I Believe, Help My Unbelief

Today’s Gospel contains the words of a father desperate for his possessed child. “If you can, help”. Jesus replies, “Faith”.

Then the marvelous confession shared by so many of us, ‘I believe…. But… Help my unbelief’

How many have a vague sense of faith. A dimly lit candle of faith. I tell you ask Jesus to help you in your unbelief’.

I sit here among the dead knowing they will rise in the resurrection. I reach out to the living telling them same.

Woodside, NY. Preaching the resurrected Jesus.

Rite of Committal

Preached the 7:30 AM Mass today. The basic notes found here this site You have heard that it was said .

Now at PBI awaiting my flight to LGA. Bringing Mom to her final resting place. Monday 11:00 AM.

Blessed Mother Intercede for Her

This will be the conclusion of the funeral rites. A final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member.

We commit her to her resting place as one among all those marked with the sign of faith where she too will await the glory of the resurrection.

The Church on Earth and the Church in Heaven share Mother now. We with our farewell prayers and they welcome her into the company of those who see God face to face.

Family Place, Calvary, Woodside.

May the Angels accompany you.

Sing Praise, sing praise

I’ll send photos throughout. May my devotion to her be give also to all those you love for we journey as a human family and love has no boundaries.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Plane reading
Saint Sebastian – Baptismal Church
Chapel
St Sebastian School she attended,
Morning Assembly
A pub the younger version frequented.

You have heard that it was said

Gossip

You have heard that it was said

Greetings on this the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: LV 19:1-2, 17-18; PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13; 1 COR 3:16-23; MT 5:38-48

Fake News

These past three weeks we have been reading the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon begins with the Beatitudes and continues on teaching for three chapters!

The Sermon on the Mount takes chapters 5, 6, and 7 to express.

It takes two Sundays alone to go through the correction of Fake News. Jesus talks about ‘You have heard that is was said’.

Of course the point is actually no. It is not what the Lord said. Not in the beginning. Not to Moses or the Prophets and not by Jesus. It is instead the product of the Deceiver, the Satan. [Note: some traditional reading of lex talionis, tit for tat, of Ex 21:24-25 is simply an error in reading scripture. Verse 24 must always be read with verse 26. Ex:21-24-26 as a continuous statement.]

But that is what makes Fake News so plausible. Lack of attention to detail.

As we progress toward the season of Lent (this Wednesday) let us be attentive to what Jesus has to say today.

Stop swallowing whole the Fake News of False Christianity.

Higher Standard

The Lord speaking to Moses set the standard of conduct for those who love God.

Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy (LV 19:2)

And again…

Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (LV19:18)

Be Holy. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Psalm Reading

I usually don’t list out the contents of the Psalm reading but today I will. Here are the ‘being holiness of the Lord’ as the Psalmist describes it:

Bless the LORD, O my soul – praise this loving God…

  1. Pardon neighbors iniquities.
  2. Doctor neighbors ills.
  3. Redeem neighbor from destruction.
  4. Crowns neighbor with kindness and compassion.
  5. Be Merciful and gracious to your neighbor.
  6. Be slow to anger and abounding in kindness in dealing with your neighbor.

Calculating Already?

I can sense the calculations already. But, not, I mean, how, why, no….

It’s an urge we need to avoid. It is the place Jesus describes as “You have heard that it was said”.

Do you not know that you (and your neighbor) are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (and them)? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

But, but, but…

God catches the wise in their own ruses, and again: The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Says St Paul to the Corinthians.

God knows our Fake News.

Gospel Standard

In today’s portion of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus describes the proper response to a variety of situations (strike, tunic, service, favors and loans).

The summit of these responses is Love. Jesus says love your enemies. Pray for those who prosecute you.

Jesus startles us with this paraphrase: Loving only those who love you is of little eternal consequence relative to the necessity to love toward the perfection of being holy as the Father is holy. This should be startling on so many levels!

And yet with divine help we can indeed make this transcendence. Love cannot be merely for self and immediate self (family/friends). Instead it must bridge the gap of difference and alien in order to be like the one who loves us though we deserve nothing. Isn’t that exactly how God loves us?

Come and share the divine love with any and everyone.

Perfect!

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Choose to Learn

Riding a bike takes learning and discipline

Choose to Learn

Greetings on this the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: SIR 15:15-20; PS 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34; 1 COR 2:6-10; MT 5:17-37 OR 5:20-22A, 27-28, 33-34A, 37

Can’t Escape the Message

It’s a challenge these weeks in the readings of the Church and next week too! During the week we step through the Gospel of Mark chapters 7 and 8. On Sundays we have been stepping through the Gospel of Matthew chapter 5:13ff. The message is clear and compelling.

What we do matters.

The readings in total show a lot of variety on how we can get off the path of right living (righteousness) and find ourselves alienated from each other and from God. Sometimes what we think is a good idea is actually an overburden for ourselves and others. Sometimes what we think is OK and excusable instead Jesus says, um, nope.

The Book of Sirach says it well: If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you.

But, how, Lord, can we, keep the law?

Jesus said the law and the warnings of the prophets is not revoked and remains in force.

Jesus does reframe the law in a way that challenges us to think anew. Obedience to the law of love requires we rethink everything we have been taught and everything we have come to practice.

In fact I heard this comment from a professor at the Seminary once that was a startling data point. He said, even as we train priests the clearest of theological thought, precise liturgical practice, interiorization of the Sacramental life and techniques on how to be a good pastor and Shepherd…. Some priests fall back to whatever their Mommy taught them when they were little. Usually within five years. Startling, yes?

So it’s safe to say, it’s a common problem.

What is at Risk

What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corr 2:9). The peace and tranquility of living in harmony with Christ is a way of life at risk. We need to find our way through obedience to the law of love.

Jesus brings us a common rabbinical practice. Jesus built a fence around the Torah.

A Fence Around the Torah

In today’s readings Jesus demonstrates the use of concentric boundaries (fences) around your soul and around  your actions so as to avoid the constant possibility of escalating from innocence to sinful to mortally sinful. Examples:

  1. Fence Don’t Kill with a new skill – Don’t be angry with your Brother.
  2. Fence You fool/Fiery Gehenna with a new skill – go first reconcile with your Brother before bringing your gifts.
  3. Fence Adultery with a new skill – do not lust after women.

This technique applies to all the teaching of Jesus in the Gospel reading today.

It is a new way or an old way relearned – avoid the mortal sins by practicing the avoidance of venial sins.

Learning to Ride a Bike

Did you learn how to ride a bicycle?

Did you have a good mentor?

If you did learning to ride a bike was a sheer joy. Riding a bike can be tricky and difficult at first but really fun and liberating.

When you keep command of yourself the going is good. When you begin poor practices, well, you fall down.

(Children’s Mass – story of learning to ride a bike).

If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you.

Choose well.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Mother or Madness

Mom2

Mother or Madness – A Story

I praise you, so wonderfully you made me; wonderful are your works! My very self you knew; my bones were not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned as in the depths of the earth. Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.

PS 139:14-15

In this post it should be stated I am in complete agreement with the teachings of the Church in its entirety, to wit,

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.

2272 … The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy.

And yet I cannot remain silent in this current and cold juridic atmosphere of the Church and of American Civil Society that is most troubling. The unholy alliance of Catholic and Evangelical forces is drowning the society in a vat of a fluid falsehood covered in divine law making the perfect poison: vain worship.

I intend to argue my point by your letting me tell you her story….

My Mom died. She was 85 years old. I love her very much. She taught me how to love. She had a lot to say about love.

IMG_20200208_084318365 Duplicate

Kathryn E. Palermo

November 27, 1934 – February 05, 2020

Mother had the talk with me as a young teen. She explained the necessity of respect in relations with women. It was the birds and the bees but from the female perspective. She was clear in her mind the answer ‘you make it, you raise it’. She was equally clear. A woman should be able to choose but woe to the one who chooses abortion a decision one is haunted by the rest of their life.

1934

Edmund and Agnes had their second child, a girl, Kathryn. They already had a first daughter Margaret and now the second. Kathryn quickly became the favorite of her father. However these things go and how they come about is really unknown but the love between this Father and Daughter was very deep. Edmund was a funeral director and little Kathryn often played at the funeral parlor between and among the grieving.

Unfortunately Edmund had the rheumatic fever and the heart disease that comes with it. It would be in 1947 that he succumbed to the illness. Perhaps his line of work had a complicated reality: appreciation for life, respect for the dead, and workplace damage to the heart and lungs. He spent many years in-patient sanitarium. Kathryn would go to see him there. He would die but not before having a Son.

1940

Agnes and Edmund had a son, Edmund. The whole house was filled with joy. A son! Margaret (Peggy) and Kathryn (Kay) were super excited to have a baby boy in the house. Naturally he would be subject to dress up and tea parties!

The Visit

There was a problem. Agnes and Edmund were the original odd couple. They did not fit the mold society had envisioned for them. Agnes was low Irish. Edmund was high Irish. A family delegation came to the door.

We want the boy.

You can’t have him.

Your husband is dying. You will be a widow with three children. Let us take the boy and we’ll help you with some money.

No.

Agnes kicked the high Irish out of her home never to be seen again. It was a very painful memory for Agnes, Peggy and Kay but they were able to stay together. Agnes worked hard to keep them fed and safe. The three children took care of Agnes in her old age. The three of them remained close throughout their lives. We will bury Kathryn on the same month and day that Edmund, Jr died 21 years ago. His beautiful Wife and beautiful two daughters will be there graveside for Kay.

1950 Teenager

Kay was a beautiful young woman. Kay was a catch but certainly easy prey. She grew up and attended Saint Sebastian Catholic School, Woodside NY, immersed in the Church and in prayer. Even in the closing days of her life I would tuck her in at night. Mom, let us say our evening prayer… Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take followed by a Hail Mary and Glory Be. She was calm again. The storm of advancing decline no longer troubled her.

She was beautiful, very young and naïve indeed. A slick talking young man embraced her in romance and abandoned her in pregnancy. At fifteen she had an awful predicament. There were many voices that counseled abortion but she instead opted to give her first baby up for adoption. You see a marriage proposal was made in 1951 by another at the price of giving up her first born to adoption or abortion.

1953 Young Mother

Her first child in marriage was a delightful little boy, Frankie, 1953. Kay dedicated herself to motherhood. It was her mission now to raise her children. He had childhood leukemia. He died at 2 ½ years old in 1955. The doctors counseled Frankie’s parents that at each hospital visit young Frankie would rally because of love. These rallies while hopeful signs were in-fact delaying the inevitable. Kay and Frank were instructed to kiss their little boy one last time and never return.

He died shortly thereafter.

How does one get through all these tragedies? Well, you need good people around you, loving people. Those who would teach, coach and mentor Kay. My Uncle Tony was such a man. So beloved was Tony his name and kindness was often the conversation. I contacted my remaining Uncle also a very good man. He gave ne the title to the plot where Uncle Tony rests. Kay will rest with Tony and right alongside her son, Frank.

IMG_1396

Four Plus One

Kay and Frank went on to have four more children. Along the way, well meaning people offered ‘a pill’ to take care of it. Especially the last one. I guess for some five children is too many. Now the women who advised her wanted her to abort. No. This is my baby. A beautiful baby. A beautiful soul. She sings like an angel.

She’ll sing at her Mom’s funeral on Monday. The baby bracelets were kept for 67 years in a little tiny box by her nightstand.

IMG_20200213_172626693

Men Should Tremble

Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master. Gen 3:16b.

I doubt many understand this verse. Its deepest meaning is in the unity and forgiveness that is stronger in women than in men. Women endure (Eve endues Adams betrayal of Eve by Adam to God). Woman place unity at a higher value than retribution for errors committed.

Obsession

In 2005, Pope Benedict on building a just society: We are dealing with human beings, and human beings always need something more than technically proper care. They need humanity. They need heartfelt concern. Charity is inseparable from Word and Sacraments.

In 2013, Pope Francis observed that the Church had grown “obsessed” with abortion, gay marriage and contraception.

Lawless Law

The only laws that matter are laws firmly rooted in charity. We are falling into the madness of law which has the appearance of justice but the root of evil.

Woe also to you scholars of the law!

  • You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. Lk 14:42
  • You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them. Lk 14:46

Study

There has not been a comprehensive valid study on the causes of abortion in over 50 years. The CDC should be tasked with a thoughtful analysis and statistical reporting of causes and outcomes of abortion. A longitudinal approach will provide better data. No, you really don’t know. You never knew Kay’s stories and the millions of women who have stories are like hers. Prevention via education, medical care, and supportive services are barely on the agenda of most pro life political groups (thankfully not all).

A 35 y/o married woman with 3 children has a completely different motivation than a 16 year old woman abandoned by her boyfriend.

Incentive

We pride ourselves on a capitalistic society but use none of the techniques available to us. Consider, a new, incentives for medical facilities to promote life and aid for women to accept the challenges of bringing forth life.

Embracing

Child care in high schools…. Equal pay for equal work… promoting male equality in roles and responsibilities for pregnancies and children (no, I mean actually making that true not the window dressing of most States).

Gradation

Weightier matters and lesser matters are a serious question for a Christian. It applies to those who live under law and who construct the law. Both!

Heartless Law and Heartless Science

Heartless science is alive and not well working its evil effects. Soon enough, public abortion will be a thing of the past for all the wrong reasons. Soon enough the greater injustice: abortions not in back alleys, not in abortuaries but by scientific advances that make all of these abortions cheap, hidden and beyond the reach of anyone.

If we don’t embrace the women, we will lose the children. It is that simple. Tremble. Tremble before God our callousness to women.

Obituary: https://www.boyntonmemorial.com/index.cfm/obituary/kathryn-palermo

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

The Essentials

The Four Essentials for Life 300 x 90

The Essentials

Greetings on this the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: IS 58:7-10; PS 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 1 COR 2:1-5; MT 5:13-16

Moonlit Walk

Early this morning I took my early walk. It was a peaceful early morning hours before the Sun rises. Yet the Moon shone in the sky. Full, bright, and given the atmospheric conditions especially warm and close. As you know the Moon has no light of its own rather it brilliantly reflects the light of the Sun. So well, I could have read by its light. The Moon beaconed me to draw closer to the one true light. It is not the light but a reflection of it in nature. The Moon as no soul but nonetheless has the power to beacon.

The Sun

As I write this homily the Sun is beginning to rise. The Sun cannot be seen directly, at least very successfully with the naked eye. The brightness of the Sun is so intense that we cannot gaze upon it. We get better glimpses of the Sun at sunrise and sunset. We get another glimpse when clouds pass before it and during a solar eclipse. We miss the Sun and want it back during the storms that seem to block every good thing about it.

When we think of the celestial Sun we cannot look at it but can see the fruits of it in creation. To say it another way, I know the Sun in the flowers of the Earth and the fruits of the vine. The Sun unapproachable is known by its effects.

Light of the World

You are the Light of the World says Jesus in today’s Gospel account. Jesus uses this simile to help us understand or vector into the divine life as expressed in the Beatitudes. Jesus is describing what it means to participate in being Sun/Son. Your light is a part of you and is also the divine spark within you. There is no separation for you. As the Sun in the sky is not the object of our ordinary vision it is the actions and effects of its light that bring sight (recognition of true essence) and praise of God (who is the power of light) through you.

Said another way, more than merely Moon that simply reflects and we do reflect too the glory of God. More than that, we are united and ablaze as a spark within the divine fire and yet the seeing is not of/for us but of the work for seeing God. Our good works help people see God.

The second Essential of this gospel reading is being Light that people do not gaze at us but glory at the works of God. When we read the first reading (Isaiah) how could that not be clearer?

Salt of the Earth

Salt is good. I think like so many others I am a ‘saltaholic’. Can’t get enough of it although my blood pressure requests otherwise!

Salt is an essential mineral and highly valued in ancient times and today as well even if no longer so expensive. Salt makes food taste great.

We use salt in everything including topical antiseptics.

Salt however can be impure in three different ways:

  1. Material contamination (mixed with sand and dirt).
  2. Interior contamination (inside the crystals there are some impurities mixed in).
  3. Substantial contamination (here the salt has become reactive to other chemical agents making it completely unusable – diluted would be the word to use).

The first essential of this gospel reading is being Salt for the Earth. The salvific message is essential salts. It is delivered through people. We must always be the saltiness of the divine life. Jesus prescribes a way to restore saltiness by being trampled underfoot, that is, (1) to sift out the mixture, (2) release the interior contaminants by fracturing the crystal and (3) sweeping away the diluted solution to return the saltiness of the person.

Being salt is that important.

The second reading today gives us an approach. Paul proclaims the mystery of salvation not with sublimity of words or of wisdom but in weakness and fear and much trembling (humbly). The Church herself, through us, brings out a demonstration of Spirit and power that reveals God and his glory.

Essentially

Salt – necessary and always needing refinement with humble hearts that will reveal God through the Sacraments.

Light – the burning love of God through the effects and actions (works) that do not force us to look at a light that is too bright to see but a light that is warm and inviting, the Divine light.

Invitation

Come to the banquet table. Feast with the Divine. Be restores Salt and become the work of the Divine.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

 

 

Touch Me

1578769404716_Touch Me.jpg

Touch Me

Greetings on this the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Readings: IS 42:1-4, 6-7; PS 29:1-2, 3-4, 3, 9-10; ACTS 10:34-38; MT 3:13-17

Christmas Season Ends

As we draw the Christmas season to a close we do so with the Baptism of the Lord.

It is reasonable to end the celebration of the incarnation with the depths of the purpose of the incarnation.

It is Divine Revelation, the personal revelation of God himself with father speaking, dove descending and son humbling himself to be one of us.

For each case, each person an invitation with the sweetest of intention:

  • Those who are a bruised reed he shall not break him
  • Those who are a smoldering wick he shall not quench him
  • Those who are blind he shall make his eyes opened
  • Those in confinement he shall set this prisoners free
  • Those who live in darkness he shall be the light to follow.

His baptism is a holy exchange, our misery for a portion of his divinity and friendship.

Sacramental Life

The salvation path begins with baptism. It is the first among the sacraments. It is the pathway not decided by any other than God. Permit it he said in order to fulfill all righteousness. Baptism brings forgiveness for original sin and the actual sin of each person. His Baptism opens the heavens and brings us into the interior life of God.

Mass 4:00 PM Vigil Feast Baptism of the Lord

Tell story of mother’s baptism and the chain of baptisms until this day.

Tell the story of the new baptismal rite prayers.

Remind today we will renew the baptismal promise.

Touch Me

It is this holy touch the hand of God reaches all of us through the hands of the one administering the sacrament. Touch me and I shall be healed.

Jesus, touch me.

Please we all need to be the hands of God.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Jesus My All in All

MG Quote

Jesus – My All in All

Greetings on this the Epiphany of the Lord.

Readings: IS 60:1-6; PS 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13; EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6; MT 2:1-12

Approaching

Epiphany is always a favorite in the domestic Church. People place figurines of the Magi in proximity to the Nativity beginning Holy Family Sunday. Each day of the week the figurines are repositioned to be closer and closer to the baby Jesus. Finally on Epiphany Sunday morning the Magi have arrived to see Mary, Joseph and Jesus and present their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. It’s really a nice way to visually approach Epiphany.

Earlier this week I posted Manifest for Manifestation with some ideas to help one approach the Epiphany of the Lord, more specifically, to prepare ourselves to enter into the Manifestation. I want to add two more details that help frame this wonderful moment in human history where the Lord comes and lives among us.

Joseph and Pharaoh

The story of Joseph and Pharaoh is in the book of Genesis. We can’t cover everything but if you’ve a mind to the chapters of interest are Genesis 37 to 50.

Joseph became a trusted administrator to the Pharaoh and was a dream interpreter. Joseph warned Pharaoh seven years of plenty followed by 7 years of famine in the land is coming soon. Since Pharaoh was warned in a dream twice on this point, he immediately gave this proven slave Joseph great authority to prepare the kingdom for this major event.

When the famine came and so severe was the famine that the entire world Egyptian, Hebrew and the 7 nations (all the gentile kingdoms) had to procure their rations of grain from Joseph in order to survive. Joseph, this insignificant man from an insignificant land saved the whole world from starving. Joseph was food for the journey.

Joseph’s action were unitive:

  1. He preserved the Egyptian people.
  2. He gathered the Hebrew people together and brought peace between the brothers/tribes.
  3. He fed all the nations.

What was paid for the grain? In stages:

  1. They paid cash
  2. They paid with their livestock. Livestock is essential to worship in those days.
  3. They paid with their land and their person (sharecroppers).

In effect, Joseph received a portion of everything to keep them alive. It was a manageable deal where the sharecroppers paid 20% of the crop to Pharaoh and kept 80% for themselves and their families.

Magi of the Nations

In our romantic version of the Magi there are three wise men from Persia that come to see this newborn king. That’s fine. But I want to use some more specific biblical theological and archeological perspectives.

More likely the number of Magi were between 7 and 12 groups. Each group had an entourage of about 1,000 to 1,200 soldiers. Since they came from every point of the compass they arrived from different directions all in the same time. It is no wonder King Herod was greatly troubled and all Jerusalem with him. His capitol city was surrounded by 7 different kings with small armies all looking for a king to be born.

These Magi Kings came with gifts:

  1. Gold – their cash. Well, cash.
  2. Frankincense – their ‘livestock’. Frankincense is essential to worship in those days.
  3. Myrrh – their inheritance, the very essence of who they are. Yes, we describe this in burial ritual terms as it relates to personhood.

As you can see the Epiphany carries the same theme as Joseph and Pharaoh of old:

  1. He is here to preserved creation, most specifically people.
  2. He is here to gather the Jewish people together and bring peace between the Judea and Israel.
  3. He is here to feed all the nations.

Jesus completes the work of Joseph.

Jesus in the manger is the bread of life to sustain the people.

Jesus is reversing the curse of famine and opens the treasury of heaven for everyone to give each their rations/allotment.

Epiphany

We celebrate the realization that the Lord has not abandoned us to famine but rather to the share his vast riches of heaven.

Specifically Jesus shares himself the food of the manger. Food for the spirit. Food for the soul. Food for the ages.

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Manifest for Manifestation

In the hours leading up to the Epiphany or the Manifestation, I thought to list a manifest of preparation that will help us actually experience the Epiphany.

Manifest

A ship or plane’s manifest is the list of cargo or passengers on a particular trip.

Four Basics

1. Tear down walls of separation – from within and around me root out the prejudice which erodes the depth of our humanity.

2. See the Presence of God – teach us to recognize the many forms of God’s presence in one another.

3. Assent to be holy as God is holy – with integrity of word and deed, faith and action.

4. Let God transform me and all of creation – may every heart, voice, deed, action throughout the universe be transformed.

Happy Epiphany!