February 23, 2018

Feb. 23

February 23, 2018:  Friday, 1st week, Lent

  • 'Clocks' suspenders: My soul waits for the Lord (psalm)
  • 'Wood block' tie pin:  whoever calls his brother raqa (see below) will be held accountable (gospel)
  • 'John's Jokers' tie, 'fire' pin:  Whoever says, "You fool" will be liable to fiery Gehenna (gospel)
  • 'Penny' button:  If you don't reconcile, you won't get out till you pay the last penny (gospel)
  • 'Blood drop' pin:  St. Polycarp's martyrdom
  • Purple shirt and tie:  Lenten season


For Psalm 130
Vatican retreat by Fr. José Tolentino Mendonça
The Beatitudes of thirst:  In the Beatitudes Matthew creates a parallel between Jesus and of Moses, between Old Law, the Decalogue, and the New, the Beatitudes.  The Beatitudes are more than law; they're a configuration of life, a call.  They enlighten the path for the Church and humanity.  They're not just Jesus' words; they're the key to viewing his life.  He models each one.  They're a self-portrait of the one who pronounced them, an image of him he reveals to us and imprints on our hearts.  We should use this model to transform our own image.
What have we made of the Beatitudes?  How have we proclaimed them?  How do we practice them?”  Do we see those who mourn, those hungry for justice, peacemakers?  If we're at their side, the Church will rediscover her mission.  The parable that best describes “Beatitudes people” is that of the wedding guests:  after the invited refuse to come, the “poor, the crippled, blind, and lame” are invited.  The Church is not an exclusive club; we must keep the doors open and mirror the world’s crossroads.
Pope Francis:  Thanks for reminding us the Church is not a cage for the Holy Spirit, that the Spirit flies and works elsewhere too.  You illustrate how the Spirit works in people from other religious persuasions.  There are still people like Cornelius, the centurion, and Peter’s prison guard who live an interior quest.  Thank you for calling us to open ourselves without fear or rigidity, to be pliable to the Spirit, not mummified in our structures.
  • Ez 18:21-28  If the wicked man turns away from sin and does what's right, he'll live because of the virtue he's practiced; I rejoice when he turns from evil and lives.  But if the virtuous man turns from virtue and does evil, he'll die.  You say, “Not fair!” but it's your ways that are unfair.
  • Ps 130:1-8  "If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?"  Out of the depths I cry to you; hear me!  I trust and wait for you.  God is kind and forgiving and will redeem Israel.
  • Mt 5:20-26  Your righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees.  It was said, Don't kill, but I say, Don't be angry.  Be reconciled with your brother.  Settle with your opponent or you'll be imprisoned.
  • Word of the day:  Raqa (rēqā’ or rēqâ, Aramaic, from gospel):  probably 'blockhead' or 'imbecile,' a term of abuse.
  • Creighton:  God is so willing to forgive.  It's better if we settle our differences and forgive those we feel have trespassed against us.  How willing am I to forgive?  Forgiving can be fun and empowering....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Rec room":  Jesus' first statement in the Sermon on the Mount about superseding the old law is, "You've heard the commandment not to murder, but I tell you, don't grow angry."  He forbids angry words and thoughts.  Even if someone is angry with us, we must be reconciled, or else.  And we must proclaim the message of reconciliation and work in the ministry of reconciliation.  Jesus reconciled "everything in his person, making peace through the blood of his cross."  "Be reconciled to God!"
  • Passionist:  God spoke through Ezekiel about repentance and conversion:  God will give life to those who turn away from sin; he won't hold their past against them.  There are always opportunities for us to repent and return to God.  May we turn away from what take us apart from God.  Jesus challenges us to extend God's mercy to us to one another, not getting angry, and reconciling with those who have something against us.  When we turn back to God and choose reconciliation and forgiveness, we choose life.
    St. Polycarp
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Be reconciled, not angry":  The first to hate was Cain, whom God warned.  Sin starts as a seed, grows, and can choke us.  The scribes and Pharisees equated righteousness with keeping the Law's demands, but Jesus points to the heart.  Unless evil desires are uprooted, the heart will be poisoned and the body enslaved.  Murder starts in the heart as the seed of anger that grows into words and actions against another.  Selfish anger broods, nurses grudges, and refuses to die.  If by grace we take away the anger in the heart, there will be no murder.  God who's forgiven us calls us to show mercy and forgiveness to those who harm us.  On the cross Jesus gave us the supreme example of love and overcoming evil.  Only God's love can set us free from pride and revenge.  Lord, set us free and fill us with your love and truth.
"May I be no one's enemy, and may I be the friend of what's eternal.  May I never quarrel with those nearest me, and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly.  May I love, seek, and attain only what's good.  May I wish for the happiness of all and envy none.  May I never rejoice in the ill fortune of one who's wronged me.  When I've have done or said something wrong, may I never wait for others' rebuke but rebuke myself till I make amends.  May I win no victory that harms me or my opponent.  May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another.  May I never fail a friend in danger.  When visiting those in grief, may I soften their pain with gentle and healing words.  May I respect myself.  May I keep tame what rages within me.  May I be gentle, never angry with people because of circumstances.  May I never discuss who's wicked and what they've done but know and follow good people" (Eusebius)

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