Con Job

Con Jobs – Older than the hills

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Readings: IS 11:1-10; PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; LK 10:21-24

Con Job

Dishonest financial advisors looking for new clients sometimes use the following technique.

He calls 100 people at random and tells 50 of them the stock XYZ will go up today and the other 50 he tells them the stock XYZ will go down today. Let us say the stock XYZ closes up on the day.

The next day he calls the 50 to whom he ‘predicted’ the stock would rise.

Now he tells 25 of them the stock ABC will go up today and the other 25 he tells them the stock ABC will go down today. Let us say the stock ABC closes up on the day.

The next day he calls the 25 to whom he ‘predicted’ the stock would rise.

Now he tells 12 of them the stock EFG will go up today and the other 13 he tells them the stock EFG will go down today. Let us say the stock EFG closes up on the day.

The next day he calls the 12 to whom he ‘predicted’ the stock would rise.

Now he tells 6 of them the stock QWE will go up today and the other 6 he tells them the stock QWE will go down today. Let us say the stock QWE closes up on the day.

The next day he calls the 6 to whom he ‘predicted’ the stock would rise.

He doesn’t give them another stock recommendation. Instead he asks them to make him their stock broker. After 4 perfect ‘predictions’ do you suppose the 6 potential clients think he is a stock picking genius?

Six new marks sign up for his services turning over their fortunes for him to manage and steal from at will.

Do I need to tell you the outcome? Can you spot the dishonesty and the motivations?

Childlike

Today Jesus talks about the honor to know the things he has to say. He says that the Father has chosen the ‘childlike’ to hear first the good news. Childlike isn’t childish. Childlike is a person how trusts in the Creator and the benevolence in which he acts in good time and bad. Childlike don’t have such exaggerated claim on the world and on their own wisdom as to miss the simple and holy.

Childlike don’t fall for the chicanery of the stock broker because they aren’t motivated by the lure of gain and the laziness of not attending to an authentic intellectually sound dialog. Childlike aren’t confused by disordered mathematics and cryptic connections.

Our Prayer for Being Childlike

From the Liturgy of the Hours intercessions today…

  • Prepare a path in our hearts for the coming of your word, and let his glory be revealed among us.
  • Bring low the mountain of our pride, and fill up the valley of our weakness.
  • Bring down the walls of hatred that divides the nations, make level for mankind the paths to peace.

Non Con Job

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Jesus is now speaking to you. This is an historical statement and it was preserved for you -preserved publicly and offered within the privacy of your own heart.

His Cross, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven historically attested in sacred scripture is no stock pick for greed but a pathway to holiness. May you be able to proclaim: Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Come, Lord Jesus

Come, Lord Jesus

Greetings on this the 1st Sunday of Advent

Paradox

Readings: IS 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7; PS 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; 1 CORR 1:3-9; MK 13:33-37

Long Standing Hope

People, humans, need hope. We are a people of hope.

During Advent our Old Testament readings focus on the hope of the really big things. The Old Testament hopes for peace, tranquility, sufficiency of foods/provisions and an end to suffering.

This hope is brought to us in the story of the desert journey to a fertile land and later the gathering in of a scattered people. The hope in the miraculous is expressed in the promise that the blind will see, the deaf will hear and the lame will walk.

New Hope

In our time we look for the same things as the long standing hopes but with two reassurances to strengthen our hope.

They are:

  1. Jesus Christ has been revealed (the Incarnation manifests the salvific plan in the person of Jesus – God saves).
  2. God is in our midst (Emmanuel).

This new hope, the good news, is first known by the Blessed Virgin Mary and John the Baptist.

For our Advent journey this year, let us contemplate Mother Mary and John the Baptist – the first to know the new hope that we maintain even today.

  1. Mary – the interior life. The life of prayer and holding close all things good and bad deep within the heart and glorifying God. Mary draws us into the hope of peaceful expectations and trust in the Lord.
  2. John the Baptist – the exterior life. John helps us realize the world we live in, the world we operate in, needs reform and correction. If Mary calls us to the interior hope of prayer then John calls us to the actions and methods of a life lived in the rightness with God and man. He clearly prepares the way of the Lord, for us.

Mary and John are our guides to living an Advent life. A life of the hopeful expectation.

Each of these, Mary and John, each with his own work (MK 13:34) the first workers of the New Testament. Jesus tells us to ‘Be Alert!’ Be alert – each to his own work.

Christ the King

In the readings leading up to Advent the Church draws from the Book of Revelation.

The purpose, using the theme of Christ, King of the Universe, reassures us that there will be an end to injustice and a new beginning of peace in the Kingdom. These readings affirm the hope of an all-powerful God bringing that which we can only hope for.

Advent Week One

Now this week, following today, 1st Sunday Advent, the readings are focused on Jesus building out his Church. The Church to become the vehicle of the new Kingdom and the peace we so deeply desire.

MondayCall of the Apostles.
TuesdayPraising God after the return of the 72.
WednesdayHealing and feeding the many.
ThursdayFoundation of rock is the Gospel.
FridayHeal the two blind men.
SaturdayKey part to relate to each with his own work: ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.

Grace Given Grace Received

Don’t sleep! Each of us has work to do. Mary work and John work. You are among those Jesus prayed for and who instructs us to pray for laborers for his harvest!

Don’t worry either. He has given you all the free gift you need, his grace:

  1. You are adopted children and you are sanctified to share the divine love and be in friendship with God which is sanctifying grace.
  2. You have habitual grace that is strengthen during the Advent journey.
  3. You have actual grace to help us conform our lives and will to God’s.
  4. You have Sacramental grace, especially today, the Eucharist to strengthen you.
  5. You have your own special grace, Charism, to carry out that only you and you alone can do.

Theseus’ Paradox

Advent is a hopeful period where we look to two events.

  1. The memorial of the first Christmas and the revelation of Jesus Christ.
  2. The promise of his second coming.

Both at the same time. The first to strengthen our hope in the second. He will return. Maranatha!

Do you know this Greek philosophical paradox? Plutarch asked whether a ship that had been restored by replacing every single wooden part remained the same ship.

If a ship sets sail on a long journey and along the way, slow but surely, every plank of the wooden ship is replaced. When the ship returns to port from which it came years later, is it still the same ship?

Yes and No.

No, because the wood is new but that is an inferior truth to the Yes.

Yes, Aristotle explains that the formal cause, or design, does not change, even though the matter used to construct it may vary with time (https://human.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Philosophy)

You are that Ship

Our design, our hope remain even though we start as 6 pound crying babies and through the journey become 6 foot tall adults (in a manner of speaking).

Our first hopes and our last hopes all are from the same source and the same purpose.

Each meal we eat may change the material of which we are made but not the substance of who we are.

Our work remains and is particular to our own ship but common among all of us, which is, the Advent life of Mary and John.

Advent Journey

May your Advent journey this year be special and transformative.

May you return to port, new and refreshed, every plank constructed in hope.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Make Your Bed

First Steps

Greetings on this The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Readings: EZ 34:11-12, 15-17; PS 23:1-2, 2-3, 5-6; 1 COR 15:20-26, 28; MT 25:31-46

Make Your Bed

At the University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address we were gifted the remarks by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, BJ . He discussed the making of a bed.

Making your bed every day will reorient you to thinking about and accomplishing things that matter. This little act, according to the Admiral, is the first step in accomplishing great things.

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sK3wJAxGfs

He went further and further on the variety of things one can do to move beyond apparent difficulty and disadvantage but that changing the world happens by commitment to the right things and good outcomes.

I just wanted to add that as we encounter Christ the King.

Shepherd

Ezekiel speaks the oracle voice on what Lord will do. Ezekiel assured the people that the Lord has not forgotten them.

  1. Rescue them.
  2. Pasture them.
  3. Give them rest.
  4. The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back.
  5. The injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal.
  6. The sleek and the strong I will destroy.
  7. I will judge between between rams and goats.

After we make our beds today and worship the Lord together which of these can we do? Which can we accomplish? Which can we help accomplish?

Destroy Death

Christ the King not only binds up and tends his sheep, but he also destroys death. No longer do we need fear our eternal future. The Lord has provided and defeated every obstacle in our way.

But we have to make our bed.

Gospel

Jesus makes certain what is expected of those who profess Christ.

Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.

And it all starts with making your bed. I suppose the spiritual sense of making your bed is prayer. Don’t you think? Asking for help to keep going forward is the way.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

House Cleaning

Middle Ages Portrayal of Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple
1610 Cecco del Caravaggio

Greetings on this the Friday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Readings: RV 10:8-11; PS 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131; LK 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.

In politics, I wouldn’t try to improve upon this scripture application in sacredness or artwork.

As we near the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. Thus this Gospel is a good preparation for the celebration!

house of prayer

My End of Liturgical Year reflection.

  1. Is my house a house of prayer?
  2. Do I drive from myself things that are for sale?
  3. Have I put myself up for sale?
  4. Do I teach Christ crucified and resurrected?
  5. Am I willing to be put to death?
  6. What is my purpose?

Diakonia

Diakonia means service among others for their benefit alone.

2020 A Year of Examination

When I preach on Sunday it will be the simple test Jesus provides:

Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.

That’s it. That’s the measure.

Crazy year indeed. Love lost, friends in crisis, entire throngs of people searching for food and work. And so many stepped up! I have never seen such generosity in years!! Bravo!!

I mingle with multiple communities of Lake Worth Beach, Florida. With 100% certainty I can say God is at work and the conversion of hearts from stone to flesh is on full display.

May your cup of water be for your eternal refreshment.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

If You Knew What Makes for Peace

Newly dried flowers – Sweet Aroma of Peace

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 5:1-10; PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B; LK 19:41-44

Presumptive President-Elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr is still waiting for the official GSA ascertainment of his election. While many are impatient as to the designation others are gleefully urging the latest possible date of such recognition.

Still others in the Catholic community continue their unabated attacks on Joe Biden labeling him as unfaithful and a person of false faith. Even still, the USCCB leadership in particular calling for his conversion from his errors.

Maybe a slight pause is in order.

Who is Worthy?

Who is worthy to open the the scroll secured with seven seals?

A Lamb that seemed to have been slain.

Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with our blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth.

Made to Rain Peace

If this day you only knew what makes for peace– but now it is hidden from your eyes.

Shattering to listen to Catholic Bishops place their hopes on political change. It’s as if the idea of merciful assistance to women is from a bygone era. Instead law alone. How did you allow the Church to be coopted by this false argument?

We are to reign as a Kingdom of Peace, ministers and priests of mercy.

Christ the King

The King and the Lamb.

Opens the seals and declares the victorious.

But you, USCCB, do not did not recognize the time of your visitation.

Hear then the words you ignore.

Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

OR

Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.

Woman and Child

You cannot save one without the other. Foolish men.

You should be encouraging daycare, prenatal care, family support and sex education anew.

I don’t think you remember who you should be anymore.

Be like the one who can open the scroll.

Christ the King

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry