Elijah’s Whisper – My Whisper

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Elijah’s Whisper – My Whisper

Bubbles2 Then the LORD said (to Elijah), “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.”  A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” 1 Kings 19:11-13

Why are YOU here, beloved?

Was it to discover magnificent colors? Was it to find colorful music or awesome videos? Was it just curiosity? Was it accidental? Were you really looking for God, for Hope, for true LOVE somewhere in this menagerie we call the web?

silenceOr were you just hiding in a cave, waiting on the Lord to Whisper in your ear – a Word – LIFE! Life, it’s in You! And YOU are beautiful in the Eyes of God, no matter what the world may say or think.

You are Loved!!

Every day the Lord whispers in our ears – Words of HOPE, Words of LOVE, and maybe not even words – just His JOY in our hearts.

Let’s follow the Scriptures of our daily Mass and see if we can catch those Words – simple but beautiful – Whispers to the Wind . . .

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04-01-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

April 1, 2023
Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him.  Jn_11:45-56

April FOOLS!  The whole lot of them!

And on to this journey of Holy Week we begin . . .
The palms, the dinner, the agony in the garden, the betrayal, the trials, the passion, the crucifixion, the burial and the RESURRECTION.  All for the LIFE of those who believe. Jesus IS our Lord and God!

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03-31-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 31, 2023
I love you, O LORD, my strength, O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.  Ps 18

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. . . .  Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, ‘You are gods”‘? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”  Jn_10:31-42

Well, here we are at the end of the last week of Lent. Our fasting is nearly complete, our oblations accepted, our faith acknowledged, our souls have been cleansed, and we have one last tunnel to pass through with Jesus, our guide, our soulmate, our life and our salvation.

And like Jeremiah, who was well aware of the trials yet to come his way, we, along with Jesus, place our trust in our Father, who will not allow us to stumble, nor fall, on our Journey back to Him.

And so, on this Fifth Friday of Lent, we are presented with a riddle.

What is it that could be: A durable keeper of records past; and yet, a threatening destroyer of life in the present? A protector of homes and cities; or a weapon of aggression or defense? A maker of mountains high; or a tripping cause to bring us low? A firm foundation for a still and mighty fortress; or a rhythmical beat to move our souls?

You see, the Jewish leaders had a close relationship with STONES. But instead of being the Rock Foundation for their Church, their Faith, they were the Rock destroyers of it, simply because of their own insecurity, their own Lack of relationship with God. Yes, they had their 600-some laws, their Torah, their fancy Vestments, and their Temple.  But it was all meaningless when they picked up those stones instead of bending their knees to praise the God who forgave, as they should have forgiven.

When we can humble ourselves, brothers and sisters, and rely solely on our God, on the Words of Jesus, for all that we need and are, then we can be His Rock of Salvation for others. We become those “living stones” of His Church. Not MY Church, but His and His alone!

And if by now, our minds are still lost on the riddle of the stones, then here is it’s key.

The keeper of the past is the Fossil Rock. The destroyer of life present is a the molten rock of a Volcano or an rock crevice of an Earthquake. The protector of a home or a city is a Stone Wall. The weapon of aggression or defense is a rock. The maker of mountains is, again, the Rock of the earth. And the tripper is the Stumbling Block. The Firm Foundation is the rock slab of a temple or a house, or our Faith in Jesus. And the Rhythmical, moving Beat is, of course, Rock and Roll music.

As the Psalmist said, ‘The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Shield, my saving Horn, my Stronghold!  In Him alone is my Salvation.’ (Ps 18)

As we approach our Holy Week of Paschal celebration, of Passion and Suffering, of death and mourning, we look forward, not just to our Hope of Salvation through the Works and Words of Jesus, but we have the sure knowledge of eternal life, through His Resurrection.

And THAT’s the best reason for our Easter, and our lifelong – Joy!

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03-30-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 30, 2023
Jesus said to the disbelieving Jewish leaders, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.”  Jn_8:51-59

God revealed himself to Moses with the name ‘I AM.’  So when Jesus proclaimed that same name to the Jewish leaders they denounced Him as a blasphemer.  They didn’t believe that Jesus was who He said He was. And so it will be at the end of time.  There will be the believers and the lost.  The saved and those who refuse to be saved.  The obedient and the rebellious.  Jesus proved exactly who He was to the unbelievers by performing miracles that no one but God could have performed.  And yet they still didn’t believe.  How faith-full are we beloved?  Faithful enough to survive the taunts of the unbelievers?  Jesus IS here to save us.  Trust in Him!

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03-29-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 29, 2023
King Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and had some of the strongest men in his army bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and cast them into the white-hot furnace. Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” “Assuredly, O king,” they answered. “But,”” he replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.”  Dn_3:14-20,91-92,95

‘A FOURTH, like a Son of God.’  Even in the midst of the hottest of fires, Jesus is there with us, protecting and cooling and saving us! Trust in Him.  Against all odds, trust!

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Jn_8:31-42

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03-28-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 28, 2023
Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.  Jn_8:21-30

Jesus tells us that without Him we will die in our sins.  When we BELIEVE in Him then we will live eternal life.  Always BE with Him, beloved, because He wants nothing more than us to be with Him forever!

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03-27-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 27, 2023
In defense of life, Jesus said to the blood thirsty mob, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Jn_8:1-11

There truly is a lot of wrong going on in our world today.  In reality, it’s been there since the very beginning of time.  We make laws, we try to teach moral righteousness, we even go to the extreme of capital punishment, which Jesus clearly disagreed with.  But, in His case, it didn’t take much more than one sentence to convince them of the error of their own ways.  How perfect are we to make judgment of others?  And when we are accused falsely, what is our defense.  It usually doesn’t take much than a sentence to convict people of their own hypocrisy, without a sword, or a gun, or a bomb.  All it takes is a little compassion, a little forgiveness, a little love!

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03-26-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 26, 2023
(5th Sunday of Lent, A)
Jesus cried out to the dead man in the cave, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”  Jn_11:1-45

Ever get to feeling bound, beloved?  Locked in a cave of darkness.  No light.  No air.  No hope!  Jesus is calling us out.  Rise up and walk.  He will untie us and let us go.  Free to worship Him and to love like we never loved before.  Let go of the binds that are suffocating you, and discover the freedom of Jesus.  He’s just waiting for our answer.  Let me go!

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03-25-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 25, 2023
(The Annunciation of the Lord)
The angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”  Lk_1:26-38

Ever get ‘called on the carpet,’ beloved?  The Boss!  Will it be a firing or a promotion?  Did I do something wrong, again?!!!  Am I in the doghouse, again?  Will it be a beating or a cake?

There’s always great anxiety when we get called to that corner office by someone who never speaks to us otherwise!  And yet, Mary was in constant communication with her God.  So it really shouldn’t have been a great surprise.  But the surprise was the actual message. A humanly impossible message.  And yet, Mary knew that ‘with God all things are possible!’  So her response, regardless of incredulity, was an exuberant ‘Yes!’

Maybe that call to the corner was neither a promotion nor a firing, but just another project!  ‘Just what I needed, another project!’ But this project of Mary’s was the greatest project the world had ever known.  Beyond Joseph saving his family, beyond Moses saving his nation, Mary’s project was the very incarnation of God himself, through her, to save the world!  Jesus probably wouldn’t look very highly at being considered a project.  But He LIVED it! (And He’d be the first to admit, it was no cake walk!)  And yet, even today, He continues to live it – in the hearts of every one of us!  His project, our life!  And what a life it is!!!  Blessed be God forever!

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03-24-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 24, 2023
One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. Mt_4:4b

Jesus testified that when we learn and know the Old Testament Scriptures we are learning about Him and His Father.  All that Jesus said and did was prefigured through the stories, and the history, and the experiences of people like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the prophets.  If we’re looking to knowing God more intimately, turn to the Scriptures and then, listen to the Word of Jesus.  It is the Word of God!  And count on the Holy Spirit to help interpret anything that might seem a little too deep.  We are in GOOD hands in the hands of the Holy Spirit!

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03-23-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 23, 2023
(St. Toribio de Mogrovejo, Bishop)
Jesus said, “How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?” Jn_5:31-47

It all starts, beloved, with knowing God.  And in knowing God we know Jesus, whom God sent to teach us how to know God.  And Jesus taught us the most important thing in life: Love of God and love of our neighbor.  When we understand this, then all the praise we receive from others is worth nothing compared to the praise we receive from God: witnessing His grace in every aspect of these lives, being saved when we don’t even expect it, finding love in the most unexpected places, loving others until it hurts.  These are all, everyday examples of God’s love for us.  And in it, nothing else in life really matters.

