January 21, 2018

3rd Sun., Ordinary Time

January 21, 2018:  Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  "40 days and Nineveh shall be destroyed!" (1st reading); "Time is running out" (2nd reading); "This is the time of fulfillment" (gospel)
  • 'Cars on roads' tie:  "Teach me your paths" (psalm)
  • 'Students holding hands at school' pin:  "Teach me your ways, O Lord" (psalm); week of prayer for Christian unity
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  "The kingdom of God is at 'hand'" (gospel)
  • 'Fishing pole' tie bar:  Simon, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen (gospel)
  • 'Boat' tie bar:  James and John left the boat and followed Jesus (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season
Pope Francis in Trujillo, Peru

At Marian celebration:  
We want to let our Mother look on us with her tender maternal gaze.  She knows our heart and won't abandon us.  Wherever there's community, life, and longing for hope and joy, there are the Lord, his Mother, and the example of the saints.

God looks for the best way to draw near to each person.  His titles express his desire to speak his love in our language.  His Mother also takes on her children's features, dress, and dialect, so they may share in her blessing.  Mary defends us and points out the way to authentic life.  She walks beside each of us to lead us home.  Jesus doesn't want anyone to remain outside.  “You who feel far away from terra firma, dragged down... look to the Star and call upon Mary” (Bernard).  She brings us to Jesus, Gate of Mercy.

I want the upcoming years to be steeped in mercy, so we may bring God's goodness and tenderness to everyone!  There's no better medicine than a heart compassionate before sorrow, misfortune, mistakes, and not knowing how to change.  God bends down to us so we may bend down to others, especially the suffering, and like Mary at Cana be attentive to those lacking the wine of gladness.

Our mothers and grandmothers are a driving force for our lives.  Our love for Mary must help us to feel appreciation and gratitude for women, who carry life forward in silence and hope.  Combat the scourge of the killing of women and violence against them; call for legislation and a culture that repudiates violence.  

Our Lady of the Gate, Mother of Mercy and Hope, shows us the way and points out the best defense against indifference and insensitivity.  She brings us to her Son and encourages us to spread a culture of mercy based on encounter with others, in which no one looks at another with indifference or turns away from suffering.  Full text

Jesus knows our pain and trials; he endured the cross to accompany us and wants to be near us in every situation, stretch out his hand, share our journey, touch our wounds, and lift us up.  These times make us realize how important it is to stand united.

The virgins heard a cry that made them scurry.  Some realized they didn't have enough oil; others filled their lamps and could follow the path to the groom.  Each showed how they'd filled their live.  There are times we too realize how we've filled our lives.  Fill your lives with the oil that gives us light in darkness to move forward!  In dark times, you've been living candles, ready to help soothe pain and share with others.

The virgins without enough oil went to buy some, realizing they lacked what they needed to find the path to joy.  They went off by themselves and so missed out.  Some things can't be improvised, let alone bought.  When a community comes together in the face of difficulty, they keep hope alive and give witness to the Gospel.  Faith opens us to concrete, practical, generous, compassionate love that can rebuild hope.  God carries out this work with the love of a mother drying her children's tears.  How many tears did you dry today?

Storms hit here, have devastating effects on children's lives, and test our strength:  organized violence, lack of educational and employment opportunities, lack of secure housing, and other situations that destroy trust.  To face them, and help the children pull through, fill your life with Jesus Christ and the Gospel.  Let the Lord anoint your community with the oil of the Spirit, who renews and strengthens us and keeps us united so we may support each other and stand against whatever would take away all that's best in our families.  God makes us a loving community able to sustain itself in hope, struggling to transform adversity.

I know of the love that this land has for the Virgin, and I know how devotion to Mary always sustains you and lifts you up to Jesus.  Let us ask Our Lady to cover us with her mantle and always bring us to her Son.  But let us do so by singing along to that lovely Andean marinera [folk dance]: “Our Lady of the Gate, grant me your blessing.  Our Lady of the Gate, give us peace and much love”.  Full text

To religious and seminarians
We're in a “cradle” that's produced countless missionaries, including St. Turibius.  Our vocations have roots in the earth and hearts in heaven; without one, our life withers.  Our faith, our vocation, is one of remembrance, life's “deuteronomic” dimension.  Neither life, nor faith, nor the Church began with any of us.  We look back to discover the sap that nourished disciples before us, and to recognize God’s presence.  He's the cause of the joy that makes us sing.  Here are some virtues of this remembrance:

Joyful self-awareness:  When two of John the Baptist's disciples saw Jesus, John told them, “Behold the Lamb of God,” they left John, and followed Jesus.  John understood he was not the Messiah but his herald.  John remembered; he was mindful of the promise and of his place in history.  Each of us is called to point out the Lord’s presence, to work with the Lord, not replace him.  The source of our joy is that we're supporting the Master.  To be a people of remembrance frees us from thinking we're the Messiah, or overly important.  John knew his mission was to point the way, to make beginnings, to open up spaces, to proclaim “another.”  Laughing at ourselves gives us the ability to stand before God with our limitations, mistakes, and sins, but also our successes, and to know he's beside us.  Laugh in community, not at it or at others!  Watch out for people so important, they've forgotten to smile.

The time of the call:  As John mentions the time when his life changed, an encounter with Jesus changes us, establishing a “before” and “after.”  Remember when Jesus' gaze first touched you, when he found you, healed you, and made you a witness to his life, part of his mission, and a caress of God for people.  Our vocations are a loving call to love and serve.  The Lord's pure, visceral, merciful love impels us to go out and serve others as he did.  Remember and respect those who taught you how to pray, and welcome, accompany, and stimulate your people's encounter with the Lord.  My good Jesus, my redeemer, my friend!  What do I have that you haven't given me?  What do I know that you haven't taught me?” (Sr. Francisco Solano)  We're people of remembrance, joy, and gratitude.  Grateful awareness enlarges the heart and inspires us to serve.  Without gratitude, we'll lack the anointing of the Spirit to become servants, especially of those most in need.

Contagious joy:  After spending time with Jesus and seeing where he lived, Andrew told his brother, “We've found the Messiah”; that brought him to Jesus.  Faith in Jesus is contagious; the new disciples attracted others by their testimony of faith, just as Jesus called them through others.  The mission springs from the encounter with Christ.  Andrew begins by radiating joy to those close to him, his brother.  Joy is the surest sign we've discovered the Messiah.  Gospel joy fills all who encounter Jesus.  Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, emptiness, and loneliness....

Share your joy; become builders and prophets of community in this fragmented world.  No one is saved alone.  Division, war, and isolation are in our communities and bring harm. Discern what each has to offer, respect differences, contribute what you have, and recognize your need for each other.  The Lord distributed his gifts in a way that we can both give and being enriched by others.  Care for your brothers and sisters.  Keep them happy; happiness is contagious.  Full text

  • Jon 3:1-5, 10  Lord to Jonah:  “Go announce my message.”  After a day of "40 days and Nineveh shall be destroyed," the people believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth.  God, seeing they turned from evil, didn't carry out his threat.
Animate it
  • Ps 25:4-9  "Teach me your ways, O Lord."  Guide me, God my savior; remember your compassion, love, kindness, and goodness.  You show sinners the way and teach and guide the humble.
  • 1 Cor 7:29-31  Time is running out.  Let those having wives act as if they didn't, those weeping or rejoicing as not, those using the world as not using it fully.  The world in its present form is passing away.
  • Mk 1:14-20  Jesus proclaimed God's gospel in Galilee:  “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe.”  To fishermen Simon and Andrew:  “Come after me; I'll make you fishers of men.”  They abandoned their nets and followed.  He then called James and John; they left their father, boat, and hired hands and followed him.
  • Creighton:  God sent Jonah to Nineveh to call the people repentance and faith lest they be destroyed.  They repented, and God spared them.  In the gospel, Jesus himself is both message and messenger, announcing God's kingdom is at hand and urging repentance and faith.  Our faithful God keeps coming to us and inviting a response.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Drop everything":  Imitate the Ninevites who stopped everything to repent. When Simon and Andrew met Jesus, they dropped their fishing business; so did James and John, besides leaving their father behind.  Those who are weeping or rejoicing should stop thinking about how they feel, and buyers need to start planning for when you can't buy or sell unless you're marked.  "The world as we know it is passing away."  Drop everything!
  • Passionist:  Today's readings center on turning your life around, hard as it is, whether for the Ninevites, those who heard Paul say they'd have to live differently, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John.  That they all did it encourages us....
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Gospel" = good news.  Kings sent messengers to announce news; God sent prophets, then Jesus.  "Kingdom" = sovereignty, reign, power to rule/exercise authority.  The kingdom was given to the Son of Man/ Messiah/ Christ/ Anointed One/ Anointed King.  God sent Jesus to bring us into his kingdom of truth, justice, and peace.  Jesus took up John's message of repentance and called disciples to believe in the good news he came to deliver of peace, hope, truth, promise, immortality, and salvation....
  • Trumped saint, from Universalis:  Agnes, virgin martyr:  We don't know much about her, partly because she died at 12 or so....

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