Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

 Ignatian Spirituality: Set the World Ablaze

The Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time
February 26, 2017
Isaiah 49:14-15; Psalm 62; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34

            For many of us, we really do not trust God. Listen to the assurances we have from Scripture, but we still cannot believe in God’s word to us. Isaiah says of God: “Can a mother forget her child? Even if that is possible, God cannot forget you.” The Psalm reminds us that our soul can only find rest in God.  Paul implores us to be protectors of the mysteries of God and to suspend negative judgments we make of others, while the Gospel says, “Relax. God is in control. You are not. Diminish the drama in your life and let God’s life be shown through you.” It seems that with all the words reminding us of God’s favor, we still try to control what is simply beyond our grasp.

            We worry too much and let drama ruin our peace. In the confessional, I often hear of the anguish people hold onto because of a sin someone has committed against them and they are unable to adequately express their feelings. They have been stripped of their power to strike back at the person or to reconcile effectively. Instead, they plot and they rehearse how they intend to get the upper hand in the future. They spend far too much time of reliving the drama and feeling responsible for the sin done to them. They cannot express their anger to the person who is controlling them because of the unequal power dynamic in the relationship. Therefore, they stew, pout, gossip, and speak with bitterness. This is not the way forward. We have to stop and change our approach and we will do it if we really truly believe in God.

            What is one reason we do not trust God enough? We believe too firmly in our own power. We say: If I can only say the right words, if I can make the right actions, I will get control of the situation, or we say: If you only did what I asked you to do, we would not be in this mess. We need to trust less our own ability to get things right so we can trust God more fully. If I get out of the way, God can have room to act, but if I shut out God’s actions, how do I expect God to be operative? We cannot only give God a minor role while we try to control so many of the activities, but God patiently waits for us as we fill our time with far too many unnecessary activities. Let go a little bit so we can know of God’s presence.

            We need to value time better. We need to be patient. If something is bothering us today, will it be important to us in three years? If not, let it go. We do not have to engage every battle. Time takes care of a lot of our issues, so if we give the issues less energy, we will be happier. Consider, for instance, the tensions in our church and society. No matter what you do, your actions will not lessen the tensions. They have existed since the beginning of the church and they will continue well after we are long gone. Why do we care so much about it then? Recognize when you have power and use it well; recognize the times and places you do not have power and let it go. Solving the world’s problems does not rely upon our worry and anxiety. Our control is exerted in our own small corner of the world. Use your authority to bring about your own peace. Peace comes from God, and God wants you to enjoy it.

            Be like the lilies. They only soak in the goodness God offers. It is that simple. Faith in God will satisfy us, and developing faith takes time and a constant handing over of our cares and worries to the One who hears us. Seek God’s righteousness and God will provide. That’s it. Enjoy life more. Appreciate the goodness that is around you. Your serenity and your confidence will grow, and you find your trust in God has grown. Be at peace, my friends. Value your peace of mind and live in God’s tranquility.

Scripture for Daily Mass

First Reading: 
Monday: (Sirach 17) To the penitent, God provides a way back; God encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth.
Tuesday: (Sirach 35) The Lord is one who repays, and he will give back to you sevenfold, but offer no bribes. These he does not accept.
Wednesday: (Joel 2) Return to me with your whole heart with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Thursday: (Deuteronomy 30) I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments, you will live and grow numerous, and you will be blessed.  
Friday (Isaiah 58) Lift your voice like a trumpet. Here is how to fast: unbind the unjustly prisoned, set free the oppressed, share your bread, and clothe the naked.
Saturday (Isaiah 58) Remove oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech. If you give the hungry good and satisfy the afflicted, God’s light will shine upon you.

Monday: (Mark 10) Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? You lack one thing: God, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven.
Tuesday: (Mark 10) Peter said, “We have given up everything to follow you.” Anyone who has given up everything for my sake and the sake of the Gospel will receive the kingdom in full.
Wednesday (Matthew 6) Pray and give alms in secret and your Father, who sees everything in secret, will be the one to see you.
Thursday (Luke 9) The Son of Man must suffer greatly; If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  
Friday (Matthew 9) Why do John’s disciples fast and we do not? Do the guests mourn when the bridegroom is with them.  
Saturday (Luke 5) Jesus called Levi, the tax collector, to become a disciple. To answer protests, Jesus said, “I came to call the sick and the needy, not the righteous and strong.”

Saints of the Week

            February 28: Mardi Gras is your last chance to eat meat before Lent. This is the last day of Carnival (Carne- meat, Goodbye – vale). Say goodbye to meat as we begin the fasting practices tomorrow.

            March 1: Ash Wednesday is the customary beginning to the season of Lent. A penitential time marked by increased fasting, prayer and almsgiving, we begin our 40-day tradition of sacrifice as we walk the way of Jesus that ends at the Cross during Holy Week. Lent is a time of conversion, a time to deepen one’s relationship with Christ, for all roads lead to his Cross of Suffering and Glory.

March 1: Katherine Drexel (1858-1955) was from a wealthy Philadelphian banking family and she and her two sisters inherited a great sum of money when her parents died. She joined the Sisters of Mercy and wanted to found her own order called the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to work among the African and Native Americans. Her inheritance funded schools and missions throughout the South and on reservations. A heart attack in 1935 sent her into retirement.

This Week in Jesuit History

·      Feb 26, 1611. The death of Antonio Possevino, sent by Pope Gregory XIII on many important embassies to Sweden, Russia, Poland, and Germany. In addition to founding colleges and seminaries in Cracow, Olmutz, Prague, Braunsberg, and Vilna, he found time to write 24 books.
·      Feb 27, 1767. Charles III banished the Society from Spain and seized its property.
·      Feb 28, 1957. The Jesuit Volunteer Corps began.
·      Mar 1, 1549. At Gandia, the opening of a college of the Society founded by St Francis Borgia.
·      Mar 2, 1606. The martyrdom in the Tower of London of St Nicholas Owen, a brother nicknamed "Little John." For 26 years he constructed hiding places for priests in homes throughout England. Despite severe torture he never revealed the location of these safe places.
·      Mar 3, 1595. Clement VIII raised Fr. Robert Bellarmine to the Cardinalate, saying that the Church had not his equal in learning.

·      Mar 4, 1873. At Rome, the government officials presented themselves at the Professed House of the Gesu for the purpose of appropriating the greater part of the building.