Why Death?

Greetings on this the Fifth Sunday of Lent
Readings: Ez 37:12-14; PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; Rom 8:8-11; Jn 11:1-45
Notes: I worry about the American Church. In this season of exposing hypocracy and self-righteousness, many exhibit an unabashed preference for these things. Shocking.

Jesus has the power.
Jesus has the motive.
We, like Eve in the garden, want it now.
Jesus knows it is better to call us out of misery into new life and eternal life free of sin.

The seventh sign of Jesus in the Gospel of John.
It is the definitive reason the leadership sought to end his life.
As a matter of fact, they were more set on killing Lazarus than Jesus.
Lazarus was the living proof of the power of the Son of Man in a very public way in the sight of many people!

[The] large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too (JN 12:9-10a).

Our deepest need is found in the Book of Genesis.
Expulsion from Eden – An act of mercy.

Then the LORD God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil! Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever? (Gen 3:22).

What if?
We would fall deeper and deeper into desperation and misery even among the beautiful Garden of Eden – forever lost!

The Better Way
The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken. He expelled the man, stationing the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword east of the garden of Eden, to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:23-24).

First Reading
O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

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

Second Reading
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.

Verse Before the Gospel
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jesus has the power.
Jesus has the motive.
We, like Eve in the garden – The Garden of Earth, want it now.
Jesus knows it is better to call us out of misery into new life and eternal life free of sin.

We are to have a good life in this life and again in the next.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Handmaid of the Lord

Greetings on this the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Readings: Is 7:10-14; 8:10;Ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11; Heb 10:4-10;Lk 1:26-38
Notes: IborrowedalaptopsoIcouldwriteyoutoday.As you can see thkeyoardisnotrespondingwelltomy typing.

Handmaid– to serve.
Mature – to be fully formed in a particular regard. To act accordingly.

Personal note: Integration into the Franciscan community is a slow process. Everyone is nice and welcoming. But there are distinct advantages, approved to head out on a five week Camino de Santiago de Francis. Nearly 500 miles by foot. April start.

Let us go (MK 1:38).

Today we celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord which is a promise kept from of old.
For thus says the Lord GOD: Look! I myself will search for my sheep and examine them (EZ 34:11).
This is a celebration of Incarnation (happens at conception) and the promise of the Infancy of Jesus (happens at birth, 9 months to the day).
We celebrate the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.

Franciscan Media:

Pope Francis encourages us to consecrate ourselves to the Blessed Mother today.


First Reading
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!”

Responsorial Pslam
Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Second Reading
By this “will,” we have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Verse Before the Gospel
The Word of God became flesh and made his dwelling among us;
and we saw his glory.


  1. Immaculate.
  2. Annunciate.
  3. Conception.
  4. Birth.

What differentiates Mary?

  • Her Immaculate Conception.
  • Her Motherhood – Theotokos. WIKI- The Council of Ephesus in AD 431 decreed that Mary is the Theotokos because Her Son Jesus is both God and man: one divine person from two natures (divine and human) intimately and hypostatically united.
  • Her YES to the Lord.

Why is that?

  • Mary was conceived with a perfect receptivity to love and a perfect capacity effectuated, reciprocal love.
  • Mary was conceived with the full maturity of love – even in the womb.
  • She is the complete essential human expression of love. This is why there is no Original Sin stain, nor concupiscence, nor Actual Sin. She was in perfect love of the Beloved.
  • Her love did not need to mature, although it did grow through experience, but its capacity was complete at the beginning.

The young girl YES was in the full maturity of love – receptivity to divine love and RECIPRICOL in her love for Father and Son.

For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (MK10:45).
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her (LK1:38).

Adam and Eve learned how to love. So do we.
Adam gave elemental love: 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). Eve did not reciprocate.
They both needed to learn much about love.

Cain did not understand love.
Then the LORD said to Cain: Why are you angry? Why are you dejected? If you act rightly, you will be accepted;* but if not, sin lies in wait at the door: its urge is for you, yet you can rule over it (Gen 4:6-7).

Eve learned love through loss.
Adam again had intercourse with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth. “God has granted me another offspring in place of Abel,” she said, “because Cain killed him (Gen 4:25).

The RUAH breath of God is within us so we know how to love but the gap is our growth.
We call it freewill but it is in reality the imperative to grow in love.

The word LOVE.
First Appearance of the word LOVE.
After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. (Genesis 22:1–2).

Simon, do you love me?
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,* “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (Jn 21:35).

WIKI– The word “love” appears 57 times in the Gospel of John, more often than in the other three gospels combined. Additionally, it appears 46 times in the First Epistle of John.

What to make of this.
Mary is our model of love from the interior, from our very essence.
For Mary, in a singular grace, from conception fully mature.
For everyone else, our work on Earth.

Grow in love.
Ask Mary for assistance in what she excels in – receptive love, reciprocal love.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Siloam – Sent


Greetings on this the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings: 1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41

Notes: using phone and one finger. First homily notes at new parish so I figure better write some notes.

I made this comment to a friar this morning March 12th, a week ago:

“I am a secular deacon but now assigned to a Franciscan community. I want to mold my homilies with the spirit and charism of Franciscan spirituality. I leave on pilgrimage in a few weeks, what shall I take on my journey?”

Reply: A San Damiano Cross.

So perhaps, God willing, these will be my first changed nuanced or last secular homily notes. What it is, with certainty, is a commitment to mold my life to Jesus in a new way. Saint Iago, pray for us. Saint Francis, pray for us.

Themes for 4th Sunday.

1. Sent. Samuel was sent to pick from among the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem to become King. Now listen up, he did this once before (1Sam 10:1ff) with Saul and things ended badly. See 1Sam 15:1, 26, 35. Whatever his trepidations he went and anointed David. We know he lamented Saul’s fall. Jesus sends the blind man to The Pool of Siloam. Just reminding you he was blind. But he went and now he sees.

2. The Innocent are not exempt from the troubles of life. In the case of the man born blind and (as in the Gospel of Luke 13:4) the innocent who died in the collapse of the Tower of Siloam. Jesus said, neither he nor his parents sinned. The tower, a recent tragedy, 18 people died. They were like everyone else. The innocent, the ordinary and the wicked all are subject to trouble in this world.

3. The Third and Sixth Sign of Jesus in Gospel of John. See my page image here. The injured sinner at the Pool of Bethsaida engaged in likely pagan god worship (Priests of Asclepius stir the pools). The man who was born blind at the Pool of Siloam, a mikvah place (Jewish ritual bathing). Both healed by Jesus. Sinner and sinless are under divine care. Those stuck in paganism called forth. Those faithful heard too.

4. Laetare Sunday. Rejoice. Isa 66:10-10. Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; Rejoice with her in her joy, all you who mourn over her – So that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; That you may drink with delight at her abundant breasts!

5. Challenges of Unbelief.

  • A. Sinners are punished. Confusing consequence with cause.
  • B. Disbelief people can change.
  • C. Mercy on Sabbath – an affront to self-righteous.
  • D. Mercy on Sabbath – a sin!
  • E. Intimidating parents.
  • F. We are not his disciples! Disown.
  • G. Ad Hominem. Attacks.

6. Listening.

  • If Jesus sends you, go!
  • God listens! He always listens! Always!!
  • God acts to the good!
  • Men doubt (our common problem).
  • Witnessed prove.

Take the psalmist’s words to heart. We all encounter difficulty in life. Sometimes a direct consequence and sometimes things just happen. But in every case with faith in God we can say with confidence: Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. We are only limited by how much we trust the Lord. How we treat the people and the world around us, the same thing.

Story of the two buckets. There was a boy who went to the well each day to draw water for the family. He had two buckets, one perfect and one leaky. The leaky bucket was sad one day. He relayed his feelings to the perfect bucket who replied: While it is true I carry the water without spilling, you carry water too. Now look at the path to the well. Filled with grass and flowers! Day in, day out, You have been watering the earth and it brings forth goodness.

You will know them by their fruits.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Garden Truth

2nd Sunday of Lent

It was in a garden Adam and Eve conspired to take what was not for them (Gen 3).

It was in a garden that Susanna was confronted by the lawless judges (Dan 13).

It was in a garden David lost his way (2 Sam 12).

For our purpose we may consider the garden as the place we reveal our inner self. Our truth, who we are and what motivates us. Mastered or not-mastered self but for discipline and love. Or the lack thereof.

The garden is the state of the soul. For us and our common challenge is to overcome what is called The Tyranny of the Senses. There is nothing wrong with our senses. We are sensory beings but we are not only, merely or even mostly sensate.

We are body, soul and spirit.

Spirit self is our likeness to God, it is the reception to God like an antenna is to a radio.

Soul self is our conscience. The place of maturation, decision, mistakes, joys and hopes!

The body self is our action. The external movement that spirit and soul have decided.

When we see Jesus in the garden/mountain twice we gain a similar insight as the examples above but with a far better truth.

These moments of isolation, are witnessed by the privileged three (Peter, James, John). These three were invited also at the story of Jairus’s Daughter (Mk 5). But the two stories below offer something with a more amazing clarity!

The sympathy of God.

The Seven Signs of Jesus in the Gospel of John primarily speak to the power and credibility of Jesus, the divine law and prophet.

These garden moments are the Signs of the Sympathy of the Lord. Imagine a physician, a surgeon, with great skill to heal you but lacking in sympathy. Some can tell such a story. It is in the sympathy we discover the purpose and the entirety of the gift. Skill without sympathy is mere technical competence.

The Transfiguration (Matt 17).

In the Transfiguration was Jesus, and behold, Moses and Elijah appeared conversing with him. Law and prophet receiving the fruit of the completion of their work. Jesus’s sympathy for them, Moses and Elijah, is the reward to share in this moment of triumph.

Conversing about the Final Exodus. The sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb whose blood marks the lintel and posts. This is Jesus’ sympathy. His competence is power over death. His sympathy, his heart, is love for his creation. He acts out of love.

The Father attesting from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

The Agony (Matt 26).

The Agony and the Transfiguration are insights.

Jesus alone began to feel sorrow and distress. Luke tells us, “He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.

The body expresses the soul’s decision of the spirit work given by God, the Father: My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”

The sorrow is the full weight of our sorrow and regrets from the first garden to the last garden. The sympathy of God is expressed in sorrow over the effects of sin.

How many different circumstances can you recount of parents in deep sorrow over their children? Do you need examples? Ask a mother whose child fell and suffered injury. Or worse.

How many parents faced with the unthinkable wouldn’t offer their own life for their children?

Is God sympathetic? Yes!

Ever attentive to big and small issues the Lord is always present. Earlier this week a gospel portion:

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him (Matt 7).

God’s Sympathy

Everything is ordered for our well-being. Including the heart of God. The Transfiguration is the spirit made and receiving the divine then soul deciding ‘yes’ to the divine and the body making manifest a decision to be divine in the body.

In two weeks we arrive at the Raising of Lazarus. Here too we will encounter the Tyranny of the Senses: Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (Jn 11). Here too we see the sympathy of God: And Jesus wept.


Tyranny requires a subject. One out of indifference, fear or powerlessness but in that state of affairs giving power to the tyrant.

God speaks to us through our senses but not our senses alone. If we are out of practice in the spirit we will tend to assess and evaluate only by senses. Ask your spirit to contemplate the sympathy.

Sacred scripture allows us to ask:

What does God feel?

What is he sympathetic about?

Does he understand me?

Does he understand my circumstances?

Contemplating the Transfiguration, Agony in the Garden and the Raising of Lazarus we get a sure and certain insight on his sympathy.

It is in the sympathy we discover the purpose and the entirety of the gift, the gift of himself.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Convent Mind – Dios Proveerá

Saint José María de Yermo y Parres: Mexico 1851-1904 (Father Yermo)

Carlos Ruano Llopis. Artist. 1947.

Vatican remembrance:

At a convent in Santa Eulalia, Guatemala hangs this painting. The artist is not known for religious art but for bullrings and matadors. Yet he did paint this famous painting of the Inspiration of Father Yermo. I provide the story below. Father Yermo’s motto, God Provides.

How appropriate as the sisters attempt to reopen the school with little more than prayer and almsgiving.

Today’s gospel reading portion: Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

The LORD will affirm the blessing upon you, on your barns and on all your undertakings; he will bless you in the land that the LORD, your God, is giving you (Deut 28:8).

Priesthood story. Here:

A biography:

A young holy priest from the same place on loan to us.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry