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.

Friday, October 1, 2010

St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and the ecology, was a Roman Catholic saint who took the gospel literally by following all Jesus said and did.

Who Was St. Francis?
by Leonard Foley, O.F.M.

Francis of Assisi was a poor little man who astounded and inspired the Church by taking the gospel literally—not in a narrow fundamentalist sense, but by actually following all that Jesus said and did, joyfully, without limit and without a mite of self-importance.

Serious illness brought the young Francis to see the emptiness of his frolicking life as leader of Assisi's youth. Prayer—lengthy and difficult—led him to a self-emptying like that of Christ, climaxed by embracing a leper he met on the road. It symbolized his complete obedience to what he had heard in prayer: "Francis! Everything you have loved and desired in the flesh it is your duty to despise and hate, if you wish to know my will. And when you have begun this, all that now seems sweet and lovely to you will become intolerable and bitter, but all that you used to avoid will turn itself to great sweetness and exceeding joy."

From the cross in the neglected field-chapel of San Damiano, Christ told him, "Francis, go out and build up my house, for it is nearly falling down." Francis became the totally poor and humble workman.


He must have suspected a deeper meaning to "build up my house." But he would have been content to be for the rest of his life the poor "nothing" man actually putting brick on brick in abandoned chapels. He gave up every material thing he had, piling even his clothes before his earthly father (who was demanding restitution for Francis' "gifts" to the poor) so that he would be totally free to say, "Our Father in heaven." He was, for a time, considered to be a religious "nut," begging from door to door when he could not get money for his work, bringing sadness or disgust to the hearts of his former friends, ridicule from the unthinking.

But genuineness will tell. A few people began to realize that this man was actually trying to be Christian. He really believed what Jesus said: "Announce the kingdom! Possess no gold or silver or copper in your purses, no traveling bag, no sandals, no staff" (see Luke 9:1-3).

Francis' first rule for his followers was a collection of texts from the Gospels. He had no idea of founding an order, but once it began he protected it and accepted all the legal structures needed to support it. His devotion and loyalty to the Church were absolute and highly exemplary at a time when various movements of reform tended to break the Church's unity.

He was torn between a life devoted entirely to prayer and a life of active preaching of the Good News. He decided in favor of the latter, but always returned to solitude when he could. He wanted to be a missionary in Syria or in Africa, but was prevented by shipwreck and illness in both cases. He did try to convert the sultan of Egypt during the Fifth Crusade.

During the last years of his relatively short life (he died at 44) he was half blind and seriously ill. Two years before his death, he received the stigmata, the real and painful wounds of Christ in his hands, feet and side.

On his deathbed, he said over and over again the last addition to his Canticle of the Sun, "Be praised, O Lord, for our Sister Death." He sang Psalm 141, and at the end asked his superior to have his clothes removed when the last hour came and for permission to expire lying naked on the earth, in imitation of his Lord.

From Saint of the Day

Franciscan Father Leonard Foley (1913-1994) was the editor of Saint of the Day, and author of many other books, and articles for Catholic Update, Youth Update and St. Anthony Messenger.

October 4 being the feast day of St.Francis we thought a brief introduction to his life would be appropiate. The article written by fr.Foley is a very concise portrait of this great saint.
Funny Test Answers From Children - Mainly Science and Health
When people run around and around in circles we say they are crazy. When planets do it we say they are orbiting.

For a nosebleed: Put the nose much lower than the body until the heart stops.

For asphyxiation: Apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead.

For dog bite: put the dog away for several days. If he has not recovered, then kill it.

For head cold: use an agonizer to spray the nose untill it drops in your throat.

We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on.

If conditions are not favorable, bacteria go into a period of adolescence.

There is a tremendous weight pushing down on the center of the Earth because of so much population stomping around up there these days.

Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration.

A vibration is a motion that cannot make up its mind which way it wants to go.

To collect fumes of sulfur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube.

South America has cold summers and hot winters, but somehow they still manage.

To remove dust from the eye, pull the eye down over the nose.

Celine Dion - Amazing Grace

Cardinal DiNardo calls for awareness, prayer, healing and action in defense of life
Worldwide ‘Vigil for All Nascent Human Life’ set for November 27

WASHINGTON (September 28, 2010)—In a statement to mark Respect Life Month, October 2010, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston addressed direct threats to human life and called Catholics to “constantly witness to the inestimable worth and dignity of each human life through a loving concern for the good of others.” He also encouraged participation in the worldwide “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” called for by Pope Benedict XVI at the start of Advent.

Cardinal DiNardo chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo noted populations particularly at risk: millions of unborn children in the womb, embryonic human beings destroyed “in the name of science,” and seriously ill patients “under threat from a renewed campaign for legalizing physician-assisted suicide.”

“The loss of even one child, and the pain experienced by the child’s mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion,” Cardinal DiNardo said. He stressed the need “to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.” He highlighted Project Rachel, the Church’s healing ministry to women and men hurting after abortion, and called the ministry “a reflection of God’s love and mercy and His constant offer of forgiveness and healing.”

Cardinal DiNardo also noted the “urgent task” of “ensuring that health care reform … is not misused to promote abortion or to trample on the rights of conscience.”

“If we allow the dignity of every human life to guide the decisions we make as voters and public policy advocates, we can surely succeed in creating a more just and humane society,” Cardinal DiNardo said.

Cardinal DiNardo cited Pope Benedict’s “unprecedented request” for Catholics throughout the world to observe a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” on Saturday, November 27.

“I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer, whose purpose according to the Holy See,” he said, “is to ‘thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,’ and to ‘invoke the Lord’s protection over every human being called into existence’.”

Begun in 1972, the Respect Life Program stresses the value and dignity of human life. It is observed in the 195 Catholic dioceses in the United States. This year's theme is “The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.” The full statement follows and may be found online at

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
September 27, 2010

During the Respect Life Month of October, Catholics across the United States will gather in prayer and thanksgiving, at charitable and educational events, and in public witness to the unique and priceless value of every human life, guided by the theme for this year’s Respect Life Program: “The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.” With each passing year, the need for personal and public witness grounded in God’s boundless love for each and every human being grows more urgent.

With over one million innocent children dying from abortion each year, the plague of abortion remains embedded in our culture. It is encouraging to see the continuing decline nationwide in the number and rate of abortions—due in large part to fewer teens becoming sexually active, and to growing recognition of the humanity of the unborn child. Yet the loss of even one child, and the pain experienced by the child’s mother and father in the aftermath of abortion, should impel us to redouble our efforts to end legal abortion, and to ensure that every pregnant woman has whatever help she needs to turn away from this heartbreaking choice.

For those the pro-life community could not reach and assist before they underwent an abortion, the Catholic Church throughout the United States offers compassionate, confidential counseling through its Project Rachel ministry. In contacting Project Rachel, no one need fear that they will encounter anything less than a reflection of God’s love and mercy and His constant offer of forgiveness and healing.

In many areas of public policy, the rift continues to widen between the moral principles expressed by a majority of Americans and the actions of government. For example, Americans oppose public funding of abortion by wide margins, with 67% opposing federal funding of abortion in health care in one recent poll. In early 2009, Catholics and others sent over 33 million postcards, and countless e-mails and letters to Members of Congress, urging them to “retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion.”

Yet in March of this year, Congress passed a health care reform law that allows for federal funding of abortion in some programs and could pressure millions of Americans to help subsidize other people’s abortions through their health care premiums. Ensuring that health care reform will meet the urgent needs for which it has been proposed, and is not misused to promote abortion or to trample on rights of conscience, will be an urgent task in the coming year.

Defenseless human life is also placed at risk today in the name of science, when researchers seek to destroy human life at its embryonic stage for stem cell research—and demand the use of all Americans’ tax dollars to support this agenda. In a recent poll commissioned by the Catholic bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, 57 percent of respondents favored funding only stem cell research avenues that do not harm the donor, using stem cells from cord blood, placentas, and other “adult” tissues; only 21 percent favor funding all stem cell research, including research that requires killing embryonic human beings. Yet the current Administration issued guidelines last year to fund human embryonic stem cell research, and some in Congress are preparing legislation to ensure continued funding despite a federal court’s finding that these guidelines may violate the law.

At the other end of life, seriously ill patients are again under threat from a renewed campaign for legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Instead of addressing these patients’ real problems by providing love, support and relief of suffering, this agenda urges us to eliminate the patient as though he or she is the problem. Marching under the false banner of “compassion” and “choice,” it raises the fearsome prospect of a future in which the only “choice” cheerfully granted to our most vulnerable patients is a lethal overdose of drugs.

Becoming a voice for the child in the womb, and for the embryonic human being at risk of becoming a mere object of research, and for the neglected sick and elderly is one of many ways we can teach our fellow citizens that “The Measure of Love is to Love Without Measure.” While critics want to portray the Church’s witness as a narrow and negative ideology, it is just the opposite: A positive vision of the dignity of each and every human being without exception, each loved equally by God and so equally deserving of our love and our nation’s respect.

Because we are created in the image of God, who is Love, our identity and vocation is to love sacrificially for the sake of others. Pope Benedict XVI has called this “the key to [our] entire existence.” In a homily during his recent visit to the United Kingdom, Pope Benedict reminded us that “our hearts can easily be hardened by selfishness, envy and pride,” and that “pure and generous love is the fruit of a daily decision.” Every day, he reminded us, “we have to choose to love.” In our homes, schools, workplaces, and in public, if we constantly witness to the inestimable worth and dignity of each human life through a loving concern for the good of others, if we allow the dignity of every human life to guide the decisions we make as voters and public policy advocates, we can surely succeed in creating a more just and humane society.

Our efforts, of course, must always be undergirded with prayer—the silent space for personal daily prayer that allows us to hear God’s voice deep in our hearts, and communal prayer that asks God to transform our culture into one that welcomes every human person.

Recently Pope Benedict made an unprecedented request for such prayer, by asking that Catholic bishops throughout the world, and all parishes and religious communities, observe a “Vigil for All Nascent Human Life” on the evening of Saturday, November 27, 2010. The U.S. bishops’ offices for pro-life activities and for divine worship will be working together to provide worship aids to assist pastors in planning these vigil services.

Speaking for the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer, whose purpose according to the Holy See is to “thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,” and to “invoke the Lord’s protection over every human being called into existence.”

May God bless all who work tirelessly to build a culture of respect for every human life, from conception to natural death.

For inquiries, e-mail us at
Department of Communications 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3000 © USCCB. All rights reserved.

27th Sunday - Gospel Illustration: Luke 17:5-10

they would become ritually unclean. This they did not want, so they chose the safe way. The Samaritan, on the other hand, did not have to worry about this, he was free. This parable is about much more than doing good, it is about the freedom we must have to do that good.
Work, things that we are responsible for, some good plans that we may be working on, an assignment given us by a superior....these are all good or at least indifferent. To be a good Samaritan does not merely mean did we help someone...this can as a matter of fact be a rather simple thing to do. A good Samaritan is one who is called on to make a judgment about the norms by which he or she acts. Is there the freedom to be present to and respond to those who are in need.


The parable of the Good Samaritan, is one of those passages in Scripture which are etched into the psyche of all who read the Word. There is something about this parable which touches the heart strings of all who read it...inside of it we see ourselves.
Why did the priest and Levite pass the man? Was it because they were indifferent to the suffering, was it because they felt we have nothing to do with this man, because of just cold heartiness....I think not. I think the reason they passed by was because of fear. The wounded man was bleeding. If the priest or Levite, according the law, came into contact with this blood
The story of Martha and Mary. The teaching of Our Lord on prayer begins here. We will be going , in the following days , into the Our Father , trust and some basic attitudes towards prayer. In this passage Our Lord is telling us about listening in prayer. How necessary it is just at times to sit at his feet and quietly open the ears of our hearts and let His word come in. In that silence He reveals Himself to us.
If I may there is another aspect of this story which has always attracted me. It is the fact that a teacher, Jesus, would be teaching a woman. In our day this is a part of the story which we would probably not even avert to. In Jesus’ time for a teacher to have a woman sit at his feet, a sign of being a disciple, was radical. Something new which must have caused some people surprise. It was not done.
Jesus always seems to be doing things like this. It is almost like He is deliberately trying to get peoples attention. Doing good on the Sabbath, picking wheat, eating with the publicans...even the men He called to be His apostles...He challenged people to think beyond the safe, secure boundaries and to look this simple scene of Mary at this feet Jesus is opening up a new world.

The first thing which comes to mind in praying this prayer is the absolute poverty we have before God. It is an overpowering thought that the Good God permits a weak human being to look up and say “Father”. It would be so safe if all I could do would be to be able to think about God. This in itself is something to marvel at....but God is not satisfied with that. He wants a conversation with us, communion.
It is all pure gift...we use expressions such as: my prayer, I am going to though it was our work. We take possession of a gift and deny by our attitude that it is pure gift. No one can look to God except those whom He permit s. No one can enter into this conversation except those whom He invites ...we respond to this gift, to the invitation...but the initiative is from God. He, as my mother used to remind us, grabs us by the back of the neck and lifts us to Him before we can go to Him.

Many years ago I worked in a small country parish in Japan. There was a kindergarten attached to the Church. During the summer months when the children were let out at 11:30AM there would be at least one child who would want ice-cream. The little shop outside the gates of the Church was the source of this temptation.
It being so close to lunch time, no matter how much the child cried the mother would not give in. However, most mothers did come prepared with some sort of little cookie. Usually this would not alleviate the child’s need, the crying would continue...only ice-cream. The mother would be forced to pick the child up without ice-cream and without cookie and carry him or her away.
I often reflected on those scenes and said to myself: that is the way I act in front of God. Crying for what I think is good for me, seeing e but the ice-cream, and missing the gifts which He is giving me.

To attribute to the devil the work of God....what a blasphemy
They saw marvelous things happening, things they could not explain...devils being defeated...the blind seeing what is the meaning of all this? Why didn’t they say: this is the work of God....why did they have to say: the work of the devil?....fear, perhaps....maybe there is something inside of people that makes evil more comprehensible than good....isn’t it true that evil, no matter what form it may take, almost captures us.
We do not have to exert too much energy, psychic or emotional to grasp the reality of evil...but good, we either let it go by like a summer breeze or else take it for granted.
Heaven and earth are indeed full of the glory of God....the disciple is asked to proclaim that announce the marvelous workings of God.

The other day I got involved in a discussion about relevancy, one of the many buzz words of this day and age. We came to the conclusion that not everything in the Gospel is relevant to “ all of the people all of the time “ cycles are different.
I need to hear different things at different times
Mary is a good example of someone who was not afraid to listen to the new things. She did not stop listening at the Annunciation, she listened to the Gloria on Christmas night, she listened to “a sword shall pierce your heart”, she heard her son say “ I must be about my Father’s business” finally, “woman behold your son”.....she listened and she came to understand and to live her vocation.
Our lives with Christ are always deepening...our lives change…Christ wants to speak to us where we are...He wants us to respond where we the quiet of our hearts to listen...having heard to act on the Word.