February 25, 2023

Feb. 25

February 25, 2023:  Saturday after Ash Wednesday

See 20 connections with today?
Legend below


For Psalm 86
    • Mighty Lord/ Foley [needs banjo]; use free Spotify login
Pope Francis

To Pontifical Universities Each of you belongs to a system of ecclesiastical studies linked to the Church's evangelizing mission.  Together you form a choir.  In the University, different perspectives express themselves in harmony, complement, correct, and balance each other (St. John Henry Newman).  Cultivate this harmony within yourselves, mind, heart, and hands.  The "intelligence of the hands" is the most sensory but not least important.   The hands are like the soul because of their power to distinguish and explore (Aristotle).  Jesus' hands touch bread and wine, body and blood; they give thanks, because they feel everything is a gift from the Father.  

Form this kind of choir in all your communities and institutions to lead to an effective, stable, and organic synergy between academic institutions, better to honor the purposes of each and foster the Church's mission.  Hope is a choral reality.  Renew your commitment to make a harmonious choir docile to the living action of the Spirit.

Opens Vatican judicial year:  Peace without justice is not true peace; it has no foundations or possibilities for a future.  The conflict in Ukraine, aggravated by other war outbreaks, has plunged the world into deep crisis and risk of self-destruction.  Christians are called to build peace and justice.  Every commitment to peace implies and requires commitment to justice, the virtue by which we give everyone what they're entitled to, indispensable for the correct functioning of common life and for everyone to live in peace.  Justice is a virtue cultivated through the personal conversion, and to be exercised together with prudence, fortitude, and temperance.

Vatican City State Tribunals operate in this perspective, settling civil and criminal cases.  In the recent financial criminal trials against Vatican officials, the concern isn't so much the trials themselves but rather the facts and criminal misconduct by Church members that have seriously harmed our effectiveness in reflecting God's light.  Vatican Justice is to find a balance between justice and mercy, assisted by rigorous discernment and recourse to equity.  Mercy and justice walk together towards the same goal; mercy is the fulfillment, not suspension, of justice.  The Church fulfills her mandate when bearing witness, in word and deed, to the mercy she's received.  The path of justice makes fraternity, where all are protected, especially the weakest, possible.

  • Is 58:9b-14  If you remove oppression... and satisfy the afflicted, the Lord will guide and renew you.  If you honor the sabbath, you'll delight in the Lord, and I'll nourish you.
  • Ps 86:1-6  "Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth."  Have mercy on me.  I lift my soul to you; gladden it.  Attend to my pleading.
  • Lk 5:27-32  Jesus to Levi:  “Follow me”; he left everything and followed.  He gave a banquet for him with tax collectors and others; Pharisees complained:  “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”  Jesus:  “The healthy don't need a doctor; just the sick.  I came to call sinners.”

  • Creighton:  In astonishing freedom, Levi left everything to follow Jesus.  Oh, to be such a dedicated and free disciple!  Have I left everything like him?  He hosted a lavish dinner for Jesus and introduced his friends to Jesus.  That sounds like someone whose life was radically reoriented toward God.  May we become more fully reoriented, approach to-dos as opportunities to encounter and love God, and release those who don't serve such a vision.  May we find more opportunities to encounter, love, and serve God, and like Levi to invite others into relationship with God.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Walking into glory":  Our Lenten journey's destination is Jesus’ Resurrection. When we meet the risen Christ, “light shall rise in the darkness, gloom shall become” like midday, "the Lord will guide” us and give us "plenty," ruins shall be rebuilt, we'll raise up the foundations, and they'll call us “repairer of the breach, restorer of ruined homesteads.”  Easter will be more than we could ever ask for or imagine.  Isaiah’s prophecies will be fulfilled.  Christ’s love and glory will be so greatly manifested that it would be too much for us if we hadn't prepared through repentance, fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.  Lent is so necessary because Easter is so great.
  • Passionist:  The Lenten message is simple but easily missed and quickly forgotten:  If we do good, seeking justice, we'll be renewed.  If we don't dance with evil, we'll find life and happiness.  Isaiah tells us that to shatter darkness and scatter sadness, we must confront evil and bring justice.  If we battle oppression, stop malicious speech, share what we have, and reach out to the afflicted, then light and life will come.  In the gospel, Jesus invites tax collector Levi to leave everything, to strike out on an uncharted path, and Levi does.  In a burst of freedom, Levi redefines himself as disciple.  To find new life, Levi has to reimagine not his life and identity, to think of himself as a disciple on a path to a different, promising way of life.  May we reimagine who we are and what we're up to.
  • DailyScripture.net:  "Jesus calls sinners to follow him":  When we bless others, especially those needing help, God blesses us.  The religious leaders were upset with Jesus' behavior towards public sinners.  Orthodox Jews avoided them, didn't do business with them, didn't give them anything.  Jesus' association with tax collectors and sinners shocked their sensibilities.  When they challenged him, he told them a doctor goes to the sick.  Jesus sought out those in greatest need.  Jesus came as Divine Physician and Good Shepherd to care for us and restore us.  The orthodox were so preoccupied, they neglected to help the people who needed it most.  Jesus came to call sinners, not the "righteous."  Ironically the orthodox were as needy as those they despised; all have sinned.  Thank God for his mercy; seek others' good.  "By 'follow' [Jesus] meant not so much the movement of feet as of the heart, carrying out a way of life.  One who says he lives in Christ ought to walk as Christ walked, not aim at earthly things or pursue perishable gains, but flee base praise, embrace contempt of all that is worldly for the sake of heavenly glory, do good to all, inflict injuries on no one, patiently suffer injury, ask God’s forgiveness for those who oppress, seek God's glory, and uphold what helps you love heavenly things.  In this way Matthew became a follower of One who had no riches. The Lord who outwardly called Matthew inwardly bestowed on him the gift of an invisible impulse so he could follow" (Bede the Venerable).
    Dress legend
    • Congress lanyards, St. Bede button:  2023 Religious Education Congress in progress; I'm attending and helping from St. Bede parish.
    • 'Feet' pin:  Hold back your foot from following your own pursuits (1st reading)
    • 'Wheat' tie bar:  If you give your bread to the hungry, remove oppression, and satisfy the afflicted,... (1st reading)
    • 'Street lamp' tie bar:  ...then light shall rise for you,... (1st reading)
    • 'Helm' tie pin:  ...and the Lord will guide you always... (1st reading)
    • 'Alps' pin:  ...and make you ride on the heights of the earth (1st reading)
    • Blue shirt:  If you remove oppression, share your bread, and satisfy the afflicted,... you'll be like a watered garden, a spring whose water never fails (1st reading)
    • 'Car with mouth' pin:  The mouth of the Lord has spoken (1st reading)
    • Suspenders with globe:  "I'll make you ride on the heights of the earth" (1st reading)
    • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  Have mercy on me, Lord,... (psalm)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  ...for I 'call' to you all day (psalm); I came to 'call' sinners (gospel)
    • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:  Teach me Your way,... (psalm)
    • 'Walker' tie pin:  ...that I may walk in Your truth (psalm)
    • 'Money bag' tie pin:  Jesus saw tax collector Levi; tax collectors at Levi's banquet (gospel)
    • "JC" chain:  "Follow me" (gospel)
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Levi gave a great banquet for Jesus... (gospel)
    • "?" pin:  "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" (gospel)
    • 'Doctor's office' tie:  Only the sick need a doctor (gospel)
    • Purple on cross:  Lent

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