April 6, 2019

April 6

April 6, 2019:  Saturday, 4th week, Lent

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
Pope Francis
At Franciscan Missionary Center:  It's beautiful that you, as a community of friars and lay faithful, motivate people of good will to help the needy and marginalized.  You're a true example of St. Francis of Assisi, who wanted to live poor, touched by people's poverty, and so found Christ's peace and lived by the gifts of Providence.  In this spirit, your missionary center wove a worldwide network of charity, solidarity, and fraternity.
Francis heard Jesus' request:  "Go and repair my house which is falling into ruins."  Despite the limitations of the Church of the time, he set out to live the Gospel.  As people still suffer due to Church limitations, we want to commit ourselves more to a better future for all.  Your Center will continue to make its precious contribution.  Persevere in your commitment for the good of all people and the protection of creation.
Q&A at San Carlo Institute:  
Suffering:  Questions like why children suffer don’t have answers.  If you rely on ready-made answers, you'll go the wrong way.  A child who keeps asking “why?” may be so insecure that he needs his parents' assuring gaze to move forward.  Unanswerable questions make you grow in the sense of mystery.  We're the ones who create differences.  World hunger isn't God's creation but a result of our unjust economic system.  Jesus who said, “I was hungry and you gave me to eat” will say to those who starve children, “Go; I was hungry and you didn't look at me.”   
War:  All seek peace, yet are there are wars.  If they didn't have weapons, they wouldn't wage war.  We sell weapons to kill children and people.  If you can't ask these questions and say these things, something is missing in your heart.  Did God place 900 million mines that kill and maim people long after the war is over?  No; we did.  We need brave people who won't use their talents to do things that would kill others.  By asking these uncomfortable questions we'll grow into adults with restless hearts.  War also takes place in school when children are bullied.  We all have the seed of destruction and the tendency to create differences and be enriched by others' poverty.
Transmitting Christian values and educating children to encounter other cultures:  To be rooted, we need consistency and memory.  One who's uprooted or inconsistent means can't to find his identity.  Being rooted means taking sap from the root and growing and forging ahead.  Talk to the elderly....
Culture of encounter:  Dialogue presupposes identity.  People with no inner light live on trends that fizzle.  Today's liquid culture makes us forget we're born in a family and belong to a people.  Patriotism is about belonging to a land, a history, a culture.  Multiethnicity and  multiculturalism are the water of life which, unlike distilled water, is tasty and quenches thirst. 
Migrants:  Don't fear them like the plague.  Jesus was a migrant.  Migrants are not criminals.  We all have the chance to be criminals.  Migrants bring us riches.  Today there's the temptation to raise walls in the heart and on earth to prevent encounter with other people and cultures.  Those who raise walls end up slaves inside them, without horizons.  If I have a racist heart, I must examine why and convert.  When we receive, accompany, and integrate migrants, we grow richer.  Encourage the young to grow in the culture of encounter, meet different people, and grow with differences.
Indifference is growing; it's a tyranny born of relativism that breeds fundamentalism and the sectarian spirit.
For L'Aquila:  I accompany you as you undertake the arduous journey of rebuilding your communities after the earthquake.  I pray for all the victims.
May the Risen Lord give you light and strength to make your church and community more united and creative and make you courageous witnesses as you apply the law, work together, and assist one another.  May Mary might accompany and bless you all with affection.
  • Jer 11:18-20  Lord, you showed me their doings; I hadn't realized they were plotting against me.  I trusted you; let me see your vengeance.
  • Ps 7:2-3, 9bc-12  "O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge." I'm innocent; save me. God is just; he saves the upright.
  • Jn 7:40-53  Some heard Jesus and said, “He's the Prophet,” “He's the Christ,” or “The Christ won't come from Galilee; Scripture says he'll come from Bethlehem.”  A division arose.  Pharisees / guards: “Why didn't you bring him?” / “No one has spoken like him.” / “Have you been deceived?  Have the authorities believed in him?”  Nicodemus / Pharisees: “Does our law condemn someone before we find out what he's doing?” Prophets don't come from Galilee.”
  • Creighton:  Jeremiah and Jesus both came to be reviled in their time. Jeremiah was continually plotted against has he preached against evil, and we know what happened to Jesus who preached the gospel of salvation and pointed out sinful ways.  Today it's easier to reject a teaching of Christ.  How am I not speaking out for my faith for fear of ridicule?  Do I do works of mercy even if it interferes with my leisure time?  Is my almsgiving enough?...
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Loving enemies":  When Jeremiah realized people were plotting against him, he prayed for vengeance; when Jesus' enemies plotted against him, he prayed they be forgiven; he loved them so much that he offered himself and gave them the opportunity for salvation.  When we love our enemies, we prove we're Jesus' disciples and our Father's children.  We can't on our own, but work in us the miracle of love for our enemies.  Pray for unconditional, merciful, forgiving, miraculous love for your enemies.
    Pharisees/ Schmidt-Rottluff
  • Passionist:  Jeremiah, Nicodemus, you, and I share a common path to discipleship:  We have a powerful, life-changing encounter with God, personal, often intense, sometimes gradual.  We re-examine our values in light of the encounter.  We decide to honor our encounter and change.  It means being vulnerable, risking ridicule, alienation, and retribution.  This is what Jeramiah describes in today’s reading, what Nicodemus experienced, and what Jesus experienced at Gethsemane and on Calvary.  The path to discipleship is similar for everyone faithful to God.  Circumstances may differ, but our decisions are essentially the same.  Regardless of our fear or anxiety, we know God will be with us and give us what we need.  This brings peace and joy the world can't give.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Reaction to Jesus' words":  Jeremiah's people opposed him because of his prophecies to them.  They plotted to silence and kill him, but he responded with meekness and prophetic insight "like a lamb led to slaughter."
    Many were divided about who Jesus was.  The armed officers were bewildered; they didn't arrest him because they'd never hear anyone like him.  The chief priests and Pharisees showed contempt, except for Nicodemus who was timid: his heart told him to defend Jesus, but his head told him not to risk it.  Who is Jesus for you, and are you ready to give him your allegiance?  To stand for him may provoke mockery, opposition, suffering, or hardship.  We can choose to believe and obey him, or follow other voices.  The costly grace and freedom, offered to those who embrace the cross, leads to joy and blessing now and forever, but cheap grace, trying to bypass the cross, leads to emptiness and futility.
Dress legend

  • 'Scales' pin:  Do me justice, Lord, just judge, because I am just (psalm)

  • 'Lamb' tie bar:  Like a trusting lamb led to slaughter... (1st reading)

  • 'Egg' tie pin:  ...I didn't realize they were 'hatching' plots against me (1st reading)

  • 'Tree' pin:  Let's destroy the tree in its vigor (1st reading)

  • 'Heart' pin:  God searches hearts (1st reading, psalm), saves the upright of heart (1st reading)

  • 'Lion' pin:  Save me lest I become like the lion's prey (psalm)

  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  A 'division' arose because of Jesus (gospel)

  • 'Hands' pin:  No one laid hands on Jesus (gospel)

  • 'Houses' tie:  Each returned to their own house (gospel)

  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season

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