Transcendent Love

Greetings on this the Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Tb 11:5-17; Ps 146:1b-2, 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10; Mk 12:35-37
Notes: TGIF!

The Lord delights in using titles and to refer to us as all of them.
We are brother, sister, mother, and father when we act in the Father’s will, Jesus claims.
But he said to them in reply, “Who are my mother and [my] brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. [For] whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mk: 3:33-35).

We are called into Transcendent Love.
With the Lord.
With everyone.

Tobit and Anna rejoiced and went out to the gate of Nineveh to meet their daughter-in-law. Welcome, my daughter!

Today and tomorrow wrap up the story. Such a moving piece!
Don’t fail to read the conclusion tomorrow!

Nineveh – this all took place in Nineveh.
From Jonah: And should I not be concerned over the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot know their right hand from their left, not to mention all the animals?” (

The Question About David’s Son.
Jesus questions the claim of the scribes about the Davidic descent of the Messiah, not to deny it but to imply that he is more than this. His superiority derives from his transcendent origin, to which David himself attested when he spoke of the Messiah with the name “Lord”. From:

First Reading
Tobit and Anna rejoiced and went out to the gate of Nineveh to meet their daughter-in-law. Welcome to your home with blessing and joy. Come in, daughter!” That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

Praise the Lord, my soul!

The LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the just. The LORD protects strangers.

Gospel Acclamation
Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.

The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

You are her love, and she is your beloved

Boy and girl together on Camino meant for love

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Tb 6:10-11; 7:1bcde, 9-17; 8:4-9a; Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5; Mk 12:28-34
Notes: You were meant for love. Always. Ever. And everywhere.

The wicked demon Asmodeus has a many vividly described evil purposes. His existence is shared among many near Eastern cultures. Suffice to say in this context he is about disrupting the natural union of man and woman – preventing the prior unions from living together to a happy old age. It is very difficult to ascribe further meaning without going into demonology and ancient myths. He is thwarted by prayer and sweet oblation.

But pairing this story with the Great Commandment, we can see we are ordered (naturally aligned to and desiring to be in) loving relationships.

  • With God.
  • With spouse.
  • With one another.


First Reading
Be brave, my daughter. May the Lord grant you joy in place of your grief. Courage, my daughter.

My love, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your home; Your children like olive plants around your table.

Gospel Acclamation
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.

Which is the first of all the commandments?

Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Deep Distress Deeper Answer

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Tb 3:1-11a, 16-17a; Ps 25:2-3, 4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9; Mk 12:18-27
Notes: Deep distress requires a deeper answer.

The Lord brings relief for our afflictions in this life and has removed our final affliction of death to the promise of eternal life.

Tobit and Sarah both in deep distress in the story telling of the book of Tobit.

Tobit laments the oppression of the Assyrians, his blindness and his harsh words at his wife Anna.
He thinks about the causation.
He prays for death.

Sarah laments her intolerable marriage situation where seven men were unable to be husband and the continuous mockery of the maids.
She has no thought to the causation so incalculable is its cause.
She considers taking matters into her own hands by suicide but thinks better of it.
She prays for death.

It is a prayer of desperation.
It is beyond my power to change licitly and I feel the situation is unresolvable.

Then let me die.
Death seemed the better option to Tobit and Sarah.

We know that the second life of heaven is a part of the Jewish theology at that time so one should assume that both Tobit and Sarah have at least a passing thought to the restored life in the destination Tobit requests: let me go to the everlasting abode. The place where they are like the angels in heaven.

Their prayers and yours do rise to the Heavens.
Their prayers and yours are heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God.

They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint (ISA 40:31).

The ultimate answer of the Lord is the resurrection.
Troubles come and troubles go but the promise of life remains and its potency remains.
Death is powerless in the comparison to the promise of the everlasting abode.

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, and put the ironic test to the Lord.
The sarcasm is intense and complete. No doubt the Sadducees knew the story of Tobit and Sarah and acted as if the moral of the story is void of potency.

They are accusing G-d of not only failing to answer the prayers of the woman with seven dead husbands but that even in the end death is the final outcome.
A death of annihilation.

Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?
He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.

First Reading
At that very time, the prayer of these two suppliants was heard in the glorious presence of Almighty God.

So Raphael was sent to heal them both: to remove the cataracts from Tobit’s eyes, so that he might again see God’s sunlight; and to marry Raguel’s daughter Sarah to Tobit’s son Tobiah, and then drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her.

To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.

Gospel Acclamation
I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me will never die.

I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
And of you.

And to the Lord and in the Lord you will live forever.

Hope in the Lord, for your ‘now’ and for your ‘forever’.

They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint (ISA 40:31).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Why are you testing me?

The border crossing between France and Spain.
A moments rest between the two missions.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Tb 2:9-14; Ps 112:1-2, 7-8, 9; Mk 12:13-17
Notes: I love the fight between Tobit and Anna. Matches the gospel portion today in a special way.

Why are you testing me?

For four years she kept the family fed and their bills paid.

Tobit was lost in his miseries.
But since he is writing retrospectively, we can see he acknowledges:

  • All my kinsmen were grieved at my condition.
  • Ahiqar, however, took care of me for two years.
  • My wife Anna worked for hire.

For her part Anna ‘had it up to here’ with Tobit.
Basically saying, you have virtues for others but not for me [gratitude being one of them]?

Anna was sorely tested by Tobit.

  • His plight was sorrowful to be sure.
  • But Ahiqar, who had access to the medical arts of the Assyrian king, leveraged his position to aid Tobit.
  • His wife, Anna, took care of the household in its entirety.

Tobit, a virtuous man, lashed out anyway [nobody is perfect but Jesus & Mary].

Anna’s response is: Why do you test me?
Is not the evidence before you enough?

Love it!

What a great way to encounter the gospel reading today!

Our gospel portion today is at the end of the Galilean ministry.
Jesus proves his authority, power and grace time and again in the gospel of Mark prior to The Entry into Jerusalem.

Examples (lifted from the Mark gospel study).

  • Blind Mk 8:22-26 and Mk 18:46-62
  • Deaf Mk 7:32-35
  • Leper Mk 1:40-43
  • Poor Mk 10:21
  • Lame Mk 2:1-12
  • Dumb Mk 7:32-35

From here on in Mark is the Jeruselem entry and passion sequence.

So Jesus and Anna have the same basic reply:

Why do you test me?
Is not the evidence before you enough?

Additionally, they want us to look inside ourselves:

What is it that makes you so unhappy?
Tobit – loss of autonomy and dignity.
Pharisees and Herodians – loss of power and authority.

Why is it you are acting out this way?
Tobit – frustration and inability to control one’s life.
Pharisees and Herodians – their desire to nulify the ministry of Jesus in favor of their own power.

The coins containing forbidden images of persons are not the ‘currency’ of G-d.
The currency of G-d is love.

Is not the evidence before you enough?

First Reading
So she retorted: “Where are your charitable deeds now? Where are your virtuous acts? See! Your true character is finally showing itself!”

The heart of the just one is firm, trusting in the Lord.

Lavishly he gives to the poor; his generosity shall endure forever; his horn shall be exalted in glory.

Gospel Acclamation
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call.

Knowing their hypocrisy he said to them, “Why are you testing me?”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

A House of Prayer – A Life of Courage

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
Readings: Tb 1:3; 2:1a-8; Ps 112:1b-2, 3b-4, 5-6; Mk 12:1-12
Notes: We take a delightful reading sequence through the book of Tobit. I find great solace in that book, a story of love in action from end to end.

The first treasure of the book we have today and matches wonderfully with the Saint of the Day, Boniface, Bishop and Martyr.
A man whos home is a House of Prayer leads a life of spiritual courage.

God forbid we err so badly as to reject the corner stone!

How did they reject the stone?

  • By not listening to the Prophets and ultimately by killing them.
  • By ignoring the commandments.
  • By leading with greed and self-interest, lacking care for the people.
  • By rejecting God, himself.


Be a House of Prayer.

  • Read sacred scripture.
  • Follow the commandments.
  • Listen to your Pope.
  • And your spiritual courage exceeds your wildest dreams.

Tobit was about to dine in celebration of Pentecost (The Feast of Weeks).
A murdered person lying in the street, he immediately recovered the body and then ate his dinner in mourning. The next day he buried the poor man, to the mockery of the people who know his action could bring certain death for him.

Franciscan Media:


Boniface bears out the Christian rule: To follow Christ is to follow the way of the cross. For Boniface, it was not only physical suffering or death, but the painful, thankless, bewildering task of Church reform. Missionary glory is often thought of in terms of bringing new persons to Christ. It seems—but is not—less glorious to heal the household of the faith.

First Reading
On our festival of Pentecost, the feast of Weeks, a fine dinner was prepared for me, and I reclined to eat.

“Father, one of our people has been murdered! His body lies in the market place where he was just strangled!” I sprang to my feet, leaving the dinner untouched; and I carried the dead man from the street and put him in one of the rooms, so that I might bury him after sunset. Returning to my own quarters, I washed myself and ate my food in sorrow.

And I wept.
Then at sunset I went out, dug a grave, and buried him.

The neighbors mocked me, saying to one another: “He is still not afraid! Once before he was hunted down for execution because of this very thing; yet now that he has scarcely escaped, here he is again burying the dead!”

Blessed the man who fears the Lord.

Blessed the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commands. His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed.

Gospel Acclamation
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.

Have you not read this Scripture passage:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd,
for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them.
So they left him and went away.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Camino Photo Sequence

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Here is the search link for the Camino so you can cycle through the Camino postings.

If you want to scan through the Camino photos, use this link. Hit Older posts button until no more…


Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Divine Prerogative

Greetings on this the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Readings: Ex 34:4b-6, 8-9; Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56; 2 Cor 13:11-13; Jn 3:16-18
Notes: Added rating indicator to the top of the posts. It’s a feature I’d like to try out to see if it communicates reception.

Divine Prerogative means that G-d is under no obligation to show mercy or to not show mercy. He is merciful on whomever he wishes to be merciful.

  1. Some would limit the mercy of G-d. Have mercy on me but not him, or the opposite, on him not on me.
  2. Some would trivialize the mercy of G-d. What good is mercy in my agonies?
  3. Some would universalize the mercy of G-d. No matter what, I get mercy.

G-d is always merciful: “The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”

Taken in reverse order as follows:

  1. Slow to anger means his mercy is continuous but if we persist in rejecting mercy, it can be ineffective. We have the autonomy.
  2. Rich in kindness means He is present even in our agonies. Remember, Jesus could not sense the love but knew the love (My God, My God…).
  3. His mercy is an expression of his fidelity to us as his created beings. The Father sent His Son and His Spirit to us directly and intimately.

His mercy has three interesting component relative to our actions:

[The Lord] continuing his love for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin; yet not declaring the guilty guiltless, but bringing punishment for their parents’ wickedness on children and children’s children to the third and fourth generation!

  1. He leverages our right relations (goodness) and makes it perfect – to a thousand generations!
  2. He limits the effects of our mistakes t have an impact less than they have potency to be limited to 3rd and 4th generations.
  3. He invites us into the Divine Life to be mercy and to allow us to offer redemptive suffering.

Trinity Sunday following Pentecost Sunday and preceding the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ makes the powerful statement about the fidelity of G-d.

  • G-d who created us sends … himself in the second and third person to be with us… to pilgrimage with us until the end of time.
  • Answering Moses in the fullest: If I find favor with you, O Lord, do come along in our company.


  • Father – Makes us to be his children, and offers his kingdom of good will and peace.
  • Son – Makes us brother and friend and has won our redemption.
  • Spirit – Gifts us divine Life, divine love, holy wisdom and strength in our weakness.


Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy. Through them we come to know the mystery of your life. Help us to worship you, one God in three Persons, by proclaiming and living faith in you. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, and lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday reflection from three years ago which certainly applies today:

Glory and praise for ever!

Second Reading
Note: I include the entirety of it as it is a prayer of blessing for you!

Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Gospel Acclamation
Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; to God who is, who was, and who is to come.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

The Divine Prerogative is to Love. That is what he decided to be, to do and to promise.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Of Heavenly Origin

Monastery, Spain. Iglesia de San Salvador de Vilar de Donas.

Greetings on this the Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
Readings: Sir 51:12 cd-20; PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11; Mk 11:27-33
Notes: What moves us? Tomorrow is Trinity Sunday!

What drives us (or motivates us) to do one thing or another?

John the Baptist, who died for his confrontation with King Herod, was driven or motivated by the Divine.. Our saints today, Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs, were motivated by the Divine.

It is worth noting that each of these examples came about by the misappropriation of intimate relation for all the wrong reasons by those in power.

Three Examples of wrong reason

  • John the Baptist: Herod wanted his brother’s wife (and she wanted him) as a source to consolidate their power .
  • Charles Lwanga: Bagandan ruler, Mwanga, used homosexual abuse to solidify his absolute control over his kingdom.
  • Droit du seigneur (‘right of the lord’), also known as ius primae noctis (‘right of the first night’), was a supposed legal right in medieval Europe, allowing feudal lords to have sexual relations with subordinate women, in particular, on the wedding nights of the women.

Right Reason

Motivated by Divine Love to bring salvation, peace and right relation. This is the compelling force. This is the work of the Holy Trinity, particular to each person, manifested in an individual way.

We too are called to make our actions from the Divine Origin.

Here is the chilling part: Honesty is required.

We must dialog honestly with the Lord.

When those who opposed him did the raw calculation of how to answer, not out of a reflection on truth and evidence, but on the political calculus they fell into a trap made by their own minds.

  1. If we answer ‘Heavenly’ origin – this.
  2. If we answer ‘Human’ origin – that.
  3. Therefore, we shall give no account of our mind and thoughts, we shall simply lie, “We do not know”. We do not know (we offer no reflection):
    • Which for them is equal to saying, we don’t want to know. We don’t actually really care how or why John the Baptist speaks.

They closed their minds and hearts to hear the divine.
Jesus replied by describing what they have decided to do.

You can not hear the divine voice.
You refuse to hear the divine voice.

Then Jesus said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
When you are uncomfortable with your thoughts or actions, do not close your mind to the divine. When you are judgmental of others and their actions, do not close your mind to the divine.

Instead have the honest dialog with the Lord.

  • What are the origins of my thoughts?
  • Who am I listening to: man or God?

Then, being open to the Lord, he is able to enlighten you and bring you salvation, peace and right relation.



Like Charles Lwanga, we are all teachers and witnesses to Christian living by the examples of our own lives. We are all called upon to spread the word of God, whether by word or deed. By remaining courageous and unshakable in our faith during times of great moral and physical temptation, we live as Christ lived.

First Reading
When I was young and innocent, I sought wisdom openly in my prayer I prayed for her before the temple, and I will seek her until the end, and she flourished as a grape soon ripe.

The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Gospel Acclamation
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; giving thanks to God the Father through him.

The Authority of Jesus Questioned.

“Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?” – they feared the crowd, So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”

Then Jesus said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Each in his own time

Greetings on this the Friday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Sir 44:1, 9-13; PS 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b; Mk 11:11-26
Notes: Sometimes people know the good you do. Sometimes people do not know the good you do.

Our first reading assures us that all those who live rightly are remembered by the Lord.

The fig tree is symbolic of a false or insufficient ‘green’. A false good.

  1. The false or insufficient green fig tree.
  2. The cleansing of the Temple is intercalated between the two fig tree story fragments.
  3. The withered fig tree as it really is.

See study on Mark:

Each of us must decide between apparent green and real fruitfulness.
Have faith! Pray the Lord changes us from the false to the true.

First Reading
Through God’s covenant with them their family endures, their posterity, for their sake. And for all time their progeny will endure, their glory will never be blotted out.

The Lord takes delight in his people.

For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory.

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

Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry