Woman, why are you weeping?

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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

Good Bread and Foul Fowl

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 16:1-5, 9-15; PS 78:18-19, 23-24, 25-26, 27-28; Mt 13:1-9
Notes: In the daily continuous readings we have been stepping through the Exodus event and the journey in the desert. These miraculous events (Passover, Parting Seas, Manna, etc) are all prefigures of the person and life of Jesus Christ.

This year is a special one that aligns wonderfully, but not perfectly.

  • Daily – Year One (1) – covering the Exodus extensively.
  • Sunday – Cycle B 2021 – five week reading of the Bread of Life Discourse (minus one because August 15th comes on a Sunday this year: Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

The faithful would benefit greatly by reading daily. The Sunday gospel readings would be so much more helpful to you if you are also reading daily the Mass. Better yet, attending!

The five Sunday treatment of the Bread of Life Discourse is not enough alone to go deeper and more fully into the mystery of the Eucharist.

First reading
The reflection title takes its meaning from the first reading.

Which of the two gifts is of higher value?

  • The Quail – a natural good.
  • The Manna – a supernatural good.
  • Which do they abuse?
  • Which do they abase?

Cross reference Numbers 11:1ff and Numbers 25:1ff (different time, same people).

It is the Manna that was regulated and given a near sacred treatment.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Alleluia Verse
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

Gospel Portion
The parable of the Sower is today’s gospel portion.

In light of our Bread of Life discourse track we are on, we can relate to the people of the Exodus, can we not?

The Manna and the Quail.

“so the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” Num 21:5

On the quail, ten homers of quail is equal to 10 donkeys fully loaded down with quail to carry. A huge amount. An excessive amount.

But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it could be chewed, the LORD’s wrath flared up against the people, and the LORD struck them with a very great plague. Num 11:33.

The seed falling on different soil qualities and yielding or not yielding at all is in direct parallel to the receiving of the natural and supernatural goods from the Lord.

It is entirely in our power to receive well or receive poorly and the consequences therein.

  • The Quail – a natural good.
  • The Manna – a supernatural good.
  • Which do they abuse?
  • Which do they abase?

Jesus’ words are all the more powerful:
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

I hear ya.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Which Way to Run

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 14:21—15:1; Resp Exodus 15:8-9, 10 and 12, 17; Mt 12:46-50
Notes: none.

First reading
With that the Egyptians sounded the retreat before Israel,
because the LORD was fighting for them against the Egyptians.

and

The Egyptians were fleeing head on toward the sea,
when the LORD hurled them into its midst.

and

the LORD cast through the column of the fiery cloud
upon the Egyptian force a glance that threw it into a panic;
and he so clogged their chariot wheels
that they could hardly drive.

Let there be no mistaking here.
The Egyptians chose to run toward death

(running westerly, it was an east wind, as it slowed the channel would collapse west to east).

The Egyptians, lightened by abandoning their weapons and chariots, could have run TOWARD Moses and escaped death.

Not a single one of them escaped.

Responsorial Psalm
Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Alleluia Verse
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.

Gospel Portion
But he said in reply to the one who told him,
“Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said,
“Here are my mother and my brothers.
For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father
is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

The Egyptians, having done so many things wrong, also had access to rescue if only they followed in the path of the Hebrews toward the Lord.

  • Which way should we run? Toward Jesus.
  • How shall we be? Like his brothers, sisters and mother.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Reactionary

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Greetings on this the Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 14:5-18; Resp Exodus 15:1bc-2, 3-4, 5-6; Mt 12:38-42
Notes: My counting of the ten healings in direct reversal of the ten plagues is not meant to be a firm theological statement (unless you think the writer of the gospel of Matthew was keeping a thread in this nature). It is a soft theological thread.

  • Ten plagues were of the battle of good over evil for a nation. Pharaoh was reactionary.
  • The ten healings are divine acts of good over evil for a person. Pharisees were reactionary.

First reading
In the first reading Pharaoh and his servants have become reactionary.

Releasing the Hebrews from captivity was a rational act:

  • the overwhelming signs of power of the Lord in releasing them (plagues).
  • the realization of the injustice of slavery.
  • the realization that we are not the master of all things.

We of faith only need to be still in the face of such overwhelming odds.

But Moses answered the people,
“Fear not! Stand your ground,
and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today.
These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.
The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

Responsorial Exodus
Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory.

Alleluia Verse
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

Gospel Portion
Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.
The Ten healings:

  1. Curing every disease and illness among the people, Galilee, Syria, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
  2. The Cleansing of a Leper.
  3. The Healing of a Centurion’s Servant.
  4. The Cure of Peter’s Mother-in-Law & Other Healings.
  5. The Healing of the Gadarene Demoniacs.
  6. The Official’s Daughter and the Woman with a Hemorrhage.
  7. The Healing of a Paralytic.
  8. The Healing of Two Blind Men.
  9. The Healing of a Mute Person.
  10. The Man with a Withered Hand.

Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.
Seriously, after these ten examples prior in the sequence within the gospel of Matthew?

Jesus replies:

  • You are like Jonah, a caricature of a narrow mentality, and a disobedient, narrow-minded prophet. The men of Nineveh repented. Someone greater is here.
  • You laud Solomon. But you laud him for his natural wisdom and great wealth:
    • The gold that came to Solomon in one year weighed six hundred and sixty-six gold talents.
    • Solomon’s Riches: Chariots and Horses.
    • Solomon’s Renown.

The queen of Sheba, having heard a report of Solomon’s fame, came to test him with subtle questions. She concluded: Blessed be the LORD, your God, who has been pleased to place you on the throne of Israel. In his enduring love for Israel, the LORD has made you king to carry out judgment and justice.” Someone greater is here.

Jesus is warning them, the Pharisees are reactionary.

  • You don’t see the healing.
  • You judge like Jonah.
  • You value the superficial and profane.

Yikes!

This intense exchange is for our benefit.
It is the range of possible responses to the challenge.

Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.

Instead our request should be:

  • Let me repent like the men of Nineveh.
  • Let me have judgment and justice as like Solomon.
  • Let me see the healings of Jesus for what they are.

Save me from my reactionary impulses.

Amen!

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Human Augmentation

Bioethics would say:
1. Voluntary only.
2. Not condition of employment, marriage, contract or gain.
3. Functional to range of normal human capacities, i.e., disability.
4. Equitable application, availability.
5. Super human capacity must be external and removable.
6. Not injurious to other human capacities (intellect, affect, physicality, emotional, reproductive).
7. Safe.

Deacon Gerry Palermo

The Real

Greetings on this the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Jer 23:1-6; PS Ps 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6; Eph 2:13-18; Mk 6:30-34
Notes: Beginning next Sunday and continuing for the following four Sundays, the gospel is taken from John 6, on the Bread of Life (Ordo of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and Celebration of the Eucharist, 2021).

First reading
Righteous Shoot of David.
The Shepherd of the Lord’s choosing.

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

Guides us in the right path.

Second reading
Peace between Jews and Gentiles.

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

Gospel Portion
Jesus, our Shepherd, nourishes and strengthens us.

Today’s gospel portion is equal to the Liturgy of the Word. It is the portion of the Mass precedes the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The very next portion of gospel in Mark 6 is the feeding of the 5,000. We’ll be reading form the gospel of John for four weeks in a row focusing on the Bread of Life discourse, John 6.

Today’s message is about gathering in the presence of the Lord.

In the deserted place.
Away from the World.
The hungry in body and soul.
The co-workers of Jesus joyful in their ministry.

Cross reference:

  • The Mission of the Twelve.
    • Intercalated: The Death of John the Baptist.
  • The Return of the Twelve.

To hear him.
To receive him.
To love him.

Young Persons Retreat – entered the wonder of being in the presence of the Lord. I wish I called on the phone every one of you the Monday following and said, “The retreat is the real”. We say we retreated from the world.

I say we basked in what is most real: the love of Jesus.

Eucharistic Adoration precedes Eucharistic celebration.

  • Rest.
  • Presence.
  • Learn.
  • Eat.
  • The Real.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Latest from Fr Rick Frechette – The Riderless Horse

The Riderless Horse

Other Posts:

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/

https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/special-guests-fr-rick-frechette-truth-in-the-media/

Gentle Justice

Smoldering Wick

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 12:37-42; PS 136:1 and 23-24, 10-12, 13-15; Mt 12:14-21
Notes: Weekday continuous reading on the Exodus.

The 1619 Project was launched in August 2019 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans arriving in colonial Virginia. 430 years from 1619 is 2049. The African Exodus is almost over. Just something to consider.

First reading
The time the children of Israel had stayed in Egypt
was four hundred and thirty years.
At the end of four hundred and thirty years,
all the hosts of the LORD left the land of Egypt on this very date.

Responsorial Psalm
His mercy endures forever.

Alleluia Verse
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Gospel Portion
Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?
The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.

When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place.
Jesus wants conversion. He doesn’t demand change as we might want him to do.
He encourages. A slower path and yet saves more souls.

Just this week we see the pattern of withdrawal, rest and refreshment:

  • He went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.
  • Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
  • He withdrew.
  • Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while (16th Sunday).

Bringing Justice to Victory yet protecting the reed and wick is part of the divine mandate having been entrusted to us the message of reconciliation.

A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench.

  • A bruised reed would be the soul of a person who has endured much agony.
  • A smoldering wick would be the soul of a person conflicted in the right path.

We can contend or cry out, or yell our voice in the streets.

It is better to be gentle.
Gentle justice
.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Model of Mercy

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Greetings on this the Friday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ex 11:10—12:14; PS 116:12-13, 15 and 16bc, 17-18; Mt 12:1-8
Notes: We are often encouraged to ‘be in the moment‘. It’s a very powerful instruction the Church enforces. In todays readings, we see that being in the moment also applies to judging the actions of others. To see the world as they see it. To apply mercy even in the most sacred of Laws.

First reading
In our Exodus reading today, the Lord gives the perpetual institution. The celebration of the liberation of the Hebrews from the Egyptians. Central to this liberation is the body and blood of the Paschal Lamb.

  • They shall eat of the Lamb flesh.
  • They shall sprinkle the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts and lintel.

In the Gospel, the Lord gives an updated perpetual institution. The celebration of the liberation of the Human Family from Sin. Central to this liberation is the body and blood of the Paschal Lamb.

  • They shall eat of the Lamb flesh (Eucharist).
  • They shall drink the blood of the Lamb (Precious Blood).
  • The height of the Holy Mass is a perpetual divine institution in the person of Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm
I will the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

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

Gospel Portion
Powerful first reading combined with the responsorial psalm and Alleluia verse.

Then the gospel portion today takes an interesting turn of expressing the model of mercy.

The disciples were eating handful of grain while passing through a field on the Sabbath.
To be clear there is nothing wrong with this action. It is neither harvesting nor gleaning. It is a minimal nutritional effort. The people were hungry. The Pharisees are falsely equating this action with reaping (to cut and gather).

Jesus decides not to bother to refute that claim and rather hit the deeper issue for the Pharisees. They lack charity. They are not in the moment.

He cites the Lord’s patience with:

  • David and his hungry companions eating the Show Bread in the temple.
  • The Priests work in the temple on the Sabbath in regards to the Show Bread but are innocent.

Jesus, in the fullness of God’s compassion, is greater than the Temple where these laws are enforced. The temple is the highest liturgical connection place with the Lord. Yet even that temporal holy place is not higher than the one who is Lord of the Sabbath.

But in addition to that is the question of perfect or even excessive compliance of the Law.

  • A charitable heart would not even think to declare a handful of grain to reaping.
  • A charitable person would understand that starving people can eat the Show Bread of the temple.

Literalism alone is a disease.
Charity is the cure.

We, the people of the Church, are hungry for the Eucharistic Bread that is Jesus.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Good Fortune

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Readings: Ex 3:13-20; PS 105:1 and 5, 8-9, 24-25, 26-27; Mt 11:28-30
Notes: Here is a link to a write up on this great Saint!
https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=169

In the first Reformation, 16th-century, the Church was explicitly challenged on her teachings and practices.

  • Some of these objections were spot on (material excesses, poor theology of priests).
  • Some of these objections were excessive or in error (reduced sacramental system).

The Church was slow to respond or anemic in her efforts and the damage was done.

The Counter Reformation in 16th and early 17th centuries addressed the reforms and the errors noted above.

Of this whole episode in history both good and bad came about.

Today.
Today we are in the second Reformation.

The culture wars are a clear indication of discontent and disbelief of the faith system.
We are in a second Reformation or if you prefer the second wave of The Age of Enlightenment.

  • Some of these objections are spot on (material excesses, poor theology).
  • Some of these objections are excessive or in error (reduced sacramental system).

The key will be in the reforms which are not even in infancy yet.
Pope Francis said it well:

Truth is essential.
Truth without love is unbearable.

We have allowed our systematic Thomistic philosophy to navigate us through the pastoral responses of the current age and it is failing miserably. This is either because we don’t understand St Thomas or we need to reform the secondary application of Saint Thomas.

This is a journey we must take: the second Counter Reformation.

“O Buona ventura”-O good fortune!
Pray for us!!

First reading
In the first reading the Lord is trying to convince Moses of the right act needed to be taken: to free the Hebrews from slavery.

He steps Moses through a tree of faith:

  • Person: Have faith in the unnamed God who is I AM.
  • History: Have faith in the God of your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  • Promise: Have faith in the promise given Abraham (the Promised Land).
  • Capacity: Have faith in my power.
  • Will: Have faith I will act.

Have faith.
Act.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.

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

Gospel Portion
Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Remembering Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob then we can easily see the promises made by Jesus:

  • Person: Have faith in the name of Jesus “God Saves“.
  • History: Have faith in the God of your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of whom I am Son.
  • Promise: Have faith in the promise given by Jesus “Resurrection and Salvation“.
  • Capacity: Have faith in my power.
  • Will: Have faith I will act.

Have faith.
Act.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry