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

Sign of Living Water

Greetings on this the Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Readings: Ez 47:1-9, 12; PS 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9; Jn 5:1-16
Notes: Church as springs of living water. The Bride of the One who is Temple.

First reading
This living temple of living waters brings about the Kingdom of God in certain way.
Every month they shall bear fresh fruit,
for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Verse Before the Gospel
A clean heart create for me, O God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel Portion
The third sign of Jesus.

Differentiating between the 3rd and 6th Signs of Jesus.
The Pool of Bethesda was not of the Lord.

Jesus rescues him from false hope.

Gospel of John

Come and be refreshed in the living waters.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Signs

Greetings on this the Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Readings: Is 65:17-21; PS 30:2 and 4, 5-6, 11-12a and 13b; Jn 4:43-54
Notes: The Church treats the signs of Jesus with great interest.

Today’s gospel ties two of them together explicitly.

  • The restoration and elevation of marriage to a Sacrament.
  • The remote healing of the royal official’s child.

Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.

The Signs of Jesus them begin with the foundations of life as promised by the Lord:

  • Marriage
  • Children

First reading
The promise being fulfilled:
Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.

Responsorial Psalm
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Verse Before the Gospel
Seek good and not evil so that you may live,
and the LORD will be with you.

Gospel Portion
Now this was the second sign Jesus did
when he came to Galilee from Judea.

The royal official said to him,
“Sir, come down before my child dies.”
Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”
The man believed what Jesus said to him and left.
While the man was on his way back,
his slaves met him and told him that his boy would live.
He asked them when he began to recover.
They told him,
“The fever left him yesterday, about one in the afternoon.”
The father realized that just at that time Jesus had said to him,
“Your son will live,”
and he and his whole household came to believe.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Reconciliation Jubilation

Greetings on this the Fourth Sunday of Lent Year C Readings
Readings: Jos 5:9a, 10-12; Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7; 2 Cor 5:17-21; Lk 15:1-3, 11-32
Notes: Today is Laetare Sunday.

Rejoice, O Jerusalem (IS 666:10).

Today, in the middle of our Lenten reflections and disciplines we celebrate the love of Christ in a particular way: The Jubilation of Reconciliation.

From a few years ago – https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2019/03/31/ive-been-framed/

We completed our parish Lenten Mission this past week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). On Wednesday we had the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Reconciliation with the Lord.
Reconciliation with one another.

Brings… Joy!

First reading
On that same day after the Passover,
on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased.
No longer was there manna for the Israelites,
who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.

Change Change for the good.

  • New modes of operation.
  • New modes of being.
  • New modes of expressing faith.

[Story of “I’ve been baptized and I don’t have to tell anyone”]

Responsorial Psalm
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Second reading
Brothers and sisters:
Whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.

Should not our baptism bring about:

  • New modes of operation.
  • New modes of being.
  • New modes of expressing faith and friendship.

The sacrament of Reconciliation brings about the return to baptismal innocence.

Verse Before the Gospel
I will get up and go to my Father and shall say to him:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.

Gospel Portion
Everyone in the story needs reconciliation.

The Father because he wants us to be reconciled to him.
The brothers.
The servants.
The friends.
All those hiding in the shadows quaking in fear.

All.

Today is a day to rejoice.
Called into friendship with the Lord and one another.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Convinced You Are Righteous?

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Readings: Hos 6:1-6; PS 51:3-4, 18-19, 20-21ab; Lk 18:9-14
Notes:

Mercy is defined by humility.
We have the power to choose mercy.
In humility we find our reason.

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.

First reading
For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Responsorial Psalm
It is mercy I desire, and not sacrifice.

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

Gospel Portion
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.

But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

The one who humbles himself will be exalted.
Be exalted to be mercy.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Mutual Yes – Revisited

Greetings on this the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Notes: It was a Wednesday. From a 2020 Homily: https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2020/03/25/annunciation/

Coincidence this also poped up in the search:

https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2018/09/29/scandalized/
https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2018/07/01/reserve-the-grrrr/

Say Yes to Love.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Driving Out a Demon

Photo by Mariana Montrazi on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Readings: Jer 7:23-28; PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9; Lk 11:14-23
Notes:

There are two demons in the gospel portion today.

  1. One demon who kept a man mute.
  2. One demon of disbelief that God loves us.

Psalm 95 is a daily psalm reading for the Church in the LOTH.
It is a Call to Praise God.
It the midst of all uncertainty, know you are loved and God is with you.

The Finger of God: A previous homily on the finger of God. https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/10/08/knock-knock/

First reading
This is the nation that does not listen to the voice of the LORD, its God, or take correction.
Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.

Responsorial Psalm
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Verse Before the Gospel
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
for I am gracious and merciful.

Gospel Portion
Jesus drove out a demon that was mute.
Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven.

Who is your Lord? Disbelief?

Believe in the Resurrected One.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Pax Christi

My friend and mentor Father Frank O’Loughlin sent me this interior reflection. Please share far and wide.

Link to PDF: https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/wp-1648045605297.pdf

Text version

There’s an envelope here.
Let’s take a look: And the winner is… ….
It says, “Stop the steal,”
Who counts the votes? Stop the steal: It demands a recount.
I can’t argue with that.
Frank O’Loughlin is not a prophet.
On my best days, I’m a plagiarist.
By the Grace of God, I hope to sometimes
be a plagiarist of the Word of God.
I know what a prophet is supposed to be.
I read and loved Abraham Heschel;
Plagiarized him constantly for homilies.
If you were in a parish with me,
you have a copy of Walter Brueggeman’s Prophetic Imagination.
Stop the steal.
What I am is an Irish Catholic.
Irish Catholic, the very definition of ordinary.
No WASP here. Not white, Not Anglo, No Protestant individualism.
You remember how James Joyce defined Catholic,
“Here comes everybody.”
Whether upper or lower case C,
Catholic, everybody, pluralist.
In Florida we learn to say, “Y’all.”
Cut me some slack, I’m in trouble if you think I’m being sectarian or nationalist.
I’m no prophet, merely product of a culture, Catholic and Irish.
Proud, for example, to say, “I’m Irish, not white.”
When we were little schoolboys, our teachers had the wisdom
to ridicule the notion of whiteness: “White, what can that mean?
Take a gander at that pink mug of yours in the mirror;
where is that famous white?”
It isn’t that I don’t believe in prophecy
I wholly believe in prophetic community,
to our attending to each other’s voices in community.
On Saturday the Wall Street Journal celebrated a catechism teacher,
Stephen Colbert, as the adult Mister Rogers.
One of our own. Listen to him.

I am of an era of peace activists. I belonged to the movements.
None has had more depth and staying power than Pax Christi of the Cathedral parish.
Community and culture. Never mere individual idealists.
We were the parish, reading the Gospel together,
receiving Communion, animated by a spirited quest for God,
even reckless in pursuit of a world renewed.
The Bible Girls praying for more, not less, demanding mission
Barbara and Beth, liberationists in the Megan mode
Phyllis and Sandy, instigators of the kingdom of peace and hope
the poet Nancy, our ambassador to Haiti and to Heaven.
Have you forgiven the Irish bit?
I’m not promoting nationalism, but community and culture.
May I plagiarize once more?
This will be a reading from the gospel according to Bruce Springsteen.
Describing the vocation he shares with the kids from the Dublin community,
the rockers Bono and U2, he says
“You want the sky to split open and God to pour out.”
Does that sound like the yearning of your Pax Christi culture?
About U2, Springsteen says,
“Their search for God intact, laying claim
not only to this world, but the next.
There is a deeply held faith in the work you’re doing
And its power to change the world.
Before James Brown, there was Jesus.
We are not ironists,
we are creations of the heart and of the earth
and of the Stations of the Cross.
Here we are Lord, this mess in your image.
Bono brought his personal faith into the real world.
You find the spirituality as home, as quest.
How do you find God, unless He’s in Your heart?”
Within the heart and culture of your Peace community.
As the Peace Activists invited me to their three-day retreat and credited me with the formation
we have given each other through many years, I realized that day one was on the anniversary of
the My Lai massacre.
The second was the birthday of Wilfred Owen.
The third was the anniversary of George Bush’s unleashing of fire and brimstone
on Baghdad.
And each day Putin was getting away with ravishing the Ukraine.
What to say at such a date?

Mary Carter Warren brought substantial studies to nourish hope and purpose.
John Frank cultivator of our beginnings and Johnny Zokovitch seeding our next generation.
Father Fred, resilient graced priesthood.
Sandy’s light touch direction infused a spirit of glad joy in being together
among lifelong witnesses to grace and mercy.
And I talked about war.
A great horror of modern warfare is the calculated destruction of
spirits, of culture, identity, heart and soul.
American psychologists developed techniques in the war against
Vietnamese nationalism which were reproduced in the war against the Maya.
A European human rights study described the strategy in Guatemala as
“Creating a Devastation and calling it a Peace.”
Americans remember it as “We had to destroy the village to save it.”
Not only were villages ravaged and massacred, but such survivors as emerged
were gathered at other sites, ‘Development Poles,’
where all marks of identity were erased and a new National Security identity
was offered on streets named for warriors.
The Maya have twenty seven languages and many dialects.
These were suppressed in the new villages.
Religious expression was replaced with Southern US preaching,
now called Evangelicals.
But the most striking affront to the Mayan civilization
was the prohibition of the people’s traditional clothing.
The Maya had not only had a multiplicity of ancient cultural features
evidenced in their myriad languages
but every community had its own very clearly individual dress.
To grasp the sacred civilization
one has to imagine how the thread was first invented,
a craft taught from grandmother to granddaughter, perhaps 500 years ago.
The dyes that could be produced from local leaves and berries were created and the weaves
and patterns that became representative of the community and culture emerged.
Sticks and stones and guns and bombs, we have learned,
do not win wars against such civilizations.
The spirit that sustains the victims’ humanity must be undermined.
At their Lake Worth Center, when Mayan women have seen the huipils,
they have been carried away, recalling the grandmothers whom
they saw weave and wear huipils in those very patterns.
See the crafts, and weep with me for the sins of war.
Lord bless the prophetic culture of your Pax Christi community.

End of reflection.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Parish Lent Retreat 2022

Retreat Master Rev. Steven R. Olds, St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary

  • Professor of Systematic Theology
  • B.A., Oakland University, Rochester, MI
  • S.T.B., Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
  • S.T.L., S.T.D., Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy
  • https://www.svdp.edu/

Note: I missed the first night due to a bout of sudden onset bradycardia due to poorly controlled COPD/Apnea combination. A brief summary of the general concept of Monday is included.

Monday – The Institute for Priestly Formation’s schema of Acknowledge, Relate, Receive,
Respond (ARRR) as a pattern for encountering God in prayer. Summary from link below.

  • Acknowledge – Acknowledging Who God Is and Who We Are.
  • Receive – God speaks to us in four ways in this moment: through our spiritual senses, through our imaginations, through our God-given reason, and through His silent, loving presence.
  • Reflect – In every mode of God’s conversation with him, the seminarian must come as he is—a poor beggar.
  • Respond – we release whatever it was that we acknowledged and related. At this point, the man will often sense in himself a resolution, a sense of peace.

https://gerrypalermo.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/msgr-trapp-5th-post-with-banner.pdf

Tuesday – Forgiveness (notes in order taken)

Scripture: The Unmerciful Servant

Reading from Gospel of Matthew – Mt 18:21-35

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/18?21

The idea of 7 x 7 is intended to reflect infinity. We are to be infinitely merciful.

God never tires of forgiving us.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen quoted to say: Our culture permits everything but forgets/forgives nothing.

The King writing off such a large debt extraordinary. The Servant writing off the co-worker debt should have been manageable.

In philosophy it is said Action follows being.

How we act reflects who we are.

All of us have missed the mark and sinned.

Discouragement is our great weakness.

The Devil is NOT co-equal to God. He is a created being. He cannot read our minds. He looks for cracks in our wall, so to speak. He knows our weaknesses.

God knows our weaknesses too. And he works infinitely with us to deal with them and transform them into grace.

Mercy is productive. Unforgiveness is stale.

What is the Will of God? Love and Mercy. This! This is what He wills.

Detachment is not to discard but to align our will to God’s will of love and mercy. That is to care about things in the right way.

It is a discovery of essence. Like marital love:

  1. At first you gaze into one another’s eyes.
  2. Then you gaze together at another.

Satan lies: you are unworthy of God’s love.

There is no such thing as a private sin, only unrevealed sin. There is no place for common knowledge about sin. But there is common effects of sin.

Sin damages the person. Sin damages us all.

Story summary: Two altar servers serving at two different Masses spill the precious blood.

  • In the first case, the priest lovingly corrects the altar server.
  • In the second case, the priest shreds the altar server.
  1. The second altar server was Joseph Stalin
  2. The first altar server was Fulton Sheen.

Sin damages. Self examination and reflection aids us.

God asks: Will you love me even a little?

Scripture: Wedding BanquetThe Parable of the Wedding Feast.

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/22

Summary: Everyone is invited.

Regarding the one without the proper wedding garment…

because everyone is not wealthy the tradition is to provide. Wedding garments are provided at the door for those without wedding garments (not unlike a fancy restaurant providing jackets for male diners).

The man refused the wedding garment. That is the not spoken truth (the not revealed).

He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence (Mt 22:12).

His silence led him into the darkness.

God does not kick us out of heaven we walk away.

Scripture: Peter’s Love

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/21?15

Peter went back to his old way of life.

Simon, do you love me?

The question is posed twice as agape love (an “All In” sort of love).

Peter answers twice with a filial love (a “Servant” sort of love).

In the final question, Jesus switches to Peter’s use of the word filial love.

Conclusion: Jesus meets us where we are. If Peter, in that moment, can only see himself as Servant and not “All In”, OK. Let’s begin there.

Preparing for Wednesday night Reconciliation service:

What does it mean to forgive?

What does it mean to be “All In” kind of love and being free from the lies?

Mercy is not a private consolation but a source of mercy for others.

Mercy and mission are tightly coupled.

Allow scripture to read us, Lectio Divina. What captures your attention, your emotions. Stay with that for a while.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry