March 31, 2019


March 31, 2019:  Fourth Sunday of Lent / Laetare Sunday

See 33 connections with today?
Legend below
For the gospel (C)
Mainly gospel-inspired (A)

For 2nd reading (A)

For Psalm 23 (A)
For future celebrations
Pope Francis in Morocco

Rabat homily:  In the "prodigal son" parable, the father both welcomed the prodigal and went out to seek his other son, who was upset at his brothers welcome.  The celebration of the lost son and his brother's feeling of betrayal and indignation teach us about human relations.  On the threshold of that home, we see our own divisions and strife, but also the father’s desire that all share his joy.  Jesus invites us to contemplate our Father's heart and so acknowledge that we're brothers and sisters.  The father’s words, “All I have is yours,” refer more to his love than to material goods.  Our Father says, “All I have is yours, including my capacity for compassion.

Jesus leaves the story open-ended; we don’t know whether the older son went in to the celebration.  We can imagine the ending is meant to be written by each individual and community.  We can complete it by how we live, regard others, and treat our neighbor.  Let the culture of mercy grow, in which no one looks at another with indifference, or averts his eyes in the face of suffering.  Be a sign of the Father’s loving embrace.

To priests, religious, and ecumenical council of churches:  In Morocco Christians are a minority.  Though it can be difficult for some, to me it's not a problem.  The situation is like a little yeast Mother Church wants to mix with a much flour till it's all leavened.  Jesus is calling Morocco Catholics to a mission, rather than sending us to become more numerous.  Your mission isn't determined by the number or size of spaces your occupy but by your capacity to generate change and awaken compassion.  The problem isn't when we're few but when we're insignificant. Don't think you should be the ‘flour’ to be significant.  We're meant to be the ‘yeast.’  Being Christian is about an encounter, not about adhering to a doctrine, temple, or ethnic group.  We're Christians because we've been loved and encountered.

The Church must enter into dialogue with the world she lives in (Paul VI); the dialogue should be out of fidelity.  You bring to the altar and your prayer the lives of all around you.  Through your voices, all creation can constantly pray, "Our Father."  Dialogue becomes prayer and is carried out in the name of human fraternity, embracing all people, making them equal.

Keep being neighbors to those left behind, the little ones, the poor, prisoners and migrants.  May your ecumenism of charity be a path of cooperation with our Muslim brothers and sisters.  The Lord opens spaces of hope wherever things appear hopeless.  Keep being the living sign of the fraternity God has called you to.  Use the Spirit’s help to bear fruit:  dialogue, justice, peace, truth, and love, so human fraternity may grow stronger....  

Returning (inflight):  

Christian-Muslim dialogue:  I'm glad we talked about peace, unity, and fraternity during this visit and the previous one.  I'm grateful for the religious freedom I witnessed and that all brothers and sisters were welcomed with respect.  Every religion has a fundamentalist group unwilling to go ahead, living on bitter memories and past struggles, looking for war, sowing fear.  But we need to keep working for dialogue, which only flourishes when there's a human relationship with mind, heart and hands; that's how agreements are signed.  The signing of the common appeal for Jerusalem was a step made not by authorities of Morocco and the Vatican but by brother believers suffering to see this city of hope is not as universal as Jews, Muslims, and Christians want.  We're all believers and citizens of Jerusalem.

Bridges, not walls:  Walls will imprison those who build them, but those who build bridges will go far.  Bridge building takes effort.  Walls are for isolation, not communication.

Freedom of worship and conscience:  The Catholic Church removed the death penalty for heretics centuries ago, because we've grown in consciousness and the capacity to understand our faith which in turn promotes respect for all persons and religious freedom.  In Morocco  people of all faiths are protected, but in some Christian countries freedom of conscience is limited; e.g. doctors are deprived of the right to conscientious objection regarding euthanasia.  How has the Church gone forward but Christian countries are going backwards? We're in danger of governments taking away freedom of conscience, the first step towards freedom of worship.

Migrants:  So many people of good will seem gripped by fear.  Fear is the beginning of dictatorships.  We mustn't forget history.  With fear come cruelty, closures and sterility.  Europe was made by migration; this is its wealth.  Europe sells weapons to Yemen to kill children.  Europe must invest and try to help growth through education.  You can't prevent emigration by force but by generosity, education and economic investment.  One country can't receive everyone, but there's all of Europe....  The reception must be with an open heart that accompanies, promotes, and integrates.


Year C
  • Jos 5:9a, 10-12  “Joshua, I've removed Egypt's reproach from you.”  While the Israelites were encamped, they celebrated Passover, then ate unleavened cakes and parched grain, and the manna ceased.  They now ate of the yield of the land.
  • Ps 34:2-7  "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord."  I'll always praise the Lord.  The lowly will hear and be glad.  Glorify the Lord with me.  He answered my call and delivered me from fear and distress.  Look to him and be radiant with joy.
  • 2 Cor 5:17-21  Whoever is in Christ is new:  the old has passed away, and the new has come.  It's from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  So we're ambassadors for Christ.  Be reconciled to God, who for our sake made the one who didn't know sin to be sin, so we might become God's righteousness in him.
  • Lk 15:1-3, 11-32  The Pharisees and scribes complained:  “This man welcomes sinners....”  Jesus addressed to them this parable:  “A man had two sons.  The younger said, ‘Give me my share of your estate.’  So he did, and the son squandered it on a life of dissipation, then was in dire need.  So he hired himself out to tend swine. When nobody gave him food, he thought, ‘My father’s workers have food while I'm dying from hunger.  I'll return to him and say, “I've sinned.  Treat me as one of your workers.”’ On his way back, his father saw him, ran to him, and embraced him.  His son told him, ‘I've sinned against heaven and you; I no longer deserve to be called son.’  But his father ordered his servants, ‘Put the finest robe on him.  Slaughter the fattened calf, and let's celebrate, because my son was dead and came to life; lost and was found.’ The older son, hearing music on his way back from the field, asked a servant what it meant.  ‘Your brother returned and your father slaughtered the fattened calf because he's safe.’  When, angry, he refused to enter, his father pleaded with him.  He told his father, ‘All these years I served and obeyed you, but you never threw me a party.  But when your son returns from swallowing your property with prostitutes, you slaughter the fattened calf.’ / ‘Son, you're always with me; all I have is yours.  But now we must rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come back to life, was lost and is now found.’”
Year A
  • 1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a  Lord to Samuel:  “I'm sending you to Jesse; I've chosen my king from his sons.”  Samuel thought he was among the seven presented to him, but the Lord said no:  “Man sees appearance, but God looks in the heart.”  Jesse brought David; God told Samuel to anoint him.
    Wordle: Readings 3-30-14
  • Ps 23:1-6  "The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."  You lead and guide me and give me rest and courage.  You're at my side; I'm unafraid.  You spread the table before me and anoint me.  Goodness and kindness follow me, and I'll dwell with God.
  • Eph 5:8-14  You were once darkness but are now light in the Lord.  Live as children of light; learn what pleases God and expose works of darkness.  “Awake, sleeper; Christ will give you light.”
  • Jn 9:1-41  Jesus restored sight to man born blind who told those who first asked, then the Pharisees, who were divided about how Jesus who didn't keep sabbath could heal him.  The Jews summoned his parents who confirmed he was born blind, then called the man again, heard him speak of Jesus, and expelled him. Jesus found the man:  "Do you believe in the Son of Man, the one speaking with you?" / “I do, Lord.”...  Pharisees / Jesus:  "You think we're blind?" / "You say, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains."
    Jesus opens the eyes of a man born blind/ Duccio
  • Creighton:  In the "prodigal son" story, two sons encounter their father coming to them.  The greed of the younger son drove him away, but he eventually experienced hunger and came to recognize how empty his life has become. The older son's pride kept him outside the home, so invested in pointing out his brother's misdeeds that he couldn't celebrate his return. The father invited both to rejoice.  St. Ignatius of Loyola came to see the vanity and greed that fueled his earlier years.  In his Spiritual Exercises, particularly the First Principle and Foundation, he taught that we're created to be with God and that things of this world can help or hinder that. “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you” (Augustine). We all experience temptations and disordered attachments that take us away from home.  We allow screens or substances to distract us and feed our appetites.  We too find ourselves far away and hungry.  Rather than watch humanity wander further from home, God provided Jesus, bridge between heaven and earth.  Whenever we turn back to God, it's a cause for rejoicing.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Rebellion and repentance":  Selfishness and self-centeredness run rampant today as in Jesus' time.  Let us return to our Father, who has been looking for us.  Let us repent and cause heaven to rejoice!
  • Passionist:  A 'prodigal' (from L. 'prodigus,' lavish) is a wastefully extravagant spender.  In the "prodigal son" parable, the father is the truly 'prodigal' one, freely giving his son money, food, love, and care, squandering the fortune of himself on both sons.  With whom do I identify?  How have I been wasteful and negligent with the gifts I’ve received?  Have I squandered hate instead of love, or turned my back on someone who hurt me?  How easily do I forgive?  How do I give?  Prodigal God, grant us the grace to be prodigal.  Let me run to, greet, embrace, forgive, and love everyone, as we start on the road home to you.
  •  "I'll go home to my father":  When God commanded his people to celebrate the Passover, he wanted them not to forget how he freed them from oppression and brought them to the promised land.  After they wandered 40 years, Joshua, Moses' successor, led them in celebrating the Passover in the promised land.  This crossing over from slavery to freedom foreshadows the freedom Jesus won for us through the cross.  Jesus illustrates this passing over with the prodigal son parable.  Jesus contrasts the elder son's cold reception for his brother with the father's warm embrace.  The father maintained his love.  The son realized his father had given him love he hadn't returned.  He hoped for reconciliation but couldn't have imagined his welcome and reinstatement, foreshadowing the resurrection and new life Jesus offers believers.  The parable also contrasts mercy and unforgiveness:  the wronged father forgave, but the older son, who wasn't wronged, didn't.  His resentment leads to his isolation and estrangement.  God doesn't lose hope when we stray.  He rejoices in welcoming us home.
Dress legend
  • 'Runner' tie pin: Father ran to younger son (gospel C)
  • 'Wheat' pin: They ate grain produced from the land (1st reading C)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Father saw younger son returning (gospel C); look to God... (psalm C); God doesn't see like we do (1st reading A); Jesus put clay on eyes of man born blind (gospel A)
  • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  ...and be radiant with joy (psalm C); elder son heard music; "we must rejoice" (gospel C)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  When the poor one 'called,' the Lord heard (psalm C); older son 'called' a servant (gospel C)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  The father 'divided' the property between his two sons (gospel C); there was a 'division' among them (gospel A)
  • 'Money' tie:  Younger son squandered his inheritance (gospel C)
  • 'Pigs' suspenders:  Younger son worked tending swine (gospel C)
  • Ring, sandals (not shown):  "Put a ring on his finger and sandals..." (gospel C)
  • 'Feet' pin:  "...on his feet" (gospel C)
  • 'Cow' pin:  "Slaughter the fattened calf..." (gospel C)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "...then let's celebrate with a feast" (gospel C)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  Older son:  "I served you all these years..." (gospel C)
  • 'Helm' tie pin:  The Lord guides me in right paths (psalm A)
  • 'Horn' pin:  Samuel, with horn of oil in hand, anointed David (1st reading A)
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  David anointed king (1st reading A)
  • Blue on castle pin:  Restful waters (psalm A)
  • 'Heart' pin:  The Lord looks into the heart (1st reading A)
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  David was tending sheep (1st reading A); the Lord is my Shepherd (psalm A)
  • 'Silverware' tie bar: "We won't begin the banquet till he arrives" (1st reading A); "You spread the table before me" (psalm A)
  • Grass on suspenders, green on money: Verdant pastures (psalm A)
  • 'Castle' pin:  I'll dwell in God's house (psalm A)
  • 'Street light' tie bar:  You're light in the Lord; live as children of light (2nd reading A); I am the light of the world (gospel A)
  • '?' tie pin:  Questions back and forth (gospel A)
  • Rose-colored shirt:  Color of Laetare Sunday

March 17, 2019

2nd Sun., Lent

March 17, 2019:  Second Sunday of Lent

See about two dozen connections with today?
Legend below

For the gospel
For next Sunday
Jesus' transfiguration was a place of light, a fascinating symbol of the unique experience reserved for Peter, James and John.  It took place right after he confided to his disciples that he must suffer, be killed, and rise again.  It shows us the Christian perspective of suffering:  it's a necessary but transitory passage.  The point of arrival we're called to is as luminous as the face of the transfigured Christ.  By showing his glory, Jesus assures us that Easter will resolve the cross, the trials, the difficulties we struggle with.  So let us climb the mountain with Jesus, through prayer.  Remain for a few moments in recollection, fix your gaze on his face, and let his light pervade you and radiate into your life.
Jesus transfigured himself while he was praying, immersed in an intimate conversation with the Father and while adhering with to the Father's will, including the cross.  God's glory invaded him, shining forth also from the outside.  Prayer in Christ and in the Spirit transforms us from within and can enlighten others and the surrounding world.
  • Gn 15:5-12, 17-18  Lord / Abram:  “Your descendants shall be as numerous as the stars.”  Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as righteousness.  “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur to give you this land.” / “How will I know?” / “Bring me a heifer, a she-goat, a ram, a turtledove, and a pigeon.” / He did.  Birds swooped down on the carcasses, but he stayed.  A trance fell upon him.  A fire pot and torch passed between the pieces.  The Lord made a covenant with Abram:  “To your descendants I give this land.”
  • Ps 27:1, 7-9, 13-14  "The Lord is my light and my salvation."  Whom should I fear?  Hear my call; have pity on me.  I seek you.  I believe I'll see the Lord's bounty.  Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted.
  • Phil 3:17—4:1  Imitate me.  Many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross, headed for destruction; their God is their belly, and their minds are occupied with earthly things.  But we're citizens of heaven and await a Savior who will change our body to conform with his.  So stand firm in the Lord.
  • Lk 9:28b-36  Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up to pray.  His face changed, his clothing became dazzling white, and Moses and Elijah were conversing with him.  Peter and his companions woke up and saw his glory and the men.  Peter told Jesus, “Master, it's good we're here; let's make three tents....”  A cloud cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened.  A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son; listen to him.”  Then Jesus was alone....
  • Creighton:  In the 1st reading, God makes a covenant with Abram that his descendents will be numerous as the stars.  St. Patrick was a person of faith and his spiritual descendents numerous; he was a model for those who would come after him.  Paul says modeling the faith is important because some conduct themselves as enemies of the cross, desiring only material gain and earthly satisfaction. Patrick was kidnapped and enslaved at 16.  Later, his plans to take the gospel to Ireland were opposed.  He recounted 12 near-death experiences and endured insults, persecution, imprisonment, and slander.  His character was questioned; he was accused of being motivated by greed.  The transfiguration story sheds light on why Patrick was successful:  He listened to Jesus, as the Father's voice commanded:  "I’ll never stop giving thanks to my God, who kept me faithful in the time of my temptation. I can with confidence offer my soul to Christ,... who defended me in all my difficulties.  I can say: Who am I, Lord, or what is my calling, that you have worked with me?...  This is how I come to praise and magnify your name among the nations all the time, wherever I am, in good times and difficult ones.  Whatever comes about for me,... I accept and give thanks to God, who has shown me I can put my faith in him without wavering." (Patrick, Confessio §34).
    Преображение (Transfiguration)/ Ivanov
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Love and daily dyings":  Jesus commanded us to take up our cross each day.  A Roman cross was only to cause death.  A daily cross is dying to self, a life of love, the greatest expression of freedom, but it takes so much love that we may not choose it and so be paralyzed by selfishness and fear.  Only by obeying the Lord can we be freed to choose the way of love.
Jesus takes us up Transfiguration mountain where the veil is removed from the hidden Christ so we can see the Christ of glory.  This may happen through the sacraments, the Bible, the poor, a healing, a miracle, a birth, a blessing, or other experience. When we see Christ transfigured, we're led to a new Pentecost, where the Spirit proclaims Jesus is Lord.  Knowing in head and heart that Jesus is Lord, we listen to him, even about the love-filled life of crosses and dyings. In submission to the transfigured Lord, we're free to love as he did, even to death.
  • Passionist:  The transfiguration account begins in an ordinary way:  Jesus calls Peter, James, and John up a mountain, with no suggestion anything special will happen.  But then his face changes, his clothing dazzles, and Moses and Elijah appear.  No wonder the apostles wake up.  Peter is so spellbound that that he doesn't want to leave, maybe because he now sees Jesus is the revelation of God's love, goodness, and holiness.  Perhaps Jesus took them up not to draw attention to him but to teach that his glory can be ours. If we “listen to him,” God can enable us to be transfigured in his love, goodness, and holiness; it's possible if we don't let our minds get “occupied with earthly things”  We must remember “our citizenship is in heaven,” where Christ will “change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body.”
  •  "Jesus transfigured in glory":  Faith enables us to see what the eye can't.  Through faith Abraham recognized God and his call.  Abraham is the father of faith because he hoped in God's promises.  Faith gives us a taste of God's glory.  When the disciples saw Jesus transfigured. Jesus' face changed and his clothing became dazzling white.  When Moses met with God on Sinai his skin shone because he had been talking with God.  The Israelites couldn't look at Moses' face because of its brightness.  Jesus appeared in glory with lawgiver Moses and great prophet Elijah in the presence of his beloved apostles Peter, James, and John.  Jesus went up knowing the cross awaited him.  The Father glorified Jesus because he obeyed.  The cloud fulfilled the Jews' dream that when the Messiah came, the cloud of God's presence would fill the temple.  Jesus wants to share this glory with us.  He shows us the way:  follow him.  Jesus went to Calvary so Paradise would be restored to us; he embraced the cross to obtain the crown of glory, a crown that awaits us if we follow him.
"When he is transfigured, his face shines as the sun that he may be manifested to the children of light who have put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light... and walk honestly as in the day.  Being manifest, he will shine unto them... as the sun of righteousness" (Origen)
Peter, James, and John didn't discover the transfigured Jesus till they awoke.  How much do we miss of God's glory and action because we're asleep spiritually?  Mental lethargy, an "unexamined life," a life of ease, prejudice, or sorrow can keep us asleep till we get past it.  We, like Peter, James, and John, are called to be witnesses of Jesus' glory.
    St. Patrick (though Sunday-trumped)

    • Universalis:  Patrick, missionary bishop, Ireland patron saint, remembered for simplicity and pastoral care, humble trust in God, and fearless preaching to those who enslaved him in youth; see also New Advent.
      Dress legend
      • 'Cow' pin:  Abram brought God a 3-year-old heifer (1st reading)
      • 'Sun' pin:  A trance fell on Abram as sun was about to set (1st reading)
      • 'Fire' pin:  A smoking fire pot appeared (1st reading)
      • 'Star' tie pin:  “Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars.” (1st reading)
      • 'Bird' tie pin:  Birds of prey swooped down... (1st reading)
      • 'Scroll' pin:  The Lord made a covenant with Abram (1st reading); our citizenship is in heaven (2nd reading)
      • 'Street light' tie bar:  The Lord is my light (psalm)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  "Lord, hear and answer my call" (psalm)
      • 'Heart' pin:  My heart speaks of you; be stouthearted (psalm)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  I believe I'll see the Lord's bounty in the land of the living (psalm)
      • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin, 'crown' tie bar:  You are my joy and my crown (2nd reading)
      • 'Clock' tie bar:  Wait for the Lord with courage (psalm); we await a Savior (2nd reading)
      • 'Cross' pin:  Many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ (2nd reading)
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  My brothers and sisters, my joy and my crown, stand firm (2nd reading)
      • 'Alps' pin:  Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain (gospel)
      • Tie with clouds:  A cloud came and cast a shadow over them (gospel)
      • White and green shirt, green in suspenders, white socks:  Jesus' clothes became dazzling white (gospel); green for St. Patrick
      • Purple in suspenders:  Lenten season