Greetings on this the Optional Memorial of Saint John Paul II, pope Readings: Is 52:7-10; Ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10; Jn 21:15-17 Notes: The Lord will ever send men and women to be His hands and feet.
Reflection “We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father’s house, that sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”
From the Funeral Mass, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—then dean of the College of Cardinals and later Pope Benedict XVI
Greetings on this the Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time Readings: Rom 6:19-23; PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6; Lk 12:49-53 Notes:
Fire is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (tongues of fire rested on them – see Acts 2:3)
The fire of the Holy Spirit helps in two ways:
To remove that which does not belong (that harms us).
To engender an orientation of love and knowing the Lord with gifts of wisdom and fruits of kindness.
Baptism is a regenerative phase. An end to an old life and the start of a new life.
First reading We always evaluate an event or experience:
Partly to examine for itself.
Partly to leverage it for future decisions.
Was that a good movie?
Did they enjoy the dinner I made them?
Does he really love me?
Paul asks us to evaluate the past as well in particular the less than honorable things. But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed?
For the end of those things is death.
Instead he encourages us to now present [yourself] as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life.
Responsorial Psalm Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Alleluia Verse (Phil 3:8-9) I consider all things so much rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him.
Gospel Portion In today’s gospel portion Jesus lays out his two biggest promises in reverse order of how they are manifested. In order of time:
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!
The first is his passion and resurrection. The second is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
His purpose is to break through the unhealthy and unholy alliances we have created. His purpose is to force us to refactor how we act and the ways in which we live.
Even the most closely held and cherished relationships need a divine makeover. Why?
It is needed where they are based on the distortion of loyalty and fidelity (or even completely lacking these things).
Fire to burn away the unholy. Baptism to start a new life in Christ.
Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time Readings: Rom 6:12-18; PS 124:1b-3, 4-6, 7-8; Lk 12:39-48 Notes: Peter asks an important question today.
Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone? Spoiler alert: Everyone. And for those given great authority and power – even more so!
First reading Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires. And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness.
Let’s face it, we will always be tempted and sometimes fall. But we must not be a slave to sin but give ourselves over to the good.
Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.
Responsorial Psalm Our help is in the name of the Lord.
This help is from the enemy. The psalm is referring to the Exodus as well as then current dangers. Today, we too have dangers and the Lord is attentive to all who ask for help (and those who do not). But we are focused today on the danger that comes from within.
One time, a long time ago, I had a confession with an old priest. I said, during the confession, “When will the temptation to lust ever stop!” He said, “I have it on good authority, it will not stop until your last breathing.”
I laughed so hard! People waiting in line must have wondered what the heck is going on!
Alleluia Verse Stay awake! For you do not know when the Son of Man will come.
Gospel Portion Do Good – according to your capacity and aptitude. Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
For Peter and the disciples: Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.
Greetings on this the Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs Readings: Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21; PS 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17; Lk 12:35-38 Notes: Psalm 40 means a lot to me. It meant even more to the Saints and Martyrs we celebrate today.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
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.
First reading Through one man sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.
If by that one person’s transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.
Responsorial Psalm Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me, To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”
Alleluia Verse Be vigilant at all times and pray that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.
Our First Reading today is the imperative. Sin has entered the world. Jesus has defeated sin.
Our Responsorial is expression of entering into the divine work in thanksgiving.
Our Gospel Portion:
Gird. Be ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks to do his will. He himself is girt in us, for us, with us as we are girt for him.
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).
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.
Demas, enamored of the present world, deserted me and went to Thessalonica.
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.
Don’t believe every good thing said about you.
Don’t take to heart every bad thing said about you.
In the first instance, the good things will go to your head and close your mind to change.
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.
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).