Sparrows

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Readings: Rom 4:1-8; PS 32:1b-2, 5, 11; Lk 12:1-7
Notes: I will be headed into retreat this weekend with my brother deacons. Please pray for a good retreat.
We will be here: https://www.ourladyofflorida.org/

The photo today is from the chapel built for the Aetas of Olongapo City.
It is named from Saint Teresa of Avila (it may have been renamed since).

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

First reading
For what does the Scripture say?
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Our first right relation is with God and is to trust him in his promises:

  • Large promises.
  • Small promises.
  • Promises we don’t even know about but keep for us by God.

Responsorial Psalm
I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.

Alleluia Verse
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us;
who have put our hope in you.

Gospel Portion
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.

At this age, that isn’t so impressive (grins).

Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.

Yes, that is the one.
Even the sparrow is under the divine care.

So are you.
I promise.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

LinkedIn Catch Up Posts

Here is the list of missing posts due to lost connection.

https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/14/doubling-down/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/13/whoa-woes/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/13/wordless-wednesday-grassy-waters-preserve/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/12/celebrate-w-me-500-posts/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/12/give-inside-alms/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/11/a-slaves-blessing/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/10/naked-before-the-lord/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/09/yes-and/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/08/knock-knock/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/07/holy-gifts/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/06/prayer/

Doubling Down

Saint Oscar Romero

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rom 3:21-30; PS 130:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6ab; Lk 11:47-54
Notes: Today in America we see the ancient problem of retrenchment by sinful men.

People who are called out for their oppressive ways, instead of considering and accepting the correction, they double down on their beliefs and manage information to the specifications of their bias.

We see this in the recasting of the January 6th, 2021 Insurrection and those in the Republican party who would describe it as something else. Anything else at all but for what it was.

Then doubling down they build a new reasoning process. A false narrative based upon deeply held fear and existing advantage. It is the way and the language of civil war.

We are becoming or have already become an El Salvador, circa 1980.

This day, Óscar Romero, was canonized October 14, 2018 and his feast day is March 24.

Reflection

Oscar Romero and many other Latin American martyrs for the faith were falsely accused of advocating a Marxist-inspired “theology of liberation.” Following Jesus always requires choices. Romero’s fiercest critics conveniently dismissed his choices as politically inspired. An incarnational faith must be expressed publicly.
https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-oscar-arnulfo-romero

First reading
For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus.

We first and foremost oblige ourselves to the Law of Love. We do not demand it of others but of ourselves.

Jesus said, I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do (John 13:15).

Responsorial Psalm
With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Alleluia Verse
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.

Gospel Portion
Just be glad we aren’t reading the Matthew version of these woes (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/23?27=#48023027)!

It has been a practice for so long to disparage the word of God.
So many, through the ages, hated the Prophets and the Apostles.

Nobody killed them because they preached ‘love’. They killed them for speaking out against injustice and oppression.

the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.

Everyone is tempted to discount their own guilt or participation in the oppression of people and the persecution of the Church. For some, Jesus’ words brought about repentance. This was his purpose to bring about the conversion or evolution.

For some instead, they doubled-down.

When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.

They intended to kill him eventually.

When you are tempted to double down having been called out for an injustice, resist the temptation to appear white and washed while being rotted inside. Instead seek the face of God who is merciful and make right the wrong.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Whoa! Woes!

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rom 2:1-11; PS 62:2-3, 6-7, 9; Lk 11:42-46
Notes:

The woes today are not the woes of the Sermon on the Plain (Luke chapter 6).
The woes of chapter 6 are centered on the ‘great divides’ much like the ones we have today.

Sermon on the Plain:

  • Poor – rich.
  • Hungry – sated.
  • Grieving and weeping – laughing.
  • Flattery with false religious history.

The woes today are different.
These are criticisms of the leadership of Pharisees and Scholars:

  • “Tithe the trivial” while ignoring the weightier matters of judgment and love of God.
  • “Seat of Honor” while being dishonorable.
  • “Unseen Grave” means you lead others into sin.
  • Impose burdens which are impossible to carry but you offer no aid.

First reading
Saint Paul takes us ‘to the mat’ today.

You, O man, are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment.

Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance?

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, you give back to everyone according to his works.

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

Gospel Portion
How can we not offer self-criticism?
How can we participate in the Synodal process?
https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2021/september/documents/20210918-fedeli-diocesiroma.html

It is a good time to remind everyone who is obsessed with making laws to regulate everyone and everything:

Saint Paul: For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself,
since you, the judge, do the very same things.

Jesus: And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Just saying.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Give Inside Alms

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rom 1:16-25; PS 19:2-3, 4-5; Lk 11:37-41
Notes: The question of Alms is usually reduced to the giving of money.

It goes like this (simplified):

  • Tithe is the 10% you owe to the Church.
  • Alms is the free-will offering above that amount and for any good purpose.

Far from it.
But it is understandable the confusion as the question is often posed in monetary forms.

Loans and Wages.
Deuteronomy
24:1-15

12-13:
If the person is poor, you shall not sleep in the pledged garment, but shall definitely return it at sunset, so that your neighbor may sleep in the garmentg and bless you. That will be your justice before the LORD, your God.
14:
You shall not exploit a poor and needy hired servant, whether one of your own kindred or one of the resident aliens who live in your land, within your gates.
15:
On each day you shall pay the servant’s wages before the sun goes down, since the servant is poor and is counting on them. Otherwise the servant will cry to the LORD against you, and you will be held guilty.

These are prescribed but also indicative of a path of righteousness.
A way of life.

It would be helpful to read the added text (at the bottom of the blog post) to the Sunday homily: https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/10/naked-before-the-lord/

First reading
The one who is righteous by faith will live.

  • Righteous – who does the divine work of restoration.
  • Faith – faith in the one who is faithful in love, trust and Sabbath. The first three commandments.

Paul describes these things in one sweep the positive by using the negative image.

they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. (1st commandment).
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, (2nd commandment).
and their senseless minds were darkened. (3rd commandment).

Responsorial Psalm
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Alleluia Verse
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.

Gospel Portion
Did not the maker of the outside also make the inside?
But as to what is within, give alms,
and behold, everything will be clean for you.

When one reorders their interior to righteousness and restoration, the world becomes a new place. All things become clean in that they are made by God who made all things good.

Then the “what to do” and “how to act” become simplified and pure and divine.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

A Slave’s Blessing

Greetings on this the Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rom 1:1-7; PS 98:1bcde, 2-3ab, 3cd-4; Lk 11:29-32
Notes: The beauty and elegance of sacred scripture really shows itself this morning.

Consider how last week we used Jonah, Joel and Malachi the Prophets to express the moral dimension of our difficulties. Each first reading from the old testament called us to consider the moral nature of our failures to worship sincerely and to act justly with one’s neighbors.

Then yesterday’s Sunday Mass, the book of Wisdom (attributed to Solomon) is the prayer for the greatest gift, wisdom.

Today, Monday, in the gospel portion, Jesus wants us to see even more deeply.

  • Jonah is a sign to the Ninevites.
  • Jesus is a sign to them (us).
  • Solomon sought wisdom.
  • Jesus is even greater than Solomon and Solomon’s wisdom.

Jesus is enlightening us that the entire Old Testament as a Sign of himself.

First reading
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, Apostle and set apart for the Gospel says:

You are called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.

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

Gospel Portion
We live in a privileged age.

We can say this on every level and every dimension.

  • Wealth.
  • Health.
  • Food, water, wine.
  • Travel and communications.
  • Education and natural wisdom.
  • Science and the Arts.
  • Spiritual knowledge that surpasses any other age and all ages combined.

AND.

We must know we will be judged according to that reality.

At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.

You are called to be holy.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Naked before the Lord

Greetings on this the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Wis 7:7-11; Ps 90:12-13, 14-15, 16-17; Heb 4:12-13; Mk 10:17-30
Notes:

Wednesday-Friday readings this past week were a short series on prayer.

  1. Pray, especially in community (Wednesday).
  2. Pray with persistence, without ceasing (Thursday).
  3. Pray with power, especially in the Holy Spirit (Friday).

Todays readings focus on the third aspect again.

Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit as an outcome of prayer was a reflection topic early this week. https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/07/holy-gifts/

The gift of the Spirit is the highest of the gifts as Jesus described.

First reading
Wisdom, the greatest of gifts, that is the Holy Spirit.

  1. I prayed.
  2. I pleaded.
  3. I preferred her for she is greater than scepter and throne, nothing compares.

And the other things (Fish and Eggs and other good things), yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.

That reference only makes sense if you read the other blog entries (ha!).

Responsorial Psalm
Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Second reading
The gift of the Holy Spirit brings a deep penetration that brings healing.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is like that too.

Indeed the word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Gospel Portion
MAKE NO MISTAKE: God reveals to heal. Period.

There is no other purpose but to bring harmony, unity and peace with salvation.
Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

(Jesus is about to reveal the hidden obstacile)

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

It is in wisdom that brings liberation.

At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Popular piety says he returned in the gospel of Mark as follows 14:51-52:
Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

We are naked before the Lord.

And that’s OK.

That is the beginning of wisdom.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

A SECOND HOMILY GIVEN AT THE 11 AM MASS, SAME READING.

Summary: in the gospel reading today Jesus asks the young man if he follows the commandments. He repeats the six/seven commandments that are concerning the right relation between people. The first three commandments he does not list.

These he recreated for the young man in plain sight.

The first commandment is given as I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me.

We know that the Lord LOOKED and SAW and SPOKE to Moses as to the plight of the Hebrews at the hands of Pharaoh. And He loved them and he spoke to them. Again: showing love down to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him.

The second commandment is to not worship in vain. You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. To not take the Lord’s name in vain is, at core, to TRUST him.

You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven.

The third commandment is to Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy.

then come, follow me.

The three first commandments:

  1. LOVE and love me.
  2. TRUST and trust me.
  3. SABBATH and sabbath in me.

Then I merged into the same line of reasoning as the other homily.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Yes, and

Precious Rain Drops

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Jl 4:12-21; PS 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12; Lk 11:27-28
Notes: You are the AND in the ‘Yes, and’ of Jesus’ reply today.

For many of my readers agriculture is a hazy distant reality.
Weather and climate are but a measure of my comfort and my transportation.

The agricultural communities in the USA can relate to the perspective of Joel.
Some places in the daily newspaper would measure the moisture in hundredths of inches.

For example, October rainfall to-date in Elgin, Nebraska is only 0.03″

So in Elgin, Nebraska, the annual rain and annual harvest are real and in-your-face realities.

First reading
Joel brings us an agricultural motif of the divine response to both unrighteous and righteous.

Unrighteous
Apply the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe;
Come and tread,
for the wine press is full;
The vats overflow,
for great is their malice.
Egypt shall be a waste,
and Edom a desert waste,
Because of violence done to the people of Judah,
because they shed innocent blood in their land.

Yes, and…

Righteous
Then shall you know that I, the LORD, am your God,
dwelling on Zion, my holy mountain;
Jerusalem shall be holy,
and strangers shall pass through her no more.
And then, on that day,
the mountains shall drip new wine,
and the hills shall flow with milk;
And the channels of Judah
shall flow with water.

Responsorial Psalm
Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

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

Gospel Portion

Blessed is the Blessed Virgin Mary

While Jesus was speaking,
a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,
“Blessed is the womb that carried you
and the breasts at which you nursed.”

Yes, and…

He replied, “Rather, blessed are those
who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry