An argument arose

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Greetings on this the Monday of the Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: JB 1:6-22; PS 17:1BCD, 2-3, 6-7; LK 9:46-50
Notes: I do not want to say I am unpacking the entirety of the Book of Job. That is the work of the Ages. Job plumbs the depths of the permissive will of God and the insufficiency of man to understand the situation as it really is and how the Lord treats us in fact.

Hurricane Ian offshore nearing Cuba.

First reading
One day, when the angels of God came to present themselves before the LORD, Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “Whence do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming the earth and patrolling it.”

Satan put Job to four calamities in this Old Testament portion.

  • Two are from the Evil activity of nations (Sabeans and Chaldeans).
  • Two are from the evil (little e) of nature.
  1. The oxen were ploughing and the asses grazing beside them, and the Sabeans carried them off in a raid. They put the herdsmen to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.
  2. Lightning has fallen from heaven and struck the sheep and their shepherds and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you.
  3. The Chaldeans formed three columns, seized the camels, carried them off, and put those tending them to the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.
  4. Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, when suddenly a great wind came across the desert and smote the four corners of the house. It fell upon the young people and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you.

Responsorial Psalm
Incline your ear to me and hear my word.

Alleluia Verse
The Son of Man came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Gospel Portion
An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.

In our gospel portion today, the emphasis shifts from what Satan was allowed to do (evil in the world) to childlike behavior and the tender care of children. The shift is away from ‘power politics’ to love excelling.

Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.

The greater question is are we treating people well (remember the Sabeans and Chaldeans) and are we ready to place love received and love given as the rod by which we judge.

Job ends this way:

Thus the LORD blessed the later days of Job more than his earlier ones. Now he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters: the first daughter he called Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land no other women were as beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; and he saw his children, his grandchildren, and even his great-grandchildren (Jb 42:12-16).

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Complacent

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Greetings on this the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Am 6:1a, 4-7; Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10; 1 Tm 6:11-16; Lk 16:19-31
Notes: Being complacent in regard to one’s own eternal wellbeing is a most regrettable path to take.

In today’s gospel portion we are confronted with the great chasm between Abraham with Lazarus and the Rich Man. The chasm, how did it come to be?
The Rich Man dug it, one shovelful of complacency at a time.

First reading
Thus says the LORD the God of hosts: Woe to the complacent in Zion!

Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm
Praise the Lord, my soul!

Blessed is he who keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free.

Second reading
But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Alleluia Verse
Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Gospel Portion
Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table.

Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.

I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.

But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Pay attention to what I am telling you

The Way

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: ECCL 11:9—12:8; PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17; LK 9:43B-45
Notes: The 25th and 26th Sundays book-end multiple layers of the gospel teachings.

Between them in the reading sequence, a series of contrasts, the gospel message below:

Monday – You are Light.
Tuesday – Mother and Brother? Will of the Father.
Wednesday – Follow me. I desire mercy not sacrifice.
Thursday – Evil is perplexed by good. They cannot ‘see’ it.
Friday – The First Prediction of the Passion (propitiation and resurrection).
And today, Saturday.

A life led in vain (sequence readings ECCL or PRV, but I will highlight today’s contrast).
A call to imitate the fullness of the generosity of God and servant leadership of the Christ.

And in either horizon, death. It is our destiny.
Combining the gospel and first reading today could look like below.

Pay attention to what I am telling you: The life breath returns to God who gave it.

Our Alleluia verse today gives us comfort to consider these things:
Our Savior Christ Jesus destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.

The Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time consider two parables. Two men, one who is an educated man hired to administer the treasury of a Master and the other the Master also an intelligent man who owns a treasury.

Both have a miserable (vain) relationship to the Manna.

  • The Dishonest Steward steals what is not his own as if only he matters
  • The Rich Man keeps only for himself as if only he matters.

Both have a horizon that is painful and without hope.

  • The Dishonest Steward, in this life, sets his course to the false protection of manna.
  • The Rich Man, in his death, finds the hopelessness in which he lead his life and now suffers hopelessness immediately.

The Parable of the Dishonest Steward. https://bible.usccb.org/bible/luke/16?1
The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. https://bible.usccb.org/bible/luke/16?19

First reading
The life breath returns to God who gave it.

Responsorial Psalm
In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Alleluia Verse
Our Savior Christ Jesus destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel.

Gospel Portion
While they were all amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

  • Be amazed by Jesus.
  • Be loved by the Father.
  • Set your horizon to the holy.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

In your power

Be the one who frees the prisoner

Greetings on this the Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: Prv 3:27-34; PS 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5; Lk 8:16-18
Notes: To be human is a spectacular reality. Such ability! Such power!

In our day: Queen Elizabeth II Funeral Mass and Committal.

Who could imagine travel to the Moon, Mars and beyond (manned, unmanned).
Telescopes that can peer into the past by billions of years.

You are autonomous.
You have dignity (real in the divine and perceived in the heart).
You have power.
You have capacity.
You have knowledge.
You have resources.

You have faith.
You have hope.
You can forgive.
You can reconcile.

You can overcome loneliness, fear, despair, guilt, shame.
You can defeat powerlessness, hopelessness, and bring reassurance.

You can be a force of beneficence.
You can be one who is careful to be non – malfeasant.
You can express fidelity, personal and professional.
You can be truthful & reliable.
You can be Just.

It is in your power.
For yourself.
For others.

First reading
Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim
when it is in your power to do it for him.

Responsorial Psalm
The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.

Alleluia Verse
Let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

Gospel Portion
Jesus said to the crowd: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Inflection Point

Greetings on this the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Am 8:4-7; Ps 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8; 1 Tm 2:1-8; Lk 16:1-13
Notes: An Inflection point (in business) is a time of significant change in a situation; a turning point.

Using a Jewish wisdom term, for today we’ll use the peshat meaning, the plain meaning.

There are other spiritual meanings in today’s gospel portion. And certainly to be noted and reflected upon. Today I will focus on the Inflection Point.

FIRST READING
In the first reading, Amos’s message stands as one of the most powerful voices ever to challenge hypocrisy and injustice. He boldly indicts kings, priests, and leaders (NABRE, Amos Introduction).

He makes the inventory of offenses:

  1. Want the sell and market during holy days.
  2. Short fill the ephah when selling (a bushel).
  3. Increase prices because you can for no other reason.
  4. Set the weigh scale for cheating.
  5. Buy humans as slaves for silver.
  6. Even buy the poorest humans for a pair of sandals.
  7. Sell the harvest chaff (waste) for profit as if wheat.

Inflection Point.
How do we respond?

Do we change? Do we follow these and threaten Amos’ life or to deaden the conscience and ignore the warnings?

To Amos, Amaziah said: “Off with you, seer, flee to the land of Judah and there earn your bread by prophesying! But never again prophesy in Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.” (Amos 7, 12-13)

SECOND READING
In the second reading, Paul’s message states the most important things we can do.

Pray.

Make supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority.

It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Why? Because we have all fallen short of the glory of God. We are all sinners. And the list Amos provided today, which having specific application, also applies to all of us in one form or another. Adjust behavior accordingly.

Inflection Point.
How do we respond?

Paul’s prescription:

  1. Lead a quiet and tranquil life (be humble in your judgments).
  2. Be devoted.
  3. Be dignified.
  4. Remember, the divine intention is all to come to salvation.

GOSPEL PORTION
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward ho was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’

In the peshat meaning, the plain sense of it, the steward has been accused of cheating his master and stealing from his estate. He did so in ways not distant from the list Amos provided us today.

Having been so discovered the steward has reached an inflection point.
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?

At the Inflection Point he made this decision. To call together all those he had already cheated with and DOUBLED DOWN on his infractions. He knew who he cheated with already. He knew he could count on them to do it again.

And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.

What does this mean? In the plain sense it means this: the correct response to an accusation is to take account of the things you have done, weigh them properly and determine if these things are true or false. Then you enter the inflection point. What to do next?

What did he do?

  1. Made a list of everyone who cheated with him.
  2. Offered to cheat with them again.
  3. Falsified documents.
  4. Hid as much evidence as possible, if covering his tracks well enough, would make immune from prosecution of the steward and his co-conspirators.
  5. Made side deals which would make him secure in his wealth.

If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

Inflection Point.
How do we respond?

The third conclusion is a general statement about the incompatibility of serving God and being a slave to riches. To be dependent upon wealth is opposed to the teachings of Jesus who counseled complete dependence on the Father as one of the characteristics of the Christian disciple (Lk 12:22–39). God and mammon: see note on Lk 16:9. Mammon is used here as if it were itself a god. ((NABRE note, Luke 16:13).

Don’t double down.

First reading
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!
The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!

This is the Inflection Point.

Having been called out for the offenses, Amos reminds there are consequences for these actions which include personal loss and national disgrace.

It appears from the literary style provided that the people did not listen.

Each person and every nation must take account of its behaviors and especially the list provided by Amos. Social sin, what Amos is deriding, is a serious matter of the person and society.

https://www.thetorah.com/article/the-book-of-amos-a-retrospect-on-the-fall-of-israel

Responsorial Psalm
Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.

He raises up the lowly from the dust; from the dunghill he lifts up the poor to seat them with princes, with the princes of his own people.

Second reading
First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God.

Alleluia Verse
Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Gospel Portion
A nice reflection: https://www.fatherduffy.com/i-say-to-you/

In business, I have met many people like this unfaithful steward. Jesus’ picked a great example. Don’t make money your god.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Content in your presence

Believers sharing scripture and discussing how Jesus impacts them. Content to be in your presence.

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
Readings: 1 COR 15:12-20; PS 17:1BCD, 6-7, 8B AND 15; LK 8:1-3
Notes: In addition to the Twelve, many accompanied Jesus on his journey from one town and village to another. These same women will accompany Jesus to Jerusalem, are present at his death and resurrection. Both Mary Magdalene and Joanna are specifically mentioned in scared scripture.

Our memorial today concerns two Church leaders who differed in their understanding of how to readmit believers who relapsed but converged wonderfully in unity:

Cyprian, using judgment of the Church argument style, wrote:

(a warning) it will be attributed to us in the day of judgment, that we have not cared for the wounded sheep, and that on account of a single wounded one we have lost many sound ones. And whereas the Lord left the ninety and nine that were whole, and sought after the one wandering and weary, and Himself carried it, when found, upon His shoulders, we not only do not seek the lapsed, but even drive them away when they come to us; and while false prophets are not ceasing to lay waste and tear Christ’s flock, we give an opportunity to dogs and wolves, so that those whom a hateful persecution has not destroyed, we ruin by our hardness and inhumanity.

Even still Mary Magdalene and Joanna teach us above all things, we should say to the Lord:

We are content in your presence, O Lord.

First reading
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.

Gospel Portion
Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

VAMC We Remember

VAMC Riviera Beach FL

As part of my Sabbatical I carved out time for my fellow veterans. Even today, a Joyful Reunion in Christ. Our liturgy is the return and reunion.

It is family that we disappoint most but family loves the most too. Reach out today and in love, love on those who you miss.

One family, wife and daughter, visit with a veteran separated by an iron rod fence. Isolation and COVID-19 can’t stop love. Smiles, stories, joy and regrets no iron fence can bar passage.

Another veteran, having rejected all pastoral care previously, refused all consolation until today. I came to him, heart before the Lord in prayer, and a wonder of wonders. Two visitors. A woman and man. I looked and said, Daughter and Son-in-law. Further, I know your eyes sparkle identically!! Dad, frail in bed, daughter by his side… Glowing with love. It is our families we disappoint the most but love us the most too.

Holy Mass with the faithful.

Cantor, Lector, Usher, Altar Server
Priest and Deacon

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

Barbed Wire

Thorns Removed

Greetings on this the Saturday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: 1 Cor 10:14-22; Ps 116:12-13, 17-18; LK 6:43-49
Notes: Contributors to this reflection include.

  • A Holy Musician, lover of Christ and his wife of more than 60 plus years .
  • A Holy Deacon, growing in holiness every day. He must increase as I must decrease.
  • A Holy Priest, who gives us teachings long lost in the din of the modern language.
  • An Inn Keeper, who engaged in daily and lengthy and probing discourse.
  • Me, who enjoys agitating all of you into service filled with divine love.
  • You, dear reader, who allow a challenge to your mind and heart.

Curse:
To the man he said: Cursed is the ground because of you! In toil you shall eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bear for you, and you shall eat the grass of the field (Gen 3:17b-18).

Reverse:
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head (Mat 27:29-30).

A Reply:

Thanks Deacon!

I really enjoyed the read!!

I remember growing up:

You were being taught that America is a Great Melting Pot. This is where all different peoples come together and melt-blend into one another to create a marvelous amalgamation. This is partly true. It is better to describe America as a Three Bean Salad. It too is a marvelous blend but with great distinction between its elements, each maintaining their distinction and contribution with boundaries and form. They don’t melt together, they enjoy being side-by-side.

A more recent version is Notre Dame:

The Melting Pot vs. The Salad Bowl – Black & Green Atlantic (nd.edu)

Today?

I could divert into a discussion of dye color changes for the beloved M&M candies but that would trivialize the concern.

Without prayer and fasting, I don’t think we can arrive at a satisfactory answer to freedom, democracy and ethical v moral constructs that incorporate and tolerate a variety of theological basis, especially the perturbed versions being pushed today (I am speaking of our current age), nor even basic norms of truthfulness, fidelity and honor (of whom I shall not speak his name though he is often described as Twice Impeached, disgraced, Ex-President).

In Spain there are interfaith chapels marvelous and beautifully made. Active centers of worship and cooperative service.

Anyway, you know what I think and I enjoy our banter.

May I leave you with this classic metaphor?

Question: What is the difference between a prison and a gated community?

Answer: The direction the barbed wire is facing. The former keeps them in. The latter keeps them out.

What do we with a country where some want to erect barbed wire facing all directions?

The school chaplain gave a sermon on LGBT. It is a Church of England school located in Britain. It has made national and I guess international news.

The chaplain was sacked but He spoke of the laws of the Church and sacred scripture. He has been reinstated but can no longer preach.

It could be something rolling our way soon.

Love to the family,

Gerry

First reading
We know who we are and what we believe and what we are called to do (servant leadership, not domination). Anything else is less.

My beloved ones, avoid idolatry.
I am speaking as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I am saying. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one Body, for we all partake of the one loaf.

Responsorial Psalm
To you, Lord, I will offer a sacrifice of praise.

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:
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.

For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles.

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.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Love Slave

Photo by sergio omassi on Pexels.com

Greetings on this the Memorial of Saint Peter Claver, Priest
Readings: 1 COR 9:16-19, 22B-27; PS 84:3, 4, 5-6, 12; LK 6:39-42
Notes: Today’s gospel portion comes from the teaching of Jesus on the matter of Judging. The gospels of Matthew and Luke closely parallel each other on this teaching about how very faulty our judgments can be. In the gospel of John this is most excellently expressed in the story of The Woman Caught in Adultery (Jn 7:53-8:11).

Poor Judgment – Slavery, Right Judgment – Dignity.

Saint Peter Claver declaring himself “the slave of the Negroes forever.”

Saint Peter Claver ministered to those who, in the eyes of the commercial society, had only property value. For Peter Claver, and for all who obey the Divine, each is accorded the dignity of humanity where this said dignity is reflective of having been made in the image and likeness of God.

Reflection

The Holy Spirit’s might and power are manifested in the striking decisions and bold actions of Peter Claver. A decision to leave one’s homeland never to return reveals a gigantic act of will difficult for us to imagine. Peter’s determination to serve forever the most abused, rejected, and lowly of all people is stunningly heroic. When we measure our lives against such a man’s, we become aware of our own barely used potential and of our need to open ourselves more to the jolting power of Jesus’ Spirit.
From https://www.franciscanmedia.org/saint-of-the-day/saint-peter-claver

First reading
Paul is a love slave.

Paul’s devotion to the salvation of souls is summed up in the first reading:

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.

Paul and Peter Claver went wherever called under any circumstance and with every ounce of strength in order to reassure the most forgotten they are not forgotten at all.

Responsorial Psalm
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!

Alleluia Verse
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.

