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

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

Progressive Perdition

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop
Readings: 2 JN 4-9; PS 119:1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18; LK 17:26-37
Notes: The title of today’s homily is Progressive Perdition.

A friend of mine (who shares the same birthday as me) once commented, ‘You have the best titles but not always the best reflections.’ I admit, therefore, today’s title is a teaser!

For the short answer is this:
Progressive Perdition is for a Christian to fail to profess Christ and fail to act as Christ.

That is to say acting with the impetus of love. He did demand of his followers to obey his commandments. We who are disciples of Christ are obliged to walk like him. He was patient and kind to all those who do not know him.

As to all: He forced noone. He pleaded with everyone.

In no way should the social dilemma of today be construed as the topic of Jesus’ teaching.
The modern application of modernism (speaking of church teachings now by some in USA) is a farcical attempt to:

  1. Avoid difficult topics.
  2. Assert non-Christian theology (counter intuitive, yes. But most opponents of ‘modernism’ are, in fact, the modernists, disguised as faithful to Christ).

Read the reflection by the Franciscans below.

Saint Martin of Tours’ Story

A conscientious objector who wanted to be a monk; a monk who was maneuvered into being a bishop; a bishop who fought paganism as well as pleaded for mercy to heretics—such was Martin of Tours, one of the most popular of saints and one of the first not to be a martyr.

Reflection

Martin’s worry about cooperation with evil reminds us that almost nothing is either all black or all white. The saints are not creatures of another world: They face the same perplexing decisions that we do. Any decision of conscience always involves some risk. If we choose to go north, we may never know what would have happened had we gone east, west, or south. A hyper-cautious withdrawal from all perplexing situations is not the virtue of prudence; it is in fact, a bad decision, for “not to decide is to decide.”

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

First reading
[Chosen Lady:]

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father.

Let us love one another. For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.

Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Blessed are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.

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

Gospel Portion
The Day of the Son of Man and Lessons from the Past.

Rapture is a heresy.
The description of one taken and one remains is a metaphoric expression of the story of Noah’s Ark.
Directly as Jesus indicated.

Noah’s Ark and Lot’s oppresson are the examples to use (Gen 6-8 and 2 Peter 2:4-10).

Those who do not seek their refuge in the Lord face certain, sudden and absolute destruction.

All other silliness aside.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Hidden in plain view

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Readings: PHMN 7-20; PS 146:7, 8-9A, 9BC-10; LK 17:20-25
Notes: No Mass today, Hurricane Nicole. The storm is beautiful!

What we have the power to do is not what we should do.
The Kingdom is not what we see or what we legislate.

The Kingdom is here and now and is the imperative of Saint Paul:

I rather urge you out of love.
The good you do might not be forced but voluntary.

And so it should be for one and all.
Even when your sense of holy is violated.

Or do you wish to imprison Onesimus once again?

You are free to love not to punish.

This is the kingdom hidden in plain view.

We continue toward the end of the liturgical year and Christ, the King of the Universe.

Reflection

At a time when there is widespread criticism of Church structures, we also hear criticism that bishops and priests—indeed, all of us—are too preoccupied with administration of temporal matters. Pope Leo is an example of a great administrator who used his talents in areas where spirit and structure are inseparably combined: doctrine, peace, and pastoral care. He avoided an “angelism” that tries to live without the body, as well as the “practicality” that deals only in externals.

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

First reading
although I have the full right in Christ to order you to do what is proper, I rather urge you out of love
but I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that the good you do might not be forced but voluntary.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob.

The LORD secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free.

Alleluia Verse
I am the vine, you are the branches, says the Lord: whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit.

Gospel Portion
Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Purgation

Greetings on this 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: Today’s Mass is the Official Prayer of the Church for the Suffering Souls.

There is an intimate union between the church militant and the church suffering.

Helping them on their way.

The work of the Church is not completed until every soul who in some fashion declares G-d and the need for forgiveness shall complete their journey to the beatific vision and eternal bliss.

By our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in suffrage (intercessory prayers), we are petitioning the Lord for the benefit of the Suffering Soul.

Heavenly Hosts Petition

  • Blessed Mother.
  • Saints of Heaven.
  • Angels as agents of the Lord in love with His humans seeking to render aid.

Militant Church Petitions

  • Catholic burial.
  • Blessing of the body and of the place of commendation with Holy Water.
  • Holy Mass for the benefit of the Suffering Soul (The Blood of Jesus and the Propitation Sacrifice).
  • Holy Communion for the benefit of the Suffering Soul.
  • Burning of blessed candles (modest).
  • Adorning the graves of the dead (modest).

Reference: Charity for the Suffering Souls by Rev John A. Nageleisen, TAN Books, 1982.

Reflection (by Franciscanmedia)

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.

As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever.

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

Second reading
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.

If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.

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

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.

Therefore, by the will of the Father, pray for the Suffering Souls of Purgatory.

Lord, by my own prayer,

fasting and almsgiving,

in union with Christ’ perfect gift,

bring relief and release for the Suffering Souls.

Amen.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Judge yourself for yourself

Greetings on this the Friday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Eph 4:1-6; PS 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; LK 12:54-59
Notes: In our gospel portion today, Jesus is describing how we are to judge… ourselves, doing so always with compassion and mercy but honestly and without hypocrisy.

Our Responsorial Psalm asks it well: Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.

A consistent theme today is harmony with the Lord and with your fellow man.
I am avoiding the social justice theme present in the gospel portion because today is about the proximity of you.

Ordo

  • Be reconciled (Rite of Reconciliation – when was the last time?)
  • Be in Unity by the Holy Spirit in the midst of valid disagreements.

Presentation Ministries

The three questions of Man.

  1. How am I?
  2. Why am I?
  3. What is my final end?

Gospel portion has two sayings of Jesus:
A. Signs of the Times.

  • i. John the Baptist and Jesus are in contradiction to the hypocrisy of the powerful.
  • ii. The presence of the Roman overlords as a reminder of our helplessness against the world.
  • iii. The approaching storm is the Passion of the Lord which is the ultimate battle of good and evil.

B. Settlement with an Opponent.

  • i. The opponent is the world.
  • ii. The opponent is the worldly mistakes we made, we make, we want to make (concupiscence).
  • iii. The opponent is the final four things in a manner of speaking (Death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell).

First reading

The Question
Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit.

The Power
you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

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

Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD? or who may stand in his holy place? He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is vain.

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

Gospel Portion
“Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Spiritual Accompaniment

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs
Readings: EPH 3:2-12; IS 12:2-3, 4BCD, 5-6; LK 12:39-48
Notes: The experiences of the Church and the American Indian is most certainly not a straight-line history. It has many turning points, reversals and disappointments, some severe. In today’s remembrance of the missionary church, we recall thankfully that there were churchmen following their evangelization calling to spread the gospel even to the point of their own lives and not at the expense of the lives of others.

It is most difficult to distinguish between good and evil when looking backwards and depending on the lens one uses to see. Openness and dialog are a positive way to build a deeper understanding of the past and provide a model of behavior for the future. I am asking all parties to reconsider their solid opinion for the openness of dialog.

Reflection

Faith and heroism planted belief in Christ’s cross deep in our land. The Church in North America sprang from the blood of martyrs, as has been true in so many places. The ministry and sacrifices of these saints challenges each of us, causing us to ask just how deep is our faith and how strong our desire to serve even in the face of death.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saints-isaac-jogues-jean-de-brebeuf-and-companions

Next Sunday is World Mission Sunday dedicated to the mission of spreading the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Properly the gospel portion is The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

Before we speak to man, we must speak to God.

But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ (Lk 18:13).

Before we act, we must obey God.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory because they had been prevented by the holy Spirit from preaching the message in the province of Asia (Acts 16:6).

From Vatican News Service:

“The Holy See and the local Catholic communities are concretely committed to promoting the indigenous cultures through specific and appropriate forms of spiritual accompaniment that include attention to their cultural traditions, customs, languages and educational processes, in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

He decried the harms done to erase their culture.

“I think above all of the policies of assimilation and enfranchisement, also involving the residential school system, which harmed many indigenous families by undermining their language, culture and worldview. In that deplorable system, promoted by the governmental authorities of the time, which separated many children from their families, different local Catholic institutions had a part.”

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2022-07/pope-meets-authorities-diplomats-indigenous-in-quebec-francis.html

First reading
It has now been revealed to his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.

Responsorial (Isaiah)
You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

Alleluia Verse
Stay awake!
For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.

Gospel Portion
That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Denialism

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: EPH 1:1-10; PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6; LK 11:47-54
Notes: In today’s gospel portion we are given a glimpse of the enormity of the problem Jesus has come to solve.

The fifth and sixth woes of the gospel of Like bring into focus the consistent refusal to listen to G-d and the denial of our most difficult situation (our own sinfulness, personal and societal).

The divine purpose is to bring justice for every murder from the beginning of time to the end of the Old Testament period, using sacred scriptural references, and representing all sins of humanity in all times by referring to the wisdom of God [saying], ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles’. All of these are a result of the consistent refusal to listen to G-d.

From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah: the murder of Abel is the first murder recounted in the Old Testament (Gn 4:8). The Zechariah mentioned here may be the Zechariah whose murder is recounted in 2 Chr 24:20–22, the last murder presented in the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament (NABRE, note on Luke 11:51).

The problem is denialism:

  • In psychology, denialism is a person’s choice to deny reality as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth.
  • In political and economic context Some people who are known as denialists have been known to be in denial of historical or scientific facts accepted by the mainstream of society or by experts, for political or economic reasons.

Reference used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial

For that which we deny, we must substitute with something else.

– Me

You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.

Quoting on op-ed regarding Nostra Aetate (POPE PAUL VI ON OCTOBER 28, 1965).

We live in a world in which religion is often seen as the cause of discord and violence. Nostra Aetate and the new relationship between Jews and Catholics prove that, even after two millennia, religious hatred can be overcome.

“The commitment of both Jews and Catholics to overcoming the past, and especially the warm personal relationships that have developed at the highest levels as well as locally, have made constructive engagement and honest exchange possible, even about difficult subjects.”

https://www.adl.org/news/op-ed/how-nostra-aetate-transformed-catholic-jewish-relations

Quick note: In the amazing wonder of sacred writings in today’s collection we see the first reading providing the solution and the gospel portion providing the problem. It’s a reversal of the often-opposite presentation where the first reading defines the problem and the gospel reading the solution. I am reflecting here at the level of literary and plain sense.

Paul comes to our rescue in his letter to the Ephesians!

First reading
In Christ we have redemption by his Blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord has made known his salvation.

Alleluia Verse
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.

Gospel Portion
The fifth and sixth woes of the Woes of the Gospel of Luke.

The Lord said: (and says to us, the modern man!)

Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building.

Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.

In Christ we have redemption by his Blood.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Woe in Work or Fruit in Spirit

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: GAL 5:18-25; PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6; LK 11:42-46
Notes: Our first reading sets the stage for the question.

Do I want works of the flesh or fruit of the spirit?
Which way of life is more appealing in the final analysis?

What is a woe anyway?
Webster’s Dictionary defines “woe” as follows:
https://www.franknelte.net/article.php?article_id=363

1) An interjection used to express grief, regret, or distress.
2) A condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction, or grief.
3) Calamity, misfortune.

First reading

Responsorial Psalm
Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.

Alleluia Verse
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.

Gospel Portion
The four of six woes in gospel of Luke.

  1. You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God (vain worship).
  2. You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. Elsewhere in Luke: They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation (greed).
  3. You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk (mislead others).
  4. You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them (bad shepherd).

It’s less work to be a Saint.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry