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

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