January 15, 2022

Jan. 13

January 13, 2022:  Thursday, 1st week, Ordinary Time

See eight connections with today?
Legend below

Pope Francis

Vatican Media interview re
 Patris corde:  St. Joseph represents how we should be Christians. He became holy through what he had to face.  Events surrounding Jesus' birth were beset with obstacles, problems, persecution, and darkness.  Joseph defended, protected, and nourished Jesus and made him grow.  Joseph took on responsibilities in difficult times, listened to God, faced problems concretely, trusted God, and found creative solutions.  

In these pandemic times; people are suffering, families face difficulties, people are uncertain, anxious about death.  Joseph, a bright witness, encourages, helps, and inspires us, as we face dark moments.  We make room for him to find our way.

Each of us is a son or daughter, entrusted to someone who influences them.  New fathers want to treasure the good things and not repeat the mistakes.  Joseph's fatherhood influenced Jesus so much; look at the paternal imagery in his preaching.  Joseph was such a good father that Jesus found in his paternity such a beautiful reference to God.  Today’s children, tomorrow’s fathers, should decide what fathers they want to be, how to love, how to be responsible.

You speak of Joseph father in the shadows, present but letting the child grow freely.  Freedom is a beautiful aspect of love.  Love creates freedom; it shouldn't be possessive.  Joseph didn't possess, manipulate, or distract him.  Do we have that capacity to love?  Can we remove ourselves so our children can emerge?  Can we humbly step aside and be a reference point, not an obstacle?  Joseph knew how so Jesus could shine.

How can we strengthen the father-son relationship?  The Church is a loving, merciful, lifegiving, forgiving, reconciling Mother but should also be paternal, helping children assume responsibility, exercise freedom, make choices.  God's love heals, comforts, encourages, forgives, and spurs us to make decisions and go out.

Today many can't make big decisions.  Young people are afraid to choose and take risks.  Fear of consequences can paralyze us.  Good fathers don't say all will go well, but you can still live with dignity.  Mature people grow in character through weakness and failure..

Can priests be fathers?  They're not born fathers but have to learn, first by recognizing themselves as sons of God and the Church.  The Church is concrete, someone’s face.  We received our faith through a relationship, personal witness.  Are we grateful?  Can we distinguish what wasn't so good?  As good fathers help their children become themselves, make freedom possible, and spur them on, so too priests should show the way, provide interpretations, help discern.

How do we strengthen the spiritual dimension of paternity?  Spiritual paternity often arises from experience.  Spiritual fathers can share their personal experience.  Only then can they help.  There is a great urgency for meaningful relationships we call spiritual paternity, and spiritual maternity; the role of accompanying is not specifically male or of priests.  Many religious/consecrated women and lay men/women have experiences to share.  We need to rediscover spiritual relationships without confusing them with psychological or therapeutic paths.

What about parents without work?  I feel close to the families' suffering.  It's hard to be unable to feed your children.  My prayers, and the Church's support, are for these least ones, and families that flee war, are rejected at borders, or suffer injustice and aren't taken seriously.  They're heroes, risking their lives for love of family.  The suffering of Mary and Joseph, exiled because of Herod's violence, makes them close to those suffering such trials now.  May families turn to Joseph, who had such experience, and not feel alone.

To Catholic Action France:  
When disciples walked with Jesus, they recalled events they've experienced, recognized God's presence in them, and returned to Jerusalem to announce the resurrection.  Consider three stages:  See, judge, act:

Seeing is observing events that make up our lives, our history, our family, cultural, and Christian roots.  Fratelli tutti begins with the worrisome world situation; it's necessary to move forward.

Judging/discernment is when we allow ourselves to be questioned and challenged.  The key is Scripture, accepting that life is subject to the scrutiny of God's Word.  In the encounter among world events, our lives, and God's Word, we discern the Lord's appeals to us.  We need your contribution to the synodal process.  Synodality is a style to be adopted, with the Holy Spirit, who expresses himself in God's Word, as main protagonist.

Action should always have God's initiative.  We should support and encourage God's action in hearts, adapting to evolving reality.  Today people who attend Christian movements are more skeptical about institutions; they seek less demanding, more fleeting relationships.  Young people are more sensitive to affectivity, more vulnerable, more fragile, and less rooted in faith, but still generous and seeking meaning and truth.

Your mission has been to reach out to people as they are, to make them grow in the love of Christ and neighbor, and lead them to greater commitment, to be protagonists in their lives and the Church's, to change the world.

Vatican Integral Human Development conference on post-pandemicDraw on science and Gospel realism, in solidarity with the marginalized. Define success as how many people move out of poverty, not profits or expansion.  Make commitments so the economy serves people and Mother Earth, and everyone can help transform the world.  May we all accept the responsibility to prepare a different future.  "Business as usual" isn't working; we must find new paths toward radical, holistic, systemic change so we may care for the least among us, in peace with our planet.

Migration offers an opportunity for sustainable, inclusive growth, if governments help integrate migrants into society, and we opt for global governance of the flow, multilateral dialogue, coordinated response to emergencies, and intercultural, cohesive societies.  The economic model must move from exploiting people and planet to serving everyone and respecting ecological systems.  Reform requires peace, action (starting from listening and discernment and leading to visible results), words, interconnection, and concrete care.  We must change ourselves first.

  • 1 Sm 4:1-11  The Philistines defeated Israel in battle.  Israel's elders asked, “Why did the Lord allow this?  Let's fetch the ark of the Lord that it may save us.”  They brought the ark, and when it arrived, all Israel shouted.  When the Philistines heard the shouting and learned the ark had come, they were afraid:  “Gods have come to them.  Woe to us!  Who can deliver us from these gods that struck the Egyptians with plagues?  Take courage or else you'll become the Hebrews' slaves”  They defeated Israel, killed 30,000, and captured the ark.
  • Ps 44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25  "Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy."  You cast us off and let our foes drive us back.  Why do you forget our woe?
  • Mk 1:40-45  A leper knelt and begged Jesus, “If you wish, you can make me clean.”  Jesus, stretching out to touch him:  “I do; be made clean,” and he was cleansed. “Don't tell anyone.”  But he publicized the matter...
  • Creighton:  Healing Touch:  Mk records a succession of Jesus’ healings, accomplished in various ways.  No one who saw the cleansing could miss the significance of Jesus’ touch.  If you touched a leper, you were rendered unclean, quarantined.  Jesus ignored that in order to heal and show mercy.  His boldness invites us to trust boldly in his healing mercy and beg Jesus to touch the untouchable parts of our lives and world, where shame, fear, or burdens isolate us.  Offer him the places where we need him; he's ready to touch, love, and heal.
  • One Bread, One BodyDon't make matters worse:  When the Israelites lost to the Philistines, the elders asked why, but without waiting for God’s answer returned to battle and were routed.  When something bad happens to us, we too can ask why but before receiving God’s answer go on to do something to make matters worse.  Pain and disappointment stampede us into “doing our own thing” and multiplying evils.  “Don’t just sit there; do something”?  When bad things happen, reverse it: “Don’t just do something; sit there.”  When the Israelites lost at Ai, they asked God why but didn't go back till they received and acted on God's answer; then they won.  Keep evil to a minimum:  wait and listen to God.
  • Passionist:  Jesus was moved with pity, wanting healing for the leper.  'Pity' has been described as 'womb' (Heb. Rakhem).  He had an almost maternal desire for healing.  May we come to know Jesus as a loving, caring, humble friend.  May we look to his love, care, and will for our healing instead of getting drawn into chaos and strife. Lord, fill our hearts with your humility and give us peace...
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus can make me clean":  Unlike others who fled at the sight of a leper, Jesus touched the leper who approached him and made him clean.  Lepers were outcasts driven away and left on their own, shunned and regarded as dead.  Jewish law forbade anyone from approaching them.  But this leper approached Jesus confidently and humbly, expecting healing.  Normally a leper would be stoned or at least warded off if he approached a rabbi, but Jesus grants his request and demonstrates God's love, compassion, and tenderness through his touch, contact that would have been regarded as risking infection.  Jesus met the leper's misery with kindness, communicating God's love more eloquently than with words.  The Lord is always ready to show us his mercy and free us from whatever makes us unclean, unapproachable, or unloving towards others.  Do I show kindness and mercy to those who are hard to love, or whom others shun?"
Dress legend
  • '?' tie pin:  “Why has the Lord permitted us to be defeated...? “What can this loud shouting mean?” "Who can deliver us...?"  (1st reading)  Why do you hide your face...?  (psalm)
  • 'Car' pin:  You've let us be 'driven' back by our foes (psalm)
  • 'Boundless mercy' button:  "Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy" (psalm)
  • 'Wish bone' tie bar:  "If you wish, you can make me clean" (gospel)
  • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Jesus healed the leper (gospel)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Jesus stretched out his hand (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

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