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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January 31, 2018
(St. John Bosco, Priest)
After King David declared a census be taken of all Israel, he regretted having numbered the people, and said to the LORD: “I have sinned grievously in what I have done. But now, LORD, forgive the guilt of your servant, for I have been very foolish.”
When David rose in the morning, the LORD had spoken to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying: “Go and say to David, ‘This is what the LORD says: I offer you three alternatives; choose one of them, and I will inflict it on you.’” Gad then went to David to inform him. He asked: “Do you want a three years’ famine to come upon your land, or to flee from your enemy three months while he pursues you, or to have a three days’ pestilence in your land? Now consider and decide what I must reply to him who sent me.” David answered Gad: “I am in very serious difficulty. Let us fall by the hand of God, for he is most merciful; but let me not fall by the hand of man.” 2_Sm_24:2,9-17
Sometimes, beloved, even the most righteous people make errors in the sight of God. David was right in recognizing his error and pleading for God’s mercy. And yet there are always consequences for our sins. David had the privilege of making the choice of his consequence, which is rarely the case in real life. But the choice between three evils, between three nasty consequences is still not easy. Sometimes, beloved, there is no other choice than taking the lesser of many evils. And even that choice will still hurt.
Moral of the story, I guess, is to always be very careful in the original decisions we make. Pray over it first. Evaluate the consequences if it doesn’t go right. And then dive in, knowing full well that you made the decision based upon what God would have thought was best for the time and place!
Praise be to God for sending us Jesus, and Jesus for blessing us with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! He is our Light and our Life!
January 30, 2018
The king (David) asked the Cushite, “Is young Absalom safe?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rebel against you with evil intent be as that young man!” The king was shaken, and went up to the room over the city gate to weep. He said as he wept, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” 2_Sm_18:9-19:3
Sometimes, as hard as we try, we just don’t understand!
The Cushite man was so proud to be the bearer of good news to his king. Maybe it would bring him a promotion. In his dreams, maybe it was he who would be the next king. OH, the young and the ambitious! Maybe he never had a son of his own. Maybe he didn’t realize that his “good news” wouldn’t thrill the king but devastate him, and he, himself, would be lucky to not end up just like the one he was reporting about, dead.
The story of David and Absalom is one that touches the heart of anyone who was/is the father of a son, both of whom didn’t understand one another. Like our Father in heaven, David’s love for Absalom went beyond anything Absalom could possibly do wrong, even murder, even rebellious sedition against his father. And David’s punishment or correction of Absalom for that murder was enough to kick Absalom into high revenge mode, even after David tried to reconcile himself with Absalom.
But the death of Absalom was something David never, ever wanted. And that death caused David intense remorse!
This is the unconditional Love that our Father has for us too, beloved. There is nothing we can do to take that love from Him, nothing! And it pains Him to see any one of us lost to the point death. It’s the same way we feel toward our own children – and even more! If only God, if only we can truly get them to understand!
God offered that reconciliation with us through Jesus! He became like us, in all suffering, in all temptation, to prove that love to us, once and for all. And yet we still don’t believe it! And if we can’t believe God, how can we ever convince our own children of the love we have for them – even if we become just like them, in their sufferings and in their temptations.
And maybe our good news is not really the good news that will change their hearts either. In the end, all we can do, beloved, is just keep on loving. Just keep on praying. Just keep on giving until there is nothing left to give. May our loving God give us the strength and the wisdom to be the best of His children that we can possibly be, with all our faults and our limitations! And may he bless our children, wherever they may be, to know that they are so loved, as well!
January 29, 2018
Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes.
. . a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
. . no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Jesus . . asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
. . Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside. And they pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine.”
. . and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned.
. . Jesus told the healed man, “Go home to your family and announce to the all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed. Mk_5:1-20
Sebastian Bourdon: The Gerasene Demoniac
Ever have one of those Gerasene days, beloved? The world, the job, the kids, the tomb, the neighbors all seem to be against you. And there are just too many of those demons haunting you!
And as hard as you try to break away, to break those chains that are binding you from freedom, there is no escape. That’s when you need to call out to Jesus. “Lord, don’t let them destroy me. And yet they are a part of me as well.”
Maybe He can send them into the mosquitoes, or the flies, or the moles, and they will all buzz off into the lake or the sea or the yard of someone else. Always remember, beloved, that Jesus is there to comfort us. The Holy Spirit is there to strengthen us and give us the wisdom we need to survive it. And life will go on.
Let it be in peace.
For Jesus is the King of peace!
January 27, 2018
(St. Angela Merici, Virgin)
Nathan the prophet presented a parable to King David whereby David unknowingly condemned himself for his own adulterous and murderous actions.
Nathan continued, “Now, the rich man received a visitor, but he would not take from his own flocks and herds to prepare a meal for the wayfarer who had come to him. Instead he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and made a meal of it for his visitor.” David grew very angry with that man and said to him (Nathan): “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this merits death! He shall restore the ewe lamb fourfold because he has done this and has had no pity.”
Then Nathan said to David: “You are the man!”
Sometimes, beloved, we can be so blinded to our own sinfulness, yet we’re keenly sensitive the sins of others. And when our own condition is presented as though it were someone else, all of a sudden we recognize it in ourselves. And so we pray, “Lord, help us to see the error in ourselves, that we may correct it. And keep us from constantly judging others, separate from ourselves. For none of us are perfect, yet in You there is boundless mercy, boundless redemption and boundless love!”
January 26, 2018
(Ss. Timothy and Titus, Bishops)
Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” Mk_4:26-34
There we go with the scattering of seeds again. But this time, as opposed to their ability to produce fruit based on the fertility of the ground on which they were scattered, Jesus is speaking particularly about the destination of those which DID bear fruit. He’s speaking about the gathering of the fruit into that Kingdom of God, that community of His beloved. He speaking about our eternal salvation! What blessed hopefulness for all of us!
January 25, 2018
(Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle)
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mk_16:15-18
St. Paul followed that order as he proclaimed Jesus to everyone he encountered, sometimes even at the cost of his own persecution (as he was previously persecuting Christians himself).
St. Francis took the order to heart as he preached even to the birds, the wolves and the animals, though that was way over-played from his true goal – to convert souls!
What about us, beloved? Does it take a bolt of lightning to change us, like St. Paul. Does it require a failed attempt at being a military leader, a knight, as it did St. Francis? Or are we willing to allow God to calmly guide and gently excite us to follow that order to proclaim His Love to the world, because of our own love for everyone! However it comes, God’s call to all of us, through Jesus and His magnificent example, is to share that love. THAT’s His will! And that’s our salvation!
January 24, 2018
(St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus explained, “The sower sows the word. There are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. . . . But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” Mk_4:1-20
The LORD spoke to Nathan and said: “Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day on which I led the children of Israel out of Egypt to the present,’” . . .
The LORD also reveals to you (David) that he will establish a house for you. And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, “I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his Kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name. And I will make his royal throne firm forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.” 2_Sm_7:4-17
Did you notice how the people in all four of the seed, or Word sowing situations of Jesus’ parable heard that Word. And the Word that they heard might have been stolen away, or died of malnutrition, or was smothered and choked to death. And it was only the Word that took root in the hearts and the lives of those who were prepared for it, that bore Fruit.
So we might ask, “How can we take that Word to heart if we do not understand?” And “How can we understand if we don’t listen?” And “How can we listen if we don’t hear?” And “How can we hear if there is no one to tell us?”
You see, beloved, it’s all just an endless circle that Jesus initiated.
Jesus IS the Word.
And by our hearing and listening, by our understanding and taking it to heart, we become the fruit, the new sowers who spread that Word on the paths, and over the rocks, and into the weeds, and some of it might even be lucky enough to fall upon the rich soil: those people who are just starving to hear the hope, and the goodness, and intimate love that God has for every one of us. And those who do, then become the new sowers. And the circle of life continues.
Now, David, as we heard in our first reading, wanted to build a house for God. The apostle Peter wanted to do the same thing for Jesus, by offering to build a tent at His Transfiguration. But, God, in both cases, told them, in no uncertain terms, that He didn’t need a physical abode here in our world. And neither should we, because when we have a physical home, we become secure, and comfortable, and so attached to that home that we never want to leave it.
And God knows that it is not in our best interest to become overly secure, and comfortably lazy.
If we build a house for God, and today we might even consider that house to be our Church building, then we are totally missing God’s point, as much as David was. You see, God’s home is not a static location, but a dynamic event.
The Kingdom of God is not a place where we will one day live, secure and comfortable, but it is an existence of mind and heart – that has no limit of place, or time, or person. And to live in that Kingdom begins with allowing God to dwell in our hearts.
Once in there, we then come to discover that it is not God who is OUR visitor, to do for as – as we will, but it is WE, who are the visitors in God’s home. We who are called to do HIS will.
This is what God was trying to get David to understand. This is what Jesus was trying to get His apostles and us to understand.
When we truly come to understand and live the fact – that it is God who wants us to live in His house; it is God whose Love binds us together in the dynamic of community, an ever-changing, ever-growing, eternal existence of mind and heart, that no house, other than His, can ever accommodate, then our greatest desire in this life will be to spread that seed, that Word of His great love, in every field, in every mind, in every soul we come across.
Then we become the sowers who bear His Fruit,
Fruit that has only one Purpose,
to sow more seed!
January 23, 2018
Jesus said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mk_3:31-35
When we give ourselves to the will of God, beloved, there is a total abandon of all else in our lives. That doesn’t mean we don’t love our parents and siblings. It simply means that God our Father comes above all else in this world! Total abandon.
David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the LORD with abandon, as he and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn. 2_Sm_6:12b-15,17-19
With total humility and total JOY, we shout and dance for our LORD and King! These, are my brothers and sisters and mother, those who follow the will of my Father in Heaven and those who believe and follow Jesus!
January 22, 2018
(St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr)
Jesus said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. . . . all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” Mk_3:22-30
I was recently thinking about civil wars: lands where people are so divided against one another, often over silly issues, that they are willing to kill one another because of them. Jesus tells us that such a land will not stand. When the people become so divided, when the elected people in the government can’t even agree with one another, to the extent that they need to shut it down, when all the media has to talk about is death and hatred for their own president, then we must be very wary of the outcome Jesus is talking about. There is a force out there, beloved, who would like nothing less than to see our great nation fall. Be very cautious who you listen to and believe. There is only one Truth! And when we blaspheme against the Truth of the Holy Spirit within us, then we’re drinking our own bottle of cyanide. God loves us all. And we should, as well!
January 21, 2018
(3rd Sunday Ordinary Time, B)
I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out. 1_Cor_7:29-31
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.” Mk_1:14-20
Between St. Paul and Jesus,
that says it all!
January 20, 2018
(St. Fabian, Pope)
After huge battle, a messenger came to David and wanted to speak with him, “Tell me what happened,” David bade him. He answered that many of the soldiers had fled the battle and that many of them had fallen and were dead, among them Saul and his son Jonathan.
David seized his garments and rent them, and all the men who were with him did likewise. They mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the soldiers of the LORD of the clans of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 2_Sm_1:1-27
After all that Saul had done against David, David loved him and Jonathan unconditionally! And in their deaths, he mourned. THIS is how our God loves us, beloved, unconditionally. Even after all of our sins, our turning away from Him, He still loves us. It is this Love that keeps us going, beloved. And we are to do likewise with everyone we come in contact with!
January 19, 2018
Jesus appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: Mk_3:13-19
David said to Saul the king: ”I had some thought of killing you, but I took pity on you instead. I decided, ‘I will not raise a hand against my lord, for he is the LORD’s anointed and a father to me.’ Look here at this end of your mantle which I hold. Since I cut off an end of your mantle and did not kill you, see and be convinced that I plan no harm and no rebellion. I have done you no wrong, though you are hunting me down to take my life. . . . Against whom are you on campaign, O king of Israel? Whom are you pursuing? A dead dog, or a single flea!” 1_Sm_24:3-21
The word Apostle, as derived from the Greek language, means – one who is sent away: a messenger, a missionary, or an ambassador. The 12-Special men whom Jesus called, delegated, consecrated and sent away – were called His Apostles, in contrast to all of His other followers or students, who were called His Disciples.
And yet, OF those 12 Apostles, we also notice, throughout the Gospels, that three of them were closest to Jesus – in that He included them in revelations that the others were excluded from; like His Transfiguration and His Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. These three were Simon Peter and the brothers James and John.
And just like God’s selection of David as the King of Israel, it wasn’t the ultra-handsome Saul, who would lead a dynasty of Kings up to Jesus, but it was the lowly shepherd boy, David.
And in that selection of David, God gave Samuel, gave us, the exact reason for His selection. He said, “Not as man sees does God see, because he (man) sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart.” 1_Sm_16:7
You see, none of those 12 Apostles were accredited, degreed or registered. None of them were Pharisees, or Sadducees, or Scribes – the religious leaders of the time. Instead, they were all simple men with a wide variety of professions and personalities: some loud, some fearless, some assertive, some quiet and some rebellious. They were fishermen and farmers. They were tax collectors and dreamers.
They were men who could see that there was something wrong with the system as it was. Because, they knew their Scriptures and they knew their Jewish roots. And they knew that neither the Romans nor the Jewish Leaders were getting it right.
But this man, this Jesus – was!
And we could say the same thing about David. David knew that there was a loose screw somewhere in Saul’s personality. But he also knew, that until God made a definitive move, beyond, just Samuel’s anointing, he knew that he still had to respect Saul as his king, as his leader and as God’s ‘chosen one.’
And there’s absolutely no difference with our world and it’s leaders today. But it IS up to us to show that rational control, just as David did.
When we can differentiate the calls of our human nature: to fight, to protect, to hide, to rebel, to hate, and to kill, from the calls of God: to trust, to respect, to speak up for the Truth, to choose life over death, and to Love, then, like Jesus’ chosen-12, and like David, regardless of what kind of credentials or authority the world may think we have, or don’t have, we will be among the few, the special ones, that God will use to spread His beautiful message of Love and Mercy to the world.
Then WE will be, beyond just a disciple, we will be an Apostle of Jesus. Today, let’s pray for that wisdom of discernment. In our Baptisms, God has given the Holy Spirit to all of us, beloved, to guide us in that Wisdom.
All we have to do, is TRUST!
January 18, 2018
After David’s victory, The women played and sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Saul was very angry and resentful of the song, for he thought: “They give David ten thousands, but only thousands to me. All that remains for him is the kingship.” And from that day on, Saul was jealous of David. Saul discussed his intention of killing David. . . 1_Sm_18:6-9;19:1-7
Funny, but not really, how human nature always brings us back to that pride and selfishness, jealousy and hatred. Saul had already been told by Samuel that he was no longer in the LORD’s favor, for his disobedience and pride. And here it was all beginning to show. There would be others. Just like the jealousy of King Herod, a thousand years later, over a little child, a threat to his own pride.
Only in the Lord Jesus can we overcome this human trait of pride. The Good News that Jesus came to teach us was that God loves us – no matter what. Doesn’t matter if we’re king or not. Doesn’t matter if we’re the greatest warrior or not. Doesn’t even matter if we’re a Saint or a sinner! God loves us anyway, beloved. So give up on the pride thing and trust in the love of God. And let not the troubles of the world get you upset. GOD LOVES YOU!
January 17, 2018
(St. Anthony, Abbot)
David spoke to Saul: “Let your majesty not lose courage. I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.” But Saul answered David, “You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.” David continued: “The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear, will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine.” Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.” 1_Sm_17:32-33,37,40-51
When the world is screaming in your ears, beloved, “You’re not good enough! You’re not big enough! You’re not old enough! You’re not rich enough! You’re not famous enough!” trust in God your Creator. He is bigger and better than any of them. And, in Him, and with Him, you can do ALL things, even to the conquering of the greatest giant! The LORD be with you, beloved, in Jesus Name, I pray!
January 16, 2018
There are several good ones today . . .
Samuel did as the LORD had commanded him. 1_Sm_16:1-13
There’s the correct model, in contrast to Saul’s disobedience yesterday.
In trying to select a king from the sons of Jesse in Bethlehem, Samuel was having a hard time. But the Lord replied, “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” ibid
“Into the heart!” Isn’t it funny how sometimes we truly CAN see the beauty of a Soul, beyond whatever the appearance of a person is. And sometimes it’s just the opposite!
After finally coming to the very last and youngest son, Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. ibid
And now the story really begins to become interesting!
Moral today: don’t worry, beloved, about your appearance. Make, instead, your heart be the very best it can be! We might not be able to do a whole lot about our appearance, beyond a little make-up, or even plastics, but we CAN do an incredible make-over with our heart, with our attitude, with our LOVE, and Jesus is our teacher!
God doesn’t care about the outward appearance, but he does care about the heart! And He’s the ONLY one it really matters the most to, in the end! Yet remember, like attracts like, so don’t worry, the rest will follow!
January 15, 2018
Samuel said to Saul, the King of Israel, “Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the LORD? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams. For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry. Because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he, too, has rejected you as ruler.” 1_Sm_15:16-23
Obedience trumps sacrifice. Therefore according to Samuel, according to the LORD, the old saying that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than to miss an opportunity (to sin, or disobey, or to presume ignorance), is just not TRUE! It cost Saul his kingship, and in the end it cost him his very life and that of his son! So, we must never stray from obedience to the Lord!
In the same light, Jesus said, “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” Mk_2:18-22
Moral being, don’t follow the crowd, beloved, just because they say something is OK. If that OK is sinful, if that OK is in disobedience to the Lord, if that OK is presumptuous, it’s really NOT OK. Jesus is the “new wine.” If we don’t want to ruin the beauty of what God has given us, in ourselves and in our world, we really do need to listen to and follow the advice of Jesus. He is not the old, but the new!
January 14, 2018
(2nd Sunday Ordinary Time, B)
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body. 1_Cor_6:13c-15a,17-20
And once we get past that understanding, then, we recognize that that same Holy Spirit dwells in every other person. Some may realize it and others not. But that means that we treat them the same way God wants us to treat ourselves – as His!
Not only do we glorify God in our bodies, but we glorify Him in others as well.
Praise God for His incredible love for us!
January 13, 2018
There was no other child of Israel more handsome than Saul; . . . Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head; he also kissed him, saying: “The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage. You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel, and to save them from the grasp of their enemies roundabout.” 1_Sm_9:1-10:1
“Beauty does not always make the best of leaders!” Samuel, Saul and the LORD were in for many disappointments, but it all led to something even greater, as David entered the picture.
Jesus, our true leader, said to the constantly bickering Pharisees, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Mk_2:13-17
And the Israelites in the time of Samuel and Saul certainly fit that bill, as did the Pharisees themselves in the time of Jesus. They were obstinate, self-centered and lost their respect, obedience and fear of the LORD!
Saul led the way for the coming of David, just as John the Baptist did for Jesus. Saul was David’s whetstone. For if David could survive Saul and keep his obedience to the Lord he would be well on his way to kingship.
In the case of Jesus, while John led the way into His ministry, the Pharisees were his whetstone. And yet, Jesus was already King! Try as He might, most of those Pharisees were unflinching in their self-centered stubbornness. While the Pharisees were supposed to be the leaders, the “well” ones, it turned out to be just the opposite. Those they condemned were open enough to believe and be healed, whereas the true sinners were those who refused to believe, even in the sight of His miracles!
How “well” are we, beloved? Are we willing to believe enough to be healed ourselves? Jesus, our master physician, is calling!
January 12, 2018
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Mk_2:1-12
Without hearing the rest of the story, we see the great love and mercy of Jesus. As God incarnate, Jesus does have the authority to forgive sins. As God’s children, we also have the authority to forgive whatever injustice that may be done to us. OR, we also have the freedom to hold that anger, that hatred, that evil inside of us. The question is, which action (or inaction) sounds more healing to our souls, beloved?
Jesus wants us to be healed. And by listening to His advice, by following His example we will be spiritually and sometimes even physically healed. What it takes on our part is faith!
Do we trust in Him? What roof (what barrier) are we willing to break through to get to Jesus? Is it a mental barrier, like forgiveness? Or is it something physical? He IS there for ALL of us. All we need is a little faith!
January 11, 2018
In the meantime, Israel was losing it’s faith in the LORD and slowly turning to the idolatrous gods of the heathens.
After a fierce struggle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield. When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today by the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the LORD from Shiloh that it may go into battle among us and save us from the grasp of our enemies.” . . . The Philistines fought (again) and Israel was defeated; every man fled to his own tent. It was a disastrous defeat, in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers. The ark of God was captured, 1_Sm_4:1-11
The Ark of God was not just another talisman, a good luck charm that would bring good fortune just by its presence. It was God Himself who would bring fortune to those who believed and trusted in His providence. And that was lost by the Israelites!
It’s a good reminder to us as well, beloved. Though we have statues of The blessed Virgin, Joseph and the saints. Though we have our rosaries and our precious Saint medals, they are not talismen either. They are not good luck charms. It is Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit, whom we worship and rely upon, who will strengthen us to accomplish whatever we need to accomplish – according to His will. We may use those sacramentals as reminders of our Lord and the saints, but it is not the sacramentals, it is the LORD who will help us defeat our enemies in the long run. Trust in Him, beloved. And never remove your heart from His love!
January 10, 2018
When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” . . . Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect. 1_Sm_3:1-10,19-20
Three times it took Samuel and Eli to realize that it was the LORD calling. Samuel, understanding only a physical reality to life, even though he often prayed to the LORD and worshiped Him, never sensed this spiritual aspect of life. And once he did with the help of Eli, he could never stop speaking with and for the LORD to all he came in contact with. His Word was never without effect!
It can be the same for us, beloved! With the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, how well do we listen for Him? How well do we accept what we hear and follow through on what we’re called to do?
What joy life can be when we listen, accept and act on God’s Word!
January 9, 2018
Hannah prayed to the LORD, “if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the LORD for as long as he lives;” . . . When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah, the LORD remembered her. She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel,” 1_Sm_1:9-20
Thus we begin the amazing stories of Samuel, Saul and David. If you’re looking for action, intrigue, (today’s buzzwords: sex and violence) and Messianic prophesy, stories you might never have suspected are in the Bible, explore the Books of Samuel. You’ll discover mighty conquerors, sensitive musicians, insane leaders and incredible friendships. “Come” says the Lord, and learn some basic history about these people we call, Israel!
January 8, 2018
(The Baptism of the Lord)
(Had to chuckle at this. And there is probably some mathematical name for it. But today is 1-8-18. So happy 1818. If you add 1+8 + 1+8 you get 18. And if you add 1+8=9 plus 1+8=9 you get 1+8=9 . . . funny! And today’s Gospel just happens to be from the Book of Mark, Chapt 1: verse 8, hmmmmm!)
John the Baptist said, “I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mk_1:8
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Mk_1:9-11
Today marks the End of the Christmas Season in the liturgical calendar of the Church. And what better celebration for an END, than the Beginning of something New; especially in the Middle of an icy, damp and cold winter.
Yet, this new beginning is more than just the unwrapping of new undergarments beneath the boughs of an artificial tree. It’s more than just the beginning of a new job or a move to a new home. And it’s even more than the birth of a brand new grandchild. The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of a whole new Creation.
Theologically, Jesus is the new Adam, who brings a fresh, new start for every human being living in His time and born thereafter.
For, out of the darkness of a murky Jordan River, we move with Jesus into the Light of the Holy Spirit’s consecration (Death to sin and new life with Him!).
Out of the silence of Adam’s guilt and obscurity, Jesus moves us into the merciful and thundering ‘Voice of Affirmation,’ as sons and daughters of God (With all the grace of His forgiveness).
And, out of the darkness of sin and despair, Jesus offers us the Light of love and hope, and the promise of Eternal Salvation (Eternal Life).
In this third magnificent manifestation, of God’s immense love for us:
– from His Incarnation on Christmas morn,
– to His Epiphany as Savior of all Nations, beyond just Israel,
– and now in this Trinitarian revelation, in the Baptism of Jesus: we hear the voice of God the Father, we see the vision of God the Holy Spirit, as a dove, and we live in the presence of God the Son, as Jesus consecrates our humanity with His Divinity.
Now, all of these concepts may sound pretty theologically heavy to most of us. And we might still be wondering, “What does it all have to do with me?” I still have to go to work after Mass. I still have to fix that broken car. And I still have to figure out how I’m ever going to pay for all those Christmas gifts.
Well, if we have been baptized by this Trinitarian God, then we have also received His gift of the Holy Spirit within us.
And what that means, is that when we come to our wits end, and sit there wondering what’s next, we have a Source of peace, and calm, and wisdom sitting right there within us, just for the asking. All the answers we ever need are right there – within our own selves.
And, I hate to surprise anyone, but our God is a whole lot more wise than any smart phone ever made.
And you know what? God has so many more manifestations, so many more epiphanies to show us, that we can’t even imagine them all.
And here’s just one silly example that I observed just this past Saturday evening. As I was sitting here in Church, and I’m sure some of you were too, listening to Kate and Christian’s beautiful Epiphany Concert, I was thinking how wonderful it is for all of those choir people to devote so much of their time to training and practicing to be able to sing so well for all of us.
And then I was thinking, well maybe, how lazy it was for me not to be up there singing as well.
And then the Holy Spirit gave me this Epiphany of how we are ALL doing something, in some way, to help build God’s Kingdom. It might be serving as a Hospitality or Eucharistic Minister. It might be counting money on Sundays. It might be watching a child so that a parent could do something they otherwise couldn’t. And it might even be JUST sitting out there watching (and supporting) people like Kate’s choir.
By our Baptisms, every single one of us – IS – that Child of God, who IS building His Kingdom, no matter WHAT we DO, no matter how insignificant we may THINK it is!
And together we ALL build up one another! Even just being right here reading these words of His encouragement to you, beloved.
Jesus came to prove that to us!
WE really DO matter!
And we ALL have the Holy Spirit within us to Affirm that fact,
saying: ‘These are My beloved sons and daughters, with whom I AM well pleased!’
January 7, 2018
(The Epiphany of the Lord)
It was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Eph_3:2-3a,5-6
To ALL the world . . .
Jesus, salvation, revelation –
January 6, 2018
(St. Andre Bessette, Religious)
Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1_Jn_5:5-13
January 5, 2018
(St. John Neumann, Bishop)
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see the sky opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Jn_1:43-51
As a point of reference for this interaction between Nathanael and Jesus, we need to look back to the Patriarch Jacob, who was given the name Israel by God. Remember Jacob was the second-born twin of their father Isaac, who was the son of Abraham.
With the help of his mother, Rebecca, who favored Jacob over his brother Esau, Jacob tricked his father into giving him the birthright blessing that belonged to Esau. So we might say that Jacob, later to be named Israel, was a man of duplicity. And it took quite a bit of work to bring him from that state, of what John would call, “devoid of life and devoid of God,” to becoming the Patriarch of a Nation.
Yet, there, on the other hand, Jesus sees a wisdom inherent in Nathanael, and a total lack of duplicity: when Nathanael freely referred to people from Nazareth as the scum of the earth.
But, somewhere in the back of his mind, wise, Nathanael also remembered that quote from Isaiah the Prophet, mentioning that a shoot, or in Hebrew, a “netzer” from the stump of Jesse would blossom into a Messiah. And he would instinctively know that the town of Nazareth was named after that netzer.
He would also know that the Hebrew symbolism of “sitting under a fig tree” represented the messianic peace that the Prophet Micah spoke of. And between all of these symbols and the excitement of his good friend Philip, Nathanael was convinced that Jesus was that promised Messiah.
Yet, Jesus was still not done with His explanation. And this is where we go back to the Patriarch Jacob again. For you see, after Jacob and his mom realized that Esau was out for blood, because of their duplicity, Jacob made a hasty retreat, as far away as he could get from his huntsman.
And there on his long and lonesome journey, Jacob falls asleep on a rock, and has a dream. And in his sleep, he saw: “a stairway resting on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s angels were going up and down on it.
And there was the LORD standing beside him and saying: I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you are lying I will give to you and your descendants.
Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and through them you will spread to the west and the east, to the north and the south.
In you and your descendants all the families of the earth will find blessing. I am with you and will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.“ Gn_28:12-15
And here is Jesus, as the fulfillment of that promise to Jacob, announcing to Nathanael, the non-duplicitous Israelite, and to His early disciples, that it is HE who is that Ladder uniting heaven with earth. And it is through Jesus that we will move from the peaceful shade of a fig tree into the eternal peace of heaven.
And yet, keep in mind, that it IS a “ladder,” and it is up to us to take it’s steps. It’s not an escalator, nor an elevator.
And with every painful step we take, in this world; with every challenge we face, Jesus will be there at our side. But WE have to take the action to show His love, and not expect it to come without cost. WE have to climb that ladder.
St. John Neumann was a noble example of bringing Christ into his early 19th century world. Immigrating to the U.S. at 20-years old from Bohemia, John became a Redemptorist priest in western New York. He learned to converse in six additional languages, and served in missionary work across the country. He became the 4th Bishop of Philadelphia. He built eighty Churches and founded the Catholic School system in our country – all out of his intense Love for God, and all within his short 59-years of life.
St. John, the Gospel writer, tells us today, “to let us love, not in word or speech, but in deed and truth.” 1_Jn_3:11-21 Jesus IS the Truth and it’s our hands and our feet that make this climb with Him – all worth the effort.
January 4, 2018
(St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious)
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God. The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jn_1:35-42
There is something about ‘goodness’ that attracts goodness. Jesus is the epitome of goodness. If you’re looking for the very best of everything in life, beloved, come, follow Jesus!
January 3, 2017
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. . . . John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” Jn_1:29-34
This is the baptism we receive, beloved. Not just for the forgiveness of sins, but in it, Jesus shares the Holy Spirit with us as well. And the Spirit will guide us in all righteousness. We will be able to discern right from wrong and can rely on Him to strengthen us to choose correctly. And if we happen to fall in moments of weakness, He will be right there to pick us back up to battle those forces of evil over and over and over, until we get it RIGHT! Rely on Him beloved and you just might be amazed at the strength within you!
January 2, 2018
(Ss. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church)
When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him
(John the Baptist) to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” . . . And after further interrogation, John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” Jn_1:19-28
If you can say anything about John the Baptist from this conversation, it’s that he was clearly not boastful, or conceited, or self-centered. He was obviously a humble person who knew where he stood relative to the Christ. And yet, he was not shy to defend himself before his attackers, the priests. You see, by then, John was developing quite a reputation. He was actually becoming pretty famous. But it wasn’t fame that he was seeking. He was seeking to save souls and to bring people to their Savior, who wasn’t him, but Jesus.
And the same should go for us, beloved. It doesn’t really matter how many times we’ve read through the Bible. It doesn’t matter how often we pray, or listen to EWTN, or walk on street corners defending the life of the unborn – We are NOT the Christ. We are not the JUDGE. We are not God. Only God Himself is God. But, like John, we are the humble messengers who hopefully, though our knowledge and through our actions, excite others to follow the Lord as well.
Only in God is our Salvation and our Hope!
January 1, 2018
(Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God)
What more beautiful way to begin a new year than with a blessing. The LORD said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Nm_6:22-27
And not only were the Israelites blessed by the LORD’s presence, but ALL of us were, in and through the blessings of Mary, and by the presence of Jesus, our Lord, among us.
After the shepherds announced all they had seen and heard from the angels about the birth of Jesus that was all, exactly, as it happened . . . Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Lk_2:16-21
No better scrap album than the very pages of our own hearts. Even when they may be pierced by the silliness of the world, all of those GOOD things remain. God wants us to focus our attention on them, and one day all the silliness will be washed away and all that will remain will be the GOOD!
We have been so very blessed, beloved! Sometimes in the midst of all our struggles, we just need to remember the Blessings we HAVE received!
Blessed be God forever!
And a very happy and blessed New Year to you!
Happy January, beloved!
Please stop by and visit December’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
in monthly subcategories of – “Whispers“
Link to Previous Month’s Whispers
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(also in Time page, under Liturgical Seasons section)
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