Friends

Greetings on this the Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle
Readings: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; PS 113:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; Jn 15:9-17
Notes: I can think of no greater compliment than to be described as a Friend of God.

Both because He sees you that way and you see yourself that way.
Really nice.

We are human/imperfect. Our perfection is our intention to be good friends to the Lord.
Be a good friend to the Lord and to others.

Last year reflection on this scripture: https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/05/07/god-says-lets-be-friends/

Franciscans:
https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-matthias

Reflection Franciscans

What was the holiness of Matthias? Obviously, he was suited for apostleship by the experience of being with Jesus from his baptism to his ascension. He must also have been suited personally, or he would not have been nominated for so great a responsibility. Must we not remind ourselves that the fundamental holiness of Matthias was his receiving gladly the relationship with the Father offered him by Jesus and completed by the Holy Spirit? If the apostles are the foundations of our faith by their witness, they must also be reminders, if only implicitly, that holiness is entirely a matter of God’s giving, and it is offered to all, in the everyday circumstances of life. We receive, and even for this God supplies the power of freedom.

First reading
Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers and sisters

Then they prayed,
“You, Lord, who know the hearts of all,
show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry
from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.”
Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias,
and he was counted with the Eleven Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people.

Alleluia Verse
I chose you from the world,
to go and bear fruit that will last, says the Lord.

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Do not let your hearts be troubled

Greetings on this the Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 13:26-33; PS 2:6-7, 8-9, 10-11ab; Jn 14:1-6
Notes: As difficult as life can become, it is not the final story.

Our final end is in the loving hands of God. Loved and received.

First reading
We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you
that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus,
as it is written in the second psalm,
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.”

Responsorial Psalm (the Second Psalm)
You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.

Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.

Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice

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
Often used in the Funeral Liturgy is todays gospel portion. We use it because the summit of our faith is to believe in the Resurrection unto the Righteous.

  • Faith the Lord will raise us.
  • Faith the Lord prepares a place for us.
  • Faith he will come back for us, each by name, and bring us hand-in-hand to our new home.
  • Faith for “dwelling places” – a place for you.
  • Faith for “Houses” – a place for all families, tribes, and nations (alt translation).

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith also in me.
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.
If there were not,
would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back again and take you to myself,
so that where I am you also may be.
Where I am going you know the way.”
Thomas said to him,
“Master, we do not know where you are going;
how can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Blessed are you if you do it

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 13:13-25; PS 89:2-3, 21-22, 25 and 27; Jn 13:16-20
Notes: I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.

Unworthy, yet called to be like him in ministry to others.

Blessed be God forever.

First reading
I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.

Responsorial Psalm
For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Alleluia Verse
Jesus Christ, you are the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead,
you have loved us and freed us from our sins by your Blood.

Gospel Portion
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master
nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you understand this, blessed are you if you do it.

From now on I am telling you before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe that I AM.
(Note: this is the high prophetic utterance of Jesus. In the discourses to follow he predicts his resurrection).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Jesus cried out

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 12:24—13:5a; PS 67:2-3, 5, 6 and 8; Jn 12:44-50
Notes: People cry out when the message is urgent or te need is urgent.

Jesus cried out too (but not often but specifically):

  • In the Temple – Messiah has come.
  • At the Feast – Completeness of relation satisfaction in the Lord.
  • On the Cross – Redemption.

John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness about Jesus.
Elizabeth cried out in her home about Mary.

So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true (Jn 7:28).

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink (Jn 7:37).

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me (Jn 12:44)

And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”* which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46).

First reading
So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm
O God, let all the nations praise you!

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.

Alleluia Verse
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel Portion
Jesus cried out and said,
what I say, I say as the Father told me.
In the Temple – Messiah has come.
At the Feast – Completeness of relation satisfaction in the Lord.
On the Cross – Redemption.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Tell? Why not See?

Fr Damien – We Leapers

Greetings on this the Memorial Saint Damien de Veuster of Moloka’i
Readings: Acts 11:19-26; PS 87:1b-3, 4-5, 6-7; Jn 10:22-30
Notes: (readings are from the Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter because I don’t have a lectionary at home).

Optipnal Memorial: Saint Damien de Veuster of Moloka’i

Franciscan Reflection
When Joseph de Veuster was born in Tremelo, Belgium, in 1840, few people in Europe had any firsthand knowledge of leprosy, Hansen’s disease. By the time he died at the age of 49, people all over the world knew about this disease because of him. They knew that human compassion could soften the ravages of this disease.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-damien-de-veuster-of-molokai

Read the opposition and response to the work here. The first link is the original and most compelling of all the abstractions below it.

Full Text Open Letter: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/281/281-h/281-h.htm

A plain, uncouth peasant steps into the battle, under the eyes of God, and succours the afflicted, and consoles the dying, and is himself afflicted in his turn, and dies upon the field of honour—the battle cannot be retrieved as your unhappy irritation has suggested. It is a lost battle, and lost for ever. One thing remained to you in your defeat—some rags of common honour; and these you have made haste to cast away.

Abstractions (shorter but less precise)

https://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/opinion/columns/2022/03/the-father-damien-letter/

and

http://robert-louis-stevenson.org/works/father-damien-an-open-letter-to-the-reverend-doctor-hyde-of-honolulu-from-robert-louis-stevenson-1890/

First reading
It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

Responsorial Psalm
All you nations, praise the Lord.

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

Gospel Portion
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me.

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

Giver of Breath

Greetings on this the Monday of Holy Week
Readings: Is 42:1-7; PS 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14; Jn 12:1-11
Notes:

The Giver of Breath promises reconciliation and Resurrection to new life.
And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (Jn 11:43).

First reading
Who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord is my light and my salvation.

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

Gospel Portion
And they plotted to kill Lazarus too (my translation).

Jesus and Lazarus were a problem.

Jesus preformed signs.
Lazarus returned to life from the dead.

This sign of Jesus, returning Lazarus, brings us to the hope of Resurrection.
Jesus then is also ruah or the breath of Life.

Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voices and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation (Jn 5:28-29).

Are you so pissed off (colloquial term) at God or neighbor or this thing or that thing, so much so you are out of breath? If you are out of breath then you are out of ruah breath.

Be a lazarus.
Hear him instead.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Loved Into Silence

Greetings on this the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Readings: Lk 19:28-40; Is 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 22:14—23:56
Notes:

Reading Structure of Lent into Easter Sunday:

  • The season of Lent starts with identical reading for Ash Wednesday in all three reading cycle years A, B, and C.
  • 1st and 2nd Sundays of Lent – cover the same event but from the perspective of one of the three Synoptic Gospels. Same event, different perspectives.
  • 3rd and 4th Sundays of Lent – cover different events between the three Cycles A, B and C.

Palm Sunday begins the reverse.

  • Palm Sunday cover the same event but from the perspective of one of the three Synoptic Gospels. Same event, different perspectives.
  • Chrism Mass – identical reading. This Mass focuses on the office/role of the Bishop, the sacred oils of Christian Initiation/Ordination and the order of the Presbyterate.
  • Mass of the Lord’s Supper – identical reading.
  • Good Friday – identical reading.
  • Easter Vigil – cover the same event but from the perspective of one of the three Synoptic Gospels. Same event, different perspectives.
  • Easter Sunday – on this day the pastor can select either the readings from the gospel of John (“same”) or from the perspective of one of the three Synoptic Gospels. Same event, different perspectives.
  • Palm Sunday liturgy begins with the Procession into Jerusalem.
  • Palm Sunday is a synopsis of the Passion of Christ – the entirety up the burial of the Lord.
  • Deeper Detail in the Triduum:
    • Thursday – Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Institution of the Holy Mass, Eucharist, Priesthood and Servant Leadership (washing of the feet) and a Procession/Exposition/Adoration.
    • Friday – Good Friday, the passion event particular. Veneration of the Cross, Priest and Deacon prostrate before the Lord. Solemn Intercessions. Holy Communion.
    • Holy Saturday – the great silence then the silence is broken.
    • Easter Vigil. Christian Initiation of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion.

Procession
As he rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”

First reading
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Second reading
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming 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 name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

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 name.

Gospel Portion

The Reading of the Passion

PDF of Passion Reading: https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/passion-of-the-lord-luke-gospel-speaking-parts-palm-sunday-4-10-22.pdf

Loved into silence.
We depart this liturgy entering the Holy Week.

Love itself has become silent.
Our love response has become silent.

That we might finally hear the voice of God.

Wind, earthquake and fire then…

a light silent sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, Why are you here, Elijah? (1 Kg 19:12b-13).

The Week Ahead:

  • Chrism Mass – This Mass focuses on the office/role of the Bishop, the sacred oils of Christian Initiation/Ordination and the order of the Presbyterate.
  • Thursday – Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Institution of the Holy Mass, Eucharist, Priesthood and Servant Leadership (washing of the feet) and a Procession/Exposition/Adoration. Silence.
  • Friday – Good Friday, the passion. Veneration of the Cross, Priest and Deacon prostrate before the Lord. Solemn Intercessions. Holy Communion. Silence.
  • Holy Saturday – the great silence then the silence is broken. Silence.

Lukan Palm Sunday:

  • Conspiracy against Jesus
  • Last Supper
  • Transubstantiation
  • Betrayal / Disciple / Denial
  • Instructions in Crisis
  • Agony / Arrest
  • Trial / Barabbas
  • Way of the Cross
  • Crucifixion / Death / Burial

Unifying theme of Palm Sunday readings:

  • Betrayal and Denial of Men by Men.
  • Passion of the Lord (self giving).
  • Ways of Man (Trial and Judgment).
  • Way of Cross (Redemption).
  • Transubstantiation – Total gift of God.
  • Crucifixion – Total sin propitiation.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry