Passion

Greetings on this the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Jer 31:7-9; Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6; Heb 5:1-6; Mk 10:46-52
Notes: Like Joshua, Jesus is moving us from this Exodus journey in this life to the promised Heaven on Earth with him.

First reading
The first reading celebrated the ingathering of the diaspora.
From far and wide the people are gathered again together to be with the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

Second reading
Jesus makes the final journey.
All High Priests before him were partial and needing themselves forgiveness.
The Lord God however calls Jesus.

No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
You are my son:
this day I have begotten you;
just as he says in another place:
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

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

Gospel Portion
Let me take you back to the Exodus and the Book of Joshua.
The Rites at Gilgal and the fall of Jericho together mark the end of the Exodus event.

The Book of Josuha tells that once the Jewish people crossed the Jordan they did several things.

  1. Circumcision of all the men (who were born during the Exodus).
  2. Celebrated the Passover.
  3. Ate the unleaven bread from the land.
  4. The Manna ceased.
  5. Conquest of Jericho, the last major military campaign.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell after being encircled for seven days (Heb 11:30).
Joshua 6:1–27 tells the story of them marching around the city walls seven times with the Ark of the Covenant.

These walls, massive, imposing and impossible to break down tumbled down and defeat of the enemy. It was the first battle fought by the Israelites in the conquest of Canaan. It was the beginning of the fulfillment of occupying the Promised Land.

The story of the Blind Bartimaeus is a similar turning point in the gospel story.
It is the conclusion of the Galilean mission and the beginning of the mission in Jerusalem.

The gospel of Mark tells that after the curing of Batimaeus, several things.

  1. New Baptism in Christ.
  2. Celebrated the Passover.
  3. Ate the unleaven bread from the land.
  4. The New Manna began.
  5. Conquest of the Cross begins, the last major event of Jesus’ life.

Joshua and Jesus had the same mission but to a different degree.

Jesus’ mission is made known in the three declarations of the Passion.

They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him. “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him, spit upon him, scourge him, and put him to death, but after three days he will rise.” (Mk 10:32-34)

  1. It was in faith the walls of Jericho fell.
  2. It was in faith the Blind Bartimaeus (“honorable son”) was healed.
  3. It was by faith Jesus walked trusting in his Father.

The stations of the cross is a account of the passion of Jesus we do not recall lightly.

  1. Jesus is condemned to death
  2. Jesus takes up his Cross
  3. Jesus falls for the first time
  4. Jesus meets his Mother
  5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls for the second time
  8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls for the third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
  11. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
  12. Jesus dies on the Cross
  13. Jesus is taken down from the Cross
  14. Jesus is laid in the tomb

All to bring about Heaven on Earth.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Patient Lord

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Rom 8:1-11; PS 24:1b-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; Lk 13:1-9
Notes:

Can you count how many times?

  1. You fell while learning to walk?
  2. You fell while learning to ride a bike?

Can you remember the day?

  1. You realized that cheating on an exam is not profitable?
  2. Your (insert bad habit here) was doing more harm than good?

Sanctification is a process.

  1. The first reading proposes we need to move from thinking only of body to thinking of body and spirit.
  2. The psalmist assures us seeking the face of God is a path of a good life in this life and the life to come.
  3. The Alleluia verse sums it up the best: I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
    but rather in his conversion that he may live
    .

Be patient with yourself and with others as the Lord is with you.
We are all on the path.
We all need help.

First reading
For those who live according to the flesh
are concerned with the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the spirit
with the things of the spirit.
The concern of the flesh is death,
but the concern of the spirit is life and peace.

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

Alleluia Verse
I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion that he may live.

Gospel Portion
Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

Jesus was clear to point out that the things that happen to us are not a direct corrolation to our sanctity.

By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”

The Lord is patient for conversion.

For our part we must help by:

  1. Cultivating the ground (people need to feel safe).
  2. Fertilize the soil (people need resources).

So he/she/we may become sanctified.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Gentle Gentile

Luke and John-Mark noted today

Greetings on this the Feast of Saint Luke, evangelist
Readings: 2 Tm 4:10-17b; PS 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18; Lk 10:1-9
Notes:

Sorry! I love the Franciscans way of saying things. So sue me!

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-luke

Reflection

Luke wrote as a Gentile for Gentile Christians. His Gospel and Acts of the Apostles reveal his expertise in classic Greek style as well as his knowledge of Jewish sources. There is a warmth to Luke’s writing that sets it apart from that of the other synoptic Gospels, and yet it beautifully complements those works. The treasure of the Scriptures is a true gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.

First reading
The three letters, First and Second Timothy and Titus, form a distinct group within the Pauline corpus (NABRE).

Holy Connections

Below we see the Apostle Paul has distinct connections to Luke (the evangelist) who wrote the Gospel according to Luke (with the companion work of the Acts of the Apostles) and John-Mark who wrote the gospel according to Mark.

Luke is the only one with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you,
for he is helpful to me in the ministry.

So Paul recounts those who were good to him and how they are faithful to the Gospel message of Jesus.

AND Paul recounts those who were awful to him and how they are faithless to the Gospel message of Jesus.

  1. Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica.
  2. Alexander the coppersmith did me a great deal of harm.

NEVERTHELESS
At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf,
but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation might be completed
and all the Gentiles might hear it.

Paul was a gentle Jew.
He was focused on the most important things, while not neglecting the cautions and discernment of persons.
But he wants for all to have salvation.

Responsorial Psalm
Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.

Alleluia Verse
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

Gospel Portion
Gentleness Axiom.

Pauline Caution

  1. Don’t believe every good thing said about you.
  2. Don’t take to heart every bad thing said about you.

Reasons Why

  1. In the first instance, the good things will go to your head and close your mind to change.
  2. In the second instance, the bad things will go to your heart and cause unnecessary pain.

Fr. Dr. Gabriel Ghanoum, PsyD, BCC

Into whatever house you enter,
first say, ‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you.
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves payment.

Remember. You may need to stay in a house that has NO PEACE.
But while you are there, there is peace and the hope of continued peace by conversion.

This is gentleness.
It is the divine work.
It hurts.

Because for those without peace, do they not surely need:
The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Sparrows

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Readings: Rom 4:1-8; PS 32:1b-2, 5, 11; Lk 12:1-7
Notes: I will be headed into retreat this weekend with my brother deacons. Please pray for a good retreat.
We will be here: https://www.ourladyofflorida.org/

The photo today is from the chapel built for the Aetas of Olongapo City.
It is named from Saint Teresa of Avila (it may have been renamed since).

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-teresa-of-avila

First reading
For what does the Scripture say?
Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Our first right relation is with God and is to trust him in his promises:

  • Large promises.
  • Small promises.
  • Promises we don’t even know about but keep for us by God.

Responsorial Psalm
I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Blessed is he whose fault is taken away,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed the man to whom the LORD imputes not guilt,
in whose spirit there is no guile.

Alleluia Verse
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us;
who have put our hope in you.

Gospel Portion
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.

At this age, that isn’t so impressive (grins).

Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.

Yes, that is the one.
Even the sparrow is under the divine care.

So are you.
I promise.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Lifeless Facts

Love is relation

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Readings: Is 66:10-14c; Ps 131:1bcde, 2, 3; Mt 18:1-4
Notes: Today I will use the optional reading for the memorial.

  • We need a break from the hard facts.
  • Facts by themselves are lifeless.
  • Facts and Law can be life draining and become themselves the idol of our souls.

Truth is most fully known in relation with God.
Peace is found listening to the heartbeat of the Lord.

Her “spiritual doctrine,” popularly known as “The Little Way of Spiritual Childhood,” liberated thousands of Catholics from a rigid legalistic and moralistic understanding of the faith. Saint Thérèse helped people understand that sanctity was not for a limited few, but for all the baptized.

From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/franciscan-spirit-blog/saint-therese-simple-profound-love

First reading
As a mother comforts her son,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

Responsorial Psalm
In you, Lord, I have found my peace.

Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap,
so is my soul within me.

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

Gospel Portion
The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, pray for us, work with us, and help us in our journey.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Sarcasm Chasm

Angel with Joseph (and with you)

Greetings on this the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Readings: Rv 12:7-12ab; PS 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 4-5; Jn 1:47-51
Notes:

Am I lazy because I like to quote Franciscan thoughts?

Reflection

Each of the archangels performs a different mission in Scripture: Michael protects; Gabriel announces; Raphael guides. Earlier belief that inexplicable events were due to the actions of spiritual beings has given way to a scientific world-view and a different sense of cause and effect. Yet believers still experience God’s protection, communication, and guidance in ways which defy description. We cannot dismiss angels too lightly. From: https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-michael-gabriel-and-raphael

First reading
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.

If we took a moment to wonder what the great accuser would have been saying for such a long period it would give rise to the variety of ways in which to abase another.

Sarcasm – sarcastic comments is the intentional inflicting of pain by deriding, taunting, or ridiculing.

It wouldn’t just be the things they did wrong the great accuser would say.

It would include the discounting and disregarding the divine-human connection as invalid, non-substantial and ineffectual.

Then enters Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael – the Archangels of the Lord.
Defenders, guides and proclaiming the divine-human relationship as real and abiding.

Responsorial Psalm
In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

Alleluia Verse
Bless the LORD, all you angels,
you ministers, who do his will.

Gospel Portion
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him,

“Here is a true child of Israel.
There is no duplicity in him.”

I have to confess, I thought Jesus was being sarcastic.

Today, when we dialog, sarcasm is a basic conversational tool.
Of course the definition of the word makes one take pause:

Sarcastic implies an intentional inflicting of pain by deriding, taunting, or ridiculing.

A more sober understanding of the word brings a resounding ‘No’ from me. Jesus was not being sarcastic. He would never intentionally inflict pain.

It reminds me of some basic tenets of Trinitarian faith:

  • God, the Father, is unending Love.
  • God, the Son, is unending Friendship.
  • God, the Holy Spirit, is unending Power.

Jesus was expressing the irony of the situation.

Nathanael was eager to meet the Christ who is promised and readily accepted him with the mild prophetic vision of seeing him sitting under a fig tree. “Under a fig tree” is to say someone who is blessed by the Lord and given a good life.

Was Nathanael actually sitting under a fig tree? Maybe, yes, maybe no.
Was Nathanael’s deepest desire was to be so seated? Most assuredly.

Jesus is telling him his prayers are being answered.
This is why Nathanael responds: Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.

Jesus offers him (and you) even more.
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened
and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Your prayers are being answered.

  • By God.
  • By his angels.
  • By his faithful.
  • By his creation.
  • By his miracles.
  • By his visions.

We can proclaim as the psalmist today does:

When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Jesus turned and rebuked them

Prayer for new Horizons

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Zec 8:20-23; PS 87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7; Lk 9:51-56
Notes: Right and Left politicians continue their raging word wars.

Once a month I go to a meeting called Luncheons for Life.

It is sponsoerd by a benefactor who asks only two things:

  1. We do not (DO NOT) discuss politics or political agendas.
  2. We do (DO) share ideas and concepts that help women and network together our resources.

The goal is to help women find what they need so as to make the best possible decision.

  1. Non-political
  2. Non-denominational

Totally good.

I bring an envelop with two things in it:

  1. My writing on Horizons.
  2. A small grant to implement renewal of perspective.

Texas has shown us just have off base things can go.

  1. They will give a man $10,000 to turn in someone in crisis.
  2. They wouldn’t think of giving a woman $10,000 to help solve her difficulties and see new Horizons.

For them the first is justified and the second a moral hazard.

This is way off base.

First reading
In those days ten men of every nationality,
speaking different tongues, shall take hold,
yes, take hold of every Jew by the edge of his garment and say,

“Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

Responsorial Psalm
God is with us.

I tell of Egypt and Babylon
among those that know the LORD;
Of Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia:
“This man was born there.”
And of Zion they shall say:
“One and all were born in her;
And he who has established her
is the Most High LORD.”

It is the divine will to treat all peoples, of every race and nationality, as one people.
It will be as if we are all born in the City of God, Jerusalem.

And all shall sing, in their festive dance:
“My home is within you.”

Alleluia Verse
The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Gospel Portion
What is our response to people who refused the Good News?

When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them.

Why were the Samaritans so opposed to Jesus and his disciples?
DOES IT MATTER? No!

They journeyed to another village.

If Jesus can be patient with people, so can you, even in issues of grave matter.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry