October 12, 2017 – Thursday in the 27th Week of the Church Year

Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos (January 11, 1718 –October 4, 18871

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Malachi 3:13-20 – Psalm 1 – Luke 11:5-13

In today’s Holy Gospel we hear Jesus’ words, “… ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you!” Yet most of us have many more experiences of not having our prayers answered – at least in the way we expected. What are we doing wrong? This Gospel passage goes on: “I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship he will get up … because of his persistence.”

 So is this suggesting that we storm heaven with our needs until we get them or … what? In the end – as I’ve said many times before – we have to understand that even Lazarus, who was raised from the dead, must have died again since he’s not hanging around as far as I know!

Part of the answer might be found in the last line of today’s Holy Gospel: “If you then, who are wicked(better to read, ‘earthly’ or “unfinished”) know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”

This thrusts us back to the very beginning of Holy Scripture in (Genesis 1:1-2) it’s the “Spirit” hovering over the immensity of the waters that brings them into the beauty of creation. But, like the Israelites of old, we wander in and out of God’s favor on our journey to the Promised Land and God always rescues us from choosing the wrong path and sends His Holy Spirit to re-create us and renew our desire to follow Him.

Will we always get what we want? Probably not. I’ve always said, “Why is it that every time I take two steps forward I seem to fall back three? But in the end I ‘get there’ because I was usually going in the wrong direction!”

St. Paul says, “Now we only see dimly as in a mirror. But then we shall see Him as He really is.” (I Corinthians 13:12) Amen!

I hope this gives you some better understanding of how/why you pray to God.

October 11, 2017 – Wednesday in the 27th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: St. John XXIII (November 25, 1881 – June 3, 1993)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Jonah 4:1-11 – Psalm 86 – Luke 11:1-4

“God is true: He has a long memory for his promises and a short memory for our failure to keep ours.”

What is the essence of the ‘story of Jonah? What are we to learn from this short, but powerful account of this prophet of God? Part of our answer might come from it’s being put up against Jesus teaching His disciples how to pray. We’re not told much about Jonah’s origin or previous life before the first verses of this book: “… in those days the Word of God came to Jonah to set forth to preach disaster to the Ninivites…”

Then we can see a clear outline of what happens: he hears the Word of God … and tries to run away from it! He’s saved by an attempt to kill him when he’s thrown into the sea and a huge fish swallows him only to spit him up at the place where he was supposed to go in the first place. This echoes my little phrase, “Why is it that every time I take two steps forward I fall back three? But I usually get there anyway, ‘cause I was usually going in the wrong direction in the first place”

When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray their thinking might have been, “now we’re going to get the ‘inside story’ from the horses mouth.” What they get is the simple, but powerful outline of how and what to pray for. They are not given some “cracker-jack” sure-fire method of “prosperity praying” like the TVangelists offer but rather the essence of the “Shemma, Israel” – “Love God completely and your neighbor as your self. Forgive others and you will be forgiven.” Let the quote that I gave at the beginning of this reflection keep us on track: “God has a long memory for His promises and a short memory for our failures.”   If we look at everything in our lives as “gift” then our prayer would always be “thank you, God!” Problems come when we start negotiating with God over how His gifts should be used. “I thank you, Oh God … if this or that comes about. Our thanks needs always to be unconditional. “You did nothing to make the castor oil tree grow and you have no right to be mad at Me when it is taken away. “Give us this day… everything that we need … for today.” Let tomorrow take care of itself. Amen!

October 11, 2017 – Wednesday in the 27th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: St. John XXIII

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Jonah 4:1-11 – Psalm 86 – Luke 11:1-4

“God is true: He has a long memory for his promises and a short memory for our failure to keep ours.”

What is the essence of the ‘story of Jonah? What are we to learn from this short, but powerful account of this prophet of God? Part of our answer might come from it’s being put up against Jesus teaching His disciples how to pray. We’re not told much about Jonah’s origin or previous life before the first verses of this book: “… in those days the Word of God came to Jonah to set forth to preach disaster to the Ninivites…”

Then we can see a clear outline of what happens: he hears the Word of God … and tries to run away from it! He’s saved by an attempt to kill him when he’s thrown into the sea and a huge fish swallows him only to spit him up at the place where he was supposed to go in the first place. This echoes my little phrase, “Why is it that every time I take two steps forward I fall back three? But I usually get there anyway, ‘cause I was usually going in the wrong direction in the first place.”

When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray their thinking might have been, “now we’re going to get the ‘inside story’ from the horses mouth.” What they get is the simple, but powerful outline of how and what to pray for. They are not given some “cracker-jack” sure-fire method of “prosperity praying” like the TVangelists offer but rather the essence of the “Shemma, Israel” – “Love God completely and your neighbor as your self. Forgive others and you will be forgiven.” Let the quote that I gave at the beginning of this reflection keep us on track: “God has a long memory for His promises and a short memory for our failures.”   If we look at everything in our lives as “gift” then our prayer would always be “thank you, God!” Problems come when we start negotiating with God over how His gifts should be used. “I thank you, Oh God … if this or that comes about. Our thanks needs always to be unconditional. “You did nothing to make the castor oil tree grow and you have no right to be mad at Me when it is taken away. “Give us this day… everything that we need … for today.” Let tomorrow take care of itself. Amen!

October 10, 2017 – Tuesday in the 27th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Francis Borgia (October 28, 1510 – September 30, 1572)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy

Jonah 3:1-10 – Psalm 130 – Luke 10:38-40

“When God saw by the  Ninevites how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.” (Luke 10:42)

 This entire story of Jonah and the Ninevites is filled with all kinds of examples of how not to react to the voice of God when it comes to us. Still, with all the ups and downs to this story, we can easily see how patient God is with us and how we can’t really hide from God when He calls us to action. The opening lines of our first scripture from the Book of Jonah set the scene for us: “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time!” So he sets out proclaiming what the Lord is going to do if the people don’t mend their ways right now! And lo and behold they believed him and the Lord saw their good intentions and relented of the threat he had planned to inflect on them. In many ways this story is very much like things that we heard as children when our parents told us of all the horrible things that would happen to us if we didn’t eat our vegetables. For the people of the Old Testament it was a reminder that God hardly ever gives up on us and always gives us second chances to get back on the road to the Kingdom.

Then when we hear today’s Gospel Scripture – which is going at it’s own speed and not necessarily intended to compliment the reading from Jonah – we hear Jesus telling Martha, “… you are anxious about many things … there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:40-42) That “better part” was to listen to the Lord. It’s just happenstance that Jonah didn’t really listen to the voice of the Lord and it got him in all kinds of trouble. But still, God kept the channels of communication open and didn’t give up on him. Once again, it’s not an either or situation but a case of both/and. We take time to listen to the Lord and try to follow in His way while at the same time realizing that someone has to do the dishes! The bottom line for today might be the quest for us to be open to hearing the Lord’s voice – in whatever way He speaks it to us – as we struggle to make our way to the Kingdom. Amen!

October 9, 2017 – Monday in the 27th Week of the Church Year

 

Saint for the day: Denis & Companions (Died: 258?)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Jonah 1:1 – 2:1-2, 11 – Jonah 2:3-5, 8 – Luke 10:25-37

“What I say to you in the darkness speak in the light, says the Lord; what you heard whispered proclaim on the housetops. (Matthew 10:17)Today, the Church gives us two very dramatic stories that most of us are familiar with: the story of Jonah trying to run away from God; and the story of the “Good Samaritan.” The story of Jonah is a salvation/redemption story filled with vivid images that would have been familiar to most folks in the times of Jesus. Most of those people had a great fear of the sea which often caught them unawares with sudden storms. They also presumed that the dark, depths were the home of Leviathan, the great sea monster. But in the story, it’s the monster fish that actually turns out to be a “savior” for Jonah, who, after having a kind of “baptism in water” spends three days in the belly of the fish – a kind of tomb – and then is dropped on the shore of the very place he was trying to avoid! The “Good Samaritan Story” has to be filtered a little since our current era has jumped ahead some and made the “Samaritan” a kind of “good-guy/savior” which wouldn’t have been any where near the way the Scribes and Pharisees (and most lawful Jews) thought. But Jesus turns this around when the scholar asks what he must do to gain eternal life and Jesus asks him what he reads in the Bible. And if there is one scripture passage that every law-abiding Jew knows, it’s the Shema, Israel: “you shall love the Lord … and your neighbor as yourself.” And when asked by the scholar in today’s Gospel, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus gives the familiar parable of the “Good Samaritan.” In this story we can all answer – as the scholar did – correctly: “The one who showed mercy” & leave it there – while dismissing the other two characters – the priest and the Levite as having failed the test. But the point of this story is not about who is right or who is wrong but, rather, about which one goes beyond the mere “letter of the law.”

The main point of today’s Holy Gospel should cause us to break through the status quo and go the extra mile out of genuine love, compassion and mercy. Next time you toss the wad of paper to the waste basket and miss – and don’t go over to pick it up – you can’t talk about being a loving, merciful person. We miss the point of today’s readings if we only think in terms of winners and losers – righteous / unrighteous rather than just walking over to the corner to pick up the scrap of paper that missed the waste basket and would be left there for someone else to pick up. That’s the crux of “Gospel love.” Don’t just think in terms of being a great saint or successful healer/preacher/teacher … etc. if you don’t start at the beginning with the little things. St. Therese would call this “the little flowers.” Amen!

October 8, 2017 – Dominican Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Clic on the following “link”

to read about today’s Dominican celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary

The following “link” has the scripture readings for the Universal Church

Isaiah 5:1-7 – Psalm 80 – Philippians 4:6-9 – Matthew 21:33-43

Dominican Congregations might select different scriptures.

This Dominican celebrate originally was a commemoration of the Battle of Lepanto victory over the Turks in 1565. Sometimes I wonder if Mary really likes to be remembered as some kind of military strategist winning battles over anybody? So how do we celebrate this feast? I’m going to take my own track and focus on how the Rosary can be an outline for our lives and how it can help us be victorious – not over some other victim – but victorious in our own journey to the Kingdom.

Hindu mystics tell us that our lives are divided into 4 twenty year periods: 20 years as a youth; 20 years as a warrior; 20 years as head of a household; & 20 years in search of the “Spirit.”

I’ve taken this outline & applied it to the 4 parts of the Rosary: the “joyful” mysteries apply to the youth of Christ; the “Sorrowful”to His ‘warrior years;’ the “Glorious” as the building up of the Church (the ‘household of God) and the Luminous as following the Spirit into Heaven. Try these kinds of meditations and let your thoughts give you some new insights into how you can gain victory – not by crushing someone else – but by gaining victory over your own inner battles & struggles on your journey towards the Kingdom. Remember St. Catherine …”It’s Heaven all the way to Heaven!” Amen!

October 7, 2017 – Saturday in the 26th Week of the Church Year

Today’s Feast: Our Lady of the RosaryPraying the Rosary

Scripture Readings for today’s Feast

Baruch 4:5-12, 27-29 – Psalm 69 – Luke 10: 17-24

 Mother of good counsel, you prayed with the disciples s they waited in the Upper Room; pray for all those who await deliverance from suffering and death.”

Today the Dominicans celebrate this feast which originally was a commemoration of the Battle of Lepanto with a victory over the Turks in 1565. Sometimes I wonder if Mary really likes to be remembered as some kind of military strategist winning battles over anybody? So how de we celebrate this feast? I’m going to take my own track and focus on how the Rosary can be an outline for our lives and how it can help us be victorious – not over some other victim – but victorious in our own journey to the Kingdom.

Hindu mystics tell us that our lives are divided into 4 twenty year periods: 20 years as a youth; 20 years as a warrior; 20 years as head of a household; & 20 years in search of the “Spirit.”

I’ve taken this outline & applied it to the 4 parts of the Rosary: the “joyful” mysteries the youth of Christ; the “Sorrowful” His ‘warrior years;’ the “Glorious” as the building up of the Church (the ‘household of God) and the Luminous as following the Spirit into Heaven. Try these kinds of meditations and let your thoughts give you some new insights into how you can gain victory – not by crushing someone else – but by gaining victory over your own inner battles & struggles on your journey towards the Kingdom. Remember St. Catherine …”It’s Heaven all the way to Heaven!” Amen!

October 6, 2017 – Friday in the 26th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Bruno (c. 1030 – October 6, 1101)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Baruch 1:15 – 22 – Psalm 79 – Luke 10:13 – 16

“Those who keep God’s word with a good and perfect heart patiently bring forth fruit.” (Today’s Communion based on Luke 8:15)

 My oft repeated phrase, “Be Here Now” is like a two-edged sword and cuts in multiple directions. So, even as I come to this liturgy for the October First Friday, I bring myself along with all my most current thoughts and distractions. Missing an appointment that I made for yesterday made me all that much more aware of how easy it is for me to miss things if I don’t do something special that makes me think of what I have to do today. But this is the way our life goes on. We cannot just sit in our prayer closet oblivious to our current surroundings. we have to be ready to take it all in, sift it, and see what is important and separate the good fish from the useless ones.

To begin we need to know that he was the founder of hermitage in the German area of Chartreuse from which comes the order of hermits called Carthusians. The other fact that gives this saint notice is that this order has never had to be reformed because it was never deformed! St. Bruno – like St. Thomas Aquinas – was a genius but he did have his unique streak and was noted for his temper tantrums. In this light, he is a model for all of us: we hear the word of God; we know about Jesus and His mighty words and works; we are ready to drop everything and follow him. Then the events of our lives barge in and distract us. If we focus on the distractions we are not letting God in and we will not be able to get around whatever it is that’s taking all of our energy and attention.

All throughout the history of the world we are able to see that our rag-tag ancestors struggled to find meaning in their lives. Then went in and out of favor with their understanding of who and what God was all about. Most importantly, they forgot that they were not “gods of their own world” and that they would forever be seeking to find that balance of their lives as they made their journey …. Into the kingdom.

Amazingly, here I am: just halfway through my 76thyear and still struggling with who and what I am and how I relate to those around me. So my prayer today will be: “Let go and let God. Don’t hold on to things especially that sense of ‘I’ll show him! I’ll make him sorry that he confronted me’ (in this or that situation) and thank God that I wasn’t injured and that life will go on and I’ll probably find myself in this or a similar situation somewhere else down the road of life. ‘Welcome to the imperfect world!” Amen!

October 6, 2017 – Thursday in the 26th Week of the Church Year

October 6, 2017 – Friday in the 26th Week of the Church Year

Saint for the day: Bruno (c. 1030 – October 6, 1101)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Baruch 1:15 – 22 – Psalm 79 – Luke 10:13 – 16

“Those who keep God’s word with a good and perfect heart patiently bring forth fruit.” (Today’s Communion based on Luke 8:15)

 My oft repeated phrase, “Be Here Now” is like a two-edged sword and cuts in multiple directions. So, even as I come to this liturgy for the October First Friday, I bring myself along with all my most current thoughts and distractions. Missing an appointment that I made for yesterday made me all that much more aware of how easy it is for me to miss things if I don’t do something special that makes me think of what I have to do today. But this is the way our life goes on. We cannot just sit in our prayer closet oblivious to our current surroundings. we have to be ready to take it all in, sift it, and see what is important and separate the good fish from the useless ones.

To begin we need to know that he was the founder of hermitage in the German area of Chartreuse from which comes the order of hermits called Carthusians. The other fact that gives this saint notice is that this order has never had to be reformed because it was never deformed! St. Bruno – like St. Thomas Aquinas – was a genius but he did have his unique streak and was noted for his temper tantrums. In this light, he is a model for all of us: we hear the word of God; we know about Jesus and His mighty words and works; we are ready to drop everything and follow him. Then the events of our lives barge in and distract us. If we focus on the distractions we are not letting God in and we will not be able to get around whatever it is that’s taking all of our energy and attention.

All throughout the history of the world we are able to see that our rag-tag ancestors struggled to find meaning in their lives. Then went in and out of favor with their understanding of who and what God was all about. Most importantly, they forgot that they were not “gods of their own world” and that they would forever be seeking to find that balance of their lives as they made their journey …. Into the kingdom.

Amazingly, here I am: just halfway through my 76thyear and still struggling with who and what I am and how I relate to those around me. So my prayer today will be: “Let go and let God. Don’t hold on to things especially that sense of ‘I’ll show him! I’ll make him sorry that he confronted me’ (in this or that situation) and thank God that I wasn’t injured and that life will go on and I’ll probably find myself in this or a similar situation somewhere else down the road of life. ‘Welcome to the imperfect world!” Amen!

October 5, 2017 – Thursday in the 26th week of the Church year

 Today’s saint: Maria Faustina Kowalska (Aug. 25, 1905 – Oct 5, 1938)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Nehemiah 8:1-4 … 12 – Psalm 19 – Luke 10:1-12

“Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom He sent out in pairs … and to proclaim, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand.’” (today’s Holy Gospel according to St. Luke)

 I think it’s safe for me to say that the average ‘person in the pew’ doesn’t hear words like these being spoken to them. That’s not to denigrate the many lay persons who have accepted their baptismal call to be ‘priest, prophet and king,’ but we still have a ways to go to get many people to see that their duty as believing Christians is more than the typical “pay & pray” attitude that is still prevalent to many.

The bottom line in today’s Holy Gospel seems to be one that seeks to make us trust in God and not in our own weakness. Jesus says, “Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’” With the understanding of the words of St. Thomas Aquinas – “You can’t give what you do not have.” – we need to know what “peace” means. Take a moment to think about that word. If you don’t have at least a spark of understanding it will be almost impossible for you to offer peace to anyone.

I remember a man in one parish where I was assigned who, at the “sign of peace” would say, “My peace I give to you!” and at first that switch in wording put me off. But maybe he was more aware than I thought. In the end, it’s more important for us try to share even the little bit of awareness of God’s Peace with those around us than to wait until another time somewhere down the road. If we wait until we have it all worked out we’ll miss precious opportunities of sharing God’s presence and grace with those around us.

Two things to focus on in today’s liturgy: first: we’re always being sent out. You’ll be hard pressed to find any words of Jesus that hint that His gifts to us are meant to be hidden is a “prayer closet.” Secondly: don’t wait around for a fuller understanding of God’s presence in your life. Even if you think you only have a little spark of His Peace and Trust – go with that. You’ll be surprised to see how powerful it can be in your life. Amen!