November 24, 2017

Vietnamese martyrs

November 24, 2017:  St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs

See a dozen connections with today?Legend below

For martyrs of Vietnam
Pope Francis
Homily:  Watchfulness, service, and gratuitousness can help us keep clean the temple of the Holy Spirit:
God's most important temple is our heart, where the Spirit dwells.  Do we keep watch over it?  Are we careful about what happens there, who comes in and goes out, the feelings, the ideas...?  Do we speak and listen to the Spirit?
You can safeguard and care for this temple through service.  Do you help, clothe, and console those in need?  Purifying the temple means caring for others.  When we serve, we resemble Jesus.
Gratuitousness helps keep the temple clean.  How often do we enter a parish and not know whether it's God's house or a supermarket, a business with a price list for the sacraments?  But God saved us freely, without making us pay.  Give freely, and God will provide what's lacking.
To Franciscans'Minor' is an essential part of your name, Order of Friars Minor.  St. Francis named you “friars minor” out of his desire to make Christ, who though rich made himself poor, and the Gospel, the foundation of his life.  Francis lived out 'spoliation,' stripping himself of earthly goods to give himself to God.  His life was marked by this encounter with God who had made himself poor; the Poverello (little poor man) adored and contemplated Christ's humble and hidden presence in the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Eucharist.  May God preserve and increase your "littleness," a place of encounter and communion with God, your religious brothers, all people, and creation:
God:  Littleness has a special place your relationship with God, humble, confident, and aware of your sinfulness. One aspect is the “spirituality of restitution” to God.  Every good we receive is from God and must be restored to him through praise and living in line with the gift, going out of ourselves to encounter and welcome others.
People:  This leads to encounter with others, for you primarily in your relationship with your religious brothers.  Mark your relationships with respect, understanding, charity, and mercy, never superiority.  Live 'littleness' in your relationships with all people.  When you serve the “smallest,” the excluded, the “least,” never do it from a pedestal of superiority that could drive people away.  Open your hearts and embrace today's lepers, extending the mercy you've received.  Be "sick with the sick; afflicted with the afflicted," so your littleness will affect their lives.
Creation:  Franciscan “littleness” is a place of encounter with creation, which Francis described as a sister or beautiful mother.  This sister and mother is rebelling because she feels mistreated.  Dialogue with creation, praising God for it, and caring for it.  Collaborate with initiatives for care of our common home, keeping in mind the relationship between the poor and the fragile planet, between the option for the poor and the economy, development, and care for creation.
  • 1 Mc 4:36-37, 52-59  Judas Maccabeus and his brothers purify, repair, ornament, and rededicate the sanctuary with songs, harps, flutes, and cymbals.  All the people adore and praise Heaven and prostrate themselves.  They decree the dedication should be celebrated every year....
  • 1 Chr 29:10b-12  "We praise your glorious name, O mighty God."  All is yours.
  • Lk 19:45-48  Jesus drove the sellers out of the temple:  “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you've made it a robbers' den."  Leaders sought to kill him, but people were hanging on his words.
  • Creighton:  The 117 Catholics martyred in Vietnam from 1820-1862 we remember today were victims of religious persecution; their blood is a source of life for believers.  Lord, give us courage and freedom to witness to our faith.
After enduring persecution, the Maccabees celebrated the rededication of the Temple with joy; strong faith is powerful and inspiring.
Jesus had been struggling with people who appeared religious but judged without mercy. They didn't like how he ate and drank with sinners, cared for the sick, hungry and thirsty, strangers, and sinners.  The "buying and selling" he saw was all about sacrifice, and since people came from all over, money changers were exchanging currency.  Jesus said they'd lost the meaning of sacrifice.
  • Pope Francis has challenged us to avoid legalism and practice mercy.  Lord, help us examine what gets in the way of our faith and commitment (such as the diseases Pope Francis lists in his 2014 Christmas greeting to his staff:  'petrification,' gossiping, grumbling, backbiting...) and cleanse our temple.  May we be more a "house of prayer" in communion with you.  Make us more kind and merciful, especially with those close to us and the poor....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Purity":  Jesus wants his temple purified; he commands us to be pure, even as he is.  By obedience to the truth, we can purify ourselves for love of our brothers and sisters.  The Lord has promised us "a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness."  This fountain is our Baptism into Jesus in which we have stripped off the carnal body.  We're pure if we live our Baptism via holy conduct and repent from our sin. "Let us purify ourselves from every defilement... and strive to fulfill our consecration.
    Martyrs of Vietnam
  • Passionist:  'Fear of God' is better translated 'awe.'  We should be astonished at God's creativity!  "The ignorant of God were foolish, unable to know the one who exists from the good things they see or to recognize the Artisan by heeding his works."  “Lord, how majestic your name in all the earth!”  In Hebrew 'majestic' (ʾaddîr) means mighty or noble....
  •  "They all hung upon his words":  Jesus' temple cleansing is is the only incident where we see him use physical force; the act was a sign and warning that God takes our worship seriously.  He cleansed the temple of those using it to exploit worshipers. The money changers unjustly overcharged the poor and so dishonored God.  Jesus quoted from Isaiah and Jeremiah. The people who listened to Jesus teaching regarded him with awe and respect. How hungry am I for God's word?
Dress legend
  • 'Alps' pin:  Army went up to Mount Zion (1st reading)
  • 'Fire' pin:  They offered sacrifice according to the law (1st reading)
  • 'Houses' tie:  "My house shall be a house of prayer" (gospel)
  • 'Clef' pin:  They reconsecrated the altar with songs... (1st reading)
  • Gold-colored accessories, 'crown' tie bar, and (though lost) /'shield' tie pin/:  They ornamented the temple with gold crowns and shields (1st reading)
  • 'Car' pin:  Jesus 'drove' out those selling things in the temple (gospel)
  • 'Gun' pin:  The leaders were seeking to put Jesus to death (gospel)
  • Red in shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  Vietnamese martyrs (today's memorial)
  • Green in shirt, suspenders with clocks:  Ordinary Time season; countdown to its end

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