Ostracism

T. S. Eliot classic The Waste Land
Photo by Jievani on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Lv 23:1, 4-11, 15-16, 27, 34b-37; PS 81:3-4, 5-6, 10-11ab; Mt 13:54-58
Notes: The axiom “You don’t know what you have until you lose it” certainly can describe the gospel story today.

First reading
These are the festivals of the LORD which you shall celebrate at their proper time with a sacred assembly:

  • Passover.
  • Feast of the Unleavened Bread (later combined together with Passover).
  • Pentecost or Feast of Weeks.
  • Feast of Booths.
  • Day of Atonement.

Each feast brings about a particular memory, recalling an historical event, invokes gratitude and praise for the Lord.

It is a recalling of:

  • what the Lord has done,
  • what the Lord is doing and;
  • what the Lord has planned for us.

Responsorial Psalm
Sing with joy to God our help.

Take up a melody, and sound the timbrel,
the pleasant harp and the lyre.
Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our solemn feast.

Alleluia Verse
The word of the Lord remains forever;
This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.

Gospel Portion
The Rejection at Nazareth.

The Synoptic Gospels all report the Rejection at Nazareth but with distinct focuses. It is a great portion of scripture to study and compare and contemplate the focus each gospel writer had in writing the version they way that they did. Why not read them and share your thoughts in the comment section.

  • Matt 13:53-58.
  • Mk 6:1-6.
  • Lk 4:16-30.

Feasts Jesus kept:

  1. Feast of Weeks, Pentecost (x-ref Jn 5).
  2. Feast of Unleavened Bread.
  3. Feast of Passover (Jn 2:13 and 6:4).
  4. Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Booths and Sukkot (Ex 23;16 Dt 16:13-16).
  5. Feast of Dedication (Lights) (Jn 10:22).

So taking together we can compare how the people responded to Jesus and how people could respond to Jesus. At this point in the gospel, the people of Nazareth are already quite familiar with Jesus’ miracles and teachings in the greater Galilee and beyond.

  • Pentecost – Jesus ushered in a new Pentecost with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
  • Jesus is and the giver of the Bread of Life.
  • Jesus accompanies us on our Exodus journey.
  • Jesus provides for all our needs even the miraculous and forgiveness of sin.

So we can choose to ostracize him or accept him.
Before you ostracize him consider in your own life, a particular memory, recalling an historical event, that invokes gratitude and praise for the Lord.

Do you remember:

  • what the Lord has done for you,
  • what the Lord is doing for you and;
  • what the Lord has planned for you.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Glowing from love

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 34:29-35; PS 99:5, 6, 7, 9; Mt 13:44-46
Notes: I pray you know the glow of love in your life. Divine love, marital love, brotherly and sisterly love. May your love be both hidden and public.

First reading
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD.

Being veiled around the people and unveiled in the presence of the Lord is of itself worthy of contemplation. But then when you read more closely you discover:

Moses took the veil off when speaking to the people about and on behalf of the Lord. After he had spoken, he would put the veil on.

Love is like that.

Some aspects of love are meant to be shared with all. The joy, the radiance, the purpose and the shared destiny.

Some aspects are meant only for the beloved. The hidden part of love that belongs to he beloved alone. The inner essence that is reserved for you and you alone. It is the place of intimacy that is yours and yours alone.

Responsorial Psalm
Holy is the Lord our God.

Alleluia Verse
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.

Gospel Portion
Love makes you glow.

There is no doubt about it.
You can see it in a person’s eyes, the twinkle.
You can see it in a person’s posture, confident.
You can see it in a person’s smile, ear-to-ear.
You can see it in a person’s face, an interior glow that has no origin but itself.

In today’s gospel portion Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven in two ways using two parables. Both are expressions and reactions to love.

Hidden Treasure
[As] treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The deep, hidden and personal divine love that is meant for you and you alone from the Lord. It is for you to remain hidden in your heart. So fulfilling this love you abandon the ordinary good to keep and protect this divine love. This is your ultimate treasure.

Public Pearl
[As one searches for fine pearls], when he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

This pearl is not to be hidden. It is to be shared. A shared Joy. A shared testimony. A shared hope.

Hidden and public.

I remember a retreat I participated in that was a watershed spiritual experience for me. Later, sharing the experience with a woman’s group, I invited them to attend the next iteration of the woman’s retreat.

There was a woman there who doubted interiorly. On that day, my spirit was open and I could hear her inner thoughts. I looked straight at her and said, “Yes, Jesus wants you to come. Stop doubting and believe”.

I wanted her to have the hidden treasure meant only for her. I shared my pearls.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

As for the man

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Readings: Ex 32:15-24, 30-34; PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23; Mt 13:31-35
Notes: We celebrate Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We have some confidence these are their names according to some extra biblical writings. How blessed their lives must have been. The Blessed Mother, with Immaculate Conception, had the singular grace of being untainted by original sin. We know so little of her parents. We know so much about their daughter!

As for the man… we do not know what has happened to him (Ex 32:23).

Some simply go invisible.

First reading
Far be it from me to criticize Moses.
He was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

And the people forgot him. They forgot him and the Lord who rescued them.

Some simply go forgotten.

Responsorial Psalm
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt.

Alleluia Verse
The Father willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Gospel Portion
Those who follow Christ are reminded to be visible yet invisible and remembered yet forgotten.

The power of all evangelization is in the person of whom we speak, namely Jesus Christ.

And no matter what you do or say, people must make up their own mind.

It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

Paradoxically, a bird sitting in a tree is never afraid in a branch breaking, because her trust isn’t in the branch, it’s in her own wings.

Regarding what I expect from the deacons of Rome, … dimensions to cultivate. Firstly, I expect you to be humble. It is sad to see a bishop and a priest showing off, but it is even sadder to see a deacon wanting to put himself at the centre of the world, or at the centre of the liturgy, or at the centre of the Church. Be humble. Let all the good you do be a secret between you and God. And so it will bear fruit (Pope Francis, Saturday, 19 June 2021).

Some simply go alone.

I hear mothers and widows and grandparents lament this way. I am invisible, forgotten and alone.

Grandparents https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2021-07/world-day-grandparents-elderly-pope-prayer-released-dicastery-la.html

  • It is important to try and remember our parents, grandparents.
  • It is important to try and remember the patriarchs and saints of our life.

Even in your own spiritual life – Who baptized you? Who was your sponsor?

None of us birthed ourselves. None of us self-administered the Sacraments. None of us are able to live without some kindness of even strangers.

As for the man… remember (her/him/them)…

  • Who planted the seed of faith in you?
  • Who allowed themselves to be a branch for you?

Who have we made feel invisible, forgotten and alone?

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Knitting it together

Knitting the story together

Greetings on this the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 Kgs 4:42-44; PS 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18; Eph 4:1-6; Jn 6:1-15
Notes: It’s summertime!! So I get to be a little creative. In today’s homily I am using props. I have a ball of yard and two knitting needles. After a quick lesson or two on how to knit, I am going to play-act knitting as I preach. Hidden in my knitting bag is a embroidered image of Jesus. I will show them the ‘completed’ image after I complete the knitting together. Get it?

You see we can knit together our understanding of Jesus from the ones who came before him and the story of him and our getting to know him.

Our gospel portion for the next FOUR of FIVE weeks (Assumption of the Blessed Mother takes priority over #4 otherwise five weeks) is about a SINGLE chapter of one Gospel. Chapter six of the Gospel of John is so important, we dedicate five weeks to it. It’s a short chapter with universal importance:

The Bread of Life Discourse.

The FIVE WEEK series of notes are here: Five Week Grid of Notes.

First reading
Elisha: Elisha who succeeded and exceeded Elijah.
Miracles evidenced through him include:

  • Poisoned Well cured with salt.
  • Drought water when no water can be found.
  • Widow’s Oil enough enough to pay off debt to save children from slavery.
  • Shunammite’s Son revived.
  • Poisioned Stew cured.
  • Barley Loaves 20 loaves 100 men.
  • Naaman Leprosy.
  • The Lost Ax retrieved. Matt 17:27 The two coins for the temple tax.
  • Invisible Army seen. Transfiguration.
  • Cured even after his death. US!!!!
  • and more!

John the Baptist is Elijah: Matthew 11:14 [Jesus said] And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.

Elisha exceed Elijah with a double portion.

Jesus is more than but succeeds Elijah, not two fold but infinite fold.

  • 20 Loaves/100 Men.
  • 5 loaves/5,000 Men.

You do the math 🙂 John is to Elijah as Jesus is to Elisha.

Responsorial Psalm
The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Second reading
One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.

Alleluia Verse
A great prophet has risen in our midst.
God has visited his people.

Gospel Portion
I have a knitting project that I really need to finish so fi you don’t mind I am going to knit while I preach. OK?

You see we are always knitting together our understanding of Jesus. We learn of his life, his relationship to the Father and his commitment to us. We listen to him and follow him.

But not perfectly.
But not all.

Let’s start with week five: the ending of the series.

Jesus having completed the Bread of Life discourse has one last challenge.

John 6.

Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

We have the same challenge:

  • Do we believe Jesus in his discourse of the Bread of Life or not.
  • And even if we struggle, do we walk away?

OR do we profess like Peter, even if we still have questions…We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

That’s our journey.

  • Exceeding Elijah:
  • 5 Barley Loaves/2 Fish
  • 5,000 men/Women and children
  • Gather fragments/12 wicker baskets
  • Prophet/King

Exceeding Moses:

  • Bread and Quail by Moses request.
  • The Lord has given you bread to eat.
  • All the gifts: ten commandments, water from rock, serpent on pole, etc.
  • Exceeding Elijah:
  • Elijah flight from Horeb, given food and water to eat from an Angel. (Also given food from Ravens earlier). Get up and eat for the journey will be too much for you.
  • Elijah sees the Lord (from the cave).
  • Called down fire from heaven.
  • Exceeding Joshua:
  • Having completed the subduing of the promised land.
  • Joshua gives the witness. It is the LORD who freed you from slavery in the land of Egypt. It is the LORD who performed great signs and protected you. It is the LORD who we should worship.
  • As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.

so that… we believe in One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all.

Our deepest desire to be one with Jesus.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Let them grow together

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 24:3-8; PS 50:1b-2, 5-6, 14-15; Mt 13:24-30
Notes: None.

First reading

The sacrifice of the Lamb. The blood upon the altar and the blood upon the peoples.

Responsorial Psalm
Offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

Alleluia Verse
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.

Gospel Portion
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Let us be clear.

ISN’T

  • It is not the job of humans to decide who is weed and who is wheat.
  • It is not the job of humans to collect the weed for burning nor the wheat for the barn.

IS

  • It is our job to grow together.
  • And be kind to one another.

It is our job to…

  • humbly welcome the word that has been planted [with]in you and is able to save your souls.
  • offer to God praise as your sacrifice and fulfill your vows to the Most High.
  • to call upon [Him] me in time of distress; I will rescue you, and you shall glorify me.

Let us do everything he has taught us (righteousness and justice and mercy) then…

Taking the book of the covenant, he read it aloud to the people,
who answered, “All that the LORD has said, we will heed and do.”
Then he took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying,
“This is the blood of the covenant
that the LORD has made with you
in accordance with all these words of his.”

As the old spiritual song goes, a favorite even if not in my tradition,

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Interfaith Chaplaincy

The Covid-19 spike, the 4th wave, has begun. Florida has 1/5 of all these new infections. Volunteer Chaplaincy becomes a much needed commodity.

Here are some photos of the Chapel at JFK Atlantis, FL. A great place to have difficult conversations.

Chady Elias. Artist. Sometimes, I use the artwork to begin conversations.

https://www.chadyart.com/

Mask up.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Woman, why are you weeping?

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene
Readings: Sgs 3:1-4b; Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9; Jn 20:1-2, 11-18
Notes: Mary Magdalene was one of Christ’s disciples and was present when he died. Early in the morning of the resurrection, she was, according to Saint Mark’s account (16:9), the first to see the risen Lord.

First reading
Love seeks the beloved.
As this first reading attests the deepest desire is to be with the one you love at all time.
We desire the one who first loved us.

Responsorial Psalm
My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

The psalm reading today is the first psalm read on Week One, Sunday Morning, Liturgy of the Hours. It is also used on Solemnities, Feasts and the Sunday of Sunday’s – Easter morning.

We can say then Psalm 63:2-9 is the first among the psalms.

O God, you are my God— it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary
to see your power and glory.

For your love is better than life;
my lips shall ever praise you!
I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall be sated as with choice food,
with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!

I think of you upon my bed,
I remember you through the watches of the night
You indeed are my savior,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Alleluia Verse
Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way?
I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.

Gospel Portion
His body has been taken.
Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.

  • The Angels asked: Woman, why are you weeping?
  • Jesus asked: Woman, why are you weeping?

The Lord and His heavenly hosts know why we weep.
In compassion we too listen to your stories and hear the anguish and sorrow.

Listening is a divine action. Mary, and every woman needs to be heard.

Mary was listened to by:

  • Peter
  • the Other Disciples
  • Angels
  • Jesus

Mary wanted to know. Mary needed to know. Mary was the first to tell all of us.

We listened to Mary too:

He is risen. All will be risen from the dead.

But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he told her.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Latest from Fr Rick Frechette – The Riderless Horse

The Riderless Horse

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https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/special-guests-fr-rick-frechette-christmas-and-the-multiplication-of-light/

https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/special-guests-fr-rick-frechette-ten-years/

https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/special-guests-fr-rick-frechette-a-floating-hospital-and-a-sinking-country/

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Life Not Death

Greetings on this the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24; PS 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13; 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15; Mk 5:21-43
Notes: The SURFSIDE, Fla. building collapse is in my region. We remember the lost, injured and missing.

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam dayan ha’emet.

This translates to : Blessed are You, Adonai Our God, Ruler of the Universe, the True Judge.

The healing ministry of the Lord.

I have been keeping a thread between the readings these past two days. Abraham and Sarah received affirmation of life. The Blessed Mother in a different way the same. The Gospel readings are healing in a variety of circumstances.

Today we address the greatest challenge: death healing.

Gospel Healings

First reading
For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who belong to his company experience it.

In our first reading we see the writer in the book of Wisdom is reassuring us that death is not a part of the divine plan. That death is a product of the devil’s envy of the Lord.

Yes and no.

  • Man is in the image and likeness of God.
  • Yes, death, as we know it, is a product of envy of the devil.
  • But we were always destined to have a three part life:
  1. life in the womb, in formation.
  2. life in the air, in flesh.
  3. life with God in heaven, in spirit.

The devil interferes with the process at every stage. What should have been painless is not.
But, be of good hope, Jesus has overcome death by his resurrection.

Responsorial Psalm
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

Alleluia Verse
Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.

Gospel Portion
The gospel story today is attested to in the three Synoptic Gospels (Mt, Mk, Lk).
The twelve year old girl, appears dead. Jesus resuscitates her.
The woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years is nearing the point of death.

Jesus heals them both.

The story of the young girl and the old woman are intercalated.
The young girl story is interrupted by the old woman story.
The narrative then returns to the young girl.
Intercalated.

Therefore, a tight bond exists between the stories.
They are more than related stories, they are inseparable stories.

But I want to speak to the women today.

Jesus is affirming your humanity and your femininity:

  • The twelve year old girl was prepubescent.
  • The woman may have been post menopausal (speculation but high probability). Additionally, she may have been unmarried, childless (or widowed).

We have already been gifted with miraculous births of Isaac and Jesus. The restoration of Sarah’s fertility and the virgin birth of Jesus. So this reading is not simply a fertility blessing.

It is a blessing of the entirety of woman!

You see the secular world and even the religious world are obsessed with fertility. Of course it is an important reality otherwise none of us would exist! But through the devil’s envy women are objectified to exclusively her gift of fertility (across the ages and all cultures). Slavery see children as potential breeding profit. Old women are dispensable.

No.
Jesus says no.
You are worthy of love and divine care and the care of the community.

  • As a little girl.
  • As a woman.
  • As a post menopausal woman.

You are WOMAN.
The title of highest honor.

Be filled with life in this life and the life to come.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Withered

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Gn 18:1-15; Luke 1:46-47, 48-49, 50 and 53, 54-55; Mt 8:5-17
Notes: The SURFSIDE, Fla. building collapse is in my region. We remember the lost, injured and missing.

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam dayan ha’emet.

This translates to : Blessed are You, Adonai Our God, Ruler of the Universe, the True Judge.

The healing ministry of the Lord.

We wither before evil at times. The Messiah came because we have become dried out, shrunken or wrinkled from sin, age or disease.

  • Friday – Leper (yesterday). Healed.
  • Saturday – Paralyzed servant. Healed. Peter’s Mother-in-Law (today). Healed.
  • Sunday – Young girl. Healed. Old Woman(coming Sunday). Healed.

First reading
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years,
and Sarah had stopped having her womanly periods.
So Sarah laughed to herself and said,
“Now that I am so withered and my husband is so old,
am I still to have sexual pleasure?”

One year later, a son, Isaac. Abraham’s destiny.

Responsorial (Gospel of Luke – Magnificat)

The Lord has remembered his mercy.
The Magnificat “Magnifies” or makes viewable the depths of the mercy of God.

It declares the great eschatological reversal where evil it overcome by good.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”

Here the Blessed Mother sings her song of Joy.

Nine months later, a son, Jesus. Mary’s destiny.

For he has looked with favor on 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
.”

Alleluia Verse
Christ took away our infirmities
and bore our diseases.

Gospel Portion
For this first story there are three different accounts between the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John. For the second story there are about the same between the three gospels.

In today’s Gospel portion. Jesus heals a centurion’s servant.
This servant has no name, no gender, no citizenship, no identity except as slave.
Perhaps he was loved, or not.
What we do know is:

“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”

At its minimum witnessing the abject pain of others moves people to compassion.

Jesus heals the servant remotely.

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.

You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.”
And at that very hour his servant was healed.

  • Sarah was withered.
  • Abraham was old.
  • Mary a virgin.
  • Servant, a nobody.
  • Mother-In-Law (no wise cracks, please).

All given grace.

You are too, my friend, you are too.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry