Friday, March 11, 2016

Liturgical Year C, Cycle II

First Reading: Wisdom 2:1, 12-22
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 34:17-21, 23
Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

The Sorrowful Mysteries

First Reading:  Wisdom 2:1, 12-22

For they have said, reasoning with themselves, but not right: The time of our life is short and tedious, and in the end of a man there is no remedy, and no man hath been known to have returned from hell:

12 Let us therefore lie in wait for the just, because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and divulgeth against us the sins of our way of life.

13 He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, and calleth himself the son of God.

14 He is become a censurer of our thoughts.

15 He is grievous unto us, even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, and his ways are very different.

16 We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and he preferreth the latter end of the just, and glorieth that he hath God for his father.

17 Let us see then if his words be true, and let us prove what shall happen to him, and we shall know what his end shall be.

18 For if he be the true son of God, he will defend him, and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies.

19 Let us examine him by outrages and tortures, that we may know his meekness and try his patience.

20 Let us condemn him to a most shameful death: for there shall be respect had unto him by his words.

21 These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them.

22 And they knew not the secrets of God, nor hoped for the wages of justice, nor esteemed the honour of holy souls.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 34:17-21, 23

Praise for Deliverance from Trouble

Of David, when he feigned madness before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away.

17 But the countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil things: to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

18 The just cried, and the Lord heard them: and delivered them out of all their troubles.

19 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart: and he will save the humble of spirit.

20 Many are the afflictions of the just; but out of them all will the Lord deliver them.

21 The Lord keepeth all their bones, not one of them shall be broken.

23 The Lord will redeem the souls of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall offend.

Gospel: John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

The Unbelief of Jesus’ Brothers

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.

2 Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.

10 But after his brethren were gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not openly, but, as it were, in secret.

25 Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this he whom they seek to kill?

26 And behold, he speaketh openly, and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth, that this is the Christ?

27 But we know this man, whence he is: but when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.

28 Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching, and saying: You both know me, and you know whence I am: and I am not come of myself; but he that sent me, is true, whom you know not.

29 I know him, because I am from him, and he hath sent me.

30 They sought therefore to apprehend him: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

 "His hour had not yet come"

What can hold us back from doing the will of God? Fear, especially the fear of death and the fear of losing the approval of others, can easily rob us of courage and the will to do what we know is right. Jesus met opposition and the threat of death with grace and determination to accomplish his Father's will. Jesus knew that his mission, his purpose in life, would entail sacrifice and suffering and culminate with death on the cross. But that would not be the end. His "hour" would crush defeat with victory over sin and Satan, condemnation with pardon and freedom, and death with glory and everlasting life. He willingly suffered for our sake and embraced the cross to redeem us from sin and to restore us to new life and friendship with God our Father.

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) wrote:

"Our Lord had the power to lay down his life and to take it up again. But we cannot choose how long we shall live, and death comes to us even against our will. Christ, by dying, has already overcome death. Our freedom from death comes only through his death. To save us Christ had no need of us. Yet without him we can do nothing. He gave himself to us as the vine to the branches; apart from him we cannot live."
No one can be indifferent with Jesus for very long. What he said and did - his miraculous signs and wonders - he did in the name of God. Jesus not only claimed to be the Messiah, God’s Anointed One - he claimed to be in a unique relationship of sonship with God the Father and to know him as no one else did. To the Jews this was utter blasphemy. The religious authorities did all they could to put a stop to Jesus because they could not accept his claims and the demands he made.

We  cannot be indifferent to the claims which Jesus makes on us. We are either for him or against him. There is no middle ground. We can try to mold the Lord Jesus to our own ideas and way of thinking or we can allow his word of truth to free us from our own sinful blindness, stubborn pride, and ignorance. Do you accept all that Jesus has taught and done for you with faith and reverence or with disbelief and contempt? The consequences are enormous, both in this life and in eternity.

"Eternal God, who are the light of the minds that know you, the joy of the hearts that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you; grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom, in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Prayer of Saint Augustine)

Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

The Unruly Heart of Peace

Their wickedness blinded them, and they knew not the hidden counsels of God. (Wisdom 2:21-22)

In today’s reading from Wisdom, we eavesdrop on a surly bunch.  They are not troubled by their wicked deeds.  They concede their corruption in a cynical way.  After all, this is how the world runs.  Get used to it.  But one guy will not sit at their table.  He does not play the game.  Without fear, he calls them out.  In his face they glimpse their diminished state.  Such clear vision is offensive.  He must be destroyed and all the rubbish about justice with him.  Let his God save him.

Righteousness can afflict us all.  We justify our lives by demonizing our opponents.  A demon is easier to wrestle than this shifting self of mine.  The Manichean mindset comes easily: in this corner is the good.  Over there is the evil.  And the battle ensues….But wait.  Do we line up behind two forces: the pure and the stained?  Everyone is tempted.  Nearly everyone falls.  Each saint is a sinner who finds his way home.  God persists.  Gradually these faulty notions are exposed and drop away.  A more peaceful way calls.  Real goodness with her crooked smile means more than the pure stuff.

A peaceful heart is not compliant.  Jesus shows us this other way.  Mainly we are guided by our fears.  If I am being hunted, I lay low and stay hidden.  Jesus is unruly.  He is not hobbled by his fears or cringing before authority.   Like Pope Francis speaking at the Mexican border, his words rattle the walls that divide us.  God hears the cries of the poor.  We too must listen.  And act on what the heart comes to understand.

Scripture says we do not live on bread alone.  What sustains us on this journey?  We need companions.  We ask for healing.  We seek light to grasp the tricky troubles of our world.  Pope Francis is sending 700 missionaries of mercy to bring comfort to the broken hearted.  Here is the call. 

 

by Jeanne Schuler
Creighton University's Philosophy Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

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