The Lord Hears

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest
Readings: Jb 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23; Ps 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8; Lk 9:51-56
Notes: In our first reading and in our responsorial psalm we see humanity in dire straits!

So bad we feel and experience awful things we lash out!

  • Cursed am I!
  • You, Lord, have abandoned me!

But Jesus response with gentle love. He hears our deepest heart desire.
He does not react negatively to their taunts but rather stays the course to save all mankind!

Reflection

The Church is for all God’s children, rich and poor, peasants and scholars, the sophisticated and the simple. But obviously the greatest concern of the Church must be for those who need the most help—those made helpless by sickness, poverty, ignorance, or cruelty. Vincent de Paul is a particularly appropriate patron for all Christians today, when hunger has become starvation, and the high living of the rich stands in more and more glaring contrast to the physical and moral degradation in which many of God’s children are forced to live.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-vincent-de-paul

First reading
Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.
Job spoke out and said:

Perish the day on which I was born,
the night when they said, “The child is a boy!”

Responsorial Psalm
Let my prayer come before you, Lord.

You have plunged me into the bottom of the pit, into the dark abyss. Upon me your wrath lies heavy, and with all your billows you overwhelm me.

Alleluia Verse
The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Gospel Portion
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Content in your presence

Believers sharing scripture and discussing how Jesus impacts them. Content to be in your presence.

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Readings: 1 COR 15:12-20; PS 17:1BCD, 6-7, 8B AND 15; LK 8:1-3
Notes: In addition to the Twelve, many accompanied Jesus on his journey from one town and village to another. These same women will accompany Jesus to Jerusalem, are present at his death and resurrection. Both Mary Magdalene and Joanna are specifically mentioned in scared scripture.

Our memorial today concerns two Church leaders who differed in their understanding of how to readmit believers who relapsed but converged wonderfully in unity:

Cyprian, using judgment of the Church argument style, wrote:

(a warning) it will be attributed to us in the day of judgment, that we have not cared for the wounded sheep, and that on account of a single wounded one we have lost many sound ones. And whereas the Lord left the ninety and nine that were whole, and sought after the one wandering and weary, and Himself carried it, when found, upon His shoulders, we not only do not seek the lapsed, but even drive them away when they come to us; and while false prophets are not ceasing to lay waste and tear Christ’s flock, we give an opportunity to dogs and wolves, so that those whom a hateful persecution has not destroyed, we ruin by our hardness and inhumanity.

Even still Mary Magdalene and Joanna teach us above all things, we should say to the Lord:

We are content in your presence, O Lord.

First reading
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.

Gospel Portion
Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Our Lady of Sorrows

Greetings on this the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows
Readings: 1 Cor 15:1-11; Ps 118:1b-2, 16ab-17, 28; Jn 19:25-27
Notes: The image today is from the Camino de Santiago. There I found the Crucifix often with Jesus on one side and the Blessed Mother on the other. She suffered a dry martyrdom on the cross.

Our gospel portion today (Jn 19:26-27) is the fulfillment of the gospel portion LK 2:35.

(and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (LK 2:35).

Women are the first to know the pain of loss. From Eve to Mary, Sorrow over the children. Your grief is known to Mary and she prays for your consolation.

Adam again had intercourse with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she called Seth. “God has granted me another offspring in place of Abel,” she said, “because Cain killed him.” (Gen 4:25).

First reading
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.

Responsorial Psalm
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. Let the house of Israel say, “His mercy endures forever.”

Sequence
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2022/09/15/stabat-mater/

Alleluia Verse
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary;
without dying you won the martyr’s crown beneath the Cross of the Lord.

Gospel Portion
Fulfillment

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater dolorosa, which means “the sorrowful mother was standing“.

Sequence – Stabat Mater – Holy Mother
At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
‘Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ’s dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that mother’s pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of his own nation
Saw him hang in desolation
Till his spirit forth he sent.

O sweet Mother! font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my heart with yours accord.

Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with you his pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with you,
Mourning him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with you to stay,
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.

Let me to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of yours.

Wounded with his every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In his very Blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In his awful judgment day.

Christ, when you shall call me hence,
Be your Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally.
Amen. (Alleluia)

Rest for the Weary Soul

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Readings: Nm 21:4b-9; PS 78:1bc-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38; Phil 2:6-11; Jn 3:13-17
Notes: I cannot speak for everyone but for me, when I am worn out I make my biggest mistakes. Mistakes in muscle movement, choice of words, reactions to stimulus, and decisions on actions to take in the moment. I can fall, I can harm, I can do the very things I warn others about: engage in Advantage, Alliance and Acquisition.

This is the cross we bear, no? The decision?

Circumstances come. Decisions we control.

Thankfully the solution is of divine origin!

Today we venerate the cross but it was not always so. The cruelty of the cross (worldwide) was not lost on so many who saw their own die this way. It takes reflection to realize the Lord transformed this horrible instrument of death into an instrument of life, a place of rest for the weary soul.

Antiphons of the Liturgy today

Ant 1: To destroy the power of hell Christ died upon the cross; clothed in strength and glory, he triumphed over death.
Ant 2: The Lord hung upon the cross to wash away our sins in his own blood. How splendid is that blessed cross.
Ant 3: How radiant is that precious cross which brought our salvation. In the cross we are victorious, through the cross we shall reign, by the cross all evil is destroyed, alleluia.

O Cross of Christ, Immortal Tree

O Cross of Christ immortal tree
On Which our Savior died.
The wood is sheltered by your arms
That bore the crucified.
From biter death and barren wood
The treee of life is made;
Its branches bear unfailing fruit
And leaves that never fade.

O faithful Cross, you stand unmoved
While ages run their cours;
Foundation of the universe,
Creation’s binding force.

Give glory to the risen Christ
And to his Cross give praise,
The sign of God’s unfamthomed love,
The hope of all our days.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal
Benedictine Nuns of Stanbrook Abby.

First reading
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 LORD said to Moses,
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and if any who have been bitten look at it, they 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.

Responsorial Psalm
Do not forget the works of the Lord!

I will open my mouth in a parable,
I will utter mysteries from of old.

(note: prophecy fulfilled. This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand (Matt 13:13).

Second reading
The second reading is Saint Paul quoting a verse from an early hymn of the church.

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 death,
even death on a cross.

Alleluia Verse
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For 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.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Universal Grief and Salvation

Photo by Julian Vera Film on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop Doctor of the Church
Readings: 1 Cor 12:12-14, 27-31a; Ps 100:1b-2, 3, 4, 5; Lk 7:11-17
Notes: The title not to be mistaken for Universalism.

  • Grief is universal experience.
  • Salvation is a universal need.

Reflection (Franciscan Media)

John Chrysostom’s preaching, by word and example, exemplifies the role of the prophet to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. For his honesty and courage, he paid the price of a turbulent ministry as bishop, personal vilification, and exile.

Chapter 7, Year II.

Yesterday (except we did Holy Name of Mary): The Healing of a Centurion’s Slave.
Today: Raising of the Widow’s Son.

Luke is asserting both Jesus’ concern for Gentiles and for widows. God’s offer of love and restoration is Universal, both Jew and Greek, man and woman.

Grief and prayer. In today’s gospel portion we do not know anything more than the widow and the entire town was in grief over the death of this young man.

  • We do not know of their state of sanctification.
  • We do not know of their prayers or worship of foreign gods.
  • We do not know anything at all except they are foreigners and they are in grief.

Jesus knows.

Jesus raises up.

Like the widow of Zarephath, who was preparing for the death of her and her son given the dire food shortages, she had silent prayer known only to God. Perhaps so silent that she herself did not know she was praying. Yet, the Lord heard the groaning of the Holy Spirit for her. Speculation, yes. Silence, absolutely.

First reading
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm
We are his people: the sheep of his flock.

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song.

Alleluia Verse
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited his people.

Gospel Portion
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

God is for you, always.
Jesus knows.
Know him.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

VAMC We Remember

VAMC Riviera Beach FL

As part of my Sabbatical I carved out time for my fellow veterans. Even today, a Joyful Reunion in Christ. Our liturgy is the return and reunion.

It is family that we disappoint most but family loves the most too. Reach out today and in love, love on those who you miss.

One family, wife and daughter, visit with a veteran separated by an iron rod fence. Isolation and COVID-19 can’t stop love. Smiles, stories, joy and regrets no iron fence can bar passage.

Another veteran, having rejected all pastoral care previously, refused all consolation until today. I came to him, heart before the Lord in prayer, and a wonder of wonders. Two visitors. A woman and man. I looked and said, Daughter and Son-in-law. Further, I know your eyes sparkle identically!! Dad, frail in bed, daughter by his side… Glowing with love. It is our families we disappoint the most but love us the most too.

Holy Mass with the faithful.

Cantor, Lector, Usher, Altar Server
Priest and Deacon

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

The Yoke of Kindness

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor Church
Readings: JER 28:1-17; PS 119:29, 43, 79, 80, 95, 102; MT 14:13-21
Notes: Which Yoke is for you?

No Yoke? Anchorlessness seems appealing to some especially in the face of such disappointment in government and religion, and, even family life. It seems to them almost right we are but animalistic beings with little moral thought to guide us.

Learn the lesson from the Alligator. Alligators naturally watch over their hatchlings. They are very protective. But with the encroachment of man, the modern practice is to abandon them once humans come into contact as a way of protecting the hatchlings and the mother herself. This is an example of brokenness.

Wood Yoke – the moderate and gentle yoke of the Lord.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matt 11:29-30).

At times it may not be what we want at the level of human impulse but it is the perfect guide in life in every way.

Iron Yoke – the world’s domination of mind, body and if you allow your soul.

We celebrate Saint Alphonsus who preached and taught moral theology giving us a model of moderation and gentleness.

Reflection

Saint Alphonsus was known above all as a practical man who dealt in the concrete rather than the abstract. His life is indeed a practical model for the everyday Christian who has difficulty recognizing the dignity of Christian life amid the swirl of problems, pain, misunderstanding and failure. Alphonsus suffered all these things. He is a saint because he was able to maintain an intimate sense of the presence of the suffering Christ through it all. From:
https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-alphonsus-liguori

First reading
Previously – The Wood Yoke

The LORD said to me: Make for yourself thongs and yoke bars and put them on your shoulders. To Zedekiah, king of Judah, I spoke the same words: Bend your necks to the yoke of the king of Babylon; serve him and his people, so that you may live. (Jer 27:2, 12).

Disobedience (with the natural consequences)

Now – The Iron Yoke

Thus says the LORD:
By breaking a wooden yoke, you forge an iron yoke!
For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
A yoke of iron I will place on the necks
of all these nations serving Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
and they shall serve him; even the beasts of the field I give him. (Jer 28:13b-14).

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, teach me your statutes.

Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.

Alleluia Verse
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Gospel Portion
When Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.

When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over– twelve wicker baskets full.

Let us learn from the lesson of the Two Yokes.

Jesus, tired, grieving, and heavily burdened remained as the Divine person he is: gentle and kind.

His yoke is better.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Everlasting Hills

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus
Readings: Jer 26:1-9; PS 69:5, 8-10, 14; Jn 11:19-27
Notes: The beginning of the Babylonian exile. Seventy Years of Exile.

Shiloh: an important sanctuary where the ark of the covenant was kept, according to the Books of Joshua, Judges, and 1 Samuel. In response to the corrupt behavior of the priests serving there, God allows the Philistines to destroy Shiloh and take the ark of the covenant. Cf. 1 Sm 1:9; 4:3–4; Ps 78:60, 68–69. From:
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/jeremiah/7?12=#30007012

First reading
The loss of Shiloh would be the equal in our times to the sacking of Rome and the loss of the Basilicas and sanctuaries. A truly tragic outcome from the eyes of those living in that time and in our time.

It is an important reminder that losing the edifices of the faith is painful but our mission and our hope is for eternal life and a place in the everlasting hills.

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Alleluia Verse
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel Portion
What is a greater loss?

  • Shiloh or the Vatican?
  • Life or Eternal Life?
  • Damnation or Salvation?

Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here,
my brother would not have died.
But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”
Jesus said to her,
“Your brother will rise.”
Martha said to him,
“I know he will rise,
in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her,
“I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,
and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
She said to him, “Yes, Lord.
I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God,
the one who is coming into the world.”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry