Friday, December 31, 2010


Father: Christ has appeared among us.

All: Come, let us adore Him.

Mother: The precious gifts which the Magi brought to the
Lord this day are threefold,
and they are signs of divine mysteries.
By gold the power of the King is signified,
by frankincense His great priesthood,
by myrrh the burial of the Lord.

All: The Magi worshipped the Author of our salvation in
the crib,
and of their treasures they brought to Him gifts of
mystic nature.

Youngest Child: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and
to the Holy Ghost.

All: As it was in the beginning,
is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Father: Let us pray. O God,
by the leading of a star Thou didst manifest Thine
only begotten Son
to the Gentiles on this day;
mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith,
may be brought to contemplate the beauty of Thy
Through the same Jesus Christ Thy Son.

All: Alleluia.

The following hymn serves well as a conclusion.
Additional verses may be composed by members of the

The Wise Men tune Jesu Dulcis Memoria
Now there appeared a brilliant Star
Which led the wise Men from afar.
They came and, kneeling down, adored
And offered gifts to Christ, the Lord.

[From The Story of the Redemption for Children.]

[Source: Christmas to Candlemas in a Catholic Home by
Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville,

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Background of Epiphany and some traditional customs that can be implemented for the feast in your home.

The Middle Ages, with its love for pageantry and the picturesque, celebrated the Feast of the Three Kings with much pomp and ceremony. Their lives were dramatized, picturing them first as Magi, members of a learned and respected priesthood, then as counselors of a king, tutors of princes, skillful astrologers, and interpreters of dreams, and finally as kings with their offerings of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What little was known about them offered fascinating material for dramatization: their call, their wanderings in the desert as they followed the star, their detention by Herod, their adoration of the Christ-Child, their return home to Babylon and Persia, and the subsequent conversion of their people to Christianity.

Another custom peculiar to this feast and prevalent in Germany and other European countries is "star caroling." Three young men, colorfully dressed, accompanied by a star-bearer, go singing from house to house. In return for their "star songs" they receive some little recompense. In many localities these young men are altar boys who are thus rewarded in some slight way for their serving at Mass.

Epiphany is a large celebration, especially in Spanish speaking countries. Things look different around the household: the infant Jesus in the manger now has a small gold crown and is wearing regal robes. The figures of the wise men have reached Bethlehem, completing the nativity scene.

Reminiscent of Christ's baptism in the Jordan and the administration of Baptism on the vigil of the Epiphany is the blessing of water as it is still done in many churches. This "Water of the Three Kings" is then used in the blessing of homes on the following day.

According to a central European custom pastors also may bless pieces of chalk for each family to use in inscribing the names of the three Magi over their doorways, as a manifestation of their Christian faith and a protection against the powers of evil.

The Church extends itself on Epiphany to the homes of the faithful. The custom of blessing the home probably grew up on account of the words in the Gospel, "And entering into the house, they found the Child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down they adored Him." The priest blesses the house if he can be present, but if not, the father of the family may do so. He leads the family (and any guests who may have been invited for the occasion) from room to room, blessing each and inscribing the initials of the three Magi (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) above the doors with the chalk that has been previously blessed. The doors are inscribed with the following:

20 + C + M + B + 10

The initials are separated by crosses and the year above the door. The initials CMB also stand for the words "Christus Mansionem Benedicat" which means "May Christ bless this house". This inscription above the entry of our house should be a reminder to us that we should be with and go to Christ in all our comings and goings.

A Twelfth Night Cake or Bread is usually baked, and the "Three Kings" are invited: either members of the family or other guests. If they are older, they can get involved in blessing the house by marking their "initial" over the doors. The children can prepare for the "Kings" by creating crowns and perhaps royal capes to wear.

Compiled from With Christ Through the Year, Rev. Bernard Strasser, O.S.B. by Jennifer Gregory Miller

Jennifer Gregory Miller Jennifer G. Miller

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What are the
What are the "O Antiphons"?

The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.
The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. Let’s now look at each antiphon with just a sample of Isaiah’s related prophecies :

O Sapientia: “O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” (11:2-3), and “Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom.” (28:29).
O Adonai: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” (11:4-5); and “Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us.” (33:22).

O Radix Jesse: “O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

O Clavis David: “O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.” Isaiah had prophesied, AI will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open.” (22:22), and “His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over His kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever.” (9:6).

O Oriens: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” (9:1).

O Rex Gentium: “O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.” Isaiah had prophesied, “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (9:5), and “He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (2:4) .

O Emmanuel: “O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The Lord himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”

(7:14). Remember “Emmanuel” means “God is with us.”

According to Professor Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.


Saunders, Rev. William. “What are the ‘O Antiphons’?” Arlington Catholic Herald.

Reprinted with permission of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Hope that you are taking some time to reflect on the greatest event in history....God becomming one of us....WOW!!!

Last week I posted a link to the daily homilies offered by the Bishops' Conference. Just to make sure you all got it the link talks are only about three minutes long and are a nice way to begin the day.

TECH.MISHAP!!!You will notice a white hallow on my shoulder in the vido of the homily. this is not to be taken as a sign of my somewhat dubious holiness but simply light coming in the window.

Second Sunday of Advent

Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Hallelujah Chorus

Be a Franciscan

If you would like to find out more about Holy Name Province (New York Province) of the Franciscans click here: The winter issue of" BE A FRANCISCAN" can be found by going to "join us" and scrolling down to "BE A FRANCISCAN"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010



HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!As you all know this Sunday begins the new Church year. For your information it is Cycle "B" for the scripture readings on Sunday. The liturgical year is our journey with the Lord. It is divided into 1: Advent (four weeks before Christmas) 2: Christmas cycle
(Dec,25-The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord ..Jan.9) 3:In 2011 from Jan.9 to Mar.9 will be Ordinary time. This changes each year depending on when Easter is celebrated. 4: Lenten 2011 Ash Wednesday is on March 9 5:The Easter season from Easter to Pentecost ( the Fifty Days of Easter)
6:Ordinary 2011 this goes from June 12 tThe o Nov.26

The scripture meditations will be different this year. The Bishops' Conference has produced a series of daily reflectiions on video . All you have to do is click here I am sure you will find these reflections a beautiful way to start the day.

Dave Brubeck, the famous jazz pianist, was Baptized a Catholic a few years ago. In thanksgiving he composed a Mass which he called A Celebration of Hope. I realize that his music is not everyone's cup of tea. I would ask you all to listen to it just briefly and follow the searching of the first few minutes to the joy of discovery.

Dave Brubeck Quartet & RNO To Hope! A Celebration Mass Moscow 1997

Thursday, November 18, 2010




MONDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:1-4) This week is full of hope. The widows mite begins our meditation on hope. What did Jesus see when He saw the widow give her last or next to last pennies? His heart must have been a little heavy after confronting the obdurancy of the religious leaders. They were not listening to him. He was calling them to be among the poor of God but they chose not to follow. He was inviting them to be among the "just" but all they insisted on doing was fighting the message.
Then he see the widow. How His heart must have jumped for joy. The money she gave symbolized something far in God, a looking to God. She was one of the poor. When Jesus saw her He knew there was something to look forward to, even though the leaders did not listen. This woman who perhaps never heard the Master was in her little offering summarizing all He had been preaching.
He also saw in this act of sacrifice the sacrifice which He would be called upon to make...the money was all she had. His life would be the final giving. The money for the widow was a symbol of her faithful walking with God. His death would be the sign of His obedience to the will of His Father. Christ saw in the giving, the light that in a world which was not listening to him, which seemed to be turning from Him there were people faithful.
To be able to see the signs of hope in our life. When a sense of failure overwhelms us, when isolation or a feeling of having been betrayed comes into our go within ourselves and find that person faithful to the find that person who gives the last and in finding that person we find the hope which Our Lord gives us.

TUESDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:5-11) "the time is at hand"...time and hope at times seem like enemies. In order to attain what we want (the hope) we have to go through time.
Why can't we get what we want right now? Why do we have to go through this measurement of change called "time'? Perhaps it is because we have to grow into our hope. Perhaps it is because we do not see that the hope is already achieved.
In this sense, hope is the what we see with the sight of faith .
We see salvation in our lives...we see the "time" which Jesus talks about because we hope for it, look forward to it, expect it. Hope is that virtue which opens us up to what God wants to give so that we can receive the gift given. The "time" is not the future but it is right now with the working of the Lord within us. Hope for a Christian is a paradox: we hope for (the saving power of the Lord within us) what we already posses( the time is at hand ).
We must remember that we live on a couple of different levels of existence. We do have natural see children grow up into good human beings…to experience an ever deepening love between spouses...for a promotion...all good hopes. Where is the "time" of the Lord when all we meet with is disappointment of his level of our being? The heartbreak which is experienced in these disappointments may be opportunities of grace to remind us who we really are and that our hope is not in what we may have thought but how the Lord is going to work. These "crosses" which we may have to carry are not a denial of hope but rather the "time" of the Lord in our lives.

WEDNESDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:12-19) Hope is that virtue which is courageous. Living the life of a disciple at times is not that easy. There are many difficulties which face the one trying to follow the Lord. Misunderstandings, hatred, fear are just some of the attitudes which may come into the life of a disciple. Being manhandled and brought to prison , although still alive in the world, will not be our lot at the same time figuratively we are called before the court of the world many times. Many times we are asked to defend our faith, and the words see so inadequate.
Hope is the virtue which gives us the courage to overcome these "persecutions". I think of the early martyrs and ask myself the question: why did they die what was it inside of them that kept them faithful? Of course the foundation was faith, but it was a faith with a vision and that vision we call hope. Even though they were the captives of their persecutors they were not captives of time. That is, they could see beyond the present pain. They knew that even though they had to walk through the valley of death, the death had meaning.
Without hope there can be no real courage. The reason being very simple: why go on if there is nothing to look forward to? Why try to wend our way through the many "valleys of death" which may come into our lives if there is not the dream of life at the other end. Someone once said: show me a brave man and there you will have an example of hope.
It is the virtue acting courageously which is based on the firm conviction that as we walk the "way" it is not by ourselves. We do not have to have all the answers, all the explanations. God has the answers and explanations and will share these with us when we need them. How often in trying to explain the faith to someone have words come which even surprised you. Words, ideas which make you stand back and ask: where did that come from? God giving us "words of hope"

THURSDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:20-28). Hope assures us that Christ will come again. The second coming of Christ is at one and he same time one of the most important parts of our faith and one which most people spend little time thinking of. Every time we attend the Eucharist we proclaim our faith that the Lord will come again. Every time we say the "Our Father" there is an act of faith that the Lord will come. We let the words pass too quickly without reflection. It is an old promise, we have been waiting for 2000yrs. Perhaps for some it is like the promise of a friend that he will do a particular favor for us but never quite gets around to it. He keeps telling us that he will but words pass us by.
Christ is always faithful, to renew the hope that He indeed will come again, to keep that hope alive, takes us from a state of secular humanism to one of Christian humanism. Secular humanism is looking at the world, people events without a God-vision. It is one-dimensional, there is nothing beyond the "here and now".
Christian humanism on the other hand looks at people, events as part of the journey back to the Lord. They are stones in the mosaic which at some point the Lord will come and complete. It is difficult to see personal history and world history in the context of the glory of the Lord. But the glory of the Son of Man is precisely this, that all the imperfection and brokenness which we see now will be healed. The glory of the Lord lies in his saving acts fully at the end of time but now inside each and everyone of us.
To use a rather simple simile: there is a great parade taking place. The participants are all people who every lived with all their actions, good and bad, This parade is comprised also of all human events, wars, peace, floods etc. and this parade is heading to the Lord. The work of a disciple is to try to make sure that the music is good and that everyone and everything is in step.

FRIDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:29-33)Hope, another view of courage. There is no tree of Palestine which seems so dead during the winter as the fig tree. It is absolutely barren . One would think that it would never come to life again. But every year with the return of the new sap running through its twigs the tree springs to life. The winter is over.
In our life with the Lord there is a winter which we must pass through. At times this winter is communal. Persecution seems to have won the day. Churches are closed, decrees are issued about the death of God, all the powers of the world are lined up against the message. There is pain, suffering, even death. Christianity seems to be loosing, the tree is so bare. Then something happens, a political change takes place. That which was thought to be dead is not. The closed Churches are filled, the sap of new life runs through the community.
This cycle is also personal. Our growth in the relationship with the Lord has as its theme this death-life cycle. Something inside of us, a negative attitude, a tendency towards a particular sin, a broken relationship which still bears the scars of unforgiveness, all of these demand a dying. They ask to enter into the winter so that new life may come forth. As a matter of fact they are the winter when the tree of our relationship with the Lord seems so barren.
Hope is that virtue which gives us the courage to go through the long winter months with the assurance that summer will come again. This is the promise of the Lord, we call it salvation. We look forward to being saved, and this hope is not in vain. We see God in this new life.
Once winter is over it is the new sun coming into our lives enlightening everything. Then we pass through winter again, but this time with the courage which only God gives. Winter is no longer a time of barrenness, it is the time of great expectation wondering how God will do His great things within us.

SATURDAY OF THE LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 21:34-36)These verses close the public ministry of Jesus in Luke's Gospel. The journey is finished. He assures them that He will come again but that this coming will not be soon. To be watchful at all times for the "comings" which He does consistently in our lives. He asks for prayer, to be always turned to God so that the "God of light" give us the wisdom to see. He reminds us of the great mystery of life, that our actions all have a meaning which we do not see right away. As He looks forward to his suffering He gives those who believe in Him the courage the vision to know that not all is over. New life will come. He stands before all people with His arms outstretched telling them that He will not forget and that someday will return to claim that which is His. The end of the journey has come and with the end a new beginning for all. He has taught us the pilgrim way this is the journey which He invites us to walk.


Friday, November 12, 2010


MONDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 18:35-43) A few years ago a young man received the gift of faith. It was a long hard road that the Lord had picked for him to walk but he walked it and was finally Baptized. Shortly after his Baptism he shared with us a very touching part of his relationship with God. Before he believed in the loving God he looked at the evil in the world and said to himself that this is the way things are. Suffering was one of those things which went to make up life. Then he came into contact with the infinite love of God. He shared with us that it was when he started to believe that suffering became a problem.
I do not want to get into the problem of evil but what is interesting about this story is that the young man started to see things differently. He believed this was the new sight which the Lord gave him. This sight however brought a new situation into his life...he had to reconcile the two things which he now saw...the love of God and suffering.
Our lives of faith should be this bringing together of what we see in the world(the joys and hopes as well as the sadness) with seeing the All Good God.
Faith is the light which brightens the room of our hearts, it is the eyes of a heart which has been allowed to enter into the very mystery of is the eyeglasses which God gives us to see properly the world in which we live.
The young man saw something new. It was not very pleasant for him.Before faith the "no problem" situation was much more comfortable....perhaps we will be called to see things which we might just as soon not see. It is in seeing with the eyes of faith, no matter how difficult, that we are led to the truth of God.

TUESDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 19:1-10)) Zacchaeus was a strong man. He must have taken an awful lot of abuse "you are a sinner what right do you have to be with the master".Some people probably thought he was very presumptuous, some might of even thought that he was bragging when he told of how much he gave away. Zacchaeus stood his ground. He saw Jesus and the opinions of people were not about to take him away from the Lord.
He knew the Lord liked him, he knew the Lord had called him, he knew that he was going to share the table with the Lord. These gave him the strength to continue. This is something the disciple, just as Zacchaeus did, always has to remember. Otherwise we may start listening to wrong voices.
There are people who do not want us to walk with the Lord. Most of the time they do not express it exactly that way, a lot more subtle. The meaning is the same. We climb the tree, we see the Lord and hear his call. Then all of sudden the world starts closing in on us. We find that our life of faith is at times a battle...a battle with the world and what it wants to do to us.
The thing which these forces want to take away is the conviction that the Lord has truly called us and wants us to be with Him. With all the talk about "affirmation" there are so many currents in the world which want to deny real affirmation and to affirm us in a way that is comfortable to them. Zaccheaus made people uncomfortable because he did not fit into the mold which they wanted him to climb into. Jesus made people uncomfortable because he affirmed people in strange and marvelous ways. Zaccheaus had the courage to walk with the way Jesus said He was.

WEDNESDAY OF THE THRITY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 19:11-28) The nobleman goes, leaves his property to others, is rejected, comes back and demands an accounting....sound familiar. It does to me. In this simple story about stewardship we also have the place of the Church in the world . We are in the "waiting " period and that means we are being asked to remember who we are waiting for. The story of today is often times left as a moral story of responsibility. This of course is good. But the stewardship has to be kept in the broad scope of not only personal but personal inside the history of the Church.
We are reminded that our acts are ecclesial acts.The stewardship we exercise over our talents is not to be looked at outside of our relationship to the Body.
In a real sense my actions determine what the Church is...not essentially but certainly the way it is in the world.
If I perform acts of justice than the Church is just, to the extent that I do not do what I am supposed to do, to that extent the Church is not what it is supposed to be.
The talents which we reminded of I think are twofold. On the one side I have the personal talents with which God has blessed me...on the other side these personal gifts have the communal sense of being inside of and for the Church. All gifts all talents are for the community.
Thinking along these lines I often recall my favorite composer, Beethoven. Can you imagine Beethoven having finished his 9thSympony and putting it in the top drawer of his desk. Of course not. How much joy is in the world because he did not do that. His talent has touched the lives of so many people.
We write our own symphonies by using what God has given us.

THURSDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 19:41-44) I hesitate to write words about this scene. There is a fear that anything I put down on paper will take the power from the scene of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem.
Human words might destroy what Our Lord wants to say…a shared dream denied.
Jerusalem turns its back on the dream of God for it...this is what makes Jesus sad. Not rejection, but rather that they have chosen the lesser path.
The view of Jerusalem from the traditional sight of this scene is is panoramic. One could from this spot half way up the Mt.Olives stretch out his arms and embrace the entire city. From this spot, half way between the Garden of Gethseme and the Church of the Ascension, He must have seen the people going into the Temple, he saw other people going about the ordinary things of life. He must have seen the children playing in the streets. How sad that the dream was not heard.

FRIDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 19:45-48)"they were hanging on his words" intensity comes out of these words...a silence...a sense of being these are what the word of the Lord gives us. To "hang on" what a wonderful expression to describe the way we should receive the word of God.
We read scripture everyday. As I re-read the words "hanging on" I had to look at the way the words of scripture, which are truly His words, pass through my mind and heart. They are read and instead of being hung onto, all too often are forgotten very shortly after being read. They are the light which brighten my path. They are the food upon which I should live. They are the "rain" which is sent from heaven to moisten my heart. So often they are forgotten. The faith that Jesus is speaking to me is forgotten.
The words I read are expressions of the Lord giving himself to me. They are the life sharing words of His life coming into me. Often they pass like a summer cloud or if at first received so often my heart changes like an autumn sky.
Many conversations take place within us. So many voices...our own, the world's...inside the noise of our hearts to pick out the word which the Lord has given us.
How to do this? One point which may help is that when we read scripture to get ourselves into a frame of mind in which we are not "reading" but "listening"...the Lord is standing in front of us speaking. As we listen we must be patient because what He says on a particular day may not be part of our lives. Not every word He speaks is relevant at every time. They are always true but may not hit us. When I am happy ,for example, reading the passages about "taking up ones cross" although I accept it does not really enter my life. In this sense, I have to always be patient because the Word which He speaks will at sometime be part of my life.

SATURDAY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 20:27-40) Jesus is always asking us to look beyond. Today's Gospel is another example of this....the Sadducees were on one level and Jesus said: No, there is more to the story than this.
This Gospel passage asks us to make sure we are not looking at life through the one-dimensional outlook of the Sadducees. They looked at the things of this world as though they were the complete story, the end of the book. Jesus is saying that the final chapter has not been written yet. To look at life as chapters filling out the story which God wants to and is writing. We have to wait . We have the assurance of the Lord that it will end happily. The things which go to make life up are not the "end of the story".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Leann Rimes - Amazing Grace

32nd Sunday

Bloopers in Church Bulletins

Due to the Rector's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.

The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.

On a church bulletin during the minister's illness: GOD IS GOOD; Dr. Hargreaves is better.

Applications are now being accepted for 2 year-old nursery workers.

The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."

If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check, and drip in the collection basket.

Sermon Outline:
I. Delineate your fear
II. Disown your fear
III. Displace your rear

Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."

Don't miss this Saturday's exhibit by Christian Martian Arts.

We are grateful for the help of those who cleaned up the grounds around the church building and the rector.

A worm welcome to all who have come today.

Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Nelson's sermons.

During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.


Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

The ushers will come forward and take our ties and offerings.

The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Reverend and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the church help.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered.

Let us join David and Lisa in the celebration of their wedding and bring their happiness to a conclusion.

Helpers are needed! Please sign up on the information sheep.

Diana and Don request your presents at their wedding.

The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister's daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.

The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.

Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30p.m. Please use the back door.

The 1991 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.

The audience is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.


22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha
Religious Leaders, Youth to Meet in ‘Generations of Faith’ Interreligious Encounter

WASHINGTON (November 2, 2010) — Religious leaders and young adults from Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh traditions will meet for a day of dialogue and interreligious exchange at the John Paul II Cultural Center, November 19, at “Generations of Faith—an Interreligious Encounter.” The day will feature intergenerational dialogue in a variety of formats and concludes with a reception and presentation at 6 p.m. at the John Paul II Cultural Center. The evening event is open to the public and members of the media.


MONDAY OF THE THRITY SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 17:1-6) A group of people are having coffee...their conversation is about the ordinary things of life. All of a sudden the name of a person comes up. One of the people in the group mentions something not very pleasing about the person…like a match put to oil, the fire of gossiping about the person begins. The person who originally mentioned the name may feel sorry, as most of us do, for talking about the person....does the person feel sorry for leading others down the path of gossip?
We are time and time again called upon to remember that our actions effect other people either for the good or bad. We have in our hands the rather terrifying power to help people do good or to lead them in directions which are not too good. We used to use expressions such as "good example" and "bad example"...these are still valid.
We can help people to be who they are supposed to be or we can deny who they are.
Getting back to the example...some of the people in the group will eventually feel sorry that they took someone "over the coals'"...they will realize that not only were they unjust and just plain "not nice" but they did not live up to the expectations which they had of themselves. They will, of course, have to take responsibility for their actions but on the other hand if the person who made the original "not very nice" remark had kept silent the occasion for self denial would not have been there.
We all have a responsibility not only for my own actions but what those actions will do to other people. If we are faithful to who we are than, to quote Shakespeare, "it must follow as night the day" that those with whom we come into contact will see a light to be faithful to who they are.

TUESDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 17:7-10) Wouldn't it have be nice if I had been born in the 12th Cent. rather than the 20th? The relationship between the Lord of the manor and the servant was so clear cut, so was an exchange of lives. The servant was expected to serve unconditionally; not to ask for rewards just to do what was expected. The lord of the manor in return for this service promised to take care of, to protect the servant. This was the mutual promise. They entered into a covenant of mutual trust and respect. The lives of the servant and master were so interwined that interdependence took place.
The harshness of the master's words must be tempered in the light of this special relationship that we of the 20th cent. have a difficult time seeing.
We must live the Gospel today, it has to be interpreted in the light of the signs of the times but it also must remain true to the words of the Master. The sacred compact inside of which we live our lives with God is one of complete mutuality...He is our God we are His people. There is a bond of love which exists that goes beyond merely human interpretation. The Lord is constantly giving himself as the master of the manor. We are asked to return that love as the loving servants.
What are the works expected of us? We can be busy about many things doing many things, many projects bringing many people to the Lord, all of these are good. The one "work" which we are never completely finished with is growing in faith. We are the faithful servants not by "doing" but by “being" who the Lord wants us to be...with this work we are never finished.

WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 17:11-19) A beautiful lesson on some very basic principles of prayer. One of the most frustrating things is to want to thank someone but to be unsure as to whom to thank. I have received throughout the course of the yeas gifts with just "from a friend" written on the card. In my heart I thanked who ever it was but it would have been nice to have a face attached to the thanks. There was a blank that I would have liked to have filled.
So many people when they are first called to the faith have a sense of having that blank filled in. They look at their lives and realize that they should be thankful to someone beyond, but were never quite able to figure out who it was. Faith comes. God becomes alive in their lives. They know to whom to give thanks...this is a great joy. A joy that we who have been born with the faith take for granted. We have to keep constantly reminding ourselves that the package of life signed "from a friend" is God . He is the friend. No longer unknown, no longer faceless, but alive in our lives.
Faith is that great gift which takes care of the very human need of being able to say thank you.
It is the gift which permits us to run to the Lord with our arms outstretched, rejoicing in the all the good things He has given us. It is the gift which gives us the hope to look at the future and thank Him not only for yesterday but also for tomorrow.
Faith is the gift which gives us rather weak broken people the power not only to think about God but also to speak and listen to Him. We call this prayer.

THURSDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 17:20-25) History is such a fascinating study. Histories of families can be absolutely entertaining. One of the fondest memories I have of my childhood is listening to my grandfather tell about the "old days" in the family. He would tell about his father and how hard they had it when they first came to America. He would tell of how he met my grandmother...all the happenings, both happy and sad, that took place. I would sit there with my mouth wide open . Of course I was to young to realize it then, but my grandfather in telling me these stories was telling me who I am.
We all have histories. The natural history of date of birth, all the paths which we have walked throughout the course of the years...the people with whom we have shared life...we all have the unfinished mosaic of our lives before us waiting to be filled out. We also in this "natural" history have a God history. My father would tell me how he met my mother, of their courtship etc....I look back on life and try to see those moments when I met God. Those special moments when a new direction was given to life. I look back and see the stones which have gone to make the mosaic of my life and looking at them I see the hand of God.
Why did I do this and not that? The decision which seems so "common sense" now was not made and because of that life is different. A decision was made which seemed to be against common sense and joy was the result. History is full of these "accidents" and so they are with our history( translate=story with God)...He comes into our lives like the summer lightening...unexpectedly. So unexpected that we often do not know who it is and mistake Him for someone else. Something happens that starts us thinking in a way we have never thought before. The sun comes out after a cloudy time in life. A joy takes us by surprise...all part of our history with God.
Just as my grandfather would tell about the "old days" just as my father would tell of the days of his youth God is constantly telling us of the story He has with us.

FRIDAY OF THE THIRTY SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke17:26-37) The story is told that on the eve of the beginning of the World War in 1939 the League of Nations was discussing which language should be used in some section of France. They missed the important things, the things they should have been talking about.
We can be busy in many ways...all to some degree important, all capable of being justified in our use of time. Most times the course of daily life will determine what we have to do, reflection on what is important is not necessary. The demands of the day determine this. This often times is the problem. The language which the members of the League of Nations was attempting to determine was in a sense something which had to be decided...but was it balanced off against the really necessary things of life.
A high school s student was faced with a dilemma. His friend needed help. It was something which could not wait. At the same time he had a lot of homework to do. He could not help his friend and do his homework, one of these would have to be sacrificed. Two important options faced him. He chose to help his friend. The next day at school he told his teacher what he had done. He got the usual sermon about helping people is good but homework is more important. Fortunately the boy could see that if this was taken to its ultimate the only time we would help people is when it is convenient for us.
Quite obviously we are not faced with these decisions twenty-four hours a day would indeed become burdensome. There are times when we have to make difficult decisions and say: this is important. More importantly we have to have some silence in our lives so that the Voice may break through the noise of life and say: do this.

SATURDAY OF THE THIRTY-SECOND WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 18:1-8) Patience is necessary in life. Without it life can become a very uncomfortable thing both for us and for those around us. Waiting is just part of life. It seems as though God's watch and the human watch are completely out of touch with each other. We say: now. God answers: yes, now. He always answers “now” it is just that His “now” and ours are not the same. For us tomorrow is tomorrow; it is future. For God tomorrow does not exist it is “now”. This is the time frame we are asked to enter for the exercise of patience: the eternal “now” of God. Perhaps it is a simplification but isn't patience a function of looking at a watch or calendar. If we look at God's calendar and his watch perhaps waiting would be if not a joyful at least a positive time.
A friend of mine suffered for many years with a crippling case of arthritis. His life was for 25yrs. a life of pain with no hope of it getting better just worse. I saw the progression of this disease. At the beginning the pain limited what he could do but he was quite able to do many things. Slowly it progressed...walking became a task. Each step meant pain...his hands became immovable...getting in and out of bed was just another painful experience to look forward to. Yet in all this he gave the impression of patience. He was waiting and he knew what he was waiting for would come and all he had to do was to look at his life as the journey. The pain did not take away his did not take away his concern for other he was patient he grew in these things. Life could have closed his heart but instead he chose the path "least traveled"....
To be patient, I discovered in living with my friend, is not just some sort of passive waiting...but a time of growth and of be patient is to enter into the great mystery of the "time of God".....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ave Maria

31st Sunday

Jesus Heals a Blind Man

Amusing Quotes Attributed to Famous People

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. Carl Gustav Jung

Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious. Brendan Gill

As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take the course he will. He will be sure to repent. Socrates

Experience is that marvellous thing that enables you to recognise a mistake when you make it again. F. P. Jones

Books are fatal: they are the curse of the human race. Nine-tenths of existing books are nonsense, and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense. Benjamin Disraeli

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. Benjamin Franklin

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Albert Einstein

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg. Abraham Lincoln

(Asked shortly before a tour to Vietnam if he was worth 50 million dollars) If I had $50 million, I wouldn't go to Vietnam; I'd send for it. Bob Hope

A letter is an unannounced visit, the postman the agent of rude surprises. One ought to reserve an hour a week for receiving letters and afterwards take a bath. Friedrich Nietzsche

A good novel tells us the truth about it's hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author. G. K. Chesterton

Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended. George Bernard Shaw

My reputation grows with every failure. George Bernard Shaw

An order that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood. Napoleon Bonaparte
Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Examines Mixed Marriages And Societal Pressures On Marriage Today

WASHINGTON (October 22, 2010)—Reform rabbis and Catholic clergy view mixed marriages as a serious challenge to religious identity and practice, but also as an opportunity to expose others to one’s faith traditions, said members of a Catholic-Jewish dialogue in New York City.

The semi-annual consultation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the National Council of Synagogues (NCS) of America took place on October 19, at the Union for Reform Judaism in Manhattan. Co-chaired by New York’s Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and Rabbi Alvin Berkun, President of the (Conservative) Rabbinical Assembly, the consultation considered changing attitudes about religiously mixed marriages in America.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


Rather ordinary things, with a little reflection, highlight what Our Lord is talking about. As I look back I see so many times when I was too busy with my own agenda to stop along the way for someone.
I was busy, things to do, so many tasks to accomplish...surely, this person will understand, I thought to myself, if I do not give him the five minutes which he wants. I'm sure, I often rationalized, he realizes how important the task is.....unfortunately, this happens all to often, not only in my life, but in the lives of most people....time is the one commodity which we really hate to give up....if these people had asked me for money I would have done what I could have...but time is another story. It is so precious...
What has time got to do with today's Gospel? The party Jesus speaks about in the gospel is the kingdom . The image of the kingdom being a meal runs throughout scripture. The kingdom resides within me...We are the bearers of the Kingdom to the world. But it is not only for myself...the gift is for all with whom I come into contact....the party to which I invite people is myself as a bearer of the kingdom of God....the people whom I do not give the time to are those who should be invited. Instead, many times, I choose my own " I have to do this" or "I have to go there" and those who should be invited are not. The rich, those who can pay back, this is time which I have made so precious that I can't even invite people into the mystery of who I am.

TUESDAY OF THE THIRTY-FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR(Luke 14:15-24) Life is full of wonderful invitations. Unfortunately many of them go unnoticed. We like the people in today’s Gospel are too busy to either notice them, or if we do notice to respond to them. The things of life, the tasks which we have to do, the priority system that we have set up, may, if we are not careful, make us blind to the world around us.
The invitation to stop just for a minute. To get off of the busy train of life a look and ask the question: is there something I am missing? The invitation to call a friend to whom we have not spoken for a while? The invitation to go to a quite place and to come into contact with that inner person whom we have forgotten. God is always inviting us somewhere.

WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRTY-FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 14: 25-33) Once again He insists on complete commitment. To take the words of the Gospel literally would be un-Chrisitan. Some translations say “hate”. He is uses this language which seems so hard on our ears, to stress the importance of the message. He is the ultimate priority. It is on the relationship with Him that decisions and attitudes of life will be formed. He asks us to take up the Cross. The Cross of obedience to the will of the Father. For Our Lord this was the Cross. It is much more than just suffering, the Cross is a way of life. It is the background for life. To limit it to just the “tough times” would be to eliminate it from a large portion of our lives. The Cross is the dying to self so that we might live with the Lord. To take up the Cross is the entrance to new life. To pray every day that we do, to the best of our ability and with the grace of God, the will of the Father. In so doing we carry the Cross.

A few years ago a young lady was under instruction in preparation for her Baptism. From the very beginning she was prayerful. Every week on Tuesday afternoon she would come for her lesson. Her seriousness was always balanced by a joy. One day I happened to choose the parable of the lost treasure for our study. She read it and immediately tears, almost uncontrollable, came to her eyes. They were not tears of sadness, it was easy to sense that, they were more like tears of relief, when a burden has been taken from us, or when an unexpected joy comes into life.
After the tears stopped I asked her why she cried. Her answer stays with me to this day: from her earliest days she knew that someone was watching over her. Many things happened to her which pointed to this. But she could never give a name to this "someone" She said that when she read this parable, for the first time she knew who it was, she had found the answer It was God..
The Gospel of the lost sheep is not a gospel of loosing and seeking but rather, in Luke, the great joy of finding. The words of today's gospel talk about carrying, even when the lamb does not want to move the shepherd picks it up and forcefully carries it back, the words of the Gospel talk about a party when the sheep rejoins the fold....I often have to ask myself: do I really believe that when that young lady was crying for joy at having been found in the process finding that Jesus was up in heaven clapping his hands and dancing for joy. We use human language. It has its limits, but still it points to a divine reality...physically of course Jesus was not dancing and clapping his hands but the great song of thanksgiving which He constantly sings before His father must have had that young lady in mind....
The great find the God who has left all to come and find us.

Is Jesus praising dishonesty? No. We should remember what the dishonest servant is probably cancelling his own profit from the master's goods. Stewards where allowed to add interest onto loans above and beyond what the master demanded. To put it simply, if the master wanted a 10% profit the steward could charge 15% and keep the additional 5%. It was probably this 5% that the servant cancelled.
What Our Lord is telling us, however, is not a lesson in economics but rather that to live in the kingdom decisions, and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. There is in a given day many decisions which we are called upon to make...most of them are "daily course of life decisions" what to eat, what time to go to bed...but there are times when life presents situations which are beyond the ordinary. We may have to make decisions in regard to justice, in attitudes towards people, decisions which effect our relationship to the covenant we have made with God .
It seems that in so many cases we fail to see these situations as invitations . It is a common failing not to look at our actions in the full context of what they are. They are not isolated, as if they were put into a refrigerator, cold and not effecting anything
but rather the decisions we make are like the pebble in the lake....making ever and ever larger circles. They eventually, having run their course, come back to the center which is God.
The responsible person looks at those decisions which have to be made not in isolation, this is selfish, but in the totality of what they are...responses to God, to other people and to ourselves.

When I read this Gospel I think of my friend Joe.
Joe claims to be an agnostic. On somedays he will even take it a step further and say he is an atheist. We have had many lengthy discussions about the existence of God .
Joe has a problem. His wife is a fervent believer. Joe rather than separate the family on Sunday attends Mass with his wife. Joe who believes that husbands and wives should have some joint activities will help his wife when she gets involved in a Church activity...Joe listens to the homilies and does not hesitate in challenging the priest or, on rare occasions, commenting how good the homily was. His two sons are baptized and he takes the responsibility quite seriously.
I have another friend. This man claims to be a believer. A few years ago we took a survey in the parish. The question was: why do you come to Church? this man's daughter answered that she comes because God deserves some time. She added that she prays that someday her father will come to Church with her instead of staying home and smoking his cigar. This man will always check "Roman Catholic" on the parish census form...Joe will leave his blank.
How these two stand before God no one may judge, that is God's business. What we can say though is that one man while claiming not to serve does serve and the other while claiming to serve does not.
We see in these two men the classic example of the theoretical atheist and the practical atheist. Joe is the theorist. He claims not to believe but his actions say he other friend says he does believe but his actions say the opposite. I wonder if a persecution ever began who would be called up before the judge and found "unbelieving" friend or my believing friend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Joy of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10)

30th Sunday.AVI

Amusing Signs

In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

On the walls of a Baltimore estate:
Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
-- Sisters of Mercy

In front of a church:
Don't give up. Moses was once a basket case.
In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

On a long established New Mexico dry cleaning store:
Thirty-eight years on the same spot.

In a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

In a New York medical building:
Mental Health Prevention Center

The desire to be in control is one that is very deep within us. The dangerous aspect of this desire for people who are trying to live good lives is that it is often masked with the desire to do good. For good people the blatant, greedy and cold control of another is very seldom something to be contended with. What does happen, however, is the more subtle almost unconscious desire to control.
In today's gospel we have the Pharisees trying to control. The law was there "power base" long as they could rely on the Law they were in control. The law was good but all of a sudden it became the means to protect themselves. Jesus knew what He was doing when He cured the woman. He was being who He was, He was being true to Himself and not worrying about the controls which others would place on Him. I do not think He worked the miracle to prove who He was rather He worked the miracle because He was who He was.
To be controlled is not to be true to oneself, to control is to deny a person the right to be who they should be.

What is the Kingdom of God? Jesus uses something like twenty parables in an attempt to explain its meaning. Anytime that many examples have to be used we know that we are not in an easy subject. The Kingdom is wide. It is so wide that even Jesus' imagination was stretched to explain it.. One good definition of what it is a deep loving relationship with the Father. This is what Jesus came to proclaim and to invite us to enter...this love relationship with the Trinity.
This relationship is alive....and because it is alive it grows.
The image of the fig tree comes to mind. It is an image of the Church which is the kingdom on earth but at the same time because we all possess the kingdom it is an image of who we are.
The birds coming to nest. Nice, soft image but at the same time do we feel within ourselves the potential to be places of rest for other people. To put into a logical syllogism: We are the kingdom made present to the world
The Kingdom is a place of rest, of comfort
Are we places of rest for people

Conversion is an ongoing process. Today's gospel reminds us of one thing very powerfully: just as the people in the Gospel were physically near the Lord they were far from Him. The language which is used, eating and drinking together, is language of intimacy and yet something was missing. For us, it comes down to not how often we eat and drink with the Lord , which may be all the external acts of the faith which we do...but are they leading to a deeper relationship with Him, conversion.
The people in today's Gospel were quite satisfied with the nice friendly Jesus...they missed His message completely. They were so busy talking while they were in His company that they could not listen...the harshness of the Lord's words: I do not know where you come from...tell us how important a priority He places on this turning to Him. It is what binds us to Him.
The new heart which He wants to create within us is the point of identification with Him. When He says: I do not know where you come from ...He is saying that they do not know where He comes from.

How sad Christ must have been when he said these words? Looking down over Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives he saw the city which should have received Him the most...but He was refused. The thing which impresses me though is the prayer is focused not on Himself but on Jerusalem..
.His sadness is not self-centered, they refused me therefore I am sad, no His sadness is directed at the fact that Jerusalem did not accept the good which was offered her. If we define sadness as the lack of a perceived good then the absence of the good than was not inside of Jesus but what was lacking in Jerusalem. He was sad not because of personal rejection, but rather because people were not being all they could or should be.
As I read this I had to ask myself the question: what makes me sad? I have expectations on how other people should treat me, this is the good thing I want. When it is not forthcoming do I "get down" I sad when a desired dream is lost. once
again I become the reason for sadness. I came to the conclusion that by knowing what makes me sad I come to an understanding of how selfish I really am.

.A very important function of being a disciple is to make sure that we are asking people questions. A while back I received a very nice coffee mug from a friend. The inscription is a motto for us all: keep smiling, it makes the other guy wonder what you have been up to. Hidden behind these words is the fact that by smiling a question is raised, as one of my friends use to say: part of being a disciple is to ask questions that knock the socks off of people.
The real clue is that it is our way of life which has to force people to ask questions. It was the lives of martyrs which forced people to wonder "what they were up to" and people of good faith looked for an answer and were drawn to the Lord.
Jesus did something good, and he asked the question....the Pharisees could not answer....goodness confounded them. If nothing else they were forced to see life in a different way or that someone else was seeing life in a different way. Doing good always makes people wonder, sometimes friendly sometimes not so friendly.
A few years ago a group of people started to feed the homeless living on the streets of Tokyo. This was a good thing but it caused so many people to wonder. It had never been done before was not supposed to be doing it in the face of a lot of misunderstanding and at times antagonism eventually the awareness that there was a problem seeped into the a lot of people are doing things. A good was done, it raised a question.....our good deeds do not go to waste. We may not see the result but God does...isn't that all that matters.

My thought on this passage is very brief.....Our Lord wants His disciples to be polite. So obvious yet look around the world and see how impolite people are....lack of "thank yous" and "pleases" everyone is so anxious to get served many times conversations are unnecessarily interrupted.....just the way people speak to one another....maybe Jesus is just reminding us of the simple ordinary polite things which go to make life so much nicer.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010

Resumé Bloopers
"Here are my qualifications for you to overlook."

"Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions."

"Instrumental in ruining an entire Midwest chain operation." (Perhaps he meant running.)

"Note: Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as job-hopping. I have never quit a job."

"Finished eighth in my class of ten."

"Experienced supervisor, defective with both rookies and seasoned professionals."

"Please call me after 5:30. I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job."

"It's best for employers that I not work with people."

"I’m extremely loyal to my present firm, so please don’t let them know of my immediate availability."

"I Planned a new corporate facility at $3 million over budget."

Personal Interests: "Donating blood. 14 gallons so far."

"Education: College, August 1880-May 1984

How Great Thou Art (Country Gospel - Loretta Lynn)


Greed takes on many forms and the Lord reminds us to beware of each and everyone of them. One form of greed is the one with which we usually associate it. A person always seeking more and more. The person who looks at life and asks the question: what can I get out of it?... the person who is constantly living to make more and to have more.
Another type of who is always fighting for his or her rights. Today's gospel is a good example of this. The man who asked Jesus to intercede apparently had a right to the inheritance. Jesus takes this as an opportunity to speak of much as to tell us that demanding what is owed one may be a type of greed. He is telling us that at times we have to surrender even what is due us in justice or we stand the danger of having our judgment clouded and our hearts closed.
Another type of greed is what I call the greed of "wanting". Someone once told me that greed is not measured so much by what a person has as by what a person wants. These "wants " take on all the different shades that our personalities have. They can be merely physical wants, they may be emotional or they may even be spiritual. In all cases what distinguishes greed from others is that we forget the spiritual side of our existence. The real sin in greed is that it causes a blindness.
We become blind to God, to others and even to ourselves. The possessions, the things we want capture our hearts and we become incapable of seeing beyond the boundaries of our own little world.
Blindness in scripture is the same as having no faith. Our Lord's command to beware of greed is a warning that faith can be covered over and even suffocated by material possessions and the desire for them. He warns us many times about the desire that we all have for riches of one sort or another and how dangerous it is if we really want to live in His kingdom.

Quite obviously the master, in today's Gospel, is the Lord and we are the servants. As I read this Gospel the question which kept coming to mind was: what does the Lord want? or more precisely: how does He want me to wait? Waiting seems to imply that we lack something and are waiting for it to happen. It seems to me that by very definition to wait means there is an incompleteness. A hope not yet attained, a dream still in the future, a pain not over.
So much of our time is spent waiting...we have to wait on line to buy food, to see the doctor, to get on an airplane. We wait for the big day when we shall see an old friend again, we wait for the baby to be born, and there comes a time in life when we wait for death....
Is it wasted time? Do we look at it as just a necessary evil before we get what we want? Our Lord gives us an important lesson about waiting.
It is a time of activity(make sure there is oil) it is a time of responsibility(cinctures)it is a time a joyful anticipation, not just sitting. Waiting is not simply to keep an eye on the future (when will the line end) but to enjoy the moments before. Strange and marvelous things happen as we wait.

WEDNESDAY OF THE TWENTY- NINTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 12:39-48) Common sense and the living of the Gospel. All Jesus is doing is giving a brief lesson in common sense. The good servant because he sits back and thinks acts in accord with the reality of the situation (the master shall return)the bad servant does not reflect, reacts to the present and consequently acts not in accord with reality.
This "common sense" however must be faith motivated. We as human beings are too prone to make mistakes. The bad servant would, as he was acting, probably say that he was acting according to common sense. The master was late so why not make the best of it. The good servant, on the other hand, trusted in the master's returning. When we act according to common sense the trust in the Lord must be the foundation. His word should be the light before us .
Christian "common sense" goes beyond the purely pragmatic. The pragmatic "common sense" does not take into consideration the master's return. That is, it does not take into consideration the place of God. Christian, on the other hand, will always take the totality of the situation into mind, that means bringing God into the equation of life. This faith filled common sense leads to great things. Anyone reading the Gospel for today would see Our Lord's message quite clearly. The Gospel is just simple God inspired common sense.

The Gospel rings with a sense of immediacy... " how I wish" " what anguish I feel till it is over"....there is a sense that the Lord wants things to happen right now. Then He speaks of first these words seem so harsh...can you imagine going into a room a saying: I have come to start an argument. That is bad enough but to say it shortly after having proclaimed peace would make it even worse. This is what Jesus did. How do we resolve the paradox?
Is Christ the King of Peace? Yes. His mission is to establish peace. The peace he wants to establish, however, is the unity between God and creation. He wants to and is working in the world to, bring about the order which should exist between God and creation and between all the different parts of creation. To do this He must face up to a peace which is really not peace. Complacency, comfort with the way things are...a spiritual sleepiness which dulls the conscience. We all like to be comfortable within ourselves...the unfortunate thing is that many times this comfort is not based on good values but on any value which would do away with an internal conflict. This is the peace which Our Lord has come to disrupt.
In a real sense to be really comfortable and at peace within ourselves we have to go through the sometimes painful process of letting the sword of the word of God penetrate our hearts. It will cause some discomfort because no one likes to surrender that which gives them peace...that is until something better has been offered . One of the problems of today is that in so many cases people have attained this comfort, this peace, and have closed themselves off to the peace which only the Lord can give.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in the world. It seems to me that in many cases our thinking stops short of where we are supposed to be going. Perhaps, in today's Gospel Our Lord is simply inviting us to ask all the questions we are supposed to. St. Thomas More said: always ask one more question. We have to ask: how is the Spirit moving in the world today? In all the world situations which are against the Gospel; war, genocide, abortion , greed....does this mean that the Spirit is not present there. One of the most difficult things for me to do is to look at a situation where man's inhumanity to man is apparent and say that in some way the Spirit of God is working there. Sometimes , as a matter of fact most of the time, I do not know the answer. I do not know the "how" but I do know that God ignores nothing and that in some way all things will be brought together to fulfill His plan.

Commitment tempered by compassion is the message for today. Our Lord is not wishy-washy, nor does he expect His disciples to be wishy-washy. He certainly does not His disciples to be blown about by every wind that comes into the world. He expects them to know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and to make judgments accordingly. He wants them to be convinced. At the same time He realizes that this commitment exists in a vessel of clay. They will make mistakes. Sometimes the vision will become cloudy. They may loose their way. It is at this time that the compassion of the Lord shine forth. He understands weakness.
Compassion demands that follower of the Lord begins again. Compassion is healing, it heals the weight of humanity. Being healed it encourages us to grow, and never to become complacent.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


In stead of using the canned sermons, which are excellent, I am going to try to give my own sermons. Only time and some tech. magic will tell how this is going to work out.

David & Goliath

Friday, October 8, 2010

28th Sunday.AVI


”the sign of Jonah” the immediate reaction to this is the story of Jonah spending three days in the belly of a whale...when we read the story of Jonah, however, this is not the sign that he gave to the people to whom he preached. The sign of the book of Jonah, is the warm reception to conversion that the Ninevites gave to his preaching....the sign of Jonah is the new heart which looks to God.
Once again my thoughts are turned to listening. The people in Nineveh had to listen, their hearts had to be open. But why did they listen?
The reason I ask this question is because good old Jonah was not very convinced of what he was preaching. Scripture tells us that Nineveh was a rather large city that took about three days to get across, Jonah made the journey in one day. It seems as though Jonah went through the streets on the equivalent of an ancient bicycle. He did not really preach to the people has much as he ran through the streets trying to get the job done as quickly as possible. The impression he gave was of someone not very interested in his job.
Ordinarily these are very difficult people to listen to and practically impossible to respond to. If the messenger isn’t convinced the message usually does not get through. If a car salesman had the same amount of conviction and enthusiasm about his product as Jonah did, you more than likely would not buy it.
So what we have as a sign is a weak instrument, Jonah, but pointing out that even with the weak instrument God accomplishes what He wants. Now the disciple is convinced and does have enthusiasm...but is also very weak. There are times in preaching the Gospel that we do have a headache, that our nerves are not what they should be, there are times that as we preach about charity the patience which is the mark of charity is not present. We are reminded that the sign of the power of God is the very weakness of the messengers He chooses. We should always try to be worthy messengers, this goes without saying.....but remember also that the gift is in a vessel of clay.
Do not be surprised at what happens in side the Christian community. Luke was speaking about the Christian community. The Pharisees are not the enemies of Christ who also appear in the Gospels but rather people who claim to believe in Him. The message, for most of us at least, is one of constant reflection.
We can get spiritually lazy. We do nothing bad, as a matter of fact we may be doing a lot of good things, Going to Mass, saying the Rosary, being involved all Church activities, and even have consecrated our lives to the Lord. But if we are not careful all these things, as good as they are, can become stumbling blocks. Our relationship with the Lord is measured by what we do rather than who we are. The people in today’s Gospel, all did the “good things”. Yet the problem is they were not being what their actions said they should be. “to be” is an attitude of the heart. Eventually, the difference between my heart and what I do will come out.
I used to be afraid of the Pharisee lurking within me. Perhaps even denying his do, to identify what I did with who I am. To acknowledge his existence was the first step, to trust in the healing power of the Lord was the next....the final step, to rejoice in the great things the Lord can do.

WEDNESDAY OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 11: 42-46) Every year around Christmas time I become very busy. This “business” is not the result of the ordinary pressure of the season but rather because I manage to find work. The reason for this is that writing Christmas cards is a very difficult thing for me to do. I manufacture things to do just to avoid the task of sitting at my desk and doing what I am supposed to do. I hide behind the cover of “being busy.” I always manage to get an exceptional amount of work done during this season, but doing what I am supposed to do escapes until the very last moment.
Simple example, but getting caught up in doing things and taking consolation in the fact of how much we are doing without every asking the question: is this what I am supposed to be doing? Sometimes the “busyness” which we get captured into can be a draw back to doing our task. To set up a list of tasks to be accomplished on a given day, to have some sort of program, is good common sense. But they are not meant to stifle but to give us freedom for the intrusion of God into our lives.
The Pharisees in today’s Gospel always did more than they had to. People were probably awed at how much tax they paid. This was the manufactured work. They never got around to writing the Christmas cards (mercy and love) which they were supposed to do.
“put burdens on people” expectations are good. We have to have a goal to shoot at and we also have to have expectations of other people. To have a feeling that people do not expect anything of you is devastating. It takes the joy away from life, and leads to a state of inertia. There is a two edged sword here. We can not make the expectations “impossible”....they have to be realistic. This means whether it is the expectations we place on ourselves or on other people they must be based on acceptance of the other person. To make them too high will lead to frustration to make them to low leads to an emotional and psychological boredom.

THURSDAY OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 11:47-54) Who are the prophets today? Probably never before has this question been so important. The reason for its importance is that there are so many who are being proclaimed as prophets that without a discerning eye we can be very easily led astray and what is worse we may even “ kill” the real prophets. This phenomena was present right from the beginning of the Church…the false teachers were accepted and the prophets sent by God persecuted. Paul is constantly warning his people of the “false teachers”. Just because something is popular, just because the majority of people believe it, just because it seems to be politically correct, is no indication that we are dealing with true prophets.
If we are to find the true prophet look to the one who says things which causes him to considered “obnoxious” by certain people, if we are to find the true prophet look for the one who says things which are not popular nor politically correct. The true prophet’s voice breaks through darkness, but darkness does not give up without a fight. It is always darkest before the dawn almost like night does not want to surrender. So it is with the light of the prophet. It meets the wall of anger, fear, covered by terms such as: irrelevancy, out of date. If we are not very careful we may find ourselves also building the tombs of the prophets...but they will rise, and their voices will not be snuffed out by the darkness.

FRIDAY OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH WEEK OF THE YEAR (Luke 12:1-7) Yeast makes things grow. A little yeast will make bread. Growth is important. If something does not grow we can say it is dead. But to grow in the correct way, that is the trick.
The human body is a good example of growth. The baby grows , the muscles become larger, the limbs extend, but the person is the same. Nothing is added are taken away...we can say that the finger on the hand of someone 60yrs.old is the same as the finger that person had when he was born.
In growing in our life of faith the same continuum must be honored. The faith we had when we were 8yrs.old must deepen, must be applied to our daily lives in a different way, the implications must become deeper, but it will still be the faith I had as an 8yr.old.
Two problems arise. One is that unlike our natural bodies which grow with or without us willing it, the relationship with Christ may stay at the level of the 8yr.old. Unfortunately, this happens many times. Our relationship with Christ (faith) stands the danger of being irrelevant because we make faith judgments on life from that perspective. Natural growth, emotional, psychological, take place but faith growth is left far behind.
The other problem is that growing in the correct way. The yeast which nourishes our relationship with the Lord must be the good yeast of the Gospel, the sacraments and the teaching of the Church. These are the hands and feet we were born into our life of faith with and they must be recognizable when we are mature or else our growth has gone amiss.
There is almost a paradox....we cannot solve the problems of a mature person with the answers we learned many years ago and at the same time we cannot solve these problems without the continuity of those answers. Those answers learned many years ago were the foundation upon which the recognizable house has been built.

How do I acknowledge or deny the Lord? By overtly saying “I do not believe”, I affirm Him by saying: I believe and by living that way. This, to use a big word, is the transcendental. In everyday life I have found that this affirmation or denial takes on different meaning.
It is the affirmation of Christ as King in all of creation, “all creation is full of your glory” it is the denial of this. It is the affirmation that each and every individual is in some way united to the Lord and must be treated as such....I deny Christ when I deny His presence in all people. I acknowledge Him when I look at history as the ongoing process of the revealing of His plan for us...I deny Him when I look at history as just a number of events with no ultimate end...I acknowledge Christ when I see Him as the center and that all things are tending towards Him. I deny Christ when the things of this world become either ends in themselves or just things to be used .
I deny the Holy Spirit when I close my heart to the need for forgiveness. It isn’t that forgiveness is ever denied us it is just that we do not want it. God does not turn from us it is that we have turned from God. God always gives the gift of forgiveness but like every gift we can say no.