February 28, 2020

Feb. 28

February 28, 2020:  Friday after Ash Wednesday

See 10 connections with today?
Legend below
For 1st reading
For Psalm 51, see Wednesday

40 Hymns & Worship Songs for Lent...

Pope Francis for "Good Algorithm" AI workshop:  Church social teaching about human dignity, justice, subsidiarity, and solidarity can contribute to "algor-ethics," the ethical development of algorithms.  The complexity of the technological world demands a clear ethical framework, so as to make our service effective.  Algor-ethics can enable those principles to enter into digital technologies through cross-disciplinary dialogue so long as human rights are an important point of convergence.  The “good algorithm” points to the need for renewed reflection on rights and duties.   Your call to ethics, education, and law is an important step. 

The scope and acceleration of the transformations of the digital era have raised unforeseen problems and situations that challenge our ethos.  The digital age is changing our perception of space, time, and the body, and users are often reduced to consumers, prey to private interests.   Algorithms extract data that enable habits to be controlled without our knowledge.   The asymmetry by which a few know everything about us while we know nothing about them dulls critical thought and the exercise of freedom.  Inequalities are expanding enormously as knowledge and wealth accumulate in a few hands. 

The new technologies nevertheless offer immense potential.   Broader education and solid reasons need to be developed in pursuit of the common good.  We believers ought to let ourselves be challenged, so that God's word and our faith can help us interpret phenomena and identify paths of humanization.

  • 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.
Querida Amazonia capsule:  The prophecy of contemplation

Frequently we let our consciences be deadened; we get distracted about how limited our world is.  We might think things aren't serious and continue our lifestyles and models of production and consumption, feed our vices by not acknowledging them, delay decisions, and pretend nothing will happen.  Each species has value, but each year thousands are lost forever, usually because of human activity.  We have no right to keep those species from glorifying God and conveying their message.

The original peoples teach us to contemplate and love, not just analyze and use, the region, and so appreciate its transcendent mystery.  Love can awaken interest and spur us to feel part of it, not just defend it; then the region will become like a mother.  Let's reawaken our God-given aesthetic and contemplative sense.  If we admire something beautiful, we won't want to abuse it.  If we commune with the forest, our voices will blend into a prayer.

God who created each being with love calls us to be his means for hearing the region's cry.  If we respond, we'll see our Father remembers its creatures; Jesus cries out to us from them, holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness.  Flowers and birds are imbued with his presence.  We encounter a space where God is revealed and summons his children. [III:53-57]

  • Creighton:  John the Baptist’s disciples ask Jesus about fasting, noticing that his disciples don't do the usual legal acts of holiness.  Jesus shares with them an image about a groom whose friends are happy till he leaves, when they grieve.  Holiness has to do with a relationship rather than legal practice; it's received, not achieved.  In addition to fasting from food and drink, what about fasting from self-negativity, spiritual inferiority, regret, past failures, disappointments, unhealthy competition and instead care for the lonely or lost, cure the broken and hurting, and being present and receptive to the inconvenient and awkward?  May we become more aware of who we are in the Church and become more intentional disciples who extend Christ's life, revealing him and his Spirit.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Growling stomachs, hungry minds":  Let's not spiritualize fasting and take away its essential material element.  Let us have both a natural and a spiritual Lent.  May our Lent be as physical as growling stomachs and hunger pangs and as spiritual as repentance, reconciliation, and commitment to the Lord.  May we "offer our bodies as a living sacrifice" and "be transformed by the renewal of our mind."
  • Passionist:  Lent challenges me to refresh my spirit so I may be an instrument of God’s peace and love.  Isaiah reminds us we are to help the poor, hungry, oppressed, homeless, naked, and all being victimized and treated unjustly.  Lent calls me to be present to the needy, pray with and for them, and try to relieve their suffering.  I believe we're also called to support programs that provide hope and comfort to the needy.  May we focus on the goodness around us and not succumb to ways that move us away from God.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "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).

  • Universalis:  St. Oswald, Benedictine monk, bishop, revived monastic life, celebrated liturgy well, loved the poor.

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' clip:  You won't spurn a contrite, humbled heart (psalm)
  • Blue shirt:  Wash me from my guilt (psalm)
  • Purple suspenders:  Lenten season

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