Gospel Portion
If we judge poorly
, we would be the merchants who allow Peter Claver to work among the newly arrived slaves, not out of compassion, but out of commercial value. A dead slave has no value. Let him bring some relief for them and coin for us.

If we judge rightly, then we are like Peter Calver:

As soon as a slave ship entered the port, Peter Claver moved into its infested hold to minister to the ill-treated and exhausted passengers. After the slaves were herded out of the ship like chained animals and shut up in nearby yards to be gazed at by the crowds, Claver plunged in among them with medicines, food, bread, brandy, lemons, and tobacco. With the help of interpreters he gave basic instructions and assured his brothers and sisters of their human dignity and God’s love. During the 40 years of his ministry, Claver instructed and baptized an estimated 300,000 slaves.

Saint Vincent de Paul Society, my fellow Vincentians, we always try to remember from whom right judgment and action comes from, it is the Lord! (John 21:7).

We pray, do we not:

Lord Jesus, deepen our Vincentian spirit of friendship during this meeting, make us responsive to the Christian calling to seek and find the forgotten, the suffering or the deprived so that we may bring them your love. Help us to be generous with our time, our possessions and ourselves in this mission of charity. Perfect in us your love and teach us to share more fully in the Eucharistic Sacrifice offered for all.

And again:

Prayer to see the Eucharist as the Source of our Apostolate
All: Father, grant that we who are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist may realize the depth of our needs, respond more spontaneously to the suffering of others, and come to love you more deeply by service to our neighbor.

Prayer that we may bear witness to Christ’s love
All: Grant us also the wisdom and strength to persevere when disappointed or distressed. May we never claim that the fruitfulness of our apostolate springs from ourselves alone. United in prayer and action, may we become a visible sign of Christ and may we give witness to His boundless love, which reaches out to all and draws them to love on another in Him.

Prayer for Fruitful Visits
All: We thank you, Lord, for the many blessings which we receive from those whom we visit. Help us to love and respect them, to understand their deeper needs, and to share their burdens and joys as true friends in Christ.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry

Harbored a grudge

Greetings on this the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
Readings: 1 Cor 2:1-5; Ps 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102; Mk 6:17-29
Notes: Humility has been the topic since Saturday. Yesterday I contrasted for you the difference between humility and humiliation.

Added these thoughts in the homily:

  1. Jesusology, the way Jesus lived among us, shows his great humility.
  2. Christology, Jesus’ mission, shows us the divine humility, love and mercy.
  3. Monica, knowing her work was not complete, humbly and often prayed for her family and son especially.
  4. Augustine, prideful young man, prayed and searched his way into humility.
  5. John shows us the sacrifice of the best man for his best friend.
  6. Humiliation is either real or forced upon us.
    6a. Real, if it is a result of our trying to take Advantage, Alliance or Acquisition (i.e., to steal).
    6b. False, if it is based on anything else (criticism of height, race are examples of false humiliation).
  7. Jesus’ example of someone taking the higher seat at a wedding is an obvious example of someone wanting alliance, advantage or acquisition. Ditto a banquet of influencers and dealmakers.
  8. But you. You be humble.
  • Monica,
  • Augustine,
  • Jesus,
  • and now, John the Baptist.

Saint Paul’s writings confirm the need to humbly offer Jesus in spirit and power of the Lord not in any human authority.

In today’s gospel portion we read the event and causes of John’s beheading:

Humiliation of Herodias. Not a false humiliation but a real, factual, intentional reality.

  • Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias.
  • It was not enough for her, how deep the humiliation, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”

First reading
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Responsorial Psalm
Lord, I love your commands.

Alleluia Verse
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Gospel Portion
In today’s gospel portion we have the contrast of humility and humiliation.

  • Humiliation of Herodias.
  • Humility of John the Baptist.

He must increase; I must decrease (Jn 3:30).

How people understood Jesus was in direct proportion to the humility of John the Baptist.
In the Marcan gospel sequence the beheading of John is the opening up of:

  • the mission of the twelve.
  • the feeding of the 5,000.
  • the walking on water.

Choose humility.

Peace be with you,
Deacon Gerry