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03-22-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 22, 2023
Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.”  Jn_5:17-30

Do the Words just pass through our ears and back out into nothingness?  Or are they absorbed with full understanding that what Jesus tells us really matters – ENORMOUSLY!  If we were to truly listen and understand what Jesus is trying to tell us, over and over and over again, then it will have such an enormous impact on our lives that nothing we can possibly see or desire in the flesh, in this mortal life, will ever matter again.  We will be free, truly free to worship and love and live for eternity!

Happy Birthday dad!  (Would have been 102, God’s peace in eternity.)

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03-21-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 21, 2023
“Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.”  Ez_47:1-9,12

The River of Life.  Our God.  Our Jesus!

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03-20-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 20, 2023
(St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.  Mt_1:16,18-21,24a

This short passage gives us oceans of information on this little known father of Jesus.  From it we know a little about his heritage.  We know that he was a righteous man, filled with integrity.  Unwilling to harm Mary, who, by all worldly knowledge was not faithful to Joseph, showed Joseph as a man of compassion.  He was also a man of deep devotion to his God.  Despite all the alarm bells that must have been going off in his head, he was still able to quiet down enough to hear God’s instructions.  And in hearing them he immediately acted in obedience to God’s commands. This truly is a man most worthy of being the stepfather of the Savior of the world and the husband of the most blessed Virgin Mary our spiritual mother.  With all the glory to God, in the Name of Jesus His Son, we give thanks for our spiritual stepfather, Joseph!

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03-19-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 19, 2023
(4th Sunday of Lent, A)
The LORD said to Samuel: “Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons.” As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice, Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”  1_Sm_16:1b,6-7,10-13a

You know, I’ve always been kinda blind. I got my first pair of glasses for seeing distance when I was in the 4th Grade, at 8-years old. And I always wondered if my blindness wasn’t caused FROM all those M&Ms and ice cream that I lived on, working in my dad’s grocery store, because those eyes just kept on getting worse.

When I got into the 6th Grade, our extremely authoritative teacher, Mrs. Kramer, challenged us one day, in a class on Physics and Physiology, with the assumption that people just cannot see in the dark. Of course, I always loved refuting a challenge.  So, I simply told her that I didn’t believe her. Well, at that, she proceeded to close me into a tiny maintenance closet, shut off the light, and cover the crack under the door. And then she asked me what color her dress was.  Of course, I knew ahead of time, so her experiment was a complete failure. But naturally, she wasn’t quite done with me, either.  And after multiple repeated attempts, I finally gave in.  (Can you imagine a teacher getting away with something like that in today’s world?!)

But you know what?  Sometimes we actually CAN see a lot better in the dark than in the light.  Just ask anyone who has the misfortune of blindness!

Well, as time went on, these eyes of mine continued to keep getting worse. By the time I was in Junior High School, I couldn’t see the test questions on the blackboard, either because I was too vane to wear those ugly glasses, or because I kept on breaking them. You see, not being on my head, where they should have been, I had a real hard time finding a safe place to keep them otherwise.  And you can imagine my creativity in learning what those test questions were, without getting caught and blamed for cheating.

By the time I got to High School, I realized that I wasn’t going to get very far in life, or school, without seeing. So, I would sit in the back of the classrooms and sneak those glasses on, only after the classes started. It was kinda like church, you had to get there early to get a good BACK SEAT.

Well, it was somewhere within this same time period that I remember taking a fishing trip with my younger cousin.  And there we were, some 30-miles from home, sitting in a little rowboat, in the middle of a river, maybe 20-feet from a raging waterfall. Of course, you can’t go fishing and watch your bobber without seeing.  So, there I was, peacefully sitting in my glasses, when a surprise bumblebee startled me enough to flinch.  And over the edge went my glasses. The problem was, that without those glasses, we had no way of getting back home, because I couldn’t see beyond the hood of that car without them.

And to make matters worse, not being able to swim, it was up to my little cousin to dive into that murky water and dredge the river bottom to recover them, without being sucked over the waterfalls in the process. OH, the joys and hazards of seeing!  And thanks be to God for little cousins!!

By the time I got to college, I found myself on a lot of blind dates. And there, by the grace of God, and with a twinge of humility, under the dark cover of a theater balcony in Philadelphia, watching, none other than Godspell, I finally broke down, glassed up, and discovered – the love of my life. And, almost 50-years later, here we are. And Mary Ann still hasn’t thrown me out because of all my handicaps, the least of which – is seeing!  Blessed be God forever!

You know sometimes we just have to let go of our vanity, let go of our control, take our dark glasses off, and let in some light. This is what Jesus is calling us to do on this Fourth Sunday of Lent.  Open our eyes, glasses or not, to the wonderful world of love all around us!  To “see” as God sees, and Rejoice!

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03-18-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 18, 2023
The tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Lk_18:9-14

So, suck it in, beloved, swallow that pride and show a little humility before your God and your brothers and sisters in Christ.  For we are all equal in God’s eyes, in our prominence and in our sinfulness.  Love God above all!

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03-17-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 17, 2023
(St. Patrick, Bishop)
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mk_12:28-34

His adversaries were asking Jesus about marriage and divorce. They were asking Him about resurrection, and heaven, and hell. They were asking Him about prayer and fasting and forgiveness. They were asking Him about taxes and wealth. And finally, someone hit the nail on the head, and asked Jesus this pivotal question. The question upon which everything else in life hinges.

He said, ‘You know, we’re doing all these things to try to make life better for ourselves; always with ‘ourselves’ at the center of everything we do, even our religion. What, then, is the absolute most important thing we should do?’ And the simple answer, that they all really knew deep in their hearts, was, LOVE!

We should love God, because we know that everything we are, and everything we haveno matter how much or little that may seem to us, everything is from God. And, without Him, there would be nothing.  And the most important thing missing would be our neighbor.

You see, our love for God is shown through our love for our neighbor. And, without our neighborsas pleasant or as difficult as they may be to live with, none of those other questions we ask, or things we do, will matter in the least, even religion. Not wealth or taxes, not prayer or forgiveness, not marriage or divorce, or even heaven or hell will matter without a neighbor – to pray for, to marry, to make rich, or to suffer poverty with, and finally, to meet in God’s heavenly kingdom of love.

When we understand this, beloved, then as Jesus told the wise Scribe, then, we’re not far from the Kingdom of God. Blessed be God forever!

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03-16-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 16, 2023
Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”  Lk_11:14-23

That’s a pretty simple statement, beloved.
Love Jesus.
Be with Him and gather!

And all will be well!

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03-15-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 15, 2023
Moses spoke to the people and said: “Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, . . . take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”  Dt_4:1,5-9

Before we can understand our weaknesses, our sins, we must first understand the difference between right and wrong.  For this, God has given us some basic guidelines, some rules.  Moses called them the Ten Commandments.  And Jesus simplified them even further, saying, all we need to do is to love our God and our neighbor with all our heart and mind and soul.  When we do this, all the other rules and commands fall into their proper place.  Respect, honor, fairness, truth, forgiveness and honesty are all subdivisions of love.  When we recognize where we fail to love, then we’re beginning to understand our need for God, for Jesus and for the Holy Spirit.  Then, we are becoming His True children.

Blessed be God forever!

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03-14-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 14, 2023
We are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. . . . Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord.”  Dn_3:25,34-43

The first step in growth, in advancement, in holiness is learning our own weaknesses, failures and sin.  Sometimes the only way to know how to recover from a fall is falling ourselves first.  Jesus is always there with an open hand to help us back up.  All we need do is ask!

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03-13-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 13, 2023
The Aramean army commander and leper, Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”  2 Kgs_5:1-15ab

As we heard of the Samaritan woman yesterday, a total conversion of body and spirit of a foreigner to the Israel.  But not only a foreigner, an enemy who decimated their land.  Skeptical of his slave girl’s claims of a healing prophet in Israel, Naaman took the chance and almost missed that healing because of his pride.  But convinced to do the extraordinary (which he thought was really quite ordinary), by his own servants, Naaman dipped himself in the Jordan River and found the healing he sought.  And it was not by Elisha’s hand but by the Hand of God.

Jesus, likewise, found it difficult to convince His own neighbors to have faith in Him, and so proclaimed:  “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, . . . there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”  Lk_4:24-30

We might say that the moral here is to never close your eyes to the wonders (in people) who are all around you.  They might be the least expected, but God can work miracles through anyone.  They might even be your neighbor! Keep that pride at bay and have Faith!

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03-12-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 12, 2023
(Third Sunday of Lent, A)
In those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? Ex_17:3-7

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. . . .   Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” . . .  Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.” . . .  Jesus said, “the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”  The townspeople said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”  Jn_4:5-42

Good morning and welcome to the Third Week of our Lenten journey.

Remember, in our first week we entered into the Desert of life along with Jesus, to learn about who WE are. And it led us to ask: What are OUR strengths and weaknesses? How do WE deal with temptation? And maybe we learned that we really ARE nothing without God; but, we also learned, that WITH Him, as St. Paul tells us, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!”  Phil_4:13.

And then in our Second week, we ascended the Mountain along with the disciples, to learn about who Jesus is. And there, we saw that Jesus is not really, our personal pet, whom we can chain in a doghouse or confine to a tent, BUT He’s here. He is everywhere, for EVERYONE! And We, along with Everyone else, are called to LISTEN to Him.

Today, this Third Sunday of Lent, we come to the WATER. Now, I can literally spend the rest of the day chatting about the significance of WATER, not only from the Physical, bodily standpoint, but from the Spiritual as well. From Genesis to Revelation, we are immersed in God’s Living Waters.

Unfortunately, we’re limited in time by another Mass at 9:45, so we’ll have to leave good old H2O there for now, knowing that, LIKE God, we cannot live without it! Water; and yet, today is also the First Scrutiny for the RCIA Elect. And this Scrutiny concentrates on the “Mystery of Personal Sin.”

And so, we’re torn between the topics of Water versus Fire, of Life versus Death, of Springs versus Wells, of Holiness versus Sin. And St. John masterfully addresses both topics today, in our story of the sinful, Samaritan woman at the Well.

And to even begin to understand, what, exactly, was going on in that story, we need to get a good grasp on just who, those Samaritans really were, why the Jews and the Samaritans were at such odds with one another, and how it all relates to Marriage, Faith, Baptism and Sin.

Of course, we all know, that the Samaritans were the descendants of the Israelites who were left behind in Samaria after the Assyrian invasion in 722 BC. Having exiled the majority of the most fit Israelites from their homeland, the King of Assyria then, forcibly resettled foreigners from FIVE different cities into Samaria. (2_Ki_17:6-41)  These non-Jewish foreigners each brought along with them, their own native cultures, and alien gods, that the Jews would call idols.

And while the faithful Jews were suffering enslavement in distant Assyria, the Samaritan, Jewish ‘remnant’ began to follow the pagan practices of those foreigners and even intermarry with them. And worse yet, they began to worship and idolize their FIVE foreign deities, who were collectively called Baal, which was a Hebrew word that meant lord or husband. “The FIVE husbands of the Samaritans.”

Well, the animosity that formed between the faithful Jews and these unfaithful Samaritans grew so intense, that a Jewish person, in the time of Jesus, would go out of his way to avoid any possible interaction with a Samaritan. And this is why Jesus’ story of the “Good Samaritan” (Lk_10:29-37) was so repulsive to the Jewish leaders. Yet, as we see, God was not quite done with the Samaritans either, and this was exactly where Jesus was headed on His journey to Galilee.

And where does Jesus decide to take His rest, in the middle of this dry and arid landscape? At none other than – a WELL! You see the well in the story is significant, because in the history of God’s “Chosen People,” it was at a well that the future WIVES of the Patriarchs, Isaac, Jacob and Moses were all first encountered. (Gn_24:15, Gn_19:9, Ex_2:15-21)  And it was also from a well that Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph, was saved from certain death. (Gn_37:18-28)

You see, Jesus didn’t just happen upon a well in Samaria, it was a special place of betrothal, and it was also a place of salvation: our betrothal as the ‘Bride of Christ’ and our salvation in His ‘Stream of Living Water.’

But, now, of course, we’re drifting back to water, so let’s put that thought on hold for just a moment, and see if we can make another connection. Now the woman of the story was certainly no saint. As a matter of fact, the very reason she was there, at the well, at noon, in the heat of the day, was to avoid the other women, and their jeers and their taunts, because like her ancient ancestors, she was a Samaritan Woman – FIVE Husbands lost.

And there she was in the midst of her misery, collecting WELL water to temporarily satisfy an unquenchable thirst for Spirit and Truth, for love and salvation. It was the Spirit and Truth that she lost in her youth, when God made all those promises of Messiahs, and happily-ever-afters, of Love and Hope, that never seemed to come to her.

Can you just sense the progression of Faith in this woman, growing throughout her conversation with Jesus! Lost in her own personal and communal sinfulness, she had absolutely no qualms debating with this Jewish Man sitting at HER well. ‘Just who did he think he was, conversing with a woman, who was a Samaritan besides.’

He was – just another Jew, and yet, His words were not brash or rude, like all those other Jewish guys! As a matter of fact, they were pretty hopeful. They were the kind of words that made her Spirit soar. And Jesus moved from being ‘just another Jew,’ to “Sir.”

And she understood exactly what He was talking about. And there was an instant Bond! And Jesus moved from – just a ‘Sir’ to “a Prophet.”

In a brief few moments, she felt all that sin, gloriously washed away in a kind of Baptism of her soul. And Jesus moved from being ‘just a Prophet’ to THE Messiah. And He was everything she ever dreamed about. God’s answer, and our hope.

You see, the story tells us that Life really IS worth continuing, even, despite all of its challenges, because we have Jesus and Jesus IS the living water, the Spirit and Truth, the purest definition of Love. And Jesus moved from being just the Messiah to “the Savior of the world.”

Towards the end of the story St. John tells us that the woman “left her water jar there at the well,” and she ran into town to tell the whole world about her encounter. She was totally converted. She was saved! St. Augustine describes that ‘left behindwater jar, as the fallen desire of mankind. The desire that draws its pleasure from the dark wells of the world, but is never satisfied for very long.

In OUR conversion to Christ, like the Samaritan woman, we are moved to renounce that world of wells, to leave behind the desires of our earthly vessels, and to follow a new way of life. Baptized in Christ, we are no longer slaves to Sin, we are Betrothed to our Bridegroom, Jesus, living in the Spring Waters of Eternal Life, living in the Spirit and Truth of God, and nourished by the Body and Blood, the soul and divinity of our Savior, Jesus.

jmp 03-12-23
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03-11-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 11, 2023
The merciful father said to his faithful, but disgruntled older son, “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.”  Lk_15:1-3,11-32

Resentment, judgment, anger, hatred, these are the chocolate chip cookies of the devil.  Ahhh, LENT!  It’s an interesting story this parable of the Prodigal Son (prodigal in his temporary wealth) or as some call it the Prodigal Father (prodigal or extravagant in his mercy).  And yet it is a psychologist’s dream story because there is a lot of unknown and there’s a whole variety of personalities in the mix.

Maybe the older son was resentful because the younger son got away with dissing his father and taking his inheritance early (the old man wasn’t even dead yet).  Maybe the older son was enough of a jerk to his kid brother that his obnoxiousness drove the kid away in the first place.  Maybe the father himself was a jerk in never recognizing all the obedience of the elder son.  Or maybe the father knew that the older son had a long way to go in maturity himself.

But two things we DO know and recognize in this story: 1. that the younger son had to have a lot of courage to go back to his family and expect any kind of acceptance.  The younger son had an inherent spirit of honesty and a repentant soul.  And 2. the father, right from the start, understood everything.  From the fact that one day the younger son would return home, to the fact that that day would bring a sword into their family.  A sword that was already there but was never yet used.  The Good, the Mercy would bring resentment, judgment, anger and hatred into light.  All the cookies of the devil, who took possession of the older son’s heart.  While the mercy would give an example for all of us, of how God, our Father, wants us to live.

Yes, the world is full of a-holes who are filled with the devil’s spirit.  But that gives us, all the more reason to act as the Prodigal Father did, as Jesus does, and as our God wants us to live!  A life of love and honesty, of mercy and compassion!  Blessed be God forever!

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03-10-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 10, 2023
After throwing Joseph, the dreamer, into a dry well, Judah said to his brothers: “What is to be gained by killing our brother and concealing his blood? Rather, let us sell him to these Ishmaelites, instead of doing away with him ourselves. After all, he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed. They sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.  Gn_37:3-4,12-13a,17b-28a

Jesus said to the Chief Priests and the Elders, Did you never read in the Scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?”  Mt_21:33-43,45-46

Joseph was a “type” prefiguring Jesus as the rejected one who was, in essence, put to death by his own brothers.  And in that death, in later years, it turned out that Joseph was the very one who not only saved all of Egypt from famine, but his own family as well.  Jesus, put to actual death by the Jewish religious leaders of His time, in His resurrection, saved not only all of us, non-Jewish, Christians, but those of His own nation of Israel who believe in Him (from that day to the present).  What a beautiful picture of love, that conquers all, even our mortal discrepancies and weaknesses.  Blessed be God forever!

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03-09-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 9, 2023
(St. Frances of Rome, Religious)
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.  Jer_17:5-10

R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.  Ps_1

Jesus told a parable about our life after death, judgment and justice.  While the rich man in the story suffered in the fires of hell because of his greed and lack of compassion for the poor, the poor man (Lazarus) sat comfortably at the feet of his patriarch, Abraham. And while the suffering rich man begged Abraham to help keep his brothers from the same fate (note, without ever addressing Lazarus) by use of a symbolic “resurrection,” Abraham replied,  ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’  Lk_16:19-31

Jesus, of course, was addressing the lack of faith in Him by the Pharisees and Jewish Religious Leaders. For everything Jesus did was prefigured and addressed in their past by the Prophets, Moses and Abraham.  Yet they still refused to believe in Him.

It’s interesting how, in our modern world, we’ve been so hardened with the images of suffering and death, of false immortality by our superheroes on the screen, and by the downplaying of God in the media, that another mass shooting or the massive death toll of wars or natural disasters barely phases us any more.  Yet, none of it negates the Truth taught to us by Jesus and by those same prophets and patriarchs who foresaw our own futures. It’s good to be reminded of life and death, of final judgment, and of the importance of our own actions in this mortal life of ours.  We really don’t want to be in the “rich man’s” seat when it’s all said and done.  Our call is to LOVE in this particular order: God, others and then ourselves.  If we can keep to this, we will not be disappointed when our final day comes!

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03-08-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 8, 2023
(St. John of God, Religious)
Jesus said, “whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mt_20:17-28

Humility, Service, All-Giving, these are the attributes of one who FOLLOWS Jesus, one who’s greatest desire is to be with Him, both now and forever!  We are called to let go of everything that holds us back from that goal, beloved, our very selves.  Let go and find Life, true life with God forever!

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03-07-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 7, 2023
(Ss. Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs)
Jesus said, “The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”  Mt_23:1-12

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03-06-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 6, 2023
Jesus said, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. . . . For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”  Lk_6:36-38

Case in point, from yesterday’s command to Listen to Jesus.  ‘We get what we give!”  And the measure of our keeping today’s command is the very status of our own lives.  Never given to?  Well how much do WE give?  Always judged, condemned, disliked?  How much do we do the same to others?  Never forgiven no matter how much sorrow we offer for our offenses?  How forgiving are WE?  It kinda all begins with ourselves.  Want a better life?  LISTEN to Jesus!

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03-05-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 5, 2023
2nd Sunday of Lent, A
The disciples heard a voice that said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Mt 17:1-9

The Transfiguration!  And after it was all over they were commanded not to tell anyone.  Jesus commands of us many do’s and don’t do’s.  Which ones do we have the hardest times with, beloved?  Those are the ones we especially need the help of the Holy Spirit to either overcome or find the courage to do.  You know, Jesus wouldn’t tell us anything that was not solely for our own goods.  So, the Father gives us all, very good advice today.  “Listen to Him!”  He IS on our side

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03-04-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 4, 2023
(St. Casimir)
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,”  Mt_5:43-48

Jesus only asks for the very best for us!  Listen to and Follow Him!

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03-03-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 3, 2023
(St. Katharine Drexel, Virgin)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment,”  Mt_5:20-26

And there’s the definitive!  No sin is any less grievous, less judged than any other.  Simply, we are to observe and obey ALL of God’s commandments.  Most notably, to love one another as God loves us!  Anything else is judged deplorable!  Love!

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03-02-23 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

March 2, 2023
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” . . . “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”  Mt_7:7-12

We don’t always receive without asking.  We don’t always find open doors without knocking.  So praise God when you do.  And remember that if you want to move forward, ask, knock and seek!

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