April 12, 2018 -Thurs. 2nd Week of Easter

As you most likely aware, I’me having some problems with the posting of my Scratchpad Reflections.  Part of the problem centers around the dates getting mixed up and part is due to my own way of getting the reflections posted in the right slots.  for the time being, I will take a little break which corresponds with a trip that I’m making to the northwest.  A lot will depend on wether or not I have good access to internet connections so you’ll just have to bear with me especially while I’m in some unknown internet connectons areas.I’ll try to do my best and see what happens.  Thanks for being patient with my problems as I try to continue with daily reflections.  Thanks for your patience.

Brother Daniel

April 11, 2017 – Wednesday,2nd week Easter

Scripture readings for todays Liturgy

  Acts 5:17-26  – Ps 34 – John 3:16-21

“God so loved the world …” I have to think about this in the sense of why there was a need for a redeemer when God created everything then said, “it was good!”

Wasn’t it enough to have created everything? Did God still have to also redeem it? There’s a little bit of sadism in a father being willing to offer His only son up to death. Is the Abraham/Isaac story conjured up to give credence to the notion that God loved the world more than He loved His own Son? I need to get more understanding of the notion of Sacrifice & scapegoat. If the angel stopped Abraham – “Now I know how much you love me…” Why didn’t God do the same for Jesus? What are some other whys that God could have used to show us His love? Or was the concept of resurrection so necessary that Jesus had to die in order to resurrect? I’m like Thomas, “I believe. Help my unbelief!” So many questions & I wonder how much is conjured up to support some notion of trying to get a handle on God. What about the OT notion/prophesy about Virginity” when most of the people were living in a world that was anything but chased? Oh, well … so much wonder about how we arrived at some of our basic beliefs. Sure I believe in God but I have some questions (problems?) with how that belief was put together in the Gospels. I obviously need to put more work into this matter. So much to do. So little time. Say a prayer for me. Amen!

April 11, 2018 – Wednesday in the 2nd Week of Easter

Saint for the day: Magdalen of Canossa (March 1, 1774 – April 10, 1835)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy

Acts 4:32-37 – Psalm 93 – John 3:7b-15

“God helps those who help themselves.” NOT!

“God helps those who have no one else to help them.”

 There are many Xtians who subscribe to that first statement, above, as if it were a quote from the Bible. But it’s not! Our Responsorial Psalm for today reminds us that “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”

In these days between Easter and Pentecost we might tire of hearing the same themes repeated over and over. But I think that the Church does that in order that we see how necessary it is for us to renew our commitment to follow the resurrected Jesus on a daily basis. These early sections of John’s Gospel are often seen as more “theological” than “practical” and we long for the accounts of healings and miracles that come later. Everybody loves a miracle and John has a special way of presenting them. But he always gives and calls for much more than just the physical.

We are not called to follow a miracle worker. We’re called to follow Jesus who is one with the Father and fortified by the Holy Spirit. That’s why John spends so much time weaving that tapestry that portrays Jesus as part and one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Take a moment to pray that familiar doxology, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

Again, this is a familiar part of our liturgical life and we might have a tendency to just whip it out with us being on auto pilot. Take some time to repeat that theological statement. It might help you get a better grip on what John and the Acts are presenting us with in these days. And back this up with the Responsorial Psalm refrain, “God hears the cry of the poor” – and helps those who have no one else to help them. Amen!

April 10, 2018 – Tues. – 2nd Week of Easter

Saint for the day: Magdalen of Canossa (March 1, 1774 – April 10, 1835)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy

Acts 4:32-37 – Psalm 93 – John 3:7b-15

“God helps those who help themselves.” NOT!

“God helps those who have no one else to help them.”

 There are many Xtians who subscribe to that first statement, above, as if it were a quote from the Bible. But it’s not! Our Responsorial Psalm for today reminds us that “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.”

In these days between Easter and Pentecost we might tire of hearing the same themes repeated over and over. But I think that the Church does that in order that we see how necessary it is for us to renew our commitment to follow the resurrected Jesus on a daily basis. These early sections of John’s Gospel are often seen as more “theological” than “practical” and we long for the accounts of healings and miracles that come later. Everybody loves a miracle and John has a special way of presenting them. But he always gives and calls for much more than just the physical.

We are not called to follow a miracle worker. We’re called to follow Jesus who is one with the Father and fortified by the Holy Spirit. That’s why John spends so much time weaving that tapestry that portrays Jesus as part and one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Take a moment to pray that familiar doxology, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

Again, this is a familiar part of our liturgical life and we might have a tendency to just whip it out with us being on auto pilot. Take some time to repeat that theological statement. It might help you get a better grip on what John and the Acts are presenting us with in these days. And back this up with the Responsorial Psalm refrain, “God hears the cry of the poor” – and helps those who have no one else to help them. Amen!

 

 

 

 

April 9, 2018 – The Annunciation of the Lord

 Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy

Isaiah 7:10 -14 – 8-10 – Psalm 40 –Hebrews 10:4-10

Luke 1;26-38

 “Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will.”

 Christian art down through the ages has probably done a disservice to Mary by portraying her as some “fairy-tale-like creature” who just sat around waiting for something important to happen in her life. Yet we know that life in her time was hard work and living in an unforgiving land of dust and dirt mere existence occupied a substantial part of ones daily life. When the scriptures tell us that “Jesus was like us in all things but sin” it also means that Mary was more like us than an angel.

Yet, despite living in a harsh land, she was still able to be attentive to God’s presence in her life.

I’ve often said, “God is smart enough to figure out anyway He wants to break into our world. But He does it in as natural a way as possible given the time and place of His Incarnation. When the Angel comes to Mary and tells her this “good news” she, very much like us, asks the question, “How can this happen…” but then makes the most important response ever, “be it done to me according to your word.”

Somebody once said, “God created us with two eyes, two ears and one mouth. He must have meant for us to listen and see, four times as much as speaking!”

At first Mary questions. And we all have questions about how God becomes a part of our lives. But then she quickly responds by saying, “Let it be!” “Fiat.” “Amen!” This is where most of us break stride with “the holy” and fall back on our human intuition by trying to reason with God about what’s happening in our life. We become more like Abraham in his dialog with the Angel of God about to destroy Sodom and Gomoriah, “… begging your pardon, Lord. But what if there are less than 50 just people…”

Listen, listen, listen. Don’t speak! Today’s Feast is about “Letting Go and letting God.” That’s the title of a little poem that might be good for us to hear: “As children bring their broken toys to us for us to mend. I brought my broken dreams to God because He was my friend. But then instead of leaving Him to work on them alone, I hung around and bothered Him with ideas of my own. And then I snatched them back and said, “How could you be so slow?” What could I do, my child, He said, “You never did let go.” Amen.

April 8, 2018 – Second Sunday of Easter

Today is also the Sunday of Divine Mercy

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 4:32-35 – Psalm 118 – 1John 5:1-6 – John 20:19-31

All of us have that “prove it to me” attitude about many aspects of life and religion. It’s a natural quest. We want to know for certain about all kinds of things: how long will I live? Will I get sick? Who will take care of me? Will my resources run out? The early Xtians had these same ?s and they grouped together and pooled their goods so that no one was in any need. But even that early community wasn’t a perfect group. There were some who held back (for a rainy day?) some of their resources. How much security do I need? Can I trust my Dominican community to be there for me down the road? Do I need proofs that all will be right? What about the Dominican community here in San Francisco?

Do I trust these guys to have the same commitment as I have? Do I doubt some of their concepts of “common life?” What are my fears? What kind of proof do I seek? Can I trust this concept of following a Risen Lord if in the midst of the San Francisco? Life is forever changing and all of us need to be able to adapt. I find myself falling back on that old saying “Be here now! This is the only time we really have and if it can’t work here it won’t work out any where else. Amen!

April 7, 2018 – Sat. in the 1st Week of Easter

Today’s Saint: John John Baptist de la Salle (April 30, 1651 – April 7, 1719)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 4:13-21 – Psalm 118 – Mark 16:9-15

“Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature”

These words at the end of today’s Gospel are the “marching orders” for the early church and are based on the conviction of those who have encountered the Risen Lord. “What we have witnessed and seen with our own eyes we now proclaim to you.”

With those words firmly rooted in their lives they “go out” to all the world and proclaim “Jesus Christ, Savior of the world.” They didn’t spend years in seminary study and were simple people who were uneducated and probably couldn’t even read or write. But they had faith! This kind of faith takes us beyond all our ready-at-hand categories and we often speak of it as something that we “have.” We would be better to speak of it as something that we “do” or something that we “are” by God’s gift. Be that as it may. It was enough to get the early Church going.

I am reminded of the saying, “If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

Again, it’s not that Christianity has been tried and failed. It’s more likely that it hasn’t been tried with conviction. The early followers of Jesus were convinced of His resurrection so much so that they told the powers that be, “how can you tell us not to speak of these wonders that we have seen with our own eyes?”

We have 2,000 years of tradition behind our belief and yet some of us have still not translated that into a living faith. I don’t have all the answers to many questions but I still believe that God raised Jesus from the dead that – way, this far down the road of history – I, Brother Daniel Thomas, a Dominican Brother in the 21st century can encounter this Risen Lord even if I have to say, with my name-sake, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!” It doesn’t take much of a spark of faith to cause a great fire to get going in our lives. But we have to accept it not just once. But every day of our lives.

That’s why we go through this “Easter thing” for seventy days! Amen!

April 6, 2018 – Friday in the 1st Week of Easter

Saint for the day: Crescentia Hoess (Oct.20,1682 – April 5, 1744)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 4:1-12 – Psalm 118 – John 21:1-14

The sign on the shop door read: “Gone Fishing!”

 This somewhat familiar saying packed with it a sense of, “I’ve had it! I need to get out of the ‘rut.’ I’m going fishing!”

The disciples are still in a quandary about what’s happened. They have a myriad of stories about the risen Lord but they are confused: “we thought He was to be the one who would free us from the tyranny of living under an oppressive government” and here they are: not any different from before.

We have to remember that the Gospels are the written record of the preaching of the early Church and are intended to give us ample examples of what it means to follow Christ. Contrary to some of the popular “prosperity gospel preaching,” the early followers of Jesus felt abandoned and alone so they did what many of us would do: they went fishing!

That is, they went back to their old ways forgetting all the blessings they had experienced in the short time of walking with Jesus. Even when they experience a miraculous catch of fish they forget that Jesus told them, “from now on you will catch people not fish.”

This section of the Gospel of John is thought by many scripture scholars to be an appendage that was added on later to further remind us of all that Jesus promised. So we are given some more examples of how it all fits together. The images are all there if we have eyes to see: the whole sense of the failure of a night’s fishing (like being tossed on a stormy sea); Peter’s jumping out of the boat (but not sinking this time); Jesus fixing breakfast of bread and fish (the multiplication of the loaves story.) It all goes back to the simple fact that we can never find full happiness going back to the way we were but always have to be in this now moment of salvation and ready to get on the way … whatever that might mean for each of us. Amen!

 

 

 

 

April 5, 2018 – Thurs. the 1st week of Easter

Saint for the day:Vincent Ferrer (Jan 23, 1350 – April 5, 1419)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 3:11-26 – Psalm 8 – Luke:24:35-48

Words, by their very definition are limited. Imagine Jesus standing before you – not speaking but able, still to communicate this Gospel scene. How do you “see Him bringing “Peace?” How do you know about His wounds? What do they look like? Does He beckon you to touch Him? Does He indicate that He is hungry? When we say that words in themselves are limited we have to also say that our words about Jesus & Heaven are also very limiting. Jesus is the word. The logos. That which is before and beyond time, space, and our concept of being. All our worries and questions from the time of the crucifixion and on are tied up in our limited words. We must go beyond these limitations in order to know the resurrected (real) Jesus. We need to put aside all those “wordy concepts” in order to be able to see/know Jesus. Amen!

 

April 4, 2018 – in the 1st week of Easer

Saint for the day: Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – April 4, 636)

Scripture readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 3:1-10 – Psalm 105 – Luke 24:13 – 35

What is it about the Risen Christ that kept the disciples from recognizing him? Sometimes the scriptures tell us, “their eyes were restrained.” Surely God could have revealed Himself in a way that everybody could easily see …. And believe. Yet he chooses to do it on a one-to-one basis. Take the transfiguration, for example. He could have done that on the Mountain of “Loves & fish” but He did it with just the chosen three. He could have done the death and resurrection in a Broadway, “Super Star” sort of production yet He chose to do it to Mary Magdalen & these two guys on the road to Emmaus.

The Emmaus guys eyes were restrained in order for them to gradually come to a deep, heart-felt realization that burned inside the core of their being. Those babies that were baptized on Easter Sunday haven’t a clue as to what happened to them. They will have to eventually come to that “Emmaus point” where it will begin to make sense and they can say, “where not our hearts burning…?”