February 1, 2019

Feb. 1

February 1, 2019:  Friday, 3rd week, Ordinary Time

See over a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Christian life is not a carnival or continuous feast; it has good times and ugly ones, moments of warmth and of desolation.  It is during a moment of internal persecution that the author of Hebrews urges perseverance.  You need endurance to do God's will and receive what he promised.  You need perseverance to reach the promise.
Memory and hope help us fight desolation.  Recall the beautiful moments, the happy days of our encounter with the Lord, the time of love, and have hope for what has been promised us.  Don't allow yourself to fall in moments of difficulty.  Don't give in to bad times; endure in memory and hope, an endurance of the heart that breathes when looking up to hope.  In times of desolation, find the consolation of the Lord's promises.
Many suffer for their faith but remember their first encounter with Jesus and gain hope and go ahead.  Persevere in times of persecution and attacks.  Always look to the Lord when the devil attacks us with temptations.  Have the perseverance of the Cross; recall the first moments of love, of our encounter with the Lord and the hope that awaits us.

    Mustard bush
  • Heb 10:32-39  Remember when you suffered, exposed to abuse and affliction, joining in prisoners' suffering, and losing your property.  Remain confident; endure, do God's will, and receive what he promised.  "He'll come without delay.  My just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him."  We don't draw back and perish but have faith and live.
  • Ps 37:3-6, 23-24, 39-40  "The salvation of the just comes from the Lord."  Trust in the Lord and do good.  Take delight in him; he'll grant your requests.  He'll make justice dawn for you.  The Lord makes our steps firm and sustains and saves, helps, and delivers us when we take refuge in him.
  • Mk 4:26-34  “The Kingdom of God is as if a man scattered seed, slept and rose, the seed sprouted, grew, and yielded fruit, and the man wielded the sickle at harvest.”  “The Kingdom is like a mustard seed, small when sown but becoming so large that birds can dwell in its shade.”  He spoke with many such parables and explained them privately to his disciples.
  • Creighton:  The smallest thing can make a big difference. The mustard seed is tiny, but the plant is like a tree. This is like God's Kingdom of God.  A word, an action, an act of charity can have a big effect, perhaps turning someone to the Lord.  It’s up to us to be good role models, good examples, good stewards; we don’t know whose lives we might touch....
  • One Bread, One Body:  If faith truly comes through hearing and hearing by God's Word, and God's Word living and effective, why is the world like this despite the preachers, churches, and Bibles?  God's answer is that his Word shall not return void; it'll do God's will. "There's no chaining God's word!"  But lack of faith can chain messengers of God's Word. Sharing God's Word is like sowing seed:  we often don't see immediate effects of our work, and the results we may see are often as tiny as mustard seeds. To persevere, we must sow by faith.  "We're among those who have faith and live."  Give God's Word a chance to work:  work in faith.
  • Passionist:   Though we're not sure whether Paul wrote Hebrews, where it originated, or to whom it was sent, we know it encourages Christians in distress.  The author, who notes that sufferings had led some to lose their fervor, urges his fellow Christians to be confident and persevere.  Hebrews builds this encouragement portraying Jesus as the great high priest, mediator between God and us, who himself endured suffering.  Through his death and resurrection, Jesus defeated death and intercedes for all believers.  We are promised to be united in love with God.  Hebrews uses images for Jesus not found anywhere else in the Bible:  “pioneer” and “captain” of our salvation, “stalking horse” (the one who runs through first) leading us to life, marathon runner who triumphs after enduring an exhausting race.  We're called to persevere in the midst of suffering.  Hebrews asks us to take the long view, to trust in God’s love, to remember that he who walked the path of suffering and loss before us won't abandon us.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "What God's kingdom is like":  As a mustard seed grows to be a tree that attracts birds who love its seeds, God's kingdom starts from small beginnings in our hearts, works unseen, and transforms us from within.  When we yield to the Spirit and allow God's word to take root, we're transformed.
The "tree of the cross" spread its branches and grew into a community of faith offering the world its fruit:  "We must sow this seed in our minds and let it grow into a tree of understanding elevating our faculties; then it'll spread out branches of knowledge, the taste of its fruit will make our mouths burn, and its kernel will inflame us.  A mustard seed is an image of God's kingdom:  Christ is the kingdom of heaven.  Sown like a seed in Mary's womb, he grew up into the tree of the cross whose branches stretch across the world.  Crushed in the mortar of the passion, its fruit has flavored and preserved every living creature it comes in contact with.  As long as a mustard seed remains intact, its properties lie dormant; but when it's crushed they're evident.  So it was with Christ, who chose to have his body crushed to reveal its power….  He became all things to restore us in himself.  He received the mustard seed that represents God's kingdom; as a man he received it, though as God he'd always possessed it.  He sowed it in his garden, his bride the Church, a garden extending over the world, tilled by the plow of the gospel, fenced in by doctrine and discipline, cleared of weeds by apostles' labor....  When he promised the patriarchs a kingdom, the seed took root in them; with the prophets it sprang up; with the apostles it grew; in the Church it became a great tree of gift-laden branches.  Take the wings of the psalmist’s dove, gleaming in the sunlight, and fly to rest among those branches, where no snare will trap you; fly with confidence and dwell in its shelter" (Peter ChrysologusSermon 98, paraphrased).
May God's word take deep root in your life and transform you....
    • Bl. Benedict Daswa, martyr, teacher, principal, father of 8, involved in Church and community activities
    • Bl. Candelaria of St. Joseph cared for the suffering. loved people back to health, took wounded into her home, set up makeshift hospital, established more communities and hospitals, founded Little Sisters of the Poor of Altagracia, became Third Order Regular Carmelite Sisters of Venezuela.  See also vatican.va.
Dress legend
  • 'Money bag' pin:  Your confidence will have great recompense (1st reading)
  • 'Scales' pin, 'street light' tie bar:  He'll make justice dawn for you like the light (psalm); after you'd been enlightened, you endured suffering (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord's hand sustains the just (psalm)
  • 'Heart' pin:  Take delight in the Lord, and he'll grant you your heart’s requests (psalm)
  • 'Feet' pin (oops; forgot):  The Lord makes our steps firm (psalm)
  • 'Tree with branches,' 'bird' pins:  The seed becomes the largest of plants and puts forth branches so birds can dwell in its shade (gospel)
  • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:  Jesus taught with... (gospel)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  ...Kingdom of God parables, then explained to his disciples (gospel)
  • 'Plants' tie:  Kingdom:  seed sprouts, grows,... (gospel)
  • 'Apple' pin:   ...yields fruit,... (gospel)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  ...then the full grain (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

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