Saturday, October 20, 2018

Holy “Suffering Succotash” by Sam Miller

Holy “Suffering Succotash” by Sam Miller

The LORD was pleased to crush him in infirmity… Because of his affliction, he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. (Isaiah 53:10a &11)

Our soul waits for the LORD, who is our help and our shield. May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us who have put our hope in you. R. Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you. (Psalm 33:20, 22)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin. So, let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They said to him, "We can." Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized… whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:38b-39, 44-45)

May your kindness, O LORD, be upon me who have put my hope in you. May I be ever mindful of Your total understanding and empathy for all my weaknesses!

The image that instantly came to mind when I first read today’s Scripture passages was the cartoon character, Sylvester the Cat slobbering “Sufferin’ Succotash.” The accompanying thought: “This could get messy!”

I thank the Good Lord for refocusing me!! Instead of the suffering, it’s about the Suffering and Triumph of the Servant of the Lord (“…the sinless Servant, who by His voluntary suffering atones for the sins of His people, and saves them from just punishment at the hands of God. Only in Jesus Christ is the prophesy perfectly fulfilled.”[i]

Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten and Beloved Son of God, obediently paid my ransom. It’s not about me, it’s about God! Jesus lived life as a human, except for sin; said “Yes” to doing His Father’s will even when He asked that it could be different; and suffered more pain than I can ever, in this lifetime, imagine, to give His all! NOT to make me worthy but, through my Lord, that I may petition the Author of grace to receive His mercy, kindness, and grace for my life.

Dear Lord, help me to be a good and faithful servant. When I dare to complain, cause me to remember how totally You understand and are always leading the way through every difficulty and darkness in my life.

[i] Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, NAB, The Catholic Bible, Personal Study Edition 

May the Eyes of Your Hearts Be Enlightened

May the Eyes of Your Hearts Be Enlightened

Jesus said to his disciples: "I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. "Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.  Luke 12:8-10

May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and  dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21

The beauty and meaning of the Thanksgiving Prayer that Paul offers to the Ephesians help put the Good News into context. 

As we learn from the notes in the New American Bible and the text of the prayer itself, the devotion moves from God and Christ to the Ephesians and the church. Paul asks that the blessing imparted by God the Father to the Ephesians will be strengthened in them through the message of the gospel.  Then he delivers the key points: Those blessings are seen in the context of God’s might in establishing the sovereignty of Christ over all other creatures and in appointing him head of the church.

u8iPeople who have faith in that Church which Christ leads as the head get these blessings. Pretty powerful stuff.

While we think that all sins are forgive-able, there is one sin, sin against the Holy Spirit, that is not. What exactly is such an unforgivable act?

Blasphemy against the Spirit is the sin of attributing to Satan what is the work of the Spirit of God.  Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit commits an everlasting sin because it attributes to Satan, who is the power of evil, what is actually the work of the Holy Spirit, namely, victory over the demons as the head of the Church.

It is one thing to lack faith.  People can change.  However, if they give in to the power of Satan and deny the Spirit of God, there is no turning back.

Luke joins together sayings contrasting those whose focus and trust in life is on material possessions, (symbolized by the Parable of the Rich Fool) with those who recognize their complete dependence on God.  Radical detachment from material possessions in this world symbolizes their heavenly treasure. 

Our newest saint, St. Oscar Romero, is a prime role model for someone who
Illustration from The Atlantic article cited below.
turned his back on the powers of the world and trusted in God.

Romero did not start out as a reformer. Paul Elie writes in the Atlantic,[i] that when first appointed as a bishop, Romero "shifted the content of the weekly archdiocesan newspaper from calls for social justice to calls for personal improvement, honing in on drug use, promiscuity, and alcoholism." He criticized Jesuit priests in the region for promoting "political theology."

However, after his friend and former seminarian colleague, Fr. Rutilio Grande, a Jesuit, was killed for organizing sugarcane workers, Romero had a transformation. He more forcefully challenged unjust political structures and used the archdiocese's radio station to take on the regime. This new stance made conservative bishops in El Salvador and Vatican officials, including Pope John Paul II, nervous. His canonization process moved along at a painfully sluggish pace over the past three decades. Some church leaders worried that Romero's assassination made him a political martyr, rather than a martyr of the faith, a flawed argument given the archbishop was killed for applying the Gospel in light of the social realities around him as the Second Vatican Council instructed, and was literally gunned down in the most sacred of spaces.[ii]

“I implore you, I beg you, I order you, in the name of God: stop the repression!” He preached that on March 23, 1980.  The next day, Bishop-to-be Saint Romero was assassinated.

When the archbishop denounced the military government for its campaign of violence against its opponents—and called on soldiers carrying out the violence to disobey orders—some men in the military decided that it was time to kill him.

As John Gehring writes in NCR:
[St. Oscar] Romero's legacy challenges Christian leaders today to consider the costs of a transactional faith. If winning elections and holding on to power at all costs becomes the new orthodoxy, Christians trade away our most precious treasures at a cheap price. "A church that does not provoke any crisis, preach a Gospel that does not unsettle, or a word of God that does not touch the real sin of society, what kind of Gospel is that?" Romero once asked. It's an uncomfortable question more pastors need to be asking from their pulpits.  

How can the eyes of our hearts be enlightened like St. Oscar? How can we be faithful to the call of Jesus as the head of the Church and not seduced by the false prophets of power, wealth and the other sinful temptations of the world?

Friday, October 19, 2018

First Hope

First Hope

In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.  Ephesians 1:11-12

"Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.”  Luke 12:1

St. Paul addresses the Ephesians and counts himself among those “who first hoped.”  That reference probably includes the Jewish Christians (when contrasted with Eph 1:13, where Paul refers to “you, the Gentiles”). It also can include the people of Israel: “we who already enjoyed the hope of Christ,” or perhaps present hope in contrast to future redemption.

But the contrast sets up the dichotomy between those who believe in the redemption brought by Christ and those who do not.  This is then the reference in the Good News to the corruptive action of leaven.

Leavening flour with yeast was an apt symbol of the evil dispositions both of the Pharisees and of Herod toward Jesus. The disciples of Jesus are warned against sharing such rebellious attitudes toward Jesus.  “A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.”

Yeast, which induces fermentation, is a natural symbol for a source of corruption that becomes all-pervasive. Paul also addresses the theme this way to Corinth:
Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ has been sacrificed.  Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 COR 5:7-8

Therefore, our Communion feast is uncorrupted theologically as well as in the breaking of unleavened (uncorrupted) bread.

In the sacrifice of every Mass, we do not use regular bread.  No Wonder Bread.  No Pepperidge Farm Whole Wheat.  No Levy’s Jewish Rye.  We use bread baked without a leavening agent.

For Catholic Mass, bread has to be made from wheat and water with no yeast and no additional ingredients. I attended a small, Catholic college where students made the bread used at our campus ministry Mass. It added meaning that this was made by our hands and not from some outside source.  “What earth has given and human hands have made…”

The reason why Catholics celebrate an unleavened Eucharist is very simple. We just never changed it from the day of the last supper, the Passover Seder.  Jesus’ body is all the rising we need.

When you bake regular bread, you typically add yeast to help the dough ferment and rise.  It adds air and lightness.  Leaven also is something that makes a situation or mood less serious.  Leaven implies introducing something that enlivens, tempers, or markedly alters the total quality.  It modifies something or transforms it for the better.

Our word “leaven” comes from the Latin levare to raise.   Yeast helps the raising of the bread.  We don’t need any yeast at Mass.  We need it when we go into the world.  We have a simple machine called the lever. When else did we talk about a lever on your Cursillo weekend?  Palanca!  Palanca is the Spanish word for the lever.  Not only is prayer and sacrifice a Palanca or lever.  You are Palanca.  You are leaven (rhymes with heaven). When you “leaven” your environment with your action, you bring the church to life!

What “bad yeast” do we have to clear out to help us celebrate the feast? How will you team up to leaven your environments with Christ as your perfect partner, your first hope and your leaven -- not the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the world? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

“Laborers for the Kingdom” by Beth DeCristofaro

“Laborers for the Kingdom” by Beth DeCristofaro

At my first defense, no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. (2 Timothy 4:16-17)

The Lord Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so, ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. … Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.'
(Luke 10: 1-2, 8-9)

The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Tim 4:18)

Luke, the Evangelist, was of course also a doctor much as Paul was a net maker – both had “day jobs” but preaching was their vocation, mission, their focused life in Jesus the Christ. Knowing this makes me hear Jesus’ words about the labor for the harvest with new insight.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus told the Pharisees: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Mark 2:17) The footnote to the NAB explains that Jesus was pointing out to them that in their self-righteousness they could not hear nor respond to his invitation to repent and put their faith in the gospel.[i]

In today’s Gospel, two of Jesus’ primary instructions are to cure the sick and say to (people in the towns), The Kingdom of God is at hand for you. Not to stretch an image, but Jesus is offering health of body, soul, heart to a world lost and in pain. His directives tell us very succinctly how to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to tend to each other’s ills be they physical, mental, societal, geographical, emotional or negatively affect their lives in any way. And, at the same time, we are to offer the joy of the Kingdom to each other. Our service is not to be miserly or in order to earn recompense. Our ministry should be rooted in our role as one of the contemporary “seventy-two,” seeing Christ in the eyes of the Other.

This, of course, can’t be accomplished if relationships with our neighbor are inherently unequal. Paul indicated who deserted him and who sustained him – which of the early leaders was, indeed, his neighbor in Christ. Paul rebuked early Christian communities that set up caste systems designating who was invited into worship and meal while he held up as models those who sold their riches for the good of the community. Even in prison, Paul rejoiced in the new life with which Jesus endowed him upon his conversion. The joy of the Kingdom holds fast when one has childlike trust that God is good and loves us despite how inadequately we love our neighbor. And believe that God gives us another chance each day in our lives to proclaim 'The Kingdom of God is at hand for you (and me).'

Jesus’ words to Luke, had they met in person, might well have been “You have been a physician for men and women, come, follow me now and be a physician to souls.” What has Jesus asked of us? Am I just standing by, am I caring for my neighbor in Christ or am I deserting those whom I feel are not deserving?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Living in the Spirit or Enslaved to the Flesh? By Colleen O’Sullivan

Living in the Spirit or Enslaved to the Flesh? By Colleen O’Sullivan

If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law… Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5:18, 24-25)

The Lord said: "Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. (Luke 11:42)

As St. Ignatius of Antioch prayed to be transformed in martyrdom, so we pray to be transformed each day by living in your Spirit.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is speaking to a particular group of Pharisees, who, he says, observe the letter of the law, but demonstrate no knowledge of the love of God. The expectations they lay on the backs of God’s people are onerous and, at the same time, these religious leaders expect to be looked up to and honored. This is not God’s way. God loves us and seeks to make our burdens lighter, not more difficult. Jesus puts the love of God before the letter of the law here and in many other places throughout the Gospels.

Today the apostle Paul writes to the Galatians about the difference between living in the Spirit and having our actions flow forth from that loving relationship and being enslaved to the passions and desires of our flesh. No one could legislate the qualities that Paul says are the fruits of the Spirit; they flow from our hearts out of our relationship with God’s loving Spirit.

The world will be a kinder, gentler place by far if more of us abide in the Spirit. Instead, ever-increasing numbers of people are leaving churches, declaring themselves non-believers or even atheists. And even at our best, we Christians aren’t perfect, so we sometimes find ourselves at the mercy of our more earthly, fleshly desires.

Works of the Flesh
Outbursts of Fury
Acts of Selfishness
Occasions of Envy
Drinking Bouts

Fruits of the Spirit

Today we remember a first-century saint, St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was born after Jesus died, but while a few of the apostles may still have been alive. St. Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch, in Syria. He was seized and held as a prisoner for his faith during the persecution of the Roman Emperor Trajan. He was forced to march to Rome, where the fate that awaited him was being thrown to the lions in the Colosseum. That’s a long way to march as a prisoner, and I can’t imagine what thoughts would go through a person’s mind under those circumstances. On that death march, St. Ignatius, nevertheless, managed to write seven letters to various church communities and individuals. Love, kindness, and generosity, demonstrated by the very act of putting pen to paper and writing to his friends in Christ. Faithfulness to the Lord as seen in this one line from his Letter to the Romans: “I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ.”

The world would be a far better place if there were more people like St. Ignatius of Antioch, filled with thoughts of God and our brothers and sisters. When you look over St. Paul’s lists, where do you see yourself?

Monday, October 15, 2018

“Give Alms” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

“Give Alms” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

Let your mercy come to me, O Lord.  (Psalm 119:41a)

“Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside? But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” (Luke 10:41-42)

Lord, protect me from the human desire to submit to the yoke of slavery.
Image credit is: August Heinrich Mansfeld
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Alms, alms, alms. The word shows up 163 times at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ site…and just three times in the New Testament, one of them in today’s Gospel reading.

While the first image that may come to mind is providing funds to someone who’s destitute, almsgiving means much more than that. The USCCB site tells us it’s “donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls it “a witness to fraternal charity … a work of justice pleasing to God.”

So what does all that mean? That tithing to your parish or donating to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal or taking gently used items to Goodwill are all good things. But almsgiving doesn’t end there. People are poor in ways beyond their bank accounts. Fraternal charity includes all our brothers and sisters, not just those who frequent homeless shelters and food pantries; it includes people we are tempted to envy for their wealth and despise for their political views.

You see, giving alms is about surrender. It’s about not being careful as we select those with whom we share our witness, financially, emotionally, or otherwise. It’s about being consistent and non-discriminatory when it comes to those works of justice, whether or not we receive it in return on this earth. When we pick and choose to whom we reflect Christ in our daily encounters, we become dirtier and dirtier inside. We become slaves to our biases and self-interests. We turn over our freedom to evil without evil having to lift a finger.

Give alms to someone you find difficult to love.

“Where Is Your God?”

“Where Is Your God?”

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here. Luke 11:32

As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God? My tears have been my bread day and night, as they ask me every day, “Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:2-4)

With the canonization this weekend of five “new” saints, we can imagine in our human minds, St. Teresa (and all those in the litany of the saints) welcoming Paul, Oscar and the five other new saints to an exclusive club.  However, they have been saints since death…our earthly recognition comes long after they were elevated to such status on the Cloud of Witnesses.  

Teresa, Paul, Oscar, and all saints show the Children of God and the Church a way to achieve perfection.  “There is something greater” in the living examples of their lives.  As Pope Francis said in his homily, “All these saints, in different contexts, put today’s word into practice in their lives, without lukewarmness, without calculation, with the passion to risk everything and to leave it all.”[i]

Too often we submit to the yoke of slavery to the world’s expectations.
“…(O)ur heart is like a magnet: it lets itself be attracted by love, but it can cling to one master only and it must choose: either it will love God or it will love the world’s treasure (cf. Mt 6:24); either it will live for love or it will live for itself (cf. Mk 8:35). Let us ask ourselves where we are in our story of love with God. Do we content ourselves with a few commandments or do we follow Jesus as lovers, really prepared to leave behind something for him?”

Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus is radical.

“He gives all and he asks all: he gives a love that is total and asks for an undivided heart. Even today he gives himself to us as the living bread; can we give him crumbs in exchange? We cannot respond to him, who made himself our servant even going to the cross for us, only by observing some of the commandments. We cannot give him, who offers us eternal life, some odd moment of time. Jesus is not content with a “percentage of love”: we cannot love him twenty or fifty or sixty percent. It is either all or nothing.” (Pope Francis)

What yoke can you throw off today?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Jesus Looked at Him and Loved Him! By Wayne Miller

Jesus Looked at Him and Loved Him! By Wayne Miller


Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

“I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me " (Wisdom 7:7)

“…the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword...” (Hebrews 4:12)

“…Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." (Mark 10:20-21)

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."

Abba Father, thank you for looking at me and loving me!  Thank you for accepting my lame excuses for piety and relationship with you for so many years.  Thank you for continuing to send prophets and priests my way until I finally hear what you are saying to me and what it means to live every day in the Kingdom of Heaven with You.

For so many years I was such a “good guy” that I really had no need for a relationship with God through Jesus.  I was so “good” that theft or murder or adultery or lying never crossed my mind, and I always honored my father and mother. Why did I need a personal relationship with God? I was already sinless. And every time I read Mark 10 and watched the downcast young rich man turn away, I pitied him for his obsession with wealth, but never understood my obsession with my “goodness”. But years of “goodness” only left me more and more empty, the greater my accomplishments. Finally, one night while reflecting on scripture that some caring brothers suggested, I heard the voice of God speak directly to my heart in a way that I could not refute (see Revelations 3:15-17). For the first time in my very successful, “good” life, I knew that God knew me. And, although it was more threat than loving invitation, it was exactly the wake-up call that my “good” mind and heart needed to recognize that obsession with “wealth” comes in many forms and I was not immune. The one thing I was sure of was that I had no interest in being spewed out of anybody’s mouth, especially not God’s!

I know now that every shred of my life – every bit of professional acumen, every nickel I’ve ever accumulated, every square foot of my beautiful Virginia home and all the precious articles in it, every breath I’ve ever drawn – are my wealth and His Gift to me.  And I must be ready and absolutely willing to say “YES” to a completely irrational command to give it away.

I want to be ready to blurt out a resounding “YES” to any request that comes from the Loving Glance of Jesus. I felt that glance this week in the face of a young, inspired web developer who is working on an application to capture words and phrases of obscure, dying languages into a dictionary that can support the proliferation of sacred scripture to the ends of the earth. He did his best to explain the thousands of lines of code that make a cell phone screen come to life and allow a person on the other side of the world to collaborate in building the dictionary. I don’t remember anything of the complexities of that code, but I will forever treasure the joy and warmth of the young man’s love for Jesus that motivated every keystroke. Instead of spending his life grinding out the next “Black Ops” video game, he said “YES” to a magnificent journey applying the precious wealth given to him for the greater glory of God! He blessed me with a totally unexpected 3-and-a-half hour Closest-Moment on a cramped cross-country flight and reminded me again that God’s Love is alive and active in our world everywhere, every day.

Encounters like this encourage me every day to see whatever I am doing and whoever I am engaged with through the loving eyes of Jesus. Sometimes I have “wisdom” to offer. Sometimes, all I can give is admiration, encouragement, and sincere supporting prayer.

Next week I begin a new engagement supporting Navy headquarters in the never-ending challenge of crafting a budget that will support the world’s greatest Navy as it protects our precious freedoms. Pray that I can see every bit of the analysis that I do with the same loving glance that my young web-developer friend gives to his work. And may my loving presence help every one of those men and women know their precious, intrinsic worth in the midst of the everyday Pentagon chaos.

I am so thankful that I have a wife and trusted brothers that stand with me in this loving quest. Thank you all!

De Colores!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

“…And Observe It"

“…And Observe It"

Before faith came, we were held in custody under the law, confined for the faith that was to be revealed. Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian. For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:23-27

While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed." He replied, "Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." Luke 11:27-28

In today’s Gospel, we have to be careful not to over-connect the two sentences.  Let’s not interpret the new “be-attitude” as a rebuke of the mother of Jesus or of the woman in the crowd. They too are included in the blessing.  But Jesus extends that blessing to emphasize that attentiveness to God’s word is more important than merely a biological relationship to Jesus.

The operative word is “listen” – again that first word of the Benedictine Rule. This attentiveness to Jesus’ words and actions guide us to faith rather than following any set of prescribed rules.

Pope Francis reminds us that “Jesus isn’t interested in people’s opinion polls and gossip.”  At the September 16th Angelus, the Pope said, “Faith that is reduced to formulas is short-sighted.”

Paul adds a further argument in support of righteousness or justification by faith and through God’s promise rather than by works of the law.  We are children of God.  The teaching moment in Gal 3:23–25 is that since faith (Christianity) has come, we are no longer under the law. 

The notes in the New American Bible explain that the word used for “disciplinarian” was the Greek paidagōgos”.   This referred to a slave who escorted a child to school but did not teach or tutor; hence, a guardian or monitor but not a teacher.  In contrast to the child being escorted to school, with faith, we become daughters and sons of hope. 

Have you “have put on Christ” or are you putting him off?  The Baptismal imagery today remind us that we are baptized in the present moment to live out our faith.  However, the sacrament does not just mark us in church when we wear the baptismal gown, oils, water, and candle. We carry that garment forth into the world to do justice.
I wore my righteousness like a garment; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame was I. (Job 29:14-15

We may not be asked (as Blessed Oscar Romero was) to give up our lives for the faith.  However, tomorrow, as a reminder, Pope Francis will wear the blood-stained cincture (rope belt) of almost St. Oscar.  This is from the  March 24, 1980 assassination seeking to silence his message of solidarity with El Salvador’s poor and oppressed.

What will you put on for Christ?  How will you observe what you hear with your action?