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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08-19-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 19, 2019
(St. John Eudes, Priest)
A young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”  He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?  There is only One who is good.  If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” . . .  Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”  Mt_19:16-22

There were two young men.  The one in this Gospel story refused to follow Jesus because he was just too attached to all of his possessions.  (Actually they are called possessions, because THEY possessed him, and not the other way around!)

The second young man was named Francis.  And Francis roamed the earth 12-centuries after Jesus told this story.  But Francis, as opposed to the young man of the story, truly took the story to heart.  He eliminated everything in his worldly life, giving it to the poor, and then devoted his life to Jesus in building the Church, building churches, and healing the sick.  Eight hundred years later (today) people who have taken to heart the life and workings of Francis of Assisi, whose life was modeled after Jesus, call themselves Franciscans.  And Franciscans exist in most every denomination of Christianity and among varying orders and charisms, even in the Catholic Church.  They include priests, men and women, secular and religious.

If we, beloved, can just work on giving one thing away every day in our lives, whether it’s a material object or a physical or mental activity – to the poor, in the Name of Jesus, we will be working towards that perfect life Jesus told of in the story of the rich young man!  And then, come and join us Franciscans, who are working towards the same perfect goal!

Pax et Bonem
Peace and all Good

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08-18-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 18, 2019
(20th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
And so they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Prince Malchiah, which was in the quarters of the guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the cistern, only mud, and Jeremiah sank into the mud.  Jer_38:4-6,8-10

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood. Heb_12:1-4

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!  Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.”  Lk_12:49-53

As we crawl across the soft carpets of life and faith, we find that every once in a while, we have to cross a field of sandpaper. And if we are – a knee, or a knuckle, or a toe, or a believer; the one thing we know about crawling across sandpaper, is that it hurts!

Between Jeremiah being thrown into a cistern, Paul talking about resisting sin to the point of shedding blood, and Jesus’ talk about the cost of discipleship being division within families, today’s Scriptures could surely be described as that ‘field of sandpaper,’ because it’s not the soft, cushy talk, we like to hear, about peace, and lambs, and pearly gates, and nets full of fish.

Instead, Jesus, today uses the metaphor of Fire, Fire, which could actually be – even more painful than sandpaper.

It just makes us wonder, as the disciples probably did: “Isn’t this all a little Contradictory?”  On the one hand, we’re hearing about peace and love, and on the other hand there’s fire and division.

And you know what?

If we go all the way back to a very young Jesus.  A Jesus whose mother presented Him at the Temple in Jerusalem for consecration as a ‘first-born Son,’ we might remember Mary’s encounter with a holy man by the name of Simeon.  And this Simeon, with the baby Jesus in his arms, left Mary with a prophesy.

He said: “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Lk 2:34

You see, Jesus is the carpet
AND the sandpaper.

He’s the soft woolen blanket
AND the blinding, revealing light.

He is the Fire and the Water,
who burns away our sins
and cleanses us from the soot . . .
IF, WE let Him!

And THERE’s the rub!

It’s up to us – to let Him!

In the days of Jeremiah the Prophet, many of the people were so comfortable, living in their sin, and separated from God, that they couldn’t even bear to listen to Jeremiah’s prompts to change, even though that change was for their own good.

Can’t you just hear their grumbling . . .

“Who is HE to tell ME what to do!  It’s MY life!  It’s MY gas pedal! It’s MY pregnancy!  It’s MY gun!  And I really don’t like sandpaper or fire anyway; so I’ll throw him in a pit, or hang Him on a cross, and be done with it.”

You see, beloved, with the persistence of St. Paul’s long distance runner, Jeremiah would not give up on his countrymen, nor on his mission to save them, because his Love for both them, and for God – was so deep.  His heart was on fire with that love, just like Jesus!

And he would endure the taunting and the name-calling, the persecution and the suffering, the family dissensions and even death, rather than giving up on that Love, that call to righteousness, that contradiction of carpet and sandpaper, of fire and water.

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In our Baptisms, we have both the symbols of Water and Fire to remind us of those Contradictions in Life.

Water, that brings Life to our bodies and Death to our sins.

– Water, that can, just as well, bring Death to our bodies but Joy to our souls – in all of it’s (water’s) natural beauty.

– Water, that has the Power to cut through steel and the Gentleness to wash a baby.

And then there’s Fire. Fire a contradiction, in itself, to Water.

– Fire that destroys and Fire that enlightens.

– Fire that warms and Fire that burns.

– Fire that purifies and Fire that invigorates

Jesus said that He “came to set the earth on fire.”

And there again is that Contradiction.  THERE’s the Fire that purifies us from our sins, like Gold in a furnace.  And there’s the Fire that invigorates us with His Love in our hearts:

– just like the love of Jeremiah,

– just like the fire of Mary and the Apostles at Pentecost,

– just like the love of that “cloud of witnesses,” of our martyred saints,

– and just like us, beloved, every time WE CHOOSE:
Love over revenge, Love over hatred, and Love over prejudice.

By our baptisms and by this Baptism of Jesus, we know, that:

Love is patient, and Love is kind.

Love is giving, and Love is forgiving.

Love is carpet and Love is sandpaper.

Love is fire, and Love is water.

And Love, brothers and sisters,
Love IS Jesus!

And so we pray: Come Holy Spirit.  Fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in us the Fire of your Love.  Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.  

Amen

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08-17-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 17, 2019
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Mt_19:13-15

When many of us grew up, the words we would often hear were, “Children should seen, and not heard.”  I guess it was probably a step above not even being seen.  But as time progressed, and children’s rights grew, we came to understand that not only should children be heard but they should be seriously listened to.  To some extent, today, we may have gone too far the other way, where we see some very disrespectful children, spoiled children and hurtful children because discipline has disappeared and because parents and teachers fear rebuttal for discipline, even though it’s sorely needed.

Somewhere there’s a middle ground.  Jesus saw the abuse and disrespect of children by adults in His time, while all they wanted and needed was a little caring and teaching.  Today we might say the same about parents and adults.  By the time we’re done, hopefully someone will attain that Kingdom.

Just keep the faith, beloved, with patience and love of all!

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08-16-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 16, 2019
(St. Stephen of Hungary)
Joshua addressed all the people: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: . . . “I gave you a land that you had not tilled and cities that you had not built, to dwell in; you have eaten of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”  Jos_24:1-13

Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”  Mt_19:3-12

If there’s one thing we can surely attest about God’s love-relationship with us, it’s that – it is unrelenting.  And yet, it is never oppressive.  We never hear God say, “If you even look at another god, I won’t love you any more.”  But we DO hear Him say that if we choose to leave Him, the consequences of that choice could be, and will be, devastating to us.

It would be like choosing to give up on a working car in the middle of a desert because we can’t find a radio station we like.  It would leave us with a long and deadly walk to nowhere…  And yet, like God, that working car will still, and always, be there, waiting to save us, radio or not.

As Joshua, Moses’ protege, was preparing for the conclusion of  his own life, he reminded the Israelites of all the miraculous wonders that God had performed to keep them safe, and to bring them out of the desert and into a land flowing with milk and honey, all because of  His great love for them, and despite the weakness of their own love for Him.

You see, many of those Israelites were just children, or may have not even been born when God led their parents and grandparents out of Egyptian slavery.  But now, as Joshua was about to leave them and return to God, and he wanted them to know that the choice of survival was in THEIR hands.  And he was giving them all the reasons to make the right choice.

You see God always gives us the choice to Love or not.  Maybe we can learn to deal with Country instead of Rock for a little while.  Maybe we can learn to deal with a toothpaste tube squeezed from the wrong side, or a toilet paper roll unrolled from the top instead of the bottom.  Maybe there’s more to reciprocal love than only what WE receive.

You see, beloved, Jesus is telling us today, that if we can’t learn to love one another in a marriage covenant, how can we ever learn to love our eternal God over all those temporal gods – like cars and houses and pets and bank accounts?  And these are just some of the small-g gods that can tear us away from the peace and the true Love that God, that Jesus, offers us for eternity.

At the conclusion of Joshua’s pleading discourse to the Israelites, just like God would, and just as Jesus did with His disciples, Joshua gives them a choice by telling them: “If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.

As for me and my household,
we will serve the LORD
.”
Jos_24:1-13

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08-15-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 15, 2019
(Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. . . .” Lk_1:39-56

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08-14-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 14, 2019
(St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr)
Jesus said, “Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  Mt_18:15-20

There’s an old maxim that states that: “There is strength in unity.”  And there’s another that says that: “Truth always seeks a companion.”  Jesus gives us two examples of these maxims today.

And then He sums them up with the VERY BEST example of strength and Truth that life has to offer.  He says, “Where two or more are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

When we live in community with Jesus and with one another, just like we are right now, there is no greater Truth and no greater strength possible.  We ARE One with God!

And yet, what we often see in our world is just the opposite.  In our books and movies, we see our Lord’s Name slandered as a curse, when things go wrong.  Ironically, it is precisely Jesus Christ who could have brought strength and solutions to their problems.  And the heroes of those stories are usually the independent, do-it-yourself types.  They have no need for God and no need for Community.

And yet, even the famous Moses, of Biblical stardom, was not that kind of hero.  Moses counted on God for his strength and his Truth.  And within his retinue of Leadership, he had Aaron and Miriam and Joshua as his primary helpers.  He had the heads of the 12-Tribes, and he had councilors and judges for help.

If we look very closely throughout that Exodus Story, we see that whenever Moses and His Leaders worked together and in UNION with God, things went well.  But whenever God’s strength and Truth were doubted, things would rapidly fall apart.

And so it was, that even as eyewitnesses to the parting of the Red Sea, even with the manna and quail covering the desert for food, and even with water pouring forth from a rock, those Israelites still forgot the God who saved them when it came to stepping over that threshold into the Promised Land.  And in their doubt, they lost it all.

Instead of streams and rivers, fruits and vegies, homes and livestock, Israel was destined for 40-years of wandering in a dry, dusty desert, living with scorpions and snakes in tents.  And, in a slip of the tongue by Moses; In forgetting to give credit to God for quenching their thirst, Moses himself, with a teasing glance of that Promised Land, never got to set foot there himself, as the baton was passed on to Joshua.

You see, beloved, wherever two or more are separated by disagreement and discord; wherever a gathering is NOT held in the Lord’s Name; there, He will be absent, and there, the greatest accomplishment possible is that of human origin and NOT of God’s unlimited strength and Truth.

Today, we’re reminded, once again, of God’s immeasurable Love for us; and how it is up to us to accept it.  And we do just that in our Communion with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, AND in communion with the Truth and strength we receive in community with one another and with God.

Jesus Christ IS our Salvation, both NOW and for Life eternal.

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08-13-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 13, 2019
The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.  Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. Mt_18:1-5,10,12-14

Unless you TURN . . .

Unless we turn away from our sin.  Unless we turn away from our infatuation with self.  Unless we turn away from our precious independence, we will simply just be us.  Unless we can turn towards the humility, the dependence, the selflessness of a little child, beloved, we’ll never get much of anywhere in this life or the next.

Jesus wants us to turn to Him, to rely on Him, to depend on Him.  It really takes some effort to let go of our pride, beloved, our self-centeredness.  But when we do, when we can allow ourselves to turn back into children, we just might be AMAZED at what we will find ourselves accomplishing in the arms of our most blessed Lord!

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08-12-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 12, 2019
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious)
In response to the tax collector’s interrogation of Peter about collecting taxes from Jesus, Jesus said, “But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.” Mt_17:22-27

Today’s Scriptures speak to us about transactions.  We find that in life, there are many different types of transactions.

Some transactions are required out of necessity.  For example, we exchange our work for money, so that we can exchange our money for the food that we need to survive.

Some transactions are made out of pleasure.  In these, we exchange our money out of our desire: for a nicer car or house, for entertainment, for hobbies, or even for our human vices.  These transactions are not necessary, but they certainly can bring us worldly pleasure.  And that’s not a bad thing.  But, we just have to keep these indulgences in perspective. We have to keep them in check, so that they don’t eat up all of the resources we need for making some of those more important transactions.

And among those ‘more important transactions,’ are those that are made out of love.  A transaction that’s made out of love is one in which there actually is NO exchange.  We give our money, or our time, or our effort with absolutely no expectation of repayment: no tax break, no thank you,  just pure giving, out of love.  These are the transactions in life that offer us the greatest return on our investment.

Then there are those transactions that are made out of obligation.  In these, we exchange our hard earned money for something much less tangible.  We might call these taxes.  We pay taxes to provide education for our kids; to provide us with a security system of police and jails and lawyers; and many other public services like roads and trash collection and libraries.  Now, maybe we don’t have kids, or cars or trash, but we still have to pay those taxes, just because we live here.  It’s simply a part of our obligation.

Jesus made the point today, that even though He did not have to pay the tax, He did anyway.  And, not only did He pay for Himself, but He even paid for Peter as well.  And the money that Jesus used for that “Good-Will Offering,” that “Love Transaction,” was actually provided by God,  even though we might have thought that the example Jesus gave seemed a little “fishy.”

You see, when our works, our transactions, are made out of God’s Love, then God Himself will always provide for our needs.  And so it is, that when we recognize how enormously much God has provided for us: our jobs, our health, our food, our beautiful planet, our loved ones, and so much more, then how can we NOT want to repay God through our Obedience, our Prayer, our Respect, and our Love for others!

In the end, it really IS the very least we can do in our transactions with God.  And even though they’re NOT necessary, our Love transactions can bring nothing less – than more Love back to us, more Love back into the whole world!

And that’s what Life is really, all about, beloved!
Isn’t it!

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08-11-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 11, 2019
(Nineteenth Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
All these died in faith.  They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.  Heb_11:1-2,8-19

All who believe are welcome into God’s heavenly home, our home!  This is our hope and our life, knowing that this existence is simply a transition to a better place where God will be ALL!

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.  Lk_12:32-48

KNOW your Treasure, beloved!
Know Jesus!

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08-10-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 10, 2019
(St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr)
Brothers and sisters:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  2_Cor_9:6-10

Lookin’ for love – GIVE!
And to start with we can give our very lives to God.

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08-09-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 9, 2019
Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”  Mt_16:24-28

The harder sayings.  The deeper sayings.  Sometimes what Jesus tells His disciples and us, beloved, is a little hard to swallow.  These are the sayings we need to ponder.  These are the sayings we need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand.  What are the crosses that we have to bear?  And how are we bearing them?  Are we dumping them on every other person we meet?  Or are we quietly managing, seeking the Lord’s support?  Are we willing to lose a little of this “worldly life” in order  to gain eternal life with God?  The Holy Spirit is always here to help.  Seek His support, beloved, and you will not be disappointed!

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08-08-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 8, 2019
(St. Dominic, Priest)
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.  Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”  He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”  Mt_16:13-23

Oh how often we think as human beings, beloved!  We make comparisons, judgments of others, bemoan our challenges and dislikes and are slow in our faith in Jesus.  Peter didn’t want to see an end to such a good thing as having Jesus with them.  But he couldn’t imagine the immensity of good that would come from the Resurrection of Jesus.  He couldn’t see the heavenly side, the bigger picture.  He didn’t understand the meaning of Jesus being raised on the third day, as He plainly professed to them.  Sometimes, we just have to reflect before we act.  Sometimes we just have to pray a little more before we do.  And sometimes we just have to let go of our thinking that we have control (over anything)! Get behind me Satan!

And let Jesus BE our lives.

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08-07-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 7, 2019
(Pope St. Sixtus and Deacons, Martyrs)
. . A Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!  My daughter is tormented by a demon.”  After her continuous pleading, Jesus said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”  She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”  Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”  Mt_15:21-28

Sometimes beloved, it takes a little persistence for us to see our prayers through.  Sometimes it’s not our will but God’s will.  And we have to learn to accept that.  But, at other times we just need to be a little patient, a little enduring and very persistent in what we would like to see done for the building of God’s kingdom.  And that is always His will!

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08-06-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 6, 2019
(Transfiguration of the Lord)
As the visions during the night continued, I saw: One like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven;  When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, The one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship; all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away,  Dn_7:9-10,13-14

While Peter was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”  Lk_9:28b-36

This IS Jesus our Lord and God.
Look!  Listen!  And Learn!

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A very happy and joyful birthday blessing
to my MOST beloved wife, Mary Ann!
Love you always, Honey!!!

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08-05-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 5, 2019
(Dedication of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore)
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 the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.  They all ate and were satisfied,  Mt_14:13-21

When we’re hungry, beloved, do we look to the Lord to help us find food?  When we’re in need of transportation or jobs or friendships, do we look to the Lord of all life to supply our needs?  Jesus is always here to help us in our greatest of needs.  All we need do is ask!

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08-04-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 4, 2019
(18th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Jesus said, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”  Lk_12:13-21

Your trophies, your patents, all those letters after your name, your newly awarded position at work that took years to finally attain, your boats and cars and prized hobbies, your stocks and savings and house and perfectly manicured lawn, none of these can you take with you after this phase of life is over.  But your prayers and your donations, your volunteer work for others, your giving and thanksgiving and that smile you put on when you just didn’t feel like it, all of these are what make for eternal life with God.  These are the savings account you CAN take with you.  And God is counting on YOU to build it to the skies.  Let’s start building, beloved.  And we’ll see you on the other side, with Jesus!

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08-03-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 3, 2019
May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us.  So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation.  Ps 67

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.  Mt_5:10  Alleluia Verse

In the love of Jesus, beloved, God will take care of us!

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08-02-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 2, 2019
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue.  They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him.  Mt_13:54-58

There’s an old expression that says, “familiarity breeds contempt.”  And yet, before we ever reach the point of contempt, after we’re struck with astonishment and wonder, we find, that pride and jealousy often set in.

And as we’re engulfed with boredom and loss of faith, we find ourselves either numb and hopeless, or else filled with anger and contempt.  We see all of these stages of familiarity in Jesus’ interaction  with His friends and neighbors today.

And, if we dig a little deeper, we can even see this phenomenon throughout the history of the Jewish nation.  We saw Joseph’s brothers reach the same point of contempt when Joseph expressed his gift of prophesy.  And we also saw how the Israelites were quick to abandon Moses and God, even after their miraculous escape from Egypt.

So, as a potential remedy, God set up reminders for the Israelites in the form of annual celebrations and festivals.  Passover was their yearly reminder of God’s salvation from Egyptian slavery and death.  Pentecost, or Shavuot, represented their first harvest in the Promised Land, and how God kept them constantly nourished.  The Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur would remind the Israelites of those Ten Commandments, of their need for repentance, and of God’s great mercy.  And the Feast of Booths, or Succot, was a reminder of their 40-year sojourn in the desert, living in tents, and protected by God.

But it’s funny, because even with all of those yearly reminders, eventually they became so familiar to the Jews, that the reality of God’s saving miracles passed from amazement and wonder – to pride and jealousy, to boredom and lack of understanding, and even to contempt.  Foreign, pagan practices became their “new and exciting” vices, their gods.

And in their weakness from lack of faith in God, they became vulnerable to the armies of other nations and dispersed from the bond of unity that God had formed with them.  It truly was a sad case of familiarity leading to contempt, leading to death.

And then there’s us.  After 2000-years since our own awe and wonder over the Paschal Mystery of Jesus, our Church has certainly been through the ringer of familiarity.  From splintering schisms, to misguided power, to mass exodus, to corruption and boredom and loss of faith, we find ourselves in the midst of the same contempt that Jesus faced.

And yet, for us, the faithful remnant, we are renewed in our yearly Liturgical feasts.  We are invigorated in our holy Sacraments.  We are strengthened in our Faith in Jesus.  We are united in our Baptisms.  And we are enlivened in our very
real and eternal union with God, through the Blessed Sacrament, in our Holy Mass, and with the Holy Spirit dwelling within our hearts.

You see, we are the enigma.

We are the paradox that familiarity doesn’t have to lead to contempt, but it can result in Faith and Love instead!

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08-01-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 1, 2019
(St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord, mighty God!
My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.  Ps 84

How hungry are we, beloved?  Do our hearts and our souls yearn for the Lord?  He is there just waiting for us.  We should hunger for the Lord more than anything else in life.  For He IS our life, our hope and our eternal salvation!  AMEN

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07-31-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 31, 2019
(St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest)
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD. When Aaron, then, and the other children of Israel saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him. Only after Moses called to them did Aaron and all the rulers of the community come back to him.  Ex_34:29-35

You know, beloved, sometimes we just don’t know why everyone seems to avoid us.  Is it our breath, or our words, or our looks?  Did I say something wrong or maybe nothing at all.  Moses didn’t know that his face was radiant with righteousness.  Sometimes, beloved, it’s not the things we do wrong, but our own righteousness that chases people away.  And that doesn’t mean that we are being pompous, acting “holier than thou.”  It means that, just like Moses, there’s something about us that tells others that we are close to God.  And that scares people.  I know it scares me!  But I would rather be closer to those people, even though I know I’m a sinner, and hope some of that righteousness just might rub off a little.  And maybe I, maybe we can all have a little of God’s glow shining on our faces to others too!

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07-30-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 30, 2019
(St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus said, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom.  The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.  The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.  They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  Mt_13:36-43

Our REASON for righteousness!

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07-29-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 29, 2019
(St. Martha)
Jesus said to her (Martha), “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”  Jn_11:19-27

DO YOU BELIEVE, beloved?
It is a matter of life and death!

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07-28-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 28, 2019
17th Sunday Ordinary Time, C
Jesus said, “I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Lk_11:1-13

Complaining doesn’t do it.  Working hard doesn’t always do it.  Dreaming and hoping doesn’t do it either.  Sometimes we just have to ASK!  Ever find yourself, beloved, in a subtle conversation with a friend pondering your needs and theirs when all of a sudden they have the perfect answer to what you’ve been searching for all along.  Ask, seek and knock and you just might find doors opening that you never imagined possible.

That’s our God!

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07-27-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 27, 2019
Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”  Mt_13:24-30

Vindication!

Always stay GOOD, beloved.
And we’ll meet again in His “barn.”

Peace in Christ!

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07-26-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 26, 2019
(Ss. Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
In those days: God delivered all these commandments:  “I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them . . . Ex_20:1-17

ONLY in the Lord shall we worship!  Not our cars, nor our football teams, nor our jewelry, nor our money, nor our houses, nor our children, nor our spouses!  ONLY in God!  It all begins with God – and actually, it all ends with God as well, beloved.  In the meantime, we can be enamored with our spouse and our children.  We can favor one team over others.  We can work our tails off on our cars and houses.  But none of those has the endurance, the “fear,” the respect, the worship of us, as does God.  God IS and always will be – OURS – first and foremost!  And that we are never to forget!

It is the FIRST rule of life!

Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
(John 6:68c)

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07-25-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 25, 2019
(St. James, Apostle)
Jesus said to His disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, 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_20:20-28

Jesus modeled for His disciples and us, beloved, what humble, servant-leadership means.  It’s not looking to be great or rich, or famous or powerful – beating up those who are less aggressive than us.  It’s offering our love, God’s love, to others.  It’s showing others that the greatest power and wealth and fame is in what we can do FOR them, not for US.  Jesus went as far as dying FOR us.  And that took quite a bit of unbearable pain.  All for love of us.  He IS our God and we strive to learn from Him, how we should live our lives as well!

To all the James’s out there, including our son Fr. James, a very happy, peace-filled and blessed St. James day!

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07-24-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 24, 2019
(St. Sharbel Makhluf, Monk, Priest and Hermit)
Jesus got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.  And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  Mt_13:1-9

The people of the first-century in Palestine were familiar with the practice of sowing their seed before the field was ever plowed.  So the picture Jesus painted of the variety of places that a farmer’s seed would fall, would have been common knowledge to them, as would all of those obstacles to its growth: the stamped-down path, the hungry birds, the rocks, the sun and the thorns.  So, unless they were listening very closely, the people might have just thought that there was really – nothing new, nothing very exciting about that story – (you know – just another boring homily!).

We, on the other hand, without that farming background, and yet knowing that the source of the story was Jesus, after we got over the nonsense of wasting all of that good seed, we’d listen, expecting some kind of deep moral or theological point to it all; because we would know that Jesus always had some deeper, hidden meaning to everything He said or did.

And that level of listening was exactly the point of Jesus’ Parable of the Sower.

Remember, Jesus said, that unless we have the Faith of a Child, we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  And being child-like, means cleaning out all of our preconceived notions of knowing it all, or, of having heard it all before.  It means looking and listening, and feeling, and smelling everything as if it were – our very first time.

It’s like plowing the fields of our hearts and our minds so that something gloriously and abundantly NEW can grow, something that was already sown there, but was just waiting for some fertile ground.

And do you know what will happen if we do that?

There will still be a path, but it will be there to guide our way, instead of hindering our growth.

And the birds will sing in their myriad of melodies, and fly about in their blues and reds, in their yellows and blacks.  And we’ll see and hear them as a JOY instead of a threat.

And the rocks themselves, will shout out that they too are Children of Abraham, as they decorate our pathways and support our homes.

And the sun will warm us when we’re cold, and offer us breathtaking sunrises and sunsets by day, while it illuminates our brilliant and  ever-changing Moon by night.

And the thorn bushes will be there to protect our homes and us, and they’ll remind us – of the very ONE who fed us in the desert of Sinai and here, on the majestic altar of His Love.

You see, brothers and sisters, it’s all in how we look at life.

It’s all in how we experience THIS Kingdom of His, and ours, with the ears of a bat, and the eyes and faith of a child.

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07-23-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 23, 2019
(St. Bridget of Sweden, Religious)
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.”  But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”  Mt_12:46-50

In today’s Scriptures we see several different kinds of Relationships.

The Israelites, for example, were bound together in a Familial Relationship, as descendants of Abraham and Sarah.  And yet, at the time of the Exodus, after 400-years had separated them from their familial ties to Jacob and his 12-sons, their relationship with the God of their forefathers, the God who directed the very lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was quite weak.

And now the strongest bond between the Israelites was the Experiential Relationship they shared, of slavery to Egypt.  It was an experience that they all had in common.  And it bonded them together in an uncomfortable situation that they grew to accept.  So when Moses finally came along to rescue them from their plight, they were actually skeptical of a change in their “uncomfortable comfort.”

As the Exodus story progressed, the Israelites slowly exchanged their bonded, experiential relationship with Egypt – for a new relationship with Moses, while at the same time they battled between trust in the God of their ancestors and their primal human nature to worship His created, material world.

The Egyptians, on the other hand, were bonded in a relationship of servant to master, in a military order of hierarchy, all directed to their Pharaoh.  Theirs, was simply an “obey or die” relationship which extended to even their blood-family kinships.

The third kind of relationship we see in our Scriptures today is that of Jesus to His Mother and cousins.  This, in many ways, was a Special Relationship, a Divine relationship, with God as Jesus’ true Father.

But it was also a Familial Relationship, a very human relationship as well, with all of the normal human consequences of imperfect communications, which we see in many of Jesus’ interactions with the culture of His time.  As we read throughout the Gospels about all the word-conflicts Jesus had with the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, and even with His own disciples, we just might wish that Jesus had a mind-zapper gun to make them instantly understand what He was trying to teach them.  And though I’m sure that He had the capability of making that happen, doing so would have undermined God’s gift of our own Free Will.

So Jesus was limited to communicating with us through word pictures and parables, through quotes from the Old Testament Scriptures and even through His miracles.

Thus it was today, that we have this short response by Jesus to an interruption of His teachings. “Who is my mother?” and “Who are my brothers?”  You see, Jesus actually used this timely interruption, as a lesson within a lesson, to teach His disciples about priorities in relationships.

Yes, we all have blood-Familial relationships,
and Yes, we also have Experiential relationships,
and we even have Work relationships of master and servant, of boss and employee,
and all of these are important.

But in ALL of our relationships, THE MOST important one is our relationship with God.  For without that, none of the others will ever survive the test of humanity, nor the test of time, the test of Eternity.

You see, God is IN all and FOR all, and Jesus is the Word that brings us Life.  They are our Father and our Brother.  And that IS a relationship to Sing to the Lord and to one another about!

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07-22-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 22, 2019
(St. Mary Magdalene)
The Bride says: On my bed at night I sought him whom my heart loves–I sought him but I did not find him.
I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek Him whom my heart loves.  I sought him but I did not find him.
The watchmen came upon me, as they made their rounds of the city: Have you seen him whom my heart loves? I had hardly left them when I found him whom my heart loves.  SGS_3:1-4B

Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping.  And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, . .  Jn_20:1-2,11-18

Sometimes, beloved, the One we seek, our ‘Lover’, is right there behind us, maybe even in front of us!  All we have to do is turn around, open our eyes and our hearts and look!

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07-21-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 21, 2019
(Sixteenth Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
When Abraham received some surprise visitors of the LORD, after offering them a place to rest, he hastened into the tent and told Sarah, “Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.” He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it. Then Abraham got some curds and milk, as well as the steer that had been prepared, and set these before the three men; and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.  Gn_18:1-10a

In a concerted effort of hospitality, Abraham, Sarah and their servant quickly and efficiently prepared a full meal for the hungry visitors.  Once complete, Abraham sat down with the three and joined them as they ate, while the best was yet to come.

The interesting part of this story combined with that of Martha and Mary, was that there was no complaining about the tasks that each had to do and there was no slouching until it was all complete.  Abraham very nicely played the role of Servant Leader, sharing in the work, while Sarah and the servant faithfully and obediently did what they were asked!

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”  Lk_10:38-42

In the story of Martha and Mary we have a totally different dynamic.  And if you have children or are the manager of many people, you will have seen this dynamic often.  There are the worker bees and there are those who will take advantage of every opportunity NOT to work.  The trick is, as the middle manager, Martha in the story discovers that it is never to your advantage to complain to upper management about the plight of your own misery.  Yes, Martha had a lot to do.  And most likely, if she didn’t do it, it would never have gotten done.

So Martha had a couple of choices:  She could have done nothing about her slouching sister’s laziness and just gotten more upset inside.  She could have called her sister aside and gently or forcefully asked for her help.  Or, like Mary, she could have just shirked her duties and sat by with Jesus until everyone was ready to get to work. Bottom line in Martha’s case was that she just happened to choose the wrong solution – Because, even with the Lord, complaining just doesn’t help!

The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  ibid

Peace, brothers and sisters!
Peace!!!

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07-20-19 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 20, 2019
Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah saying of Himself: A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory.  And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”  Mt_12:14-21

One of my favorites and a life motto.  We can only suggest – the better part, beloved.  And never force life and joy and happiness on anyone.  His name is Jesus!

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