June 29, 2021

Peter and Paul

June 29, 2021:  SS. Peter and Paul, Apostles

See over 50 connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis homily

Peter and Paul were free because they were set free.  Peter, the fisherman from Galilee, was set free from his sense of inadequacy and experience of failure, thanks to Jesus' unconditional love.  Peter tasted fear and thought of giving up when he saw he'd catch nothing.  Though a disciple of the Lord, he thought by worldly standards, so didn't understand and accept the meaning of Christ’s cross.  Even after saying he'd give his life for Jesus, the suspicion that he was one of his disciples led him to denial.  Jesus nonetheless loved him and was willing to take a risk on him, encouraging him not to give up, giving him the joy of becoming a fisher of men, and calling him to strengthen his brothers in faith.  That was possible only because Peter had been set free.

Paul also experienced the freedom Christ brought, freedom from slavery to self and from from religious fervor that had made him persecute Christians.  But God didn't spare him the hardships that rendered his mission more fruitful, so Paul came to realize God chose the weak to shame the strong.

The Church sees in Peter and Paul Apostles who set the Gospel's power free in our world because their encounter with Christ set them free.  Jesus shared their life, as ours, with affection and closeness.  The Lord has touched and freed us, but we need to be freed repeatedly; only a free Church is credible.  Peter and Paul show us a Church entrusted to us but guided by the Lord with love and fidelity, a weak Church that finds strength in God's presence, that offers freedom the world can't give:  freedom from sin, death, resignation, and dehumanizing injustice and despair.  In giving his life, Jesus becomes a means of bringing us freedom.  May all freed by Christ be apostles of freedom.

1st-century key for St. Peter (Animate)
  • Acts 3:1-10  Peter to cripple at Temple gate:  “I have neither silver nor gold, but I give you what I have:  in the name of Jesus, rise and walk.”  He leaped up and walked around,  praising God.  They recognized him as the beggar and were astonished.
  • Ps 19:2-5 "Their message goes out through all the earth."  The heavens declare God's glory...
  • Gal 1:11-20  The Gospel came through a revelation of Christ.  I tried to destroy the Church, but God revealed his Son to me...
  • Jn 21:15-19  Jesus/Peter, “Do you love me?” / “You know I do.” / “Feed my lambs....  Tend my sheep...  Feed my sheep...  Follow me.”
1st-century book and sword for St. Paul
  • Acts 12:1-11  The Church was praying for Peter, whom King Herod imprisoned.  Angel to Peter:  “Get up, put on your belt, sandals, and cloak, and follow me!”  His chains fell, he dressed, he followed him past the guards, the gate opened, they went, and the angel left.  Peter:  “Now I know the Lord rescued me.”
  • Ps 34:2-9  "The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him."  I'll always bless the Lord; let's extol him together.  He delivered me.  Look to him and be radiant.  When the poor one called out, he heard and saved him.  Taste and see how good the Lord is...
  • 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18  Paul:  I'm being poured out; I've competed well, finished the race, and kept the faith.  The Lord will award a crown to me and to all who have longed for him.  He gave me strength so through me all Gentiles might hear the proclamation.  The Lord will rescue me and bring me safe to his Kingdom.
  • Mt 16:13-19  Jesus / disciples, at Caesarea Philippi:  “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” / “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or a prophet.” / “Who do you say I am?” / Simon Peter:  “The Christ, Son of the living God.” / “Blessed are you, Simon; my Father revealed this to you.  You're Peter, and upon this rock I'll build my Church.  I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom; what you bind or loose shall be so in heaven.”
  • Commentary on Jesus' questions to Peter in the vigil gospel:  love vs. love....
  • About "binding and loosing" (daytime gospel, future perfect tense); it also includes exegetical links and online resources to compare and explore Bible texts
  • Creighton:  St. Augustine suggests that choosing one date to celebrate them, though they likely died on different days, honors their oneness in following Christ.  
The first reading tells us about Peter’s liberation from prison.  Herod was killing and jailing people associated with the Church to please his constituents, putting extra guards on Peter to make his captivity a spectacle, demonstrating his power.  Lacking moral compass, guided only by efforts to shore up his power by seeking others' approval from others.  People with no moral compass who pursue their will wind up empty and dissatisfied.  People-pleasing success is fleeting: Herod basked in the crowd's flattery, but then an angel struck him dead, and worms ate him.  We too seek approval and ignore the right thing, but truth exposes this weakness.  Humility and respect produce a better outcome than hubris. 

Paul's metaphor about finishing a race and receiving a crown resonates with those who have trained to compete, perhaps satisfied from a strong performance.  The crown is awarded to all who run well.  Paul remains confident, even though he senses that the end is near.  He didn't escape death, but the Lord rescued him and brought him to his Kingdom.  May we too hold on when tried. 

In the gospel Jesus promises to build his Church, which grows despite hardships.  Do we have a sense of wonder that the Church persists today?
St. Peter and St. Paul/ El Greco
  • One Bread, One Body:  How did Jesus intend to hand on the faith to future generations?  He chose a lowly fisherman to lead the Church.  Peter felt unworthy: "Leave me, Lord; I'm a sinner."
Paul also had a rocky start:  “I'm the least of the apostles;  because I persecuted the church, I don't deserve the name.” But Jesus said, “This man is the instrument I've chosen to bring My name to the Gentiles.”  If you’re feeling unworthy, join the club! We tend to place saints on a pedestal, but many have humble beginnings.  Look to Peter and Paul for inspiration; we're touched by grace like they were.
  • Passionist:  Peter and Paul recognized God had called them to be something greater, had courage to speak the truth Christ had spoken to them, endured hardship, and kept believing.  Even in prison Peter hoped in Christ; he listened and followed the angel, who had to wake him up.  If he was asleep, he wasn't afraid of the upcoming trial.  The passion he felt about Jesus must have grounded his hope and courage. He was open to the possibility Jesus was the Messiah and confirmed it when asked, “Who do you say that I am?”  Paul was also in prison, unafraid of death; he knew he'd completed what Christ had called him to do.  Once passionate about his Jewish faith to the point of persecuting Christians, he saw a flash of light, fell down, heard Jesus, and began to carry the gospel to the Gentiles.  He wasn't afraid to recognize and act on the truth in his heart.  May each of us have faith and hope in Christ and become something greater.  What is he calling you to?
  • DailyScripture.net:  "You are the Christ, Son of the living God":  Peter and Paul worked to spread the gospel to Israel and the nations, risking their lives and pouring out their blood in loyalty to Christ.  Peter recognized Jesus as the "anointed one" (Messiah, Christ) and Son of God; only God could have revealed this to him.  Jesus gave Peter authority to govern the church, giving him the name "rock" (Aramaic, Greek), a great compliment.  Rabbis said that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed:  "I've discovered a rock to found the world on."  Abraham put his trust in God and founded his faith and life on God's word; through him God established a nation.  Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus was.  The church, the people of God, is a spiritual house and temple of the Holy Spirit with members joined as living stones.  Faith in Christ makes us into spiritual stones.  "Who do you say I am?"
      • Peter put his foot in his mouth, panicked on the water, blundered after professing faith, refused to be washed, and betrayed his master.  Yet he was chosen as rock on which the Church is built over James, John, or financially savvy Judas.  The Church’s foundation-stone and first leader is not all-wise, all-knowing, good, heroic, and beautiful but an ordinary man; if he'd been great and noble hero, we could have despaired of becoming like him and told ourselves the Church is only for saints.  But the Church is for confused, impetuous, cowardly people like him and us; grace holds it together and helps it grow.  Grace taught Peter patience and forbearance and helped him bear witness when it counted.  Admire that grace and pray we may receive and use it too.
      • Paul:  Many don't find him attractive, saying he badgered people into submission or invented a Christianity worse than Christ's, but God needed and called him, and he said and did what God wanted.  Paul reminds people of his weakness.  May we love the Lord our God with heart, soul, mind, and strength as Paul did.
    Dress legend (d: daytime; v: vigil)
    • Watch (not visible):  Guards kept 'watch' on the prison (1st reading d); 3:00 (1st reading v)
    • 'Money' tie pin:  Beggar asked for alms (1st reading v)
    • 'Walker/runner' tie pin:  "I have finished the race" (2nd reading d); "in the name of Jesus, walk" (1st reading v)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  Peter's martyrdom; "flesh and blood didn't reveal this to you" (gospel d); "I didn't consult flesh and blood" (2nd reading v)
    • 'Hand' tie pin:  Herod laid hands on some Church members (1st reading d); the time of Paul's departure is at 'hand' (2nd reading d); Peter took the beggar by the hand,... (1st reading v); "you will stretch out your hands" (gospel v)
    • 'Feet' tie pin:  ...and his feet and ankles grew strong (1st reading v)
    • "JC" chain:  "You are the Christ" / "Follow me" (gospel d); God revealed his Son to me (2nd reading v); "follow me" (gospel v)
    • 'Sword' tie bar:  Herod had James killed by the sword (1st reading d)
    • 'Street light' tie bar:  Light shone in the cell (1st reading d)
    • Tie bar with descending chains:  Chains fell from Peter's wrists (1st reading d)
    • 'Angel' pin:  The angel of the Lord frees Peter from prison (1st reading d); "the angel of the Lord delivers those who fear him" (psalm d)
    • 'Wheat' pin:  It was the feast of Unleavened Bread (1st reading d)
    • 'Chalice' tie pin:  I am being poured out like a libation (2nd reading d)
    • 'Phone' tie bar"  God 'called' me through his grace (2nd reading v)
    • "Prayer, the original wireless connection" T-shirt (hard to see):  The Church was praying for Peter (2nd reading d)
    • 'Car with mouth' pin:  The Lord's praise shall be ever in my mouth (psalm d)
    • 'Musical notes with "joy" tie pin:  Look to the Lord and be radiant with joy (psalm d)
    • 'Clock' pin:  "I'll bless the Lord at all times" (psalm d)
    • Tie with globes:  Through all the earth their voice resounds (psalm v)
    • Belt and sandals (not shown):  “Put on your belt and your sandals.” (1st reading d) [call me a 'belt and suspenders man']
    • 'Caged lion' pin:  Cage for prison (1st reading d), lion for "I was rescued from the lion’s mouth." (2nd reading d)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  "The crown of righteousness awaits me" (2nd reading d)
    • '?' tie pin:  “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” / “Who do you say I am?” (gospel d)
    • 'Rock' tie pin:  "Upon this rock I will build my Church" (gospel d)
    • 'Keys' tie pins:  "I'll give you the keys to the Kingdom.” (gospel d)
    • Red shirt:  Color of the day, martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  Peter thought he was seeing a vision (1st reading); Taste and see the Lord's goodness (psalm d); Peter looked intently at the beggar (1st reading v); people saw the man walking (1st reading v)
    • Flesh-colored suspenders:  "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father" (gospel d); I didn't consult flesh and blood (2nd reading v)
    • 'Lamb' tie bar:  "Feed my lambs" (gospel v)
    • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "Tend my sheep" (gospel v)
    • 'Helm' tie pin:  Someone will lead you where you don't want to go (gospel v)
    • 'Heart' tie bar:  “Do you love me?” / "You know I do" (gospel v)

    June 22, 2021

    June 22

    June 22, 2021:  Tuesday, 12th week, Ordinary Time

    See 15 connections with today
    Legend below


    For Psalm 15
    • Gn 13:2, 5-18 Abram was rich in livestock, silver, and gold.  Lot also had flocks, herds, and tents, so the land couldn't support them bothAbram told Lot, “Let there be no strife between us or between our herdsmen.  Please separate from me; go the way you want, and I'll go the other.”  Lot chose the Jordan Plain, seeing how well watered it was, and they separated; Abram stayed in Canaan,while Lot pitched his tents near Sodom.   Sodom's inhabitants were wicked.  The Lord told Abram, “Look around; I'll give you and your descendants all the land you see.  I'll make your descendants too numerous to count.”  Abram settled at Hebron and built an altar to the Lord there.
    • Ps 15:2-4ab, 5  "He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord."  Those who walk blamelessly, think the truth, honor those who fear God, and don't slander, harm, take up reproach, lend at usury, or accept bribes will never be disturbed. 
    • Mt 7:6, 12-14  “Don't give what's holy to dogs, or your pearls to swine, lest they trample them then tear you to pieces.  Do to others what you'd have them do to you.  Enter through the narrow gate; many take the wide gate to destruction, but few find the narrow gate to life.”
    • Creighton:  As I meditate on Jesus’ admonition to do to others what we'd have them do to us, I think the contrary also applies:  we need to let others do for us what we'd happily do for them. I see Jesus telling us to support each other, and that’s harder than it seems.  When we deprive others of the joy of giving, we risk falling into the traps of martyrdom and victimhood that lead to resentment and guilt feelings.  Jesus wants us to form healthy relationships.  We need to play the roles of giver and receiver well.  When we give, we receive, but in receiving, we give others the chance to give....
    • One Bread, One Body:  Have you ever been tempted to toss your pearls before swine?  The point is not the pearls or the swine but the timing. Do I work at church when I should be home?  Am I sharing the Gospel with strangers but not my wife?  Is my timing off because I'm not obeying God?  We should be evangelizing whether we want to or not:  those closest to us, the hardest to talk to, those the Lord assigns to us.  We toss our pearls before swine when we do the “right” thing at the wrong time, to the wrong people, or in the wrong place.
    • Passionist:  False prophets are always the greatest threat to the Church and its teachings.  Their message is successfully propagated because people seek the path of least resistance. “Old time religion” is too confining and too hard!  People who want to do as they wish seek out beliefs that have no consequences nor demand effort.  Today false prophets promote secular humanism and the prosperity gospel, smugly assuming modern intellect is superior to what came before and abandoning spiritual writers and theologians.  Paul, recognizing this thought pattern, mocks these self-professed superiors:  “Professing to be wise, they become fools.”  They give rise to a system with no God where human value is recognized by adherence to the Golden Rule, not religious dogma or requirements.  We've been programmed to place our tribe's needs above others, to provide for ourselves and our loved ones without regard for others.  Charity, empathy and compassion have no place in a post-Christian world.  True prophets lead to our Father by word, and action.  False prophets promote the idea of a Universe without an uncreated creator.  Society accepts their secular thinking, but they must be identified and confronted, for their own benefit and for our world.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "Don't throw your pearls before swine":  Pearls were of great value, worn as jewels to make one appear more beautiful.  Holiness, likewise, is a jewel that radiates the beauty of God's truth and goodness through how we think, speak, act, and treat others.  The Talmud calls something that appears incongruous an "ear ring in a swine's snout"; Jesus' "pearls before swine" and "not giving dogs what is holy" expressions are similar.  Swine were considered unclean, and wild dogs were considered unfit for close contact.  Jesus’ concern is with keeping the faith and way of life God entrusted to us.  Before Communion the early church proclaimed:  Holy things to the holy, and the Didache  stated, "Only the baptized may eat or drink of your Eucharist; the Lord has said, 'Don't give what's holy to dogs.'"
    Jesus summed up and upgraded Old Testament law and prophets with the golden rule.  God's law of love requires more than not hurting others but rather seeking others' good and giving our best for them.  God's love fuels our love for others.  If we empty ourselves of what's unkind, unloving, and unforgiving, we'll have room for kindness, goodness, mercy, and charity.  May we love others and treat them like we want God to treat us.  Holy Spirit, transform my life with the fire of God's love.
    Jesus reinforced his lesson about choosing the way to peace with God with the illustration of a narrow gate opening to a life of security and happiness.  Psalms begins with an image of one who has chosen to follow the way of those obedient to God's word, not those who act contrary to it.  Our choices affect our lives.  Do my choices move me towards loving and following God?  "Let me love you, Lord, and see myself as I am, a pilgrim, a Christian called to respect and love all I touch....  Help me conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor.  Help me forget myself and reach out." (Clement XI) 
        • Thomas More, lawyer, reformer, author of Utopia, depicting a society regulated by natural virtues, impartial judge, martyr, “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”   “May we in heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation.”
        Prayer for enemies:  Almighty God, have mercy on ...., and on all that bear me evil will, and wish me harm, and their faults and mine by such tender, merciful means as your wisdom can devise; amend and redress and make us saved souls in heaven together, where we may live and love with you and your saints, for the passion of our sweet Savior Christ.  Lord, give me patience in tribulation and grace in everything, to conform my will to yours, that I may truly say, “Your will be done on earth as in heaven.”  Give me the grace to labor for what I pray for.  –St. Thomas More
          • John Fisher, bishop, martyr:  "I condemn no one's conscience: their conscience may save them, and mine must save me.  "We should remember... to treat opponents as if they were acting in good faith, even if they seem to us to be acting out of spite or self-interest."
          Dress legend
          • 'Cow' pin, silver- and gold-colored accessories:  Abram was very rich in livestock, silver, and gold (1st reading); golden rule (gospel)
          • 'Sheep' tie bar:  Lot had flocks (1st reading)
          • 'Scales' pin:  Do justice; live in the Lord's presence (psalm)
          • 'Walker' tie pin:  Those who walk blamelessly will never be disturbed (psalm)
          • 'Heart' tie bar:  Those who think the truth in their heart...
          • 'Car with mouth' pin:  ...and don't slander with their tongue will live in the Lord's presence (psalm)
          • 'Money bag' pin:  Those who don't lend at usury won't be disturbed (psalm)
          • 'Dogs' tie:  Don't give dogs what's holy... (gospel)
          • 'Pearl' tie pin:  ...or throw your pearls... (gospel)
          • 'Swine' suspenders:  ...before swine... (gospel)
          • 'Precious feet' pin:  ...lest they be trampled underfoot (gospel)
          • 'Blood drop' pin:  SS. Thomas More and John Fisher, martyrs
          • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

          June 21, 2021


          June 21, 2021:  St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

          See ten connections with today?
          Legend below


          For Psalm 33
          • Gn 12:1-9  Lord to Abram:  “Go to a land I'll show you.  I'll make of you a great nation and bless you; all shall find blessing in you.”  Abram went as the Lord directed him, with his wife, Sarai, his brother’s son, Lot, and their possessions, setting out for Canaan, where the Lord said, “To your descendants I'll give this land.” Abram built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him.
          • Ps 33:12-13, 18-20, 22  "Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own."  From heaven the Lord looks down and sees us all, to deliver and preserve us.  We wait for the Lord, our help and shield....
          • Mt 7:1-5  “Stop judging; you'll be judged as you judge.  Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye but not the beam in yours?  Hypocrite, remove the beam; then you'll see clearly to remove the splinter.”
          • Creighton:  In The Miracle Maker (1999), Jesus tells the splinter/beam story, one character pauses to remove an irritant from his eye while the other, carrying a beam over one shoulder, turning to help, swings the beam and knocks several things over.  Jesus and the crowd laugh as they picture the scene with the man who didn’t think to put down the beam first. The scene illustrates the potential destruction if I don’t recognize my blindness but also gives me permission to not take myself so seriously and so be open to learning and making amends when my blind spots are shown to me.  And the heavy, unwieldy beam causing the blindness is a lot of work to carry around!  Even if we're aware of the beam, we may not know how to set it down.  Until we can, may we be present and trust that God will help our friends with their splinters as God will help us set down our beams.
            • When you step away from the familiar, you allow God to become more familiar to you.
            • Before the Lord calls you, he's already prepared everything for you.
            • Often God doesn’t provide the grace till you step out in faith.
            • Don't worry about tomorrow; you have no idea about it.
            • What you give up for God’s sake and the Gospel will return to you a hundredfold.
            • Obeying God's call is about God blessing others through you.
            • Jesus is always with you.
            • Fear is useless; trust is needed.
            • God’s timing is better than ours.
            • In the Spirit is the necessary balance between stepping out in faith and being docile to "let it be done to you.
          • Passionist:  Why should God make a covenant with unknown Abram?  Scholars believe Abram was the first monotheist.  God promised him land, progeny, and blessings.  Faithfulness to God has its rewards.  Jesus and his audience knew rabbinical teaching laid down six works that brought a person credit:  study, visiting the sick, hospitality, prayer, educating children in the Law, and thinking the best of people.  Scripture scholar William Barclay gives three reasons not to judge:  we never know all the facts or the whole person, strict impartiality is practically impossible, and no one is good enough to pronounce judgment.  May we improve our faults and leave others' faults to God.
          • DailyScripture.net:  "Take the log out of your eye":  Think the best of others to grow in love.  We can't see people's inner motives and intentions and don't have all the facts, we're swayed by instinct, and we react unreasonably.
          "'Hypocrite,' pretender, is aptly used here, since denouncing evil is best viewed as a matter only for the upright.  We must avoid pretenders who under the guise of seeking advice censure, often moved by malice.  When you must reprove, proceed with discernment and caution.  If the fault is one you had but overcame, remember our common frailty so the correction and admonition will be with mercy.  If you've never had the fault, remember you could have.  If you have the fault, don't correct or rebuke, but bemoan your fault and induce the other to the same concern." (Augustine, Sermon on the Mount, paraphrased)
          How we treat others will return to us.  The Lord sees everything, even imperfections and sins we don't see, draws us to his mercy seat, and removes the sin.  Lord, purify my heart so I may have room for charity and forbearance.  "Give us the humility that realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, and accepts rebuke.  Help us praise not criticize, sympathize not discourage, build not destroy, and think of people at their best not their worst." (Barclay)
            St. Aloysius Gonzaga and...
            St. "Luigi"

            Dress legend
            • 'People' tie pin:  All communities of the earth shall find blessing in you (1st reading); blessed the people the Lord has chosen (psalm)
            • 'Clock' tie bar:  Our soul waits for the Lord (psalm)
            • 'Scales of justice' tie:  Stop judging, lest you be judged (gospel)
            • 'Rulers' suspenders:  The measure you measure will be measured out to you (gospel)
            • '?' tie pin: Jesus' questions:  "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye but not the beam in yours?  How can you say, ‘Let me remove that splinter’ while the beam is in your eye?  Can a blind person guide a blind person?  Won't both fall into a pit?" (gospel)
            • 'Eyeball' pin:  The Lord's eyes are on those who fear him (psalm); remove the beam from your eye (gospel)
            • 'Wood block' tie pin:  Splinter in my brother’s eye vs. beam in mine (gospel)
            • White shirt:  Liturgical color for St. Aloysius memorial

            June 18, 2021

            June 18

            June 18, 2021:  Friday, 11th week, Ordinary Time

            See about a dozen connections with today?
            Legend below


              • 2 Cor 11:18, 21-30  Since many boast, I will too.  Like others, I'm a descendant of Abraham and a minister of Christ, but with greater labors, more imprisonments, dangers, and brushes with death.  There's daily pressure on me; I'm anxious for all the churches.  I'll boast of things that show my weakness.
              • Ps 34:2-7  "From all their distress God rescues the just."  Glorify the Lord with me.  The Lord answered and delivered me.  Look to him and be radiant.  When the poor call, the Lord hears and saves.
              • Mt 6:19-23  “Don't store up treasures on earth, where they can be destroyed or stolen; store treasures in heaven where they're safe.  Where your treasure is, there will your heart be.  “The lamp of the body is the eye; if it's sound, your body will be filled with light, or else it'll be in darkness....
              • Creighton:  Paul calls the Corinthians to stay firm in his preaching, focusing on their relationship with God, not to letting themselves be swayed away from gospel teachings.  Paul boasts of how he's suffered for Christ in his ministry, enduring imprisonment, beatings, and hardships for the sake of Christ and the churches he led to the Gospel.  As Paul’s encourages us to hold onto the essentials, the gospel asks us to determine what our “treasure” is and so to find out whether our our heart is with God or only with ourselves.  We've all experienced  treasures during this pandemic.  Think of those who heroically gave themselves over to heal those hobbled even to death:  overworked healthcare personnel staying on task against crushing odds, people not able to visit and hold their sick loved ones.... 
              • One Bread, One Body:  Good eyes see what God wants them to see.  Selective, they don't look around aimlessly.  We close our eyes lest we look on evil; we must hold faith up as a shield lest we be wounded.  If our eyes and thoughts aren't directed to what's true, honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, praiseworthy, and deserving of respect, we'll be tempted to fall into sin.  “Where your treasure is, there is your heart.”  Jesus emphasized controlling our eyes:  “If your eye is your trouble, gouge it out; better to lose part of your body than to have it all cast into Gehenna”...
              • Passionist:  Things can control our life:  what we 'need' or want, what "makes life easier" or proves status, 'wealth,' or happiness, what fills our time, what we obsess over, worry about, or hoard.  But Jesus shows us God's way, opening us to the 'treasure' of living in his kingdom.  Pay attention to your longings and behaviors.  Don't collect pleasures that will wear out or be stolen.  Things need to be kept in perspective.  What do I really need?  What can I share?  What feeds my ego?  What opens my heart?  If the eye lets in light, what smudges do I need to wipe away to see more clearly what:  prejudice, bias, jealousy, self-centeredness...?  What keeps us from harmony with ourselves, others, and God?
              • DailyScripture.net:  Jesus offers treasure, but we need good vision to recognize it.  He contrasts material and spiritual wealth and urges his disciples to invest in wealth that lasts forever, heavenly treasure God protects, the treasure of God himself and his kingdom, available now.  May I direct my energy to obtain it by entering into deeper life with God, letting go of false treasure.  Blurred vision is a metaphor for moral and spiritual blindness.  My vision reflects not only how I see myself and the world but also my inner being and character.  Clouded vision distorts the light of God's truth.  Only Christ, Light of the World, can free us from spiritual darkness....
              Dress legend
              • 'Stone' tie pin:  "Once I was stoned" (1st reading)
              • 'Sailboat' tie bar:  "Three times I was shipwrecked" (1st reading)
              • 'Car with mouth' pin:  The Lord's praise shall ever be in my mouth (psalm)
              • 'Heart' tie bar:  Where your treasure is, there will your heart be.  (gospel)
              • 'Money bag' tie pin:  use your wealth for the common good (gospel)
              • 'Street lamp' tie bar:  Your body will be filled with light; "the lamp of the body..." (gospel)
                • 'Eyeball' pin:  "...is the eye." (gospel); look to the Lord... (psalm)
                • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  ...and be radiant with joy (psalm)
                • Suspenders with globe and dark background:  “Don't store up for yourselves treasures on earth"; if your eye is bad, your body will be in darkness (gospel)
                  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season