Giver of Breath

Greetings on this the Monday of Holy Week
Readings: Is 42:1-7; PS 27:1, 2, 3, 13-14; Jn 12:1-11
Notes:

The Giver of Breath promises reconciliation and Resurrection to new life.
And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (Jn 11:43).

First reading
Who gives breath to its people and spirit to those who walk on it.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Verse Before the Gospel
Hail to you, our King; you alone are compassionate with our faults.

Gospel Portion
And they plotted to kill Lazarus too (my translation).

Jesus and Lazarus were a problem.

Jesus preformed signs.
Lazarus returned to life from the dead.

This sign of Jesus, returning Lazarus, brings us to the hope of Resurrection.
Jesus then is also ruah or the breath of Life.

Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voices and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation (Jn 5:28-29).

Are you so pissed off (colloquial term) at God or neighbor or this thing or that thing, so much so you are out of breath? If you are out of breath then you are out of ruah breath.

Be a lazarus.
Hear him instead.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Loved Into Silence

Greetings on this the Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Readings: Lk 19:28-40; Is 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24; Phil 2:6-11; Lk 22:14—23:56
Notes:

Reading Structure of Lent into Easter Sunday:

  • The season of Lent starts with identical reading for Ash Wednesday in all three reading cycle years A, B, and C.
  • 1st and 2nd Sundays of Lent – cover the same event but from the perspective of one of the three Synoptic Gospels. Same event, different perspectives.
  • 3rd and 4th Sundays of Lent – cover different events between the three Cycles A, B and C.

Palm Sunday begins the reverse.

  • Palm Sunday cover the same event but from the perspective of one of the three Synoptic Gospels. Same event, different perspectives.
  • Chrism Mass – identical reading. This Mass focuses on the office/role of the Bishop, the sacred oils of Christian Initiation/Ordination and the order of the Presbyterate.
  • Mass of the Lord’s Supper – identical reading.
  • Good Friday – identical reading.
  • Easter Vigil – cover the same event but from the perspective of one of the three Synoptic Gospels. Same event, different perspectives.
  • Easter Sunday – on this day the pastor can select either the readings from the gospel of John (“same”) or from the perspective of one of the three Synoptic Gospels. Same event, different perspectives.
  • Palm Sunday liturgy begins with the Procession into Jerusalem.
  • Palm Sunday is a synopsis of the Passion of Christ – the entirety up the burial of the Lord.
  • Deeper Detail in the Triduum:
    • Thursday – Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Institution of the Holy Mass, Eucharist, Priesthood and Servant Leadership (washing of the feet) and a Procession/Exposition/Adoration.
    • Friday – Good Friday, the passion event particular. Veneration of the Cross, Priest and Deacon prostrate before the Lord. Solemn Intercessions. Holy Communion.
    • Holy Saturday – the great silence then the silence is broken.
    • Easter Vigil. Christian Initiation of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion.

Procession
As he rode along,
the people were spreading their cloaks on the road;
and now as he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives,
the whole multitude of his disciples
began to praise God aloud with joy
for all the mighty deeds they had seen.
They proclaimed:
“Blessed is the king who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven
and glory in the highest.”

First reading
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
my face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

Responsorial Psalm
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Second reading
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
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 the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Verse Before the Gospel
Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.

Gospel Portion

The Reading of the Passion

PDF of Passion Reading: https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2022/04/passion-of-the-lord-luke-gospel-speaking-parts-palm-sunday-4-10-22.pdf

Loved into silence.
We depart this liturgy entering the Holy Week.

Love itself has become silent.
Our love response has become silent.

That we might finally hear the voice of God.

Wind, earthquake and fire then…

a light silent sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, Why are you here, Elijah? (1 Kg 19:12b-13).

The Week Ahead:

  • Chrism Mass – This Mass focuses on the office/role of the Bishop, the sacred oils of Christian Initiation/Ordination and the order of the Presbyterate.
  • Thursday – Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Institution of the Holy Mass, Eucharist, Priesthood and Servant Leadership (washing of the feet) and a Procession/Exposition/Adoration. Silence.
  • Friday – Good Friday, the passion. Veneration of the Cross, Priest and Deacon prostrate before the Lord. Solemn Intercessions. Holy Communion. Silence.
  • Holy Saturday – the great silence then the silence is broken. Silence.

Lukan Palm Sunday:

  • Conspiracy against Jesus
  • Last Supper
  • Transubstantiation
  • Betrayal / Disciple / Denial
  • Instructions in Crisis
  • Agony / Arrest
  • Trial / Barabbas
  • Way of the Cross
  • Crucifixion / Death / Burial

Unifying theme of Palm Sunday readings:

  • Betrayal and Denial of Men by Men.
  • Passion of the Lord (self giving).
  • Ways of Man (Trial and Judgment).
  • Way of Cross (Redemption).
  • Transubstantiation – Total gift of God.
  • Crucifixion – Total sin propitiation.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

What are we going to do?

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Greetings on this the Saturday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Ez 37:21-28; Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12abcd, 13; Jn 11:45-56
Notes: Saturday before Palm Sunday

Everyone in Jerusalem wondered what Jesus is going to do?

Now the Passover of the Jews was near,
and many went up from the country to Jerusalem
before Passover to purify themselves.
They looked for Jesus and said to one another
as they were in the temple area, “What do you think?
That he will not come to the feast?”

First reading
My dwelling shall be with them;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the LORD,
who make Israel holy,
when my sanctuary shall be set up among them forever.

Responsorial From Jeremiah
The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.

Verse Before the Gospel
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the LORD,
and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Gospel Portion

The Lord’s Plan per Jeremiah:

  • Take you
  • Gather you
  • Covenant with you
  • Dwell with you

Those in Power Worried

  • Take away our lands
  • Take away our nation

What are we going to do?

Which has the stronger hold upon us: the Promise or the Fear?

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

You are gods – Again

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Greetings on this the Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Jer 20:10-13; PS 18:2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 7; Jn 10:31-42
Notes: We SHOULD be making ourselves God (by way of the Sonship of Jesus and the invitation to share in the divine life). Many are greatly mistaken.

Here is my reflection from last year – Friday of the 5th Lent Week.
Please read: https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/03/26/you-are-gods-judges/

In the Catholic Church today the Church is going through some sort of attempted purge.

Rumors, gossip and un-listening ears/hearts looking and probing for any reason to convict the Pope, the Bishop, the Pastor, the Deacon, and the Believer.

Any chance at all.

Even among the ranks of clerics some do likewise.

They picked up rocks to stone Jesus (my translation).

Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father.
For which of these are you trying to stone me?”

“We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy.
You, a man, are making yourself God.”

But so hopeful that we would!! Be like God in what we do and how we think!!!!

First reading
I hear the whisperings of many:
“Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!”
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
“Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him.”

Reply: Just keep doing good. Resist evil. Trust the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.

I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.

Verse Before the Gospel
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;
you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel Portion
If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me;
but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me,
believe the works, so that you may realize and understand
that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”
Then they tried again to arrest him;
but he escaped from their power.

The below taken from: https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/documents/rc_pc_justpeace_doc_20060526_compendio-dott-soc_en.html

In friendly dialogue with all branches of knowledge

  1. The Church’s social doctrine avails itself of contributions from all branches of knowledge, whatever their source, and has an important interdisciplinary dimension. “In order better to incarnate the one truth about man in different and constantly changing social, economic and political contexts, this teaching enters into dialogue with the various disciplines concerned with man. It assimilates what these disciplines have to contribute”. The social doctrine makes use of the significant contributions of philosophy as well as the descriptive contributions of the human sciences.

Judge.
But judge rightly.
In Charity.
With clarity.
From the letter to the Romans.
https://bible.usccb.org/bible/romans/2?1

Or do you hold his priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance? (Rom 2:4).

Do you suppose, then, you who judge those who engage in such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek. There is no partiality with God.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

God also said

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Greetings on this the Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Gn 17:3-9; PS 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; Jn 8:51-59
Notes: Confusion. For Discussion.

If I could describe this age in a different way it would be the Age of Confusion.

So many norms upended. Some I am glad to see go. Some I lament their passing away.

I hesitate to make a list because then you would want to put me in a labelled group.
All our thinking has content of faith, religion, business, government, community and the common good. But how vastly different our opinions!

  • Patience and compromise.
  • Acceptance and divergence.
  • Domination and control.

We seem to have lost the ability to read between the lines.
We’ve become literalists and lost the literary understanding of life (if you will, the poetry, the irony, the good tensions, and the good intentions).

Yikes!

Imagine how the early Church had the same.
Heresies have been around since the beginning and the fights continue.

Today we suffer awfully in our arrogance.

First reading
A Royal Grant with a touch of Suzerain-Vassal covenant:

God also said to Abraham:
“On your part, you and your descendants after you
must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

One must remember covenant relationships are partly Suzerain-Vassal covenants.
Types of Covenants: Kinship, Royal Grant, and Suzerain-Vassal covenants are distinct types and the Lord invites us to merge the lines between them into one covenant of love.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Verse Before the Gospel
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Gospel Portion
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”

Jesus up-ends everything we understand about time.
In his Transfiguration we see Moses and Elijah alive.
Here Jesus describes how Abraham was filled with joy to see Jesus come.

Abraham, Moses and Elijah all testify to Jesus.
Abraham, Moses and King David all had different types of covenants with the Lord.

The Lord invites us to merge the lines between them into one covenant of love.

Written not on stone but on the heart.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

To Whom Do I Belong

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Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56; Jn 8:31-42
Notes:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar with faith in the Lord no matter the earthly outcome. They understood who they are and who they belong to, the Lord.

In today’s gospel portion those challenging Jesus had a false understanding of who they are and who they belong to.

  • We were never slaves – but you were in Egypt a slave and even now slave to sin.
  • We are children of Abraham, he is our father – yes, descendants, but you act in contradiction to the ancestor.
  • We have one father, God – no! You have no relation to God because you cannot see Him at work in His Son.

First reading
If our God, whom we serve,
can save us from the white-hot furnace
and from your hands, O king, may he save us!
But even if he will not, know, O king,
that we will not serve your god
or worship the golden statue that you set up.

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him;
they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies
rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

Responsorial Psalm
Glory and praise for ever!

Verse Before the Gospel
Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart
and yield a harvest through perseverance.

Gospel Portion
“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  • Free from slavery to sin.
  • Free to know God as Father.
  • Free to know God in His Son.
  • Free to know truth as person.

In this gospel portion Jesus makes the distinction between being descendants and being children. Descendants by Ancestry is not being children of which in this case is closely understood as disciple or at least one who is righteous.

Trying to kill me because your father is the father of sin, Satan.
They are expressing:

  • spiritual fornication.
  • children or disciples of evil.
  • actions of evil.

Take heart in this Lent!
Reject Satan and seek good.

We don’t have to rationalize and make elaborate intellectual arguments of who we are and to whom we belong like those arguing with Jesus.

Strive for good. Strive to live in truth.
And you will be free.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Below or Above

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings: Nm 21:4-9; PS 102:2-3, 16-18, 19-21; Jn 8:21-30
Notes: We are fast approaching The Hour.

In the gospel portion today Jesus is referring to the two basic points of reference.

  • Below – that is to say – the here, myself and now.
  • Above – that is to say – everywhere, everyone and always.

The Above includes the Below but the Below ignores the Above.

First reading
But 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 manna was very miraculous food in the sense of timing, availability, quantity, nutrition, flavor, and as gift. It was divinely appointed.

They began to loathe it (always remember the people here are a sign of us all, not unique in their troubles).

Prefiguring the Christ to come, the Suffering Servant.
“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole,
and whoever looks at it after being bitten 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.

Moving our sight to the Above.

Responsorial Psalm
O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to you.

O LORD, hear my prayer,
and let my cry come to you.
Hide not your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
in the day when I call, answer me speedily.

Verse Before the Gospel
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower;
all who come to him will live for ever.

Gospel Portion
He said to them, “You belong to what is below,
I belong to what is above.
You belong to this world,
but I do not belong to this world.

So Jesus said to them,
“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM.

Let us move our sight to the Above.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Father’s Son

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Readings: Ex 32:7-14; PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23; Jn 5:31-47
Notes:

One of the great Christian tragedies is for this to happen:

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.

The meaning is that some search the scriptures not for life-giving word but for armor in battle, a secular battle, enrobed in sacred scripture. A very big tragedy!

First reading
But Moses implored the LORD.

Moses, a great intercessor, stood in the breach. He advocated for the sinful and the disobedient. He pleaded for mercy.

Mercy above justice.

Moses’s entire ministry was a balancing act of compliance, mercy, rule and regulation.
He did not shy away, no, he was deeply burdened by the complexity and contradictions of personal and social life.

Be a Moses.

Responsorial Psalm
Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Verse Before the Gospel
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.

Gospel Portion
Jesus is Moses’s Moses.

Intercessor of Intercessors.

Jesus takes up Moses’s mission and brings it to the fullest completion.
(remember the Transfiguration).

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:
the one who will accuse you is Moses,
in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

Read sacred scripture with the heart of mercy and mercy shall be how you see all things.

Just like God.

Good read: https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/catholic-social-teaching-handout-adults-digital.pdf

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

I am at work

Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Readings: Is 49:8-15; PS 145:8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18; Jn 5:17-30
Notes: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.

I have in the past spoke about Sabbath rest being a form of work, proplery understood.

First reading

The WORK:

  • In time of favor – answer.
  • Restore the land.
  • Prisoners – come out.
  • Darkness – bring light.
  • Plenty water and food.
  • I will not forget you.

From the psalm: The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord is gracious and merciful.

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

Gospel Portion
For this reason they tried all the more to kill him,
because he not only broke the sabbath
but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.

Some are really stuck in their preconceived notions of what holy work is and is not.

Jesus, in his active working, fulfilled the Sabbath.

Time to rethink the juridical Church.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry