January 12, 2018

Jan. 12

January 12, 2018:  Friday, 1st week,  in Ordinary Time

  • 'Crown' tie bar:  "Appoint a king over us" (1st reading)
  • 'Chariot' and 'horse' tie pins:  "A king will assign your children to his chariots and horses" (1st reading)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "He'll use your daughters as cooks and bakers" (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  "Why are you thinking such things in your hearts?" (gospel)
  • '?' and 'walker' tie pins:  Why are you thinking that?  What's easier to say:  "Your sins are forgiven," or "Rise and walk" (gospel)
  • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Jesus heals a paralytic (gospel)
  • Green in shirt, and suspenders:  Ordinary Time season

Yesterday's and today's gospels tell of two healings, of the leper and the paralytic; both pray with faith.  The leper challenged Jesus, "If you want, you can purify me!," and the Lord immediately answered, "I do want to."  Everything is possible for believers.
Whenever we ask the Lord for something, we must pray with faith—"I have faith you can heal me"—and challenge with courage.  We don't do this as parrots and without interest in what we ask for; we beg the Lord to help our faith even in the face of difficulties.  The many gospel episodes where it's hard for those in need to approach the Lord serve as examples to us.  The paralytic was lowered from the roof so his stretcher could reach the Lord.  Your will finds a way to overcome the difficulties.  Courage—to fight to get to the Lord, to have faith, and to get close to the Lord when there are difficulties—often takes patience and knowing how to wait, but don't give up.  If you go with faith and say, "Lord, if you want, you can give me this grace," don't forget if the grace hasn't arrived in three days.
St. Monica, Augustine's mother, one of the many saints whose faith had courage, prayed and cried for her son's conversion, and she obtained it.  You need courage to challenge the Lord, to get involved, and to persevere; in prayer you play hard.  Prayer that's not courageous is not Christian.  Christian prayer is born of faith in Jesus and always goes beyond difficulties.  "Ask and it will be given to you."  Trust and have the courage to put yourself at stake.

  • 1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22a  Elders to Samuel:  “Appoint a king over us.”  Samuel, displeased, prayed and heard:  “Grant their request; they're rejecting me as their king.”  Samuel told them, “The king will take your children, fields, crops, flocks, and servants and make you slaves.”  They said, “No!  We must have a king over us.”  Samuel told the Lord, who replied, “Grant their request; appoint them a king.”
  • Ps 89:16-19  "For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord."  You're our strength; our King belongs to you.
  • Mk 2:1-12  While Jesus was preaching to the crowds, four men brought him a paralytic through the roof.  Jesus / scribes:  “Your sins are forgiven.” / “He's blaspheming; only God can forgive sins!” / “What's easier to say:  ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Rise and walk’?  But so you know the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins:  [to paralytic] “Rise, and go home.”  He did; all were astounded.
  • Creighton:  God had told the Israelites how to live via the Torah, but they couldn't give up their own idea of what would be good for them.  Samuel took their request to God, who told him to go ahead.  Then we hear how it won't be good for them.  God gave them what would eventually bring them back to what's good for them.  In today's gospel, Jesus is in a crowded house, and men carry a paralytic in the roof.  Jesus, seeing their faith in action, says the paralytic's sins are forgiven.  Jesus turns things around and gives him physical and spiritual healing.  Physical disability was seen as a result of sin; physical miracles bespeak the miracle of God himself.  We tend to allow Jesus to forgive us only after we've gotten over our pride and recovered from the shock of not being holy.  Jesus restores people to who they are in his eyes.  The paralytic rose from his physical disability and rose to be a man who remembers who he really is.  Sin is a temporary statement of who we say we are; Jesus is a permanent Statement about who he says we are.
  • National Migration Week corner:  US Bishops are calling on Catholics to reflect on the immigration stories of their own families and of new immigrants.  This year's theme, "Many Journeys, One Family," highlights that each family has such a story, and regardless of where we are and come from, we're part of the human family and are called to live in solidarity with immigrants and refugees.  Immigrants and receiving communities should reflect with one another, be together, and share their stories.
    US Bishops are addressing immigration issues such as status of "Dreamers," legal pathways for "unauthorized immigrants," family-based immigration, and protecting refugees, all while respecting rights of US citizens.  Think about your own immigration history, look at others with a contemplative gaze, thinking not only about the person but also their story, try and share those stories, and find ways we're bound together.  More on NMW
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Direct-ions":  Samuel's sons didn't follow his good example, so who would lead Israel next?  The Israelites assumed his sons wouldn't convert so decided on a kingdom, a pagan government form.  We live in a culture of death and have tried to change the government, media, medical institutions, and other aspects of society, but the direct way is to give our lives to Jesus and to lead others to conversion.
      Christ healing the paralytic.../ Murillo
    • Passionist:  "The Way of the Cross according to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.":  Embracing the charism of St. Paul of the Cross includes contemplating the foot of the Cross being attentive to the signs of the times pointing to the Passion today; and preaching, teaching, and modeling a Christ-centered community, serving others.  Dr. King embraced his way of the Cross by being nonviolent and loving God and neighbor, for the sake of the poor of every race, in the face of opposition, especially from Blacks.
    "If we had as much religion in our hearts as in our legs and feet [expressed in their hymn singing], we could change this world....  Our passive resistance is not to get rights for ourselves but to achieve friendship with those denying us our rights and to change them through friendship and a bond of Christian understanding before God.”  “We’ve got difficult days ahead.  But it really doesn’t matter with me now.  I just want to do God’s will.  I’ve seen the Promised Land.  I may not get there with you, but we will get there.  So I’m happy, not worried or afraid.  Mine eyes have seen the Lord's coming.  I have a dream that the brotherhood of man will become a reality.  I will and carve a tunnel of hope from a mountain of despair. With faith we'll achieve this new day.  When all God’s children—black and white, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will join hands and sing, ‘Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
    Let’s let his “way of the cross” inspire us “to review and renew our commitment and vocation to keep alive the memory of the Passion of Jesus as the greatest act of God’s love and mercy, and to promote this memory in the lives and hearts of the people today… especially the poor and neglected; we seek to offer them comfort and to relieve the burden of their sorrow.” (V. Rev. Joachim Rego)
    • DailyScripture.net:  "We never saw anything like this!"  Jesus' treatment of sinners upset the religious teachers.  When a cripple was brought to Jesus because of his friends' faith, Jesus first forgave his sins. The scribes regarded this as blasphemy because only God could forgive sins.  Jesus both proved his authority came from God and showed the power of God's love and mercy by healing the man's physical paralysis; he also freed him from his from his burden of guilt. The Lord is ready to heal us of body, mind, and spirit.  What cripples you?  "The Lord, wanting to save sinners, shows himself to be God both by his knowledge of secrets and by the wonder of his actions. 'What's easier, to say, "Your sins are forgiven" or, "Rise and walk"?'  He shows the likeness of the resurrection.  Besides healing body and mind, he also forgives sins of the spirit, removes the weakness of the flesh, and thus heals the whole person. It's great to forgive people's sins, and God alone can, but God also forgives through those to whom he has given power of forgiveness. But it's more divine to give resurrection to bodies, since the Lord is the Resurrection" (Ambrose, Exposition of the Gospel of Luke).

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