October 12, 2017

Oct. 12

October 12, 2017:  Thursday, 27th week, Ordinary Time

Psalm 1-inspired
Pope Francis at  Catechism  25th anniversary

St. John XXIII called Vatican II to give the Church an opportunity to present her faith in modern language, to guard it and pursue the path the Church has followed, so the truth of the Gospel may grow.  We must proclaim the Good News to our contemporaries in a new and fuller way, helping them discover the riches of Christ.  St. John Paul II wanted the Catechism to take into account the doctrinal statements and help illumine new situations and problems.  The Catechism presents us with Church teaching and seeks to draw our contemporaries to the Church.  The Church must express things old and new.”  At this anniversary of Fidei Depositum we take stock of progress.

In Jesus' “priestly prayer” he prays that the disciples be gathered and preserved in unity.  His mission is “that they should know you, the only true God, and the one you sent.”  Every heart desires to know God.  The knowledge comes from love; Jesus introduces us by his words and signs to the Father’s love.  Those who love long to know the beloved better.  Our Catechism unfolds in the light of love, as an experience of knowledge, trust, and abandonment to the mystery.  “Doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends....  Our Lord's love must always be made accessible, so anyone can see the works of Christian virtue spring from, and aim to arrive at, love.”

For this reason the death penalty ought to find more adequate treatment in the Catechism.  This issue must take into account not only developed doctrine but also the awareness of Christians who reject a punishment injurious to human dignity.  The death penalty is inhumane; it abases human dignity.  It's contrary to the Gospel, because it willfully suppresses sacred human life.  No one loses his dignity; God always awaits his children's return.  No one ought to be deprived of life and the chance for redemption.

The death penalty used to seem just, but it was from a mentality more legalistic than Christian.  We must uphold personal dignity!  The Church has always taught defense of the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.  We must stop defending arguments that now appear contrary to Christian truth.  “There must be all possible progress of religion.  Who would forbid it?” (Vincent of Lérins 23, paraphrased).  No matter how serious the crime, the death penalty is inadmissible; it attacks the person's inviolability and dignity.

God's word can't be mothballed like an old blanket!  No; it's dynamic, living, and growing.  This progress, “consolidated by years, enlarged by time, refined by age” (ibid.marks revealed truth, not a change in doctrine.  Doctrine can't be preserved without letting it develop; it can't be tied to a rigid interpretation without demeaning the Spirit's work.  We're called to reverently hear God's word, so that our life may progress with enthusiasm towards those horizons the Lord wishes to guide us to.

  • Mal 3:13-20b  You've defied me, saying, “What good is it to keep God's command?  Evildoers prosper....”  The Lord listened attentively.  Those who fear and trust me shall be mine, says the Lord.  I'll have compassion on them.  You'll see the distinction between just and wicked.  The proud and evildoers will be stubble, but for you who fear me, the sun of justice will arise.
  • Ps 1:1-4, 6  "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord."  They're like trees yielding fruit in due season, but the wicked are like chaff the wind drives away.  The Lord watches over the just....
  • Lk 11:5-13  “If your friend comes to you at midnight and says, ‘lend me three loaves of bread,’ and you reply, ‘Don't bother me; the door is locked and we're in bed,’ even if you don't give him the loaves because of your friendship, you will because of his persistence.  Ask and receive; seek and find; knock and the door will be opened.  Who would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish, or a scorpion when he asks for an egg?  If you know how to give your children good gifts, how much more will the Father give the Spirit to those who ask?”
  • CreightonWe don't have a "vending machine God" we feed with prayer, tithes, good works, and repentance then receive what we ask for.  Our generous God gives us Presence, not presents.  With the Spirit's presence, what more could we ask for?  The challenge is to see how the Holy is present with us, in creation, scripture, Eucharist, prayer, others, our imagination and dreams, music....  The Spirit is with me in joys, sorrows, successes, and failures; my response can only be love and gratitude....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Knock knock":  We may think we're knocking and God isn't answering, but God is knocking on our hearts.  We, like the man in the house, tend to not want to get up early to pray.  Even the most hardened sinner has the grace to pray, but many drown out the quiet knock.  Ask with perseverance for them to accept the grace of faith.  Ask for holiness with faith and persistence
  • Passionist:  Perseverance, persistence, and endurance are essential in building God's kingdom and being a “field hospital” for those deprived of God's love.  Parables like today’s are lessons in missionary discipleship.  If we wait beyond what we can endure, beyond what we think is our limit, we show others a goodness beyond ourselves.  “Consult your hopes and dreams, not your fears.  Think about your potential, not your frustrations.  Concern yourself with what you can do, not how you failed” (John XXIII).
  • DailyScripture.net:  "How much more will the heavenly Father give!"  Jesus used the illustration of a midnight traveler to teach about how God treats us in contrast to what we might expect from neighbors. The rule of hospitality required community cooperation in entertaining an unexpected guest, always serving a meal.  Bread was essential as a utensil for dipping and eating; asking for bread was common; refusing to give it was inhospitable and brought shame.  If you could impose on a neighbor to give bread at midnight, how much more hospitable is God, who's always generous and ready to give what we need.  "God, who doesn't sleep and who awakens us from sleep that we may ask, gives much more graciously" (Augustine).  The Lord is ever ready to give us more than we can expect:  his Spirit, that we may share his life and joy.
Today's saints, from Universalis
  • Wilfrid, abbot, bishop, supported Church traditions against prevailing ‘Celtic’ customs
  • Kenneth (Cainnech, Canice, Kenny, Canicus), abbot, monastery founder, priest, missionary, taught the "12 Apostles of Ireland"
Dress legend
  • Purple shirt:  You said, “What do we profit by keeping his command, and going about in penitential dress...?" (1st reading)
  • 'Money' tie:  "Evildoers prosper" (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  The coming day will set evildoers on fire... (1st reading)
  • 'Sun' pin:  The Sun of Justice will arise (1st reading)
  • 'Tree' and 'fruit' pins:  You who meditate on God's law are like a fruitful tree near water...  (psalm)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  "Friend, lend me some bread" (gospel)
    • 'Key' tie pin:  "Don't bother me; the door is locked" (gospel)
    • '?' tie pin:  "Ask and you'll receive....  The Father will give the Spirit to all who ask" (gospel)
    • 'Snake,' 'fish' tie pins:  What father would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? (gospel)
    • 'Dove' pin:  The Father will give the Spirit to those who ask (gospel)
    • '1' button, thanks to OneLife LA:  Respect Life Month, and Pope Francis' reference to Jesus' prayer for unity (Catechism anniversary address)

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