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

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