Roof Over Your Head

Greetings on this the First Sunday of Advent
Readings: Is 2:1-5; Ps 122: 1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9; Rom 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44
Notes: Life is full of surprises. Actually we often say, don’t be surprised that there are surprises.

Advent is the looking forward to the coming of the King!
As it was in the days of Noah, people seem to live like without regard to the consequences of their actions or inactions. But also ignoring the divine aid available to them.

God said to Noah (seven times he spoke to Noah, abbreviated here):

  1. God said to Noah: I see that the end of all mortals has come, for the earth is full of lawlessness because of them. So I am going to destroy them with the earth. I will establish my covenant with you. You shall go into the ark, you and your sons, your wife and your sons’ wives with you.
  2. The LORD said to Noah: Go into the ark, you and all your household, for you alone in this generation have I found to be righteous before me.
  3. Then God said to Noah: Go out of the ark, together with your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives.
  4. God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them: Be fertile and multiply and fill the earth.
  5. God said to Noah and to his sons with him: See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you.
  6. God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
  7. God told Noah: This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and every mortal being that is on earth.

Two modern parables:

The Leaking Roof
Man to his neighbor: My roof has a leak.
Neighbor: You want I recommend a roofer to fix it?
Man to his neighbor: Nah, it’s the dry season.

Drinking Too Much
Dr to patient: Listen, Johnny, you can’t survive drinking 41 shots of whiskey at a time.
Johnny to Dr: OK, so the limit is 40 then.

In our humorous examples I am sure you would agree that the person with the problem isn’t really engaging in reality but instead a sort of wishful thinking about life, decisions and consequence. Jesus warns us in a similar way:

So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

Noah warned.
How big was the ark? As many as wanted to come in.

Highlight of Advent gospel readings: https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2022/11/advent-three-year-cycle.jpg

  • AV1: The Unknown Day and Hour (Sign of Noah).
  • AV2: The Preaching of John the Baptist (Repent!).
  • AV3: The Messengers from John the Baptist (John’s self-doubt).
  • AV4: The Birth of Jesus (Joseph’s vision).

Father Duffy: https://www.fatherduffy.com/he-sent-me-to-proclaim/

First reading
They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.

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.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May those who love you prosper! May peace be within your walls, prosperity in your buildings.

Second reading
Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.

Alleluia Verse
Show us Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation.

Gospel Portion
So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Stand before the Son of Man

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 22:1-7; PS 95:1-2, 3-5, 6-7AB; LK 21:34-36
Notes: Last day of Ordinary Time, now comes Advent!

We know judgement is certain. We are certain of his mercy as well. Stand before the Son of Man with humility.

Three PDF teachings on Advent are available here:
https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2019/12/three-year-cycle-four-week-advent.pdf
https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/threesongsofadvent.pdf
https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/a-short-teaching-on-advent.pdf

If Advent is the being watchful and waiting, then today’s readings are an example of what we are waiting for (the last reading before the cycle begins again). Even now the Kingdom is Near. Even more so in the Age to Come Beyond Time.

Beware of the Gossips on FaceBook and Twitter.
Know them by their divisive and rotten fruits of self-interest, psychological damaged projections and poor community behaviors.

He comes to bring peace and healing.
He comes in person and bridges the divine-human gap.

Christ (Son of God and Son of Man) and His Church (building out the Kingdom):

  • An angel showed me the river of life-giving water.
  • Grew the tree of life that produces fruit.
  • The leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations.
  • Nothing accursed will be found anymore.
  • The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.
  • They will look upon his face.
  • The Lord God shall give them light.

First reading
“These words are trustworthy and true, and the Lord, the God of prophetic spirits, sent his angel to show his servants what must happen soon.” “Behold, I am coming soon.” Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.

Responsorial Psalm
Marana tha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Note: this pslam is the daily morning pslam of the Liturgy of the Hours given a place in the Mass today!

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD; let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

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

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to his disciples: Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

The Kingdom of God is near.

Christ the King

Greetings on this the Friday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 20:1-4, 11—21:2; PS 84:3, 4, 5-6A AND 8A; LK 21:29-33
Notes: The Kingdom is already here and being built up. Depending on where you live and what you are experiencing in this day it may be evident or not evident. On closer inspection we can realize that we live in an age where we confront ourselves and one another, and done right, in charity and love. At no time in the history of humanity have we been given this current worldwide right to speak freely and often. And to listen with charity and love.

Different parts of the world, different crises:

(not to stereotype anything but using broad observations)

USA – Political crisis on governance and coexistence.
Europe – Invasion, separatistism.
Africa – Self-determination, equitable distribution of wealth.
Central America – Extremism right and left, emigration and immigration. Equitable distribution of wealth.
South America – Extremism right and left, emigration and immigration. Equitable distribution of wealth.

Internationally:

  • Ecology, pollution.
  • Global Warming.
  • Drought, water scarcity.
  • Crop failure, loss of agriculture, egregious mining practices.
  • Family life and local economic health.
  • Corruption and excessive self-interest.

In the eyes of faith we see the Kingdom:

  • The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated worldwide, every hour of every day.
  • Eucharistic Adoration every day.
  • Church and Social Justice.
  • Dialog of every sort where we encounter our mistakes and attempt a just resolution.
  • Charity abounding in every corner of the world.
  • Meeting the crisis in common ethos within and among nations.
  1. Dialog, dialog, dialog.
  2. Prayer, prayer, prayer.

The work of the Kingdom is intense stuff. Hard work. But we have the ‘coin’ to do it.
In regard to justice, we have the power of God and the aid of the Holy Spirit.

  • Be focuses on the good you can do.
  • Be brave.
  • Trust the promise.
  • Jesus’ promise, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).

The Book of Revelation had its origin in a time of crisis, but it remains valid and meaningful for Christians of all time. In the face of apparently insuperable evil, either from within or from without, all Christians are called to trust in Jesus’ promise, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20).

From https://bible.usccb.org/bible/revelation/0

On Revelations

Like the other numerical values in this book, the thousand years are not to be taken literally; they symbolize the long period of time between the chaining up of Satan (a symbol for Christ’s resurrection-victory over death and the forces of evil) and the end of the world. During this time God’s people share in the glorious reign of God that is present to them by virtue of their baptismal victory over death and sin; cf. Rom 6:1–8; Jn 5:24–25; 16:33; 1 Jn 3:14; Eph 2:1 (NABRE, commentary on RV 20:4).

“Freedom does not mean that right to do whatever we please, but rather to do as we ought. The right to do whatever we please reduces freedom to a physical power and forgets that freedom is a moral power.” ~ Fulton J. Sheen

More Fulton Sheen Quotes: https://www.azquotes.com/author/13447-Fulton_J_Sheen

First reading
They came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.

The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Responsorial Psalm
Here God lives among his people.

My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

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

Gospel Portion
Know that the Kingdom of God is near.
Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

May he grant you joy of heart

Greetings on this the Thanksgiving Day (United States of America)
Readings: Sir 50:22-24; PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Lk 17:11-19
Notes: I am blessed and grateful.

My community is blessed and grateful.
This country is blessed, and some are grateful.

God is not complicated.

First reading
May he grant you joy of heart and may peace abide among you; May his goodness toward us endure in Israel to deliver us in our days.

Responsorial Psalm
I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Second reading
God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Alleluia Verse
In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Gospel Portion

God is not complicated.

  1. “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
  2. As they were going they were cleansed.
  3. He had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
  4. Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Speak with Awe

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: RV 15:1-4; PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 7-8, 9; LK 21:12-19
Notes: Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name?

  • Speak truth.
  • Live truth.
  • Offer truth.

The presentation of the Book of the Gospels
Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach (from the rite of ordination of deacons).

In Week II the treatment of the Book of Revelations is extensive.
Next year, Week I instead the Book of Daniel.

It is good to manage these revelations well as they are mystical and filled with layers of meaning.

First reading
They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:

“Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God almighty. Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, or glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All the nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Responsorial Psalm
Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

The LORD has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.

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

Gospel Portion
It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.

Guardian of the “Church Treasures”
His journey was shaken in youth by the drama of persecution. In AD 258, Emperor Valerian issued an edict: all bishops, priests and deacons must be put to death. Saint Lawrence, other deacons, and Pope Sixtus II were apprehended. The Pope was killed on 6 August. At first, the emperor offered to spare Lawrence’s life, in exchange for his handing over of “the treasures of the Church.” Lawrence is said to have presented the emperor with the sick, the needy, and the marginalized. These, he said, are the treasures of the Church. Four days later, on August 10, Saint Lawrence would be martyred.

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/saints/08/10/st–lawrence-deacon–and-martyr.html

Everyone: Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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