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

      March 10, 2019

      1st Sun. of Lent

      March 10, 2019:  First Sunday of Lent

      See 18 connections with today?
      Legend below

      For Psalm 91
      Pope Francis
      Angelus: The temptations Jesus faced indicate paths the world proposes, promising success.
      • Turning stones to bread / the greed of possession:  The devil always begins with our legitimate needs to push us to believe we can find fulfillment without, even contrary to, God, but Jesus responds, “Man shall not live by bread alone.”
      • Becoming powerful / human glory:  Bowing before idols like money, success, or power can corrupt us and intoxicate us with empty joy that soon fades.  Jesus responds, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.”
      • Demonstrate your divine power / using God for your own advantage:  Jesus rejects the temptation, remaining humble and confident before the Father:  “You shall not put the Lord to the test”; he rejects perhaps the subtle temptation to bring God over to our side, asking for graces that only satisfy our pride.
      These temptations are illusions promising success and happiness, but, foreign to God’s way, they separate us from God.  Jesus overcomes them by facing them, to adhere to the Father’s plan.  He shows us the remedies:  the interior life, faith in God, and certainty of his love can overcome every temptation.  ent is a privileged time to purify ourselves and experience God's consoling presence.
      To cyclists:  Sport, like the Church, can foster excellence; it teaches perseverance, sacrifice, and self-denial.  It's often an opportunity to express the joy of living and the satisfaction of crossing the finishing line.
      Cycling emphasizes virtues like patience, integrity, altruism, team spirit, determination, and solidarity.  You bear witness to the potential of the human being, created in God's image, and the beauty of living in communion with others and creation.  Athletes can communicate the positive values of life and the desire to pursue noble goals, but when the opposite happens and sport becomes an end in itself, and athletes serve other interests like prestige and profit, distortions appear such as doping, dishonesty, disrespect for self and others, and corruption....

