Whispers – Daily Mass Quotes begins after this Intro.
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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?
You are Loved!!
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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The sun was just rising over the earth as Lot arrived in Zoar; at the same time the LORD rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah from the LORD out of heaven. He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil. Gn 19:15-29
It’s ironic how the ‘Evil One’ can twist God’s children into believing that vile deeds have anything to do with human dignity and equality. And it’s not ironic, but divisive that the minds of those enraptured by that same evil one will use God’s symbol of life and love and promise to Noah (the rainbow), as the symbol of their immorality.
If the reader here does not understand what any of this ‘modern day’ current event in the U.S. has to do with Sodom and Gomorrah, then all they need do is read Genesis 19:1-15 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/genesis/19).
And no, all of these people and their sympathizers are not bad people. They’ve just been “duped” by something and someone who is so far beyond their understanding that they’ll gladly and unwittingly destroy the world to make their point. The very world that feeds them and supports them and loves them.
Pray to God, beloved, for them.
Pray to God for us!
And pray to Jesus to save us from the cleansing fires of God’s love for us all!
(Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles)
Jesus said to His disciple, “you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mt_16:13-19
We often tend to focus on the binding and loosing part of this quote in reference to the Church’s faculty of offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However, I think equally, or even more significant, is the statement that the “gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against” Christ’s Church. She may be attacked from the outside. She may be attacked on the inside. But she will never fall. She WILL prevail. So when the world around us continues to fall to the evils of legalizing all kinds of immoral and unhealthy acts, and then blames the Church for being unbending and unjust, and when the consequences of that immorality begin to come to fruition, please don’t come back and blame the Church again. Instead, maybe its time for a little conversion. And then that Sacrament of Reconciliation will come in handy. As God’s Church, and according to His teachings, we Love the people, always! We just don’t agree with all their actions – as the Bible tells us!
(Thirteenth Sunday Ordinary Time B)
God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. . . . For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him. Wis_1:13-15; 2:23-24
. . . people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; . . . Jesus took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. At that they were utterly astounded. Mk_5:21-43
With Jesus, we, beloved, are . . .
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. . . . And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour his servant was healed. Mt 8:5-17
“Only say the Word . . .”
Is our faith, beloved, strong enough to believe that a mere Word could have the power to heal? Jesus is that Word!
As our world continues to get more and more insane. Pray, beloved, like Abraham did, that our salvation may be close at hand, before we ever have to see another Sodom and Gomorrah! Gn 18:16-19:25
God love us all!
. . a leper approached (Jesus), did him homage, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” His leprosy was cleansed immediately. Mt 8:1-4
YOUR will be done! What we need – is the faith to believe! God’s will is that every one of us be clean and live our lives with and for Him. The question is, do we really want to be made clean? Do we want to allow HIS will to be done? And do we believe it will be done? Funny, we say the Lord’s Prayer all the time. Do we ever listen to the words we are saying? Next time, maybe try! And maybe believe. And we might just live that miracle, we never imagined possible!
Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” Mt_7:21-29
Yes, but how do we know the “will” of the Father? We know that whatever we do is done according to the will of the Father, if at its very core, we can find the word LOVE. If it’s done out of greed, if it’s done out of selfishness, if it’s done out of spite, if it’s done out of pride – it is NOT according to the will of the Father. But if it’s done for the love of others – then, when Jesus hears us say “Lord, Lord” He will surely answer us and we will be a part of His kingdom! The Kingdom of heaven.
(Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist)
Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works. Ps 139
The Prophet Isaiah said, “The LORD called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. . . . I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Is 49:1-6
All of us, beloved – Called from the womb! We have a plan! And God calls us to it! Be His Light to the nations! For YOU are wonderfully made!
Jesus said to His disciples, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the Law and the Prophets.”
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” Mt_7:6, 12-14
The “Law” is love, and the “Prophesy” is summed up in that saying, ‘what you give is what you get.‘ Today we call it the “Golden Rule.” But somehow, beloved, it goes against what some people’s human nature craves. And that craving is all centered on the self, rather than the other.
