October 17, 2022

Ignatius of Antioch

October 17, 2022:  St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

In memory of Maria Trinidad Hernandez

See two dozen connections with today?
Legend below


For St. Ignatius of Antioch
For gospel

For Psalm 100


    More storage?
  • Eph 2:1-10  You were dead in your sins, following the wishes of the flesh like we did.  But God brought us to life with Christ and seated us in heaven to show his grace and kindness.  You've been saved through faith, not works; it's God's gift.  We're created in Christ for good works.
  • Ps 100:1b-5  "The Lord made us, we belong to him."  Sing to and serve the Lord God who made us.  He is good, kind, and faithful.
  • Lk 12:13-21 "Guard against greed; life isn't possessions.  Rich man without space to store harvest / God:  'I'll build larger barns to store my goods, then say, “You're set!"' / ‘Fool, tonight your life will be demanded of you.  Whose will your stuff be then?’  If you store treasure for yourself but aren't rich in what matters to God, it'll be like that for you."
  • Phil 3:17-4:1  Imitate me; stand firm.  We're citizens of heaven; Christ will change our body to conform with his.
  • Ps 34:2-9  "The Lord delivered me from all my fears."  Praise God always.  Look to him; be radiant.  He saved me, saves all who fear him.  Taste and see Lord's goodness; take refuge.
  • Jn 12:24-26  If a wheat grain dies, it produces fruit; otherwise it's just a grain.  If you love life, lose it.  To serve me, follow me; Father will honor you.
  • Creighton:  Grace is puzzling:  in a world that rewards merit, grace is gift.  God , rich in mercy, brought us to life with Christ.  We belong to him.  He so desires to be with us, made in his image, that he pours out grace.  May God's grace affect our relationships as we treat each other irrespective of merit. 
  • "Rich fool" parable
    One Bread, One Body"Live in your dignity":  Though we're created to know, love, and serve God, we tend to live at the level of the flesh, below our human dignity, denying that we're made in God's image, that God has exalted human dignity by becoming human, that God lives in us and we in him, that we've been bought at the price of Jesus' blood, and that we're destined to see and live with God forever.  May we, remembering we're saved, holy, royal, priestly, and precious, not compromise but rather live in the dignity of God's children.
  • Passionist The greedy are never satisfied and are isolated from others, blind to their suffering.  Their perception is warped, especially about what gives life. They ransack their own soul, then die without enjoying their fortune.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Storing up true riches":  Jesus saw that the inheritance dispute was greed, not fairness.  "Don't worship idols" and "Don't covet" are the flip side of "Love God" and "Love your neighbor."  Jesus warned the man who wanted half of his brother's inheritance to "beware of covetousness."  Coveting is wishing to get wrongfully what another possesses.  "Greed wants to divide; love wants to gather.  "Guard against greed" means 'fill yourselves with love....'  He said, 'Master, tell my brother to divide the inheritance'; we say, 'Master, tell my brother he may have my inheritance.'" (Augustine, Sermons 265.9)Jesus reinforces his point with a parable about a foolish rich man.  Jesus faults him for his egoism and selfishness; the parable is similar to that of the rich man and Lazarus.  The fool, consumed with possessions, had no concern for others.  In giving we receive.  What do I treasure?
    Universalis:  2nd bishop of Antioch after St. Peter; wrote letters about Christ, Church structure, and Christian life.  Arrested, sentenced to death, thrown to wild beasts in the arena; described soldiers escorting him as like “ten leopards, who when they are kindly treated only behave worse.”  See also New Advent.
    Today's patristic reading is the famous excerpt from his letter to the Romans; look below "I am God's wheat and shall be ground by the teeth of wild animals." Here's the context.
    Dress legend
    • 'Ruler' tie bar:  "You once followed the 'ruler' of the power of the air." (1st reading)
    • Flesh-colored suspenders:  We lived in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh (1st reading)
    • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  God, rich in mercy, brought us to life with Christ (1st reading)
    • 'Musical notes with "joy,"' 'car with mouth' pins:  Sing joyfully to the Lord (psalm); the Lord's praise shall be ever in my mouth; be radiant with joy (psalm memorial); You are my joy... (1st reading memorial)
      • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "We're God's people, the flock he tends" (psalm)
      • 'Money bag' tie pin:  Guard against greed (gospel)
      • '?' tie pin:  "What shall I do, for I don't have space?"  "To whom will your things belong when you die?"(gospel)
      • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "Eat, drink, and be merry" (gospel)
      • 'Cross' pin:  Many conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ (1st reading memorial)
      • 'Blood drop' pin:  God set Christ forth as an expiation by his blood (1st reading memorial); martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  My crown (1st reading memorial)
        • 'Eyeball' pin:  Observe those who thus conduct themselves like us (1st reading memorial); the Lord watches over the way of the just (psalm); see the Lord's goodness (psalm memorial)
        • 'Fruit' pin:  A wheat grain that dies produces much fruit (gospel memorial)
        • 'Angel' pin:  The angel of the Lord encamps around and delivers those who fear the Lord (psalm memorial)
        • 'Wheat' tie bar:  "I'll build larger barns to store my grain..." (gospel); a wheat grain that falls and dies produces much fruit (gospel memorial); St. Ignatius, wheat of Christ... (patristic reading)
          • 'Beasts' tie:  ...ground by wild beasts (patristic reading)
          • Red shirt:  Martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch

          June 23, 2022

          John the Baptist born

          June 23, 2022:  Nativity of St. John the Baptist

          See over 3 dozen connections with today?
          Legend below

          • John/ Winter (Medical Mission Sisters) (gospel) [leadsheet and note]
          Pope Francis

          To ROACO (Reunion of aid agencies for the Oriental Churches):  Thank you for caring for those suffering the conflict that has wounded Ethiopia.  Thanks to all who receive refugees from Ukraine, where we've returned to the drama of Cain and Abel, to which we're called to react via prayer and works of charity, so weapons give way to negotiations.  I have faith that pride and idolatry will be lowered, and desolation and tears filled, but we'd like to see Isaiah's prophecy of peace fulfilled soon.  But everything seems to be going in the opposite direction: less food, more weapons.  ROACO is synodal:  each actor is called to dialogue with the others.  Remain tuned to others.  Flee temptations of isolation to stay open to welcome all who serve the Eastern Catholic Churches.  In the poverty and discouragement caused by the war that prostrated Syria, ROACO listened to others to identify priorities.  There have been sad events in Iraq and Syria and upheavals in Lebanon, but also lights of hope, such as the signing of the Document on Human Fraternity.  Find updated tools and suitable ways to express closeness to the Churches and resume the work of coordination....

          To Anti-Mafia Investigation Directorate (DIA) and International Marian AcademyFraternal coexistence and friendship are possible where “houses” implement the pact between generations by preserving the roots of those who believe in the beauty of being together that develops in dialogue, kindness, and support for justice.  These houses make it possible to build a family open to the common good spreading a culture of legality, respect, and safety.  The DIA helps build houses that act antibodies to corruption, greed, and violence, the DNA of criminal organizations.  Mafias win when fear takes over the mind and heart, stripping people of their dignity and freedom from within.  Work so fear can't win:  continue on the path towards change, light amidst darkness, and freedom.  Be strong and bring hope, especially among the weakest.

          When security and legality are lacking, the most fragile and the "last" are harmed first:  the weak are preyed on and made into slaves mafia economies are built on, “refuse” the mafia need to pollute life and the environment.  Stand next to victims of bullying by preventing and opposing crime.  We must also resist Mafia colonialism through research, study, and formation attesting that progress springs from justice, freedom, honesty, and solidarity, not corruption.  Continue with enthusiasm despite shadows in the social and ecclesial fabric where there's still error and immorality.  Embark on the path of justice and honesty.  Where there's been connivance, study the causes, leave space for healthy "shame" and cooperation for the common good.  Stand beside people with tenderness and compassion; promote love for the people, their lives, and their future.  Love can generate new relationships and give birth to a more just order through houses and families enlivened by equality, justice, and fraternity.


          • Jer 1:4-10  Lord / Jeremiah:  "Before you were born, I formed and dedicated you and appointed you prophet." / “I'm too young!” / “Don't say that or be afraid; I'm with you.  You'll go where I send you and speak what I command.  I set you over nations to tear down and build."
          • Ps 71:1-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab, 17  "Since my mother’s womb, you have been my strength."  Hear, rescue, and deliver me; you're my hope and trust.  I'll declare your justice and salvation.
            • 1 Pt 1:8-12  Though you haven't seen Jesus, you love and believe in him and rejoice as you attain the salvation that prophets searched for and investigated...
            • Lk 1:5-17  Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous God's eyes but old and childless.  Angel to Zechariah:  “Your prayer has been heard.  Elizabeth will bear you a son; name him John.  Many will rejoice; he'll be great in God's sight, filled with the Spirit.  He'll turn children of Israel to the Lord and prepare a people fit for the Lord.
            • Is 49:1-6  The Lord called and formed me:  "You're my servant.  Through you Jacob and Israel will be gathered to me.  I'll make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth."
              "His name is John" (Animate)
            • Ps 139:1b-3, 13-15  "I praise you, for I am wonderfully made."  You've formed me and know me....
            • Acts 13:22-26  Paul:  “God raised up David as king and brought to Israel a savior, Jesus, from his descendants.  John heralded him by proclaiming a baptism of repentance, saying, ‘One is coming after me; I'm not worthy to unfasten his sandals.’  This word of salvation has been sent to you....”
              • Lk 1:57-66, 80  Elizabeth gave birth; her neighbors and relatives rejoiced.  They were going to name him Zechariah, but she said, “No:  John.” / “But none of your relatives has that name.”  They made signs asking his father; he wrote, “John,” all were amazed, his mouth was opened, he spoke blessing God, fear came upon the neighbors, and everyone talked about it:  “What will this child be?  God is with him."  The child grew and became strong in spirit...
              • Creighton:  Today we learn John got his name.  Imagine the friends and family gathering to celebrate his circumcision.  When Elizabeth announced the name John and Zechariah confirmed it, regained his speech, and praised God, all knew the baby was destined for great things.  I ask God to show me when I've been "stricken mute" by not putting my faith in God.  I pray for courage to speak up for the disenfranchised:  the poor, sick, incarcerated, homeless....  Thank God my family and friends surround and support me.
              • One Bread, One Body:  Many people, even Christians, aren't ready for Christ’s comings at Christmas, at the end of the world, or at their death. They need John the Baptist whose mission is to prepare the Lord's way by calling to repentance, turning fathers' hearts to their children and the rebellious to the wisdom of the just.  May we respond by repenting, forgiving, and changing our lives.
              • Passionist:  The circumstances around John the Baptist’s birth are remarkable. When Zechariah doubted the angel Gabriel when he said he and Elizabeth would have a child, he was struck mute until the child was circumcised. Elizabeth was thought barren, but for God nothing is impossible.  When Zechariah agreed with his wife that the baby would be named John, his tongue was freed, he praised God. and all asked, “What will this child be?”  Though our births may have ben unremarkable, the Lord's hand is with us too.  We may feel like Isaiah:  “I thought I'd toiled in vain....”  Did John feel like that in prison?  But even then, God is with us, and Isaiah realizes, “my reward is with the Lord....”  John testified to the truth about Jesus and was martyred, but his reward is with the Lord. Like him, we're called to testify to God’s love in Christ....
              • DailyScripture.net:  "The Lord's hand was with him":  Birthdays are a special time to remember and give thanks for the blessings that have come our way. Are yo"The hand of the Lord was with him":  John was named from above, and Elizabeth was determined to see God glorified through him.  'John' means "the Lord is gracious."  In the births of John and Jesus, God's grace breaks forth into a broken, hopeless world.  John’s miraculous birth shows God's mercy and favor in preparing his people for its Savior's coming.  John's passion was to point others to Christ and God's kingdom.  John was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb.  The Spirit in John made him the forerunner of the Messiah.  The Spirit led John into the wilderness to be tested and grow in the word of God.  John broke prophetic silence by speaking God's word, chiding God's people for their unfaithfulness, and trying to awaken repentance in them.  When God acts to save us, he fills us with his Spirit and makes our faith come alive.  The Lord is always ready to renew us in faith, hope, and love and to make our life an offering to God.
              • Universalis:  John the Baptist (the only saint other than Mary and Joseph to have more than one feast days), prophet from before his birth, leaping in the womb to announce Jesus, proclaimed the fulfillment of all prophecies, and so his own obsolescence.  With courage he spread the news that he was the least in the kingdom of heaven.
              Dress legend*
              • 'Playing card' tie bar:  Zechariah was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary (1st reading d)
              • 'Prize' pin:  My reward is with the Lord (1st reading d)
              • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Josiah (1st reading v); God raised up David as king (2nd reading d)
              • 'Car with mouth' tie pin:  The Lord touched Jeremiah's mouth and put his words in it (1st reading v); "my mouth will declare your justice" (psalm v); Zechariah's mouth was opened and tongue freed (gospel d)
              • '?'  tie pin: "What will this child be?" (gospel d)
              • 'Hand' tie pin:  The Lord extended his hand to Jeremiah (1st reading v); "rescue me from the hand of the wicked" (psalm v); "the hand of the Lord was with [John]" (gospel d)
              • 'Plant' pin:  "I set you... to build and to plant" (1st reading v)
              • 'Rock' tie pin:  The Lord, my rock and fortress (psalm v)
                The Birth of John the Baptist/ Tintoretto
              • 'Eyeball' pin:  I'm made glorious in the Lord's sight (1st reading d); Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God's eyes; John will be great in the sight of the Lord (gospel v); though you haven't seen Jesus, you love and believe in him,... (2nd reading v)
              • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  ...and rejoice with glorious joy (2nd reading v); many will rejoice at John's birth (gospel v); they rejoiced with Elizabeth (gospel d)
              • 'Angel' pin:  Things angels longed to look into (2nd reading v); an angel appeared and spoke to Zechariah (gospel v)
              • 'Arrow' tie bar:  "He made me a sharpened arrow" (1st reading d)
              • 'Heart' tie bar:  John will turn hearts (gospel v); "I've found David a man after my own heart" (2nd reading d); all who heard took it to heart (gospel d)
              • 'Phone' tie bar:  The Lord 'called' me from birth (1st reading d); they made signs, asking Zechariah what he wished the child to be called (gospel d)
              • 'Sword' tie pin:  The Lord made of me a sharp-edged sword (1st reading d)
              • Sandals (not shown):  "I'm not worthy to unfasten the sandals (2nd reading d)
              • 'Feet' pin:  ...of his feet" (2nd reading d)
              • 'Children around the world' tie, 'street light' tie bar:  John will turn the children of Israel to the Lord (gospel v); I set you over the nations (1st reading v); I'll make you a light to the nations that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (1st reading d); you knew me when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth (psalm d)
              • 'Tablet' pin:  Zechariah and Elizabeth observed the Lord's commandments (gospel v); Zechariah wrote "John is his name" on a tablet (gospel d)
              • White and red shirt, white socks, 'decapitated skeleton' tie pin:  White for today's celebration, red and pin for John's martyrdom
              • Celebrate teaching:  You have taught me from my youth (gospel v)
              • "Boundless mercy" button:  "John" is Hebrew for "God is merciful"; the Lord showed great mercy toward Elizabeth (gospel d)
              • 'Street light' tie bar:  I'll make you a light... (1st reading d)
              • Suspenders with globe:  ...to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (1st reading d); I was fashioned in the depths of the earth (psalm d)

              • 'Helm' tie pin:  John will 'turn' many to the Lord (gv)

              • 'Alps' pin:  These matters were discussed throughout the hill country (gospel d)
              *:  v=vigil reading, d=daytime reading

              June 22, 2022

              June 22

              June 22, 2022:  Wednesday, 12th week, Ordinary Time

              See 11 connections with today?
              Legend below

              Listen to settings of today's psalm

              General audience:   The waning of physical strength with age offers a chance to follow Christ a new way.  Peter’s relationship with Jesus was tender, direct, free, and open, but not melancholic.  Jesus asks Peter, "Do you love me?," and invites him, “Tend my sheep,” but they still argue.  Can we have tender, direct, free, and open relationships?  We can sugarcoat gospel truth, distancing ourselves from Jesus.  Jesus warns Peter that as he grows old, his testimony will be accompanied by weakness.  Jesus invites him to learn to bear witness in a new way.  Your frailty, helplessness, and dependence on others will have to instruct and mold your discipleship.  In old age we learn to bear witness in a life largely entrusted to others.  Old age is a time of trial and temptation; Peter points to this when he asks Jesus, "What about [John]?"  Jesus responds frankly, "What does it matter to you?  Follow me.’”  The elderly shouldn't envy the young.  The honor of their faithfulness to their love and fidelity to their faith is the title of admiration for generations to come and of recognition from the Lord.  Your forcibly inactive act of listening to, contemplating, and following the Lord will become the best part of your lives.

              At World Meeting of Families Festival of Families:  I'm close to all married couples and families in your concrete situations. Start from where you are, then try to journey together.  I want the Church to be a Good Samaritan for you all, to draw near to you and help you move forward. Every family has a mission to carry out, a testimony to give.  Ask the Lord what he wants to speak through your life to those you meet.  What step is he asking of your family?  Stop, listen, and allow the Lord to change you, so you can change the world and make it home for all who need to feel welcomed and accepted, for all who need to encounter Christ and know they're loved.

                • 2 Kgs 22:8-13; 23:1-3  High priest / scribe:  “I found the book of the law in the temple.”  When the king heard the contents, he commanded:  “Consult the Lord for me, for the people, for all Judah, about its stipulations; God is angry with us, because our ancestors didn't obey.”  He went to the temple with the people, had the book read out, and made a covenant before the Lord that they'd follow him.
                • Ps 119:33-37, 40  "Teach me the way of your decrees, O Lord."  Give me discernment, that I may keep your law with all my heart.  I long for your precepts; give me life.
                • Mt 7:15-20  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but are wolves underneath.  By their fruits you'll know them.  Good trees bear good fruit; rotten trees, bad fruit.  Every tree that doesn't bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
                • Mt 7:15-20  “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but are wolves underneath.  By their fruits you'll know them.  Good trees bear good fruit; rotten trees, bad fruit.  Every tree that doesn't bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
                • Creighton:  Josiah “did what was right in the Lord’s sight.”  He waged a campaign against idolatrous practices.  He ordered the restoration of the temple, leading to the discovery of a book of God’s law.  Hearing it read, he realized how Judah had strayed and decided to lead in a new direction.  He directed the High Priest to seek God’s guidance.  God spoke through Huldah:  Because Josiah’s heart was responsive and he had humbled himself, God postponed his punishment against Judah. The gospel warns against being tempted by false prophets, whose message is inconsistent with the greatest commandments (love of God and neighbor) or Jesus' "new commandment" (to love like Jesus).  Jesus tells us to look at their “fruits.”  Do my priorities distract me from loving God?  Do I care for others, or do I view God's gifts as mine?  Do I love God's children, or show prejudice?  Do I judge?  Do I listen to God, following Jesus' example and the Spirit's prompting?  May we humble ourselves, seek God, and respond like Josiah.
                • One Bread, One Body:  "Fruit inspection":  Many, even Christians, deny Jesus’ commands in the Sermon on the Mount, such as poverty of spirit and love of enemies. Jesus said: “Know them by their deeds.” Look at the fruit.  Not following God leads to broken lives, marriages, and hearts, war, and slavery, not love....
                • Passionist:  Imagine the fear of apostles walking unprotected through deserts, then seeking a receptive audience as enemies sought to trap them.  Beware of false prophets; judge from their fruits.  Lord, help us combat evil and flourish....
                • DailyScripture.net:  "You'll know them by their fruits":  Jesus' audience was familiar with his 'fruit-imagery.'   As berries on a thorn bush can resemble grapes and a flower can resemble a fig, what we "hear" might resemble the truth but actually be false.  Jesus connects good fruit with sound living.  Isaiah warned against falsehood; it produces 'Christianity' without the cross, Jesus' hard sayings, or a sense of sin.  We avoid falsehood by being true to God, his word, and his grace.  Disciples' fruit is marked by faith, hope, and love, justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance.
                    • 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
                      • Metal accessories:  "Your servants have smelted down the metals..." (1st reading)
                      • 'Heart' pin:  King made covenant that they'd follow the Lord with all their heart (1st reading); incline my heart to your decrees (psalm)
                      • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:  "Teach me the way of your decrees" (psalm)
                      • 'Eyeball' pin:  Turn away my eyes from seeing what is vain (psalm)
                      • 'Sheep' tie bar: “Beware false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing" (gospel)
                      • 'Chalice with grapes' tie pin: "Do people pick grapes from thornbushes?" (gospel)
                      • 'Fruits' tie: "By their fruits you will know them." (gospel)
                      • NEW 'Trees' suspenders: "Every good tree bears good fruit" (gospel)
                      • 'Blood drop' pin:  SS. Thomas More and John Fisher, martyrs
                      • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

                      June 21, 2022


                      June 21, 2022:  St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious

                      Can you find 20 connections with today?
                      Legend below


                      Pope Francis

                      To First Meeting of States Parties:  Since the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons went into effect last January, 65 states have signed on, but no nuclear-armed countries.  We need to remain aware of the dangers of short-sighted approaches to security and the risks of nuclear proliferation.  I renew my appeal to silence weapons and to negotiate to eliminate the causes of conflict. Peace and security must be universal; and that we must all be responsible for our brothers' and sisters' well-being.  A nuclear weapon-free world is necessary and possible.  Nuclear weapons are a costly and dangerous liability.  Their use, even their possession, is immoral.  Mutual deterrence poisons relationships and obstructs dialogue.  Using them is a repugnant form of blackmail.  Disarmament must be complete, reaching our very souls.  There's a global, pressing need for public and personal responsibility and examination of conscience.  Disarmament treaties are both legal obligations and moral commitments, rooted in the trust citizens put in their governments, with consequences for current and future generations.  Adherence to disarmament agreements is strength, not weakness.  Promote a culture of life and peace based on the dignity of the human person, aware that we're all brothers and sisters.  The Church remains irrevocably committed to promoting peace....

                      • 2 Kgs 19:9b-11, 14-21, 31-35a, 36  Sennacherib, king of Assyria, sent envoys to Hezekiah:  The kings of Assyria have doomed all other countries!  Will you be saved?’”  Hezekiah read the letter, then prayed, You alone are God.  Hear Sennacherib taunting you.  The kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and cast their gods into the fire because they were the work of human hands.  Save us from this man, that all may know you alone are God.”  Isaiah told him, “The Lord answers your prayer.  Out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant.  The king of Assyria won't reach this city.  I'll save this city....”  That night the Lord struck down 185,000 in the Assyrian camp, and Sennacherib went back home.
                      • Ps 48:2-4, 10-11  "God upholds his city for ever."  Great is the Lord and wholly to be praised.  We ponder Your mercy and justice.
                      • 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.”
                      • CreightonMatthew places Jesus as the new Moses.  The New Law is Jesus extending his teaching to be written in our hearts.  The first gospel image is taken from the practice of sacrificing sheep and goats in the "holy" temple, not throwing them to dogs and pigs.  The “road” and “narrow gate” is an image of the spiritual life.  The road leading to destruction is paved with self-expectations, self-satisfying, self-constructing. If it's all about me, that's all I get, isolated, leading to chaos.  Jesus' spirituality is centered in our being created in Christ, to continue creation within and through us, to be constantly created, to enter into relationships as a blessing of creation.  Life flows into us and out  as God's creative Love.  Spiritual life isn't just about my and self-improvement; prayer and sacraments prepare us to be a creational presence and gift from God to others.  The “narrow way” is counter-cultural.  We receive to live and give.  The more I say yes, the less I'm mine and more yours.
                      • One Bread, One Body:  King Sennacherib trusted in earthly power, particularly his army.  King Hezekiah trusted in God's power and protection, spreading out his problems before the Lord, surrendering all to God's mercy.  Many kings didn't trust God like he did.  Hezekiah entered “through the narrow gate”; God answered, “I've listened,” acted in power, and rescued Jerusalem.  Hezekiah came to the Lord, trusting in God's providence.  Prefiguring Jesus in the garden, he, holding nothing back, asked that God's will, not his, be done. Spread out your problems before the Lord, and pray....
                      • Passionist:  In Jesus' time, pearls were precious, and swine and wild dogs were regarded as unclean.  Holiness is faithfulness to God's love in our thought, word, and deed.  Jesus encourages us to stay away from spiritually or morally unclean things and be prudent stewards of God's gifts, including our health and wellness.  Today's gospel includes the golden rule.  God calls us to unconditional love.  Jesus’ use of the narrow gate is about making right choices.  What choices am I making?  How do I steward God’s gifts?  How do I live the golden rule?....
                      • 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) 
                        St. Aloysius Gonzaga and...
                        St. "Luigi"

                        Dress legend
                        • 'Crown' tie bar:  Kings Sennacherib and Hezekiah et al. (1st reading); Zion, city of the great King (psalm)
                        • 'Letter' tie bar:  Hezekiah took the letter... (1st reading)
                        • 'Hand' tie pin:  ...from the messengers' hand; the gods were the work of human hands,... (1st reading); Your hand is full... (psalm)
                        • 'Scales' brooch:  ...of justice (psalm)
                            • 'Wood block' and 'stone' tie pins:  Wood and stone (1st reading)
                            • 'Eyeball' pin:  Open your eyes, O Lord, and see!  (1st reading)
                            • 'Angel' pin:  The Angel of the Lord struck down 185,000... (1st reading)
                            • 'Arrow' pin:  He won't shoot an arrow at this city (1st reading)
                            • 'Alps' pin:  Survivors will come from Mount Zion (1st reading); The Lord's holy mountain... (psalm)
                            • 'Musical notes with "joy"' pin:  ...is the joy of all the earth (psalm)
                            • 'Boundless mercy' button:  God, we ponder your mercy (psalm)
                            • 'Castle' button:  God is with his city's castles (psalm)
                            • "Prayer:  the original wireless connection" T-shirt (faint under dress shirt; see here though mine has black text on grey background):  Hezekiah's prayer (1st reading)
                            • '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)
                            • Gold-colored accessories:  Golden rule (gospel)
                            • White shirt:  Liturgical color for St. Aloysius memorial