      • Dt 26:4-10 Moses:  “Declare before the Lord, ‘My father was a wandering Aramean who lived there as an alien but became a great nation.  When the Egyptians oppressed us, we cried to God and he heard our cry, brought us out of Egypt, brought us into this country, and gave us this land.  So I've brought you the firstfruits that you gave me.’  And having set them before the Lord, you'll bow in his presence.”
      • Ps 91:1-2, 10-15 "Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble."  No evil shall befall you; God has commanded his angels to guard you.  I'll deliver him, answer him, be with him, and glorify him.
      • Rom 10:8-13 The word is near you, in your heart.  If you confess Jesus as Lord and believe God raised him, you'll be saved.  For there's no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him.  Everyone who calls on the Lord will be saved.
      • Lk 4:1-13 "Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus was led into the desert for 40 days to be tempted by the devil; he ate nothing, Devil / Jesus:  “If you're God's Son, command this stone to become bread.” / “One doesn't live on bread alone.” / “I'll give to you power and glory if you worship me.” / “It's written: Worship and serve the Lord alone.” / “If you're God's Son, throw yourself down, for it is written:  he'll command his angels to guard you...” / “It also says, Don't test the Lord.”  When the devil finished, he departed from him for a time.
      • Creighton:  "Freeing captives":  Unlike the gods of ancient civilizations who were distant from and capricious with people, our God was attentive to human need and intervened with specific events, delivering, saving, rescuing, and freeing.  The 1st reading recites how God freed our Hebrew ancestors.  Jesus (“God saves”) broke into human history and battled with all that enslaves.  His temptation revealed a God who came in person to deliver the people he loves. We're all susceptible to the temptations he experienced:  to live as if material things are enough, to amass reputation and wealth to try to escape vulnerability, to presume no responsibility for our actions.  May we bring our hearts and lives before the Lord, especially the places where we're held captive.....
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Reach the destination of Lent":  Lent is a march to our Easter renewal of baptismal promises.  Lent is Trinitarian:  the Spirit led Jesus into the desert, where he refused to doubt he was the Father's beloved Son. We imitate Jesus' 40-day fast, also waging war against the devil.  When we renew our baptismal promises, we profess our faith in the Trinity.  Holy Spirit, what have you planned for me this Lent?  Give me the power to make the necessary decisions and sacrifices to live my baptism with love, abandonment, and joy.
        Temptation of Christ/ Repin
      • Passionist:  “The word is near you, in your mouth and heart.” We need to listen better.  When things go well, we can assume it's because of our efforts, feel entitled to it, and succumb to temptations to wealth, power, and control.  And in hard times we can become like drowning persons who, when lifeguards arrive, are so frantic that our flailing and fear can drag our rescuers down with us (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed).  God can’t give if we don't want to receive (ibid.). When we're deaf to God's help, we're more vulnerable to temptation it, grasping at illusory relief.  The antidote is attention to God’s word.  We can make time in daily life, times of energy and focus, not "leftover" time when we're too tired for anything else, to let God see and love me as I am, and ask eyes that see and courage to follow, or else we'll get caught up in the world’s word, become disconnected, stressed, worried, reluctant to speak out or use my gifts, tempted to withdraw lose sight of what is truly important.  The best time to listen, to connect with God, is now.  May we listen to God's word and work to bring that Word to life....
      •  "Jesus fasted 40 days and was tempted by the devil":  Jesus followed the pattern God had set for Moses and Elijah:  a 40-day journey of prayer and fasting to meet with God.  God tested Moses and Elijah to prepare them for a prophetic mission and leadership.  While Moses and Elijah prayed and fasted, God fed them.  Their time enabled them to be renewed for God's call.  Jesus likewise prepared by spending 40 days in solitude and prayer.  His tempter is the same deceiver who tempted Adam and Eve.  Satan knew Jesus was embarking on an important mission; perhaps he saw an opportunity to strike while Jesus seemed vulnerable.  The fundamental temptation is, My way or God's?  My will or God's?  Jesus refused to perform any sign that might test God.  Jesus relied on the Spirit for strength, wisdom, courage, and self-control.  We can't fight temptation on our own.  We're called to journey with the Lord in this season of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, repentance, and renewal.  The Lord gives us food and strength to seek him and prepare for combat and testing.  May we follow the way of the cross and share Christ's victory....
      • Trumped saint, from Universalis:  John Ogilvie, Jesuit priest, martyr:  “If there be here any hidden Catholics, let them pray for me.”
      Dress legend
      • 'Hand' tie pin:  "All this power and glory has been handed over to me" (gospel); the Lord brought us out of Egypt with strong hand... (1st reading); angels shall bear you up upon their hands... (psalm, gospel); "all this power and glory has been 'handed' over to me" (gospel)
      • 'Stone' tie pin:  ...lest you dash your foot against a stone (psalm, gospel); "if you're God's Son, command this stone to become bread" (gospel)
      • 'Honey' tie:  The Lord gave us this land flowing with milk and honey (1st reading)
      • 'Angel' pin:  God has given his angels command about you to guard you (psalm, gospel)
      • 'Snake' tie pin:  You'll tread upon the asp and the viper (psalm); Satan tempted Jesus (gospel)
      • 'Lion' pin:  You'll trample down the lion and the dragon (psalm)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  He'll call upon me, and I'll answer him (psalm); all who call on the Lord will be enriched and saved (2nd reading)
      • 'Car with mouth' pin:  The word is near you, in your mouth and heart; if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord... (2nd reading)
      • 'Heart' pin:  ...and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you'll be saved (2nd reading)
      • 'Dove' tie pin:  Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (gospel)
      • 'Wheat' pin:  "One doesn't live on bread alone" (gospel)
      • 'Clock' tie bar:  When the devil finished tempting Jesus, he departed from him for a time.

      March 9, 2019

      March 9

      March 9, 2019:  Saturday after Ash Wednesday

      See 17 connections with today?
      Legend below

      For Psalm 86
        • Mighty Lord/ Foley [needs banjo]; use free Spotify login
      • You say/ Daigle (Creighton reflection)

      • Is 58:9b-14  If you remove oppression... and satisfy the afflicted, the Lord will guide and renew you.  If you honor the sabbath, you'll delight in the Lord, and I'll nourish you.
      • Ps 86:1-6  "Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth."  Have mercy on me.  I lift my soul to you; gladden it.  Attend to my pleading.
      • Lk 5:27-32  Jesus to Levi:  “Follow me”; he left everything and followed.  He gave a banquet for him with tax collectors and others; Pharisees complained:  “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”  Jesus:  “The healthy don't need a doctor; just the sick.  I came to call sinners.”
      • Creighton:  Tax collector Levi, open to Jesus' invitation to become an apostle, said yes.  His yes meant he had a transformation of heart and mind.  What made it possible?  I believe it was an experience and his ability to quiet himself, listen, and act.  Lord, help me pause, be silent, listen to you, reflect on past weeks, view my experiences from a different perspective, refocus, and redirect my actions away from my own needs.  Guide me when I say yes.  You Say” describes this well.  Saying yes means my mind and heart have been transformed.
      OTOH, tax collector Levi did his own thing, making money by collecting taxes for the Roman empire.  When Jesus invited him to repent, he left his selfishness behind become a disciple of Jesus.  Jesus invites us to leave behind the slavery, emptiness, and boredom of selfishness.  May we accept his invitation to freedom and walk away from preoccupation with self, to salvation.
      • Passionist:  "The swirl of Lent, a stream of grace":  Lent is like a stream running to the Triduum; sources feed the stream that takes me into the mystery of God’s love.  At the Triduum the entire mystery of Jesus' death and resurrection is present:  victory even on the Cross, marks of the wounds even at the resurrection.  Our preparation forms the stream of grace guiding us into God's gifts for us, God's embrace.  Today Isaiah says, raise others up.  Live the Sabbath:  walk with God in the garden. In Jesus this time is realized; the garden gates are open.  May our preparations flow back to us and draw us on.  May we hear "Come follow me; return to me..." today and respond, not following our own ways.  Jesus lets grace flow.
        St. Frances of Rome giving alms/ Gaulli
      •  "Jesus calls sinners to follow him":  When we bless others, especially those needing help, God blesses us.  The religious leaders were upset with Jesus' behavior towards public sinners.  Orthodox Jews avoided them, didn't do business with them, didn't give them anything.  Jesus' association with tax collectors and sinners shocked their sensibilities.  When they challenged him, he told them a doctor goes to the sick.  Jesus sought out those in greatest need.  Jesus came as Divine Physician and Good Shepherd to care for us and restore us.  The orthodox were so preoccupied, they neglected to help the people who needed it most.  Jesus came to call sinners, not the "righteous."  Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised; all have sinned.  Thank God for his mercy; seek others' good.  "By 'follow' [Jesus] meant not so much the movement of feet as of the heart, carrying out a way of life.  One who says he lives in Christ ought to walk as Christ walked, not aim at earthly things or pursue perishable gains, but flee base praise, embrace contempt of all that is worldly for the sake of heavenly glory, do good to all, inflict injuries on no one, patiently suffer injury, ask God’s forgiveness for those who oppress, seek God's glory, and uphold what helps you love heavenly things.  In this way Matthew became a follower of One who had no riches. The Lord who outwardly called Matthew inwardly bestowed on him the gift of an invisible impulse so he could follow" (Bede the Venerable).
      • Universalis:  St. Frances of Rome, married 40 years, had three sons, distributed gifts to the poor, ministered to the sick, founded convent she retired to as widow; known for humility, detachment, obedience, patience, contemplative spirit.  See also Wikipedia.
        Dress legend
        • 'Feet' pin:  Hold back your foot from following your own pursuits (1st reading)
        • 'Wheat' pin:  If you give your bread to the hungry, remove oppression, and satisfy the afflicted,... (1st reading)
        • 'Street lamp' tie bar:  ...then light shall rise for you,... (1st reading)
        • 'Helm' tie pin:  ...and the Lord will guide you always... (1st reading)
        • 'Alps' pin:  ...and make you ride on the heights of the earth (1st reading)
        • Blue shirt:  If you remove oppression, share your bread, and satisfy the afflicted,... you'll be like a spring whose water never fails (1st reading)
        • 'Car with mouth' pin:  The mouth of the Lord has spoken (1st reading)
        • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  Have mercy on me, Lord,... (psalm)
        • 'Phone' tie bar:  ...for I call to you all day (psalm); I came to call sinners (gospel)
        • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:  Teach me Your way,... (psalm)
        • 'Walker' tie pin:  ...that I may walk in Your truth (psalm)
        • 'Money bag' tie pin:  Jesus saw tax collector Levi; tax collectors at Levi's banquet (gospel)
        • 'WWJD' pin:  "Follow me" (gospel)
        • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Levi gave a great banquet for Jesus... (gospel)
        • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Only the sick need a doctor (gospel)
        • Purple suspenders:  Lent

        March 8, 2019

        March 8

        March 8, 2019:  Friday after Ash Wednesday

        See about a dozen connections with today?
        Legend below
        For 1st reading
        For Psalm 51, see Wednesday

        40 Hymns & Worship Songs for Lent...

        Pope Francis

        Homily:  We rediscover the simplicity of appearances as we practice fast, give alms, and pray.  We should show joy while doing penance, be generous with the needy without blasting our trumpet, address the Father intimately without seeking others' admiration.

        Like the Pharisee, some Catholics feel “just” and better off than others because they belong to some association or go to Sunday Mass.  We're all sinners, but those who seek appearances don't see themselves as sinners and become righteous if you call them one.  Hypocrisy tempts us all, but Lent is an opportunity to recognize our inconsistencies, to identify the make-up we've applied.  The Lord asks for coherence between appearance and behavior.  Many who call themselves Christians sin by exploiting people, sending workers home for summer so they can't get a pension.

        Rediscover the beauty of simplicity, of reality that's one with appearance.  Pray for strength and go forward with humility.  Don't put make-up on your soul, because the Lord won't recognize you.  Ask for grace to be consistent, coherent between who we are and how we want to appear.

        To Sustainable Development Conference:  When we speak of sustainability, we must include and listen to all voices, especially those usually excluded such as the poor, migrants, indigenous people, and the young.  The Sustainable Development Goals were a great step, but the conventional idea of development has been limited to economic growth.  Progress has been measured by material growth, and environment and people exploited to attain it.  Economic and political objectives must be sustained by ethical ones, a change of attitude, a change of heart.  We need to “encourage and support an ‘ecological conversion’” (St. John Paul II), to promote and implement development goals supported by religious and ethical values.

        Religious people need to open up the treasures of tradition to dialogue on how to build our planet's future. addressing root causes and long-term consequences.  Concerns of indigenous peoples, who remind us of earth's sacredness, should drive the search for paths to a sustainable future.  We must respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor; our response must be as complex as the challenges and respect people's diverse cultural riches.  People are capable of the worst but also of rising above themselves and choosing good.  Injustice is not invincible.

        To American Jewish Committee:   Women's contribution in building a world that can be home for all, through their efforts toward peace and love, is irreplaceable.  They make the world beautiful, protect it, and keep it alive; they bring the grace of renewal, the embrace of inclusion, and courage to give of oneself.  Mothers' tenderness brings and rekindles peace.  They dream love into the world.  If we care about the future and dream of peace, we need to give space to women.

        Jews and Christians are committed to create a familial environment through respect and appreciation for others' religion.  Today's anti-Semitic attacks and climate of wickedness, fury, and hatred calls for vigilance; even slight anti-Semitism can lead to tragedy such as the Shoah.  We must always transmit love and respect to children and look at the world with a mother's eyes, with the gaze of peace.

        Interreligious dialogue can promote peace, respect, protection of life, religious freedom, and the care of creation.  Jews and Christians, with our common spiritual heritage, can bring about much good together.  We need to make divine love more visible and carry out gestures of closeness to counter indifference.  How sad the growing distance between the many with little and the few with much.  We're called to take care of the vulnerable:  the poor, the weak, the sick, children, and the elderly....

        To Rome clergy:  I share with you the pain and punishment that the sexual abuse scandals are causing in the Church, but let's not be discouraged:  the Lord is purifying his Bride, converting us, testing us, making us understand that without Him we're dust, saving us from hypocrisy, restoring beauty to his Bride.  The spirit of evil acts with the pretense of being master of the world.  Sin disfigures.  We're humiliated when we or a brother priest or bishop falls into vice, corruption, or the crime that destroys others' lives.

        But I'm confident; Lent is a time of grace, of placing God back at the center.  Turn to him; he knows our shameful nudity but never tires of using us to offer reconciliation.  God uses us sinners to intercede for those from we have to ask forgiveness from.  Maintain a mature dialogue with the Lord, and concern yourselves with God's people.

        • Is 58:1-9a  On your fast day you quarrel and carry out your own pursuits, but the fast I want is releasing those bound unjustly, freeing the oppressed, sharing your bread, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, and caring for your own.  Then you'll have light, healing, and vindication, and God will answer you.
        • Ps 51:3-6ab, 18-19  "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."  Have mercy on me.
        • Mt 9:14-15  John's disciples / Jesus:  “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but not your disciples?” / “Wedding guests can't mourn while the groom is among them, but when he's taken away, they'll fast.
        • Creighton:  Lord, help me hear Isaiah’s words.  If I've exercised religious practices, preoccupied more with self-image or earning points, free me.  If I've neglected to reach out to others, while bearing ashes and fasting, heal me.  If I quarrel and fight, save me.  May your kingdom come on earth. Holy Spirit, help me cooperate with you.
        • One Bread, One Body:  "Fasting for God and others":  My Lenten fasting can focus on myself if I focus on my hunger, weight, inconvenience, lightheadedness....  Does my fasting just lead me to complain to the Lord?  Our fasting can move mountains, set people free, evangelize, and restore broken families and relationships.
        • Passionist:  I need to pay attention to God's presence in the people who cross my path.  My fasting this Lent is a discipline of re-calling, re-covering, re-collecting, re-storing and reconciling, surrendering my priorities to be present to the other.  St. Francis was particularly concerned for creation, the poor, and outcasts. The bond between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and inner peace is inseparable (Laudato Si, 10).  I want to establish a discipline to alleviate overconsumption that distances me from Christ.

        •  "Fasting for God's kingdom":  Hunger for God and fasting for his kingdom go hand in hand.  The Lord's disciples must bear the cross of affliction and purification; there's a time for rejoicing in the Lord's presence and goodness and a time for seeking him with humility, fasting, and mourning for sin.  May we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our life with God's power and grace.  Fasting can be done to gain freedom from a bad habit, share in others' suffering, or grow in hunger for God and things of heaven.  "Don't just abstain from meat. True fasting is refraining from vice.  Shred your unjust contracts.  Pardon your neighbors...." (Basil the Great).

          • Senan, bishop, apostle of Ireland, monastery founder; see Clare Library's article.
          • Duthac, bishop
        Dress legend
        • 'Car' pin:  "On your fast day you 'drive' all your laborers" (1st reading)
        • 'Wheat' pin:  Share your bread with the hungry (1st reading)
        • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  Clothe the naked (1st reading)
        • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  "Lift up your voice like a trumpet blast" (1st reading)
        • 'Lights' tie:  When you fast like God wants, your light shall break forth (1st reading)
        • 'Phone' tie bar:  You'll 'call' and the Lord will answer (1st reading)
        • 'Boundless mercy' button:  "Have mercy on me; in your compassion wipe out my offense..." (psalm)
        • 'Heart' pin:  You won't spurn a contrite, humbled heart (psalm)
        • 'Fire' pin:  "Should I offer a burnt offering, you wouldn't accept it" (psalm)
        • Blue shirt:  Wash me from my guilt (psalm)
        • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season