It’s a Journey

Journey

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious
Readings: 2 Mc 7:1, 20-31; PS 17:1bcd, 5-6, 8b and 15; Lk 19:11-28
Notes: The time between the 4th to the 1st centuries BCE, Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires ruled over Israel.

Roughly described as the 400 year long Intertestamental Period.

The Greek-Egyptian Ptolemaic were harsh.
War between the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires made them things unbearable.
The Seleucids occupation even harsher at times, especially after Rome stopped the Ptolemaic-Seleucid war.

In the latter stages religious abuse:

  1. Monday, the abandoning of the temple in favor of the Greek gymnasium.
  2. Yesterday, Eleazar refusing to violate his faith.
  3. Today, the Mother and her seven sons.

The Maccabean period offered some relief for a time.
It was a time of alliance and advantage but did include restoration of the temple.
The Intertestamental Period, a portion of which is described in the two Books of Maccabees.
Catholics describe these books as deuterocanonical – that is canonical (sacred, approved) but disputed by some.

  • In 63 BCE, the Romans occupied Jerusalem.
  • In 40 BCE, brought about the final insult, they declared Herod the Great “King of the Jews”.

Within 70 years, a new proclamation, although they didn’t realize it.

Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?” (Jn 18:33b)

First reading
Martyrdom of a Mother and Her Seven Sons.
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/2maccabees/7?1

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
But I in justice shall behold your face;
on waking, I shall be content in your presence.

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

Gospel Portion
The last prophet of the old testament, Malachi, symbolically marking the intertestamental period, begins with this:

I love you, says the LORD.

Malachi ends with this:

Now I am sending to you
Elijah the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day;
He will turn the heart of fathers to their sons,
and the heart of sons to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with utter destruction.

Elijah came in the person of John the Baptist. John heralded Jesus.

While people were listening to Jesus speak,
he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem
and they thought that the Kingdom of God
would appear there immediately.

Journey.
The four hundred years leading up to the time of Jesus was a journey to be sure.
A time filled with difficulty and joys.

Journey.
The time between Jesus’ Ascension and the Second Coming is also a journey.
A time filled with difficulty and joys.

But like our Old Testament readings this past week, we too have work to do and faith to express.

He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins
and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’

  • Some added 10.
  • Some added 5.
  • Some did nothing.
  • Some fought the King of the Jews.

He is relaying what our history can be… on this journey.

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

I love you, says the LORD.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Today Salvation

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 Mc 6:18-31; PS 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7; Lk 19:1-10
Notes: Today we have two men each with a difficult question.

Eleazar, facing certain death, decided that fidelity and example were the pathway to a good judgement.
Zacchaeus, knowing his own sinfulness, decided that conversion and restitution were the pathway to a good judgement.

How does salvation come to me? How shall I answer?

  • Eleazar knew today he must continue and trust the promise made ages before.
  • Zacchaeus knew today conversion and to follow the promise in front of him.

Today Salvation.

First reading
Eleazar was an amazing man.

He held firm to his fidelity to the Lord, refused to eat pork or even pretend to eat a forbidden food.
Although the path of deflection and ease were available to him, he chose first honor.

But Eleazar made up his mind in a noble manner,
worthy of his years, the dignity of his advanced age,
the merited distinction of his gray hair,
and of the admirable life he had lived from childhood;
and so he declared that above all
he would be loyal to the holy laws given by God.

This is how he died,
leaving in his death a model of courage
and an unforgettable example of virtue
not only for the young but for the whole nation.

And for us.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord upholds me.

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

Gospel Portion
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.”

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.”

Today salvation comes as well:

  • Not by enforcing others to be holy.
  • By being holy ourselves.
  • By setting example.
  • By making restitution.
  • By trusting the promise.
  • By trusting the promise in front of us.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

See first!

Blindness to Righteousness

Greetings on this the Monday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: 1 Mc 1:10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63; PS 119:53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158; Lk 18:35-43
Notes: Christ the King is coming!

The great crisis of our times and place is the application of pluralism and distinction between religious rights.

  1. What moral code shall prevail as mandatory and how to express it?
  2. What ethics shall prevail as within a range and how to enforce it?
  3. What ways of being different from my own are tolerable and how to accept what is not my own?

The USA is not the first nation to be confronted with the problem.
The USA does have the distinction of attempting to find a cooperative coexistence.
A framework strategy to mitigate between a significant variance of morals, ethics and ways of being.

We base all this on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The balance cannot be found in assertion alone.

In fact, when you are in power the rightness is not in assertion but in acceptance.

First reading
The Jewish people have been confronted with various states of military occupation, military victory and military defeat since its first oral traditions and throughout the various books of the Old Testament.

  • Egyptians
  • Assyrians
  • Babylonians
  • Persians (less so, but agent rulers did oppress)
  • Greeks
  • Ptolemies
  • Seleucid
  • Romans

All these overpowered them.
All these enforced morals, ethics and ways of being that are alien to their people and faith.

Responsorial Psalm
Give me life, O Lord, and I will do your commands.

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

Gospel Portion
Jesus asked him,
“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.

  • One man.
  • One request.

When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

Universal praise for God (at least for the moment).

When you ask yourself what can one man or woman can do, think of the blind man.
He wanted what we all want at our core: to be made whole, to be cured.

  • Seek truth.
  • Seek purification.
  • Seek a right path.

Then, as God answers your prayers, your conversion is completed and the divine is expressed in you.

You become a celebration for others and leads to more conversion toward righteousness.

  • First you.
  • Then your household.
  • Then your proximity.
  • Then your community.
  • Then your nation.

See first.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Written in the book

Phases of the Moon

Greetings on this the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Dn 12:1-3; Ps 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11; Heb 10:11-14, 18; Mk 13:24-32
Notes: Next Sunday – Christ the King!

Through the week we read from the Book of Wisdom (one break in sequence for the feast).

We began with:
Love righteousness, you who judge the earth;
think of the LORD in goodness,
and seek him in integrity of heart.

The primary purpose of the author was the edification of his co-religionists in a time when they had experienced suffering and oppression, in part at least at the hands of apostate fellow Jews (NABRE, Introduction).

Apostate:

  1. Not lovers of righteousness or justice.
  2. Not seeing the Lord in goodness.
  3. Not doers of goodness.
  4. Not with integrity of heart.

First reading
But the wise shall shine brightly
like the splendor of the firmament,
and those who lead the many to justice
shall be like the stars forever.

We are all under the need for judgment.
The Four Final Things:

  1. Death.
  2. Judgment.
  3. Heaven.
  4. Hell.

Responsorial Psalm
You are my inheritance, O Lord!
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.

Second reading
But this one offered one sacrifice for sins,
and took his seat forever at the right hand of God.

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

Gospel Portion
At that time your people shall escape,
everyone who is found written in the book.

Yesterday, a member of the far right on LinkedIN threatened me with violence, an IRS Audit and FBI Investigation. He ‘has friends’ in the government, he said. Friends committed to destruction and injustice, it seems. How can it be so dark for you that the very corruption you decry in government is your solution to your particular grievance? And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be (Matt 6:23).

Why?
Because I am of the opinion that Kyle Rittenhouse (a boy of 17) did not act with justice but with recklessness.
The jury shall decide in their best efforts to make a conclusion of the matter.
It is a most difficult thing to do, to reconcile the violence and the immaturity of a boy who wants to be a man.

Justice and mercy must kiss.

Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
The time is now for each of us to see the presence of the Kingdom of God.
And to see the perversion of our ideas of justice and mercy.

Christian Apostate:

  1. Not lovers of righteousness or justice.
  2. Not seeing the Lord in goodness.
  3. Not doers of goodness.
  4. Not with integrity of heart.

The Four Final Things:

  1. Death.
  2. Judgment.
  3. Heaven.
  4. Hell.

It is better to be reconciled with God and be written in the Book.

Then we will survive the current darkness which we have made of our own creation.

In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Put away your violence.

But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator (COL 3:8-10).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Render A Just Decision

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin
Readings: Wis 18:14-16; 19:6-9; PS 105:2-3, 36-37, 42-43; Lk 18:1-8
Notes: Kyle Rittenhouse trial is drawing to a close. May they render a just decision.

Happy Birthday Barry Jankord!

May you enjoy a long retirement and the favor of the Lord!!

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini’s Story

Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first United States citizen to be canonized. Her deep trust in the loving care of her God gave her the strength to be a valiant woman doing the work of Christ.

Reflection

The compassion and dedication of Mother Cabrini is still seen in hundreds of thousands of her fellow citizens who care for the sick in hospitals, nursing homes, and state institutions. We complain of increased medical costs in an affluent society, but the daily news shows us millions who have little or no medical care, and who are calling for new Mother Cabrinis to become citizen-servants of their land.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-frances-xavier-cabrini

First reading
(The evening before crossing the Reed Sea out of Egypt)

The cloud overshadowed their camp;
and out of what had been water, dry land was seen emerging:
Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road,
and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood.

Wait on the Lord and He will do marvelous things!

Responsorial Psalm
Remember the marvels the Lord has done!

Alleluia Verse
God has called us through the Gospel,
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gospel Portion
Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.

The Parable of the Persistent Widow.

If persistence with wicked persons brings about a small measure of justice, then how much more so from the Divine Love who cares for us every moment?

  • Prayers, not vigilantism.
  • Justice, not domination.
  • Love, not civil war.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Missing The Point

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr
Readings: Wis 13:1-9; PS 19:2-3, 4-5ab; Lk 17:26-37
Notes:

  • As it was in the days of Noah – they didn’t listen to Noah but continued with daily life: eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.
  • As it was in the days of Lot – they didn’t listen to Lot but continued with commerce: eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building (note, no sex talk).

But on The Day of the Son of Man it was even more so (Resurrection).

People will divide according to their own ideas, even between marriages, even between friends, and even between children.

We are so accustomed to applying our own overlays to sacred scripture we sometimes think questionable things and do some rather questionable things.

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

First reading
The wisdom writer today wonders aloud:

How is it that if you study nature and the cosmos you do not wonder as to the creator of the same?
We might quip: He sees the trees but no the forest?

For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?

Responsorial Psalm
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.

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

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to his disciples:

  • As it was in the days of Noah
  • As it was in the days of Lot

Both Prophets speak of a need for self reflection and change.

Some will.
Some will not.

All suffer the consequences.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Yesterday, Today, Forever

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Readings: Wis 7:22b–8:1; PS 119:89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175; Lk 17:20-25
Notes: Thursday post delayed.

Today’s memorial has no specific memorial Mass readings. Yet Martin of Tours is given greater treatment in the Liturgy of the Hours with his own Antiphons.

They do share a similar concern: proper perspective. Leo the Great was worried about the extremes of theoogy driving inferior decisions of faith (Pelagianism, Manichaeism). The Council of Chalcedon listed a lot of things that needed counteraction. We too have these concerns.

For Martin’s part, his concern was how do we cooperate with people who do the wrong things. We too have these concerns. We too must weigh the rightness of full cooperation on the one hand and total rejection on the other.

“Martin rejected Bishop Ithacius’s principle of putting heretics to death.”

The franciscan reflection below gives us the courage to continue to decide.

Decide to cooperate when we can and reject when we must.

  • Wisdom is our guide.
  • Wisdom must always be our guide.

Reflection

Martin’s worry about cooperation with evil reminds us that almost nothing is either all black or all white. The saints are not creatures of another world: They face the same perplexing decisions that we do. Any decision of conscience always involves some risk. If we choose to go north, we may never know what would have happened had we gone east, west, or south. A hyper-cautious withdrawal from all perplexing situations is not the virtue of prudence; it is in fact, a bad decision, for “not to decide is to decide.”

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

First reading
Although the Wisdom writing do not name the Holy Spirit it does elevate wisdom as holding a significant place in the divine realm. It already uses a list form (which I use here a lot) so I’d rather link you to the readings for the wisdom on Wisdom.

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111121.cfm

Responsorial Psalm
Your word is for ever, O Lord.

Alleluia Verse
I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord:
whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.

Gospel Portion
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come,
Jesus said in reply,

“The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed.”

and again

“For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

So many layers!

For those in Jesus’ time, he is noting how they will wish they paid attention to him while he was with them.

The days will come when you will long to see
one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it.

“For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

While he is here, pay attention!

Yet on another layer is this: The Kingdom of God is here.

  • Wisdom is here (Holy Spirit).
  • Jesus is here (Holy Eucharist).
  • God, the Father, is always here, for “God loves”.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Pendulum

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Memorial Readings: Sir 39:6-11; Ps 37:3-4, 5-6, 30-31; MT 16:13-19
Daily Readings: Wis 6:1-11; PS 82:3-4, 6-7; Lk 17:11-19
Notes: Today I wanted to highlight the fact we can choose from the Memorial Readings or the continuous Daily Readings.

Since we live in a similar age of extremes (like a grandfather clock pendulum) swinging from extreme to extreme, I thought the memorial readings fit well because the life and example of Pope Leo, the Great fits so well.

The Franciscans have a great wrtie up on Pope Leo, the Great’s work. Below, abbreviated:

Saint Leo the Great’s Story

With apparent strong conviction of the importance of the Bishop of Rome in the Church, and of the Church as the ongoing sign of Christ’s presence in the world, Leo the Great displayed endless dedication as pope. Elected in 440, he worked tirelessly as “Peter’s successor,” guiding his fellow bishops as “equals in the episcopacy and infirmities.”

He worked at length to control the heresies of Pelagianismoveremphasizing human freedomManichaeismseeing everything material as evil—and others, placing demands on their followers so as to secure true Christian beliefs.

His growth to sainthood has its basis in the spiritual depth with which he approached the pastoral care of his people, which was the fourth focus of his work. He is known for his spiritually profound sermons. An instrument of the call to holiness, well-versed in Scripture and ecclesiastical awareness, Leo had the ability to reach the everyday needs and interests of his people.

It is said of Leo that his true significance rests in his doctrinal insistence on the mysteries of Christ and the Church and in the supernatural charisms of the spiritual life given to humanity in Christ and in his Body, the Church. Thus Leo held firmly that everything he did and said as pope for the administration of the Church represented Christ, the head of the Mystical Body, and Saint Peter, in whose place Leo acted.

Reflection

At a time when there is widespread criticism of Church structures, we also hear criticism that bishops and priests—indeed, all of us—are too preoccupied with administration of temporal matters. Pope Leo is an example of a great administrator who used his talents in areas where spirit and structure are inseparably combined: doctrine, peace, and pastoral care. He avoided an “angelism” that tries to live without the body, as well as the “practicality” that deals only in externals.

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

First reading
If it pleases the Lord Almighty,
he who studies the law of the Most High
will be filled with the spirit of understanding.

Responsorial Psalm
The mouth of the just murmurs wisdom.

Trust in the Lord and do good
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.

Alleluia Verse
Come after me, says the Lord,
and I will make you fishers of men.

Gospel Portion
[Jesus] asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Francis is such a Pope, attempting to moderate the extremes of today.
Pray for the success of the work of his hands.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Honoring Our Veterans

Boynton Beach Veterans Memorial Park

A photo essay

O SALUTARIS Hostia
Quae caeli pandis ostium.
Bella premunt hostilia;
Da robur, fer auxilium. O SAVING Victim opening wide
The gate of heaven to all below.
Our foes press on from every side;
Thine aid supply, Thy strength bestow.
Uni trinoque Domino
Sit sempiterna gloria:
Qui vitam sine termino,
Nobis donet in patria.

Amen.