As for the man

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Readings: Ex 32:15-24, 30-34; PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23; Mt 13:31-35
Notes: We celebrate Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We have some confidence these are their names according to some extra biblical writings. How blessed their lives must have been. The Blessed Mother, with Immaculate Conception, had the singular grace of being untainted by original sin. We know so little of her parents. We know so much about their daughter!

As for the man… we do not know what has happened to him (Ex 32:23).

Some simply go invisible.

First reading
Far be it from me to criticize Moses.
He was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

And the people forgot him. They forgot him and the Lord who rescued them.

Some simply go forgotten.

Responsorial Psalm
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt.

Alleluia Verse
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Gospel Portion
Those who follow Christ are reminded to be visible yet invisible and remembered yet forgotten.

The power of all evangelization is in the person of whom we speak, namely Jesus Christ.

And no matter what you do or say, people must make up their own mind.

It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

Paradoxically, a bird sitting in a tree is never afraid in a branch breaking, because her trust isn’t in the branch, it’s in her own wings.

Regarding what I expect from the deacons of Rome, … dimensions to cultivate. Firstly, I expect you to be humble. It is sad to see a bishop and a priest showing off, but it is even sadder to see a deacon wanting to put himself at the centre of the world, or at the centre of the liturgy, or at the centre of the Church. Be humble. Let all the good you do be a secret between you and God. And so it will bear fruit (Pope Francis, Saturday, 19 June 2021).

Some simply go alone.

I hear mothers and widows and grandparents lament this way. I am invisible, forgotten and alone.

Grandparents https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2021-07/world-day-grandparents-elderly-pope-prayer-released-dicastery-la.html

  • It is important to try and remember our parents, grandparents.
  • It is important to try and remember the patriarchs and saints of our life.

Even in your own spiritual life – Who baptized you? Who was your sponsor?

None of us birthed ourselves. None of us self-administered the Sacraments. None of us are able to live without some kindness of even strangers.

As for the man… remember (her/him/them)…

  • Who planted the seed of faith in you?
  • Who allowed themselves to be a branch for you?

Who have we made feel invisible, forgotten and alone?

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Knitting it together

Knitting the story together

Greetings on this the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 Kgs 4:42-44; PS 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18; Eph 4:1-6; Jn 6:1-15
Notes: It’s summertime!! So I get to be a little creative. In today’s homily I am using props. I have a ball of yard and two knitting needles. After a quick lesson or two on how to knit, I am going to play-act knitting as I preach. Hidden in my knitting bag is a embroidered image of Jesus. I will show them the ‘completed’ image after I complete the knitting together. Get it?

You see we can knit together our understanding of Jesus from the ones who came before him and the story of him and our getting to know him.

Our gospel portion for the next FOUR of FIVE weeks (Assumption of the Blessed Mother takes priority over #4 otherwise five weeks) is about a SINGLE chapter of one Gospel. Chapter six of the Gospel of John is so important, we dedicate five weeks to it. It’s a short chapter with universal importance:

The Bread of Life Discourse.

The FIVE WEEK series of notes are here: Five Week Grid of Notes.

First reading
Elisha: Elisha who succeeded and exceeded Elijah.
Miracles evidenced through him include:

  • Poisoned Well cured with salt.
  • Drought water when no water can be found.
  • Widow’s Oil enough enough to pay off debt to save children from slavery.
  • Shunammite’s Son revived.
  • Poisioned Stew cured.
  • Barley Loaves 20 loaves 100 men.
  • Naaman Leprosy.
  • The Lost Ax retrieved. Matt 17:27 The two coins for the temple tax.
  • Invisible Army seen. Transfiguration.
  • Cured even after his death. US!!!!
  • and more!

John the Baptist is Elijah: Matthew 11:14 [Jesus said] And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

Elisha exceed Elijah with a double portion.

Jesus is more than but succeeds Elijah, not two fold but infinite fold.

  • 20 Loaves/100 Men.
  • 5 loaves/5,000 Men.

You do the math 🙂 John is to Elijah as Jesus is to Elisha.

Responsorial Psalm
The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Second reading
One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.

Alleluia Verse
A great prophet has risen in our midst.
God has visited his people.

Gospel Portion
I have a knitting project that I really need to finish so fi you don’t mind I am going to knit while I preach. OK?

You see we are always knitting together our understanding of Jesus. We learn of his life, his relationship to the Father and his commitment to us. We listen to him and follow him.

But not perfectly.
But not all.

Let’s start with week five: the ending of the series.

Jesus having completed the Bread of Life discourse has one last challenge.

John 6.

Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

We have the same challenge:

  • Do we believe Jesus in his discourse of the Bread of Life or not.
  • And even if we struggle, do we walk away?

OR do we profess like Peter, even if we still have questions…We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

That’s our journey.

  • Exceeding Elijah:
  • 5 Barley Loaves/2 Fish
  • 5,000 men/Women and children
  • Gather fragments/12 wicker baskets
  • Prophet/King

Exceeding Moses:

  • Bread and Quail by Moses request.
  • The Lord has given you bread to eat.
  • All the gifts: ten commandments, water from rock, serpent on pole, etc.
  • Exceeding Elijah:
  • Elijah flight from Horeb, given food and water to eat from an Angel. (Also given food from Ravens earlier). Get up and eat for the journey will be too much for you.
  • Elijah sees the Lord (from the cave).
  • Called down fire from heaven.
  • Exceeding Joshua:
  • Having completed the subduing of the promised land.
  • Joshua gives the witness. It is the LORD who freed you from slavery in the land of Egypt. It is the LORD who performed great signs and protected you. It is the LORD who we should worship.
  • As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.

so that… we believe in One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.

Our deepest desire to be one with Jesus.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Let them grow together

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 24:3-8; PS 50:1b-2, 5-6, 14-15; Mt 13:24-30
Notes: None.

First reading

The sacrifice of the Lamb. The blood upon the altar and the blood upon the peoples.

Responsorial Psalm
Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Alleluia Verse
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.

Gospel Portion
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Let us be clear.

ISN’T

  • It is not the job of humans to decide who is weed and who is wheat.
  • It is not the job of humans to collect the weed for burning nor the wheat for the barn.

IS

  • It is our job to grow together.
  • And be kind to one another.

It is our job to…

  • humbly welcome the word that has been planted [with]in you and is able to save your souls.
  • offer to God praise as your sacrifice and fulfill your vows to the Most High.
  • to call upon [Him] me in time of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.

Let us do everything he has taught us (righteousness and justice and mercy) then…

Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.”

As the old spiritual song goes, a favorite even if not in my tradition,

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Interfaith Chaplaincy

The Covid-19 spike, the 4th wave, has begun. Florida has 1/5 of all these new infections. Volunteer Chaplaincy becomes a much needed commodity.

Here are some photos of the Chapel at JFK Atlantis, FL. A great place to have difficult conversations.

Chady Elias. Artist. Sometimes, I use the artwork to begin conversations.

https://www.chadyart.com/

Mask up.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Not a Potted Plant

Greetings on this the Friday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 20:1-17; PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11; Mt 13:18-23
Notes: None.

First reading
The Ten Commandments.
Beautiful in their simplicity.
Deep implicitly.

The greatest challenge in the commandments is to not be simplistic in following them.
We must ever be aware of the situation and circumstances people face when applying them.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance (2 Pt 3:8-9).

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Key: a generous heart.

Gospel Portion
We are not potted plants.

The parable today describes what the effects the word of the Kingdom have on people in different circumstances.

But we can change circumstances.
We are not potted plants.

Move.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Woman, why are you weeping?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene
Readings: Sgs 3:1-4b; Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9; Jn 20:1-2, 11-18
Notes: Mary Magdalene was one of Christ’s disciples and was present when he died. Early in the morning of the resurrection, she was, according to Saint Mark’s account (16:9), the first to see the risen Lord.

First reading
Love seeks the beloved.
As this first reading attests the deepest desire is to be with the one you love at all time.
We desire the one who first loved us.

Responsorial Psalm
My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

The psalm reading today is the first psalm read on Week One, Sunday Morning, Liturgy of the Hours. It is also used on Solemnities, Feasts and the Sunday of Sunday’s – Easter morning.

We can say then Psalm 63:2-9 is the first among the psalms.

O God, you are my God— it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary
to see your power and glory.

For your love is better than life;
my lips shall ever praise you!
I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall be sated as with choice food,
with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!

I think of you upon my bed,
I remember you through the watches of the night
You indeed are my savior,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Alleluia Verse
Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way?
I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.

Gospel Portion
His body has been taken.
Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.

  • The Angels asked: Woman, why are you weeping?
  • Jesus asked: Woman, why are you weeping?

The Lord and His heavenly hosts know why we weep.
In compassion we too listen to your stories and hear the anguish and sorrow.

Listening is a divine action. Mary, and every woman needs to be heard.

Mary was listened to by:

  • Peter
  • the Other Disciples
  • Angels
  • Jesus

Mary wanted to know. Mary needed to know. Mary was the first to tell all of us.

We listened to Mary too:

He is risen. All will be risen from the dead.

But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Good Bread and Foul Fowl

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 16:1-5, 9-15; PS 78:18-19, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28; Mt 13:1-9
Notes: In the daily continuous readings we have been stepping through the Exodus event and the journey in the desert. These miraculous events (Passover, Parting Seas, Manna, etc) are all prefigures of the person and life of Jesus Christ.

This year is a special one that aligns wonderfully, but not perfectly.

  • Daily – Year One (1) – covering the Exodus extensively.
  • Sunday – Cycle B 2021 – five week reading of the Bread of Life Discourse (minus one because August 15th comes on a Sunday this year: Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

The faithful would benefit greatly by reading daily. The Sunday gospel readings would be so much more helpful to you if you are also reading daily the Mass. Better yet, attending!

The five Sunday treatment of the Bread of Life Discourse is not enough alone to go deeper and more fully into the mystery of the Eucharist.

First reading
The reflection title takes its meaning from the first reading.

Which of the two gifts is of higher value?

  • The Quail – a natural good.
  • The Manna – a supernatural good.
  • Which do they abuse?
  • Which do they abase?

Cross reference Numbers 11:1ff and Numbers 25:1ff (different time, same people).

It is the Manna that was regulated and given a near sacred treatment.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Alleluia Verse
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

Gospel Portion
The parable of the Sower is today’s gospel portion.

In light of our Bread of Life discourse track we are on, we can relate to the people of the Exodus, can we not?

The Manna and the Quail.

“so the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” Num 21:5

On the quail, ten homers of quail is equal to 10 donkeys fully loaded down with quail to carry. A huge amount. An excessive amount.

But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it could be chewed, the LORD’s wrath flared up against the people, and the LORD struck them with a very great plague. Num 11:33.

The seed falling on different soil qualities and yielding or not yielding at all is in direct parallel to the receiving of the natural and supernatural goods from the Lord.

It is entirely in our power to receive well or receive poorly and the consequences therein.

  • The Quail – a natural good.
  • The Manna – a supernatural good.
  • Which do they abuse?
  • Which do they abase?

Jesus’ words are all the more powerful:
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

I hear ya.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Which Way to Run

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 14:21—15:1; Resp Exodus 15:8-9, 10 and 12, 17; Mt 12:46-50
Notes: none.

First reading
With that the Egyptians sounded the retreat before Israel,
because the LORD was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

and

The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea,
when the LORD hurled them into its midst.

and

the LORD cast through the column of the fiery cloud
upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic;
and he so clogged their chariot wheels
that they could hardly drive.

Let there be no mistaking here.
The Egyptians chose to run toward death

(running westerly, it was an east wind, as it slowed the channel would collapse west to east).

The Egyptians, lightened by abandoning their weapons and chariots, could have run TOWARD Moses and escaped death.

Not a single one of them escaped.

Responsorial Psalm
Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Alleluia Verse
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.

Gospel Portion
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

The Egyptians, having done so many things wrong, also had access to rescue if only they followed in the path of the Hebrews toward the Lord.

  • Which way should we run? Toward Jesus.
  • How shall we be? Like his brothers, sisters and mother.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry