March 7, 2019

March 7

March 7, 2019:  Thursday after Ash Wednesday

See over a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
For the gospel
Pope Francis homily:  Moses placed before the people a challenge, a choice between life and death, an appeal to their liberty.  Note his expressions:  If you “turn away your hearts,” “won't listen,” and “are led astray and serve other gods.”  When your heart is turned away, when you take the wrong road, you lose your sense of direction.  A heart without a compass is a danger for the person and for others.  A heart takes this wrong path when it doesn't listen, when it lets itself to go astray, carried away by gods.

At times we become deaf in the soul and don't hear the Lord.  Watch out for the “fireworks” that call us to idolatry.  Lent helps us go along the path to encounter the risen Christ.  “Not listening to the Lord” and his promises means losing our memory.  When we forget what the Lord has done in our lives and in the Church, his people, we go on with our own strength, self-sufficient.  Ask for “the grace of memory,” as Moses exhorted the Israelites to do, to remember what the Lord had done for them.  When all is well, we're in danger of forgetting the journey.  Well-being has the danger of amnesia, forgetting what the Lord has done, the graces he's given us, and I believe it's my own merit, and my heart starts to turn away.

“Remember the former days.”  Memory loss is selective:  we remember what's convenient, not threatening.  The Israelites remembered God saved them, but they started to complain about the lack of water and meat, and thought about what they had in Egypt, forgetting that they ate at the table of slavery. To go forward, don't lose the history of salvation, the history of Jesus with you.  Don't turn back; don't get carried away by idols.  Idolatry is preferring something more comfortable, forgetting the Lord.  Ask for the grace to preserve the memory of what the Lord has done, how he loved me; then go forward.  “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.”  Jesus, who has accompanied me up to now, will accompany me till I appear before him in glory.


  • Dt 30:15-20  Moses:  “I've set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  If you love God and walk in his ways, you'll live and grow, and the Lord will bless you, but if you turn away, you'll perish.  Choose life and live.”
  • Ps 1:1-4, 6  "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord."
  • Lk 9:22-25  The Son of Man must suffer and be rejected, be killed, and be raised.  “To come after me, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you lose your life for my sake, you'll save it.  What profit is there to gain the world but forfeit yourself?”

  • Creighton:  Following God's word leads to a blessed life; turning away and not listening, to death.  Many are seduced by preachers who say that if you ask God, you'll have riches and health, but Moses said that a strong society would only occur if they followed God’s commandments.  The gospel goes on to say that to follow God, you must deny yourself and take up your cross daily, sacrificing your needs for others' benefit. How do I follow God's commandments, and why?  Am I expecting blessings as a reward, or am I serving the Lord out of love without expectations?
    The wicked are like chaff
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Love; obey; stay":  Moses offered a three-fold plan:  love God, obey him by heeding his word, and stay with him, holding fast.  Jesus offered the same plan:  "keep my commandments," and stay with me.  The best way to do that is to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow in his footsteps.  If we do, the Lord promises we'll stay with him forever....
  • Passionist:  What some see as giving up, others see as choosing life.  Is that what Jesus means: “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it”?  By being willing to give up habits that once looked life-giving, I open the possibility to discovering they aren’t.  Whatever I decide to give up for Lent, may it be in line with Moses’ exhortation: "Choose life…."
  •  "Take up your cross daily and follow Christ":  Jesus' obedience reversed the curse of Adam's disobedience; his death won pardon, freedom, healing, and new life.  We lose what we gain and gain what we lose. When we try run our life our own way, we lose it to futility.  Only God can free us from our ignorance and sinful ways. When we surrender to God, he gives us new life. God wants us to be fit to serve him. When the body is weak, we try to nurse it to health; how much more should we work towards spiritual health.  Will you part with anything that might keep you from following Christ?  Each decision we make shapes us. Some may gain all they aim for, then discover they missed the most important things.  Disciples will give up all they have in exchange for true happiness and life with God.  The cross leads to freedom and victory. What cross is Christ commanding me to take up today?  Where does my will cross his?  The cross involves the sacrifice of laying down my life daily for his sake, possible only because God's love has been poured into us....
Dress legend
  • 'Walker' tie pin:  Walk in the Lord's ways (1st reading), not in the way of sinners (psalm)
  • 'Scroll' pin:  Blessed those who delight in the Lord's law (psalm); if you keep God's commandments...  (1st reading)
  • 'Heart' pin:  ...but if you turn away your hearts... (1st reading)
  • 'Golden calf' tie pin:  ...serve other gods, you'll perish (1st reading)
  • OneLife LA button:  I set before you life and death; choose life (1st reading)
  • 'Tree' pin:  One who delights in the Lord is like a tree... (psalm)
  • Blue shirt:  ...planted near running water... (psalm)
  • 'Fruits' tie:  ...that yields its fruit in due season (psalm)
  • 'Cross' pin:  "Deny yourself, take up your cross..." (gospel)
  • 'WWJD' pin:  "...and follow me" (gospel)
  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  What's the profit of gaining the world but losing yourself? (gospel)
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season

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