Tuesday, October 31, 2017
+ Our readings today tell us about the comprehensiveness and expansiveness of salvation: it tells us about the effects of the life / death / resurrection of Jesus – the Word of God, Incarnate – in-the-flesh.
The first reading tells us that not only human beings, in our fragile and variously declining bodies, but also all of creation: the animals, birds, plants, trees, oceans, stars and universes – which are all imperfect to some extent – find themselves “straining for perfection” – in fact, “groaning and moaning” until everything is made right, complete and whole – and it never stops being that way: this is redemption, this is salvation, this is slated to happen for us.
And this is a good thing, because it gives us an enormous amount of hope, and courage and perseverance in the face of all that life throws at us each day! What is amazing is that each day is different, each day is fresh, each day is new – each day resembles to a degree the one before it – but it is just not the same – and this is again cause for hope, encouragement and even joy!
Who this applies to is addressed in the gospel passage: it applies to everyone as the parable of the yeast and the mustard seed tells us: the application of the effects of Good Friday and Easter Sunday are for everyone, but it is up to everyone to find the tree, find the dough of which they can be a part by a simple act of believing that it is all so, as a totally free gift from God the Father of Creation, our Loving Father God.
And so, we seek the tree of life today - the wood of the Cross – in this mass, and we seek the dough of the Eucharistic Bread in which we can bury ourselves, find rest, refreshment, comfort and nourishment of the journey today: the strength we need in order to groan and moan and reach out always more and deeper for the reality of our own salvation, our own redemption, our own reserved mansion in the heavenly homeland.
Thank you, Jesus, our Friend, for revealing all this to us, as you heard it first from God, your Father! It is a mystery extraordinaire! It is the mystery of Faith!
Monday, October 30, 2017
+ Our readings today are direct and instructive. Jesus cures a woman on the sabbath and is hypocritically criticized for it, by those who ought to have been the ones who not only understood what he was doing, but actually encouraging him to do it. And so, since they were lost in their own ignorance and lack of compassion and charity, they sought only to berate Jesus – for doing what was right and good – on a sabbath.
Any day is a good day to cure, heal, restore, renew, regenerate and reconcile. For example, today is such a day!
In the first reading the topic of hypocrisy is also addressed: St. Paul tells the Romans that if they are now baptized, spiritual beings – with Christ living an abiding, interior Presence within them – then they ought to stop living like the pagans – going after satisfying the cravings of the flesh, like it was a sport – and to actually live spiritually-based lives. Or they are hypocrites – and they have no right to call God Abba, Father! – they have no right to expect his help or his aid in times of trouble.
May we divorce ourselves from hypocrisy more completely today and actually live the faith, and walk and talk the way – the way we ought to live ourselves and model for others to do the same.
God is a God who saves – yet he can only save those who are willing to be saved!
Sunday, October 29, 2017
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 29, 2017
I –If you wrong the widow and the orphan, my wrath will flare up against you.
R –I love you, Lord, my strength.
II – You turned from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven.
A – Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
G –You shall love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.
+ The readings today are obviously about the most important dynamic and energy in existence and that is the dynamic and energy of love. It was the expansive love of God that spawned creation; love is the dynamic and energy that keeps creation in existence; it is the very life of God in Himself that he shares with us, the highest form of his creation: he treats us Person to person with, in and for love’s sake. And so, today, when questioned by a “scholar of the law” Jesus responds with full knowledge that because God first has loved humanity, that humanity should love God back fully with their whole being, and then others as themselves. You are highly thought of – beloved children of God!
Now the scholars were asking this question of Jesus to test and trick him: they wanted to accuse him of trying to “steal God’s thunder” – to place himself as the focus of attention in an inappropriate way: as though Jesus was doing all he was doing to make a name for himself, to make for himself an earthly kingdom; however, he did all always for us and for our salvation, and in obedience to God his Father, for his glory.
What is clear in Jesus’ rendition of his answer is that loving God is the most important thing we can do, and loving others, genuinely, from the heart is equal to that, as we love ourselves. Love is love, and the dynamic and energy flow freely in an authentic love relationship.
In the first reading today we see Moses encouraging the people to “take care of one another” – now that they have been loved and freed from slavery by God. Do not wrong the orphan or the widow – for I hear their cry – and if you do, then the same fate will visit your family! Be kind and generous with your neighbors – for God compassionately deals with you the same way!
The power of love is amazing! But we must remember, it has its own rules and techniques: it is up to us to find out about those rules so we can live them: the readings at Mass, and the homily are one way to find out about them; putting what we find out into action is another. Love is a verb: to truly know what it means is that we “live to give” as did Jesus. He was love incarnate and he gave, and gave, and gave it all. May we give and give and give all of ourselves as well – and we will assuredly be honored by Jesus, and live forever with God in a place he has prepared for us!
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
+ We celebrate the feast of two apostles today: Simon and Jude. Simon was called the Cananean, and the Zealot because of his zeal for the Jewish law, but was neither from Cana nor a member of the Zealot Party. Like all the apostles he was a convert, being trained by St. Peter, the Apostle. He evangelized at least in Egypt and Mesopotamia, if not other places. He was a martyr for the faith but there are differences of opinion as to where that actually took place.
Jude was son of Cleophas, a cousin of Mary who stood with her at the foot of the Cross of Christ, and who anointed Christ’s body after his death. He is the brother of St. James the Lesser. Being a cousin of Jesus, Jude was reported to have looked a lot like him. He may have been a fisherman before he was called to be an apostle. Jude wrote the canonical Epistle named for him. He preached in Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia with St Simon. He was a healer and an exorcist. He could exorcise pagan idols, which caused the demons to flee and the statues to crumble. His patronage of lost or impossible causes traditionally derives from confusion by many early Christians between Jude and the traitor Judas Iscariot; not understanding the difference between the names, they never prayed for Jude’s help, and devotion to him became something of a “lost cause.”
It is important for us to remember that the very existence of our faith and our religion today stands firmly on the faith and faithfulness of the twelve chosen by Jesus and their unfailing commitment to remain close friends of his, doing what he asked them to do, evangelically, especially in the face of certain death.
We too are called to live our lives and give our lives as intimate friends of Christ – for the spiritual and even physical welfare of others. Strengthened by this Eucharistic meal – as were Simon and Jude – may we be willing to bring the gospel message to everyone we meet today, one way or another!
We praise you, O God,
we acknowledge you to be the Lord.
The glorious company of the apostles praise you, O Lord.
Friday, October 27, 2017
+ This is again a timely gospel passage today. Jesus tells the crowds that they need to start seeing things on the other dimension that truly exists – the spiritual one – before it is too late.
Sure, you can tell when it is going to rain, and when it will be hot, by seeing the signs in nature; but, you fail to read the spiritual signs of the times, and are thus unable to foretell what will happen, if things don’t progress, evolve and change.
For us today that is a critical distinction that needs to be made. Unless the leaders of our government do not employ their “higher selves” and powers – that they all have, no matter what their religious beliefs or practices are – then the road that the Commander in Chief is leading us down – will end in a sure and sudden doomsday scenario.
Conscience bearing citizens of the state and the country and the world need to heed the signs of red flags that are being strewn across the pock-marked pathways lead to and from the nation’s capital – and stand up, physically and get out and do something about it: like swamping the emails, and phone lines of their representatives in government and insisting on an immediate and decisive change of course of action.
An erratic, irrational and impulsive commander in chief needs to have his access of the nuclear codes revoked – and he himself needs to be placed in an environment where he can’t hurt or threaten massive amounts of people of good will – and ill will.
The first reading corroborates all this: some people just can’t seem to help themselves in doing what they ought not be doing.
Lord teach us your statutes – and give us the common sense to parent errant children.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
+ This is a timely gospel passage today. Jesus tells us in the gospel passage that he has come to light a fire on earth: the fire of Truth, the fire of Justice, the fire of Compassion and Mercy, the fire of Beauty and Goodness, the fire of Civility and Constructive Interrelatedness and Society.
And who is to adopt these new and purified postures?: those, as St. Paul tells us, who are now convinced, in the light of the Revelation and Divine Messaging that Jesus proclaims daily, that there is a proper and an improper way to use the body and all its functions, most especially its power of speech and then action of limbs. And they actually choose the right and the good way rather than its opposite.
In our day and age, this type of behavior – or right-living – can very well set persons at odds with one another: spouses against each other, parents against children, in-laws against in-laws, bosses against workers, constituents against elected officials. But, the bottom line is that those on the higher ground most likely will stay on that path, rather than be weighed down by earthbound, destructive opposing forces.
Once the fires of Truth, Justice, Compassion, Mercy, Beauty, Goodness and Civility are lit – they tend to stay lit – because the result of Peaceful, Hopeful, Joyful living and relatedness become contagious.
May we flame the fires of gospel Energy and Motivation today at this Eucharist – and be a little bit lighter, brighter and usefully smarter today – as we go forth to announce the gospel by the way we live.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
+ The gospel passage tells us to always be prepared to meet the Lord – not only for “the big one” – the “last one” – the Final Accounting – but actually, moment by moment, to be ready to recognize and welcome his willingness to be a very real part of our day, our decision making, and our words and deeds.
Yes, we can’t forget the “big one” but if we concentrate on celebrating and integrating the immediate and the present reality of God in our lives, then “bring it on” – we will automatically be ready for the Terrible yet o so Awesome and Amazing Day.
The first reading reminds us of what exactly is going on in our behalf: the sin of disobedience and mistrust in God the Creator and Father, was reversed by the unconditional and immediate, moment by moment, decision to obey and trust the same Creator and Father – even though for Jesus, the one who did this, it lead to a brutal and tortuous death.
Because Jesus “went through with it” willingly and lovingly – and actually thinking about us, you and me, and all on the planet – reconciliation was achieved, friendship with God was restored, and the gates of Paradise were cranked open once again.
We therefore need to voice our indebtedness today in our humble prayer of thanksgiving and resolution – to live our lives like we “get the reality of all this tremendous loving” on the part of God on our behalf.
He’s done all the work: all we need to do it our part: which is to cooperate, respond and live fully the amazing human life that is now ours!
Monday, October 23, 2017
+ The gospel passage tells us in very direct terms that the concept of “storing up in reserve” is indeed a recommended and commendable project IF it is carried on with the proper motive and with the proper content.
“If a man stores up what will guarantee and assure his eternal life” that is, the spiritual reality of good works done for love of God, and all those tangential properties that goes with this kind of storing: then he is acting like a wise man and is eligible to be praised by God. But, if a man “builds bigger barns to hoard and stash away all kind of things, shiny objects and unnecessary self-aggrandizing properties, the stuff that “you can’t take with you” – then he is “shoveling smoke” – he is wasting his time – he will have nothing in reserve when he dies – which could be at any time, for any of us.
Therefore, as Abraham measured all his future enterprises on God’s promise to make him the Father of many nations in faith, so Abraham knew that the spiritual reality of “believing” in the God of Promises was more important than anything else: and then God gave him all he needed, and not necessarily wanted, for the rest of his life: and his descendants in the activity of believing as well: that is, you and me.
The only caveat is that one cannot manufacture faith, it is not just a matter of “saying ‘I believe’” – it is rather, a willing response to God who gives the gift of believing, faith, first! So, our “believing” is actually a thankful responding to the God who wants us to use free will in assenting to him and his many gifts: including salvation of our souls.
Today we pray then, fervently, to be as responsive as we can possibly be to God’s offer of faith, believing, that first came to us at our baptism, and which is renewed and fired up again at this and every mass, for that is why we gather here each day: to be fired up in God’s perfect love for us, and our perfectible love for him and for all others he puts in our day!
Teach me your paths, O God, make me walk in your truth, and store up in spiritual barns what will last forever: acts of loving service to others. Amen.
Sunday, October 22, 2017
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 22, 2017
I –I have grasped the right hand of Cyrus to subdue the nations before him.
R –Give the Lord glory and honor.
II – Calling to mind faith, love, and hope.
A – Shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life.
G –Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
+ The gospel acclamation summarizes our thought for the day: “shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life.” It is our privilege and our joy to be co-partners with God in illuminating the darkness of the world in which we find ourselves living. Some times in human history are darker than others – the workings of the baser self-seeking, self-satisfying nature of man are more predominating than at other times. It seems however that the present time, for a variety of reasons may just be the darkest, while at the same time potentially the brightest in history. The digital, instantaneous method and means of global anything and everything is now possible: more people can be affected by both good and evil in the blink of an eye: with the click of a mouse!
It was for this very reason that Jesus came to us 2000 years ago – and remains today in the Church – to be the very Light of lights to dispel every shadow of evil deeds done in secret and in the open, whether in dark rooms or on the internet; and he enlists us to be his coworkers in the cause: giving us the brightness of his word and his love to share with others: so to make a real difference in the world.
As we heard in the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah, sometimes God moves people, like he did Cyrus, to initiate good will and change without letting anyone know it was him, not even the one doing the work. But, at other times, as with the witness of the Apostles and early members of the Church – and any members thereafter who are called to stand up for righteousness, God is more visible and his power working through mere humans is very much manifest. It is the Spirit – St. Paul tells the Thessalonians in the second reading today that is the source of power and conviction for us: we must rely on him and call for his help constantly!
In many ways, small and greater we, working with Christ the Lord, can shatter the darkness of wrong thinking in our world, reestablish right priorities “giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” – and thus effect a change for good behavior – peaceful relations with one another - as we are formed slowly but surely into God’s Kingdom.
Shine like lights in the world as you hold on to the word of life – as you hold onto and keep your focus always on JESUS – and him Crucified!
Friday, October 20, 2017
+ Today as we celebrate the feast of St. Paul of the Cross we begin by contemplating a youth, Paul Danei, a native of Ovada in Genoa, Italy. He spent a brief time in the military, but left to devote himself to prayer. When his uncle, a priest, left Paul a significant inheritance on the condition that he would marry, Paul forfeited the inheritance, taking only his uncle’s breviary.
At the age pf twenty-six, while still a layman, he conceived the rule of a new order, the Passionists. Living a life of mortification and poverty, the Passionists take a fourth vow to proclaim the Passion of Christ.
“Bury yourselves…” Paul wrote, “in the heart of Jesus crucified, desiring nothing else but to lead all men to follow his will in all things.”
Paul died in 1775.
Living buried in the heart of Christ means being rooted and grounded in love – so that we might be filled with the fullness of God. St. Paul prays that the Ephesians be thus rooted and grounded that they may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be thus filled with all the fullness of God.
And who would not want to live their day – full of God’s love and grace, and gentleness, kindness, caring, compassion and forgiveness?
In the gospel passage Jesus tosses out a two-sided coin for us to ponder – I wish the fire of my heart, my love, my peace would be ablaze in all the world; but when it first arrives it will apparently cause the opposite effect as men, women and children will have to pause what they are doing and seriously consider whether they want to be filled with the light, warmth and joy of his real peace, or whether they want to continue to bask in the phony light of their own artificial worlds and contrivances – coping techniques.
This will cause family rifts and divisions as some begin to choose Christ and the good life, while others still languish in indecision or no decision at all.
In our day and age, in this country with its political tumult and chaos, the time has arrived – if there will be any peace on earth at all – to choose to follow the banner of Christ whole heartedly, or the banner of Satan, no heartedly. The choice is a critical one, and essential one, but an easy one for those who turn and face the East, those to turn to Christ so that he can gaze at them, with his all-embracing, merciful forgiveness just waiting to be released at our word of contrition: it is that easy, it is that difficult! We must pray for the grace for this cooperation to take place for ourselves, for our loved ones, for those we don’t even know and for all in the political process that will determine the fate of civilization.
I consider all things so much rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him!
Thursday, October 19, 2017
+ Today we have readings that challenge us to be the men and women of faith that we are called to be, that is our purpose for our very existence, and all of which helps upbuild the Kingdom of God as was foreplaned from all eternity.
Of ourselves we can do absolutely nothing, not a thing – but cooperating fully with God’s plan and purpose we can do extraordinary things even though they may look common and ordinary – or even more spectacular if what we do awakens faith and love in other people.
In the first reading we see St. Paul telling the Ephesians that he has access by God’s divine grace and willing it – of the very mysteries of God – for dissemination among the Gentiles who were called along with the Jews to be recipients of redemption and reconciliation.
Paul felt the awesome but o so joyful duty to proclaim the arrival of the kingdom of grace and peace and love and justice and truth and beauty – and he proclaims that any who ask for it can have the exact same access to bolden their speech and confidence by faith in action.
The gospel passage shows Jesus telling us that for those who have been given a deeper glimpse into the mysteries of God for sharing with others – more will be required: such as was required of St. John DeBrebeuf, Isaac Jogues and Companions (the North American Martyrs). But that God’s grace and love would always be sufficient: these were true sons of St. Ignatius – who surrendered everything to God and was given just enough love and grace for the moment! And who could ask or desire or dream for more than that. “When you need it, you got it!”
So let us in a Jesuitical way today thank God for the sacrifices of the North American Martyrs – and ask their prayers that in this day in age we can stand up boldly, speak confidently yet peacefully – and preach by our actions that there is One God – and that he Love us Unconditionally – and is ever urging us on the finish the fight of faith – which will blossom into an eternity of bliss with him and all others who make it across “the bridge” on that Last Day!
Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
+ In Revelation 4:6, four beasts give endless praise before the throne of God: a man, an ox, a lion, and an eagle. Tradition hold that these signify the four Evangelists. Luke is the ox, the symbol of strength and sacrifice.
His Gospel opens with the priest Zechariah who “was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense” (1-9). In the Temple, Zechariah encounters the angel Gabriel, who heralds the birth of his son, John the Baptist. Gabriel goes next to Mary to tell her that she will conceive and bear “the Son of the Most High” (1:32).
A tradition dating to the 6th century makes Luke the first artist to have painted the Virgin Mary.
Our entrance antiphon today from the Prophet Isaiah magnificently proclaims the beauty upon the mountains that the feet of him who brings glad tidings of peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation are. These were Jesus’ feet, these were St. Luke’s feet, these can be our feet today – feet that follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus announcing the arrival of the new kingdom of God.
In the second reading St. Paul is telling Timothy that it is only Luke who stands by him now – the announcing of the gospel separates the men from the boys – and Luke turns out to be a man among men – a physician who understands the entire person: made up of a feeble and wavering mind, an often times broken down body, but a spirit that can soar like an eagle.
It is this entire person that the Lord wants to visit, lay hands on and heal – mind, body and spirit. The parables of St. Luke are classic and wonderful to behold, including one of the most awesome and powerful of all: The Prodigal Son. God is ALWAYS READY to receive back anyone who comes to their senses and decides to head home. He runs to meet us, to pamper us and throw us a big party.
Jesus in the gospel passage indeed is the primary announcer of peace! Peace seeks peace – and often causes a challenging situation – until hearts and minds are changed, reconciled and welcomed into the heart of the Prodigal Father. The only way our nation will find peace, true interior peace of soul, before external peace in relations, is for good men and women to stand up, say “enough is enough” and take necessary God inspired actions to reprioritize and replace the personnel that needs weeding and replacing – beginning with the one holding the highest office in the land: the president of these United States.
Let us stand with these resistance forces and let the Light of Christ, the Light of Truth, the Light of Peace shine forth: St. Luke would, St Luke, the Physician, would recommend a quiet place where Mr. Trump could “play president” without harming anyone, anyone at all.
Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
+ St Ignatius of Antioch was born in the year 50 in Syria. He was a convert from paganism to Christianity. He was believed to be a disciple of St. John the Apostle. His apostolic letters to the various churches in the ancient Christian world serve as a major source regarding the life, faith, and structure of the early Church in Asia Minor and Rome.
He was the first writer to use the term “Catholic Church” as a collective designation for Christians, among the first to attest to the “monoepiscopacy” or the governance of a diocese by one bishop. He became the bishop of Antioch, succeeding St. Peter the Apostle. He served during the persecution of Domatian. But during the persecution of Trajan he was ordered to be taken to Rome to be killed by wild animals. On his way there, which took months, he wrote letters to the churches stressing the divinity and humanity of Jesus, his bodily death and resurrection, the central importance of the Eucharist and the bishop for church unity, and the special reverence owed to the church of Rome as the one founded by Peter and Paul. Ignatius died in 107 and his relics are in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
St. Ignatius considered himself as wheat that must be ground in order to make something useful – corresponding with Jesus imperative in the gospel passage. It is when the disciple of Christ – in imitation of his master – falls to the earth and dies, that something beautiful, useful and salvific can result. For Jesus it meant resurrection to a newness of life, the fullness and completion of human life, and likewise for his faithful followers – including St. Ignatius of Antioch.
May we strain for the prize of everlasting glory and resurrected life with God – who so eagerly wants to share them with us. We must live the life prescribed by Jesus – come what may – and it will be so for us!
Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life.
Monday, October 16, 2017
+ We often hear this gospel passage, but not so often do we slow down and actually consider what it says. Jesus calls his current generation “wicked” because they look, and do not see; they want answers, yet the answers are right in front of them, they “see the forest, but do not see the trees.”
Perhaps their problem is that they are looking for shiny objects, glitz and glamour, and the attractive surface texture of goods and products, and they fail to “search into the depth of things, ideas and concepts; and therefore, they fail to make necessary changes in themselves when once they “see beneath the surface into the heart of the matter.”
And so Jesus tells them that since they only want “the frosting and not cake,” “the foam and not the beer,” “the tinsel and not the tree,” they will not have “wisdom” (the wisdom of Solomon, or even one of his courtiers), nor will they “repent at the preaching of himself or his apostles” – because they just don’t see the point of it: however, the point is: “unless you repent of your surface, superficial and frivolous way of seeing and doing you will die in your sins and be condemned to a life of loneliness and separation.”
And this is serious business.
Yes, the signs are all around, but they can only be perceived, interpreted and assimilated into a human soul, if, that soul quiets down, listens, rejoices and responds generously, trustingly and lovingly to God who is offering the “life raft” of the gospel message: what greater sign and symbol do you need?
Sunday, October 15, 2017
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 15, 2017
I –The Lord will prepare a feast and wipe away the tears from every face.
R –I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
II – I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
A – May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, so that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.
G –Invite to the wedding feast whomever you find.
+ The richness of the graces and blessings God has planned for his children who are faithful to him throughout life on earth are immeasurable. The prophesied feast on the mountain in the Book of Isaiah in the first reading today foretells not only a satisfied stomach but also peaceful relations with nations all around: the fruit of faithfulness is the abundance of God’s favor! Therefore, living always as a child of the light, a child of God is of the highest priority – or there will be no mountain, there will be no meal, and there will be no peace among peoples.
Now, in his own infinite wisdom and plan God had a predetermined order as to whom the fullness of his blessings would come first: he formed a people peculiarly his own: a family of nations to which he would send his own Son as redeemer and savior. But, according to the parable in the gospel, when the course of history was run, many of that family had excuses for not coming to the “wedding feast of the King’s Son” – and so they were disinvited, and in their place everyone that could be found on the streets were rounded into the banquet hall; this seemed to be a very charitable thing to do.
But the one caught without a proper wedding garment was cast back outside and thrown into a place of torment: for everyone, everywhere, at every time needs to be ready to enter the King’s presence dressed with the robes of virtue, right-living, and “good deeds done for others”; not even the lowliest and poorest people on earth are exempt from this basic human dynamic of love.
May we today rejoice in the hope of our call to the Wedding Feast of the King’s Son, and may we be clothed to the hilt with the riches of “good deeds done for love of God” – no matter who we are, no matter what our economic or social circumstances might be!
I shall, hopefully, live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
Saturday, October 14, 2017
+ Our message today is short and to the point! “Happy are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” These are the truly happy, blessed, peaceful and productive people, who live in God the Father’s favor – who anchor their moral, physical and spiritual lives on the rock of divine revelation: the true extraterrestrial messages that comes from the Creator and Originator of the Universe: who knows exactly how everything is supposed to work, and work out in collaboration with one another.
The world is not meant to be a randomized science experiment. There is a definite purpose to all of it, every bit and byte of it. All of creation has a purpose that needs to be protected and preserved so it can work out as it is already preprogrammed to; every person is also in a sense “preprogrammed to make decisions that benefit not only him/herself, but also everyone else in the human family!”
We see in the first reading today how God will visit the Valley of Decision(s) made poorly, selfishly and arrogantly. He will bring those self-willful and self-defeating people to a bitter end – and it will take generations for regeneration and renewal to be complete.
We also see in the gospel passage how those who search out, seek and find their purpose as it rests in the mind and heart of God will be happy and joyful in the self-knowledge that they are part of something greater, and that everything they do, matter, counts and will be meritorious of a great reward someday when “the day of the Lord” does arrive and accounts are taken!
Let us pray not only for our own successful voyage through the oft-time perilous Sea of Life, but also for that of our nation and our world. We have within our power to stand up, speak out and bring about true change where it is needed – when those who are disconnected from their true purposes in life – forget the context that they do exist in – because we haven’t forgotten – and we are responsible to make corrections where we see them needed.
This of course refers sadly enough to our nation’s president, and many congress men and women – who must be stopped now from getting away with murder – literally the murder of millions of people who live in harm’s way! (which may very well include us!)
If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and abide in him!
Friday, October 13, 2017
+ Our readings today are quite interesting indeed. The first reading from the Prophet Joel talks of “the day of the Lord” as coming and near. It calls on the priests and ministers of the people to get into crisis mode: they must wail, put on sackcloth, order a fast, call an assembly and cry out: “Oh, what a day! For the Lord is near! The devastation day of the Lord is near!” “such as never has been seen before: hmmm an overlapping of superlative language: Joel and President Trump: “a day such has never been seen before – just a terrible day – no one has ever seen the likes of it.”
Maybe Trump is more prophetic than we think!
This ancient prophecy was actually about the may “days of judgment” that came upon the people of Israel when the became a dutiful people of the God of the Covenant, but then going astray had to be led back, by having everything taken away from them: in a day of devastation and doom. So the theme is old, but the reality is ever present.
And one day there will be the “big one” – in Trump’s terms – there will be one like no one has ever seen or imagined – it will be terrible – but this time it will be for keeps: and those who end up lacking will be left out of a promised eternity of joy and peace promised those who do things God’s way rather than their own.
The gospel passage screams out the current state of affairs in our country: the Kingdom of Trump is very much a house divided against itself [like the very house of Beelzebul himself]. And just as the gospel predicts and promises – it’s a law of nature and supernature – it will fall! And fall hard. And if changes are not made immediately, will fall soon!
We must be a “gather with Christ” and not “scatterers” of everything that is good and holy!
We must clean house now, and then install good, upright, virtuous and conscientious administers of law and democracy, who are God fearing, sensible and rational – or the last condition will be worse than the first.
In baseball talk of this season of the year – there must be a “clean sweep” – but then an engaged and skillful Final Game.
The Lord will judge the world then with justice, his kind of justice, and not ours! and this ought to be a sobering thought!
Thursday, October 12, 2017
+ Our readings today are interesting. The first reading from the Prophet Malachi assures us that evil-doers – both the witting and unwitting – will have an unhappy end. And so, it is not up to us to fret too much over the prosperity or apparent success of these persons, as they will have an unfortunate end – “burning furnace” “being reduced to stubble,” Malachi warns.
The gospel passage is about the reward of persistence in prayer. IF our intention is as pure as possible: that is: other-directed and compassionate and merciful, like the orientation of Jesus – then it will be answered. The reason why we must wait sometimes for an answer is that maybe we are ready for the action to be granted, but the other person and circumstances may not be – and so patience is of the essence – this being the most difficult part of the petition process.
So, as we pray to not be on the wrong path, as the evil-doers are, and as we pray for the health and wellbeing of others and situations involving them, let us ask, and keep asking until we get either the results we have determined we need, or what God gives, which will truly be exactly what we and the recipient of our prayer needs.
The blessed assurance is that “prayer works” – so long as we work at it!
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
+ Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in the village of Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo, in 1881. At the age of 11 he entered the seminary at Bergamo and later pursued his studies at the Pontifical Seminary in Rome. He was ordained priest in 1904. He was secretary to the Bishop of Bergamo but from 1921 onwards he served the Holy See directly in various posts, both in Rome and in Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece, culminating as Apostolic Nuncio to France from 1944 until 1953, when he was created cardinal and made the Patriarch of Venice.
He was elected Pope in 1958. He convoked the Roman Synod, instituted the revision of Canon Law, and called the Second Vatican Council, which opened on 11 October 1962. He died while the Council was still in session, on the evening of 3 June 1963.
Our readings today fit the feast well. St. John XXIII was a good shepherd, a very good shepherd who discerned prayerfully his place in Church history and boldly went forward to playing his role as in the mind of God the Father. The first reading tells of Ezekiel’s prophecy of the times when God would shepherd his people himself: because the time was right, the circumstances called for it, and there was really no one else more qualified to do the job.
Jesus was the first to hold such a position. The Father saw things in great disarray on the earth that he sent his own Son, to do the shepherding. Then the Son sent his best friends, the apostles and subsequent bishops to do the same, and chief among them were the successors of Peter who would be Pope.
One of the shining stars among the Pope, in Church history, is Angelo Roncalli – John the XXIII. The Church has never been the same after this pioneer in modern church governance opened the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on this date in 1963 – of happy memory for us both! and all!
The feeding and the tending of the gospel passage was shifted into a higher more productive gear than it had been in centuries. All the trends and hopes and dreams of the past decades were now solidified and made concrete and tangible. The documents of Vatican II began to be formulated – and the contemporary Christian person called to greatness, witness and complete self-sacrifice was born.
May we today carry on the legacy of St. John XXIII. May we be apostles of joy and peace after his own example, and bound enthusiastically into each and every day God gives us to make a difference in the lives of just a few people. A few is more than we may think, for the ripple effect can cause a tidal wave of happiness and peace and hope to flood the world – which is so desperately needed as our country experience what it is like to have a godless, rouge, loose cannon for a president.
We are the light of the world! Let us beam forth joy and courage today! Amen.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
+ The saga continues today with the reluctant prophet Jeremiah. After being preserved by God from death by drowning (as the young Jeremiah tries to run away from his duty as God’s spokesman), the youth now becomes instrumental in saving the inhabitants of the great city of Nineveh from sure doom and destruction because of their evil intentions, deeds and behaviors.
Can’t you hear him crying out as he walked through the city streets: “Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.”
There must have been something in the way he proclaimed it because the people almost at once “believed in God, proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least: even the king.”
They did many other things to show their renunciation of evil behavior, and so the Lord relented and did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.
Jeremiah then fulfilled his destiny, and the day was saved, lives were saved, a kingdom was preserved.
In the gospel passage we see the familiar Mary / Martha episode: in which Jesus tells Martha that we the Lord comes’a’callin’: it is better to spend as much time with him as he allows: because his intimate visits can be few and far between.
And so just as the Ninevites had their focus readjusted with the help of Jeremiah, Martha has hers done by Jesus himself.
If our focus is a bit out of kilter today, then take my word for it in this mass, in this homily, as it is my duty to proclaim it to you and to help you set priorities straight, and have Jesus as your inspiration, standard and assessment tool – and you will have a very productive day!
I call you my friends, says the Lord, because I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father! Latch onto it, and let it accompany you through your day!
Monday, October 9, 2017
+ What great readings we have today! The first reading continues the classic story of Jonah – the fugitive – the fugitive from doing what the Lord asked him to do – to be a forceful spokesman and prophet of the way things must be so that peace can reign once again!
So Jonah hops a ship to flee his destiny – but the Lord is in the sea – and he stirs up a great storm – and the sailors onboard are frightened – it is so bad. They cry out to their gods to save them – but nothing happens. So they cast lots to see who to blame for the situation: and it falls to poor Jonah who is the last one onboard to want to even be noticed.
“Who are you?” they asked him. “Give your full credentials, including the identity of your god.” So, Jonah tells them his “name, rank, and serial number”: “I am a Hebrew! I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” Obviously, they were not expecting such an answer from him, because they were struck with terror and fear. Then they ask him what to do to make the sea calm. Jonah tells them to throw him into the sea, which would “kill two proverbial birds with one stone.” They would get their calm, and so would he, his fate would be entirely up to God – and it just might mean his end.
They throw him, and the sea calms, but then God has his way and sends a wale to swallow up Jonah to keep him safe – and ready him for his next project of prophecy! God always wins, sooner or later! More on this story later!
The gospel passage is another classic: the story of the Good Samaritan – the one unlikely person, who was the only one of the three who had a heart, who had some brains, and who wasn’t “afraid of what the neighbors might say!” He takes care of the man, as a true neighbor ought to do, and is set up as a model for us all. Jesus says: “Go, do what this man did!”
The Samaritan somewhere along the line learned the great lesson that what one does for another, for any and all others, rebounds onto oneself. Karma it is also called. Do to others, and the same will be done unto you. Don’t do to others, and you will not get anything worthwhile for yourself. Pray for others first, and you will get what you need, practically, without even asking for it.
Bottom line: we are called, like Jeremiah and the Samaritan, to think first, always, and entirely about others. WE DO NOT COUNT: except to be in right relation with others, with God, and lastly with ourselves. This is just how it works: this dynamic is derived by the very reality of the Blessed Trinity Who is perpetual “otherness” “gift” “self-sacrifice” – for it is all self-redounding, in its outward motion!
It is in THIS WAY that we are “created in God’s likeness”!
May our actions this day prove we “get it” – that we are indeed “children of God” – and brothers and sisters of one another and of the Lord Himself.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 8, 2017
I –The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.
R –The vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel.
II – Do these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
A – I have chosen you from the world, says the Lord, to go and bear fruit that will remain.
G –He will lease his vineyard to other tenants.
+ The readings for the day establish two points: God first acts to plant a vineyard; and he employs workers to take care and tend his investment. For us this means that it is not we ourselves who have planted anything at all: all comes from God the Father, Creator and Great Architect of the Universe. He has planted everything and everyone where he wants them / us; and he is telling us by means of the parable in the gospel today that the dramatic story of family-formation, salvation and redemption depends upon our cooperation with the process.
It is not up to us to pick and choose the parts we will agree with, and not agree with in the process. When God had to show himself to be the one in charge in the history of this family-making project by force, the participants were thrown into a tither –and they cried out to him over and over: OK OK; Your way! Your way! Yah-weh!
But then over and over again: they took it back and set themselves up as lords of their own lives, once again. Even when the Father sent his own Son – this temperamental and rebellious people did not accept him – and being the great light of truth that he was, showing them exactly who they were, and what was in their hearts – they killed him! They just did not listen to his invitation to “turn away from their iniquity, their sin, their short-sightedness” and be free, happy and redeemed!
Our readings today invite us to do two things: to acknowledge the ever active and present Father-God who wants nothing but our happiness; and to cooperate with him to bring about our own salvation and that of as many others as we can: encouraging them to be good and faithful workers in the vineyard of the Lord, with us: doing each day what is good, right and pleasing to God, and encouraging others to do the same!
May the God of peace remain with us always, because we humbly and affectionately ask him to!
Saturday, October 7, 2017
+ Timely readings today. It seems that the disciples sent by the Lord to proclaim the good news of his arrival on the scene, and to accompany and verify that it was really him: the One sent from heaven, by means of signs and wonders that could be physically perceived – were kind of astonished that it really worked. They marveled in a childlike sort of way at the awesome power and persuasiveness of God, and his willingness to intervene in a positive, supportive and healing way in their lives.
Jesus tells them that they are truly blessed because they have seen and heard and touched and perceived what many prophets and kinds wanted to engage in but could not: primarily because of a lack of faith, which did not allow them to see beneath the surface of these supernatural realities.
Jesus also marvels at the humble, innocent and trusting, receptive posture of the disciples: and refers to them as children who are held in high favor with his Father and theirs in heaven. It was to these, not only in that place, but for all generations, that the mysteries of the kingdom are revealed – as an impetus to right action, which will lead to full membership in the kingdom one day in eternity.
The first reading mentions the disasters, calamities and sorrows that God did visit on his errant people, but could be transformed into experiences of victory and joy, and peace eternally – when the people “come to their senses” and “turn back” to him and humbly ask for assistance and forgiveness. May we today also find ourselves in the same posture, for it will always produce a happy result for us both now and forever!
Yes, God will help Zion, and rebuild the cities of Judah – and our cities in all the world!
Friday, October 6, 2017
+ Bruno was born in 1030 in Cologne, Germany. He was educated in Paris and Rheims, France and ordained to the priesthood around 1055. He taught theology and one of his students later became Pope Blessed Urban II. Bruno presided over the cathedral school at Rheims from 1057 to 1075. He criticized the worldliness he saw in his fellow clergy. He opposed Manasses, Archbishop of Rheims, because of his laxity and mismanagement and he became chancellor of the archdiocese.
Then following a vision he received of a secluded hermitage where he could spend his life becoming closer to God, he retired to a mountain near Chartreuse in Dauphiny in 1084 and with the help of St. Hugh of Grenoble, he founded what became the first house of the Carthusian Order. He and his brothers supported themselves as manuscript copyists.
Bruno became an assistant to Pope Urban II in 1090, and supported his efforts at reform. Retiring from public life, he and his companions built a hermitage at Torre, where, in 1095, the monastery of St. Stephen was built. Bruno combined in the religious life the eremitical and the cenobitic; his learning is apparent from his scriptural commentaries. He died in 1101 of natural causes and is buried in the Church of St. Stephen.
In the first reading today, we see the life of the monk reflected as a continual search for the fuller and deeper meaning of the Word of God, and knowledge of him who is the very Word of Life. St. Paul encourages the Philippians, all monks and us to consider as rubbish all that is not about discovering who Jesus is and how to have a full and mature relationship with him! – as his servants and co-comforters in the midst of a twisted and distorted world that we find ourselves in.
In the gospel passage Jesus tells those who are doing so that it will not be easy, but that the effort will be greatly rewarded – and the joy that comes from full knowledge will be beyond anything imaginable.
May we, like the monks of old, spend a great deal of time, directly and indirectly, seeking God and reveling in each and every little thing we find out about him! Let it make a big difference in the smallest details of our lives!
Seek the Lord, while he may be found, call to him while he is near – very near!
+ St John Chrysostom was born in 347 in Antioch, Asia Minor. His father died when he was young and he was raised by a very pious mother. ...
+ 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...
+ 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...