Draw Near

Mother of Tears

Greetings on this the Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Readings: Is 26:1-6; PS 118:1 and 8-9, 19-21, 25-27a; Mt 7:21, 24-27
Notes: The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The case understood to be a challenge to the legality of Roe v Wade, 1973 and following.

The State of Mississippi is requesting:

  1. A rejection of Federal control of abortions and revert back to State control pre-1973.
  2. Upholding the new MS legislation banning nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Here is a link to the actual oral arguments given.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRe4mYcEqBM

  • Undue Burden Standard – to be newly defined, rejecting Casey standard.
  • Viability Standard – to be discarded.
  • Stare Decisis – legal principle of determining points in litigation according to precedent.
  • Federal Assertion of Citizen Rights when in conflict with State law.
  • State Control higher order than Federal control due to either explicit division or constitutional silence.
  • People Standard when issue is not easily agreed to (local legislative, variability).
  • Right of Privacy.
  • Reliance Standard (predictable treatment across State lines and across time).
  • Personhood concept (legal sense).
  • Fetal Pain (consciousness question vis-à-vis biological responsiveness).
  • Woman’s Autonomy v Legal Control.

It is always a terrible question to stand in-between a Mother and her fetus as arbiter of their relationship. “You have to pick. That’s the fundamental problem,” Kavanaugh said. “And one interest has to prevail over the other at any given point in time.”

First reading
Trust in the LORD forever!
For the LORD is an eternal Rock.
He humbles those in high places,
and the lofty city he brings down;
He tumbles it to the ground,
levels it with the dust.
It is trampled underfoot by the needy,
by the footsteps of the poor.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

Alleluia Verse
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call him while he is near.

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

It is of great importance to remember that G-d is the real judge.

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam dayan ha’emet.
Translates to : Blessed are You, Adonai Our God, Ruler of the Universe, the True Judge.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

My heart is moved

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the First Week of Advent
Readings: Is 25:6-10a; PS 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Mt 15:29-37
Notes: The LORD is ever attentive to our needs.

This has been true throughout time but is especially manifested in the Life and Message of Jesus Christ.

In this Messiah, Christ, and Son of Man, he came to:

  • Teach Us the ways of righteousness.
  • Heal Us of our infirmities and errors.
  • Save Us from personal sin and social sin.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved … so he feeds us in our deepest hunger.

First reading
On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples.

The LORD will ingather all peoples, Jews and Gentiles alike.

The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.

The LORD will destroy death by his death and in his resurrection.

On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is the LORD for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”

The LORD will destroy the cause of death not by external act alone but in his person.

Responsorial Psalm
I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.

Alleluia Verse
Behold, the Lord comes to save his people;
blessed are those prepared to meet him.

Gospel Portion
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.

and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said,
“My heart is moved …

The God of the Universe is moved with pity for us and our hunger for him.
The example of the feeding brings about the continuous manifestation of the heart of God being moved:

Then he took the seven loaves and the fish,
gave thanks, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.

They all ate and were satisfied.
They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

The LORD overflows with his love.

  • Super abundant.
  • Super natural.
  • Entirety of himself.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Knee Knock Times

Photo by Joen Nguyen on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Andrew Dŭng-Ląc, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs
Readings: Dn 5:1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28; Daniel 3:62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67; Lk 21:12-19
Notes:

But the God in whose hand is your life breath
and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify (Dan 5:23d).

Reflection

It may help a people who associate Vietnam only with a 20th-century war to realize that the cross has long been a part of the lives of the people of that country. Even as some people ask again the unanswered questions about United States involvement and disengagement, the faith rooted in Vietnam’s soil proves hardier than the forces that willed to destroy it. From…

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-andrew-dung-lac-and-companions

First reading
Fall of King Belshazzar and the Neo-Babylonian Empire per Daniel’s vision:

MENE, TEKEL, and PERES.

MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it;
TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting;
PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.

For us a more modest reality:

  • MENE is for all as our days are numbered. We are mortal.
  • TEKEL is for all as we are in need of a Savior Redeemer.
  • PERES is for all as we can only go to the eternal spaces what we did and who we are.

Responsorial Daniel
Give glory and eternal praise to him.

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

Gospel Portion
The Franciscan reflection today points to not just the named martyrs, Memorial of Saint Andrew Dŭng-Ląc, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs, but all who in Vietnam gave witness to faith under the most terrible circumstances.

Sometimes I give myself a hard time when I complain about this or that. Seriously, I am a puffball compared to the difficulties of others.

It is when life is difficult and also if/when you are persecuted, our witness is most moving.

You don’t have to prepare a speech.

  • Pray.
  • Act justly.
  • Allow the Lord to speak volumes.

The eloquence is in the prayer and in the justice.
Give glory and eternal praise to him.

Unlike King Belshazzar:

  1. We glory and praise God.
  2. Because in the hand of God is our life breath.
  3. And for the whole course of our life we acknowledge he guides us and comes to our aid.

But he replied, “It is enough!” (Lk 22:38b).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Crown of Life

CHRISTMAS ART

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings:Dn 2:31-45; Daniel 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61; Lk 21:5-11
Notes: Who exactly is in control?

Today, the Temple is predicted to be destroyed.
Not a trivial statement given its importance to daily worship at that time.

Who exactly is in control? The one who can give you the Crown of Life.

Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him (Jas 1:12).

Do not be afraid of anything that you are going to suffer. Indeed, the devil will throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will face an ordeal for ten days. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life (Rev 2:10)

First reading
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is a recapitulation of the historical failure of a succession of earthly kingdoms. These events are at the cusp of the ending of Greek domination, the rise of the Maccabees, and predates the introduction of the Romans.

The Book of Daniel, in this corpus of work, he introduces us to the “Son of Man”, whom we know to be Jesus, Son of Man (Dan 7:13). But first, he reassured the people that the Lord is in control (today’s reading).

The vision interpretation contains:
In the lifetime of those kings
the God of heaven will set up a kingdom
that shall never be destroyed or delivered up to another people;
rather, it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms
and put an end to them, and it shall stand forever.

Responsorial Daniel
Give glory and eternal praise to him.

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

Gospel Portion
Like Daniel, Jesus makes a prophetic statement:
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.”

Luke brings us the theology of a period that he refers to as “the times of the Gentiles”.

What is will become was not yet discussed but we know trials and tribulations continued.
The ancient battle of building the Kingdom of God and the projection of earthly kingdoms continues.

Yet Jesus reminds us that the Lord is in control.
The Lord has overcome death, the final enemy.

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

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

King of My Heart

Christ the King

Greetings on this The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Readings: Dn 7:13-14; Ps 93:1, 1-2, 5; Rv 1:5-8; Jn 18:33b-37
Notes: Leading up to today, the daily readings give us insight to the dangers and difficulties of the Jewish people in the centuries prior to the coming of Jesus. We do see what life is like when we ignore the divine in the ways we act. This long and difficult period was never absent the Lord.

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

I love you, says the LORD.

Such was the situation in the beginning of the Twentieth century.

World War I was a major upheaval of European life and national identity.

A very good essay on the origin of this Solemnity can be found here:
https://simplycatholic.com/the-solemnity-of-christ-the-king/

A result of World War I these empires were lost:

  1. the Russian Empire (1917),
  2. the German Empire (1918),
  3. the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1918), and
  4. the Ottoman Empire (1922).

There were 12 different armed conflicts in Europe even as the Versailles treaty was signed.
The Armenian genocide occurred during the war, 1.5 million souls lost as well.

For so many then and for so many now: Who is the King of my heart?

Peaceful musical interlude: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLXRzwdFlYw

First reading
The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.

Second reading
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth.

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
Who is the Eternal King? Jesus, as a matter of dogma.
Who is the King of my heart? Jesus, as a matter of relation.

Feasts help us stay focused on the deeper meanings and the deeper relationships.

From the proclamation of the Feast…

  1. The festivals that have been introduced into the liturgy in more recent years have had a similar origin, and have been attended with similar results. When reverence and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament had grown cold, the feast of Corpus Christi was instituted, so that by means of solemn processions and prayer of eight days’ duration, men might be brought once more to render public homage to Christ. So, too, the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was instituted at a time when men were oppressed by the sad and gloomy severity of Jansenism, which had made their hearts grow cold, and shut them out from the love of God and the hope of salvation (Quas Primas, ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI).

Feasts are used to help us to remember our faith cannot be absent from the public space. In a pluralistic society, this is done with great care and sensitivity, not by edict.

  1. Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education (QP, 32).

Feasts are used to help us stay focused on the deeper ways of living. Not an imposition on others but an imposition on ourselves by deed and example to make witness to the Love, that is God.

  1. The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God (QP, 33).

Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

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.

A Little Faith

Greetings on this the Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Wis 1:1-7; PS 139:1b-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10; Lk 17:1-6
Notes:

Devastation of Sin

  1. Wisdom reading: Because into a soul that plots evil, wisdom enters not, nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin.
  2. Gospel: Cause sin? A millstone around the neck into the sea is better.

Our readings today speaks plainly about three distinct realities:

  1. The lack of wisdom of sin.
  2. The consequences of sin.
  3. The faithfulness and power of God to heal us.

In today’s gospel portion, Jesus described to the Apostles the devastating effects of being sinful.
The Apostles immediately ask the Lord to increase their faith.

This is the beginning of wisdom indeed!
The Apostles know that alone we cannot overcome the twin problem of sin and consequence.

But they do know Faith is the answer to all things and God is able to overcome any distance between us.

First reading

The Book of Wisdom coaches us on our path:

Do List

  • Love justice
  • Be favorable in your opinion of God.
  • Seek him with integrity of heart.
  • Trust him.

Avoid List

  • Perverse counsels.
  • Don’t plot evil.
  • Don’t live under a debt of sin.

Consequence

  • The holy Spirit will flee you.
  • The holy Spirit will withdraw from your counsels.
  • The holy Spirit will rebuke.

The Person of God

  • Wisdom is kind
  • Wisdom knows why and what we do
  • Wisdom knows what we say.

Responsorial Psalm
Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Our psalmist today is open to the probing and healing of the spirit of God.
Not out of resignation but of confidence that you, Lord, can span any distance..

If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
and your right hand hold me fast.

Alleluia Verse
Shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life.

Gospel Portion
And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

A little faith goes a long way.

Trust him like the Psalmist.
Forgive like he forgives.

No matter where, no matter what, no matter when… He is ready to aid us in all our woes and mistakes.

We don’t have to be a prisoner of sin.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Suffering Souls

Come to my aid.

Greetings on this the The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed
(All Souls)
Readings: Wis 3:1-9; PS 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Rom 6:3-9; Jn 6:37-40
Notes: In a strange way we can say that today’s Mass for All Souls is of the highest importance.

I could go to say even more important than the Solemnity of the All Saints (because I want to ‘wake you’).

Book: Charity for the Suffering of Souls, Rev. John A. Nageleisen, TAN, 1982, original 1895.

We have the holy obligation to come to the aid of those in crisis, in this life and in the life to come.

Purgation, by all accounts, is a difficult and often lengthy process.
Care for those dead who are in Purgatory is an act of spiritual mercy.

Reflection

Whether or not one should pray for the dead is one of the great arguments which divide Christians. Appalled by the abuse of indulgences in the Church of his day, Martin Luther rejected the concept of purgatory. Yet prayer for a loved one is, for the believer, a way of erasing any distance, even death. In prayer we stand in God’s presence in the company of someone we love, even if that person has gone before us into death.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/commemoration-of-all-the-faithful-departed

First reading
The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.

We trust in this promise.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

We wish to become totally in union with the Shepherd, wanting nothing else.

Second reading
Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?

We enter into the death gladly as it brings death to death itself.

Alleluia Verse
Come, you who are blessed by my Father;
inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

We are meant to be with God forever.

Gospel Portion
For this is the will of my Father,
that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him
may have eternal life,
and I shall raise him on the last day.

The dead are aided by alms, by the prayers of the Church, and by the Sacrifice of the Mass – St Augustine.

Sprinkle them with the water of purification (Num 8:7a).
Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me (Ps 51:4).
Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (Ps 51: 9).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Happy Friars

The remains of Capuchins friars.
Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini

Greetings on this the Solemnity of All Saints
Readings: Rv 7:2-4, 9-14; PS 24:1bc-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; 1 Jn 3:1-3; Mt 5:1-12a
Notes: “What you are now, we once were, what we are now, you will become.”

Reflection

This feast first honored martyrs. Later, when Christians were free to worship according to their consciences, the Church acknowledged other paths to sanctity. In the early centuries the only criterion was popular acclaim, even when the bishop’s approval became the final step in placing a commemoration on the calendar. The first papal canonization occurred in 993; the lengthy process now required to prove extraordinary sanctity took form in the last 500 years. Today’s feast honors the obscure as well as the famous—the saints each of us have known.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/solemnity-of-all-saints

First reading
After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.”

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Second reading
Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.

Alleluia Verse
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest, says the Lord.

Gospel Portion
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.

“What you are now, we once were, what we are now, you will become.”
Six small rooms named each by body parts.

The remains of Capuchins friars.
Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini
Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins
https://aleteia.org/2018/10/29/this-chapel-in-rome-is-decorated-with-the-bones-of-4000-capuchin-friars/

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Rainbow Covenant

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rom 8:18-25; PS 126:1b-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6; Lk 13:18-21
Notes: Regarding fear of death.

A Christian may be fearful of HOW death comes about or WHY death comes about.
Yet a Christian is JOYFUL as to WHAT will come about.

First reading
All creation shares in the destiny of man.
While the night sky shows us a peaceful vista, we know from science that the Universe is in quite the upset.

Creation then is affirmed to be in crisis and awaiting resolution.

It calls to mind the Noah covenant the Lord gave when He said,
When the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature—every mortal being that is on earth (Gen 9:16).

Photo by Frans Van Heerden on Pexels.com

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord has done marvels for us.

Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.

While in the immediate purpose this is the joy of the diaspora being returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile, it is also the example of the movement from dying to eternal life.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.

Gospel Portion
Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?

like yeast that a woman took
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened.

A small thing, you cannot even see, but it changes everything about you.

a large bush
and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.

A small seed that becomes a safe haven for any within your proximity.

The Kingdom is who you become.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry