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:

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.”

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:

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

Faith in the Lord

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: GAL 3:1-5; LK 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75; LK 11:5-13
Notes: Yesterday and today (plus tomorrow in regard to the Memorial of the Holy Rosary) is about prayer.

Prayer is a communion with the Lord. A conversation.
Faith, even a mustard seed faith, is the motivation or justification for my actions which includes prayer.

  1. Faith – I trust you hear me.
  2. Faith – I trust you will act for me.

The first reading sets the vector.

  • Yesterday, the danger of following a strange gospel.
  • Today, the motivation. Are we moved by a checklist (a/k/a Law)? Are we moved in the heart by compassion?

First reading
We are justified by faith because faith is an interpersonal reality.

I either trust you or I do not.
The LAW is not interpersonal of itself. It is useful to describe the contours of our relations.

Faith is justification in so far as it is trusting the Lord will act for me especially in the most difficult of all circumstance, which is, the need for forgiveness and cleansing from sin with an infusion of grace. I cannot overcome my need by my efforts alone. I must have faith the Lord will overcome my needs for me.

Responsorial Psalm
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to his people.

Alleluia Verse
Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.

Gospel Portion
Our gospel portion today contrasts the faith we have in one another and the faith we are offered in the Lord.

Faith in a friend – it may require imposing and inconvenience a friend even as he does not appreciate the dire need we have. No doubt we have been on either side of that equation before!

Faith in the Lord – is always an open path. Ask, Seek, Knock! Any hour, any day, all the time and in every way! It is not an inconvenience or imposition for the Lord to hear you and respond to you because He loves you. That’s his motivation.

You can have faith in that.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Evidence-Based Theology

Greetings on this the Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: GAL 1:6-12; PS 111:1B-2, 7-8, 9 AND 10C; LK 10:25-37
Notes: We have many vectors for the parable of the Good Samaritan. As a matter of liturgy and theology, the focus is framed by the elements of time and supporting sacred Scriptture given:

  1. Ordinary time or season of Lent.
  2. Week day or Sunday (see link below for 15th Sunday ordinary three years ago).
  3. Sacred Scripture first reading focus.
  4. The current readings in close proximity to ‘today’.
  5. The events in the world around us.
  6. The homilest is a ‘different’ person than even one week ago because we change in time.
  7. The reader is a ‘different’ person than even one week ago because we change in time.

You can see then preaching the Gospel has an ever changing focus and at the same time solid in the foundation and source of its purpose: the saving message of God.

  • Today’s question speaks to the interconnectivity between action and salvation.
  • Yesterday’s question spoke to the interconnectivity between action and faith.

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Increase our faith?
Response: Do something.

Even if that something has a low probability of success, like being a mulberry tree cast into the ocean, the Lord will make it bear fruit and thrive even there.

Monday of the Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time – Inherit eternal life?
Response: Do something.

Who was neighbor? But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him.

The added element today is the source and foundation of faith:
The revelation to Paul and the passing on of the Gospel message.

Related reflections

First reading
Brothers and sisters:
I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the Gospel of Christ.

It is exhausting to debate theology almost as much to debate politics!
There are so many divisions of theology (method of study and expression).

The scholor of the law wished to justify himself.

Today, Jesus uses Evidence-Based Theology.

Evidence Based Gospel (Arms and Legs of the Good News of Jesus Christ)

  1. Person is moved to be their better self.
  2. Person is moved to praise God.
  3. Person is moved to come to the aid of any on their life’s path.
  4. Person intuitively performs Corporal Acts of Mercy.
  5. Person intuitively performs Spiritual Acts of Mercy.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord will remember his covenant for ever.

Alleluia Verse
I give you a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you.

Gospel Portion
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

Do faith.
Do theology.
Do salvation.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

My Servant

Greetings on this the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Hab 1:2-3; 2:2-4; Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14; Lk 17:5-10
Notes: Through out this past week we have gone deeply into the human crisis of understanding the world around us, in particular Evil/evil. In our first reading today, we again receive reassurance as to the Divine Will.

Look below: the Lord will not disappoint, the Lord will not be late. Part of our faith journey is reconciling this truth with the effects, sights and sounds of Evil/evil in the world.

We spent a week on this and some progress should have been made. We are intelligent beings and we can take on information, insights and new methods of measurement.

Today we remind ourselves of Job. The only one to be called “My Servant” by the Lord in defense of all humanity in response to the Great Accuser.

The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” (Jb 1:8).

Our responsorial psalm (which is Psalm 95 said daily in the Church) reminds us:

If today you hear his voice harden not your hearts. Why delibrately be deaf to the voice of God out of … what? Disappointment, disillusionment, fear, or maybe, guilt?

Meribah and Massah

Meribah, place of contention, and Massah, place of trial. A place we don’t belong and need to keep moving farther.

First reading
Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.

Responsorial Psalm
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice “Harden not your hearts as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the desert, Where your fathers tempted me; they tested me though they had seen my works.”

Second reading
I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.

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

Gospel Portion
Jesus brings us the ultimate understanding, the ultimate flipping of the question.

Previously this week I reassured you that assessing everything through the lens of POWER is inferior to the way Jesus tells us to think, through the HEART.

Today Jesus says something even more important and bringing us back to the book of Job. Do you serve the God of Love or Yourself Alone?

The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.”

When called the life of service, do or don’t do.

So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’

By the way, Jesus did in fact do what he is not obliged to do.

he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feetd and dry them with the towel around his waist. So when he had washed their feet [and] put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him (Jn 13:4-5, 12-16).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Have you

Photo by cottonbro on

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Readings: Jb 38:1, 12-21; 40:3-5; Ps 139:1-3, 7-8, 9-10, 13-14ab; Lk 10:13-16
Notes: In our first reading today, the Lord asks a series of questions:

Have you…

It is a two-edged sword type of question.

  • Have you – done wonderful and marvelous things (created, know all things)?
  • Have you – done things you’d rather not talk about (wicked, proud)?

Makes you think, no?

Our Alleluia verse today sums it up well:

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

In today’s gospel portion, Jesus reminds us that if you have heard the Lord speak, then you have responsibilities. The responsibility is to be like the One who made you and called out to you.

  • If today you hear his voice, respond in-kind.
  • If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

You really can be like Jesus in your ways. Just ask the Lord for help to be thus.
Just like Saint Jerome, we fall frequently into sin (all the usual problems of men), but we rise in repentance.

  • Stand up.
  • Dust off.
  • Praise God.
  • Aid humankind.

Personal note: One of my goals during the sabbatical was to learn Spanish and Creole, at least at the level of liturgical competence. I have failed miserably. Please pray for me I can turn this around before the sabbatical is over. It is such an important goal! Hear these words of Saint Jerome:

St. Jerome studied Hebrew in preparation to translate the Old Testament. He wrote, “It is more honorable to take a little trouble to get at the truth, and adapt one’s ear to an unfamiliar tongue, than to come out with a sham solution.” (One Bread, One Body,

I am embarrassed. Pray for me.


Jerome was a strong, outspoken man. He had the virtues and the unpleasant fruits of being a fearless critic and all the usual moral problems of a man. He was, as someone has said, no admirer of moderation whether in virtue or against evil. He was swift to anger, but also swift to feel remorse, even more severe on his own shortcomings than on those of others. A pope is said to have remarked, on seeing a picture of Jerome striking his breast with a stone, “You do well to carry that stone, for without it the Church would never have canonized you” (Butler’s Lives of the Saints).

First reading
Then Job answered the LORD and said:

Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again;
though twice, I will do so no more.

Responsorial Psalm
Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

O LORD, you have probed me and you know me; you know when I sit and when I stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar.

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

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to them, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.

And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me.

And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

As I watched

Greetings on this the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels
Readings: Dn 7:9-10, 13-14; PS 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 4-5; Jn 1:47-51
Notes: These past three days we have been reading from the didactic sacred scripture Book of Job. In these readings we are challenged by what we see and hear – the difficulties of humanity – and what we hope for – the benevolence of God.

We confronted:

  1. our knowledge and our ignorance.
  2. our self-expectations and our actions.
  3. the tension between free-will and consequences.
  4. the tension between our understanding of Intended Will and Permissive Will of God.
  5. numerous natural evils and spiritual evils.
  6. copious examples of the benevolence of God.

In the gospel portion, parallel, we are given a pathway forward:

  1. from power politics to loving like and for children.
  2. from public opinion to resolute mission of love and sacrifice.
  3. from curiosity of the ways of God to living with commit to His Way.
  4. from vision and myth to knowing and seeing God in action.
  5. from power to love – it cannot be stated enough – to reframe our point of reference.

We but need to watch and consider deeply what we see, hear and know to be true.

Hurricane Ian made landfall at Cayo Costa, Florida as a Category 4 storm. It is not yet sunrise today so the visual evidence of the destruction is not yet fully seen.

Just as often we can explain with science what happens, we have many occasions where the hand of the divine is guiding events to a better outcome even in the midst of disaster.

We walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we can see the effects of the angelic powers working the Lord’s will in this world. The gates of hell shall not prevail. Divine love is in your life, in my life and the life of the human family.

Watch as the angelic powers work God’s will. Pray for their intercession in the will of God.

Prayer to St. Michael

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle: be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray: and do you, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Archangels (there may be seven of them, we know the names of three).
So many other heavenly creatures and angels:
a. Cherubim
b. Seraphim
c. Hosts of the Lord


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.

First reading
As I watched.

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
To Nathanael he said,

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

To you he says:

Watch, see and know I have overcome death and all evil things for you.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

The Lord Hears

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
Readings: Jb 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23; Ps 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8; Lk 9:51-56
Notes: In our first reading and in our responsorial psalm we see humanity in dire straits!

So bad we feel and experience awful things we lash out!

  • Cursed am I!
  • You, Lord, have abandoned me!

But Jesus response with gentle love. He hears our deepest heart desire.
He does not react negatively to their taunts but rather stays the course to save all mankind!


The Church is for all God’s children, rich and poor, peasants and scholars, the sophisticated and the simple. But obviously the greatest concern of the Church must be for those who need the most help—those made helpless by sickness, poverty, ignorance, or cruelty. Vincent de Paul is a particularly appropriate patron for all Christians today, when hunger has become starvation, and the high living of the rich stands in more and more glaring contrast to the physical and moral degradation in which many of God’s children are forced to live.

First reading
Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.
Job spoke out and said:

Perish the day on which I was born,
the night when they said, “The child is a boy!”

Responsorial Psalm
Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit, into the dark abyss. Upon me your wrath lies heavy, and with all your billows you overwhelm me.

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

Gospel Portion
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. 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, and they journeyed to another village.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

An argument arose

Photo by Magda Ehlers on

Greetings on this the Monday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: JB 1:6-22; PS 17:1BCD, 2-3, 6-7; LK 9:46-50
Notes: I do not want to say I am unpacking the entirety of the Book of Job. That is the work of the Ages. Job plumbs the depths of the permissive will of God and the insufficiency of man to understand the situation as it really is and how the Lord treats us in fact.

Hurricane Ian offshore nearing Cuba.

First reading
One day, when the angels of God came to present themselves before the LORD, Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “Whence do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming the earth and patrolling it.”

Satan put Job to four calamities in this Old Testament portion.

  • Two are from the Evil activity of nations (Sabeans and Chaldeans).
  • Two are from the evil (little e) of nature.
  1. The oxen were ploughing and the asses grazing beside them, and the Sabeans carried them off in a raid. They put the herdsmen to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.
  2. Lightning has fallen from heaven and struck the sheep and their shepherds and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you.
  3. The Chaldeans formed three columns, seized the camels, carried them off, and put those tending them to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.
  4. Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, when suddenly a great wind came across the desert and smote the four corners of the house. It fell upon the young people and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you.

Responsorial Psalm
Incline your ear to me and hear my word.

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

Gospel Portion
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.

In our gospel portion today, the emphasis shifts from what Satan was allowed to do (evil in the world) to childlike behavior and the tender care of children. The shift is away from ‘power politics’ to love excelling.

Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

The greater question is are we treating people well (remember the Sabeans and Chaldeans) and are we ready to place love received and love given as the rod by which we judge.

Job ends this way:

Thus the LORD blessed the later days of Job more than his earlier ones. Now he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters: the first daughter he called Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no other women were as beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; and he saw his children, his grandchildren, and even his great-grandchildren (Jb 42:12-16).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry



Greetings on this the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Am 6:1a, 4-7; Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10; 1 Tm 6:11-16; Lk 16:19-31
Notes: Being complacent in regard to one’s own eternal wellbeing is a most regrettable path to take.

In today’s gospel portion we are confronted with the great chasm between Abraham with Lazarus and the Rich Man. The chasm, how did it come to be?
The Rich Man dug it, one shovelful of complacency at a time.

First reading
Thus says the LORD the God of hosts: Woe to the complacent in Zion!

Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm
Praise the Lord, my soul!

Blessed is he who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free.

Second reading
But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Alleluia Verse
Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Gospel Portion
Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.

Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.

I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.

But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry