January 20, 2020

Jan. 20

January 20, 2020:  Monday, 2nd week, Ordinary Time

See about 10 connections with today?
Legend below
For week of prayer for Christian unity
Pope Francis

Homily:   The essence of Saul’s sin was lack of docility to God's Word, imagining his own interpretation was more correct.  The Lord had commanded the Israelites not to take anything from the people they conquered, but they disobeyed.  When Samuel went to reject Saul, Saul explained:  “Look, there were cattle, there were so many fat animals, and with these I offered the Lord a sacrifice.”  He hadn't put anything in his own pocket, though with this attitude of interpreting God's Word, he allowed others to put plunder in their own pockets.  Corruption begins with a little disobedience, a lack of docility, then keeps going further.

People took from the plunder, but Samuel pointed out the Lord prefers obedience to sacrifices:  a docile heart and obedience are more important than sacrifices and fasting.  The sin of lacking docility is preferring what I think over what the Lord commands that I don’t understand.  When you rebel against the Lord, you're not docile; it's as if you're going to a fortune teller "just in case."  Not obeying the Lord, lacking docility, is like fortune telling.  When you do things your way, you're an idolater, because you prefer the idol of your thoughts to the Lord's will. Disobedience cost Saul the kingdom.  We often prefer our own interpretation, e.g. when we fall into moral casuistry.  God's will is clear, through the commandments in the Bible and the Holy Spirit in your heart, but when I obstinately turn the Lord's Word into an ideology, I'm not docile; I'm an idolater.

Jesus refuted those who criticized his disciples because they didn't fast with an analogy:  no one sews new cloth on an old cloak, because it could worsen the tear; no one puts new wine in old skins, because the skins would burst, and both wine and skins would be lost.  The newness of the Lord's Word wins over everything:  idolatry, pride, the attitude of being sure of myself through commitment to my ideologies instead of the Lord's Word.  No; God desires mercy, not sacrifice.  Being a good Christian means being docile to God's Word, listening to Lord about justice, charity, forgiveness, and mercy, leading a consistent life.  The Lord's Word sometimes gets us in trouble, but so does the devil.  To be a Christian, trust God and be free.

To Simon Wiesenthal Center delegation:  You've maintained contacts with the Holy See for decades, in a shared desire to make the world better respect human dignity.  The same dignity is due to every person.  It's essential to teach tolerance, mutual understanding, freedom of religion, and promotion of peace.  In our active world we find it hard to pause, look within, and listen in silence to the plea of suffering humanity.  Unhelpful words are spoken and time wasted arguing, accusing, and insulting, but silence helps to keep memory alive.  If we lose memory, we destroy our future.

May the holocaust call us to pause, be still, and remember, lest we become indifferent.  Selfishness and indifference have increased in many parts of the world, creating a fertile ground for factionalism and populism, where hatred springs up.  We need to address the cause of the problem by committing to till the soil where hatred grows and sowing peace, for integration and understanding help us more effectively protect ourselves.  This means reintegrating the marginalized, reaching out to the far away, and assisting victims of intolerance and discrimination.

May we make the earth a better place by sowing peace, putting Jews' and Christians' rich spiritual patrimony at the service of others, taking the path of proximity and inclusion, and initiating ways of drawing people closer together.  If we don't, who will?

    New wine, fresh skins!
  • 1 Sm 15:16-23  Samuel/Saul:  “The Lord sent you to exterminate the sinful Amalekites.  Why have you disobeyed?  You pounced on the spoil.” / “I obeyed, destroying Amalek, but my men took from the spoil for sacrifice.” / “Obedience is better than sacrifice.  Because you rejected God's command, he has rejected you as ruler.”
  • Ps 50:8-9, 16bc-17, 21, 23  "To the upright I will show the saving power of God."  Why profess my covenant with your mouth but hate discipline?  I'll correct you.  Offer praise as your sacrifice; I'll save those who go the right way.
  • Mk 2:18-22  “Why do John's and the Pharisees' disciples fast but yours don't?” “Wedding guests can't fast while the groom is with them, but they will when he's taken away.  No one pours new wine into old skins lest both be ruined.  New wine, fresh skins!”
  • Creighton:  When Jesus says we need to pour new wine into fresh skins, hes inviting us to a new life but warning us that we need to exchange our old skins (bad habits...) for new.  How do we conquer our faults?  Picture a glass of wine and a new skin small enough to hold it.  I’m trying to combat my complaining about people by making one fewer uncharitable remark a day.  I still get to complain,  just not as much.   I can fill one small skin a day with new wine.  I bet Jesus, who knows our limits, is fine with small steps.
  • One Bread, One Body:  Saul's disobedience displeased the Lord.  Sin is always disobedience.  Human nature became fallen because of Adam's disobedience, but Jesus' obedience saved us.  Knowing why we disobey can help us accept God's grace to obey.  Samuel implied Saul disobeyed because Saul was little in his own esteem.  Saul didn't respect and love himself.  When we don't love ourselves, we won't love others and so don't love God; we're manipulated into disobeying and feeling better.   If the devil can get us to not love ourselves, he can drive us to disobedience and ruin.  The devil keeps accusing us, throwing fiery darts at us to put us down, but if we give our lives totally to Jesus, we can hold faith up as a shield and not listen to the devil.  When we love ourselves, we're not easily manipulated into disobedience....
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    In the US, Pope Francis spoke about him twice.
  • Passionist:  Old habits die hard, but Jesus' "garment patch" and wineskin examples invite us to be open to new ways thought and action.  He claims his disciples don’t fast because of his presence.  Jesus invites us into new ways, trusting God.  He tells us love and forgiveness are the only paths to peace.  In caring for the poor, homeless, hurting, oppressed, or outcasts, we build God's Kingdom.  It's easier to cherish these teachings than live them; our imagination and ways can be too small to free us to risk living Jesus' teachings.  May we recognize our attitudes that keep us from embracing Jesus' life-giving teachings.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Fasting or feasting?"  Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving were the three most important religious duties.  Jesus explained there was a time for fasting and a time for celebrating.  To follow Jesus is to experience a joy like the wedding party's.  But there also comes a time when we must bear the cross.  Do I take joy in the Lord's presence and express sorrow and contrition for my sin?  Using the familiar image of wineskins, Jesus warns against having a closed mind.  New wine poured into skins is still fermenting.  New skins were elastic enough to take the pressure, but old skins burst.  There's a right place for the old and for the new.  Jesus says the kingdom is like a householder who brings out both the new and the old.  The Lord gives us wisdom so we can make the best use of both the old and the new. He wants us to be open and ready to receive the new wine of the Spirit."
Dress legend
  • 'Sheep' tie bar:  From the spoil the men took sheep...  (1st reading)
  • 'Ram'/'animal sacrifice'/'Golden calf' tie pin:  Saul's spoils; obedience is better than sacrifice, submission than the fat of rams; presumption is idolatry (1st reading)
  • 'Ruler' tie bar:  "Because you rejected the Lord's command, he rejected you as ruler.” (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  I'll correct you by drawing your deeds before your eyes (psalm)
      • Tie with grapes:  New wine, fresh skins!  (gospel)
          • Green T-shirt:  Ordinary Time season]

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