My heart was moved (Again)

Greetings on this the Saturday of the First Week of Advent
Readings: Is 30:19-21, 23-26; PS 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; Mt 9:35–10:1, 5a, 6-8
Notes: During the First Week of Advent and throughout, we continue to balance our thoughts and prayers between:

  1. the need (material and spiritual).
  2. the response (divine care).

And our major theme is the JOY that these two consideration are treated with the utmost importance by the LORD.

First reading
Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

Alleluia Verse
The LORD is our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King;
he it is who will save us.

Gospel Portion
WEDNESDAY: Jesus summoned his disciples and said,

“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd,
for they have been with me now for three days
and have nothing to eat.
I do not want to send them away hungry,
for fear they may collapse on the way.”

TODAY: At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus knows.
Jesus knows.

Be filled with JOY. You are not abandoned.
Jesus knows.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Silence!

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
Readings: Is 29:17-24; PS 27:1, 4, 13-14; Mt 9:27-31
Notes: In our first reading today Isaiah reminds us the type of changes that occur when a person has an authentic encounter with the Lord. Sometimes this is a reflex change, that is, it happens without any additional effort. Sometimes one must sit with it in silence. In that case, the work of your salvation is to resist the temptation to do otherwise.

The story is different for everyone.
It is so in the unique story of the two blind men in today’s gospel story.

  • Do you talk too much?
  • Do you live the faith instead?

Reflection

All of us are called to “go and preach to all nations—see Matthew 28:19. Our preaching is not necessarily on distant shores but to our families, our children, our husband or wife, our coworkers. And we are called to preach not with words, but by our everyday lives. Only by sacrifice, the giving up of all selfish gain, could Francis Xavier be free to bear the Good News to the world. Sacrifice is leaving yourself behind at times for a greater good, the good of prayer, the good of helping someone in need, the good of just listening to another. The greatest gift we have is our time. Francis Xavier gave his to others. From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-francis-xavier

First reading
When his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall keep my name holy;
they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
and be in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Changes:

  1. Sabbath in the Lord and keeping the Sabbath holy.
  2. Be in awe of the Holy One.
  3. Spiritual awareness of the way of the Lord, the right ways.
  4. Revealed faults and a pathway out of them.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?

The Lord is ever protecting you and preserving you from harm.
Especially when speaking gospel truth, don’t worry!

Alleluia Verse
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.

Gospel Portion
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.”
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

  • Did Jesus want privacy?
  • Did Jesus want to leave the people in proximity no divine presence or divine aid?
  • Or Jesus wants the faith in these two now healed blind men to come to full fruition?

Changes In Silence:

  1. Sabbath in the Lord and keeping the Sabbath holy.
  2. Be in awe of the Holy One.
  3. Spiritual awareness of the way of the Lord, the right ways.
  4. Revealed faults and a pathway out of them.

When the LORD does good for you, it is a cause of celebration!

But FIRST it is a cause of change, in the silence of the soul.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Draw Near

Mother of Tears

Greetings on this the Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Readings: Is 26:1-6; PS 118:1 and 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a; Mt 7:21, 24-27
Notes: The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The case understood to be a challenge to the legality of Roe v Wade, 1973 and following.

The State of Mississippi is requesting:

  1. A rejection of Federal control of abortions and revert back to State control pre-1973.
  2. Upholding the new MS legislation banning nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Here is a link to the actual oral arguments given.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRe4mYcEqBM

  • Undue Burden Standard – to be newly defined, rejecting Casey standard.
  • Viability Standard – to be discarded.
  • Stare Decisis – legal principle of determining points in litigation according to precedent.
  • Federal Assertion of Citizen Rights when in conflict with State law.
  • State Control higher order than Federal control due to either explicit division or constitutional silence.
  • People Standard when issue is not easily agreed to (local legislative, variability).
  • Right of Privacy.
  • Reliance Standard (predictable treatment across State lines and across time).
  • Personhood concept (legal sense).
  • Fetal Pain (consciousness question vis-à-vis biological responsiveness).
  • Woman’s Autonomy v Legal Control.

It is always a terrible question to stand in-between a Mother and her fetus as arbiter of their relationship. “You have to pick. That’s the fundamental problem,” Kavanaugh said. “And one interest has to prevail over the other at any given point in time.”

First reading
Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

Alleluia Verse
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call him while he is near.

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

It is of great importance to remember that G-d is the real judge.

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam dayan ha’emet.
Translates to : Blessed are You, Adonai Our God, Ruler of the Universe, the True Judge.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

My heart is moved

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Readings: Is 25:6-10a; PS 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Mt 15:29-37
Notes: The LORD is ever attentive to our needs.

This has been true throughout time but is especially manifested in the Life and Message of Jesus Christ.

In this Messiah, Christ, and Son of Man, he came to:

  • Teach Us the ways of righteousness.
  • Heal Us of our infirmities and errors.
  • Save Us from personal sin and social sin.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved … so he feeds us in our deepest hunger.

First reading
On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples.

The LORD will ingather all peoples, Jews and Gentiles alike.

The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.

The LORD will destroy death by his death and in his resurrection.

On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”

The LORD will destroy the cause of death not by external act alone but in his person.

Responsorial Psalm
I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Alleluia Verse
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.

Gospel Portion
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.

and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved …

The God of the Universe is moved with pity for us and our hunger for him.
The example of the feeding brings about the continuous manifestation of the heart of God being moved:

Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.

They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

The LORD overflows with his love.

  • Super abundant.
  • Super natural.
  • Entirety of himself.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Advent Thoughts

Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle
Notes: I was asked to prepare a piece for a newsletter so I spent the night writing these.

  • No ordinary reflection today.
  • VAMC the site is closed today.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Kindness without Exception

Purple Stole

Greetings on this the Monday of the First Week of Advent
Readings: IS 2:1-5; PS 122:1-2, 3-4b, 4cd-5, 6-7, 8-9; Mt 8:5-11
Notes: Worshiping the Lord in community is a core practice.

Worshiping in community articulates the Love from G-d and the Love for G-d in a most sensate way.

First reading
O house of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the LORD!

Responsorial Psalm
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
Because of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
Because of the house of the LORD, our God,
I will pray for your good.

Alleluia Verse
Come and save us, LORD our God;
let your face shine upon us, that we may be saved.

Gospel Portion
When Jesus entered Capernaum,
a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,
“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”

The centurion, a Roman commander, had pity upon a servant in his most deadful circumstances.

He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”
The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.

One of the key teachings of Jesus is our acceptance of and righteous treatment of the stranger, alien and enemy.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.
I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Those with faithfulness and kindness will be invited to the banquest of the Kingdom of heaven.

One of the key teachings of Jesus is our acceptance of and righteous treatment of the stranger, alien and enemy.

I am writing a study paper on this topic for use during Lent 2022.

Sharing some notes here.

My early Outline

  • The Unity Before
  • The Divide Event and Territory
    • Galilean
    • Samaritan
    • Judean
  • The Division Effects
    • The World’s Hatred, Jn 15:18-25.
    • Jesus rejected at Nazareth, Synoptic.
    • Jesus rejected by Samaritans, Lk 9:52-56.
  • The Restoration
    • Of Enemies
      • Parable on Love of One’s Enemies, MT 5:38-48.
    • Of Kindred
      • Jesus’ True Kindred, MT 12:43-45.
    • Of Corporeal Kindness
      • Parable of the Good Samaritan, Lk 10:29-37.
      • Cleansing of the Ten Lepers, Lk 17:11-19.
    • Of Spiritual Kindness
      • Do Not Enter Samaritan City, Mt 10:5-6
      • The Discourse with the Woman of Samaria, Jn 4:4-42.
  • Conclusion
    • Jesus’ true kindred.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

The Arrival

Oil of the Infirm, Oil of Catechumens, and Sacred Chrism

Greetings on this the First Sunday of Advent
Readings: Jer 33:14-16; Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14; 1 Thes 3:12—4:2; Lk 21:25-28, 34-36
Notes: The First Sunday of Advent is special indeed.

Rite of Christian Initiation – Step Two
It is especially so when we have catechumens coming forward to learn the ways of Jesus and enter into his communion. At this Mass, and after the Homily, we will ask of them a pledge and give them special blessings.

Rite of Acceptance

Almighty God, source of all creation, you have made us in your image.

Welcome with love those who come before you today.

They have listened among us the word of Christ; by its power renew them and by your grace refashion them,

so that in time they may assume the full likeness of Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

On the Easter Vigil (April 16th, 2022), they will receive three Initiation Sacraments:

  • Baptized in the Lord.
  • Confirmed in the Spirit.
  • and given to eat the Bread of Life, the Holy Eucharist.

Fulfilling the Disciple Commission
Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (MT 28:18-20).

In the Power of the Name of Jesus
“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me” (Jn 17:20-21).

First reading
Cycle C Sunday Advent First readings:

  • Jeremiah – today.
  • Baruch (Jeremiah)- Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on forever the splendor of glory from God.
  • Zephaniah Shout for joy, daughter Zion! sing joyfully, Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, daughter Jerusalem!
  • Micah But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathaha least among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.

Jeremiah
The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.

The Lord fulfill his promises.

In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.

Raise up a just shoot is to bring about the Incarnation of Jesus, who is just and right in all his ways. We study the life of Jesus, his teachings, his miracles, his prayer life, and his ways of dealing with adversity.

In those days Judah shall be safe
and Jerusalem shall dwell secure;
this is what they shall call her:
“The LORD our justice.”

The final security and safety is in the Lord who has come.
He is not accepted by all and thus the continued problems.
But he is the promise and he will complete his work.

Responsorial Psalm
To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.

I want to be like you!

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.

I know I am not like you before and sometimes even now but Lord guide me, and teach me your ways!

All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.

Here we are reminded the difficult part. Paths of kindness and constany, obedience and friendship.

Second reading
I love this letter!

The earliest of documents in the New Testament.
A letter encouraging the new believers.
Worthwhile instruction for believers and those who on the path of seeking the Lord.

Let the Lord increase you in love.
Let the Lord strengthen your hearts.
So you may be blameless at his coming.

Earnestly we ask you, heartfelt we exhort you:

Conduct yourself to please God.
For you know the instructions we have given or giving you.

  • Prayer
  • Worship
  • Study
  • Commandments
  • Precepts
  • Practices (Fasting, Alms giving)

Alleluia Verse
Show us, Lord, your love;
and grant us your salvation.

Gospel Portion
Even today People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Is that not so?
Isn’t there plenty of horrible things happening here and there and everywhere?

YET

Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.

Don’t get trapped in material self-interest and worldly distraction. Don’t give up! Give up!

  • Be vigilant.
  • Pray.
  • Act justly.
  • Stand.

For he comes, the Son of Man.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

New Years Eve via Church Calendar

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Dn 7:15-27; Daniel 3:82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87; Lk 21:34-36
Notes:

Concluding the readings of Daniel reminds us of its purpose:
Strictly speaking, the book does not belong to the prophetic writings but rather to a distinctive type of literature known as “apocalyptic,” of which it is an early specimen. Apocalyptic writing first appears about 200 B.C. and flourished among Jews and Christians down to the Middle Ages, especially in times of persecution. Apocalyptic literature has its roots in the older teaching of the prophets, who often pointed ahead to the day of the Lord, the consummation of history. For both prophet and apocalyptist there was one Lord of history, who would ultimately vindicate the chosen people (NABRE, Intro Dan).

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/daniel/0

First reading
There is an important observation Daniel makes.

I, Daniel, found my spirit anguished within its covering of flesh,
and I was terrified by the visions of my mind.
I approached one of those present
and asked him what all this meant in truth.

  1. We recognize the terrifying things that can be in this world at the hands of man and occasionally in nature.
  2. We desire the truth.

The Five Natural Inclinations of Man

  1. The good.
  2. Self-preservation.
  3. Sexual union and the rearing of offspring.
  4. Knowledge of the truth.
  5. Live in society.

Daniel reassures his readers (intended audience) that all these evils they are experiencing are going to come to an end.

  1. First, in time, that is in the ordinary history of humankind, despots will not have the final word. The Lord will come to the rescue of all oppressed people.
  2. Second, in the end of time, all these difficulties will come to an end.

Then the kingship and dominion and majesty
of all the kingdoms under the heavens
shall be given to the holy people of the Most High,
Whose Kingdom shall be everlasting:
all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Built into us are these natural inclinations for Justice and Peace.
We just need to follow these instincts not the instincts of domination.

Responsorial Daniel
Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Alleluia Verse
Be vigilant at all times and pray
That you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.

Gospel Portion
We continue the reading in Luke about Vigilance.
(Tomorrow overlaps some of the Gospel reading from today).

There is an old saying that goes like this.

When the Hebrews were leaving Egypt, crossing the Sea, the four types of experiences:

  1. Some looking at their feet see mud, dead fish and other bottom of the Sea things.
  2. Some looking behind them at the approaching murderous Army coming to kill them.
  3. Some looking at the walls of water to their right and their left, amazed at the sight.
  4. And, finally, some kept their eyes on Moses and the Horizon of a new beginning.

Which do you think were happiest?
The ones focused on The Arrival.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry