May 23, 2018 – Wednesday in the 7th week of Ordinary Time

Saint for the day: Gregory VIII – (c. 1025 – May 25, 1085)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

James 4:13-17 – Psalm 49:2-3-,6-8-10-11 – Mark 9:38-40

Two principles: be careful of your five year plans; don’t get jealous if somebody else is successful.

One of my favorite weird books, “Be Here Now” authored by some obtuse, Eastern Guru of the 60’s era had some good points namely, this is the acceptable time. This is the moment of salvation. When the Israelites got stopped up against the sea God told them, “stand still.” Stop going I circles and you’ll see what God can do for you.

Fears and jealousy can sap the presence of God and leave us foundering in the dark and like a puff of smoke … it’s all over. The disciples get upset because someone is doing miracles but isn’t in our group. It’s like they’re stealing something from the disciples that didn’t belong to them. Do we get upset when we see someone else doing some good deed? Jesus says, “If they’re not against us they’re for us.” What business is it of mine if there is good deeds are being done but not by me? We should be happy when anyone is able to do good in the name of Jesus. As members of the community we should be rejoicing when a brother or sister is successful. Our’s is not to judge. As the old adage used to go, “Ours is not to reason why. Ours is just to do and die!” Some truth to that!

 

May 22, 2018 – Tuesday in the 7th week of Ordinary Time

Saint for the day: Cristobal Magallanes & Companions (d. between 1915 & 1937

 Scripture readings for todays Liturgy

James 4:1-10 – Psalm 55 – Mark 9:30-37

 “Had I but wings like a dove, I would fly away and be at rest. Far away I would flee; I would lodge in the wilderness.” (Psalm 55:7-8)

 After reading today’s first scripture from the letter of James, I can see why the liturgists choose the above verse from Psalm 55 as the kick-off for our Responsorial Psalm.

James is coming down hard on the people about their “two-sidedness” and warns them, “whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:5)

Our Gospel picks up on this when Jesus catches his disciples arguing over who is the greater. We can see that, even in the time of Jesus, there was a tendency to seek success and notoriety – according to this world’s idea of success. But the disciples must have known that this went against what Jesus was trying to make them understand since they all lowered their heads – avoiding His eye contact – and remaining silent.

I think Jesus probably surprised the disciples when he took the little child as an example saying, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)

 What is It that Jesus is trying to get across to His disciples – and, in fact, to us, too?

None of us has contempt for little children. Most of us think of them as “cute” but probably not very sophisticated and certainly not as cunning as we tend to be. And that might be just the point that Jesus is trying to get us to understand. In the first place children are dependent. They can’t make it on their own.   They need others to look after them. On the other side, the world seeks independence and individuality all leading to getting to the top and being “king of the mountain!”

The last line of today’s Holy Gospel puts it all out there for us to understand: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” (Mark 9:37)

 The world seeks independence and success. The Gospel urges us to be the servant of all. The world promises to give us everything that we want or need; The Gospel tells us that if we want to know eternal life we must be willing to lay down our life for others. One good deed done for someone who needs help could be our ticket to eternal life.

I’m reminded of the priest who ended the Mass by slightly altering the last blessing/dismissal by saying, “May the peace of Christ profoundly disturb you!” I’m pretty sure that doing this disturbed the people but not in the way he intended. If our encounter with Jesus doesn’t change us, in at least some way, we have to ask ourselves whom we have encountered and what has it done for our Christian walk. Our “bottom line” has to be, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” (Gospel 6:33)

 Not all of us are called to be evangelists or great religious teachers but we are all called to be witnesses or “Christ bearers” to our world so desperately in need of the “Light of Christ” and His healing touch. Try to be a “Christ Light bearer” just for today; bringing a ray of hope to someone walking in the shadow of darkness. You’ll be surprised at what you, yourself get on the rebound. Amen!

May 21,2018 – Monday in the 7th Week of the Church year.

Today’s liturgy is a recently new feast: “Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.”

 Sorry, there is no direct link to the scriptures for this Memorial other than what’s in the “Lectionary: 572A”

Here are the scriptures for today Liturgy. 

Genesis 3:9-15, 20 or Acts 1:12-14 or Acts 1:12-14

Psalm 87:1-3 then 5 – 7    Gospel: John 19:25-34

 Good Luck coming up with a commentary for this feast!

May 20, 2018 – Solemnity of Pentecot

click oon this “link” to go directly to all of the scriptures for tody’s Feast

Pentecost, in the first place, is a feast of the HS and, as such, is a feast of re-creation. It is a feast of re-ordering as when the Spirit hovered over the immensity of waters at creation. The HS brings order out of dis-order but not necessarily perfection. In other words, the HS at the time of creation set the world in order but also allowed it the freedom – the same freedom that was given to Adam and Eve – to “run its course.” In other words, God allows the world to play out, as it were, without keeping his finger in the pie all the time. Amen!

 

May 14, 2018 – Monday in the 7th week of Easter

Saint for the day:     Matthias (dates unknown)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26 / Psalms 113 / John 15:9-17

How do we get chosen to be “apostles” of Jesus? What is the difference between knowing Jesus in the first third of the first century & coming to know Him now – in the 21st Century? As Catholics. It is the Eucharist that keeps us “witnesses” of Jesus. That means that we are right next to Jesus and can hear His teachings & follow His main command, “Love one another…”

Our struggle, though, is to be able to see as Jesus sees and we know that Jesus often caught His followers in their blindness or their inability to see the larger, total picture. Loving as Jesus loves means we must put aside our pre-conceived biases and expand our notion of who can be saved. It’s always easy for me to love the people who think like me. The hard part comes when I have to love the people who have hurt me. Yet this is what Jesus did from the cross. “Father forgive them…” If I want to be a “witness of Jesus” then I must be willing to see Jesus in these kinds of people. Amen!

May 14, 2018 – Monday in the 7th Week of Easter

May 14, 2018 – Monday in the 7th week of Easter

Saint for the day:     Matthias (dates unknown)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 1:15-17, 20-26 / Psalms 113 / John 15:9-17

How do we get chosen to be “apostles” of Jesus? What is the difference between knowing Jesus in the first third of the first century & coming to know Him now – in the 21st Century? As Catholics. It is the Eucharist that keeps us “witnesses” of Jesus. That means that we are right next to Jesus and can hear His teachings & follow His main command, “Love one another…”

Our struggle, though, is to be able to see as Jesus sees and we know that Jesus often caught His followers in their blindness or their inability to see the larger, total picture. Loving as Jesus loves means we must put aside our pre-conceived biases and expand our notion of who can be saved. It’s always easy for me to love the people who think like me. The hard part comes when I have to love the people who have hurt me. Yet this is what Jesus did from the cross. “Father forgive them…” If I want to be a “witness of Jesus” then I must be willing to see Jesus in these kinds of people. Amen!

May 12, 2018 – Saturday in the 6th Week of Easte

Saints for the day:Nereus & Achilleus (dates unknown)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 18:23-28 – Psalm 47 – John 16:23B-28

 “Jesus says to His disciples: ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” (The opening of today’s Holy Gospel according to St. John)

 I’m pretty sure that many reading today’s Holy Gospel and hearing the verse quoted above won’t have to struggle to find many times when prayers weren’t heard. Or more to the point weren’t answered.

So what are we to make of that reality? I think we need to understand three little words in the above quote that might hold the answer: “… in my name!” What, exactly, does it mean? Anybody can use the name of Jesus and many use that name even as a curse. So how do we pray in the name of Jesus? I think that the starting point has to begin with some kind of understanding of WHO and WHAT Jesus is. We have to know that there is a special relationship between Jesus and the Father. In these days of Easter we have heard over and over Jesus telling His disciples that “I and the Father are one.” With the celebration of the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus returns to the Father and to his in dwelling with the Holy Spirit. God created the world; the Holy Spirit brought it into order and Jesus brought the gift of salvation. This concept of God will be complete when we celebrate Trinity Sunday next weekend. It’s all in the concept of knowing who Jesus is and how He is related to the Father and the Holy Spirit. Praying in the name of Jesus requires that we both know who Jesus is and, also, how we are connected and related to Him. We can’t just come out of nowhere and begin praying in the name and expect quick answers. We have to have some long-term developing connection in order for Jesus to know who we are. If we don’t have some kind of relationship with Jesus through prayer and the good works we do in His name how can we expect to get some dramatic answer to our prayers. When exuberant evangelicals ask me, “do you know Jesus as your personal savior?” I often respond with, “I think it’s more important that Jesus knows who I am!” Hopefully a prayerful, trying to be a loving, modern-day disciple announcing to others the wonder of what Jesus has done in my life. Think about it. Amen?

 

 

May 11, 2018 – Friday in the 6th week of Easter

Saint for the day: Ignagtius of Laconi (12/17, 1701 – May 11, 1781)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 18:9-18 – Psalm 47 – John 16:20-23

“Were not our hearts burning within us as He explained the Scriptures to us?”

These words of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus sum up all that we’ve been hearing in these six weeks of Eastertide. Yet the Gospels don’t bother to recount what the disciples learned in this encounter. Rather, they take us back to the Gospel of John and all the words Jesus spoke about relating to His impending death, resurrection, ascension and glory in Heaven.

From there ‘The Church’ has added symbolism to help us understand better what the life of Jesus is all about.

There are some scripture scholars who believe that the resurrection, ascension and decent of the Holy Spirit all occurred as one event: one, two, three done! ‘The Church’ has added in the “time frame” in order to help us grasp events that are totally outside of our natural understanding.

Today’s Gospel uses the analogy of a women giving birth to show that all the suffering that we might go through in this life will be turned to joy when we can see the reality of Heaven. That’s an image that women can easily identify with but one that leaves the rest of us on the “male side” at a loss for a clear appreciation of the “joy of birth into a new world.

Comedian, Bill Cosby – talking on the subject of “birth” and our male inability to fully grasp the image – told men to grab on to their upper lip and stitch it up and over the top of their heads in order to experience the real pain of childbirth!

All of the scriptures – from Genesis to Revelation – are about “birth into something new, different and totally beyond our natural understanding and comprehension.

At the risk of being boring and repetitive let me give you my own analogy about the “after life.”

Developing life in the womb is to life in the world as life in the world is to life in Heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 9, 2018 – Wednesday in the 6th Week of Easter

 Saint for the day: John of Avila (c. 1500 – May 10, 1569)

 Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 17:15, 22 – 18: 1 – PS 148 – John 16:12-15

 “God: made in our image!” a play on the words taken from the Genesis story of creation. Still, as presumptuous as they are, they are words that ring true for many people down through the ages. People, without the Holy Spirit to guide them, will create worlds that fit into their finite understand of God. In today’s Gospel Jesus tells His disciples, “I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now.” The Holy Spirit, the author and giver of life, will come upon you and re-create youin the Image and Likeness of God!

The friar who maintains this web site asked me the other day, “Aren’t you beginning to run out of things to say?” And I would have to respond that it is a challenge to make fresh comment on the repeated themes, “love me. Love one another. Be one in Me as I am one in the Father. Love, love, love!

But then we switch gears as we move closer to the Pentecost Feast: the coming of the Holy Spirit. How could we ever run out of things to say about the Holy Spirit?

From the beginning of Genesis all the way through to the end of Revelation the Holy Spirit is the life force that keeps us going. It is the Holy Spirit who brings order out of the chaos at the beginning of creation and it is the Holy Spirit who breathes life into the first humans. It is the Holy Spirit that shakes the room where the disciples are gathered in fear. But it’s the same Holy Spirit that comes to Elijah in the cave where he realizes that the Holy Spirit of God is also a still, quiet voice – or breath of fresh life.

In today’s reading from the Acts Paul admonishes the so-called sophistiaced Athenians, who think that they have contained God in their shrines and temples, that God cannot be limited in any way. He goes on to say, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” It is this Holy Spirit, the source of God’s Love that re-creates us and gives us the ability to continue our journey along the Way to Heaven. And how could we ever run out of things to say about the Holy Spirit! Amen!