Echo Chamber

My friend, Fr Frank O’Loughlin, walks the walk!

Greetings on this the Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Am 8:4-6, 9-12; PS 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131; Mt 9:9-13
Notes: We are trapped in the echo chamber. Some even, and most pitifully, within the Church who say holy things without sanctity of spirit. But a new emphasis is given us if we are able to accept it. BLM is recognizing the margins. Seeing the indigenous is recognizing the margins. Helping the poor is recognizing the margins. Not because they are less, but because the are thought of as less.

See this article: (February, 2016).

Today the Pope celebrated Mass in the southern state of Chiapas with those who have suffered the greatest in Latin America, the indigenous. At a beautiful Mass where various Mayan dialects were spoken and sung, the Pope brought a message of hope and mercy. A vastly agrarian and poor state where the dignity of the indigenous has not always been respected, the Pope recognized that too often they have been excluded from society. “Your peoples have not been understood and have been excluded from society. Some have considered your values, your culture, and your traditions inferior. Others, dizzy by power, money and the laws of the market, have expelled you from your lands or have contaminated them. How sad. How good would it be for us to do an examination of conscience and learn how to say ‘I am sorry.’”


You search the scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life (Jn 5:39-40).

And again.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing (1 Cor 13:1-3).

Yes, days are coming, says the Lord GOD, when I will send famine upon the land:
Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the LORD.

Echo Chamber – an environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered.

First reading
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!

Yes, days are coming, says the Lord GOD, when I will send famine upon the land:
Not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but for hearing the word of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm
One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matt 4:4).

Alleluia Verse
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.

Gospel Portion
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”

Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Body and Soul

Oil of Infirm, Oil of Catechumen, Sacred Chrism

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Am 7:10-17; PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11; Mt 9:1-8
Notes: Today’s gospel portion is closely related to yesterday’s gospel portion.

  • Those you heal, will be healed.
  • Those you free, will be freed.

Jesus heals Body and Soul.
Primacy is the soul but visually we can see in the body.

  • He heals when he speaks (and we proclaim).
  • He heals when he touches and we touch (Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick).
  • He heals when he forgives and we forgive sin (Sacrament of Reconciliation).

Prayer before Deacon proclaims the Gospel:
May the Lord be in your heart and on your lips,
that you may proclaim his Gospel worthily and well,
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer after the proclaiming the Gospel:
Through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away.
(Hearing the proclaimed Gospel removes venial sin).

First Martyrs of the Church of Rome (Optional but timely)

Before we get so high and mighty about making this nation without true Religious Freedom, we may want to consider when the power is in the other’s hands!

According to the historian Tacitus, many Christians were put to death because of their “hatred of the human race.” Peter and Paul were probably among the victims.


Wherever the Good News of Jesus was preached, it met the same opposition as Jesus did, and many of those who began to follow him shared his suffering and death. But no human force could stop the power of the Spirit unleashed upon the world. The blood of martyrs has always been, and will always be, the seed of Christians.

First reading
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Now hear the word of the LORD!”

God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

Responsorial Psalm
The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.

Alleluia Verse
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Gospel Portion
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.
When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

All gave some, some gave all

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

Greetings on this the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
Readings: Acts 12:1-11; PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18; Mt 16:13-19

Next week: Teen retreat Steubenville Florida July 8th to 10th! Participating, excited for them and all! Will post photos.

My parish activity as I restarted my sabbatical (suspended for Lent and Easter season).

  • Masses 8:00 AM Monday and Thursday.
  • Benediction 7:00 PM Wednesdays.
  • Infrequent Mass on weekends depending on travel schedule.

Local Plans

  • Veterans Administration Medical Center, chaplaincy.
  • St. Philip Benizi, Belle Glade, FL, mission.

Remote Plans (highly variable)

  • Port-Au-Prince, Haiti
  • Guatemala City
  • Nuevo Laredo
  • Olongapo City

We all share in the mission life, in small or large part. We all tend to the people in the proximity of our own place. We all have joys and sorrows of mission.

To paraphrase a song popular in honoring veterans: All gave some, some gave all.

An excellent quick summary of the spiritual life of Peter and Paul at the link below!

Reflection Franciscan
We would probably go to confession to Peter sooner than to any of the other apostles. He is perhaps a more striking example of the simple fact of holiness. Jesus says to us as he said, in effect, to Peter: “It is not you who have chosen me, but I who have chosen you. Peter, it is not human wisdom that makes it possible for you to believe, but my Father’s revelation. I, not you, build my Church.” Paul’s experience of the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus was the driving force that made him one of the most zealous, dynamic, and courageous ambassadors of Christ the Church has ever had. But persecution, humiliation, and weakness became his day-by-day carrying of the cross, material for further transformation. The dying Christ was in him; the living Christ was his life.

First reading
In those days, King Herod laid hands upon some members of the Church to harm them. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword, and when he saw that this was pleasing to the “authorities” he proceeded to arrest Peter also.

On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell.

They emerged and made their way down an alley, and suddenly the angel left him.
Then Peter recovered his senses and said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod

Responsorial Psalm
The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.

Second reading
I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

Alleluia Verse
You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.

Gospel Portion
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

  1. The netherworld will fall.
  2. Those you heal, will be healed.
  3. Those you free, will be freed.

Yes, that is a good way to understand.

  • Heal.
  • Set free.
  • Be the Face of Christ.

Back to the VAMC Sunday to celebrate Mass with my brothers.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Fire from heaven, Maya Lin

Listen and Ask Questions

Greetings on this the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21; Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11; Gal 5:1, 13-18; Lk 9:51-62
Notes: The Apostles James and John wanted to send down fire from heaven. They envisioned that these enemies of the Word and of the Jewish people deserve nothing less than fire. A terrible and horrible death.

Jesus turned and rebuked them (Lk 9:55).

They no doubt were thinking Elijah (our Prophet of recent reading sequence, another).

Elijah answered the captain, “Well, if I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men. Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And divine fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men (2 King 1:10, 12).

Indeed Jesus wanted fire but not a destructive fire a restorative fire.

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (LK 12:49).

News: Roe v Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States, June 24, 2022, Friday past. I will write separately on the topic. I have a rule that I follow. In any big event that analysis is critical, I insist on finding three good things and three not so good things about the event. Forcing myself to go beyond my own bias and instinct and really enter the question. Not yet ready.

Maya Lin

I will preach on Maya Lin, a young woman, who won the design concept for a memorial. A block of black granite slashed into the Earth, “The Wall” it is referred to by many. It’s in a V shape. V for the peace sign. V for victory. One blade pointing to the Lincoln Memorial. One blade pointing to the Washington Memorial.

She endured insult, a Chinese American. Of Chinese ancestry she was called an “Egg Role”. Some saw her design as an affront to them. Others saw as it affront to them, too, the other them. Some bemoaned the simplicity. But no.

Quoting her:

an opening or wound in the earth to symbolize the pain caused by the war and it’s many casualties.

Names engraved like a journal’s pages (L->R ascending). Top down, left and right the names. Now number over 58,320. Arranged by Date of Casualty. The date of death.
You can see the escalation and de-escalation by the height of the wall, the number of names.

Beginning in 1959.
Ending in 1975.
The first and the last names in time because of the arrangement are both in the center of the memorial.

The panels crack in pain.

The time spans six Presidents:

  • Eisenhower
  • Kennedy
  • Johnson
  • Nixon
  • Ford
  • Carter
  • Reagan

A place of pilgrimage.
A place to visit lost loved ones and lost unit members. Like the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, little sleeves of paper wedged near the etched names. Some make pencil rubbings to get the name onto a piece of paper.

  • 1965, First Marines based in Vietnam.
  • 1967, War protests.
  • 1968, Tet Offensive.
  • 1970, Kent State deaths.
  • 1973, Paris Peace Treaty
  • 1975, Saigon Falls
  • 1975, Mayaguz incident – personal to me, active duty.
  • 1982, Vietnam Memorial

First reading
The LORD said to Elijah:
“You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah, as prophet to succeed you.”

Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat. Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm
You are my inheritance, O Lord.

You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.

Second reading
Brothers and sisters:
For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.

Alleluia Verse
Speak, Lord, your servant is listening;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel Portion
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.

Paul in the letter to the Galatians
For freedom Christ set us free;
so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.

The nation was devouring itself in anger, revenge and self-pity.

Until the fire from heaven.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Secret Prayers

Elijah prayed for Elisha in the secret of his heart

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 Kgs 2:1, 6-14; PS 31:20, 21, 24; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
Notes: The dialog between Elijah and Elisha is a mystery. Not a mystery of words but a mystery of prayer.

Oh how the City of God comes about by prayer, one for another!

BTW: We begin our Novena prayer preceding the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

First reading
And so the two went on together.
When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha,
“Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.”
Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.”
“You have asked something that is not easy,” Elijah replied.
“Still, if you see me taken up from you,
your wish will be granted; otherwise not.”

Responsorial Psalm
Let your hearts take comfort, all who hope in the Lord.

How great is the goodness, O LORD,
which you have in store for those who fear you,
And which, toward those who take refuge in you,
you show in the sight of the children of men.

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

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.

And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.

During Lent we encounter this gospel portion regarding the practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

During the time leading up to the Solemnity of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart of Jesus we shift our focus.

May even the secret prayers of our heart be as like Elijah for Elisha.
Making the needs of the Other our very own needs.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Warm our hearts

Blessed Mother standing before the Ambo of Proclamation beckoning us to her Son

Greetings on this the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
Readings: Gn 3:9-15, 20; PS 87:1-2, 3 and 5, 6-7; Jn 19:25-34
Notes: The Monday after Pentecost is celebrated as recognizing Mary, Mother of the Church.

From March 3, 2018, at the Register:

First reading
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will strike at your head,
while you strike at his heel.

NABRE Commentary on this verse: They will strike…at their heel: the antecedent for “they” and “their” is the collective noun “offspring,” i.e., all the descendants of the woman. Christian tradition has seen in this passage, however, more than unending hostility between snakes and human beings. The snake was identified with the devil (Wis 2:24; Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9; 20:2), whose eventual defeat seemed implied in the verse. Because “the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8), the passage was understood as the first promise of a redeemer for fallen humankind, the protoevangelium. Irenaeus of Lyons (ca. A.D. 130–200), in his Against Heresies 5.21.1, followed by several other Fathers of the Church, interpreted the verse as referring to Christ, and cited Gal 3:19 and 4:4 to support the reference. Another interpretive translation is ipsa, “she,” and is reflected in Jerome’s Vulgate. “She” was thought to refer to Mary, the mother of the messiah. In Christian art Mary is sometimes depicted with her foot on the head of the serpent.

Responsorial Psalm
Glorious things are told of you, O city of God.

Alleluia Verse
O happy Virgin, you gave birth to the Lord;
O blessed mother of the Church,
you warm our hearts with the Spirit of your Son Jesus Christ.

Gospel Portion
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.

Blessed Mother, warm our hearts with love for your Son.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

These things were written

Light captures hope at Casa del Migrante. Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31; PS 11:4, 5 and 7; Jn 21:20-25
Notes: Today is the last weekday of the Easter Season.

Tomorrow we celebrate Pentecost.
Monday begins Ordinary Time.

This season we spent time on the testimony of Jesus: what he taught, what he did.
We spent time on the testimony about Jesus: from Moses, the Twelve, the Guards, the Romans.


  • We went deep in the recounting of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
  • We went deep into the Sonship of Jesus to the Lord God, who is Father.
  • We saw the most important thing is Love, in word and deed.
  • We touched Jesus as Holy Eucharist.
  • We reviewed promises kept in Resurrection, Ascension and (soon) Pentecost.


  • We have found trust in the promises of Jesus in the forgiveness of sin, resurrection of the body and life eternal.
  • We found strength in accepting the model of Jesus in how we are and how we act.
  • We model ourselves after Peter and Paul on their mission to evangelize the Good News out of love and in great hardship.


If even still you doubt, then tomorrow on Pentecost Sunday, ask the Divine for a special blessing of the divine presence that you may know him. Take a moment to read the gospel portion I placed at the end of this reflection.

May your journey in life be made sweet with the presence of the Divine Love.

First reading
He remained for two full years in his lodgings. He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Responsorial Psalm
The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.

The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold,
his searching glance is on mankind.

The just will gaze on your face, O Lord.

Alleluia Verse
I will send to you the Spirit of truth, says the Lord; he will guide you to all truth.

Gospel Portion
It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books
that would be written.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Conversion not coercion

Photo by SHVETS production on

Greetings on this the Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Readings: Acts 15:22-31; PS 57:8-9, 10 and 12; Jn 15:12-17
Notes: Conversion not coercion. It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us (the Church).
(Coercion is the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats).

Faith should be free from:

  1. unnecessarily upsetting people with excessive application of our teachings.
  2. disturbance of peace of mind as a requirement or as a tactic.

The Apostles speak clearly when they said:
It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities.

The Church rightly offers her guidance on so many aspects of modern life.
But She must resist, and at the current time is embroiled in, coercion.

It is clearly not the will of the Holy Spirit to coerce people.

First reading
We have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind.

‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us
not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities,
namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals,
and from unlawful marriage.
If you keep free of these,
you will be doing what is right. Farewell.

Responsorial Psalm
I will give you thanks among the peoples, O Lord.

Alleluia Verse
I call you my friends, says the Lord,
for I have made known to you all that the Father has told me.

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to his disciples:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.

Conversion not coercion.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry