December 11, 2017

Dec. 11

December 11, 2017:  Monday, 2nd week, Advent

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis homily
It's easier to console others than to let yourself be consoled; we can be attached to sins and scars and prefer to stay on our sickbed, like the paralytic, not wanting to hear Jesus telling us to get up and walk.  We prefer to bear grudges and stew in our own juices because that way we're masters of our own hard hearts; like the paralytic, we prefer the ‘bitter root’ of original sin to God’s consolation.  Such bitterness leads us to whine, like Nobel prize for whining winner Job who complained about everything God did.  I recall a priest who complained so much that his companions joked that when he got to heaven he'd complain to St. Peter that too few were denied salvation.
Faced with such bitterness, anger and complaining, the Church repeats that we must have courage, just like the paralytic's friends, who thought of their friend in need over the scribes' reaction.  Let yourself be consoled by the Lord, stripped of all egoisms and complaints.  Examine your conscience and look into your heart; is there any sadness or bitterness there?  Do you praise God, or always have something to complain about?  Pray for courage and the Lord's consolation.
  • Is 35:1-10  The parched land will exult; the steppe bloom and rejoice.  They'll see the Lord's glory.  Strengthen feeble hands; make weak knees firm; say to the frightened, "Be strong!"  Your God comes with vindication to save you.  Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears cleared; the lame will leap, the mute will sing, and streams will burst forth in the desert.  A highway will be there; no one unclean may pass over it.  On it the redeemed will walk.  Those the Lord has ransomed will return singing, crowned with joy; sorrow and mourning will flee.
  • Ps 85:9ab, 10-14  "Our God will come to save us!"  God proclaims peace to his people.  His salvation is near.  Kindness and truth shall meet, justice and peace shall kiss.  Truth and justice shall spring forth.  The Lord will give his benefits....
  • Lk 5:17-26  Some men brought a paralyzed man to Jesus, lowering him through the roof because of the crowd.  Jesus, seeing their faith:  “Your sins are forgiven.”  Scribes and Pharisees / Jesus:  “Who is this blasphemer?  Only God can forgive sins!” / “What's easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Rise and walk’?  But so you may know the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins” (to the paralyzed man:)  “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”  He stood immediately, picked up the stretcher, and went home, glorifying God.  All were astonished and glorified God...

  • Creighton:  Today's 1st reading leads me to hope.  God’s handiwork was not marred by artificial borders.  Isaiah tells us to be strong and fearless because God is coming to save us.  We just need to be reminded that our lives won't always be in turmoil.  God is with us in our pain and suffering, even if we can’t feel him.
What about the highway where “no one unclean may pass over it”?  How can I make myself clean so I may follow God’s way?  How do I separate myself from others?  How do I contribute to polarization?  How can I circle back to what we have in common over our disagreements?
“You stole an exceptional being, the love of my life, but you won't have my hate; I won't give you the satisfaction.  To respond to your hate with anger would be yielding to the ignorance that made you what you are.  My son and I are stronger than the world's armies; this boy will defy you by being happy and free” (Leirs, You Will Not Have My Hate).  This helps me become clean so no one can have my hate either.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "What is Jesus thinking?"  Jesus was surrounded by a large number of religious leaders and Bible scholars.  In the midst of this august assembly, the roof was dismantled, and a man on a stretcher was lowered.  Jesus said to the paralytic, "Friend, your sins are forgiven"; he spoke of his authority to forgive even though he knew it would be considered blasphemy and would turn the leaders against him.  He even healed the paralytic to confirm his authority to forgive.  "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."  There's "more joy in heaven over one repentant sinner."  Jesus has a heart of forgiveness....
  • Passionist:  Isaiah is prominent in Advent.  Isaiah, like John the Baptist, symbolizes Advent and the coming of Emmanuel, of Messiah.  In today’s reading he calls us to prepare for the coming of a loving God who will transform our wilderness into a world of hope; his prophecy is a song of deliverance.  The Babylonians had laid siege to Jerusalem, chaining the leaders, the affluent, the professionals, dragging them off, leaving the weak and poor behind.  Captive Israel began to lose hope, but Isaiah urged them to keep hoping.  He shared his vision where all would sing God's glory, as the Lord would restore his people and lead them across a wilderness into salvation.  He imagined the future as a new exodus, God’s people coming home.  Isaiah calls us to reflect not only on Messiah's coming but also on our coming home.  As we prepare to celebrate his first coming, we're also called to prepare for his return, when we'll be made whole and joyful, and the cosmos will sing.  Meanwhile, like those in exile, we sing Advent’s anthem of hope, “O Come, Emmanuel; ransom captive Israel that mourns in exile, until the Son of God appear.”  We wait in joyful hope, singing “Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come....”
  •  "Your God will come and save you":  The prophets foretold that when the Messiah came, the blind would see, the deaf hear, and the lame walk.  Jesus brought healing of body, mind, heart, and soul.  He came to bring us life, but unbelief, indifference, and pride can stifle that life and transformation.  Sin cripples us more than any physical ailment can, and Jesus' forgiveness is the only solution.  Jesus' treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers of the day; he claimed authority only God had.  But he proved his authority came from God and showed the power of God's love and mercy by healing the cripple of his physical and spiritual paralysis.  The Lord wants to heal our body, mind, and soul too....
Dress legend
  • 'Flowers' pin:  The desert and the parched land will bloom with abundant flowers,... (1st reading)
  • 'Clef' pin:  ...and rejoice with joyful song (1st reading)
  • 'Deer' pin:  The lame will leap like a stag (1st reading)
  • 'Hands' pin:  Strengthen the feeble hands (1st reading)
  • Blue shirt:  Streams and rivers will burst forth; burning sands will become pools... (1st reading)
  • 'Highway' tie:  A highway will be there, the holy way (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  The eyes of the blind will be opened (1st reading); "We've seen incredible things today" (gospel)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The Lord proclaims peace to his people (psalm)
  • '?' tie pin:  "What are you thinking in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Rise and walk’?" (gospel)
  • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

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