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Follow the Bubbles

Bubbles

Follow the Bubbles

Greetings on this the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: AM 8:4-7; PS 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8; 1 TM 2:1-8; LK 16:1-13

SCUBA Basics

When I was a young man as a part of the SCUBA training process they would teach this very simple lesson.

Follow the Bubbles

Unless you live in one of the Gulf Coast States you will usually be SCUBA diving in turbid waters where even sunlight doesn’t penetrate. Initially when you enter the water your orientation is no problem. As you explore and spend time twisting and turning, rising and falling, moving forward and backward, under and over you begin to get disoriented. Sometimes this causes anxiety and even panic. Where am I in relation to the surface? How do I know for sure the way back?

The Instructor would go on to say if you rely upon your instincts alone or even your intellect to reason out where you are, you will likely be in grave danger of loss of your life! Instead, as a part of your analysis, release some air! Release air and watch the direction in which it goes. Where the bubbles go, so should you. Follow the bubbles.

As any kid that drinks with a straw knows if you blow air into a straw immersed in chocolate milk you get … chocolate bubbles on the top!

(If you plan to attend the 9:00 AM Mass at Sacred Heart, Lake Worth Beach, FL you will get demonstrations of this SCUBA principle using chocolate milk. Since literally nobody reads this I am safe in this advanced notice).

Truth Bubbles Up

In our first reading today the Prophet Amos warns use that the Lord sees all of these actions we want to bury and hide like bubbles under water:

  • trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land;
  • diminish the ephah, add to the shekel;
  • fix our scales for cheating;
  • buy the lowly for silver (slavery);
  • buy the poor for the cost of a pair of sandals (abject slavery); and
  • even sell the useless bi-product of the wheat as wheat.

The truth of these activities bubbles up to the Lord.

Universality of the Warning

Second reading: In the letter to Timothy the writer makes clear although the actions noted by the Prophet Amos are truthful realities there is yet another buried truth. We fail to pray for those who are the perpetrators of these offenses. The bubble up is that we sharing in the responsibility of those who fail in these ways. We own them our prayers for them because:

This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

It is a mistake to mock the bubbles of another while we offer no help in finding another way. Pray for President Trump and his troupe even if you hate him. Pray for the resistance even if you disagree with them and their sometimes quite objectionable ways.

Gospel Bubble Story

A rich man comes to understand a steward of his is stealing from him. He demands an accounting and informs of the stewards dismissal.

The steward attempts to bury more dishonest acts by making more deals:

  • Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty; and
  • Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.

He desperately wants to bury more things because he is not strong enough to dig and he is ashamed to beg.

But the truth bubbles up and it gets even more interesting here.

The master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.

Imagine that will you? Why did he say this and what does this bubble reveal?

The Master (rich man) is revealing HIS OWN METHODS and BURIED TRUTH of how he amassed his own fortune.

Even this Master has the bubble effect of truth. The Master and the Steward are of the same thinking mode.

The Master only objects to stealing from him not from stealing from others.

Honesty in Profane Things – Worthy of Profound Things

Jesus goes on to explain that our honesty in small things is a pathway forward in the profound things. Dishonesty is disastrous.

He goes on to say the possession of your future in this life and for eternal life does not even belong to you if you trade it for ill-gotten gain and dishonest.

Literally he is saying you risk the mastery of your own life path following the logic of the Master and Steward.

It is the Choice

No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.

You cannot serve both God and mammon.

You are best served by following the bubble logic. Follow the bubble of truth and find the liberation of God’s love!

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Behave Yourself

Behave

Behave Yourself

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings: 1 TM 3:14-16; PS 111:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; LK 7:31-35

Sign of the Times

Usually I do not write in the middle of the week.

Yesterday’s testimony from the congressional hearings urges a dialog. Corey Lewandowski says,

I have no obligation to speak truthfully.

Those of you who support the President will come quickly to his aid and protest the trim of his statement.

To which I reply, you have been selectively trimming the teachings of Jesus Christ for years now and suddenly you have a problem with selective quotes?

You should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. 1 TIM 3:15b

Lewandowski went on to say:

  • to the Press Lewandowski has no obligation to tell the truth (the fourth estate enshrined in the constitution);
  • but under oath Lewandowski tells the truth or the conditions under which he was truthful (immunity);
  • but today Lewandowski refuse to tell the truth because the President exerts an imaginary Executive Privilege in regards to Lewandowski conversations with President Trump (campaign strategy is not under any such protections nor is any criminal actions or plans).

Such difficult and twisted logic!

They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another LK 7:32

This Administration and his friends are deliberately misleading the public, you.

We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep. Lk 7:32b

Simply, truth is unimportant to them. Trust is not a factor in their thinking, their actions, and their performance as public servants.

When it is time to Dance – you refuse. When it is time to sin a Dirge – you don’t care.

Do you need examples? Do you really need examples?

Wisdom will be Vindicated

Jesus reminds us that wisdom is vindicated by all her children LK 7:35.

John the Baptizer called us to repentance for how we think, what we do and what the performance of public servants should be.

Read Luke 3:10-14. It’s pretty clear.

Jesus called us to re-imagine what it means to Love God.

Wisdom, the presence of the Holy Spirit, vindicates and illuminates. The list, the very long list, of those who would lie and deflect on behalf and in deference to the President will find the burning light of Christ bringing to light their thinking, actions and performance.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

 

 

 

 

Lost Sheep – Finding Victims

No More Secrets - Women No More Secrets

The Gospel message this Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time is usually understood to address the perpetrators. Sinners having become lost by word, thought, action or inaction are now beyond ordinary recovery but requiring the action of a loving God to find them. We often do not see what is in plain sight: love for the victim.

The Gospel of Luke chapter 15 is comprehensive about being lost.

  1. One of One-Hundred Sheep.
  2. One of Ten Coins.
  3. One of Two Brothers.

When one is a victim of a crime or of personal abuse it may be difficult to read this Gospel reading with any sense of relief or consolation. The reassurance a victim needs is distinctly different from the perpetrator. Today let us take the victim perspective. Victim suffering is first and foremost private and personal. It is specific to the individual.

Suffering (examples):

  • Lose of good and virtue (innocence, health, bruising of dignity, loss of autonomy, being marginalized and invalidated).
  • Lose of future well-being (health, mobility, forming loving marriage, forming trusted friendships, attaining employment).

Recovery path:

  • Knowing and expressing how they are in a state of needing something necessary to their integration to the rest of society. I have lost something I need back!
  • Validation of feelings, experience, sense of loss and isolation.
  • Engage a search for a path or navigating the future so as to recoup or regain that which is lost or build similar necessities to satisfy the needed components.
  • Find within their friendships the needed support for their journey.

Our Ordinary Help:

  • Listen. Actively listen to the story as narrated by the victim.
  • Listen to the movement within. Pain sometimes makes speaking impossible. Rather a victim speaks with heart, body, odor and aura. Listen for that non-verbal communication.
  • Advocate for them. Render aid and assistance. I am sure we don’t explain asphyxiation medicine to a drowning person rather address their difficulty.

Gospel Message on Sunday…

  1. One of One-Hundred Sheep – Did you ever wonder how a Shepherd finds a lost sheep? The sheep didn’t do anything wrong. S/he simply is lost. The Shepherd only need listen for the sound of pain. The mournful pain of feeling lost and unaccounted for. The sheep didn’t rationalize h/er situation rather bodily bleated out painful sounds. H/er loving Shepherd heard and found, carried, and returned with Joy and Celebration.

    Your restoration to Joy is an imperative of God.

  2. One of Ten Coins – a little more abstract then the last parable. A coin knows nothing of its value. In a analogous way a person loses appreciation and existence of their human dignity when victimized. The familiar places of home can even become a place of disorder. Note in this parable the woman turns the house ‘inside out’ sweeping and searching and illuminating every darkness until the coin is found! Even the Angels rejoice and praise the God who gets on his hands and knees to find the one who lost all sense of self.

    Your restoration of Self is an imperative of God.

  3. One of Two Brothers – so much written on this parable! Here the complete complexity of perpetrator and victim relations exist. It’s a hot mess.This post is already too long but let me express it this way. The Lord searches the horizons of your person-hood for anything and everything that needs attending. Ring, Robe and sandals – symbols of kinship, dignity and reason. Note: while the Lord will not force or enforce peace between perpetrator and victim, He will encourage it after a restoration has been initiated in the person-hood of victim.

    Your restoration of your kinship, dignity and reason is an imperative of God.

In conclusion, those who are victim are the sheep, the coin and the brother that a worried and resourceful God seeks with all the power at His command and when found all creation rejoices with you!

Please visit my other page for excellent readings: Abuse Recovery Readings

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Thanks to / references from:

James F. Keenan, S. J. from his book titled Moral Wisdom

Recommend:

The Return of the Prodigal Son (A Story of Homecoming) by Henri J.M. Nouwne.

 

 

Insurance Rich – Premium Poor

"We'll keep you poor throughout your life, but at least you'll be rich after you die."

Insurance Rich – Premium Poor

Greetings on this the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: WS 9:13-18B; PS 90:3-6, 12-14, 17; PHMN 9-10, 12-17; LK 14:25-33

Modern Parable

When I was a young man and establishing my life outside of the family, in a conversation with my Mom I made mention of the different insurances being sold out in the marketplace. Car insurance, renters insurance, health insurance, life insurance, on and on the list went. She listened carefully to my descriptions of each and the relative merits each provides. When I was done she answered simply,

“You don’t want to be Insurance Rich and Premium Poor”.

Insurance Rich and Premium Poor

She went on to explain that there are many insurance products out there. Many more, in fact, than I listed above. But only some do you really need. And even then only in restrained quantities. You don’t want fear to be the primary motivator of your actions. You don’t want preservation of material goods to be your principle concern. Moms can be smart that way.

Rather the focus should be on loftier and more valuable things: relationships and behavior. Jesus offers discipleship that has us not focus on insurance of what we have and how to retain it but rather on that which we can share and bring the Kingdom of God to all in need.

Today’s Gospel Parables are the same message

Jesus compares three things (or four depending on how you count).

  1. Love of God and Bearing Your Cross
  2. Building a Tower
  3. Fighting a War

Jesus makes clear that loving God and bearing your cross is ‘The Way’. Building a Tower and Marching off to war are illusions of insurance. They are really impossible tasks that lead to no good outcome.

Choose – choose wisely. Choose to carry a cross for the Kingdom and the wellbeing of not just your own but for all.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Spiritual Negligence

Leaking Cup

Spiritual Negligence

Greetings on this the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: IS 66:18-21; PS 117:1, 2; HEB 12:5-7, 11-13; LK 13:22-30

The Gospel reading for today has Jesus speaking of the narrow gate (or narrow way). In the Gospel of Matthew version the narrow gate is evaluated or realized by the fruits of the works of the person. In the Luke version the narrow gate is determined by the effort or striving one attempts. Heaven it seems in not merely a creed or profession but a reflection on how we think and what we do.

Traffic Control

I am not sure if this is common where you live but here we use off duty policeofficer to perform traffic control at our local houses of worship. The efficient movement of many vehicles into and out of a given house of worship requires an authoritative traffic control person and who better than a police officer.

Usually this work is pretty straight forward. Maybe a 15-20 minute effort in total and it can be done without a great deal of effort. But this one Sunday there were many, many cars. The traffic control policeman really struggled to keep up with the volume and the duration of the traffic control effort. We knew it would be a more difficult day so after it was over we walked over to the police officer to thank him. Before we could say a word he blurted out: ‘Father, you must tell me in advance when you are going to have a big event! This was much too hard to do all alone and I should have had help.’ Father responded, ‘Are you Christian’ The police officer replied, ‘Yes.’ Father said, ‘Today is Easter.’

Worried People

Back to the Gospel story.

The people were clearly worried. Seeing and hearing the differences between the leadership and their teaching and Jesus and his teaching would naturally create some serious thinking: ‘Lord, will only a few be saved?’ Spiritual neglect (we used to call it lukewarm) is a reasonable understanding of this teaching of Jesus. What exactly do we need to think/do/say? Is wealth a sign of God’s approval or a product of sin?

Jesus instead points to the contrast – the opposite of a life of salvation. In other words, Jesus does not answer the question directly. Instead he offers the example of exactly what we should NOT be like.

In the dialog of arriving at the narrow gate and wanting access some are turned away, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

To which they reply: ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’

Jesus repeats his statement, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

The ‘ate and drink’ statement needs to be unpack. Jesus deliberately wants us to do that. The statement is concerned with the worldly good of life and is missing the spiritual good of life. It contains the three basic forms of obsession for worldly good and becomes the evidence about those who are denied entry.

The three are:

  1. Pleasures of Life (Flesh) – Food and drink even the Sign of the Multiplication of the Bread is to be taken for the body alone.
  2. Pleasures of the Eye (Possessions) – Riches of the world. Our city, you were invited to our city. We possess this place.
  3. Pride of Life (Honor) –They want to possess honor, be given honor and not give God the honor.

Narrow Gate

Jesus’ warning is that worldly good can have such a powerful influence over us as to put our eternal soul at risk of eternal exclusion.

Depart from me, all you evildoers, he said. Doing evil is the problem. Attending to your spiritual good is the way to the narrow gate.

Jesus is the gate. Following in his path, making your way to your personal Jerusalem is a truly fulfilling life with eternal benefits.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

 

 

 

 

Nay Neighbor

good samaritan

Nay Neighbor

Greetings on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: DT 30:10-14; PS 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37; COL 1:15-20; LK 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus.

He followed all the commandments or so he thought. Jesus affirmed his understanding. But he went a step too far.

He couldn’t resist. He knew that of all the commandments there was one that he was not quite comfortable with or perhaps we can say he wanted to limit its scope to fit his idea of what it means.

And who is my neighbor? Or more accurate – Who is NOT my neighbor? Who can I treat differently/poorly?

Jesus answered with a story. He wanted to shake this young man out of his bias and self-justification and into the justice of God – mercy.

The priest and the Levite passed on the opposite side. Why?

  1. Worry about drugs, disease, or filth?
  2. Worry about the imaginary banditos hidden in the bushes?
  3. Worry they were late for an appointment?
  4. Worry that it would cost them money?

In contrast the Samaritan worried about none of these things rather worried he did not leave the inn keeper enough deposit to finish the healing work and promised to pay any balance due upon his return. Talk about a different perspective!

This unworthy enemy of the people was the one who obeyed the commandment.

Some additional commandments:

  1. You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt (EX 22:20).
  2. You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has taken refuge from him with you (Deut 23:16).
  3. You shall have but one rule, for alien and native alike. I, the LORD, am your God (Lv 24:22).
  4. Thus says the LORD: Do what is right and just. Rescue the victim from the hand of his oppressor. Do not wrong or oppress the resident alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place (Jer 22:3).
  5. Within you, father and mother are despised; in your midst, they extort from the resident alien; within you, they oppress orphans and widows. What is holy to me you have spurned, and my Sabbaths you have desecrated (Ez 22:7-8).

Tonight, July 13th into the 14th, ICE covers the land, desecrates the Sabbath, violates the commandments and ignores all the ancient warning regarding aliens in our midst. And our leadership is happy to oppress the Samaritans among us.

Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ (Matt 9:13a).

This ICE raid campaign is a great stain on the nation and a for-shadowing of what we are becoming.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

 

 

Summer Study – Gospel of John

Four Evangelist Symbols

We are drawing to the conclusion next Tuesday July 30th. I have already posted the Final Gospel of John outline which now includes he web page with weekly outlines, notes and discussions.

By August 12th I intend to post a polished version to allow easier transition between the topics but this version is content complete.

I hope your summer is berry, berry good!

Short Link

All the best!

Deacon Gerry

Sorry, No Room

false-apology

Sorry, No Room

Greetings on this Fourth Sunday of Easter

Readings: ACTS 13:14, 43-52; PS 100:1-2, 3, 5; REV 7:9, 14B-17; JN 10:27-30

The Lie

President of the United States Donald J. Trump: We can’t take any more. Sorry. Can’t have it. So turn around. That’s the way it is.

Fake apology. Fake problem. Fake Christianity.

Solemn Warning from the Blessed Mother

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.  He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.  He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.  He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II – Ecclesia In America

The Synod Fathers recalled that “the Church in America must be a vigilant advocate, defending against any unjust restriction the natural right of individual persons to move freely within their own nation and from one nation to another. Attention must be called to the rights of migrants and their families and to respect for their human dignity, even in cases of non-legal immigration” (65).

Rooms Available

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.

Happy Mindless Mimes verses Dense Moral Exhortations

A good deacon friend of mine said, ‘Deacon Gerry, how can you find social justice context in just about everything Jesus said? I think you are shoe-horning sacred scripture.’ This was said with honest and pure intent. He is a gentle soul who lives the gentleness of Jesus on a daily basis and I take his concern seriously. Upon reflection my response is that I relate more to Sister Aloysius Beauvier in Doubt.

The desire for self-serving peace is a non-Christian response to the Diaspora problem.

May I borrow a quote from Sister Aloysius Beauvier?

You just want things to be resolved so you can have simplicity back.

Simplicity over essential truth not the trivial.

Hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others (MT 23:23).

The Search for Truth of Intention

Father Brendan Flynn: You haven’t the slightest proof of anything!

Sister Aloysius Beauvier: But I have my certainty! And armed with that, I will go to your last parish, and the one before that if necessary. I’ll find a parent.

The desire to lead by falsehood is a path of destruction.

The Voice

A Christian hears the voice and we follow Jesus who led by example.

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

We gather, protect and share the divine life with the stranger and wanderer of this world.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

 

 

 

 

 

Lowering the Barr

LOW BARR

Lowering the Barr

Greetings on the Third Sunday of Easter
Readings: ACTS 5:27-32, 40B-41; PS 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13; REV 5:11-14; JN 21:1-19

Everything Is Broken

On this third Sunday of Easter we see the scene in the Gospel of John of just how broken and dejected the disciples were.

The defeat in Jerusalem with the crucifixion of Jesus cast a deep sense of desolation upon them.The writer of John places them back as fishermen not to the Sea of Galilee but to the Sea of Tiberias. It’s the same body of water but the Tiberias name is in honor of the second emperor of Rome, Tiberius. It is a not so subtle way of saying the disciples did not return to their Jewish roots but to the slavery of the domain of the roman overlords.

So they restart the old business returning to their former occupation being fishermen.
Failure has a tendency to do that to a person. We are tempted to regress to a former way of living. Not that the former way was bad or anything but after having been a part of this radical revolution of man’s encounter with God it simply an empty life.

SO THEY WENT OUT AND GOT INTO THE BOAT, BUT THAT NIGHT THEY CAUGHT NOTHING.

Nothing.
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. This former honorable life is not for them now.
It is good to note that Jesus has already appeared to the disciples twice already and now the third time. Yet even still they are slow to recognize him. How was this a differential appearance?

CHILDREN, HAVE YOU CAUGHT ANYTHING TO EAT? (NO) CAST THE NET OVER THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BOAT AND YOU WILL FIND SOMETHING.

Tradition holds the 153 fish caught were equal to the number of species of fish in the Sea of Galilee signifying an abundant world-wide catch.
Jesus asks them to bring some of the fish to commingle it with the fish he has already prepared. It is the divine-human cooperation of participating in the divine salvific plan.

Yet, it cannot yet continue. Something must happen first.

Simon, son of John

Do you love me?

Jesus addresses Simon not as Peter – the name he gave him – but with the birth name he was given. He is meeting Peter where he is being stuck in the natural life without hope.

But love beacons. You know I love you.

Feed my lambs.

Tend my sheep.

Feed my sheep.

And so Peter is forgiven his betrayal and all at once is also renewed in the love that calls him forward to radical love.

It is good to lower the bar but not always

The embarrassing activities of the Attorney General of the United States and the entire Department of Justice has lowered the Barr indeed. The tragic truth is not for the purpose of the salvific needs of the human family, not for the beacon of love, and not for encouraging a Peter-like great confession and profession.

The country has been bruised by Attorney General Barr because he is excusing a betrayer and offering him unlimited power.

The Barr is lowered not toward radical love but the unleashing of monstrous hatred and self-interest.

Tiberius was just such a brooding, sexual monster. He set the tone for what was about to happen in the empire. We might want to learn from history.

Who Beacons You?

Jesus beacons. He beacons with fish, bread and love.
He calls you to the work of forgiveness, salvation and love.
Choose well the Barr you go over.

Blessings,
Deacon Gerry