Why Death?

Greetings on this the Fifth Sunday of Lent
Readings: Ez 37:12-14; PS 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; Rom 8:8-11; Jn 11:1-45
Notes: I worry about the American Church. In this season of exposing hypocracy and self-righteousness, many exhibit an unabashed preference for these things. Shocking.

Jesus has the power.
Jesus has the motive.
We, like Eve in the garden, want it now.
Jesus knows it is better to call us out of misery into new life and eternal life free of sin.

The seventh sign of Jesus in the Gospel of John.
It is the definitive reason the leadership sought to end his life.
As a matter of fact, they were more set on killing Lazarus than Jesus.
Lazarus was the living proof of the power of the Son of Man in a very public way in the sight of many people!

[The] large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too (JN 12:9-10a).

Our deepest need is found in the Book of Genesis.
Expulsion from Eden – An act of mercy.

Then the LORD God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil! Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever? (Gen 3:22).

What if?
We would fall deeper and deeper into desperation and misery even among the beautiful Garden of Eden – forever lost!

The Better Way
The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken. He expelled the man, stationing the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword east of the garden of Eden, to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen 3:23-24).

First Reading
O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm
With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Second Reading
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.

Verse Before the Gospel
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jesus has the power.
Jesus has the motive.
We, like Eve in the garden – The Garden of Earth, want it now.
Jesus knows it is better to call us out of misery into new life and eternal life free of sin.

We are to have a good life in this life and again in the next.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Siloam – Sent


Greetings on this the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings: 1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41

Notes: using phone and one finger. First homily notes at new parish so I figure better write some notes.

I made this comment to a friar this morning March 12th, a week ago:

“I am a secular deacon but now assigned to a Franciscan community. I want to mold my homilies with the spirit and charism of Franciscan spirituality. I leave on pilgrimage in a few weeks, what shall I take on my journey?”

Reply: A San Damiano Cross.

So perhaps, God willing, these will be my first changed nuanced or last secular homily notes. What it is, with certainty, is a commitment to mold my life to Jesus in a new way. Saint Iago, pray for us. Saint Francis, pray for us.

Themes for 4th Sunday.

1. Sent. Samuel was sent to pick from among the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem to become King. Now listen up, he did this once before (1Sam 10:1ff) with Saul and things ended badly. See 1Sam 15:1, 26, 35. Whatever his trepidations he went and anointed David. We know he lamented Saul’s fall. Jesus sends the blind man to The Pool of Siloam. Just reminding you he was blind. But he went and now he sees.

2. The Innocent are not exempt from the troubles of life. In the case of the man born blind and (as in the Gospel of Luke 13:4) the innocent who died in the collapse of the Tower of Siloam. Jesus said, neither he nor his parents sinned. The tower, a recent tragedy, 18 people died. They were like everyone else. The innocent, the ordinary and the wicked all are subject to trouble in this world.

3. The Third and Sixth Sign of Jesus in Gospel of John. See my page image here. The injured sinner at the Pool of Bethsaida engaged in likely pagan god worship (Priests of Asclepius stir the pools). The man who was born blind at the Pool of Siloam, a mikvah place (Jewish ritual bathing). Both healed by Jesus. Sinner and sinless are under divine care. Those stuck in paganism called forth. Those faithful heard too.

4. Laetare Sunday. Rejoice. Isa 66:10-10. Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; Rejoice with her in her joy, all you who mourn over her – So that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; That you may drink with delight at her abundant breasts!

5. Challenges of Unbelief.

  • A. Sinners are punished. Confusing consequence with cause.
  • B. Disbelief people can change.
  • C. Mercy on Sabbath – an affront to self-righteous.
  • D. Mercy on Sabbath – a sin!
  • E. Intimidating parents.
  • F. We are not his disciples! Disown.
  • G. Ad Hominem. Attacks.

6. Listening.

  • If Jesus sends you, go!
  • God listens! He always listens! Always!!
  • God acts to the good!
  • Men doubt (our common problem).
  • Witnessed prove.

Take the psalmist’s words to heart. We all encounter difficulty in life. Sometimes a direct consequence and sometimes things just happen. But in every case with faith in God we can say with confidence: Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. We are only limited by how much we trust the Lord. How we treat the people and the world around us, the same thing.

Story of the two buckets. There was a boy who went to the well each day to draw water for the family. He had two buckets, one perfect and one leaky. The leaky bucket was sad one day. He relayed his feelings to the perfect bucket who replied: While it is true I carry the water without spilling, you carry water too. Now look at the path to the well. Filled with grass and flowers! Day in, day out, You have been watering the earth and it brings forth goodness.

You will know them by their fruits.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Garden Truth

2nd Sunday of Lent

It was in a garden Adam and Eve conspired to take what was not for them (Gen 3).

It was in a garden that Susanna was confronted by the lawless judges (Dan 13).

It was in a garden David lost his way (2 Sam 12).

For our purpose we may consider the garden as the place we reveal our inner self. Our truth, who we are and what motivates us. Mastered or not-mastered self but for discipline and love. Or the lack thereof.

The garden is the state of the soul. For us and our common challenge is to overcome what is called The Tyranny of the Senses. There is nothing wrong with our senses. We are sensory beings but we are not only, merely or even mostly sensate.

We are body, soul and spirit.

Spirit self is our likeness to God, it is the reception to God like an antenna is to a radio.

Soul self is our conscience. The place of maturation, decision, mistakes, joys and hopes!

The body self is our action. The external movement that spirit and soul have decided.

When we see Jesus in the garden/mountain twice we gain a similar insight as the examples above but with a far better truth.

These moments of isolation, are witnessed by the privileged three (Peter, James, John). These three were invited also at the story of Jairus’s Daughter (Mk 5). But the two stories below offer something with a more amazing clarity!

The sympathy of God.

The Seven Signs of Jesus in the Gospel of John primarily speak to the power and credibility of Jesus, the divine law and prophet.

These garden moments are the Signs of the Sympathy of the Lord. Imagine a physician, a surgeon, with great skill to heal you but lacking in sympathy. Some can tell such a story. It is in the sympathy we discover the purpose and the entirety of the gift. Skill without sympathy is mere technical competence.

The Transfiguration (Matt 17).

In the Transfiguration was Jesus, and behold, Moses and Elijah appeared conversing with him. Law and prophet receiving the fruit of the completion of their work. Jesus’s sympathy for them, Moses and Elijah, is the reward to share in this moment of triumph.

Conversing about the Final Exodus. The sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb whose blood marks the lintel and posts. This is Jesus’ sympathy. His competence is power over death. His sympathy, his heart, is love for his creation. He acts out of love.

The Father attesting from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

The Agony (Matt 26).

The Agony and the Transfiguration are insights.

Jesus alone began to feel sorrow and distress. Luke tells us, “He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.

The body expresses the soul’s decision of the spirit work given by God, the Father: My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”

The sorrow is the full weight of our sorrow and regrets from the first garden to the last garden. The sympathy of God is expressed in sorrow over the effects of sin.

How many different circumstances can you recount of parents in deep sorrow over their children? Do you need examples? Ask a mother whose child fell and suffered injury. Or worse.

How many parents faced with the unthinkable wouldn’t offer their own life for their children?

Is God sympathetic? Yes!

Ever attentive to big and small issues the Lord is always present. Earlier this week a gospel portion:

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him (Matt 7).

God’s Sympathy

Everything is ordered for our well-being. Including the heart of God. The Transfiguration is the spirit made and receiving the divine then soul deciding ‘yes’ to the divine and the body making manifest a decision to be divine in the body.

In two weeks we arrive at the Raising of Lazarus. Here too we will encounter the Tyranny of the Senses: Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (Jn 11). Here too we see the sympathy of God: And Jesus wept.


Tyranny requires a subject. One out of indifference, fear or powerlessness but in that state of affairs giving power to the tyrant.

God speaks to us through our senses but not our senses alone. If we are out of practice in the spirit we will tend to assess and evaluate only by senses. Ask your spirit to contemplate the sympathy.

Sacred scripture allows us to ask:

What does God feel?

What is he sympathetic about?

Does he understand me?

Does he understand my circumstances?

Contemplating the Transfiguration, Agony in the Garden and the Raising of Lazarus we get a sure and certain insight on his sympathy.

It is in the sympathy we discover the purpose and the entirety of the gift, the gift of himself.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them, “Do not tell the vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Convent Mind – Dios Proveerá

Saint José María de Yermo y Parres: Mexico 1851-1904 (Father Yermo)

Carlos Ruano Llopis. Artist. 1947.

Vatican remembrance: https://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20000521_de-yermo-y-parres_sp.html

At a convent in Santa Eulalia, Guatemala hangs this painting. The artist is not known for religious art but for bullrings and matadors. Yet he did paint this famous painting of the Inspiration of Father Yermo. I provide the story below. Father Yermo’s motto, God Provides.

How appropriate as the sisters attempt to reopen the school with little more than prayer and almsgiving.

Today’s gospel reading portion: Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

The LORD will affirm the blessing upon you, on your barns and on all your undertakings; he will bless you in the land that the LORD, your God, is giving you (Deut 28:8).

Priesthood story. Here: http://vincentians.com/es/san-jose-maria-de-yermo-y-parres-mexico-1851-1904/

A biography: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Ruano_Llopis

A young holy priest from the same place on loan to us.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday is a day of preparation. A shift in focus, habits and surroundings.

What will spoil: consume or donate.

What satiates: set aside, out of sight.

What is dullness in prayer: renewal of voice.

As you know I suspend reflections until a laptop is purchased. Yet I have a Keep and Store.

From Augustine Institute, The Tears of Christ, Lighthouse Talks). Lenten meditation. Visit https://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/

The three year cycle, cycle A, of Lent. Helpful in capturing theme.

Ash Wednesday


Peace be with you this Lent,

Deacon Gerry

Good Friday

Greetings on this the Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion
Readings: Is 52:13—53:12; Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25; Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9; Jn 18:1—19:42

It is a good Friday because it is a good outcome.
The quintessential expression that God allows evil only to the extent from it the Lord can bring good. Jesus’ crucifixion would make such truth difficult to image. But then the resurrection.

We too must imagine the loving will of God working in, with, through and for us even in the most dire of circumstances.

First reading
Behold the wood of the Cross, on which hung the salvation of the world.
O come, let us adore.

Responsorial Psalm
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Second Reading
Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.

Verse Before the Gospel
Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.

Gospel Portion
After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”

He has won the victory over sin.
His thirst was satisfied.
The thirst of his soul.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Holy Thursday

Greetings on this the Holy Thursday Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper
Readings: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14; Ps 116:12-13, 15-16bc, 17-18; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Jn 13:1-15
Notes: Tonight

  • Reception of Holy Oils
    • Sacred Chrism (SC)
    • Oil of the Infirm (OI)
    • Oil of the Catechumen (OC)
  • Washing of Feet
  • Mass of the Eucharist
  • Adoration

First reading
Holy Mass is the perpetual feast.
“This day shall be a memorial feast for you,
which all your generations shall celebrate
with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

Responsorial Psalm
Our blessing-cup is a communion with the Blood of Christ.

Second reading
The Holy Mass (Transubstantiation):
Brothers and sisters:
I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over,
took bread, and, after he had given thanks,
broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.

Verse Before the Gospel
I give you a new commandment, says the Lord:
love one another as I have loved you.

Gospel Portion
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.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

What are you willing to give me?

Greetings on this the Wednesday of Holy Week
Readings: Is 50:4-9a; PS 69:8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34; Mt 26:14-25
Notes: It is a Christian axiom to live a self-giving life.

We speak often of servant leadership and lead by example.
Total self-giving is a model of life with real intent and meaning.

BUT Acedia.

The word Acedia means – a form of spiritual laziness due to relaxed vigilance and a lack of custody of the heart (CCC).

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot,
went to the chief priests and said,
“What are you willing to give me
if I hand him over to you?”
They paid him thirty pieces of silver,
and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

We are obliged to be diligent of our own spiritual life and attend our own salvation.
Not by measuring the sins of others, but being good custodians of our own souls.

What are you willing to give me?

  • Jesus offers eternal life.
  • Or take 30 pieces of silver.

First reading
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Verse Before the Gospel
Hail to you, our King;
you alone are compassionate with our errors.

Gospel Portion
Contrasting Judas, Peter and Jesus (yes, we should do so if only for a moment).
Judas suffered from Acadia in the worst of all ways. Betrayal.
Peter suffered from fear.

  • Judas lost his soul.
  • Peter regained custody of his soul.
  • Jesus never lost control of his custody of soul.

Don’t lose yours either.

What are you willing to give me? Is a good question.
But it depends on who you are asking.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Master, who is it?

Greetings on this the Tuesday of Holy Week
Readings: Is 49:1-6; PS 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17; Jn 13:21-33, 36-38
Notes: This morning in my Diocese we have our Chrism Mass. Tonight the practice for the Easter Vigil for those entering into the faith by Baptism.

A very exciting time.

Master, who is it? Everyone wanted to know.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.

Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”

The Gospel of Matthew adds a particular reality:
The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”
The Gospel of Matthew adds a particular response:
Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”

First reading
The Lord called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.

Responsorial Psalm
I will sing of your salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel
Hail to you, our King, obedient to the Father;
you were led to your crucifixion like a gentle lamb to the slaughter.

Gospel Portion
Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.

Men play games with words.
Once a man has set his heart on a particular outcome or a particular point of view it is very hard to change his own mind or be convinced by another to reconsider. A man will do anything to bend and weave language to fit a particular dialog or narrative. It is very dangerous thing to do. It forces us to follow a false path. To act contrary to the good goal and better outcomes.

  • Peter had a bad case of it (the three denials).
  • Judas had the ultimate case of it.

Jesus doesn’t get off track. He stays the course knowing even how difficult it is to follow. He models the right relation between man and God and man with one another.
Most of all, Jesus kept his heart with the Father and the mission without distractions.
Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Don’t manipulate language. Mean what you say, say what you mean.
Be open to change.

It is in honest dialog, open to the fullness of communication, that we make real progress.
The Synod of Synodality called by the Pope is just such a model.

  • Speak.
  • Speak plainly.
  • Speak with honesty.
  • Listen.
  • Listen openly.
  • Listen with honest integrity as a listener.

The most non-listening arguments out there, over abortion, finds truth being hidden behind narrative cleansing and strict interpretation to reinforce positions. This is a grave error against truth (by all sides of this public dialog).

In particular for my Church readers, a Canonical “Legal Fiction” is just that, an agreed to assumed or created fact that allows us to move forward toward a workable solution. BUT we must first understand it is an intentional fiction (or unprovable fact) in order to navigate the seemingly impossible. It is used sparingly and with great caution because of its ‘step toward evil’.

In a salpingostomy, the ectopic pregnancy is removed and the tube left to heal on its own. In a salpingectomy, the ectopic pregnancy and the tube are both removed.

Even the Church hierarchy struggles with these cases dividing the procedures between licit and illicit due to the direct nature of the first and the indirect nature of the second. Both have the double effect principal but both are not accepted by the Church (in some cases neither are accepted). All removals of pregnancies are abortions. That is foundational nature of the word. Fighting that prevents us from making workable solutions on licit and illicit situations. Even then we must encounter the intended will and permissive will of God.

  • Spontaneous abortion – miscarriage.
  • Elective abortion – based on decision without specific medical rational.
  • Medical abortion – medical necessity.

Yes, Jacob, that means you too. Your outbursts on IG are unteathered to truth.

We will only make progress when we acknowledge one another.
The same is true about war.

If we refuse truth, we refuse peace.

Life is messy.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry