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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The Exploration by the People: The Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

                                                 The Exploration by the People:

The Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

February 12, 2023

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Sirach 15:15-20; Psalm 119; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5:17-37


          The Church continues with Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount account that provides an interpretation of God’s law that at times fulfill and other times supersedes the law of Moses. Jesus did not just want people to follow the law, but to understand the impulse and motivations behind the laws. By doing so, he provides a mature moral code by which a Christian is to live. St. Paul punctuates these statements by saying that “we speak to a wisdom to those who are mature.” We speak of God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden, and that the rulers of this world could not see.


          We need to continually assess our faith to make sure it is always maturing. Over the past four weeks, we’ve spoken about the liturgy since Vatican II and the presence of Christ in the parts of the Mass, and we saw that the Mass is an action of the People of God to which God the Father responds through Jesus Christ. We continue to mature by asking questions, by reading interpretations of Scripture, to examine the catechism we were given in grade and high school, and we need to make sure that our faith responds to the serious questions we have about life and death, morality, and our doctrines. You deserve better answers than the ones the church has historically given you. When the church cannot give a suitable rationale, the church cannot give an unsatisfactory pious explanation or just say, “it is a mystery.”


          The People of God needs to be able to do a critical self-review, which entails asking probing questions of the priest’s homily. In order to get satisfying answers, a Christian needs to diligently study the text and share experiences and thoughts with others who are doing adult education. Faith education is not just for the children, who have honest thoughtful questions. It behooves a believer to study the texts, especially in light of moral issues, and then to ask Jesus in prayer how we might read the laws with the goal of legislating mercy.


          What happens in life is that moral events collide with our limits, and that is the reason we pray. We pray when we are at the limits of our love and we experience powerlessness and we are not in control. This is often unsettling, and we know that this is the place where God’s reign can happen. We learn about suffering, about our constant dying and rising, about really being able to let go so that God has space to act alone, and it is within this realm that the reign of God can begin. 


          Vatican II calls for the full and active participation of the faithful in their Christian lives. It starts with our fundamental disposition and worldview about how I see myself as a member of the church. It makes me ask the question, “is the church a finished product? or it is one that continues to strive to seek the truth?” If it is the latter, then we have a lot of exploration to do together. We can do it through various ways, and this can be an engaged, intriguing process. It is what Jesus calls people to do on the Sermon on the Mount. What do you say? Would you like to do this together?


Scripture for Daily Mass


First Reading: 

Monday: (Genesis 4) The man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have produced a man with the help of the LORD.” Next she bore his brother Abel.


Tuesday: (Genesis 6) When the LORD saw how great was man's wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved.


Wednesday: (Genesis 8) At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark, and he sent out a raven, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.
It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth.


Thursday: (Genesis 9) “Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth. Dread fear of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered.


Friday (Genesis 11) The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words. While the people were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, "Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire."


Saturday (Hebrews 11) Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.



Monday: (Mark 8) He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.


Tuesday: (Mark 8) Jesus enjoined them, "Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread.


Wednesday (Mark 8) He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?” Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”


Thursday (Mark 8) Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.”


Friday (Mark 8) Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?


Saturday (Mark 9) Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.


Saints of the Week


February 13: 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.


February 14: Cyril, monk, and Methodius, bishop (Ninth Century), were brothers who were born in Thessalonica, Greece. They became missionaries after they ended careers in teaching and government work. They moved to Ukraine and Moravia, a place between the Byzantium and Germanic peoples. Cyril (Constantine) created Slavonic alphabet so the liturgy and scriptures could be available to them. Cyril died during a visit to Rome and Methodius became a bishop and returned to Moravia.


February 15: Claude La Colombiere, S.J., religious (1641-1682), was a Jesuit missionary, ascetical writer, and confessor to Margaret Mary Alocoque at the Visitation Convent at Paray La Monial. As a Jesuit, he vowed to live strictly according to the Jesuit Constitutions to achieve utmost perfection. Together, they began a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


February 17: The Seven Founders of the Servites (Thirteenth Century) were from Florence and they joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin, who were also known as Praisers. They devoted their apostolate to prayer and service and withdrew to a deserted mountain to build a church and hermitage. After adopting a rule and gaining recruits, they changed their name to the Servants of Mary. 


This Week in Jesuit History


  • February 12, 1564. Francis Borgia was appointed assistant for Spain and Portugal. 
  • February 13, 1787. In Milan, Fr. Rudjer Boskovic, an illustrious mathematician, scientist, and astronomer, died. At Paris he was appointed "Directeur de la Marine." 
  • February 14, 1769. At Cadiz, 241 Jesuits from Chile were put on board a Swedish vessel to be deported to Italy as exiles. 
  • February 15, 1732. Fr. Chamillard SJ, who had been reported by the Jansenists as having died a Jansenist and working miracles, suddenly appeared alive and well! 
  • February 16, 1776. At Rome, the Jesuit prisoners in Castel S Angelo were restored to liberty. Fr. Romberg, the German assistant, aged 80, expressed a wish to remain in prison. 
  • February 17, 1775. The French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Neapolitan Ambassadors in Rome intimate to the newly elected Pope Pius VI the will of their respective sovereigns that the Jesuits imprisoned in Castel S Angelo should not be released. 

February 18, 1595. St Robert Southwell, after two and a half years imprisonment in the tower, was removed to Newgate and there thrust into a dungeon known as "Limbo."

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