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

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

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.

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:

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

What are we going to do?

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Greetings on this the Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Ez 37:21-28; Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12abcd, 13; Jn 11:45-56
Notes: Saturday before Palm Sunday

Everyone in Jerusalem wondered what Jesus is going to do?

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”

First reading
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.

Responsorial From Jeremiah
The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.

Verse Before the Gospel
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel Portion

The Lord’s Plan per Jeremiah:

  • Take you
  • Gather you
  • Covenant with you
  • Dwell with you

Those in Power Worried

  • Take away our lands
  • Take away our nation

What are we going to do?

Which has the stronger hold upon us: the Promise or the Fear?

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

You are gods – Again

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Greetings on this the Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Jer 20:10-13; PS 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7; Jn 10:31-42
Notes: We SHOULD be making ourselves God (by way of the Sonship of Jesus and the invitation to share in the divine life). Many are greatly mistaken.

Here is my reflection from last year – Friday of the 5th Lent Week.
Please read:

In the Catholic Church today the Church is going through some sort of attempted purge.

Rumors, gossip and un-listening ears/hearts looking and probing for any reason to convict the Pope, the Bishop, the Pastor, the Deacon, and the Believer.

Any chance at all.

Even among the ranks of clerics some do likewise.

They picked up rocks to stone Jesus (my translation).

Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”

“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”

But so hopeful that we would!! Be like God in what we do and how we think!!!!

First reading
I hear the whisperings of many:
“Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!”
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
“Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him.”

Reply: Just keep doing good. Resist evil. Trust the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.

Verse Before the Gospel
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel Portion
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

The below taken from:

In friendly dialogue with all branches of knowledge

  1. The Church’s social doctrine avails itself of contributions from all branches of knowledge, whatever their source, and has an important interdisciplinary dimension. “In order better to incarnate the one truth about man in different and constantly changing social, economic and political contexts, this teaching enters into dialogue with the various disciplines concerned with man. It assimilates what these disciplines have to contribute”. The social doctrine makes use of the significant contributions of philosophy as well as the descriptive contributions of the human sciences.

But judge rightly.
In Charity.
With clarity.
From the letter to the Romans.

Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance? (Rom 2:4).

Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek. There is no partiality with God.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

God also said

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Greetings on this the Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Gn 17:3-9; PS 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; Jn 8:51-59
Notes: Confusion. For Discussion.

If I could describe this age in a different way it would be the Age of Confusion.

So many norms upended. Some I am glad to see go. Some I lament their passing away.

I hesitate to make a list because then you would want to put me in a labelled group.
All our thinking has content of faith, religion, business, government, community and the common good. But how vastly different our opinions!

  • Patience and compromise.
  • Acceptance and divergence.
  • Domination and control.

We seem to have lost the ability to read between the lines.
We’ve become literalists and lost the literary understanding of life (if you will, the poetry, the irony, the good tensions, and the good intentions).


Imagine how the early Church had the same.
Heresies have been around since the beginning and the fights continue.

Today we suffer awfully in our arrogance.

First reading
A Royal Grant with a touch of Suzerain-Vassal covenant:

God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

One must remember covenant relationships are partly Suzerain-Vassal covenants.
Types of Covenants: Kinship, Royal Grant, and Suzerain-Vassal covenants are distinct types and the Lord invites us to merge the lines between them into one covenant of love.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Verse Before the Gospel
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Gospel Portion
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

Jesus up-ends everything we understand about time.
In his Transfiguration we see Moses and Elijah alive.
Here Jesus describes how Abraham was filled with joy to see Jesus come.

Abraham, Moses and Elijah all testify to Jesus.
Abraham, Moses and King David all had different types of covenants with the Lord.

The Lord invites us to merge the lines between them into one covenant of love.

Written not on stone but on the heart.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

To Whom Do I Belong

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Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56; Jn 8:31-42

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar with faith in the Lord no matter the earthly outcome. They understood who they are and who they belong to, the Lord.

In today’s gospel portion those challenging Jesus had a false understanding of who they are and who they belong to.

  • We were never slaves – but you were in Egypt a slave and even now slave to sin.
  • We are children of Abraham, he is our father – yes, descendants, but you act in contradiction to the ancestor.
  • We have one father, God – no! You have no relation to God because you cannot see Him at work in His Son.

First reading
If our God, whom we serve,
can save us from the white-hot furnace
and from your hands, O king, may he save us!
But even if he will not, know, O king,
that we will not serve your god
or worship the golden statue that you set up.

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him;
they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies
rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

Responsorial Psalm
Glory and praise for ever!

Verse Before the Gospel
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel Portion
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  • Free from slavery to sin.
  • Free to know God as Father.
  • Free to know God in His Son.
  • Free to know truth as person.

In this gospel portion Jesus makes the distinction between being descendants and being children. Descendants by Ancestry is not being children of which in this case is closely understood as disciple or at least one who is righteous.

Trying to kill me because your father is the father of sin, Satan.
They are expressing:

  • spiritual fornication.
  • children or disciples of evil.
  • actions of evil.

Take heart in this Lent!
Reject Satan and seek good.

We don’t have to rationalize and make elaborate intellectual arguments of who we are and to whom we belong like those arguing with Jesus.

Strive for good. Strive to live in truth.
And you will be free.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Below or Above

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Nm 21:4-9; PS 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21; Jn 8:21-30
Notes: We are fast approaching The Hour.

In the gospel portion today Jesus is referring to the two basic points of reference.

  • Below – that is to say – the here, myself and now.
  • Above – that is to say – everywhere, everyone and always.

The Above includes the Below but the Below ignores the Above.

First reading
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and Moses,
“Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?
We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

The manna was very miraculous food in the sense of timing, availability, quantity, nutrition, flavor, and as gift. It was divinely appointed.

They began to loathe it (always remember the people here are a sign of us all, not unique in their troubles).

Prefiguring the Christ to come, the Suffering Servant.
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”
Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole,
and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent
looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Moving our sight to the Above.

Responsorial Psalm
O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.

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

Gospel Portion
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.

So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM.

Let us move our sight to the Above.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Write Right

Greetings on this the Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 or 13:41c-62; PS 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Jn 8:12-20
Notes: The 5th Sunday Lent the gospel portion of the A Woman Caught in Adultery.
Yesterday –

Today the first reading is about Susanna falsely accused of the same.

  • Both the Woman and Suzanna needed the Father.
  • Both the Woman and Suzanna needed true justice.

First reading
The story of Susanna in the book of the prophet Daniel is a must read.

Such a compelling story of the complexity of faith and sin.
Susanna, innocent and humble, together with her faithful friends and family coming to her aid. The wicked two old men intent on making their desires satisfied and, if not, to destroy the one whose innocence can destroy them.

God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel.
He used wisdom and divine logic to free Suzanna and punish the wicked men.

Solomon: wisdom, divine logic freed two women from their punishing fight over a baby.
(see Solomon’s Listening Heart)

The compelling theme is to see aright. Seeing as the Lord sees. And the determination to be merciful as mercy is a decision and a way of life. Mercy! shows the way to true justice.

Responsorial Psalm
Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

Verse Before the Gospel
I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion, that he may live.

Gospel Portion
You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone.
And even if I should judge, my judgment is valid,
because I am not alone,
but it is I and the Father who sent me.

I try so very much to transmit the deeper meaning of justice and compassion as contrasted by secular and the cold juridical application of laws.

Yesterday I offered my opinion of what Jesus wrote in the sand (he wrote twice just as the Lord wrote with the Finger of God to write and rewrite the Commandments).

  • The First Instance – the Finger of God (Jesus) wrote – the Beatitudes. The fullness of the Ten Commandments.
  • The Second Instance – the Finger of God (Jesus) wrote – the Memories of our innocence and beauty that he created in us in the womb.

Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

No Condemnation

Greetings on this the Fifth Sunday of Lent Year C Readings
Readings: Is 43:16-21; Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6; Phil 3:8-14; Jn 8:1-11

Cross reference: Exodus 31:18 and Deuteronomy 9:10,

When the LORD had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, the stone tablets inscribed by God’s own finger.

The LORD gave me the two stone tablets inscribed, by God’s own finger.

The Law of the Lord.

  • Lev 20:10 both share face the consequence.
  • Deut 22:22 both share face the consequence.
  • Ez 33:11 I take no pleasure.

Answer them: As I live—oracle of the Lord GOD—I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! Why should you die, house of Israel?

First reading
See, I am doing something new!
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

Wild beasts honor me, jackals and ostriches,
for I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink,
the people whom I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

The return from Exile is an outward sign of the forgiveness of sin.

Second reading
For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having any righteousness of my own based on the law but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God.

Verse before the Gospel
Even now, says the Lord,
return to me with your whole heart;
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel Portion

For my homily today, I will be blindfolded and have a walking stick.

Tell the story of the ex-official of a repressive regime that came upon hard times having been shot through the temple, blinded and left to die by the same regime officials.

The Lord had other plans.

What did Jesus write?

Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.

Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.

What did Jesus write?
See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

Has no one condemned you?”
She replied, “No one, sir.”
Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you.
Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry