November 22, 2017


November 22, 2017:  St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr

See 21 connections with today?
Legend below

For St. Cecilia Day
For Psalm 17
Pope Francis General Audience
Mass is the memorial of Christ’s passover from death to life.  In Scripture a 'memorial' is more than a remembrance; it's making an event present, enabling us to share in it.  At every Eucharist, Jesus pours out his mercy on us, as on the cross, to renew our hearts, lives, and world.  “As often as the sacrifice is celebrated, the work of our redemption is carried out” (LG 3).  We enter into Christ’s victory over sin and death and, by the Spirit's power, are given a share in his life.  Mass is a ray of the sun where there's no sunset; when we participate, we enter into the Lord's victory and are illuminated by his light.  By making present the Lord’s paschal mystery, the Eucharist strengthens us to bear witness, like the martyrs, to his triumph over death and to love others as he does, freely giving of ourselves for their good.
Mass is not a show.  We don’t chat or take pictures because it's the memorial of Jesus’ Passion, which he endured to free us from oppression and enter into eternal life.  When you enter a church to celebrate Mass, think about Jesus giving his life for us, and the show, gossip, and comments will disappear. More
  • 2 Mc 7:1, 20-31  Seven brothers with their mother were tortured to force them to violate God’s law.  Mother exhorted each to remain faithful.  King promised riches and happiness to youngest, then appealed to mother who continued, Don't fear this executioner; accept death."  Youth didn't obey king.
  • Ps 17:1bcd, 5-6, 8b, 15  "Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full."  Hear my outcry; I've been faithful.
  • Lk 19:11-28  Nobleman going off to obtain kingship gives servants coins for trade; citizens don't want him as king.  Upon his return, servants give account:  two who double the money receive charge of cities; other one gets nothing.  "To those who have, more will be given; from one who has not, the little he has will be taken."  Nobleman's enemies are slain.
  • CreightonWe think of a martyr as one willing to die rather than recant; martyrs pay the ultimate price instead of settling for a lesser sense of themselves.  There's nothing glamorous about how martyrs are killed:  Cecilia took three days to die after her beheading was botched.  The seven brothers watched each other die, and mother watched them all before she was killed.  Faith must be stronger than pain.  We draw strength from martyrs who choose death over denying God’s call; such sacrifice can strengthen us in the face of our struggles.  We're all called to be martyrs, to accept the death of our selfishness to stay faithful to God's call to love others.  We're called to surrender to God in the face of challenges to our faith.  Let's celebrate the martyrs by accepting the deaths that keep us from living Christ's call.  Lord, strengthen our faith so we may die to selfishness and live your call.
    Das Martyrium der sieben Makkabäer
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Defeat terrorism":  The Seleucids who persecuted the Jews at the time of the Maccabean revolt were terrorists; they scalped, dismembered, and fried the brothers one by one, forcing them and their mother to watch.  They planned to use the mother's anguish to manipulate her sons into renouncing their faith, or at least break the Jews' spirit by their terrorism.  But the family defeated the terrorists:  the mother's relationship with the Lord and her sons was so strong that she didn't crack; she strengthened her sons to die heroically, then followed them in martyrdom.  You need faith to defeat terrorism; human means aren't enough.  If we're not faith-filled disciples, we'll be helpless, intimidated, and manipulated....
  • Passionist:  A mother of seven sons witnesses their torture and death, knowing it would work out in the next life.  Planting her feet in the faith community and their understanding of a loving Lord made her sacrifice possible and sustained her hope.  The gospel is the story of Herod and his people while he's pursuing his goal to be King of Israel; it's the story of a faith community trying to decide what they should do while waiting for his return.  Luke is dealing with the end of the world.  What should we be do as we await the end?  He suggests we must have our feet planted in the reality of the faith community, taking our gifts, abilities, hopes, dreams, and help to create a wholesome and holy life for the whole community as we wait in joyful hope for our Lord's coming.  What's freely offered and given to the community will be multiplied; what's hoarded and hidden, taken away.
We're invited to see our faith life as rooted in the life and traditions of a faith-filled community, and to live and flourish in it, drawing strength for life's tragedies and hopes for the fulfillment of God's promises.  We're called to live each day to the full, not as unconnected individuals but as faith communities rooted with and in each other, providing strength for daily living.  What am I called to do today to enhance the connectedness, daily realities, and hopes of the faith community where I live?
  •  "They didn't want me to reign over them":  The Jews in Jesus' time thought the Messiah would appear soon to usher in God's kingdom of justice, love, and peace.  Jesus spoke in messianic terms of the coming reign of God.  In today's parable he spoke to their longing for a new kingdom, first speaking of the king's trust in his subjects.  The master rewards the industrious and faithful and punishes those who do nothing with his money.  Each servant was faithful up to a point, though the one who buried the money was irresponsible. The Lord calls us to live as citizens of his kingdom and through the Holy Spirit gives us freedom to live as his servants and lay down our lives in loving service.  He entrusts us with gifts and graces, gives us freedom to use them as we think best, and gives grace and wisdom so we may use them fittingly.  God abhors the "it's not worth trying" attitude but honors those who use their gifts for good.  We can't stand still in the Christian life; we either get more or lose what we have, advance towards God or slip back....
  • Universalis:  St. Cecilia, perfect example of a Christian woman; patroness of music and musicians because her death candentibus organis (with red-hot pipes) was misread cantantibus organis (with organ playing)?
Dress legend
    St. Cecilia/ Guercino
  • 'Crown' tie bar, 'pigs' suspenders:  King forced mom and sons to eat pork (1st reading); nobleman obtains kingship (gospel)
  • 'People' tie pin:  Brothers and mother before king (1st reading); servants entrusted with coins (gospel)
  • 'Precious feet' pin:  "My feet have not faltered" (psalm)
  • 'Eyeball' pin, since 'apple of eye' refers to pupil, though not here (in case you didn't follow the link above :-)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  I call on You, for You'll answer me (psalm)
  • 'Coin' button, gold-colored accessories:  Nobleman gave gold coins to servants... (gospel)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  Servants account outcome of trading (gospel)
  • 'Clocks' tie:  countdown to Day of Lord, end of church year (season)
  • 'Gun' pin:  "Slay my enemies" (gospel)
  • 'Car' pin:  Jesus proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem (gospel)
  • Handkerchief (not shown):  "I kept your coin in a handkerchief" (gospel)
  • 'Blood drop' pin, red and white in shirt:  Blood and red for St. Cecilia's martyrdom, white for her virginity
  • 'Piano' pin, angel with wings and trumpet:  St. Cecilia, patroness of music; "hide me in the shadow of your wings" (psalm)

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