The Harvest

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Readings: RV 14:14-19; PS 96:10, 11-12, 13; LK 21:5-11
Notes: The mercy of God is the only way to encounter these readings today.

If you have any farming experience, you know the harvest is the most important time. It is the culmination of all the work, effort and grace. We reap the fruit of our efforts for the good or the bad.

  • For the good, rest and refreshment.
  • For the bad, crushing reality.
Set it down
Let it go
Bring your heart
Let him know

Act of Contrition

Reflection

Like any good Christian, Cecilia sang in her heart, and sometimes with her voice. She has become a symbol of the Church’s conviction that good music is an integral part of the liturgy, of greater value to the Church than any other art.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-cecilia

First reading
The Harvest of the Earth.

The final four things:

  • Death
  • Judgement
  • Heaven
  • Hell

Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come.
Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines, for its grapes are ripe.

As said in the Gospel of Matthew

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear (Matt 13:41-43).

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia Verse
Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Gospel Portion
Jesus said, “All that you see here– the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them!

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Lord, stretch out your hand toward me

Sacred Heart of Jesus. Immaculate Heart of Mary. Hearts of Mother and Son.

Greetings on this the Memorial of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary
Readings: Zec 2:14-17; Lk 1:46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55; Mt 12:46-50
Notes: Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?

Jesus loved his mother. He loves us too.
He takes note that those who are as brother and mother. The evidence he cites is their doing the will of the Father.

  • Do the will of the Father.
  • Be Jesus’ mother.
  • Be Jesus’ brother.

Lord, stretch out your hand toward me.

Reflection (franciscanmedia)

It is sometimes difficult for modern Westerners to appreciate a feast like this. The Eastern Church, however, was quite open to this feast and even somewhat insistent about celebrating it. Even though the feast has no basis in history, it stresses an important truth about Mary: From the beginning of her life, she was dedicated to God. She herself became a greater temple than any made by hands. God came to dwell in her in a marvelous manner and sanctified her for her unique role in God’s saving work. At the same time, the magnificence of Mary enriches her children. They—we—too are temples of God and sanctified in order that we might enjoy and share in God’s saving work.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/presentation-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary

First reading
Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm (Gospel of Luke)

Note: If you have the energy, read the first two chapters of 1st Samuel.
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1samuel/1
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1samuel/2
Hannah and Samuel prefigure the coming of Mary and Jesus in this Old Testament portion.
End Note.

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

For he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.

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.”

In reply we pray:

Lord, stretch out your hand toward me.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Your bone and your flesh

Christ the King

Greetings on this the The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Readings: 2 Sm 5:1-3; Ps 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5; Col 1:12-20; Lk 23:35-43
Notes: We have arrived to our Solemn celebration!

Christ is King!
Of all the things we face in life and in common the sentence of death, we have faith in the divine, hope from the divine and the love of the divine. Our King! Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh he looks upon us.

God deigned to become one like us that He might be our King.
Not that he needed us but loved us that we might know him as like us.

Returning us to the first words Adam ever spoke worthy to be written down:

The man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” (Gen 2:23).

Advent approaches.
Bethlehem beacons.
The child.
The King.

Serving at the VAMC today. Today makes the end of my one-year sabbatical. In fact, I worked through it due to the continued international COVID crisis. Nevertheless, I traveled around the world. Walked a good part of it.

And in all of it, the presence of the King.
Everywhere I went I exclaimed: Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!

First reading
Here we are, your bone and your flesh.

Responsorial Psalm
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Second reading
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

He is the head of the body, the church.

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent.

For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross through him, whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come!

Gospel Portion
First words from ‘Adam’ ever recorded:

The man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of man this one has been taken.” (Gen 2:23).

The Last Ask to Jesus from ‘Adam’ recorded:

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Jesus, Christ, King.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

The Merging of Horizons

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rv 11:4-12; PS 144:1, 2, 9-10; Lk 20:27-40
Notes: The destruction of Jerusalem was terrifying. The power of God is mightier.

Traditional memory of Egypt, Sodom and Babylon receive new reflection and insights in the Book of Revelations. In fact, all of the historical memory of Abraham, Lot, Moses, Joshua, Babylon, Egypt, Emperor Nero, and Antiochus IV Epiphanes (to name but a few) are reengaged in a massive historical recapitulation of experience.

That is to say, the then present time of John is given new insight by and from the past.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, Priest and King, [on earth/risen] and then via the Holy Spirit [present], brings new hope and a new horizon. These together, we reformulate what we know and can rely upon.

This is called The Merging of Horizons.

Time and Future

  • What has been.
  • What is now.
  • What will be.

The Merging of Horizons

History and the future are recalibrated based on the current time, the current understanding and the reengagement of the past. Harmonizing to the truth and discarding poorly formed beliefs.

John’s conclusions

  • We survived.
  • We are loved.
  • We will thrive.
  • We will rise again.
  • The resurrection has always been the promised final end regardless of the life’s experience.
  • God has conquered death, principalities and powers.

The Merging of Horizons

This is the meaning of: (resurrection)
But after the three and a half days, a breath of life from God entered them. When they stood on their feet, great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven say to them, “Come up here.” So they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies looked on.

This is the meaning of: (resurrection)
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

First reading
The Two Witnesses.
Here are my two witnesses:
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.

The olive trees refer to Zerubbabel and Joshua.
The two lampstands: the martyrs who stand in the presence of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Alleluia Verse
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.

Gospel Portion
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Some of the scribes said in reply, “Teacher, you have answered well.” And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

Recalibrate your horizon.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

You in turn shall save your own life

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
Notes: End the old year and start the new year with the Rite of Reconciliation.

First reading
The Angel with the Small Scroll.

He said to me, “Take and swallow it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.”

The small scroll was sweet because it predicted the final victory of God’s people; it was sour because it also announced their sufferings. Cf. Ez 3:1–3. (NABRE, comment on verse).

Reconciliation is similar.

  • It is a sour experience in the way of dealing with our own sin.
  • It is sweet as honey because it refreshes you in new life.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit-blog/sacrament-of-reconciliation

We share a common need to move forward spiritually. Prophesy is one vehicle of helping. Friendship helps too.

You help me.
I help you.

See The Prophet as Sentinel (a/k/a warning).
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/ezekiel/3?17=#33003017
Ez 3:17-21.

Responsorial Psalm
How sweet to my taste is your promise!

Alleluia Verse
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.

Gospel Portion
The Cleansing of the Temple.

You are his temple in that your soul is where G-d dwells.

Then 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.’”

Let’s cleanse our temple to receive him.
Christ, the King of the Universe, wishes to dwell within us as guest.

Advent 2023 approaches

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

What makes for peace

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Readings: RV 5:1-10; PS 149:1B-2, 3-4, 5-6A AND 9B; LK 19:41-44
Notes: What makes for peace is the same question as Who can open the seals of the scroll?

Scroll

  • The promised gift of the Father (who made us and loves us).
  • The Lamb who was slain (who is worthy to give the gift as redeemer).
  • The gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones (who asks for the gift for one and all).

Recommended author, Dr Scott Hahn: https://www.thriftbooks.com/a/scott-hahn/196754/

First reading
Do not weep.
The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.

Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.
They sang a new hymn:

“Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with your 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.”

Responsorial Psalm
The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.

Alleluia Verse
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Gospel Portion
The Lament for Jerusalem.
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying:

If this day you only knew what makes for peace.
Recognize the time of your visitation!

You

  • His friend, Lazarus died, and Jesus wept (Jn 11:35).
  • And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (Jn 11:43).
  • So the people said, “See how he loved him.” (Jn 11:36).

All of Us

  • His community disowned him, and As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it (Lk 19:41).
  • When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit (Jn 19:30).
  • So the elders said, With your 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 (Rev 5:9b).

This, this is peace:

  1. Father’s Divine Gift of Love.
  2. Lamb – Divine response to sin.
  3. Prayer – Asking for the gift.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Make Some Coin

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rv 4:1-11; PS 150:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6; Lk 19:11-28
Notes: Today is the last teaching from Jesus while traveling as he nears Jerusalem.

  • They thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately.
  • Using the Parable of the Ten Gold Coins, Jesus teaches that is not on his way to Jerusalem to receive the kingly power; for that, he must go away and only after returning from the distant country (a reference to the parousia) will reward and judgment take place (NABRE, comment on parable).

The phrase Make Some Coin is intended to use modern slang to assert what Jesus is saying:

Do what is commanded of you while I am away.

Yes, I will come as King and bring reward or judgment depending on your efforts.

The effort in this case is the bringing about right relation between God and Man and between men. I have given you all you need to do your tasks. You have the coin (power, authority, capacity, training). Make coin. The gifts given you are to be shared. I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

First reading
“Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.”

Responsorial Psalm
Holy, holy, holy Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia Verse
I chose you from the world, to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

Gospel Portion

Jesus taught them this parable, The Parable of the Ten Gold Coins.

He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’”

After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Half and Four

Photo by Mateusz Dach on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 3:1-6, 14-22; PS 15:2-3A, 3BC-4AB, 5; LK 19:1-10
Notes: Zacchaeus personalizes the ‘missing the mark’ for one and the All. The careful reflection of Zacchaeus brings about the right response. Without reflection, the churches will double-down on the mistakes.

  • Unpacking the first reading challenges the soul and how we act as community.
  • Unpacking the gospel portion challenges the soul on how we are personally.

First reading
“‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Of Sardis and Laodicea.

Repent:

  • Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.
  • Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.

Of:

  • “I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
  • So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
  • For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

How:

  • Be watchful and strengthen what is left, which is going to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
  • Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it.
  • I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.

Eternal relation:

  • The victor will thus be dressed in white, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my Father and of his angels.
  • I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.

Responsorial Psalm
I will seat the victor beside me on my throne.

Alleluia Verse
God loved us, and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.

Gospel Portion
Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to Zacchaeus.

Repent:

Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”

Of:

Behold. Half and Four.

How:

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”

Eternal relation:

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

First Love Forever Love

Greetings on this the Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 1:1-4; 2:1-5; PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6; LK 18:35-43
Notes: We seem to fall into ingratitude and contempt of love as a matter of course. It is a problem.

Of course, some never have this problem, thanks God! But for many of us, we do, at least we run into the possibility of it.

Our First Love is bruised by the contempt of the familiar. We no doubt have examples in our own lives. An old example. Happily, the people recovered their senses and restored love.

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)!

Before the Mass prayer

The priest, deacon and altar servers pray together:

Father in Heaven, your Son, Jesus Christ, showed his love for you by serving his needy brothers and sisters.
I now ask you to give me your help as I serve you and your people.

Open my mouth to praise you in word and song.
Open my ears to hear your word.
Open my hands to do your work well.

Take from my heart all evil and distracting thoughts.

Help me to know what I should do and do it well.
Help me to serve reverently at your holy altar, and so give you praise and glory, now and forever.
Amen.

First reading
Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first.

Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

We must always approach Holiness with humility and loving purpose.

Responsorial Psalm
Those who are victorious I will feed from the tree of life (Rev. 2:17).

Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night.

Alleluia Verse
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel Portion
The Healing of the Blind Beggar.

First Love.

Forever Love.

He shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me! “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

First Love.
Forever love.

After Mass Prayer

The priest, deacon and altar servers pray together:

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the eternal High Priest.

You lead all your saints in heaven and your people on earth in praising God, our Father.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for letting me come before your altar, so that, with your help, I can praise my Father in heaven as his server.

Help me to find joy in serving at your altar.
Help me to find gladness in knowing and doing your will in all things.

Glory to you, Lord Jesus, and to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.

Amen

Our Prayer

May Jesus ever be my First Love and my Forever Love.

May I not bruise love for my ego, falsity or gain.

May all human love in my life be nurtured and cared for in the same way.

Amen.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry