Peace to this household

Sitio Tralala

Greetings on this the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Is 66:10-14c; Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20; Gal 6:14-18; Lk 10:1-12, 17-20
Notes: Where ever you live and whatever your circumstance.

Peace to this household.

Here it is the heat of the summer.

Heat and humidity dictate a slower day and calmer pace.

Be at peace.
Rest.
Know you are loved.

First reading
When you see this, your heart shall rejoice
and your bodies flourish like the grass;
the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.

Responsorial Psalm
Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!

Second reading
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen.

Alleluia Verse
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

Gospel Portion
‘Peace to this household.’
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

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.’”

Because.

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.

https://deacongerrypalermo.blog/2021/09/21/i-desire-mercy-not-sacrifice/

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

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

Tent Within

Greetings on this the Second Sunday of Lent
Readings: Gn 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps 27:1, 7-8, 8-9, 13-14; Phil 3:17—4:1; Lk 9:28b-36
Notes: During Lent Ash Wednesday gospel portion is identical for all cycles (A, B and C).
For the Sundays of Week One and Week Two of Lent the narrative story is the same but presented from one of the synoptic gospels (Cycle A – Matthew, Cycle B – Mark, and this hear Cycle C – Luke). Same story slightly different perspective.
After today, the Sunday Lent readings diverge to offer a diverse perspectives of the life of Jesus Christ and what he had to say and offer to us. But for today, I want to focus on the Tent as presented in the synoptic gospels.

Sidebar: We live in an increasing moralistic world. A dangerous situation for the whole of humanity. Best to remember, when you point a finger at another, THREE fingers point back to you.

REMEMBER: Justice is not an ABSOLUTE. Justice is a relation. Justice is the reduction/elimination of hurt/harm done to another and the application of blessing upon the other. Justice as understood today in the American Church and in American society as a whole is not the Justice of God.

First reading
Abram put his faith in the LORD,
who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.

Responsorial Psalm
The Lord is my light and my salvation.

“Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”;
your face, LORD, do I seek! (PS 27:8).

Second reading
Stand firm in the Lord.

Verse Before the Gospel
From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, hear him.

  • Hear Him.
  • Listen to Him.
  • Follow him.

Gospel Portion
“Master, it is good that we are here;
let us make three tents,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But he did not know what he was saying.

Indeed. The Lord honored his request in a marvelous way and wanted him to go much further with him!

There are three levels of the Tent understanding.

  1. Festival of Booths (Ex 23). Ingathering the Jewish People. Ingathering of the whole of humanity.

Plain meaning is the required pilgrimage to Jerusalem either as a journey or as a seven day recreation of living in a temporary dwelling like a farmer during the time of harvest.

You shall dwell in booths for seven days; every native-born Israelite shall dwell in booths, that your descendants may realize that, when I led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, I made them dwell in booths. I, the LORD, am your God. (LV 23:42-43).

Profound Meaning is the Ingathering of the Jewish people and for us the whole of the human family exemplified by the harvest season and the pilgrimage ordinance.

  1. Meeting Tent of Moses (Ex 33). Face to face with the Lord, as a person speaks to a friend.

Moses used to pitch a tent outside the camp at some distance. It was called the tent of meeting. Anyone who wished to consult the LORD would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses. On seeing the column of cloud stand at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and bow down at the entrance of their own tents. The LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a person speaks to a friend. Moses would then return to the camp (Ex 33:7, 9-11a).

Plain meaning is the life of Moses and his friendship with the Lord. Moses, the intercessor, was always interceding on behalf of the people. For the people are a stiff necked people and Moses was pained and took pain to keep them faithful to the Lord. We should also note that Elijah had a different role as prophet. Elijah was the voice and actions of the pathos of God. The emotions, agonies, pains and actions of the Lord in regard to the human family are made most evident in Elijah. Elijah shares visions as like Abram (Smoking firepot, 1 Kgs 18:38, and flaming torch, 2 Kgs 2:11-12).

Profound Meaning the call to each of us into the friendship of the Lord, to know the Lord.

  1. Tabernacle Tent (Ex 40) a later Exodus development. God’s Presence in the Tabernacle journey’s with His people.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud settled down upon it and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud rose from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on their journey. But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward; only when it lifted did they go forward. The cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire in the cloud at night, in the sight of the whole house of Israel in all the stages of their journey (Ex 40:34-38).

Plain meaning is the Lord is with the people in their journey.

Profound Meaning is the call to journey with the Lord in his Exodus, Passion and Heavenly Kingdom. It is important to note in all three synoptic gospels the Transfiguration follows the first prediction of the passion of Our Lord.

So Peter was right but needed to go deeper!
It is so much more!

The Transfiguration of Jesus shows who he is and who we are to become like / follow him.
The Lord God proclaims His Son not simply as revelation but as invitation.

  1. Natural good of the harvest and supernatural good of ingathering people to the Lord.
  2. Friendship with the Lord, face to face as friend Moses did and knowing him as Elijah knew.
  3. The Lord not only journeys with us but pitches his tent within us!

The novella of Tobit says it well:

Give thanks to the Lord with righteousness, and bless the King of the ages,
so that your tabernacle may be rebuilt in you with joy (TB 13:10b).

While he was still speaking,
a cloud came and cast a shadow over them,
and they became frightened when they entered the cloud.
Then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”

The cloud is the third promise and the fullness of the Tabernacle Tent.
We are no longer to be afraid of the Lord nor of serving him and the consequences.
We are to Tabernacle with him in our hearts where is a place for him within each of us.

  • Hear Him.
  • Listen to Him.
  • Follow him.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Test of the just

Greetings on this the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Sir 27:4-7; Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16; 1 Cor 15:54-58; Lk 6:39-45
Notes: Prayer and sympathy for the People of Ukraine this day.

This very day we are in the Test of the Just.

How do we take on the mismatch of works, fruits and faith?

If we are to measure anything we are to measure the fruits of our words and works.

A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.

Russia’s war on Ukraine is a rotten fruit from a rotted tree. Many Catholics in America are excusing him and making excuses for him. How can this be?

First reading

When you shell corn in a traditional way the corn is first dried. Then scrapping the corn cob on cob you slowly remove the kernels until all the kernels are collected in the basket and what remains in your hand is the husk and the cob.

Duress is often the revealer of the character of a person.
For good or ill when one speaks a window is opened to the soul.
This is good news! Sometimes we have convinced ourselves of our rightness that it is only in hearing our own voice, and our own dishonesty that we begin the healing from sin which is the ‘missing of the mark’.

So do one’s faults when one speaks.

Agricultural is primary. Without food we die. Jesus choses to illustrate the work of agriculture as an example of what good works are. They bring and sustain life. Good works is hard work. Multi-step work. Consistent work. So we can eat. Every day work.

https://www.gardeningsite.com/garden-trees/tending-to-apple-trees/

Likewise the tree example. Here Jesus takes the longer path of good work. Trees must be tended to and trimmed, watered, fertilized and otherwise kept healthy so that years from now it may mature and become fruitful. This is a longer term good work that, although consistently applied bring about the course of good in due time.

  • Husking and Shelling – every day good work.
  • Trimming and Harvesting – every year good work.

Always the good work of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The responsorial psalm uses the same type of immediate and long term work reference.

  • Palm trees grow quickly, prolifically and must be attended often.
  • Lebanon Cedars grow slowly and become massive in size.

The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.

Second reading
Jesus speaks and his deeds are true and real.

Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters,
be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

This is the critical and central point.
Jesus has won victory over death.

We, humanity, at times, wish to keep death as supreme.
The one who overcome death wants us to overcome our desire to cause death.

Alleluia Verse
Shine like lights in the world
as you hold on to the word of life.

Gospel Portion
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.

Pope Francis made a bold visit to the Russian consulate. The Seat of Peter did not use word salad to express “thoughts and prayers” which is the modern day and a tired hypocrisy. Rather he came off his seat and walked the walk of Jesus. He advocating for peace in the person. He did not come in chariot and procession. He came, metaphorically, on a donkey.

Hosanna!
Hosanna in the highest, is his cry!

Please read about it here.

https://www.reuters.com/world/pope-went-russian-embassy-express-concern-over-war-moscow-envoy-2022-02-25/

You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.

Let us be clear:

Jesus is NOT saying become HOLIER THAN SOMEONE ELSE before you work together!

NO, no and no!

Jesus is saying have the humility to recognize your OWN sinfulness as a compassion (co-journey) out of sinfulness and into holiness. Pope Francis upon election: “And now, let us start this journey, bishop and people, bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which leads all the Churches in charity, a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.”

And again:

Fr. Spadaro himself recounts: https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2013/09/25/i-am-sinner-deep-humility-pope-francis

The pope stares at me in silence. I ask him if this is a question that I am allowed to ask…. He nods that it is, and he tells me: “I do not know what might be the most fitting description…. I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”

People on the point of giving up on life need the most important thing: to be seen and to be heard. Even this past week in ministry this was the case. Despondency yields to hope as a person is known and can know. End of life is a difficult time. Some want to rush it. Others want to deny it. The medicine of the Church is to embrace the victory of the cross over death. [disguised example].

People who are in grief need the most important thing: to be seen and to be heard. Even this past week in ministry this was the case. Grief yields to hope as a person is known and can know. When a widow demanded there be no scripture reading I countered with a suggestion: eleven words. Let me say eleven words.

And Jesus wept.
So they said, “See how he loved him.”
(Jn 11:35-36).

The Divine weeps. Because he chooses to weep for us. He allows us to touch him with our grief, despondency, and our sin. Or have you never seen a crucifix?

Weep, like Jesus.
See, like even the hypocrites did that day, See how he loves them!

Pray for Ukraine.
Pray for Russia and Putin.
Pray for NATO and America and Biden.

Be an advocate for truth. Call your favorite TV personality who is embedded in this Putin Lie. I am amazed anyone would continue to listen to the lies of a Tucker Carlson. He engages in the hypocrisy Jesus decries. He uses tangents, misappropriation and maligning of facts and techniques of a demagogue. He has your ear?

Rather: Weep, like Jesus. Ukrainians are begging to be seen and to be heard.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry