responsibility. 
Help recover the sense of community.  To acknowledge others means to value what unites us.  Community is the greatest antidote to individualism and isolation.  Freedom is misunderstood as a right to be left alone.  Society becomes rootless, lacking a sense of belonging and history, but Christians' identity is relational; we're members of one body, and each shares the work of building up that body.  This relationship is also found in interpersonal relationships and civil society, where through interaction all discover their identity, strengths and weaknesses.  The family remains the most fundamental place to discover this; it's the harmonious union of differences.  Secular communities are alive when they're open, embracing differences while generating life, development, labor, innovation, and culture.  Person and community are the foundations of the Europe we can help build via dialogue, inclusion, solidarity, development and peace.  Be a place of candid and constructive dialogue, where all participants share equal dignity.  Be able to engage at every level.  Don't let daily life obscure the transcendent; see beyond the transitory.  Religion helps build society, but some don't see that and relegate it to the private realm; they see affirmation of religious identity as a threat and so promote conflict between religious freedom and other rights. / Politics must favor dialogue but is now a forum for clashes, claims, and demands; citizens feel its goal is no longer the common good.  Extremist groups protest without offering constructive alternatives.  Bridges are burned and walls erected.  Promote political dialogue, especially where conflict seems to prevail.  Restore dignity to politics and to view politics as service to the common good, not a platform for power.  Politics is an expression of self-sacrifice and dedication for the community's benefit.  Leadership demands thoughtfulness, training, and experience. / Leaders share responsibility for promoting an inclusive community.  A community is inclusive when differences are not downplayed but viewed as a source of enrichment.  Seen this way, migrants are a resource.  Meditate on “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”  Remember that displaced persons and refugees are persons who can't be welcomed or rejected at our own pleasure.  Migration must be addressed with an open heart and prudence so those entering may be fully integrated.  Migrants have a responsibility to learn, respect, and assimilate the culture of the nations that welcome them. / Being community entails mutual support, bearing burdens, making sacrifices.  Solidarity, based on love, must be our lifeblood.  We must be concerned for the most vulnerable, the poor and discarded, starting with the elderly and unemployed.  Solidarity also calls for recovery of cooperation and mutual support between generations.  There's been a failure to pass on tools young people need.  Europe has a memory deficit.  We need to rediscover our past to enrich the present and build a future of hope.  Young people are lost, without roots or prospects.  Provide education, not just technical knowledge but promotion of human perfection, society's good, and a more human world.  Education requires the participation of parents, schools, and institutions, or else the life of the community dries up.  If Europe rediscovers itself as community, it'll foster of development of herself and the world.  Development must foster each person and the whole person.  Don't separate economics from human realities, nor development from civilization.
Work is essential to human dignity and growth.  Employment and suitable working conditions are the best antidote to soulless globalization that's created more poverty, unemployment, exploitation, and social unease.  Many shy away from jobs they see as physically demanding and unprofitable, forgetting how indispensable they are.  Where would we be without those who get food to our tables, produce our clothes, build our houses?  Work also gives satisfaction to those who realize they're useful in themselves and for others.  Governments must create conditions that promote healthy entrepreneurship and employment and restore a virtuous circle of investments favoring family, education, and peaceful development of the civil community.
Promise peace.  Being peacemakers isn't simply avoiding tensions and ending conflicts; it's promoting a culture of peace.  It takes love for truth, pursuing justice, and creativity.  Europe must respond to citizens' needs and expectations.  Entrenchment leads to failure.  We must work for a united and harmonious community sharing development and peace.
“What soul is to body, Christians are to the world” (Letter to Diognetus).  Christians are called to revitalize Europe and to revive its conscience generating processes to awaken new energies, as Benedict did.  May St. Benedict, messenger of peace, promoter of union, master of civilization, make clear to us how a joyful hope, flowing from faith, can change the world.
  • Ex 22:20-26  "Don't oppress aliens.  Don't wrong a widow or orphan; if you do, I'll hear their cry and kill you.  If you lend, don't extort by demanding interest.  If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, return it before sunset; if you don't I'll hear his cry, for I'm compassionate."
  • Ps 18:2-4, 47, 51  "I love you, Lord, my strength," my rock of refuge, fortress, deliverer, God, shield, horn of salvation, and stronghold!  Praised be you who gave victory to your king and showed kindness to your anointed.
  • 1 Thes 1:5c-10  You became imitators of us and the Lord, receiving the word in affliction, with joy, to become a model for believers.  For from you the Lord's word has sounded forth so we don't need to say anything.  They declare how you turned from idols to serve the living God and await his Son Jesus who delivers us.
  • Mt 22:34-40  Law scholar / Jesus:  "Which commandment in the law is the greatest?" / "First and greatest:  Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind.  The second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  The law and prophets depend on these two."
  • Creighton:  Today’s readings come together in "Love your neighbor as yourself."  The 1st reading reminds us that others are not always like us, enjoying blessings we may take for granted.  In a way we're aliens like the Hebrews were reminded they were.  Some berate people who come to our country instead of welcoming them.  When we open our heart and mind, we're blessed with humility and solidarity.
We must treat others with respect and love.  In the gospel Jesus puts the message from the 1st reading in terms all can understand, making it contemporary while responsive to the Pharisees' testing.  He's consistent with the law, so the Pharisees can't deny what he says about love and putting it into action.  We can do this by being present for those around us, kind and thoughtful, and finding God in all things.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Love Love":  Jesus revealed that the two greatest commandments were to love God and love others.  Jesus' mission was to show us the Father's love.  We're to love even our enemies, and we'll be recognized as his disciples because of our love for one another.  The first Christians . They came to realize God "so loved the world that he gave his only Son," "love never fails," "without love, we're nothing," "love covers a multitude of sins," love is greater than even faith and hope, God's love has been poured out into us through the Spirit, and "God is Love, and all who abide in Love abide in God, and God in them."  Love Love.
  • PassionistLove for God and neighbor are the two main themes of today's readings and the foundation for building God's Kingdom.  It was so important to the Jewish people that the poor be taken care of that they had laws to guide them.  They left grain after the harvest so the poor could glean grain to sustain them.  Today, we have other ways to give to the poor, including victims of natural disasters. We can give a voice to those others are deaf to.  We can help in our own communities, parishes, and neighborhoods.  But when have we not?  May we love our neighbor and heal through acts of kindness. What if kindness, mercy, and compassion were the headlines?
  • DailyScripture.net:  "The greatest rule of life":  The Pharisees prided themselves in the knowledge of the law of Moses; they studied the Torah's 613 precepts, plus rabbinic commentaries.  When they tested Jesus' understanding of the law, he startled them with his simplicity and mastery by summarizing the law and prophets in two commandments.  All God does flows from his love for us.  Do we put him first in our thoughts and respond in love?  The more we know of his love, the more we love what he loves and reject the rest.  Love is giving yourself for others' good.  The root of all sin is disordered love.  God loves us completely, constantly, generously, unconditionally, for our sake.  That's why he sent his Son to redeem us and draw us to his mercy and help.  Do I accept his love and choose to obey him?  God's love freely poured out by the Spirit makes it possible for us to love God and others.  Faith and hope are essential for union with God and for strength to love.  The more we know God, the better we love, believe, and hope in him.  What do I let keep me from God's love and serving others?

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