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

Human Tradition

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Gn 1:20—2:4a; PS 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; Mk 7:1-13

Note: today begins the second Impeachment trial of former President Donald R Trump. He was charged while still a sitting President and this is the continuation of the process.

Human Tradition

Perhaps I can copy a footnote here from the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE).

Against the Pharisees’ narrow, legalistic, and external practices of piety in matters of purification, external worship, and observance of commandments, Jesus sets in opposition the true moral intent of the divine law. But he goes beyond contrasting the law and Pharisaic interpretation of it. The parable of Mk 7:14–15 in effect sets aside the law itself in respect to clean and unclean food. He thereby opens the way for unity between Jew and Gentile in the kingdom of God, intimated by Jesus’ departure for pagan territory beyond Galilee.

Weightier Matters

Jesus isn’t obviating all human traditions. He is warning about human traditions that take on an importance to the community higher than divine law. However, even there, Jesus is setting aside contemporary understanding of divine law in favor of a new understanding where such new understanding frees the people from an inferior understanding, even to outright negation of the practice of a divine law that is a subordinate law to the weightier matters of law.

Jeus brings two cases forward:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

and again

Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.

Discernment

It takes discernment to know the differences.

We place high imporance to our Constitutional way of self governance. We place a high standard of behavior of our repsentative and elected officials in their official conduct.

Uncomfortable Language

I take exception to the excessive use of sacred language for the institutions of our Constitution, legal system and the democratic process. All parties seem to place the highest of possible meaning of the governance above that of the Commandments. In no small part in error.

Egregious Behavior

Even still, as Jesus indicated, the behavior of the former President seems to be a severe violation of divine law that must be addressed.

  1. Vain do they worship me – the expression of vanity (I will not concede) while promoting scared law.
  2. Honor your father and your mother – protecting people including the elected among us is a primary role.

Be On Guard

Every person involved in the forming and reforming our governance has a sacred obligation to discern wisely their actions and their intentions. In no way are others innocent of missing the mark.

Today, however, we are interested in one basic fact. Does ANY of our governance matter if the the primary one to uphold refuses to do so. Both divine and human good set aside for vanity.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Convict

Fortune Magazine Photo

Trump was too busy watching the Capitol chaos unfold on TV to do anything about it, advisors told The Washington Post… no photographic evidence has been presented for during or after the insurrection, only before.

The 11 most important lines from Liz Cheney’s blockbuster Fox News interview
Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large


Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney sat for an interview with “Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace, February 7th 2021

  1. “The oath that I took to the Constitution compelled me to vote for impeachment and it doesn’t bend to partisanship, it doesn’t bend to political pressure. It’s the most important oath that we take.”
  2. “I think, you know, that people in the party are mistaken. They believe that BLM and Antifa were behind what happened here at the Capitol. It’s just simply not the case, not true and we’re going to have a lot of work we have to do.”
  3. “The extent to which the president, President Trump, for months leading up to January 6 spread the notion that the election had been stolen or that the election was rigged was a lie and people need to understand that. We need to make sure that we as Republicans are the party of truth that we are being honest about what really did happen in 2020 so we actually have a chance to win in 2022 and win the White House back in 2024.”
  4. “I think this boat and conference made very clear, we are the party of Lincoln, we are not the party of QAnon or anti-Semitism or Holocaust deniers, or white supremacy or conspiracy theories. That’s not who we are.”
  5. “People will want to know exactly what the president was doing. They want to know, for example, whether the tweet he sent out calling Vice President Pence a coward while the attack was underway, whether that tweet, for example, was a premeditated effort to provoke violence. There are a lot of questions that have to be answered and there will be many, many criminal investigations looking at every aspect of this and everyone who was involved, as there should be.”
  6. We have never seen that kind of an assault by a president of the United States on another branch of government and that can never happen again.”
  7. “What we already know does constitute the gravest violation of his oath of office by any president in the history of the country, and this is not something that we can simply look past or pretend didn’t happen or try to move on. We’ve got to make sure this never happens again.”
  8. “So it should not have gotten to the point that it did. I don’t believe the Democrats have any business determining who from the Republicans sit on committees, but we should have dealt with it ourselves.”
  9. “Somebody who has provoked an attack on the United States Capitol to prevent the counting of electoral votes, which resulted in five people dying, who refused to stand up immediately when he was asked and stop the violence, that — that is a person who does not have a role as a leader of our party going forward.”
  10. “We have to make sure that we are able to convey to the American voters, we are the party of responsibility, we are the party of truth, that we actually can be trusted to handle the challenges this nation faces like Covid, and that’s going to require us to focus on substance and policy and issues going forward but we should not be embracing the former president.”
  11. “You know, it’s really — it’s heartbreaking in many ways, Chris, because, you know, we watched the inaugural speech where [President Joe Biden] spoke of unity, where he spoke of trying to work together in the immediate actions we’ve seen with respect to, you know, things like canceling the Keystone pipeline, it’s heartless. It really is.

All is in Order

Greetings on this the Monday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Gn 1:1-19; PS 104:1-2a, 5-6, 10 and 12, 24 and 35c; Mk 6:53-56
Note: We are nine days away, an octave, from the beginning of Lent.

Genesis

The first four days of creation establish the Lord’s dominion over the cosmos. The focus in primarily the vast elements of the Universe and the first life of vegetation.

It is good to understand these first four days as the preparation of the Earth for the living place for humanity.

Psalm 104

How manifold are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you have wrought them all—
the earth is full of your creatures;
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Alleluia.

Gospel

Wherever Jesus went.

  1. With haste, people gathered all in need.
  2. Begged Jesus to touch them even if only the tassel of his cloak.
  3. As many as were touched were healed.

In our faith, in how we live our faith, do we do the same?
Remember, it is by the power of God that any good thing happens. But it is within our power to bring people with haste to God. Often the path is through the ordinary kindness and the helping others as friends in need.

We recognize the healer through the healing.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Shattered Restored

Greetings on this the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Jb 7:1-4, 6-7; Ps 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; 1 Cor 9:16-19, 22-23; Mk 1:29-39

Note: Preaching today is deferred to the once annual Diocesan Services Appeal. The funding of the Diocese is made entirely of the contribution of the local churches and their parishioners.

On the internet I read plenty of complaints that the Catholic Church received PPP funding during the pandemic. This would be an individual parish request depending on their circumstances. In our local case we were doen 60% in contributions at the height of the pandemic and we ended the year at about 30% down. The PPP smoothed out the wild swing in contribution and the payment of wages.

Job

If you are familiar with the book of Job you can appreciate the depths of hardship from which he speaks. His own experiences and those of others coalesce into a montage of agonies. This is a part of what is known as Job’s First Reply. Job reviews the collective agonies of the human experience and is left shattered by what he sees.

Psalm 147

Here the psalmist reminds us the Lord is active even where we cannot tell He is present. He heals, rebuilds, he keeps an eye on all peoples and all creation. The lowly will be rememberd and the wicked cast to the ground.

Obligation

Saint Paul reminds us of our common obligation to remember those who are suffering. For the sake of the Gospel, that is the efficacious reception of the Good News of Jesus Christ, he maintains we must be a slave to all and weak in the eyes of the world. Our power and our wealth and our strength must be from and of Christ alone.

Gospel

Jesus working out of the House of Peter brings relief to the current-day Jobs. All who were ill or possessed by demons were healed.

Then he says Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.

And that is the work of the Church. Heal people in body and spirit.

Find Job, help him.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Happy Anniversary

Final Resting Place – Graveside Service

Greetings on this the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
Readings: Mal 3:1-4; PS 24:7, 8, 9, 10; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-40

This will be the third installment and the common Grief page links all three.

https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/grief/

Friday, February 5th, 2021 will be one year since the death of my Mom.

I love the phrase “My Mom” or “My Dad”.

Whenever someone is talking to me or in a pastoral setting with me I always listen for how we identify the other important people in our lives. Sometimes I listen for the name and sometimes I listen for the identity.

Your Name is how we know you different from everyone else.
Your Identity is how we know you are known by others.
Your Name and Identity often get intermingled by their meaning and the changes in life that occur.
Abram becomes Abraham. Jacob becomes Israel. Simon becomes Peter. Saul becomes Paul.

In heaven, “I shall also give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it (Rev 2:17b).”

Who were you?
During the 1st year of grief we get a glimpse or new insights of who they were. Mom was Mom, yes. But she was also niece, granddaughter, grandmother, sister, etc. In the early days of grief we get a powerful reminder with the visitations, and funeral/burial practices.

Throughout the year, usually, we gain further insights. Random people contact us with a new connection made, distant people are notified with stories to share, old letters read, photo albums reviewed and other gems of ‘who’ come into view.

Who are you?
If you believe that we continue on (no judgment here on how/what you believe) then no doubt in the times sensing way, we wonder ‘who are you now?’ For some belief systems: regeneration, for others, a dream-filled journey on the river, for another, nothingness and for others still, a participation in the Divine Life in a new and spectacular way.

Who will you become?
If the old saying is true, “The only constant is change”, then we must wonder the question, “Who are you becoming?’ How are you changing? For my tradition we speak of moving from purgatory to the beatific vision as one major shift. The other would be what does it mean to say, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working (John 5:17).

Grief is a processing of all the above. In a very real way, how we engage these questions about the loved one lost is how we understand ourselves: were, are, and will be.

Simeon Solution
Perhaps Simeon’s answer is the best of all. After a year of bereavement and grief, gaining reflection of all we know and hope to be we can join the perspective of Simeon:

Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.

Luke 2:29-32

Be at peace
You were, you are and you will be. May your name change too. Expansive in love, tolerant in judgment and merciful to all in need including yourself.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry