Manifest for Manifestation

In the hours leading up to the Epiphany or the Manifestation, I thought to list a manifest of preparation that will help us actually experience the Epiphany.

Manifest

A ship or plane’s manifest is the list of cargo or passengers on a particular trip.

Four Basics

1. Tear down walls of separation – from within and around me root out the prejudice which erodes the depth of our humanity.

2. See the Presence of God – teach us to recognize the many forms of God’s presence in one another.

3. Assent to be holy as God is holy – with integrity of word and deed, faith and action.

4. Let God transform me and all of creation – may every heart, voice, deed, action throughout the universe be transformed.

Happy Epiphany!

Think with Love

Wednesday night Benediction was the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25 Joseph visited by an Angel in a dream story.

It is also the Gospel reading for the 4th Sunday of Advent. Perhaps we can use this story for our current situation.

Joseph thought in terms of righteousness. He wanted to do the right thing – at least what he thought were the available options.

He considered his options under the law: 1. Subject her to the moralists, 2. Divorce her quietly.

While he considered he had a visitation. Here is where I want to expand our understanding of Divine angelic visitation.

This invitation is to think in and through love. The third option, the one he couldn’t imagine under the law: Marry Her. Thinking in and through love he became the Protector of the incarnate one and his mother.

Yesterday the House of Representatives impeached Donald J Trump. This is the situation. This is the state of affairs. This is our predicament.

Where do we go from here? I am not suggesting The Donald is anything close to a innocent! I am not suggesting The Donald is anything close to a righteousness man!

There is no question that President Donald John Trump should be convicted and removed from office.

I’m worried about us, the People of these United States. I AM worried we are stuck between the false choice of the moralists and the quiet divorce options.

We need the same Angel to speak to us. Help us find the option of love. Which in this case is removal and full disclosure of the evil among us.

We need the contours of options knowable but only through revelation.

May God bless these United States of America.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Hidden in Christ

After a day bedside, I went to pharmacy to get my own medication.

A man looked at me and said,

You are hiding the cross!

He was upset.

I replied,

Rather, I am hidden in the Cross.

He replied,

I don’t hide anything.

Indeed. More Bible time needed. See Eph 1:7.

Religious intolerance not only is rude but closes one off to new expressions of the Divine.

Don’t be rude.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Insurance Rich – Premium Poor

"We'll keep you poor throughout your life, but at least you'll be rich after you die."

Insurance Rich – Premium Poor

Greetings on this the Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: WS 9:13-18B; PS 90:3-6, 12-14, 17; PHMN 9-10, 12-17; LK 14:25-33

Modern Parable

When I was a young man and establishing my life outside of the family, in a conversation with my Mom I made mention of the different insurances being sold out in the marketplace. Car insurance, renters insurance, health insurance, life insurance, on and on the list went. She listened carefully to my descriptions of each and the relative merits each provides. When I was done she answered simply,

“You don’t want to be Insurance Rich and Premium Poor”.

Insurance Rich and Premium Poor

She went on to explain that there are many insurance products out there. Many more, in fact, than I listed above. But only some do you really need. And even then only in restrained quantities. You don’t want fear to be the primary motivator of your actions. You don’t want preservation of material goods to be your principle concern. Moms can be smart that way.

Rather the focus should be on loftier and more valuable things: relationships and behavior. Jesus offers discipleship that has us not focus on insurance of what we have and how to retain it but rather on that which we can share and bring the Kingdom of God to all in need.

Today’s Gospel Parables are the same message

Jesus compares three things (or four depending on how you count).

  1. Love of God and Bearing Your Cross
  2. Building a Tower
  3. Fighting a War

Jesus makes clear that loving God and bearing your cross is ‘The Way’. Building a Tower and Marching off to war are illusions of insurance. They are really impossible tasks that lead to no good outcome.

Choose – choose wisely. Choose to carry a cross for the Kingdom and the wellbeing of not just your own but for all.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

Spiritual Negligence

Leaking Cup

Spiritual Negligence

Greetings on this the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: IS 66:18-21; PS 117:1, 2; HEB 12:5-7, 11-13; LK 13:22-30

The Gospel reading for today has Jesus speaking of the narrow gate (or narrow way). In the Gospel of Matthew version the narrow gate is evaluated or realized by the fruits of the works of the person. In the Luke version the narrow gate is determined by the effort or striving one attempts. Heaven it seems in not merely a creed or profession but a reflection on how we think and what we do.

Traffic Control

I am not sure if this is common where you live but here we use off duty policeofficer to perform traffic control at our local houses of worship. The efficient movement of many vehicles into and out of a given house of worship requires an authoritative traffic control person and who better than a police officer.

Usually this work is pretty straight forward. Maybe a 15-20 minute effort in total and it can be done without a great deal of effort. But this one Sunday there were many, many cars. The traffic control policeman really struggled to keep up with the volume and the duration of the traffic control effort. We knew it would be a more difficult day so after it was over we walked over to the police officer to thank him. Before we could say a word he blurted out: ‘Father, you must tell me in advance when you are going to have a big event! This was much too hard to do all alone and I should have had help.’ Father responded, ‘Are you Christian’ The police officer replied, ‘Yes.’ Father said, ‘Today is Easter.’

Worried People

Back to the Gospel story.

The people were clearly worried. Seeing and hearing the differences between the leadership and their teaching and Jesus and his teaching would naturally create some serious thinking: ‘Lord, will only a few be saved?’ Spiritual neglect (we used to call it lukewarm) is a reasonable understanding of this teaching of Jesus. What exactly do we need to think/do/say? Is wealth a sign of God’s approval or a product of sin?

Jesus instead points to the contrast – the opposite of a life of salvation. In other words, Jesus does not answer the question directly. Instead he offers the example of exactly what we should NOT be like.

In the dialog of arriving at the narrow gate and wanting access some are turned away, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

To which they reply: ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’

Jesus repeats his statement, ‘I do not know where you are from.’

The ‘ate and drink’ statement needs to be unpack. Jesus deliberately wants us to do that. The statement is concerned with the worldly good of life and is missing the spiritual good of life. It contains the three basic forms of obsession for worldly good and becomes the evidence about those who are denied entry.

The three are:

  1. Pleasures of Life (Flesh) – Food and drink even the Sign of the Multiplication of the Bread is to be taken for the body alone.
  2. Pleasures of the Eye (Possessions) – Riches of the world. Our city, you were invited to our city. We possess this place.
  3. Pride of Life (Honor) –They want to possess honor, be given honor and not give God the honor.

Narrow Gate

Jesus’ warning is that worldly good can have such a powerful influence over us as to put our eternal soul at risk of eternal exclusion.

Depart from me, all you evildoers, he said. Doing evil is the problem. Attending to your spiritual good is the way to the narrow gate.

Jesus is the gate. Following in his path, making your way to your personal Jerusalem is a truly fulfilling life with eternal benefits.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

 

 

 

 

Nay Neighbor

good samaritan

Nay Neighbor

Greetings on the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: DT 30:10-14; PS 69:14, 17, 30-31, 33-34, 36, 37; COL 1:15-20; LK 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus.

He followed all the commandments or so he thought. Jesus affirmed his understanding. But he went a step too far.

He couldn’t resist. He knew that of all the commandments there was one that he was not quite comfortable with or perhaps we can say he wanted to limit its scope to fit his idea of what it means.

And who is my neighbor? Or more accurate – Who is NOT my neighbor? Who can I treat differently/poorly?

Jesus answered with a story. He wanted to shake this young man out of his bias and self-justification and into the justice of God – mercy.

The priest and the Levite passed on the opposite side. Why?

  1. Worry about drugs, disease, or filth?
  2. Worry about the imaginary banditos hidden in the bushes?
  3. Worry they were late for an appointment?
  4. Worry that it would cost them money?

In contrast the Samaritan worried about none of these things rather worried he did not leave the inn keeper enough deposit to finish the healing work and promised to pay any balance due upon his return. Talk about a different perspective!

This unworthy enemy of the people was the one who obeyed the commandment.

Some additional commandments:

  1. You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt (EX 22:20).
  2. You shall not hand over to his master a slave who has taken refuge from him with you (Deut 23:16).
  3. You shall have but one rule, for alien and native alike. I, the LORD, am your God (Lv 24:22).
  4. Thus says the LORD: Do what is right and just. Rescue the victim from the hand of his oppressor. Do not wrong or oppress the resident alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place (Jer 22:3).
  5. Within you, father and mother are despised; in your midst, they extort from the resident alien; within you, they oppress orphans and widows. What is holy to me you have spurned, and my Sabbaths you have desecrated (Ez 22:7-8).

Tonight, July 13th into the 14th, ICE covers the land, desecrates the Sabbath, violates the commandments and ignores all the ancient warning regarding aliens in our midst. And our leadership is happy to oppress the Samaritans among us.

Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ (Matt 9:13a).

This ICE raid campaign is a great stain on the nation and a for-shadowing of what we are becoming.

Blessings,

Deacon Gerry

 

 

Summer Study – Gospel of John

Four Evangelist Symbols

We are drawing to the conclusion next Tuesday July 30th. I have already posted the Final Gospel of John outline which now includes he web page with weekly outlines, notes and discussions.

By August 12th I intend to post a polished version to allow easier transition between the topics but this version is content complete.

I hope your summer is berry, berry good!

Short Link

All the best!

Deacon Gerry

Sorry, No Room

false-apology

Sorry, No Room

Greetings on this Fourth Sunday of Easter

Readings: ACTS 13:14, 43-52; PS 100:1-2, 3, 5; REV 7:9, 14B-17; JN 10:27-30

The Lie

President of the United States Donald J. Trump: We can’t take any more. Sorry. Can’t have it. So turn around. That’s the way it is.

Fake apology. Fake problem. Fake Christianity.

Solemn Warning from the Blessed Mother

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.  He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.  He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.  He has helped Israel his servant, remembering his mercy, according to his promise to our fathers, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.

Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II – Ecclesia In America

The Synod Fathers recalled that “the Church in America must be a vigilant advocate, defending against any unjust restriction the natural right of individual persons to move freely within their own nation and from one nation to another. Attention must be called to the rights of migrants and their families and to respect for their human dignity, even in cases of non-legal immigration” (65).

Rooms Available

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.

Happy Mindless Mimes verses Dense Moral Exhortations

A good deacon friend of mine said, ‘Deacon Gerry, how can you find social justice context in just about everything Jesus said? I think you are shoe-horning sacred scripture.’ This was said with honest and pure intent. He is a gentle soul who lives the gentleness of Jesus on a daily basis and I take his concern seriously. Upon reflection my response is that I relate more to Sister Aloysius Beauvier in Doubt.

The desire for self-serving peace is a non-Christian response to the Diaspora problem.

May I borrow a quote from Sister Aloysius Beauvier?

You just want things to be resolved so you can have simplicity back.

Simplicity over essential truth not the trivial.

Hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others (MT 23:23).

The Search for Truth of Intention

Father Brendan Flynn: You haven’t the slightest proof of anything!

Sister Aloysius Beauvier: But I have my certainty! And armed with that, I will go to your last parish, and the one before that if necessary. I’ll find a parent.

The desire to lead by falsehood is a path of destruction.

The Voice

A Christian hears the voice and we follow Jesus who led by example.

I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do. (JN 13:15).

We gather, protect and share the divine life with the stranger and wanderer of this world.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry