February 24, 2018

Feb. 24

February 24, 2018:  Saturday, 1st week, Lent

  • 'Sun' pin:  Your Father makes his sun rise on the bad and the good (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Observe God's command with your whole heart (1st reading); blessed they who seek the Lord with all their heart; I'll give you thanks with upright heart  (psalm); love your enemies (gospel)
  • 'Walker' pin:  Walk in the Lord's ways (1st reading, psalm)
  • 'Children' tie:  Love your enemies... that you may be your Father's children (gospel)
  • 'Money bag' tie pin:  Even tax collectors love those who love them (gospel)
  • Purple shirt:  Lenten season
Pope Francis at Diakonia of Beauty symposium
Thank you for your talents.  The Lord called you to develop them in the service of all.  The gifts you've received are a responsibility and a mission for you.  Work without letting yourself be dominated by the search for pride, popularity, or profit.
You're called to propose another way to understand life, not obsessed with consumption but service especially to creation.  Develop your talents to contribute to an ecological conversion that recognizes the dignity of each person, their value, their creativity, their ability to promote the common good.  Promote a culture of encounter; build bridges in a world where so many walls are raised out of fear.
The Church relies on you to make the beauty of God's love visible, to allow each one to discover the beauty of being loved by God and bear witness to it in the attention shown to others, especially the excluded, wounded, and rejected.
  • Dt 26:16-19  Moses:  “God commands you to observe these commands; do it with your heart and soul.  You're agreeing to walk in God's ways, and the Lord is agreeing to make you his own and raise you high.”
  • Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8  "Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!"  I'll give you thanks and keep your statutes.
  • Mt 5:43-48  “You've heard it said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say, Love your enemies.  So be perfect, just like your heavenly Father.”
  • Creighton:  Jesus said he came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it.  When he "quoted" Lv 19:18, he added the Essene addition "Hate your enemy" to "Love your neighbor."  He used it to correct the sense and add his own "Love your enemies," based on the Father’s goodness to the bad and the good, the just and the unjust.  But redemption is incomplete till we recognize our need for it and freely accept it....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Life's covenant dimension":  Our responsibility in the old covenant was "to walk in his ways and observe his statutes...."  Incapable of such obedience, we broke the covenant.  Then God made a new covenant to be God and Father. We are to be his children, not only obedient but perfect, acting like God to the point of loving our enemies. How could we who failed in a lesser covenant be perfect?  God sent Jesus to bring about the new covenant. We must believe and be baptized and so receive a new nature with the grace to become perfect. Following the Holy Spirit, we live in grace, holiness, perfection, light, freedom, power, and miracles....
  • Passionist:  "God's kindness and goodness":  Kindness makes God present.  Kindness gives when help is needed but doesn't demand justice.  How cruel the world would be if we were given strict justice, if God gave us what we deserve.  God owes us nothing, not even life.  We're creatures of God’s kindness.  Biblical justice is not quid pro quo but doing right.  At the last judgment, we don't want justice but merciful love.  “Without mercy there's no way we can be saved” (Anselm).
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Love and pray for your enemies":  God's love can free us from every evil:  selfishness, greed, anger, hatred, jealousy, envy....  Jesus transforms the old law of justice and mercy with grace and loving-kindness.  God, whose love embraces everyone, teaches us to seek the greatest good of others, even our enemies. Our love must show the same kindness and mercy God shows us, though it's hard when we expect no return.  Our prayer for them breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love.  God gives us power and grace to conquer our hurt, fear, prejudice, and griefs, frees us from malice, hatred, revenge, and resentment, and gives us courage to return evil with good and so bring healing.  Jesus' command to "be perfect" parallels God's telling Abraham to "be perfect" or "blameless" before God; 'perfect' originally meant 'complete,' 'whole,' 'not lacking in essentials.'  Another parallel is God's command to Moses and the Israelites: "Be holy, for I am holy."  God who made us in his image calls us to grow to be like him, to love as he loves, choose to do good, and reject what's contrary to his will.  God who knows our sinfulness assures us of his love, mercy, and help.  Holy Spirit, transform so I may walk in the joy and freedom of the Gospel.

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