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Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’


John 8:1-11: Contemplating God’s Mercy

Sunday, August 27, 2017

“God is a riverbed of mercy that underlies all the flotsam and jetsam that flows over it and soon passes away. It is vast, silent, restful, and resourceful, and it receives and also releases all the comings and goings. It is awareness itself (as opposed to judgement), and awareness is not the same as ‘thinking’. It refuses to be pulled into the emotional and mental tugs-of-war that form most of human life. To look out from this untouchable silence is what we mean by contemplation”. (Rohr 187)

Richard Rohr, OFM, tells us that if there is one characteristic to assign to God, it is mercy. This life-giving quality of forgiveness, fidelity, and love is God’s signature characteristic. Rohr quotes St. Teresa of Ávila from her book THE INTERIOR CASTLE. “The soul is spacious, plentiful, and its amplitude is impossible to exaggerate . . . the sun her radiates to every part . . . and nothing can diminish its beauty”. Rohr continues, “This is your soul. It is God-in-you. This is your True Self”. (Rohr 187)

Pope Francis tells us that THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY in his signature work published in 2016.  He, like Rohr and St. Teresa, reminds us that in order to understand and experience mercy, we must first acknowledge that we are in need of mercy ourselves. Just as Jesus forgives the condemned woman in John 8, God wants to forgive each of us. Just as Jesus does not reproach the woman in John 8, God refuses to reproach each of us. Just as Jesus contemplates the possibility that God’s kingdom is now, God gives us the gift of mercy and insists that the kingdom is here.

“We live in a society that encourages us to discard the habit of recognizing and assuming our responsibilities: It is always others who make mistakes. It is always others who are immoral. It’s always someone else’s fault, never our own”. (Pope Francis, 2)

We live in a place and time when blame and fault are assigned, credit is taken, and deep divisions grow. We live in a place and time when mercy and love are needed, stories are believed, and bridges are built over deep chasms. St. Teresa, Rohr and Pope Francis tell us that God is a riverbed of mercy. They remind us that God’s generosity and love have no bounds. Once we begin to contemplate God as seen through the actions of Jesus, we know all of this to be true. Once we allow God’s Spirit to enter our lives, we allow ourselves to slide into the mighty flow of mercy that washes away all that separates us.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

Pope Francis, THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY: A Conversation with Andrea Tornielli

 

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Genesis 1: Re-Creation – The Earth

Easter Monday, April 17, 2017

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

Each time we plant flowers, weed vegetables, pick apples from a tree, we realize the bounty and goodness of God’s creation. Too often we are able to pretend that we do not offend Mother earth with our carelessness. In his encyclical, Laudato Sí or On Care of Our Common Home, Pope Francis makes a clear call to each of us to look to our interactions with our environment. In Chapter Two, The Gospel of Creation, Francis lays out a foundation of his premise, and then describes the mystery, the message, and the universal communion that is Mother Earth. We will be rewarded by new insights when we spend time with his words today.

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

Our modern world too often lives separately from Mother Earth. We do not see where our sewage goes; we do not see the landfills that pollute the earth that struggles to breath and thrive. We do not understand the demands our way of life make on the natural world. We are too easily lead into a life of separateness and alienation by the allure of technology and industry. Manufacture takes on more importance than the people who produce. Consumption becomes our focus. Relationships and connections languish.

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

On this Easter Monday, let us reflect on how we interact with Mother Earth, let us celebrate all she brings to us, and let us determine to care for her so that she may continue to love and nourish us all.

For a summary of Laudato Sí, visit: https://focusoncampus.org/content/summary-of-laudato-si-pope-francis-encyclical-on-the-environment-4b1db7f5-fca5-478c-bc8c-464174d9a07e 

To learn about Bolivia’s “Mother Earth Law,” the first on the planet, click on the images above, or visit: https://newearth.media/bolivia-passes-law-of-mother-earth/ 

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Matthew 5:13-16: Salt and Light – A Reprise

pope-francis

Pope Francis

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jesus tells us that we must be salt for the earth, adding flavor, bringing joy; and we are to share this salt of our faith with others.

Jesus tells us that we must be light for the world, slicing through the darkness, bringing hope; and we are to shine this light on the margins and into the corners.

To hear Pope Francis’ words on how we might be both salt and light, visit Vatican Radio at: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/06/07/pope_on_how_to_be_salt_of_the_earth_and_light_of_the_world/1235417

 

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2 Timothy 4: Sound Doctrine

Monday, April 18, 2016Carroll-PopeFrancisandHisImplicitRevolution-690

Recently Pope Francis shared thoughts on the family and the Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia); his thoughts drew both praise and scorn as we might imagine. Today as I read commentary, I am drawn back to a favorite reading from 2 Timothy. Thinking about sound doctrine, I found this reflection and post it today as a Favorite.

This reading has special meaning for me as it was the first reading at my Dad’s funeral, and my son Thomas was the lector. These verses embody, for me, the lessons I was taught by my parents – and it is my hope that my own children believe that I too, teach sound doctrine. I know that many times we have “itching ears,” that often we “heap up teachers according to our lusts,” and that we “turn away [our] hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables.” These are the struggles we have with the little messages that constantly bombard us in this world. But I hope and pray to “be watchful in all things, bear with tribulation patiently, work as a preacher of the gospel, fulfill [my] ministry.” Every day as my students pass before me, I try to keep these things in mind while I attempt to “fight the good fight.” In the end, the children are watching us as we watched our elders. I did not miss much as a child or as a student, neither do my children or the young scholars who come into my classroom each day. These children constantly call me to my vocation of listening, learning, teaching, watching, hoping, waiting, believing, seeking and loving.

Pope Francis calls us to sound doctrine not only in his letters but in his every action. I pray that my own life might be an example of such fidelity, authenticity, joy and love.

An interesting commentary on the Pope’s recent encyclical by James Carroll can be found at the NEW YORKER site at: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/new-morality-of-pope-francis-joy-of-love

To read the encyclical, go to: https://w2.vatican.va/content/dam/francesco/pdf/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20160319_amoris-laetitia_en.pdf

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James 2:1-4: Segregation

Wednesday, October 7, 2015Web_handsopen

James describes us to ourselves today and asks this question . . . haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?

As Christ moves and lives among the poor, he calls out to the influential and powerful to change the structures that force the innocent into cycles of lack and scarcity. We have an opportunity today to reflect on our own theology of poverty and when we listen to the words of Pope Francis on the 90 second audio clip from Vatican Radio, we have an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the Gospel. Listen at: http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/06/16/pope_francis_the_theology_of_poverty/1151901

To read about options for the poor and vulnerable, click on the image above or visit: http://www.mncc.org/advocacy-areas/option-for-the-poor-and-vulnerable/

 

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James 2:1-13Partiality

Tuesday, October 6, 2015Screen-Shot-2013-08-20-at-11.07.57-AM

The Letter of James is based on Old Testament prophetic and sapiential books along with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  His doctrinal message is strong: it is not enough to hear and to believe the message of the Christ . . . one must live it fully as well.  Today’s citation calls us to think about the times when we have been partial in our fervor, partial in our love for Christ Jesus.

One of the easiest ways to measure ourselves in terms of Gospel passion is to look at how we interact with the poor. Not only the fiscally poor can use our support but the poor in spirit, the poor in energy, the poor in cognitive ability, the poor who enter the world and appear to cope with it but who are beaten down by the demands of life. James explains that our lives are meant to be lived as an intentional devotion to Christ and his work.  In James’ times – and in our own relativistic society in which we are encouraged to feel good rather than do good – James gives us much to ponder.

Today’s citation asks us to reflect on the ways in which we cajole one another to abandon God with statements like:  Get a grip, It’s time to get real, When are you going to grow up,  Just cope, What’s the matter with you, Everybody does this so what are you upset about.  The world around us lures into living lives which lack a purity of purpose.

We can assuage our conscience by giving of self to the poor, by working to improve unjust systems . . . when all the while forgetting to tend to the everyday relationships of family, friends and colleagues.  James encourages us to be whole in our worship of Christ, to be as intentional in our actions as we are in our thoughts and prayers. James calls us to the greatest part of ourselves . . . the Christ which is in each of us. James calls us to union in and through and with Christ.

This alone ought to be our mission.

Adapted from a favorite written on October 21, 2008.

Click on the image above to explore quotes from Pope Francis about the poor, or visit: http://www.confrontglobalpoverty.org/our-faith-global-poverty/church-teachings/quotes-poverty-pope-francis/ 

 

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2 Kings 4:42-44: Some Left Over – Part I

Pope Francis kisses a child as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Francis kisses a child as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican June 5, 2013. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Sunday, August 2, 2015

When I was a child and company arrived unexpectedly on a warm summer afternoon, my mother would whisper to my older sisters, “Go peel another pound of potatoes, and squeeze more lemons for another batch of lemonade”. The main course would stretch, she knew; the other side dishes and desserts were ample. It was the sustaining starch and the refreshing fruit drink that our surprise summer visitors would need for their journey onward.

Each time I read about the manna and quail in the dessert I think of my mother and the trust she placed in God as she and my dad raised their large family in unpredictable times. And when I hear the story of Elisha read out during liturgy as it was last week, I pledge to affirm the faith of my parents, knowing that they understood the power of good stewardship and the gift of conserving what was left over.

“Wasting food is like stealing from the poor,” Pope Francis has told us, and it was is this spirit that I was raised. It is this spirit I have tried to pass on to my children and grandchildren. Offering food and drink to the wayfarer, my parents showed us, extending hospitality to all is a way of life worth fostering; it is a tradition we find in both the Old and New Testaments. Honoring the sudden guest is our affirmation that God always gives us enough. Inviting the lost into a safe refuge is our demonstration of belief in the mercy of God. Husbanding all that is left over is our response to God’s call that we treasure all we are given by a generous and loving God.

Over the next few days we will look at stories from scripture, both old and new, to explore God’s message about sustenance, hospitality, and something left over. Today, we read Pope Francis’ words about food and we use a search engine to find an agency that provides a means for the poor to gain a permanent food supply, and we consider giving something of our wealth left over – even if it is only a few barley loaves and fish – to this cause.

You might begin your search with these organizations, or you might conduct your own search of global or local agencies.

www.foodforthepoor.org, www.moveforhunger.org, www.feedthehungry.org, www.helpthechildren.org

If you still have no idea where to begin, consider food for the poor with the Forbes list of the 50 largest cities in the U.S.A. at http://www.forbes.com/companies/food-for-the-poor/ Or Feed the Future at www.feedthefuture.gov

Tomorrow, bread from heaven. 

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Mark 4:26-34: The Mystery of Kingdom – Part VII

Pope Francis: An audience with students

Pope Francis: An audience with students

Sunday, June 21, 2015

We have spent a week exploring a number of questions that many of us ask about the kingdom. Today we consider the kingdom as the infinite presence of God’s Spirit, and the fulfillment of God’s promise and covenant.

In the fall of 2013, Pope Francis, leader of the Roman Catholic Church, posited this idea about the kingdom Jesus describes. “Jesus says that the Kingdom of God does not come in a way that attracts attention: it comes by wisdom . . . This wisdom carries [men and women] forward,” he explained, “with this intelligent, holy, single, manifold and subtle spirit. This is journeying in life with this spirit,” underlined the Pope, “the spirit of God, which helps us to judge, to make decisions according to the heart of God. And this spirit gives us peace, always! It is the spirit of peace, the spirit of love, the spirit of fraternity.” (Pope Francis)

Next week we will return to our consideration of the mystery of God that we find in the gifts of free will, prayer, angels, the Temple, covenant and ministry. Each of these gifts brings us a unique challenge through which we grow, and through which we come closer to the kingdom Jesus describes. Today, we think about the kingdom we see around us with its complications of hunger, natural disaster, disease and scientific challenge. As we read Pope Francis’ words we consider, where is the wisdom that guides us in becoming one with others as we build the city of God?

If you want to find another parable that Jesus tells us while exploring the concept of wisdom, you may want to use a parable index like the one at http://www.ccel.org/contrib/exec_outlines/pa.htm This is a tool to sort through the stories Jesus tells us and you may have another that you want to recommend in a comment.

We may also want to re-visit the theme of climate change as the Pope addresses it in this article from the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33182065 Or we may want to read the English translation of his recent encyclical, Care for our Common Home or Laudato Siat: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

Or you may want to use the Connecting at Noon page on this blog for ideas about how to explore scripture as we listen for words from God: https://thenoontimes.com/connecting-at-noon/

Next week, the mysteries of the kingdom, and the wisdom of the Spirit that calls us to union in Christ, and unity in God’s kingdom.

For more on Pope Francis’ thoughts on wisdom and the kingdom, read Elise Harris’ article posted on November 14, 2013 by the CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY at: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-kingdom-of-god-comes-by-wisdom/

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Matthew 5:3 and Luke 6:20: The Poor in Body and Spirit02-sermon-on-the-mount-1800

Holy Monday, March 30, 2015

We have reflected on some of the many names of Jesus; we have considered how we name ourselves as his followers and how we find Christ within. Through this Holy Week we will examine the inverted nature of the Kingdom that Jesus calls each of us to join.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: When you are at your lowest ebb, consider that you have your greatest strength – in me. Consider that when you have nothing, you have all – in me. Also consider this . . . when you have an abundance of joy and a surfeit of goods, you do well to consider sharing them intentionally, thoughtfully and prudently with those who do not. Such is the nature of my kingdom.

Explore the preferential option for the poor as declared by Pope Francis at: http://ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/pope-francis or http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/pope-francis-admirable-war-poverty

To see a Beatitudes video, click on the image above or visit: https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/sermon-on-the-mount-the-beatitudes?lang=eng 

Ferenczy: The Sermon on the Mount

Ferenczy: The Sermon on the Mount

Then, explore options for improving the life of someone who is financially or spiritually poor, and offer God’s abundance as a healing, hope-filled action. 

Tomorrow, Mourning.

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