December 13, 2017


December 13, 2017:  St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

How many connections with today can you find?
Legend below
For 1st reading

For Psalm 103
For the gospel
From The Peaceable Kingdom/ Thompson (see Creighton reflection)
For St. Lucy
Pope Francis General Audience
We go to Mass to meet the risen Lord, to let ourselves be welcomed by him, to hear his word, eat at his table, and fulfill our mission as members of his body, the Church.  As the day of the resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit, Sunday is the Christian holy day par excellence.  What sort of Sunday is it without an encounter with the Lord?  It's a shame some have lost this sense of Sunday.  Persecuted Christian communities that can't celebrate Sunday Mass still do their best to gather in prayer.
Vatican II asked us to celebrate the Lord’s Day with joy and rest from servile work as a sign of our dignity as God's children.  Without Christ we're condemned to be weighed down by fatigue, worry, and fear, but the Lord gives us strength to live with trust, courage, and hope.  In the Eucharist we receive a foretaste of eternal bliss and repose, where there's no fatigue, pain, grief, or tears, only the joy of living with the Lord.
The quality of Christian life is measured by how we love others, but how can we live the gospel without drawing energy from the Eucharist?  We go to Mass not to give something to God but to receive grace and strength to remain faithful, to follow his commandments, and be witnesses of his goodness and love.  Official summary
    "My yoke is easy"
  • Is 40:25-31  God is creator; he has no equal, leads and numbers the army, never grows weary, knows all, and gives strength.  They who hope in the Lord will renew their strength...
  • Ps 103:1-4, 8, 10  "O bless the Lord, my soul!"  He pardons, heals, redeems; he crowns you with compassion.  He's merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and kind; he doesn't deal with us according to our sins.
  • Mt 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I'll give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I'm meek and humble.  My yoke is easy, my burden light.”
  • Creighton:  In The Peaceable Kingdom, Thompson follows Is 40:28 with “Ye shall have a song, as... when a holy solemnity is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one [comes] into the mountain of the Lord,” evoking the comfort and accompaniment Jesus speaks of in today's gospel. The message starts softly and builds through repetitions of “and gladness of heart,” growing as a smile spreads across a face.  The melody dances along “as when one goeth with the pipe” as one’s feet would dance to a flute, if we still visited loved ones on foot and played music along the way.  If the dancer is carrying anything, her burden must be light.  It regains gravity at “to come into the mountain of the Lord” and the volume swells as if to fill the mountain.  In recognizing God as Creator and Caretaker, “we shall have a song!”
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Meek, not weak":  The Lord is our Strength. The joy of the Lord is our strength. In the Source of our strength we have strength for everything.  Samson had physical strength but spiritual weaknesses.  If we rely on the Lord's strength, we won't grow weary.  We must always seek the Lord and His strength.  In our weakness, God's strength and power reach perfection.  The Holy Spirit strengthens us if we're open to his grace.  Jesus is meek but not weak.  He pours out the Spirit upon us, and with his strength, we can leap over walls; obstacles can't keep us down.  By waiting on (serving) the Lord, God renews our strength, and we have strength in him to bear even the heaviest cross.
    St. Lucy/ Beccafumi
  • Passionist:  Jesus' invitation to come to him and find rest feels like an invitation to step out of chaos into Peace, but rest seems elusive, and I wonder whether I know what I'm looking for.  The gospel verses, likened to Si 51:23-26, are nestled in what is labeled as “Israel’s opposition” where scholars challenge Jesus to reconcile his and his disciples’ behavior with their interpretation of the Law.  Jesus just spoke in praise of his Father’s will for handing all things over to him.  Might Jesus, feeling burdened by the demands others are heaping on, be reminding himself of those truths?  He found strength in communion with his Father, in aligning his will with his Father's.  We're shaped and molded through life’s circumstances, our crosses, by our loving Father.  Whether you're burdened by circumstances or are burdening yourself, the invitation is to learn from Jesus, to change your frame.  “They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they won't grow weary....”  Let Grace enter your life.  “Gain, at no cost, wisdom for yourselves.  Submit your neck to her yoke, that your mind may accept her teaching.  For she is close to those who seek her, and the one who is in earnest finds her.”
  •  "Come to me and I'll give you rest":  The Jewish people used the image of a yoke to express submission to God:  yoke of the law, the commandments, the kingdom, God.  Jesus says his yoke is 'easy'; the Greek can also mean 'well-fitting.'  Yokes were tailor-made for the oxen.  Oxen were yoked two by two.  Jesus invites each of us to be yoked with him, to unite our life, will, and heart with his.  Jesus also says his "burden is light."  No burden is too heavy when it's given and carried in love.  When we yoke our lives with Jesus, he carries our burdens and gives us strength. The prophets foretold the Messiah would establish God's kingdom of justice and peace.  Those who trust God receive peace with God and strength for living his way.  The yoke of Christ's kingdom liberates us from the burden of guilt and disobedience.  Jesus used the yoke analogy to explain how we can exchange the burden of sin for a yoke of glory, freedom, and joy.  Jesus invites us to embrace his way of power and freedom to live in love, peace, and joy as his children.
  • Universalis:  Lucy, virgin, martyr at ~21, patroness of the blind and those with eye disorders
Dress legend
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Lift up your eyes and see the Creator (1st reading); Lucy, patroness of the blind and people with eye disorders
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  He numbers the army (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  He 'calls' the soldiers by name (1st reading)
  • 'Bird' pin:  "Those who wait on the Lord will soar with eagles' wings;..." (1st reading)
  • 'Runner' tie pin:  "...They'll run and not grow weary" (1st reading)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord crowns you with kindness and compassion (psalm)
    • 'Heart' pin:  I'm meek and humble of heart (gospel)
    • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  St. Lucy's martyrdom
    • '[Christmas] lights' tie:  Lead us to your light (season, St. Lucy); "my burden is 'light'" (gospel)
    • 'No-L' button:  Tonight's Christmas party
    • Purple suspenders:  Advent season

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