Friday, December 30, 2016
+ On this Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I should like to focus on the person of St. Joseph. Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Child Jesus, next Friday we will celebrate the feast of Mary, the Mother of Jesus and of God, and so today it is fitting and proper to speak for a few moments on holy, just, good and faith-filled Joseph who was chosen by God to be the husband of Mary and foster-father of Jesus the Lord.
Joseph possessed all of the virtues of a true holy man of the faith of Abraham and the house of David. And his most outstanding virtue, along with faith, would have to be TRUST! Joseph trusted God absolutely, implicitly, unquestioningly and immediately!
In the gospel passage we hear that Joseph received news from an angel in a dream to take the child and his mother and flee into Egypt for the safety of the life of the child. Joseph did not have to question the angel at all; he awoke and did what the angel told him!
Then later, when it was safe, the prophecy: out of Egypt I called my son was fulfilled, when the angel again appeared to Joseph and told him to take his family and return to Nazareth in Galilee – to fulfill yet another prophecy: he shall be called a Nazorean – this Joseph did immediately!
It was then that Joseph became the strong earthly father figure for Jesus in his formative years in the home of Nazareth. He taught him his own carpentry trade. He with Mary taught Jesus to pray and to observe all of the dictates of the Jewish religion of which they were a part. His loving example of husband and foster-father is a great role model for all men who marry and have children. And the respect and submission that Mary and Jesus had to Joseph’s God-inspired leadership in their family was equally noteworthy.
Mary was the ideal mother and wife – who trusted God that all would work out well for her family! It would not be easy later on – but with the support of Joseph for a while, and the community of disciples of Jesus after that, she would have what she needed for the remainder of her earthly life. And it is to be noted that Jesus, as a child obeyed Joseph without question or argument!
May our family lives resemble Holy Family Life – with parents and children respecting and loving and anticipating one another in deeds of kindness and helpfulness. And may the dynamic of the marriage of Mary and Joseph, be the model for all Christian marriages – which were sanctified and sacramentalized by their own Son Jesus – where the husband cherishes and cares totally for the wife and children more easily, the more they each in turn trust in and submit to his prayer inspired, Spirit aided decisions for their welfare.
Let the peace of Christ control our hearts, all of us;
let the word of Christ dwell in us richly through FAITH and the TRUST
that St. Joseph inspires!
Thursday, December 29, 2016
+ The two beautiful Christmas Season readings “shine the light,” if you will, on the formula for life, the formula for peace that Jesus – Messiah and Lord – came to proclaim! “The light is love” proclaims St. John in the first reading today; and love is all inclusive, including all of our brothers and sisters of the human family, including even the most lost and errant among them.
It is only when we refuse to give up on them, and we “bathe them in the light of God’s mercy and love” with our prayers and best wishes that there can be any chance of peace on earth!
Beloved Simeon in the Gospel passage was granted his heart’s desire: to take in his arms the awesome promised Messiah and King – who is a light of revelation to all the nations and the glory of Israel! His promise is to us too: to reveal a right path for the tiny nations of our own lives, and to help us give glory to his Father and ours, in heaven!
And then there will be more peace on earth this day than less, because we have taken Jesus into our arms and into our hearts, and are part of the solution and formulation of his peace, rather than the problem and cause of discord behind blocking it from entry!
Glory to God in high heaven, and on earth peace to men, women and children who really try to get it right!
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
+ The Holy Innocents were the boy children of Bethlehem and its vicinity who were put to death not because of Christ, but instead of Christ: thus being the first New Testament persons to give their lives for him: thus making them the first martyrs of Christendom! All male children under the age of two were put to death when Herod became infuriated at being deceived by the Magi whom he sent to ascertain the whereabouts of the Child who was born King of the Jews: for he felt that his own throne was threatened by this newborn King. Anywhere from five to twenty-five children were taken from their mother’s and killed – in one account; but other accounts and observances from other rites in the Church list the number as 14,000 (in the Greek Liturgy for today), 64,000 in the Syrian Rite, and 144,000 of the Apocalyptic interpretation: [in any and every case] thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Jeremiah regarding “Rachel weeping for her children.”
The feast has been celebrated on this day in the West since the sixth century. They are depicted in art as children playing around God’s heavenly altar with the crowns and palms that are their reward. They are also in a mosaic arch in the basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. In England their feast was called Childermas. They are the object of special veneration in Bethlehem where the Franciscans and children of the choir visit their altar under the Church of the Nativity and sing a hymn to their memory from the Divine Office.
May we always remember the sacrifices that were made by many to establish to the one true Church of Jesus Christ, beginning with the glorious martyrdom of these dear young children; may our sacrifices today on behalf of the Church and its continued spread be significant and loving, and also deserving of heavenly reward.
Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare!
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
+ St John the Apostle and Evangelist was a son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of St James the Greater and a fisherman; he with his brother James were called the sons of thunder, due to the enthusiasm with which they approached the work of the apostolate when they were disciples of Jesus.
John was first a disciple of John the Baptist and then a friend of St. Peter. He was called by Jesus to be a disciple (and later Apostle) during the first year of his ministry, and traveled everywhere with him, becoming so close as to be known as the beloved disciple. He took part in the Last Supper, and the next day was the only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Savior in the hour of his Passion, standing at the foot of the cross, with Mary the Mother of Jesus, whom he received into his home at Jesus’ request.
Upon hearing of the resurrection, John was the first to reach the tomb; when he with the Eleven met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize him. During the era of the new Church, he worked in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. He wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and most likely the Book of Revelation. He was the last of the Twelve to die, as a special grace and favor of the Lord to whom he was indeed the beloved.
In fact, the Incarnation of God’s love found in Jesus was ever the theme of John’s entire life and preaching: when he was very old, and there were gatherings of Christians, John would simply say to them: “My little children, love one another.” John died in exile, most likely on the island of Patmos, the only Apostle not submitted to a martyr’s death: not that he was not willing, but by God’s favor.
May we today pray for the grace to understand fully the mystery of the Word-Made-Flesh, and the enormity of the Divine Love for all of Creation that is found in the manger of Bethlehem, a place which sang sweetly of the fact that now with the arrival of this Babe-Messiah, all is well, all is really well for those who want it to be: may our lives reflect the life of the one in whom we are indeed baptized and sent to tell the “good news” story of: Christ the Lord.
Rejoice in the Lord, you just.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
There are two great moments during the ordinary calendar year when all people, all nations and indeed all of creation “grinds to an amazing halt,” and for one brief, reverential, fearful, silent, awesome and wonderful moment “holds its breath!” It is undeniable, as most guardians of philosophies and theologies can tell you and it happens every year like clock-work.
The first of these moments we recall and celebrate right NOW. It is the proclamation of the good news, the greatest of all times, that God has broken into human history (and become one of us) – he has “pitched his tent among his people” – so that he could relate to them simply, directly, powerfully and personally this message: “I LOVE YOU” – so very, very much – LOVE ONE ANOTHER, THEN, as much!
I love you enough to reduce myself to the form of a tiny, weak and vulnerable baby, born in a stable in Bethlehem – because there was no room for him at the adjacent inn. The animals there gladly offered their house and were very proud and happy that Emmanuel (God-with-us) was born there – right where they ate supper – He who was to give himself as Food and Supper to everyone later on for their spiritual strength and comfort throughout life.
Yes, there is something radically different about Christmas Day – no matter who you are – you can just feel it.
The other moment during the year that causes all of the universe to hold its breath was the event at 3pm on a Friday afternoon in early April on a hill outside Jerusalem – Calvary they called it; for at that moment GOD’S VERY LOVE FOR ALL OF HUMANITY AND CREATION – MADE FLESH, JESUS CHRIST - DIED A HUMAN DEATH – a very real one – to save all of humanity and creation from its sins and failings – so that the great and necessary reconciliation between God and the world could finally be accomplished – so that the gates of heaven could be dramatically swung open once again to receive all of the faithful who love God and try to live how Jesus asked them to live. [These ways are kept in written form in a book called The Bible, for those who want to know what they are and who want to follow them.]
Yes, we cannot have “the crib without the cross.”
Perhaps each day this coming New Year we can pause for a moment, take a deep breath and thank God our Father for coming up with so marvelous and mysterious a plan, a way for us to have our sins forgiven, and to live with Him forever, and think of “the crib and cross” of Jesus his Son, our Brother, that made it all possible.
And into the darkness of the night came the Light of God’s love –
and God’s peace -
[Merry Christmas to all, and God’s richest blessings be upon you!]
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
+ Today we celebrate the feast of a remarkable man and servant of God. Ambrose of Milan was born of Roman nobility in Trier in 397, (two of his brothers were also saints: Marcellina and Satyrus). He was educated in the classics at Rome. He was a poet and a noted orator, a convert to Christianity and governor of Milan, Italy. When the bishop of Milan died, a dispute over his replacement led to violence. Ambrose intervened to calm both sides and impressed everyone involved so much that though he was still an unbaptized catechumen, he was chosen as the new bishop. His resistance, causing more violence, led to his assent, and on December 7, 374 he was baptized, ordained as a priest and consecrated as bishop. He immediately gave away his wealth to the Church and the poor, both for the good it did, and as an example to his flock.
Ambrose became a noted preacher and teacher, a Scripture scholar of renown, and a writer of liturgical hymns. He stood firm against paganism and Arianism. His preaching helped convert St. Augustine of Hippo, whom Ambrose baptized and brought into the Church. Ambrose’s preaching brought Emperor Theodosius to do public penance for his sins. He was proclaimed a great Doctor of the Latin Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1298. The title Honey Tongued Doctor was initially bestowed on Ambrose because of his speaking and preaching ability; this led to the use of a beehive and bees in his iconography, symbols which also indicate wisdom. He died on Holy Saturday, April 4, 397 at Milan, Italy, of natural causes.
In the gospel passage today Jesus is portrayed as the Good Shepherd, who would live and die for the welfare of the sheep of his flock; this very much characterized the life and ministry of one of the greatest bishops of the Church, Ambrose of Milan. He did everything he did for them and for their salvation; as did Jesus. St. Paul in the first reading reminds us how important it is for any and all of us to be open to the grace of God as it tries to communicate to us and through us the very reality and power of God in our lives, giving us boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him to the very mysteries of God. We are so very blessed; may we live like we deeply appreciate these blessings this day!
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Monday, December 5, 2016
+ Jesus heals the paralytic because he saw the faith of those who lowered him through the roof.
In their own hearts, they have seen “the glory of the Lord” and that is why they are so eager to make firm knees that are weak, and to say to their friend “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God.”
Advent calls us to be such a friend “for those with a journey to make.”
Let us remember now all those for whom we are praying with as much faith as we can muster – let us put it in the hands of God – and then wait for the answer that will surely come in God way and God’s time.
Friday, December 2, 2016
+ In a certain sense we are all like blind men crying, “Son of David have pity on us!” But from such faith erupts the making of all things new: the lowly find joy, the poor rejoice, tyrants are no more, the arrogant go away, the deaf hear, the lame leap like stags, and “out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind see.”
Faith is acknowledging the presence of Jesus who is always passing by. Immersed in Jesus’ newness, let us keep crying out his holy name in reverent, endless awe…Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
Our day will be filled with opportunities to announce this message of HOPE to everyone God puts in our path. We ask Blessed Mother Mary to lead us to those people and then for Jesus to minister to them through us.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power; he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
+ Jesus wants to be known. He rejoices that the wonders of God – hidden to so many – “are revealed to the childlike.”
Children yearn for the Father, whom the Son in Mary’s womb even now reveals.
“Blessed are the eyes that see” life this Advent way.
For one look at stumps, and roots, and wild animals – and every other unlikely thing – tells them that awesome miracles of grace of going to happen.
Another perspective to keep in mind is that we can see and sense the beautiful plant and shrub that is taking root in us and sprouting forth – like the stump of Jesse’s tree – in our hearts and minds – as they are being visited by the Most Blessed Trinity, as was Mary, the Mother of God.
Every day when we water our souls with prayer, praise and acts of service to the poor, suffering and needy – a little growth, a little change takes place – and we become more the person, the trusting, loving child, that God intended us to be all along.
He offers helps and aids at every turn – if we but look with the eyes and ears of faith!
Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever – and this will happen in our own lives this very day!
Monday, November 28, 2016
+ We keep our focus on rejoicing during the Advent Season: rejoicing because we are indeed proceeding post haste to the house of the Lord.
The Prophet Isaiah tells us of the splendor that will be awaiting the survivors of the great Day, the great Test, the great challenge.
Yet, through it all the Lord God will be present and make himself known in a thousand different ways during the day: all emanating from the root and source of his glory – his light – his guidance – his providence!
We shall indeed be protection from the heat of the day, and shall have a cover for the storm and the rains of life that are inevitable right up to the very end.
Come and save us, Lord our God; let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.
In the gospel passage Jesus marvels at the FAITH of a pagan Roman centurion. And he grants his request for healing. May our requests be granted as well because we ask ever for an increase of faith.
None are worthy to have the Lord enter under our roofs – the roofs of the Temples of our Hearts – except those who cry out in their BELIEF – COME LORD JESUS, COME HOLY SPIRIT – fill me and my loved ones with HEALTH, HEALING AND HAPPINESS. The Lord makes us worthy.
And our Holy Communion with him at this and every Mass seals the deal!
We thank him for such a marvelous and mysterious dynamic that is fanned into flame in our hearts every day at Mass.
Through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary – from whom all graces flow – especially under the title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – whose promoter, St. Catherine Laboure (Daughter of Charity) we celebrate today.
O Mary, conceived without sin – pray for us – intercede for us – grant our requests – who have recourse to you.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
1st Sunday of Advent – November 27, 2016
I The Lord will father all nations into the eternal peace of the kingdom of God.
R –Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
II – Our salvation is nearer.
A – Show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation.
G –Stay awake, that you may be prepared.
+ As the first word of Advent, Christ warns us, “Stay awake! You must be prepared.” This is not an off the cuff remark, but a deadly serious exhortation.
The impervious, unprepared people “in the days of Noah” were distracted by their “eating and drinking,” and various other sundry activities, to the imminent flood.
In what, then, does this Advent preparation consist? Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ through FAITH!
“Faith is…a liberation of my I from its preoccupation with self, a liberation that sets me free to respond to the Father, to speak the Yes of love that sets me free to say Yes to being…
Faith is… a breaking out of the isolation that is the malady of my I.
The act of faith is… a breaking open of the door of my subjectivity” (Pope Benedict XVI).
“Come, let us comb the Lord’s mountain, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.
LET US WALK IN THE LIGHT OF THE LORD.
As the Christmas, preparatory lights, sights, sounds and aromas of the Season begin to manifest themselves – let us welcome them as a timely aid in shortening the natural depressive time of cold, dark, days, and fill them with the ever strengthening, comforting and guiding Light of Christ himself.
And then, taking that Light into ourselves – let us be light for others -as we encounter them one by one throughout the day.
Show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation!
Thursday, November 24, 2016
+ Our responsorial refrain cries out today: Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb. On this Thanksgiving Day, 2016, we are called to reflect on the life of blessing that we do enjoy – being the recipient of God’s manifold gifts and graces.
Absolutely everything we are and have come from Him, are sustained by Him, and are directed to Him.
This is the priority that we must keep: we are all called to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb in the new heaven. Everything we think, say and do each day, must someway, somehow directed to that end.
Our forefathers were grounded in faith, and it was the steering factor, the great anchor for all they accomplished and planned for themselves and for future generations. Without God, without the aid of his Blessed Mother Mary, who is the Patroness of these United States – we are doomed to failure and devastation; but with them we set a course for true prosperity and greatness: here and hereafter.
And so, we are most grateful today for our FAITH, for the HOPE engendered by it, and by selfless acts of human helpfulness and LOVE – especially to the most wayward and forgotten, poor and lonely – which demonstrate it.
When the days of tribulation arrive and the signs begin to happen – let us stand erect with joyful, grateful hearts, raise our eyes to the Cross of Christ manifest in the skies and welcome the New Day which is full of promise, peace and prosperity beyond our wildest imaginings.
Our redemption is close at hand, and we are glad!
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
+ Today in the first reading we hear the magnificent song of Moses: “Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations, Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.
It seems imminent now that the nations of the world will at last encounter the true regent, the true Lord, the true Monarch of the ages – who has been ruling all along in authentic and genuine authority.
The great line of validly elected and installed kings, presidents and prime ministers witness to the fact that there is a channel of power emanating from the One Supernatural Source: The Father’s Will, through the Son’s Obedience, in the Spirit’s power.
It seems as though now there is, though not the first time, an anonymalous regent poised to take prime place in world politics – and this time – because the stakes are so high – global security, peace and truth – God will no doubt intervene in an unmistakable way. The presidency of the United States will not take down the rest of the world in a stolen act of PRIDE and PREJUDICE.
Truth and Justice will reign at last – in the Person of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
For this we are eternally grateful at this Giving Thanks Time of Year.
It is time now to stand up behind the Banner of Christ – and march with him across the Bridge to the Kingdom! And the gospel passage reminds us very starkly that this army of Christ will be seized and persecuted; families will be in turmoil, hatred will be fierce for those fighting with Christ BUT BY OUR PERSEVERANCE we will secure our lives.
May the Body and Blood of Christ the Babe and King, we consume at this Mass, be indeed the daily bread, strength, rock, fortress and comfort that we need to ENDURE BRAVELY UNTIL THE END.
And may the weapon of the Rosary of our Dear Blessed Mother who is now weeping copious amounts of tears for those who are headed for destruction: though it is never too late to repent until our last breath. May we consecrate ourselves to her all the more and work for her, for the salvation of the world.
Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
+ Today we celebrate the feast of St. Cecilia who was born in the middle of the second century. She gave God a gift of virginity (even though she became married due to circumstances beyond her control), and God gave her the gift of martyrdom, the most sublime gift he could give in return. In the estimation of the early Church she was therefore considered doubly blessed with two very powerful expressions of love of God!
Martyrdom, of course, was seen as a tremendous gift from God – because the one called to be a martyr engaged in sufferings equal to that of Christ: they truly "carried their cross" as Christ carried his: and were thus deserving of the joys of the resurrection as he won them and first experienced them.
But when martyrdom waned in the history of the church virginity was seen as a substitute: "carrying the cross" by total renunciation of what life had to offer, especially in the area of sexual expression, so to focus completely on Christ the Groom – Christ the Goal – Christ the One who would come one day to take us to the Marriage Feast of Heaven – was considered on the same level as martyrdom.
And so, Cecelia was doubly blessed to be both a virgin and a martyr. She is the patroness of music because she is said to have heard heavenly music in her head when she was married to a pagan husband who would be baptized because of her insistence on remaining a virgin!
The readings today are suited to this feast: Cecilia was like one "led to the desert so that God could commune with her and she with God" – her life was very focused and oriented on the goal: eternal life on high with Jesus and his Father. The gospel passage relates how she certainly was one of the virgins who had their lamps full of the oil of gladness, the oil of prayer, the oil of attentiveness, the oil of expectation, the oil of welcome: so that when the Lord bid her come: she went forth immediately!
We are all invited to the Marriage Feast of heaven – it is never too late to become as single-minded and focused in vision as St. Cecilia! We may even hear heavenly music in our heads (and have it burst forth from our lips) as we come closer and closer to the object of our longing: JESUS, the CHRIST – KING OF THE UNIVERSE – KING OF OUR HEARTS!
The bridegroom is here; let us go out to meet Christ the Lord!
Monday, November 21, 2016
+ Today’s feast – of the Presentation of Mary in the temple – by her parents - though not scripturally grounded - is believed to have happened because of the prescriptions that were part of Jewish family life.
At age three, supposedly, Mary was presented to the priests of the temple for education. It was also seen as an act of dedication of the girl-child to God: this, in contrast with the presentation of boy-children eight days after their birth for circumcision.
There was always a special consideration given to Mary’s presentation to the House of God, because she herself became a “house of God” – the Mother of God – who dwelt in her womb for nine months before being born into our world to save us! This feast was accepted more readily in the Eastern Church, and it is only in the 16th century did it become a feast of the universal church.
In any event, the important thing to note is the gospel passage’s insistence by Jesus that doing the will of God is always the most important activity of any given moment.
Sts. Joachim and Anne, Mary’s parents were obedient to his will by presenting Mary; Mary was obedient by remaining in the temple for her period of education; she was always obedient as Mother of the Savior – although this involved many deep sorrows on her part, but also many surpassing joys; and finally, any of us who do God’s will moment by moment belong to this divine family, a great company, indeed –and we will into eternity!
O Blessed Virgin Mary, you carried the Son of the eternal Father!
Sunday, November 20, 2016
+ Today is summation Sunday in the Catholic Church! It all comes down to Christ the Lord, Christ the King: Christ the Savior of the World! To think that the world is a random conglomeration of purposely non-interrelating parts and particles is to see things completely amiss!
Everything came from One source, and it is all returning there for sure and for certain!
All of creation knows this: the trees, the plants, the animals, the birds and the fish – it is the human species – with reason and free-will that seems to have the most problem getting some kind of grasp on the “larger picture” – the “major plan” – the Creator/Father’s “diary!”
God could have drawn us into the life of his unimagined beatitude and bliss simply, effortlessly and without a whimper from us – but he chose not to do it that way. He chose not to make us robot-like clones of his; rather, he wanted us to be graced, truly graced with his most cherished possession: personhood with freedom of will (freedom to love), and a rational mind, the ability to think and to plan the ways of our loving!
We were never meant to be “off on our own” in some fantasy existence apart from him! He is our Father, he is our Protector, he is our Defender and he is our Destiny! And this applies to every person on the earth. And to make this all very clear: he sent his own Son to become one of us, so that he can communicate very clearly of his love, his intentions and his plans. All we must do is to freely love to cooperate, and cooperate freely in loving one another as he loves us!
The only thing that really matters for humans is “love” – we are born to love, to interact, to be instruments of peace and joy in one another’s lives – in as selfless a way as possible. [Scientific proof of this: “The Brain” on TV PBS – our brains are wired to interact with and be in relation to other brains and persons – plain and simple].
And so Jesus came as the fullness and richness of God to lead us home; he is therefore Lord (as Son of the Father), he is King as the central figure of all human and created history, and he is Savior of the World – as no one else could ever be qualified to do the job: God was offended by man; only a Man-God could repair the damage!
Today then, we hail Christ Jesus not only as our Lord and King and Savior (though he truly is these for sure); but we also hail him as our Brother and Shepherd and Friend! The family that we belong to because of him is enormous and amazing! May we rejoice in our membership in the Kingdom today, and tout the fact that we are members of a truly Royal Family: the Celestial Family of God!
The Lord is King; he is robed in majesty – let all nations fall down and worship him sooner rather than later – it is only in this way that there will be peace on earth and good will towards all people, everywhere!
Saturday, November 19, 2016
+ These beautiful words come in the gospel passage on this Saturday morning: “Those deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead can no longer die.”
Even though people from every nation “gloat over” the corpses of the dead prophets, death is not the final power in the world.”
After three and a half days a breath of life entered them.”
A “loud voice from heaven” said to them, “Come up here.”
There is always reason to have hope.
God deems and desires all to be saved, to be seen through the final stages and battles and to a place of newness of life and resurrection.
Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Mother of the Savior and Mother of Grace – we will be triumphant. But the price is utter and complete consecration to her as Mother, Co-Redemptrix -and the distributer of all graces: including the graces of martyrdom both red and white.
As we live in intensely challenging times in our nation’s history – we obey Mary’s command to place everything at her feet, to let her lead us by the hand to her Son Jesus, and then his command to us to do whatever he tells us moment by moment through the highways and byways of this one day!
Hail, Mary, full of grace. Pray for us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Friday, November 18, 2016
+ The house to which Jesus refers in the gospel passage is a triple temple. It is of course, the actual physical temple in Jerusalem which has transferred its focus from being absorbed in the true worship of the One God – to a place where profit and gouging the pilgrim is taking place.
Cheating, especially in the house of God, is not acceptable and a reason for the Lord’s justifiable anger.
But there is a second temple to which this refers: the temple of the Body of the Lord Jesus himself – which also must be approached with an undivided heart. We cannot peacefully exists with the Lord who is a temple of the Lord – the Word Made Flesh – if our minds, hearts, pocketbooks, allegiances and proclivities are directed anywhere except in him.
The third temple is our own bodies and hearts which – with our baptism are true temples of the Most Blessed Trinity – and therefore of the Lord – and the reflected Temple of Jerusalem.
It is here especially that our hearts and minds must be single, pure and holy. This we can only cooperate in doing – as the grace to actually be able to do it is entirely from without – entirely from the Lord God – who bestows it on the who simply ask – simply ask with childlike, dependent and trusting hearts.
This we do – placing it first at the feet of Mary – who will coordinate the proper transfer to the throne of God – and his abundant actual graces and blessings for the day.
We will be thus enriched and strengthened to do his Will! Amen.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
+ The gospel passage today speaks of victory and peace, though what must come first is death, destruction, decomposition, devastation and mayhem.
This is the Way of the Cross – this is the way of the Lord – this is the Way to Peace and Justice.
It is at times like we find ourselves in the world today that we are aware of the ferocious and terrifying presence of the devil in the world.
It is also at times like this when we can cling vigorously to the Person of Jesus, His Divine Presence and Indwelling, His unfailing promise of HOPE AND VICTORY that comes from grasping and clinging unflinchingly to HIS SACRED CROSS, HE CRUCIFIED BODY ON IT, and the Blood and Water flowing from it – which guarantees our victory with his – the unmerited yet gracious gift of redemption, reconciliation and peace.
JESUS WEPT OVER ANCIENT JERUSALEM because of their hardheartedness and obstinacy – he is weeping copious amounts over the dismal outlook of the political and moral fabric that is deteriorating before all our eyes which affects not only Americans but people of the global village on this planet.
And he pleads with us, to unite the devastation and impending doom to his Cross – and to BE WITH HIM PEACE wherever we go, to whomever he places in our path this day!
Today we know what makes for peace: it is falling in deep love with the Person of the Word Incarnate, the Son of Mary Immaculate and the foster-son of St. Joseph.
May they lead us by the hand through this day – into peace – hope – and joy – that will last unto eternity!
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
+ Albert the Great was born in 1200 in Swabia, near Ulm, Germany, the son of a military nobleman. He joined the Dominicans while studying at the University of Padua in 1223 and taught theology at Cologne Germany, and Paris France. He became an influential teacher, preacher and administrator. Against his will he was named bishop of Regensburg in 1260; and because of his inability to deal with the serious problems in the diocese, he resigned the see in 1262 to devote his time and energy once again to teaching and writing in Cologne. He partook of the Council of Lyons despite the shock of the announcement of the death of St. Thomas Aquinas on his own way to the council. Albert introduced Greek and Arabic science and philosophy to medieval Europe, and was known for his wide interest in what became known later as the natural sciences – botany, biology and the like.
He wrote and illustrated guides to his observations, and was considered on a par with Aristotle as an authority on these matters. Albert’s health began to fail him in 1278 as he lapsed into a form of dementia today called Alzheimer’s disease. He died on November 15, 1280 and was buried in the Dominican church in Cologne. He was beatified in 1622 and canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church and patron saint of students of the natural sciences in 1931.
As the Book of Sirach tells us in the first reading today, it is he who fears the Lord – who understands his dependent relationship with the almighty, loving, Creator, Father – who is given the gift of deep insight into the realities of both heaven and earth. Albert the Great must have then had a deep and real sense of fear of his Lord and God to reach the heights of understanding and knowledge that he did.
The gospel passage tells us that as we await the end, saints and sinners must coexist side by side, but as we try the best we can to be saints and influence sinners to turn away from sin, we trust God that, fearing him, and using the gifts he gives us will help the cause – as St. Albert the Great used his!
Lord, teach me your statutes.
Monday, November 14, 2016
+ Jesus also asks us: “What do you want me to do for you?”
He is always ready to ask the question, and he is always ready to give his answer – and it will always be a positive answer, a healing answer, a regenerative answer. Jesus always wants to make us more than what we are at any given moment. He wants to move us from one graced moment to the next.
Not only does the blind man know Jesus’ name, he knows the name that is his through his foster father Joseph, “Son of David.” We also know Jesus by the many names we have grown accustomed to calling him, especially in our need: Our Rock, Our Fortress, Our Savior, Our Redeemer, Our Friend.
He is one who has endurance, suffered for Jesus’ name, and not grown weary. When we suffer for Jesus’ name – then our suffering takes on a depth of meaning, and it can be the cause of our transformation into wellness and wholeness. But all in God’s time, in God’s good Will and Time: which is PERFECT.
Christ’s question is for all who live the love they had for him at first. What do you want me to do for you? Lord, we want to see you as you are, to see ourselves as we are in you, to experience your profound and overwhelming love!
Those who are victorious in the battle of earthly life, I will feed from the tree of life!
Sunday, November 13, 2016
The liturgy, prayers and readings of today are brief and to the point: and their point is this: we do not know when the Lord will come, and so we must be ready all the time! Not the kind of sitting around kind of waiting, but the “keep doing what you have been taught all along” kind of waiting. In a sense it is like a test. Is all of this “Jesus stuff “and religious stuff real or not? If it is then, the final day will not be terrible for those who are faithful and faith-filled; and looking forward in hope to eternal peace with God: they shall not be disappointed. But, as the first reading tells us, those who just don’t want to buy into the program, those who think they know better than Jesus and his religion, those who think they will slip through the cracks and land somehow in the same eternity as everyone else: they are mistaken. There are consequence to our choices regarding Jesus and his religion – and they shall suffer theirs!
The terrible persecutions that Christ tells us his followers should expect will lead to one great thing: “to your giving testimony.”
The ability to speak a word of wisdom that we do not prepare beforehand, that Jesus himself will give us, and that leave our adversaries powerless to resist is an irrefutable sign of the authority and majesty of Christ.
“The day is coming when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble.”
The words of wisdom of Jesus are what turn the wicked to stubble.
Bur for those who fear God’s name, “there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”
Christ calls us to take very seriously his provident care of us: “Not a hair on your head will be destroyed.”
Saturday, November 12, 2016
+ Josaphat was the first Eastern saint to be formally canonized by the Catholic Church. Born Ioann Kunceyvch in 1580, his father was a municipal counselor, and his mother known for her piety. He was raised in the Orthodox Ruthenian Church which, in 1595, in the Union of Brest, united with the Church of Rome. Trained as a merchant’s apprentice at Vilnius, Lithuania, he was offered partnership in the business and marriage to his partner’s daughter, but feeling the call to religious life, he declined both. He became a monk of the Ukrainian Order of St. Basil in Vilnius at age 20, taking the name Brother Josaphat. He then became a deacon and was ordained a Byzantine rite priest in 1609. Now Josaphat’s superior never accepted unity with Rome, and looked for a way to fight against Roman Catholicism. Josaphat, learning of the superior’s work, reported him to his superior, the archbishop of Kiev. The superior was removed and the post was given to Josaphat.
He became a famous preacher and worked to bring unity among the faithful and bringing strayed Christians back to the Church. He did this so well that he was named Bishop (of Vitebsk), and later Archbishop (of Polotsk), in Lithuania in 1617. The antagonism against those believing in Church unity and those who wanted nothing to do with Rome was severe. Josaphat did all he could to defend the unity, but in late 1623, a mob broke into his residence and killed Josaphat who was trying to insure the safety of his servants before fleeing himself. His death was a shock to both sides of the dispute and brought some sanity and a cooling off period to both sides of the conflict. Josaphat’s body was found incorrupt five years after his death. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1876.
The Lord’s Prayer for Unity with his bishops, their successors and their flocks (in the gospel passage today) was a driving force for St. Josaphat: Father I pray for them, that they may be one in us. This dynamic and experience of deep unity of God, in his Church is truly beyond description if you really stop and consider it reflectively and prayerfully. St. Josaphat tried his very best to bring this experience of peace and inner strength and joy to his flock, and to be the instrument of unity with the source – the Roman Church – for those who were choosing not to be plugged in to this key vessel of grace!
May we today count ourselves blessed to be a part of the communion not only of saints, but also of those living today who see the one Church as Christ himself – and union with it as union with him – who leads us all safely to the heart’s embrace of his Father in heaven.
The just will flourish like the palm tree in the garden of the Lord.
+ Our readings today are about unity and community, or a more contemporary way of saying it would be: participation . Jesus makes it ...
+ We celebrate the Feast today of the Cure of Ars. John Mary Vianney was born to a farm family in Lyons, France in 1786. In his youth he tau...
+ St. Clare of Assisi became a friend of St. Francis of the same town after hearing him preach. Her father was a count and her mother a coun...