Siloam – Sent


Greetings on this the Fourth Sunday of Lent

Readings: 1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41

Notes: using phone and one finger. First homily notes at new parish so I figure better write some notes.

I made this comment to a friar this morning March 12th, a week ago:

“I am a secular deacon but now assigned to a Franciscan community. I want to mold my homilies with the spirit and charism of Franciscan spirituality. I leave on pilgrimage in a few weeks, what shall I take on my journey?”

Reply: A San Damiano Cross.

So perhaps, God willing, these will be my first changed nuanced or last secular homily notes. What it is, with certainty, is a commitment to mold my life to Jesus in a new way. Saint Iago, pray for us. Saint Francis, pray for us.

Themes for 4th Sunday.

1. Sent. Samuel was sent to pick from among the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem to become King. Now listen up, he did this once before (1Sam 10:1ff) with Saul and things ended badly. See 1Sam 15:1, 26, 35. Whatever his trepidations he went and anointed David. We know he lamented Saul’s fall. Jesus sends the blind man to The Pool of Siloam. Just reminding you he was blind. But he went and now he sees.

2. The Innocent are not exempt from the troubles of life. In the case of the man born blind and (as in the Gospel of Luke 13:4) the innocent who died in the collapse of the Tower of Siloam. Jesus said, neither he nor his parents sinned. The tower, a recent tragedy, 18 people died. They were like everyone else. The innocent, the ordinary and the wicked all are subject to trouble in this world.

3. The Third and Sixth Sign of Jesus in Gospel of John. See my page image here. The injured sinner at the Pool of Bethsaida engaged in likely pagan god worship (Priests of Asclepius stir the pools). The man who was born blind at the Pool of Siloam, a mikvah place (Jewish ritual bathing). Both healed by Jesus. Sinner and sinless are under divine care. Those stuck in paganism called forth. Those faithful heard too.

4. Laetare Sunday. Rejoice. Isa 66:10-10. Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; Rejoice with her in her joy, all you who mourn over her – So that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; That you may drink with delight at her abundant breasts!

5. Challenges of Unbelief.

  • A. Sinners are punished. Confusing consequence with cause.
  • B. Disbelief people can change.
  • C. Mercy on Sabbath – an affront to self-righteous.
  • D. Mercy on Sabbath – a sin!
  • E. Intimidating parents.
  • F. We are not his disciples! Disown.
  • G. Ad Hominem. Attacks.

6. Listening.

  • If Jesus sends you, go!
  • God listens! He always listens! Always!!
  • God acts to the good!
  • Men doubt (our common problem).
  • Witnessed prove.

Take the psalmist’s words to heart. We all encounter difficulty in life. Sometimes a direct consequence and sometimes things just happen. But in every case with faith in God we can say with confidence: Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. We are only limited by how much we trust the Lord. How we treat the people and the world around us, the same thing.

Story of the two buckets. There was a boy who went to the well each day to draw water for the family. He had two buckets, one perfect and one leaky. The leaky bucket was sad one day. He relayed his feelings to the perfect bucket who replied: While it is true I carry the water without spilling, you carry water too. Now look at the path to the well. Filled with grass and flowers! Day in, day out, You have been watering the earth and it brings forth goodness.

You will know them by their fruits.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Convent Mind – Dios Proveerá

Saint José María de Yermo y Parres: Mexico 1851-1904 (Father Yermo)

Carlos Ruano Llopis. Artist. 1947.

Vatican remembrance:

At a convent in Santa Eulalia, Guatemala hangs this painting. The artist is not known for religious art but for bullrings and matadors. Yet he did paint this famous painting of the Inspiration of Father Yermo. I provide the story below. Father Yermo’s motto, God Provides.

How appropriate as the sisters attempt to reopen the school with little more than prayer and almsgiving.

Today’s gospel reading portion: Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

The LORD will affirm the blessing upon you, on your barns and on all your undertakings; he will bless you in the land that the LORD, your God, is giving you (Deut 28:8).

Priesthood story. Here:

A biography:

A young holy priest from the same place on loan to us.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Frozen Ground – Empty Bellies

Deep Freeze. Harvest Lost. Courtesy Fr Frank.

Fr Frank asks that I remind you (and myself) of the difficulty of the migrant harvest workers.

When the freeze comes no aid is available for the harvest workers. Or hurricane, or tornado, or drought.

While the State of Florida provides financial assistance to farmers for crop failures as a result of freezes and other agricultural disasters, the migrant worker does not receive unemployment or financial assistance to bridge to the next planting season. It can be a very hard life.

The Gleaners. Finding a meal when the harvest is gone.

The migrant worker is every bit as part of our common economic life as any USA citizen. Whether here on visa, green card, or undocumented, they are an important part of our economic life and our social life. We are in fact one family.

We should as a part of our systematic care for all members of the common life provide assistance specific to the harvest workers when such impacts occur. Out of Christian charity, yes. But in a sense more so out of Solidarity and in our common humanity. You don’t have to be Chrisitan to see yourself in their plight.

Humanism and Christian Humanism share many common goals. This should be one of them.

Donate to:

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

2017 Guatemala orphanage fire

Orphanage Fire Memorial

The memorial on the night day we were in the city photos.

The tragedy is the poor care for the orphan and the effects of social injustice have a cascading effect. Even righteous protest can be disastrous. It is wise to keep our eyes on Jesus and our behaviors in the Beatitudes.


Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

The unclean spirit convulsed

Tuesday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s gospel portion: His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

Route of the mission team above.

Frontier Route bleow.

Flight home was uneventful.

My last foot journey was the five miles from I-95 to my home.

Typing on a laptop. I miss my phone 🙂

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Fishers of Men

Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time (Guatemala liturgical calendar. In USA today is Feast of Baptism)

Today’s gospel portion: Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

You may wonder why the Monday post comes on Wednesday.

After the frontier, drove to Huehuetenango, stayed overnight, I made my way by bus from Huehuetenango to Guatemala City via a coach bus. So far so good.

Communicating with the mission team we agreed to meet up in Guatemala City on Monday for the final two days in-country. While in Guatemala City I walked 16 km total with my 14 LB backpack to the Cathedral and back again partly to fill the day with activity and partly to continue the solidarity of the pilgrim and migrant.

Then two motorcycle thieves jumped the curb, grabbed my cell phone and drove off.

You haven’t heard from me because I have no cell phone.

Of course, I had shock and surprise like anyone. But my first thought was, ‘Hey, this is just like in the movies.’

This aspect of the trip (continuing the diaspora solidarity pilgrimage) brings to focus the dangers of the migration. In summary, I was victim of crime in Mexico City and Guatemala City, both. In the first case, by a member of the State apparatus, and in the second case just normal street thieves. In both cases no recourse but by my own resources. Imagine this story being repeated on a 3,000 journey for one with very little and the trust in the Lord. Or even no faith, no resources, just desperation.

And they come.

I will attempt to write from the experiences and observations careful to be disrespectful and objective.

But you have no photos from this point forward.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.

The Baptism of the Lord

Today’s gospel portion: After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Traveling through the wilderness frontier we arrived at La Mesilla Frontier. The church is the Immaculate Conception.

Jesus’ baptism is the renewal of all creation. All things are made new. Consecrating all creation and opening the door to repentance. In his baptism he reveals the Holy Trinity.

He is our common hope. He makes plain too our common problem. We have one God, one planet and one human race. It isn’t us and them. It’s we.

Border Town.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

La Mesilla Guatemala Frontier

We arrived after the wilderness Route.


By the rivers of Babylon there we sat weeping when we remembered Zion. On the poplars in its midst we hung up our harps.
For there our captors asked us for the words of a song;
Our tormentors, for joy:
“Sing for us a song of Zion!”

But how could we sing a song of the LORD in a foreign land?
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget.
May my tongue stick to my palate if I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem beyond all my delights (PS 137:1-6).

Immaculate Conception parish. Mexico Guatemala border.