June 13, 2018 – Wednesday – 10th Week

To all my faithful readers of Scratchpad Reflections: I am in the process of organizing 18 Years of reflections – while, at the same time, hoping to keep them fresh and able to help all my faithful readers on their journeys following the Lord.

So there might be a little bit of juggling while I try to keep these reflections meaningful to a wide range of readers. Please keep me in your prayers as I make this transition.

Brother Daniel

e-mail: brotherdaniel@opwest.org

 

June 4, 2018 – 9th Week of Ordinary Time

Dear faithful readers of “Scratchpad Reflections!”   I’m having some computer problems which I won’t be able to fix right away.  But, I ‘ll do the best I can to get  up and running as soon as possible.  Thanks – in advance – for your patience with my difficulties.

Brother Daniel

Friday, June 1, 2018 – First Friday of the month.

 

 Saint for the day: Justin Martyr (c. 100 – 165)

 Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

1 Peter 4:7-13 – Psalm 96:10-13 – Mark 11:11-26

 “Did you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? Therefore drive out from yourselves all that is not of God.

 If I were a director for a stage play or movie centered around today’s Gospel I would have had my work cut out for me! There’s just a lot going on. How do we pull it all together with some sense of purpose and meaning? Jesus goes in and out of the Temple area and back and forth to and from Bethany and a poor fig tree gets blamed for not having figs even though it’s “not the season for figs!”

What’s going on and what does the Gospel writer want us to hear about this passage?

Seems to me it’s the basic struggle that exists between the world, the flesh and the devil. In the first place we see that “the world” will always try to get as much out of us as possible and sometimes we are not even aware that anything bad is happening. Things start out as being necessary: money had to be changed in order to pay the Temple Tax. But what “the world” does is to jack up the ante so that sooner or later we feel the pinch. Jesus’ response is to overturn the tables of the moneychangers and drive them out of the Temple area.

Then, on His way to Bethany he sees a poor, barren fig tree that He curses for no apparent reason and his disciples notice it withered when they are returning to the Temple and ask Jesus about this. Jesus’ response: “…if you say to this mountain ‘Up and into the sea’ it shall be so. Anything you ask for in prayer – without doubting – will be done.”

I’m sure that most of us have many experiences of “asking in faith” only to see it not accomplished. So, what’s our ‘bottom line’ here?

I think that the closing of this Gospel passage holds the answer. It takes us back to the ‘Lord’s Prayer:’ “… unlimited forgiveness to those who have wronged us so that we, also, might know the limitless forgiveness and mercy of God in our lives.”

This is where “cleansing” comes in. We have to overturn all that pulls us away from God and sweep clean this ‘temple of ours’ that God intends for good. Only when we do this will we find our lives blossoming forth with fresh fruit. You might not like figs but try to get beyond any prejudice to see how much God wants us to be fruitful. Amen!

May 29, 2018 Tuesday in the 8th Week in Ordinary time.

May 29. 2018 –

 

Saint for the day: Venerable Pierre Toussaint 1776 – 1853

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy

1 Peter 1:10-16 – Psalm 98 – Mark 10: :28-31

 

 

“Be holy as I am Holy … You will not be bulked of your reward.”

Our baptism calls us into the journey and we must gird up the loins of our minds and proceed soberly knowing that the road will lead us to Calvery. We don’t need to be very clever to realize that nobody gets out of this life alive but gains eternal life in Heaven. Jesus says, “Anyone who sets his hand to this plow – and doesn’t flinch and look back – will not be balked of his reward.” Just as Jesus, on the way to Calvery, was jeared at, mocked and fallen, we must see that the setbacks and trials we encounter are a part of our birth process into heaven.

May 27,2018 – The Solemity of the Most Holy Trinity

May 27, 2018 – Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

 Scripture readings for today’s liturgy

Deutertonomy 4:32-34, 39-40 – Psalms 33:34- 6, 9,1819, 20-22 – Romans 8:14-17 –Matt 28:16-20

 Jesus said to the disciples, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations … and behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

 We remember, in many of the post-resurrection appearances, how Jesus kept saying, “Don’t cling to me … but GO out…tell this good news…”

This is where the quote from G.K. Chesterton makes sense: “It’s not that Christianity has been tried – and failed. It’s more that it hasn’t really been tried completely!”

Most of us are insecure people who don’t like to get stuck in the unknown. We want to have a good, solid handle on everything so much so that we often flee back into a locked upper room where – at least – we can find some security. Still Jesus says, “Go out!” and most of us say, “But I don’t know what I’m supposed to say/do. I’m no theologian so what’s my role?”

This reminds me of the story of the Archbishop who came to the parish for Confirmation. As he began his questioning of the children he asked them, “Who can explain what the Holy Trinity is all about?” Of course there was nervous quiet and shuffling and finally one youngster mumbled an answer. The Archbishop said, “Sorry I don’t understand what you said.” Again the kid mumbled and the Archbishop repeated his “I don’t understand! To which the lad blurted out, “Of course you don’t understand! It’s a Mystery!”

So, what can we do to get a little closer to what this mystery is all about?

In the time after Easter we were hearing Jesus’, from John’s Gospel, saying over and over, “That they may be one, Father, as you and I are one … and that I am going so as to allow the Holy Spirit to come upon them.”

St. Augustine says, “Look at yourself: you see that you exist and that you have a mind and a will. These are three dimensions of your reality, and yet you are one. Each of us is a kind of trinity: three in one and one in three.” Did that help?

In one sense, God is like a community and wants to share that with us. We all know the problems that come when we try to live in any kind of community: family, social, religious. Our human fragility so often breaks it down and we have a tendency to say, “It’s not working! Let me set out on my own!”

But we should know that that wouldn’t work any better. Jesus sent them out two by two. That’s what St. Dominic did with his early friars: two by two. And this will only work if we are all/both focused on the person of Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit. Community is difficult but basic and necessary. Jesus isn’t looking for “lone-riders” and our salvation is in some ways conditional on our ability to work with that other guy. That person, who we often think of as impossible to work with, is probably going to be our ticket to heaven. WOW! And Amen!

May 26, 2018 – Saturday in the 7th Week of Ordinary Time

Saint for the day:Philip Neri (July 21,1515 – May 26, 1595

 Scripture readings for today’s Litugry

James 5:9-12 – Psalm 101 – Mark 10:1-12

“Your word, O Lord is truth. Consecrate us in your truth.” (Today’s Alleluia verse.)

 As I was typing the above scripture quote from today’s Liturgy the word, “consecrate” caught my attention and I began to think of all the ways that word is used in our liturgies. In the end I had to admit that, any way you slice it, we’re still going to have to face the fact that there will be some substantial change affecting the way we understand God and how we follow Jesus. If the priest’s words of consecration at Mass can change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ don’t you think that God can change some of the bad things in our lives into something that more easily brings about peace and unity?

Take a little time to think about all different ways you understand the use of this word, “consecrate.” We also hear the phrases, “Do not judge or condemn. If we tie these two thoughts together we might come up with something like, “Lord, change the way I judge or condemn people that I encounter in my day-to-day life. Help me to always seek peace and unity in all that I do.”

The Gospel writers use various literary devises to force a statement about our way of following Jesus and God’s law. James’ call to perseverance in spite of hardship: Job, for example, is up against the Gospel’s call to “stick it out” since God created us to seek unity – e.g. community and be one with another. The Pharisees, standing in for us, are looking for an easy out. There is no easy out. I know of a couple both of whom were in either their second of third marriage but, by some quirk in the manner of the previous marriages they were free to be married in the Church. To other couples struggling in their own marriages this didn’t seem fair. Why did that couple get to slip through a loophole while others have to suffer pain in a marriage that isn’t good for either of them? Bottom Line: the Lord doesn’t call us to be successful. He just calls us to be faithful. We’re in the process of integration. We are striving towards that unity that is the Holy Trinity. We’re not called to act as judge or condemn or curse. Love is patient, kind, gentle, long suffering (Gal 5:23 ff.) Nobody said it would be easy to follow Jesus all the way to the cross in order to get to the resurrection. Consecrate us in your truth, O, God. Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

May 25, 2018 Friday of the 7th Week of Ordinary Time

Saint for the day:Bede the Venerable (c. 672 – May 25, 735

Scriptury readings for today’s Liturgy

James 5:9-12 – Ps. 103;1-4 -8-9-8-12 – Mark 10:1-12

“Your word, O Lord is truth. Consecrate us in your truth.” (Today’s Alleluia verse.)

 As I was typing the above scripture quote from today’s Liturgy the word, “consecrate” caught my attention and I began to think of all the ways that word is used in our liturgies. In the end I had to admit that, any way you slice it, we’re still going to have to face the fact that there will be some substantial change affecting the way we understand God and how we follow Jesus. If the priest’s words of consecration at Mass can change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ don’t you think that God can change some of the bad things in our lives into something that more easily brings about peace and unity?

Take a little time to think about all different ways you understand the use of this word, “consecrate.” We also hear the phrases, “Do not judge or condemn. If we tie these two thoughts together we might come up with something like, “Lord, change the way I judge or condemn people that I encounter in my day-to-day life. Help me to always seek peace and unity in all that I do.”

The Gospel writers use various literary devises to force a statement about our way of following Jesus and God’s law. James’ call to perseverance in spite of hardship: Job, for example, is up against the Gospel’s call to “stick it out” since God created us to seek unity – e.g. community and be one with another. The Pharisees, standing in for us, are looking for an easy out. There is no easy out. I know of a couple both of whom were in either their second of third marriage but, by some quirk in the manner of the previous marriages they were free to be married in the Church. To other couples struggling in their own marriages this didn’t seem fair. Why did that couple get to slip through a loophole while others have to suffer pain in a marriage that isn’t good for either of them? Bottom Line: the Lord doesn’t call us to be successful. He just calls us to be faithful. We’re in the process of integration. We are striving towards that unity that is the Holy Trinity. We’re not called to act as judge or condemn or curse. Love is patient, kind, gentle, long suffering (Gal 5:23 ff.) Nobody said it would be easy to follow Jesus all the way to the cross in order to get to the resurrection. Consecrate us in your truth, O, God. Amen!

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!