If we find it very difficult to give. If we find it very difficult to love ‘the other’ before ourselves, then we’ll find that the road to “LIFE” is very narrow indeed, because it goes so far against our nature.
But if, on the other hand, we enjoy giving. If we enjoy Loving, even more than being loved, then we are clearly on the path to life. And if you’ve ever tried to convince someone of the other persuasion of this fact – then you will fully understand the ‘narrow path’ concept. For them, it’s hard to love and for us, it’s hard not to love (them especially, as lost as they may be).
So, blessed are you, beloved, and few!
And praise be to God!
Jesus said, “the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Mt 7:1-5
People may frustrate the heck out of us. They drive too fast. They drive too slow. They get too picky. They don’t pay enough attention. And probably the worst is how they just don’t respect anyone any more. Boy I’m glad I don’t do that!!!
Haaaaaaaa! Funny thing is, whatever I say I don‘t do – is probably the very next thing I will do – to somebody else! So who am I to complain about anybody else’s anything!!!
Jesus is telling us today to stop judging others. It’s a great habit to get into. Trouble is, it’s not always easy. So that’s why we read the Scriptures. That’s why we go to Mass as often as we can. And that’s why we group together with other Christians. Because, it’s through them, that we learn more about ourselves and how we just might be able to improve these selves of ours by removing those beams that blind us. And when we can truly see – what we’ll see is the incredible beauty in others instead of their silly little faults. And God knows, we all have enough of those to go around.
So let’s start our day today by trying to see how much beauty we can find in other people. It really shouldn’t be too hard, in a world filled with God’s awesome children! And that’s every one of us!
(Twelfth Sunday Ordinary Time, B, Father’s Day)
St. Paul said, “whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2_Cor_5:14-17
It’s “movin’ on” time beloved. Forget the old.
BE in Christ and see how all is NEW.
Happy Father’s day and Happy first day of Summer
St. Paul said, “Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2_Cor_12:1-10
Ever feel beaten by Satan, beloved. No matter how hard we try, just can’t get over it. And it’s painful, just like Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” God tells us though, to let it go. When we recognize our weakness, it is only then that God can work with what’s left of us. For His “power is made perfect in our weakness!”
Jesus said, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” Mt 6:24-34
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.” Mt 6:19-23
If I look at today’s Gospel and reflect on what it’s really saying, I find myself feeling totally guilty of not being that person that Jesus is trying to teach us to be. And I think, what Jesus is trying to teach us, is that – if we devote our lives to focusing on all that’s wrong in the world . . . the wars, the weather, the traffic, the nasty co-workers, the bad food, the weeds, the bugs, the sickness, and on and on, then, as Jesus said, the light within us will soon turn into the very darkness that we’ve immersed ourselves in. And that very darkness will sicken and deteriorate us, until there’s nothing left but ashes.
And in the process, who did we help, and who did we hurt?
I think it’s a lot easier to work on the “not storing up earthly treasures” part of Jesus’ words today, especially when we’ve lived through the losses of homes, and friends, and even loved ones.
But to keep our focus OFF – all the bitterness of the world around us, is a little more difficult, especially when we’re showered by that bitterness on the TV, and in the newspapers, and on the internet.
So what do we do?
Well maybe instead of looking down at the world all the time, we need to look up at the sky once in a while. Beyond the rain and the clouds, “Oh, there’s a Rainbow.” Past the smoke and the smog, “Oh, there’s a Snow capped mountain or there, an Aurora borealis.” To really hear the Singing of the birds, and the Chirping of the crickets. To smell the cleanliness of the Rain-freshened-air. The Joy of a happily married couple. The unashamed dependency of a beautifully smiling Newborn.
You see, God sends us all kinds of Lights to fill us with hope and brighten the darkness. All we need to do – is look for it.
And then share it!
Happy anniversary my beloved, Mary Ann!
I love you!!!
“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
Jesus said to his disciples: “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Mt 6:7-15
It’s funny, we can say the same thing of and to our kids. Stop beating around the bush. From the very first words we hear, we know. We don’t need to be “softened,” or cajoled, or convinced, or lied to. God know us, probably better than we know ourselves. So just ask – in reverence, in humility, according to His will, but believing that what we ask WILL be done! Yup! That’s God!
St. Paul said, “God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” 2_Cor_9:6-11
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; . . . your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Mt_6:1-6, 16-18
I think Jesus made His point pretty clear in today’s Gospel. We are not supposed to make a big show of our oblations, or offerings to God, in order to puff ourselves up in boastful pride.
And I don’t think that we, Catholics, really have an issue with this today. On the contrary, those of us who DO give of our time or treasure, are maybe – a little too quiet about it . . . at least from the point of getting other people excited about giving, as well.
But in the time of Jesus, it WAS an issue, because from what we read in the Scriptures, the religious leaders were all about puffing themselves up, while bringing everyone else down. So Jesus’ point was not only appropriate, but it was greatly needed, because the example of the Pharisees was NOT the right model for others to be following.
St. Paul, on the other hand, faced a totally different dilemma. After having built the Church community in Corinth, Paul later came to find out that dissension had broken out against him, and many of the believers were losing their faith. So, much of the writing of this Second Letter to the Corinthians was aimed at clearing up misconceptions and getting the Church back on track, both, in their understanding of Jesus’ mission, and in their responsibility to the ‘Larger Church.’
Yesterday we heard how Paul used the example of the Macedonians, who gave, even out of their poverty. And today, continuing in his plea for alms for the hurting Church in Jerusalem, Paul tells the Corinthians how their giving will multiply back to them – just like the loaves and fish that Jesus multiplied for His faithful followers; and just like the growth of that little mustard seed we heard about a couple of days ago; and, in the same way that every ounce of kindness that WE extend to others will multiply in our own lives.
When we build our lives on a Foundation of Giving, through our Fasting, and Almsgiving and Prayer, no matter how small these little ramshackle huts of ours may seem here and now, we ARE truly building a Castle for that eternal Life of paradise in God’s Kingdom.
And that, Jesus tells us,
we can count on!
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” Mt_5:43-48
This one goes out to all the kids out there (however old we are) . . .
Did you ever want something SO strongly that you would do just about anything to get it? Maybe it was a trip to Disney World, or having our own cell phone. Maybe it was a game or toy that all our friends had. Or maybe it was as simple as just wanting to go out and play, when there were still house chores or homework to do. And when we asked our parents, all we could hear was that “NO!”
Sometimes it makes us so mad, that we just hate them for it. And maybe we’ll throw a fit, or pout, or just go to our room and cry. It just makes us wonder, how anyone could be so mean to US! And yet, did you ever wonder how that fit, or that pout, or that cry might have made our parents feel? Maybe they really didn’t want to say NO, but they didn’t have any other choice either.
Well today, we get a little glimpse of that other side. You see, St. Paul visited some people in a Greek city called Corinth, and he taught them all about Jesus. And he told them how much Jesus loves them and how they could make their own lives better by believing in Jesus and loving one another.
And after Paul left Corinth, so that he could tell people in other cities about Jesus, the people of Corinth got very angry at him. And in their anger, they insulted and hated Paul because they thought that he was mean, even though it really wasn’t true. And all of that hatred made Paul feel pretty bad, himself.
So Paul had every right to be mad and hating right back at them. But, you see, that’s not what Jesus taught us. And that’s not what Paul did either. Instead he wrote them a very long letter, which we heard a little piece of today.
And in that letter, Paul explained all that God, and Jesus, and he had done for them, just like all that God, and Jesus, and our parents have done for us! And maybe we didn’t see it all. And maybe we didn’t appreciate it all. And maybe we didn’t even LIKE it all, like the times when they had to say NO.
But the Love was there, anyway!
And the Love will always be there!
Jesus tells us today, that if we could make the LOVE stand out above all the hatred. If we could keep the hatred out of our own hearts, it WILL make our lives a whole lot more peaceful!
And yet, keeping that hate out is not always easy to do, especially when we think someone hurts us. And Jesus is not saying that we are supposed to let people hurt us, or that we should not be upset about the hurt. But He is saying that if we could replace the hate with love, it’s more likely that love will come back to us instead of more hatred.
And who knows, it might even help turn that No into a YES!
St. Paul said, “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” 2_Cor_8:1-9
The dichotomy of Christianity . . .
St. Paul said,
“We are treated as deceivers and yet are truthful;
as unrecognized and yet acknowledged;
as dying and behold we live;
as chastised and yet not put to death;
as sorrowful yet always rejoicing;
as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing and yet possessing all things.”
2 Cor 6:1-10
Go therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ!
Do without counting the cost.
Love without expecting the same in return.
And let the suffering lie.
For as we suffer, so will we be rewarded in action, and in love, and in joy – a hundred-fold over. And praise be to God for sending us Jesus!
(Eleventh Sunday Ordinary Time B)
Jesus said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” Mk 4:26-34
Parables are stories that are supposed to help people understand something complex – through simple examples. So for example, Jesus often used parables about fishing and farming, because that is what the people were familiar with. And the deeper messages were about things like “the Kingdom of God,” or how people should behave toward one another, without directly pointing fingers and hurting feelings.
If we were to tell a parable today, what are some of the common things that we are familiar with, that could be used as examples? Maybe cell phones or TV’s.
Maybe cars, or traffic, or grocery store experiences, or even school. And we might learn about things like courtesy, and patience, and kindness, or even forgiveness, through those parables.
But you know what, sometimes even the parables Jesus used were difficult for the people to understand. For example, in today’s Scripture reading, Jesus spoke about a mustard seed and how it grew into a large plant. And he said, that is what the Kingdom of God is like.
So how do you think a mustard seed is like a Kingdom? Well, say for example, the mustard seed was a good deed that we did for someone else. It may have really been a pretty insignificant deed, like holding a door open for a person behind us, or helping someone pick up something they dropped. But you know what? That little courtesy may have really made that person’s day.
And that person might then be prompted to do something nice for someone else. And your tiny little good deed could turn into a whole world, a big plant of goodness, that people can do for one another, instead of being isolated
or selfish. That’s the Growth of God’s Kingdom. Just like the mustard seed.
And that is exactly what Jesus was trying to tell them. Every tiny little act of love that we do has the potential to grow into a whole world of love.
That’s God’s Kingdom,
right here in our midst.
And that’s pretty awesome!
(Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
St Paul exhorted, “So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us.” 2 Cor 5:14-21
And He IS, beloved, appealing through us! That’s quite a calling. More than a job, more than an assignment – it is our calling to be God’s ambassadors. Blessed be God! And blessed be Jesus, who calls us His brothers and sisters!
The Psalmist said, “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.” Ps 103
Trust in Him. Rely on Him. And praise His Name to ALL!
(Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus)
St. Paul wrote, “I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph 3:8-12, 14-19
What a beautiful and powerful prayer, beloved!
“the riches of His Glory”
Christ dwelling in our hearts
“rooted and grounded in love”
“the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge”
“filled with the fullness of God”
Be filled beloved!
And the love of Christ be with you always,
in unity with His Most Sacred Heart!
(St. Barnabas, Apostle)
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.” Mt 5:20-26
Well, we may not be saying Raqa very often any more. But the “fool” part, wow, I can feel the heat already. Sometimes, not only others, but I even call myself a fool for some of the idiotic things I can do. Hmmm. But I do apologize to God every time I think that way of others. Maybe it’ll just be a blow drying! Ha!
But all joking aside, I don’t think Jesus was joking. We really do need to put all of our own excuses out to them before we condemn them. Maybe it was an emergency, maybe it was stress, maybe that cell call was urgent when they cut us off. Maybe – it just could have been us!!!
Patience, forgiveness, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!
St. Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, “Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, was so glorious that the children of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of its glory that was going to fade, how much more will the ministry of the Spirit be glorious?” 2 Cor 3:4-11
St. Paul makes reference to the light of God’s Glory that shone on the face
of Moses, whenever Moses met with God on Mt. Sinai. (Ex 34:29-30)
Probably the closest analogy we can make to that kind of glow, is the glow of our old ‘glow-in-the-dark’ crucifixes. Do you remember how we would put them in the sunshine for a little while and then, when we took them back inside, in the dark, they would glow. But that glow never lasted very long, before it went back to normal.
Today we have these solar lights in our yards. And when the sun shines on them, they can glow well into the dark of the night. But when it’s a cloudy day, they don’t work quite as well either. It’s kind of like sin. When we let sin cloud our lives, we don’t shine out to others, quite as brightly.
St. Paul’s made the point today, that there was clearly a difference between the temporary glow, that Moses had experienced, and the Glow that Jesus offers to us through the Holy Spirit. You see, the glow that Moses received, was from the outside – in, just like the glow-in-the-dark crucifix, whose glow was totally dependent upon the sun and would quickly fade away in the dark.
But the Glow that we receive from Jesus, is a Glow from the inside – out, from the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. And that Glow will never fade. And even though, like the external glow from the sunshine, we still do receive the glow of Joy from external sources: like nature, and friends, and poetry, and music, our true Joy comes from knowing that Jesus is always here inside each and every one of us: bringing us the hope, and love, and peace, that shine out for all to see!
Jesus told his disciples that the old law, the Law of Moses, that glow that came
from the outside, was not being replaced by His new, “eternal law,” the glow on the inside, but that it WAS being made even more magnificent by the Holy Spirit.
So the next time we get to feeling like we’ve been out of the sunshine for a little too long, and our glow may be fading, all we have to do, is remember Jesus who is living within us, and from within, that more magnificent Glow will begin to transform us into the very sunshine we missed. And the Glory of God will shine, not only in our lives, but out to the lives of everyone else we meet.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Mt 5:13-16
Wow! Did you ever think of yourself, beloved, as a light for the world. We talk about the darkness of the world all around us. But how often do we really act or speak as “The LIGHT?” Jesus is the light and the hope. He will shine through us, if we just let Him. It truly was a glorious day. We survived it! We ate. We lived. We met with other people. We even got some things accomplished. Thank you Jesus for the light. And if we missed it, you know what, there’s always tomorrow! Shine on! Shine on!
Jesus said, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” Mt 5:1-12
Ever see God, beloved, in the face of others. That’s the blessedness of a clean heart. When we can look at other people and see God, no matter what their appearance may be, no matter what their actions may be, then our hearts are clean of judgmentalism, clean of jealousy, clean of anger, clean of hatred. Something to strive for! Cleanliness! Let’s start looking for God, beloved. And blessedness will we be!
(The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi))
Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words of his.” Ex 24:3-8
Jesus took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.” Mk 14:12-16, 22-26
Old Covenant, New Covenant
Continuous sacrifice, One Time sacrifice.
Blood of animals, Blood of God Himself.
Temporary fix, Permanent fix.
Temporal reward, Eternal reward.
Thank you Jesus!
Link to Homily for today:
Washed in the Blood of the Lamb
As Tobit and Tobiah were preparing to pay Tobiah’s guide, Azariah,
he revealed an extraordinary secret to them:
“I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead. When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury the dead, I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God commissioned me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who enter and serve before the Glory of the Lord.” Tb_12:1, 5-15, 20
Who is it in our lives, brothers and sisters in Christ, that just may be that angel in disguise? Could you just imagine the shock! What did I say? What did I do in their presence, that I’d be embarrassed if God ever got wind of? Well, silly thought, beloved, because God knows everything we do anyway! But wouldn’t it be awesome if we treated everyone we know as that angel in disguise.
What a wonderful world it would be!
(St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr)
Raphael said to Tobiah before he reached his father: “I am certain that his eyes will be opened. Smear the fish gall on them. This medicine will make the cataracts shrink and peel off from his eyes; then your father will again be able to see the light of day.” Tb 11:5-17
Jesus quoted the ancient King David, saying, “The Lord said to my lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.’” Mk 12:35-37
The Book of Tobit is one of my favorites. And yet, it really is – ‘a little known’ Book of the Bible. We won’t find Tobit in a non-Catholic Bible, because it’s considered one of the Seven Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical Books, which were not present in the original Hebrew Scriptures. Guess it’s just another one of those ‘bennies’ of being Catholic!
And of course, The Book of Tobit, like many of the Old Testament Books, has it’s share of intrigue, moral issues, miracles, angels and demons, and many prefiguring connections to Jesus. So let’s take a quick look at just a few of those connections:
– We read in the Book of Tobit, that Tobit, the father, sent his only son, Tobiah on a long journey to reclaim his treasure, and to join in union with a spouse. Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, was sent from His Father to reclaim God’s children, His treasure, and to make us His Spouse.
– In the story of Tobit, an angel of the Lord (Raphael) would guide Tobiah and endow him with the power to dispel demons and the power to give sight to the blind. Jesus, as the second person of the Holy Trinity, was given the power to dispel demons and bring sight to the blind, by the Holy Spirit, who was always
– Tobiah and Sarah consummated their marriage, not out of selfish lust, but by first consecrating their lives, in union with God. It was a perfect union. Jesus consecrated the lives of His disciples in union with God His Father, through the Holy Eucharist, which consummates our perfect union with the Holy Trinity.
– And while Tobiah was away from his beloved parents for a very long time, and His father could not see a thing, his mother thought, for sure, that Tobiah was dead. Until one day, Tobiah returned. For them, it was as if he had come back from the dead. And not only did he come back, but he brought his treasure and his spouse back home as well. The disciples also thought, for sure, that Jesus was dead. And yet, as we know, Jesus rose again to bring both – God’s treasure and His spouse back home to His Father. You see, those were some pretty moving analogies. And it was just a few of many.
So, if you’ve never read the whole story of Tobit, I’d highly recommend it. Just be sure to grab your Kleenex box and get ready for some excitement!
Now, David on the other hand, was next to Moses on the Jewish – ‘holiness list.‘ And since the Jews believed that their Messiah would come from the line of David; and since, from the time of the diaspora of the Jews to Babylon and Assyria, the family lines became extremely fuzzy; it would be very difficult for anyone to claim descendancy from David, and thus, claiming to be “the Messiah” would be near impossible for anyone to prove to the Jewish leaders.
So Jesus posed the question – If the Messiah was supposed to come from David, why would David call his own son, “Lord”? It was one of those unanswerable questions, that Jesus had quite the talent of asking. And the talent that Jesus had was knowing the black-and-white Truth of God. Whereas, the religious leaders thrived on the fuzziness of the unknown, for their own benefit.
And yet, the most interesting point, in Mark’s coverage of this statement
by Jesus, that I found, was in that final comment, where Mark said: “The great crowd heard this with delight.” (Mk 12:37) You see, for them, it was all just a grand debate between the know-it-all, righteous Pharisees and this common, but very well-versed ‘Miracle Man,’ they knew as Jesus. And when anyone got the upper hand on the Pharisees, they surely thought that was pretty cool, so they were delighted! Unfortunately, they weren’t delighted “in praise of the Lord.” They were just being vindictive of the Pharisees who always had the upper hand on them.
We, on the other hand, like the Psalmist, “Praise our Lord,” for everything, and if for nothing else, for His great Love for us . . . For we ARE His Spouse and we know, in black-and-white Truth, that one day – we will all be back home with Him, forever!
As Tobit was awaiting God’s response to his request for death, he thought it a good time to cash in that old retirement fund. So sending his son off with a chaperone to retrieve the money, the two of them had some pretty exciting adventures along the way. It actually sounded like one of today’s fantasy adventure games, where the travelers had to collect particular and strange items in order to complete their journey.
So besides collecting the cash, Tobiah, Tobit’s son, was also blessed with finding a wife. Only, there was a catch. Tobiah would be Sarah’s eighth husband, and not by seven divorces, but by death – every one of them! And thus the special demon destroyer, that Tobiah collected on his journey, AND even more importantly, a prayer for God’s blessing on the consummation of their marriage, which went like this:
“Blessed are you, O God of our fathers,
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.’
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust, but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” Tb 6:10-8:9a
As the Psalmist said,
Blessed are you who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways! For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; Blessed shall you be, and favored. Ps 128
A Prayer to St. Raphael . . .
(Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs)
Tobit prayed to God, “So now, deal with me as you please, and command my life breath to be taken from me, that I may go from the face of the earth into dust.” . . .
At the same time the young woman, Sarah, prayed similarly to the Lord, in her desperation, “It is far better for me not to hang myself, but to beg the Lord to have me die, so that I need no longer live to hear such insults.” Tb 3:1-11a, 16-17a
Death was in the discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees as well, today. Jesus responded to their silly question about marriage after death, saying, “When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living.” Mk 12:18-27
Sometimes, beloved, as we’ve said before, life as we know it, can get pretty tough. Between poverty, hunger, persecutions, injustice, losses, or even just our day-to-day stress – some days we just want to hang it up and move on. Sarah couldn’t do it because she was too responsible, she was too caring for her family. And Tobit, in his blindness, just wanted to give up. So they both prayed that their merciful God would put an end to their miseries by taking their lives. But that same merciful God had other plans for them both! Death was not in their cards, at least for now. And in quite an amazing and wonderful way they were both about to experience an adventure of a lifetime.
You never know, beloved, what adventure God may have planned for your life. So stay tuned. And get ready for YOUR own personal miracle!
(Sts. Marcellinus and Peter, Martyrs)
After Tobit unlawfully buried a murdered kinsman, he was stricken with an illness, much like Job, much like Zechariah (the husband of Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin), much like Saul, who would later become Paul. Tobit explained, “For four years I was deprived of eyesight, and all my kinsmen were grieved at my condition.” Tb 2:9-14
Sometimes, beloved, there’s a price we pay before something awesome is about to happen. And in our suffering, as humans, we tend to feel sorry for ourselves, we get angry with everything and everyone around us. We might even fall away from God for moments at a time, and just wonder, why! Why this? Why me? Why now?
Even Jesus, as we heard just a few days ago, got angry at a fig tree for not feeding Him. And then immediately afterwards, He got angry with the merchants at the Temple for abusing God’s Holy space (Mk 11:11-26). Even Jesus prayed before His passion, that God, His Father, would take His suffering away. ‘Yet not my will, but your will be done,‘ He said (Mt 26:42).
If we could get to that point, beloved, in the midst of our suffering, to say, “Not my will but yours be done,” we are pretty extraordinary saints! And I don’t believe that God is looking only for the extraordinary among us. We ARE His children, even when we fall! But being those children of His, we DO have that extra strength of the Holy Spirit within us, to lift us back up, over and over again. Until ONE DAY we will discover the ‘AWESOME,’ that it’s all leading to. And maybe it’s not even in this lifetime. But IT WILL COME!
Just have faith!
(St. Justin, Martyr)
Jesus said, “Have you not read this Scripture passage: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?” Mk 12:1-12
Did you ever notice that principle, beloved, that whoever we mock or chide, whatever we dislike or shun, wherever we least prefer to be – that is exactly who we become, what we get, or where we end up living. So never show dislike for anyone or anything. Just praise God for whatever status we’re in. Appreciate whatever we have or don’t have and love everyone equally. Because we never know when we’ll be in a situation we prefer less or when that shunned person just might end up being our boss!
Happy June, beloved!
Please stop by and visit May’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
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