That very day

Painting of The Road to Emmaus courtesy of Methodist News Service

Greetings on this the Wednesday in the Octave of Easter
Our readings today are as follows.

  • The Book of Acts with Peter and John in the temple area.
  • Psalm One Oh Five.
  • The Gospel of Luke story of the Road to Emmaus.

This text is presented as a feed to a podcast tool.

On that very day, the first day of the week.

So many wonderful things to reflect on today about the story of the Road to Emmaus especially when paired with the reading from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.

Perhaps in a bulleted list form?

  • Jesus journeys with us in our uncertainty.
  • The Apostles and the apostolic succession is given to do the same.
  • Jesus taught all that the prophets spoke.
  • The Church teaches the fulfillment of the Old Testament in Jesus.
  • Jesus invokes compassion in the disciples.
  • The Apostles show compassion for the beggar.
  • Jesus is revealed in the Breaking of the Bread – Eucharist.
  • Jesus is revealed in the healing of the beggar by the Apostles.

The Apostles ask Jesus to stay.
He gives them himself in Eucharistic bread until the End of Time.

Today, too, is that very day.

We come to him, Jesus, in the church. We seek to journey together, learn together, be compassionate together and be together in the breaking of the bread that he may never leave us.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Repent and be baptized

Christ the King

Greetings on this the Tuesday in the Octave of Easter
Readings: Acts 2:36-41; PS 33:4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22; Jn 20:11-18

Note: My reflections are Catholic by nature and I hope also universally inviting with a broad spectrum of acceptance of your person. When you read, remember I am being careful to state certainty without judgment. To quote Pope Francis, our focus must be

‘to enter into a living relationship with the members of God’s people and to look at life from their perspective in order to understand the real difficulties they encounter and to help heal their wounds.

Repent and be Baptized

It’s pretty clear but not entirely so for many. In this age baptism is often seen as an optional, visually pleasing rite without any particular divine action associated with it.

The confusion comes in when we say, correctly, that God is not limited by the Sacramental system but rather offers himself through the Sacramental system as (1) what Jesus prescribed and (2) with the assurance of its potency.

The normative is for our benefit not our harm. The exception is for all cases that the normative is not possible. Dominus Supple (Lord, the supplier).

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”

It might be helpful to add reading chapter 8:4-40 of the Book of Acts.

Here ae two examples one poorly discerning and one well discerning:

  • The story of Simon the Magician.
  • The story of Philip and the Ethiopian.

I often get calls in the time leading up to Easter for an immediate baptism! RIGHT NOW! Inspired, fearful or power hungry any of which could be true. From a normative perspective not something we can do unless there is danger of death. Repentance and formation is a year long process.

Again review the two stories in Acts chapter 8 above.

Usually there is an impatience to even talk about their spiritual life and formation to-date. I don’t know where they go but often do not come back at the beginning of the formation season.

So how to we keep in balance the need for immediate help and proper formation without being accused of establishing norms beyond those set by Jesus and the Apostles. Well, that battle has been going on for centuries.

For a cleric it is ALWAYS painful to have this crisis of orderliness and to encounter a heart so conflicted.

Our psalmist today helps us center our expectations.

See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.

Trust this promise most of all!!

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?

Old story: An evangelical friend of mine finally became a father. So happy! But came a sudden crisis of faith. He came to me and asked I immediately baptize his baby. I said no, not yet.

My Reply: You trust in God and continue to trust him. He knows your realization of sin and the necessity of baptism. Excellent. Your tradition waits until the age of reason. So wait to the Age of Reason. If the situation changes (fear of death), yes, of course. But not fear. Fear is not your God and we will not be mastered by it.

Now let us plan a blessing and prayer of protection for your beautiful baby.

That was an interfaith approach, ecumenism, specifically for the Believer.

Trust, repent and be baptized.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Jesus met them

Greetings on this the Monday in the Octave of Easter
Readings: Acts 2:14, 22-33; PS 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11; Mt 28:8-15

Note: Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg a teacher and theologian committed to educating Christians and removing anti-Semitism from the Christian faith. I recommend his book The Jewish Gospel of John.

www.IsraelBibleCenter.com

For his Easter Sunday homily Fr Nobert John-Pierre told an interesting and funny story. While in Guatemala on mission he was there for the Easter Vigil one time. At the stroke of midnight the entire town went into a frenzy of activity. Everyone was out scouting about searching for Jesus who was no longer in the tomb.

This tradition, echoing the earliest revelations that Jesus was risen, brings a heart-smile to everyone who heard Father tell the story.

Both fearful and overjoyed Mary Magdalene and the other Marys ready to do something but uncertain what that something is!

And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them.
They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee,
and there they will see me.”

The first reading from the Book of Acts appeals to the theologian in us as to the scriptural reference to David and his offspring Jesus.

The Gospel reading appeals to those who want the rumors to be addressed that Jesus was stolen from the grave not resurrected.

The women. The women were filled with energy and ready to ‘be’.

So whether you have confusion of the mind, mistrust of the news or searching how to ‘be’ this Easter Octave is for you.

Don’t be afraid, tell your story and share the Good News of Jesus!

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Calling All Sinners!

Greetings on this the Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Note:
Today – headed out to seek Rite of Reconciliation.
Tonight Rite of the Elect – bringing six people to be Baptized during the Eater Vigil to meet the Bishop and receive his blessings and the acknowledgment that the Lord is calling them to his table.

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.

Ez 33:11

Isaiah

Programmer’s style…

if ( remove oppression &&
false accusation &&
malicious speech &&
pursue Sabbath rest &&
enter Sabbath delight &&
give bread to the hungry &&
help afflicted)
{
Light in darkness;
Gloom dissipated;
Plenty;
Like a watered garden;
Heritage;
}
}

Gospel

Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners

How healthy are you?

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Not So Fast!

Greetings on this the Friday after Ash Wednesday
Readings: Is 58:1-9a; PS 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 18-19; Mt 9:14-15

Note: Today we abstain from eating meat, a luxury and an expense. Instead give a small offering for the poor among us. Saint Vincent de Paul had this to say about Charity:

You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see. And the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them.

It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.”

(remember compunction)

Fast-less Fast

In our first reading today we are treated to a dialog.

We say…
God calls us to fast.
We do something that simulates a fast.
We immediately want rewards.

God replies…
Your fast day? you carry out your own pursuits.
Your fast day? you drive all your laborers.
Yes, your fast… ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw.

God instructs for us to do a real fast…
Releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.

Then says the Lord… you will be healed yourself and ask for anything and you will be heard.

Gospel
The challenge to Jesus was why do your disciples not fast like the rest of us?

Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”

We fast because we await the Lord’s return. We fast like as Isaiah how we should fast, heart turned toward the Lord and each other. Today’s fast isn’t of food but of doing service to those in need.

Otherwise, it is not so fast.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Compunction – Ash Wednesday

Greetings on this Ash Wednesday
Readings: Jl 2:12-18; PS 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17; 2 Cor 5:20—6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Compunction – is etymologically related to the verb “to puncture”.

The suggestion is the need for us to deflate our egos, stop our self-deceit, and reorder our lives as true disciples of Jesus Christ – Paraphrase of “The Spirit of Lent” Mark Searle, Assembly, Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, Notre Dame, IN

A puncture … do you recall I said compassion is to ‘co-suffer’? Divine co-suffering?

Compunction is the same. Divine compunction is the effect upon the Divine of our sense of guilt. Our awareness of guilt is an imperative for the Divine.

Divine Pity

Leading up to Ash Wednesday I reminded the reader that we have been focusing on the Divine Pity – the power of God and the will of God to act on our behalf in our most desperate situation.

It is good to recall that today as we are but “Ash… and to ash we shall return’.
The Divine Pity brings about an entirely different outcome.

Compunction

The readings in the first part of Lent attempt to achieve the impossible. Breaking through or pierce our heardened hearts and replace them with human hearts.

Focus of Repentance and Baptism – the ashes remind us of our mortality, certainly, and our need to repent (ash-cloth and ashes) and the sign of the cross the Divine Response of Love and Salvation.

The three practices of Lent are taken directly from the teachings of Jesus Christ. He cautions us to do so with the proper disposition of heart, that is with Compunction – a desire of change.

  1. Almsgiving – see the human need with a divine eye.
  2. Prayer – commune with the divine one.
  3. Fasting – be in solidarity with the human condition and the divine solution.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Great Wickedness

Noah – National Catholic Register

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Gn 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10; PS 29:1a and 2, 3ac-4, 3b and 9c-10; Mk 8:14-21

Note: Final day of Ordinary Time prior to Lent. The continuous readings stop for now and the Lent cycle begins tomorrow. So our first reading of the continuous reading of the book of Genesis leaves us off at a most desperate point. Noah has built the Ark and the animals are safely aboard.

The situation for humanity is actually quite dire…

the waters of the flood came upon the earth (Gen 6:10b)

It is the 40 Days of the Flood and now for us the 40 Days of Lent…

Leaven of Herod

What is leaven? Classic definition is a substance, as yeast or baking powder, that causes fermentation and expansion of dough or batter.

The leaven of Herod would be his leadership, teachings and disposition. Said from the receiving end, the way his followers become.

Greedy, violent, self-possessed. Alliance and advantage are their guiding principles.

Leaven of Jesus

I broke the five loaves for the five thousand.
I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand.

He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Sighed from the depth of his spirit

Greetings on this the Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Gn 4:1-15, 25; PS 50:1 and 8, 16bc-17, 20-21; Mk 8:11-13

Note: The Senate vote did not meet the threshold for conviction. Former President Donald J Trump is acquitted a second time. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnel said although DJT is not guilty for the sake of impeachment, he is morally and ethically responsible for the insurrection and should be subject to civil and criminal law.

For which I can only say,

Aimless System brings depravation and excess.

We continue through Genesis cataloging the preeminent of man’s poor choices(Saturday was reading was the fall of Adam and on Monday the reading was the fall of Cain). We do make poor choices – even when we know exactly the situation for what it is and we are able to fully chose wrong. In moral theology this is called mortal sin.

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”

Jesus Does

Up until the challenge by the Pharisees, [Jesus] worked many miracles; the blocks Mk 4:35–6:44 and Mk 6:45–7:10 are cycles of stories about healings, miracles at the Sea of Galilee, and marvelous feedings of the crowds (from Opening commentary for Gospel Mark in New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE)).

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
“Why does this generation seek a sign?

Good Or Ill – We know

There was only one real question for the Pharisees. They knew of the healings and miracles and supernatural feeding events of Jesus.

Their only question was: Are we going to be impeached for our maleficence?

Jesus sighed. He knew that if the evidence already presented and widely known wasn’t enough, no ‘sign’ would suffice either. Their goal was to maintain power. They cared nothing about the truth.

Aimless System brings depravation and excess.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry