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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01-18-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 18, 2020
Jesus went out along the sea.  All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.”  Mk_2:13-17

When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him, “This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people.” . . . Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head; he also kissed him, saying: “The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage. You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel, and to save them from the grasp of their enemies roundabout.”  1_Sm_9:1-4,17-19;_10:1

Two callings, two leaders, one would rise and one would fall.  Sometimes, beloved, we never know when we might be the very next to be called.  It may not be as king of a nation, but when it’s God’s call, you can be sure, it will be equally important.  It might be as subtle as writing a new Gospel, as innocuous as calling a friend to become Catholic, or as bold as leading a new movement.  Whatever it may be, beloved, take it seriously and follow through in Faith on all that God is calling us to do.  With the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we will rise with it!

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01-17-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 17, 2020
(St. Anthony, Abbot)
All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.”  1_Sm_8:4-7,10-22a

They came bringing to him (Jesus) a paralytic carried by four men.  Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him.  After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”  Mk_2:1-12

God’s second gift, or grace to us, after the gift of life, is our gift of free will or choice.  Today we see three examples of the kinds of choices people can make.

The first choice was based purely on selfishness. The Israelites, who were already losing their faith in God, after all that God had done for them: freeing them from slavery in Egypt, feeding them in the desert, and saving them from predators, after ALL THAT, the Israelites had CHOSEN to step down from their position as the “specially chosen Children of God,” to be, instead, just like the foolish, godless heathen – from whom they were supposed to be escaping – wanting a king, and a hierarchy, and slaves.  Slaves, whom Samuel warned them, would be they, themselves and their children.

Sometimes, our hearts can be so hardened against the Truth, that it can hit us on the side of the head and we still won’t understand.

The second choice was based on conditioning.  The Scribes in Mark’s Gospel were responding to Jesus’ forgiving words exactly the way most lawyers would today.  They knew the Jewish law inside and out.  And IF the Law said – that “only God could forgive sins,” then anyone else who uttered those words of forgiveness, was making himself or herself equal to God, and according to their Law, that was blasphemy.

The Scribes choice was plain.  Everything was either in obedience to the Law or NOT.  And if it was not, then THEY believed that they were to act as God’s Judge and Jury and Persecutor; because THAT was the Letter of the Law and there was no room for human compassion.  You see, those Scribes were “conditioned” to live and move and think only in the black and the white.

It’s a good reminder for us, beloved, to always keep a check on what’s conditioning us.  What are we reading?  What are we listening to and watching?  Is it really the Truth, or is it biased by some one person’s, or some group’s, personal or political agenda?  Does it lead us to more love and understanding, or to more judgment and hatred of others?

Jesus taught us that Love is always the very best of Choices.  Which leads us directly to that third example of Choice in today’s Scriptures.  You see, the paralytic didn’t really have any sins that needed forgiving.  But the people of the day had this false perception that physical illness was directly caused by sin.

In reality, those who actually needed forgiveness in the story, were the four men who broke through somebody’s roof.  But, you see, their motive, their whole purpose, their choice for performing that sin of destruction – of someone else’s property, was based purely on their Love for their brother, or father, or friend who was paralyzed.

They broke the least commandment in order to invoke a “Greater Good.”  And Life and Love is always the Greater Good!  And so, their Love – justified their creative bending of a conditioned rule.  Their unselfish Choice was offering their lives for the sake of the “Other,” based on their Faith in Jesus.

God has graced us with the Gift of Choice and the Command of Love.  And He’s asking us, today, “How are we making the best of both in our lives?”

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01-16-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 16, 2020
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people. Mt_4:23

What more could they ask for?
So why do any of us doubt!

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01-15-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 15, 2020
When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”  Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect.  1_Sm_3:1-10,19-20

Are we listening, beloved?  For the Lord is speaking with us constantly.  We hear Him in the signs of nature around us.  We hear Him through the voices of friends and even strangers.  We hear Him in our daydreams and night dreams, warning, preparing, comforting and urging us on toward His Kingdom.

“Speak Lord, for we, Your servants are listening!”

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01-14-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 14, 2020
Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.  Mk_1:21-28

In reality, Jesus DID have Authority.  He is no less than the Son of God.  And who besides God could truly have authority over anyone or anything!  That authority was evident by His confidence in what He said, by his understanding of both God and man, and by his compassion FOR mankind.  They are His children, His Creation.  If we’re ever looking for authority, direction or confidence, beloved, we have no further to go than back to Jesus.  He will guide us in Spirit and in Truth when we rely on Him!

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01-13-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 13, 2020
(St. Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”  As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Mk_1:14-20

And so it begins, beloved. Jesus came of age, was baptized by John and now began His earthly ministry.  It was a call for the disciples and a call for us as well.  A call to repent, believe and follow.  Jesus will teach us.  He will lead us by word and example.  And by it we will become His fishermen and women, catching souls for their salvation.

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01-12-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 12, 2010
(The Baptism of the Lord)
Thus says the LORD: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.  Is_42:1-4,6-7

Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered in the house of Cornelius, saying: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.  Acts_10:34-38

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  Mt_3:13-17

A thundering voice out of the silence, a brilliant light out of the darkness, a gentle dove, a glowing flame, a pure white garment, a permanent mark and the water of life.  ‘THESE are my beloved children, with whom I am well pleased.”

There was something earthquakingly significant about what happened in that dark, muddy Jordan River, 2000-years ago.  Could you just HEAR the silence, as they all held their breath?  Could you SEE their astonishment, as the heavens opened, the light beamed, the dove descended and the voice thundered!  Could you FEEL the hope, the freedom, and the justice that was promised by Isaiah, some 700-years earlier, just knocking at your door.

If I could go back in time, seeing THIS Baptism event would be pretty close to the top of my list.  And yet, where was that hope, that freedom, and that justice, when the object of all their dreams would be chastised by the very leaders who were supposed to welcome Him?  Where was that justice, when He would be so unjustly crucified by their same persecutors?  And where was that freedom in a world so violently oppressed by tyrannical dictators and misguided voices?

Are we not asking those same questions, brothers and sisters, when we fall into the shadows, and the cracks, and the amnesia of darkness, forgetting the glory, and the light; the hope and the promise of the Resurrection?

You see, THAT’s exactly why we come back here (to Mass), week after week: to the light of His love, to our welcoming community, and to His Blessing of every one of us, in voice, and in nourishment, and in reminder every Sunday.

The significance of this incredible Celebration can not be understated!  And it all begins with Baptism.

As we heard in our Gospel, John the Baptist did not yet,  fully understand the “Big Plan.”  And yet, he would obediently follow whatever he was called to do by his Lord.  And neither did Peter understand, even after 3-years of discipleship with Jesus, and first-hand experience of the Resurrection.  Aside from all the rules and taboos about ritual purity and disassociation with the Gentiles, Peter obediently reversed roles from leader to servant,  raising Baptism above his leadership position, above all of his prejudices, and even above the objection of his colleagues.

By Baptizing Cornelius, the Gentile, Peter, like John, opened up a whole new world of Salvation through his obedient faith in Jesus.  And God wants all of us to have that same earthquaking experience:  light out of the darkness, hope in a seemingly hopeless world, and justice that begins with our love for everyone!

As I was prayerfully contemplating today’s Scriptures, and battling with how to condense this enormous and beautiful subject of our Lord’s and our Baptisms, into this tiny chunk of what we call a homily, I glanced out our window at home to see several hundred geese grazing in ours, and our neighbor’s back yards.

And there, in the middle of them all, was this one, solitary, perfectly white, short-necked goose!  And contrary to my first suspicion, it was not an albino goose, and it was not some type of goose-duck hybrid.  Good-old Google informed me that what I was looking at was actually a migrating, Canadian, Ross goose.  Uncharacteristically separate from its own kind.  Strikingly obvious by its brilliance, in comparison to it’s neighbors.

That goose was absolutely mesmerizing!

It WAS Jesus standing in the river with John, surrounded  by our beautiful darkness.

It was Peter sitting at a non-kosher dinner with Cornelius and his family, teaching them about Jesus.

And it IS – each one of us – Baptized Catholics, solitary in our workplaces, and on the streets, and in the marketplace; shining with the Light of Christ on our countenance; and mesmerizing the world with our hope for eternal life, and our freedom from fear of death, and God’s justice, expressed in our Love for everyone!

THIS is the Glory of Baptism.
And for it, we too cry out in joy,
“Blessed be God forever!”

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01-11-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 11, 2020
Beloved: We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours. 1_Jn_5:14-21

Our “confidence” derives in our purity before Him.  Our confidence derives in our obedience of His commands and our faith in His authority.  And when we ask, we ask “according to His will,” not ours.  And according to His will we accept whatever we get.  God will never disappoint!  Believe!

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01-10-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 10, 2020
Beloved: Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and Blood. The Spirit is the one who testifies, and the Spirit is truth. So there are three who testify, the Spirit, the water, and the Blood, and the three are of one accord.  1_Jn_5:5-13

Believe!!!

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01-09-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 9, 2020
Beloved, we love God because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.  1_Jn_4:19–5:4

It truly IS all about Love!

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01-08-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 8, 2020
Beloved, if God so loved us,we also must love one another. . . God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.  1_Jn_4:11-18

After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side . . . they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. . . . he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”  He got into the boat with them and the wind died down.  They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.  Mk_6:45-52

Imagine one day, you’re sitting there in your nice, comfortable, secure home, and all of a sudden, the entire building picks up off the ground and begins to fly around in space.

And then, imagine, as you’re spellbound by the views of the tops of the clouds out your window, where the lake, and the highway, and the shopping plaza used to be, THERE – is a human person, standing on the clouds; with no plane, and no wings, and no oxygen mask.

And just as he steps through that front door of yours, just as suddenly as it all happened, there you are, back on the ground: with the service people taking care of your needs, and the intercom blaring, and the bridge games being played, just as if nothing ever happened. And the man says to you, “Didn’t you understand the reason for it all?”  And you have to pinch yourself, just to make sure that you really are still alive.

If we went back 2000-years, that’s about as close of an example as we can get to the wild experience the disciples went through on that sea.  You see, that Sea of Galilee was the natural home to Peter and his companion fisherman.

They knew when it was calm, and they knew when it could be too dangerous to be out in a boat.  And yet, that’s exactly when Jesus made them go out.  And their little excursion was really a beautiful testimony to their obedience.

After seeing Jesus feed 5000-people from a little more than nothing, they were pretty close to shell-shock already.  But it never occurred to them that all of that – was just a prelude for what was to come.

And it wasn’t about the hungry people.  And it wasn’t about the lack of money to feed them.  And it wasn’t even about a mighty and miraculous sign.  What the Apostles did not understand, was that the “Miracle of the Loaves” was really – all about WHO Jesus was and WHY He was there.

You see, it wasn’t about taking their breath away with incredibly un-natural events.  But it was about taking their breath away with an incredibly NATURAL Love.

A love of father and mother for their children.  A love of husband and wife for each other. A love of God for all of us.  A love so unnaturally – natural that God would put-on our human flesh to express it; He would feed the hungry, heal the sick, walk on water, revive the dead, and even be willing to allow Himself to be nailed on a cross – in order to prove to us – that WE have that very same Love within us.

Ever notice, beloved, that whenever we do, or think, or say anything that is NOT based on LOVE there’s a little pin prick that pierces our side.  We might call it conscience, but it really is God’s Love within us that we’re piercing with our own un-love!

It’s the same God, that we could see walking on water, and feeding us and calming our storms, and levitating our buildings when we just recognize Him, when we understand!

Ever wonder why some people are always so miserable?  It’s because they are constantly pricked by their own pins of un-Love.  All they need is to understand, that it’s not about the external serving us.  But it’s all about – us serving God’s LOVE – because it IS there within every one of us!

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01-07-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 7, 2020
(St. Raymond of Penafort, Priest)
Jesus, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men.  Mk_6:34-44

Miracle, illusion or reality?  Jesus made it obvious that what they had witnessed in this multiplication of the food was reality!  The number of people were unquestionable.  The starting amount of food was unquestionable.  The blessing was a model of what we should all, always do before we eat.

The satisfaction of the crowd could have been subjective.  But the leftovers proved that no one was left hungry.  And if five loaves of bread and two fish filled five-thousand people, it was obvious that they could not have been broken into small enough pieces to ever give each man even a morsel.  And those morsels would surely never have been enough to fill them.

Finally the ultimate proof of the miracle was the fact that there were more leftovers than they even started with!  The point?  The point was not that God, that Jesus is here to feed us bread and fish.  The point was that when we believe, when we trust in Jesus, for whatever we are in need of, He will fill us to abundance.

Do we need strength in tough times?  Jesus will provide it.  Do we need money to survive an unexpectedly early retirement?  Jesus will bury us in it – as long as we use it wisely and give our time and appropriate tithing to the poor.  Do we need love?  Well, sometimes we just have to keep on praying.  But in the meantime, we give as much of it as we possibly can.  And we keep assuring ourselves that our God loves us beyond anything we can possibly expect out of humanity.  And it’s that Love that sustains us!

May our loving God, bless you, beloved, and keep you in His love forever – for that love is unquestionable – and it was proven by our Lord, Jesus Christ!

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01-06-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 6, 2020
(St. Andre Bessette, Religious)
Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. 1_Jn_3:22–4:6

Jesus went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.  Mt_4:12-17,23-25

Our Gospel reading today could not have been more appropriate for the Saint we commemorate today.  St. Andre Bessette was God’s model for us – of the healing power of Jesus.

Born in the mid 1800’s, out of obscure poverty, a Canadian orphan at the age of 12, who had to forgo formal education in order to work for his living, Alfred Bessett himself was sickly  from birth, yet lived to the blessed age of 91.

After multiple attempts at entrance into seminary in Montreal, Alfred, who took the name Andre after his Pastor, was admitted into Notre Dame College, and was assigned as the Door Keeper.

And yet, little did his superiors realize, that Andre was a Saint in the works.  For, in the years to come, through Brother Andre’s prayers, and the intercession of St. Joseph, to whom he had a lifetime devotion, it was estimated that St. Andre had cured in excess of 10,000 illnesses of the people he loved and cared for.

St. Andre Bessett truly embodied the Spirit of God that St. John speaks of today.  He would not let the spirit of a judgmental or condemning world influence, in the least, his love for God and God’s people.

On the very site where many of his miracles occurred, St. Andre built a small shrine dedicated to his patron, St. Joseph.  Today, in its place stands the massive Oratory / Basilica of St. Joseph, in honor of both St. Joseph the step-father of Jesus, and its founder, the “Miracle Man of Montreal.”

It’s all simply a reminder to us, beloved, that when we dedicate our lives to God, when we follow His command of love, and even when we mess up and repent, despite the illnesses that will inevitably occur, He is our healer.

And regardless of how small, how insignificant, or how uneducated we may feel, we are and always will be His Saints.

St. John reminds us: You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”  1_Jn_4:4

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01-05-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 5, 2020
(Epiphany Sunday)
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory.  Is_60:1-6

After entertaining Herod with a question that never should have been asked him, the magi continued their journey.  And the star they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. Mt_2:1-12

You see, beloved, it was ALL an epiphany:  the star, the gentile magi, the revelation to Herod, the child, the mother, the wonder of it all.  And Isaiah told us all about it.  Rise up Jerusalem your long awaited Lord has come, shining like a star, innocent as an infant and yet shrewd as a serpent.  He came out of love and died still in love with us!

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01-04-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 4, 2020
(St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious)
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus.  Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter.  Jn_1:35-42

Among the earliest of the chosen disciples of Jesus was Andrew’s brother Simon.  Jesus knew immediately that Simon would be something special.  And with that, Simon was given the nickname Peter.  It was this Simon Peter who would lead the 11 after the completion of Jesus’ life with us in the flesh.  And it was this same Peter who would bring thousands into the Faith.  Have you found the Messiah yet, beloved?  Know, that He is looking for you.  And He has a special name for you, as well.

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01-03-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 3, 2020
(Most Holy Name of Jesus)
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. . . . John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.  Jn_1:29-34

If there’s one thing that we Catholics are abundantly rich in, it’s symbols.  From the crucifix, to the sign of the cross, from the rosary to our relics, from our holy water to the dove, they’re all great reminders of our faith.  But unless we know what they really represent, what they really mean, they can also be quite confusing.

Back in the days of the apostles and the early Church, there was reason for all the secret signs, because if it was known that they were Christian, they would have been killed or worse.  And we are well familiar with the persecution and martyrdom that those early Christians had to suffer – and many still do today.

Unfortunately, all those signs still permeate our Church, 2000 years later.  And we can spend a lifetime trying to figure them all out.  And yet, on the good side of it all, today we can quickly and easily find the answer to pretty much any question we have about our faith and all of those signs and secret symbols with a quick search on the internet.

For example, did you know that the letters IHS that we often see in Church actually come from the first three letters of the Name of Jesus, written in Greek.  That Christogram symbol originated from a Franciscan priest in the late 1300’s, named, Bernadine of Siena.  Bernadine designed a picture of the letters surrounded by the rays of the sun, in order to displace certain pagan and political symbols that were prevalent in central Italy at the time.

And aside from being an artistic defender of the faith, Bernadine was also a highly respected preacher and evangelist, who fought against sin in all of its different forms.  He worked tirelessly to bring peace and unity to warring communities in his native Italy.  And he was the perfect model of loving evangelism, in the style of John the Baptist.

Today we commemorate that most Holy and blessed Name of Jesus.  As St. Paul professed in his letter to the Philippians, “God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that  is above every name.  That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”  Phil 2:9-11

As we begin this new year of “Vision” (20-20), we open our eyes to the power of His Name.  Because it’s only in that Name, that: the darkness of sin will be dispelled, that the light of hope will be found, and that the clarity of life, through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, will guide us in all righteousness to that glory of God our Father, in the most Holy Name of Jesus.  Amen

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01-02-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 2, 2020
(Ss. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen,
Bishops and Doctors of the Church
)
John the Baptist said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”  Jn_1:19-28

John knew exactly what his place in the scheme of God’s plan of salvation was.  It was to open hearts in preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus.  We open hearts beloved, by cleansing ourselves of sin and evil.  We make it a straight path, that the Lord may enter unencumbered. And then, with the Lord in our hearts, we rejoice in his presence.  And in that rejoicing we bring others to the awesome peace and love of God with us.  THIS, beloved, is the Good News that Jesus came to share.  God loves us so incredibly much that we have reason to prepare the way for Him and we have reason to share it as well.  Life can truly be glorious with Jesus in our hearts!

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01-01-20 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

January 1, 2020
(The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God)
The LORD said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!
Nm_6:22-27

The very best of New Years to you, beloved.
May you Live in God’s grace, Love as did His Son Jesus, and Fly like the Holy Spirit in strength and wisdom and freedom (from all sin)!

All our love,
as brothers and sisters in Christ!

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12-31-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 31, 2019
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared.  Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us.  1_Jn_2:18-21

If only they knew, how incredibly much
we miss them.
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Happy Birthday Carl – still and always our beloved son!

And Happy New Year to all the rest of you!
God’s blessings of peace and health and love!

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12-30-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 30, 2019
I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.  I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the Evil One.  1_Jn_2:12-17

There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. Lk_2:36-40

Although we know that life is a continuum from birth to death, we also know that there are events in our lives that can rapidly advance us in spiritual and intellectual wisdom from childhood to what we call maturity.  Experiences like war and extreme poverty can force us to quickly learn the laws of survival at a very early age.  Parents who are willing to discipline and teach their children the virtues of respect and love and thanksgiving, will find those children far advanced in life skills from those with little guidance.

Today, St. John describes three stages of spiritual growth in the Christian.

From the child-like dependence on God of the newly baptized, who have a fresh start, a rebirth, from lives of sin and ignorance, and who have learned the Father’s will for righteousness in their lives;

To the youth who can now apply God’s will with the strength of the Holy Spirit in overcoming temptations toward evil; and especially those physical passions which drive us away from God;

To the spiritually adult or mature parents, who have learned through their own experiences what it’s like to be a Creator, Nurturer and Redeemer of those who have so much more to learn.

The Prophetess Anna was clearly an extreme example of spiritual maturity.  Having grown beyond marital and parental experiences, Anna placed her entire life in the hands of God.

In prayer and through visions, Anna knew, without question, that God would redeem those who believe.  And she was given the grace to see that redemption in Jesus.

Out of God’s great love for us, brothers and sisters, He became incarnate, a Father and a Brother and an Advocate to teach us how to advance, not only spiritually, but in doing so, how to get the very best out of this physical life, from birth to death, as well.

And in doing so, we become, not only freed from lives of darkness, and sin, and hopelessness, but we are called by Jesus, to be spiritual parents for a world of lost children.

This (our Church family and community) IS our Training Camp and our Replenishment Center (through the Blessed Sacrament).  And THAT (out there) is our Real-Life Mission Field, where we pray, and give thanks, and model hope for others – through His (Jesus’) most generous gift of Love!

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12-29-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 29, 2019
(The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph)
God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother. Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children, and, when he prays, is heard. Whoever reveres his father will live a long life; he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.  Sir_3:2-6,12-14

The rules for a good life!  If we can start life understanding this, then it will extend to our honor and respect for bosses and teachers, for coworkers and employees, for janitorial staff and children and for the poor and the lost!  And as Sirach says, YOU will be blessed by it!  We are ALL family, beloved.  And you are among God’s favorite!

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12-28-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 28, 2019
(Holy Innocents)
Beloved: This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.  1_Jn_1:5-2:2

After the birth of Jesus, … When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious.  He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.  Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:  ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.’  Mt_2:13-18

For those who live in the Light of Christ, there is something blindingly dark about the actions of the lost.  Those lost in self-glorification, lost in worship of false gods, like money and power and fame, lost in following fools and not the righteous.  There is something blindingly dark about abortion, about child abuse, about murder in general, about blatant killing and the vengeance that the media and the movies and the video games constantly push upon us.

Herod was lost in the darkness of insecurity.  He was paranoid about losing his precious power.  So he would stoop to the depths of killing, even infants, to preserve his almighty self-centeredness.

It just makes us ponder, beloved.  Are there shadows of darkness that creep into our lives, at times?  Are there places where a little of Christ’s light might bring us more freedom, more healing, more hope?  As we close out on an old year and prepare for the new – that just might be a place to start anew in our growth towards being that light for others and not their darkness.  Jesus is just waiting for us to make that decision.  And His light is always ready to help!

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12-27-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 27, 2019
(St. John, Apostle and Evangelist)
Beloved:  What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life – for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us.  1_Jn_1:1-4

Jesus, the Word of Life.  Learn from Him!

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12-26-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 26, 2019
(St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say.  You will be given at that moment what you are to say.  For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  Mt_10:17-22

Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.  Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.  Acts_6:8-10;7:54-59

Stephen spoke God’s Truth through the Spirit working within him.  And it cost Stephen his life.  Sometimes, saving souls costs lives, beloved.  But if it is God’s will, the cost is more than worth the sacrifice.  God will  be the judge and we will be His witnesses!

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12-25-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 25, 2019
(Nativity of the Lord)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.  What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  Jn_1:1-18

Hallelujah!  Our Lord has come!  Out of God’s great love for us, He came to live with us, to teach us, and to show us what true love really is.  Come, let us rejoice with Him and one another! Merry Christmas Beloved!  May our God who IS love, be in you for all time to come!

St. Francis of Assisi’s first Nativity Creche in Greccio, Italy

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12-24-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 24, 2019
(Christmas Eve Day – The Nativity of the Lord)
The LORD revealed to King David through the prophet Nathan, “When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his Kingdom firm. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.'”  2_Sm_7:1-5,8b-12,14a,16

Zechariah proclaimed, “In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Lk_1:67-79

The long-awaited One!  Our Savior, Messiah, King and Brother.  Jesus, who shines in the darkness, who guides our feet, who leads us along the path that directs us to the Father.  Follow Him beloved, and LIVE!  For that path is Love!  And that destination is eternal!

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12-23-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 23, 2019
(Seventh of Seven ‘O Antiphons’)
“O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!”

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” Is_7:14

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After the birth of John, their neighbors and relatives wanted to name him Zechariah after his father.  But his mother insisted he be named John.  So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.  He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed.  Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.  Then fear came upon all their neighbors,  Mal_3:1-4,23-24

Every Sunday, when we come to Mass, we get to see, and maybe visit with, some of the beautiful children who are part of our Catholic family through their Baptisms.  It’s funny, because, one day they’re infants in the arms of their parents, and the next time we see them, they’re walking or running around on their own.  Before we blink our eyes, they’re graduating high school and we barely recognize them.  And then, in another blink, they’re coddling children of their own.

It just makes us wonder:  Do you think the family and neighbors of the cuddly, little baby John could have ever pictured him in a camel’s hair robe and a leather belt, while throngs of people awaited his baptism in the middle of a river?

And yet, nine-months before that rather miraculous birth of John to the aged and barren Elizabeth, the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to prophesy that exact future for his son.

He told Zechariah that John would be “great in the sight of the Lord.”  He said that John “would drink neither wine, nor strong drink,”  that “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb,” and that “he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.”  Lk_1:5-25

And then Gabriel said that John would “go before the Lord in the Spirit and power of Elijah, and turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of  the righteous.” Lk_1:5-25

Now, if Zechariah knew anything about the Scriptures, which surely he did, as a Levite Priest, he would have immediately recognized Gabriel’s words from the writings of the Prophet Malachi, some 450-years earlier, which said, “Lo, I will send you – Elijah, the prophet, before ‘the day of the LORD’ comes, the great and terrible day. To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”  Mal_3-4

But, you see, God didn’t want Zechariah spilling those precious beans about Gabriel’s prophesy – before their time was right.  And so, Zechariah was made speechless until this very moment – that we heard in today’s Gospel.  It truly was another magnificent Sign of God – that not only left the people in awe over Zechariah’s recovery, but in great fear for their own state of unworthiness in the presence of God.

And YET, just as Gabriel consoled Mary’s fear with the words, “Do not be afraid, Mary.”  And just as Gabriel consoled Zechariah’s fear with the words, “Do not be afraid Zechariah,” Jesus consoles every one of us with those same words, “Do not be afraid,” for our redemption is at hand.

When we seek Him, beloved, He will be our consolation.

When we know Him, He will be our strength.

And when we Love Him, with all our hearts and souls, we will be together with Him, and with one another, IN His Love, forever.

That’s God’s promise.

And we know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that our God is always faithful to His promises.

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12-22-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 22, 2019
(4th Sunday of Advent, A)
(Sixth of Seven ‘O Antiphons’)
“O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!”

  • “For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Is_9:6
  • “He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Is_2:4
  • “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.  Is_64:8

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Isaiah said to King Ahaz, “Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.”  Is_7:10-14

Matthew the Evangelist wrote of the events relating to the birth of Jesus:  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”‘  Mt_1:18-24

God IS with us!  And we call Him Jesus!

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12-21-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 21, 2019
(Fifth of Seven ‘O Antiphons’)
“O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.”  Is 9:2

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(St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church)
Upon Mary’s visit, Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  Lk_1:39-45

It was the first human recognition of Jesus, the savior of the world.  It was a JOY-filled recognition, as the fetus in Elizabeth’s womb “leaped for joy” within her, when he, John, heard the voice of Jesus’ mother.  Sometimes those joys are hidden within us too, beloved.  They well up in our hearts or drip down from our eyes.  It’s the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, calling us to recognize, calling us to know that Jesus is still, right there!  We may not always shout in exaltation like Elizabeth.  But we know!  And it shows in our countenance!!!!  It IS God’s Love!

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12-20-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 20, 2019
(Fourth of Seven ‘O Antiphons’)
“O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!”

“I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open.” Isaiah_22:22  “His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore.” Isaiah_9:7  “…To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”  Isaiah_42:7.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The LORD spoke to Ahaz:  Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!  But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”  Then Isaiah said: . . . the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.   Is_7:10-14

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.  . . .   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

He IS the Key!

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12-19-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

December 19, 2019
(Third of Seven ‘O Antiphons’)
“O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!”

“On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10

Jesse was the father of King David, and the prophet Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

There was a certain man from Zorah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manoah.  His wife was barren and had borne no children.  An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son.”  Jgs_13:2-7,24-25a

And the child’s name was Samson!

In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. . . . But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years. . . .  And the angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him.  But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  Lk_1:5-25

And he became known as John the Baptist.

And the stories of the past and the stories of the present and the stories of the future slowly unfolded.  For in this great, yet obscure little region of the world, something even more miraculous was about to occur in just 6-days . . .

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