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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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!
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!
July 29, 2019
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!
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!
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
Always stay GOOD, beloved.
And we’ll meet again in His “barn.”
Peace in Christ!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
July 19, 2019
The LORD said, “This is how you are to eat it (the Passover Lamb): with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD. For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every first born of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt – I, the LORD! Ex_11:10-12:14
Jesus said to the testing Pharisees, “If you knew what this meant, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.” Mt_12:1-8
Did you ever notice how mostly everything that’s significant in the Bible has some relationship with food?
Adam and Eve lost their Eden through a choice and an apple. Noah brought all those extra animals on board so that he and his family would have something to eat. Abraham had a feast with Melchizadek. Jacob and Esau fought over some stew and meat. Joseph fed the whole world in a global drought, which brought salvation to his family.
And then there was Moses. After plagues of: blood and frogs, gnats, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts and darkness, God could do little more to prove to Pharaoh that if he didn’t obey Moses, they would all starve to death. And when even that didn’t work, God finally brought death itself to the stubborn Egyptians.
And salvation again would come to the Jews through FOOD on that First Passover night. You see, just like God, and yet secondary to God, food is the only other thing that we just can’t live without.
And God has given us such an abundance of the stuff, that there is absolutely no reason why every living person on the planet should not have more than enough to live on, save for our greed.
God’s salvation of the Jews on that Passover night, would be celebrated by them, “perpetually,” with a blessing and a meal.
Then, 1200-years later we would see Jesus arguing with the Jewish leaders – again, over food: when to eat, where to eat, who was in their company when they were eating, did they have clean hands or not. The dispute seemed endless.
And there were also examples with the people: could the starving gentiles eat the crumbs from the master’s table? Would there be food enough to feed the multitudes? Who is the ‘Spring of Living Water’ and the ‘Bread of Life?’
All to the climax of that very last meal that Jesus would share with His Apostles. And, just like the Passover, it would not BE – just another meal. It would be a Sign, a Sacrifice and a perpetual Memorial – of a new Covenant promise – of Eternal Life with God – for all who believe in Jesus and follow His Way.
And yet, we still have to physically make it through this life. And that we DO, with the physical and spiritual nourishment of Jesus… All with the purpose of sharing God’s mercy with others, and not making a show of our own sacrifice. For we all make sacrifices. And we all suffer in one way or another. But it’s only in sharing God’s Love and Mercy, that we will truly Live!
July 18, 2019
(St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest)
Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt_11:28-30
Jesus IS our eternal healer. Come to Him when you’re hurting, when you’re stressed, when troubled and even when you’re filled (in thanksgiving). He is our rest and our hope!
July 17, 2019
(St. Francis Solano, OFM, Priest)
At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Mt_11:25-27
Childlike, beloved, does not mean silly, or stupid, or ignorant. Actually some children are much, much more wise than many adults. Jesus is telling His disciples and us, beloved, that if we really want to be wise in God’s eyes, we need to let go of all the worldly “smarts” we think we know and depend, like a child, on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to teach us true wisdom. And it all begins with Love!
July 16, 2019
(Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Ps 95
Sometimes, beloved, God’s voice is not always praising us. Sometimes, God may actually be disappointed in the things we do or think. Sometimes, it just may be time for a little repentance. Today’s Scriptures remind us that not even the Biblical greats were always perfect. Moses murdered and fled Egypt, a fugitive. And in his time of hiding, Moses found that God had a bigger mission for him.
Jesus also, was often disappointed with the people who refused to change, to repent and grow in God’s grace. God calls us to repentance when we err in our ways. And if we listen closely He’ll have a greater mission for us as well. So, as difficult as it may be, sometimes we just need to soften up those hearts of pride and take a well deserved chastisement. It’ll all be worth it in the long run!
July 15, 2019
(St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Mt_10:34-11:1
Everything, beloved, comes with a cost. If we want eternal life with Jesus, we have to love Him FIRST!
July 14, 2019
(15th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Moses said, “For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you. . . . it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” Dt_30:10-14
St. Paul wrote: Christ Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. . . . For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross Col_1:15-20
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” Lk_10:25-37
There are moments in our lives, beloved, when we’re struck with a wisdom that is so far beyond our comprehension, it can almost take our breath away. It sometimes, might take years for us to fully grasp the meaning, the immensity of God’s Love in those moments . . . Moments that mold our very lives. And, in one way or another, at some time, it happens to all of us.
For the victim in Jesus’ story, it was by the hands of a total stranger that his, nearly departed life was recovered. Regardless of WHO that victim was, and WHY he was there, alone, on a dangerous road, and despite the risk to his own life, that stranger, that Samaritan, IN that moment, WAS the very personification of God’s Love. And I can guarantee, that victim’s life was changed forever, from that moment on.
If you ever had the misfortune of being accosted by a robber, or a street beggar, or a gang, and survived the experience, you’d have a little glimpse of the love, the protection, the mercy of our God, poured out into your soul to give you a higher purpose than you’d ever had before.
This was the story of my childhood and young-adult life, growing up in some pretty rough, East Coast neighborhoods. And of all those experiences, one, in particular, stands out.
It was freshman year, in a small college, in a big town, 100-miles away from home. And this young, naive, semi-nerdy, semi-hippy, neophyte, gets teamed up to live with, probably, the coolest kid in our class.
Survivor of a broken family, street wise, with a black belt in karate, Sam, though legally blind without his inch-thick glasses, didn’t have to worry about Vietnam, like the rest of us.
If you were to describe Sam with one word, that word would be Charisma. Sam, with his cowboy boots and his Texas swagger, even though he was from Jersey, just like me. Sam, who was ALWAYS in total control of every situation. He was the big brother I never had.
And so, when the two of us found ourselves, one night, in a deserted, West-Phili subway, surrounded by a gang of knife wielding thugs, I was, to say the least, a little concerned. But somehow, I knew, that Sam, with his Black Belt, would rescue us.
And, as the voices got louder and the pushing got closer, I realized, instead, that it was, just, NOT going to happen. When, there, by the Grace of God, out of the blackness, our train finally arrived.
As soon as those doors opened, I could hear Sam yell, “RUN, Joe, Run.” And – Run, we did! . . . From one train car – to the next, to the next, I never realized there were so many cars on a subway train, as we were hotly pursued by a cloud of angry hornets.
When that train eventually stopped, we jumped off and ran some more. And after a few blocks, it was finally OVER! Sam lost his wallet, but we were both still alive!
Weeks later I asked him why he didn’t just klobber them. And he, in his casual, Sam manner, explained to me, that IF he attacked those closest to him, then I might have been hit by the others.
It was clearly ONE of those “Moments!” of – Incomprehensible Love! Of course, we’d never use those words. But it IS that Law, that Moses spoke of today. And it’s written in all of our hearts.
You see, this really IS the story of another young man, who endured the ridicule, even though he didn’t have to; who allowed a merciless beating; who bled and hung in shame; and who died . . . that WE might live!
And THAT – we do –
For it’s Through Him, and With Him, and In Him, and For Him, that We BECOME Him, that we become Jesus for others, just as my good friend Sam did, 47-years ago!
What about you?
July 13, 2019
Continuing on the theme of coming persecutions, Jesus said to His disciples, “Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Mt_10:24-33
Thus, beloved, we are to protect our souls. Through our prayer, through our Scripture readings and through our community, we get to know just who God is. And knowing God, we know right from wrong and we strive to always do what is right. God loves us and wants nothing evil to happen to us. When we follow His command to love all, He will see to it that we are always in His protection. And in the end, our souls WILL find rest in Him!
Most blessed and happy birthday wishes to our beloved son, Fr. James! May your day be joyful in the Lord! God’s blessings and our love, always!
July 12, 2019
Jesus said, “When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Mt_10:16-23
Led by the Holy Spirit! Do not worry! Do not fear! For YOU are in the hands of God almighty! Trust in Him!
July 11, 2019
(St. Benedict, Abbot)
“Come closer to me,” he (Joseph) told his brothers. When they had done so, he said: “I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.” Gn_44:18-21,23b-29;45:1-5
St. Paul said, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Rom_8:28
Sometimes, beloved, in the circumstance, we may not see it yet. Sometimes it takes passing through the tunnel to reach the paradise on the other side. Sometimes we may never see that other side, at least in this life. But every good we do, every love we share, every help we offer has an impact toward building God’s kingdom. Know this: that God’s will – WILL be done, whether we cooperate with it or not. So we might as well follow! In in that following we will receive “our reward,” as Jesus tells us. And it will be a thousand times more than we ever gave!
July 10, 2019
(St. Augustine Zhao Rong, Priest
and Companions, Martyrs in China)
. . . all the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain, for famine had gripped the whole world. Gn_41:55-57;42:5-7a,17-24a
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Mt_10:1-7
If you ever got lost, beloved, you’d know what a terrifying experience it is. The Jewish religious leaders were not the lost sheep of Israel that Jesus was referring to. But they were the ones who were supposed to be gathering the lost. Instead they were scattering them by their overly strict and selfish laws. They were the ones who made, ‘being lost’ even more terrifying, because, not only did the Jews fear the ruthless Romans, but they couldn’t even trust their own religious shepherds.
You see, if God had hand-picked Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants as His special chosen ones, then “Why,” the lost might ask, “would He allow so much suffering?” Sure, they heard all those promises of a Savior, a Messiah, but where was he? And when that Messiah finally did come, the people were so shell-shocked numb from all the persecution, the bad leaders, and the imposter messiahs, that they were skeptical about who, if anyone, they could believe.
This was why so much of what Jesus did and taught was in answer, in conformance to – all that the prophets in the Sacred Scriptures had predicted. It was so that the people, who knew those Scriptures by heart, would have a basis, a reference point to truly believe in Jesus . . .
Things like having 12-Apostles – to serve as the new 12-Tribes of Israel.
Things like healing the sick, dispelling demons, and raising the dead – just as Isaiah prophesied.
Things like feeding the hungry – just as Joseph and the prophet Elijah did.
Things like living in the same poverty as the people he led did;
Like suffering just as they did – and even worse.
And like forgiving their mistakes when they repented – just as Joseph did, just as our priests do in the person of Christ, and just as we are expected to do with one another.
Jesus sent His 12-special disciples out on a Recovery Mission. It was a mission to find the lost, and to show them the way back Home to God.
You see, brothers and sisters, the roadmap is right here, in our own hearts. For just as Jesus said, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And all we have to do is follow!
July 9, 2019
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Mt_9:32-38
“Sheep without a shepherd!”
Thanks be to God, for Jesus!
July 8, 2019
In you, my God, I place my trust. Ps 91 Response
Jacob had a dream: a stairway rested on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s messengers were going up and down on it. And there was the LORD standing beside him and saying: “I, the LORD, am the God of your forefather Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you are lying I will give to you and your descendants. These shall be as plentiful as the dust of the earth, and through them you shall spread out east and west, north and south. In you and your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing.” Gn_28:10-22a
. . . and His Name is Jesus!
An official came forward, knelt down before him (Jesus), and said, “My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.” . . . Jesus turned around and saw (the hemorrhaging woman), and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured. Mt_9:18-26
“In You, my God, I place my trust.”
In today’s Scriptures we can see three different forms of that Trust in God. We can see how it looks in the face of the urgent, the immediate care of a loved one. That almost panicked, but desperate hope for salvation – not for himself, but for someone else. That willingness to sacrifice reputation, pride, and maybe even his own job to grovel at the feet of One, who, he believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, had the power to do the impossible.
THIS was exactly the Faith that Jesus was searching for in His followers. And, whether the man was a Jewish or Roman official, He put it ALL on the line, by placing his Trust in Jesus, in God. As we heard, he was amply rewarded! It was a nuclear blast of Love, beyond our deepest understanding.
The second form of Trust we see today is that of one who sought her own personal healing after 12-years of personal suffering. Not only was she in physical pain, but she was ostracized and isolated from her community, because of her uncleanliness.
For this woman, it took a huge leap of Faith to place herself in the midst of a crowd, at the risk of being hauled away, while the odds of ever actually getting close enough to touch the cloak of Jesus were pretty slim.
Ever make contact with live electricity, or place your fingers in a moving fan, beloved? I think those are just a shadow of the JOLT that this woman received in her touch with Jesus, in her healing! And yet, Jesus knew exactly why the lights had flickered. Of the hundreds of onlookers, clamoring about Him, touching, and pushing, and bumping – only ONE had the Faith to place her Trust, FULLY in her God. And in her sacrificial Trust in Jesus, she was saved with a whole new lease on life!
Our third example, with Isaac’s son, Jacob, was a little different. And we have to look at his situation here, with a little perspective. First off, he was living in a land where people worshiped many different pagan gods.
Sure, his mom and dad constantly spoke of THE God of his grandfather, Abraham. And they touted all His mighty deeds. But Jacob never actually experienced a mighty deed in his whole life. As a matter of fact, life for Jacob was actually pretty tough. His dad doted over his older, twin brother, which was only by a few minutes between them.
And the only way that Jacob and his mom Rebekah could conjure him out of that situation of fraternal poverty, was to take matters into their own hands. It was the classic example of the domino effect of deceit.
Having broken bonds with his brother, Esau, and his father, Isaac; Jacob was sent back, or exiled, to Abraham’s homeland of Haran. It was the one place that Abraham vehemently insisted, that neither Isaac, nor his descendants – should EVER go back to.
And yet, there was Jacob heading off, right into the viper’s pit. No Trust, no Faith, just pure, stubborn, independence. Can we see the ties to our own lives, brothers and sisters?
And then, out of the blue, something, so totally – out of our control – happens: a death, an illness, a dream. And all of a sudden, maybe all of that stuff about God, that mom and dad spoke about for so long, really did have some merit to it. “Maybe I need to think about some of this stuff a little deeper.
So, let’s make a deal.
IF I get a good grade on that next test; IF my foot starts to feel a little better, IF my 90-year old father lives another 20-years or so, THEN, maybe, I’ll make You my God. But see, in the meantime, here’s a memorial, that I built just for You. And, here’s the place that I named Beth-El, “House of God,” after You. Aren’t I generous!”
You see, brothers and sisters, this third example of Faith really had very little to do with Jacob himself, who was still lost in the “I” of life. And yet, it had everything to do with God’s faith in Jacob. Sure, God knew that Jacob had a long way to go, just as He does with most of us. But it’s IN His Faith, and in HIS protection, and IN His blessing that we can take one little step at a time, up that Stairway . . . The Stairway that leads us straight to HIM!
July 7, 2019
(14th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
St. Paul said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. . . Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule” Gal_6:14-18
Jesus sent the 72-disciples out saying, “Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.” Lk_10:1-12,17-20
July 6, 2019
(St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr)
Jesus said, “People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” Mt_9:14-17
This is a good one, just to constantly ponder as we live our lives. What’s old and what’s new? What puzzle pieces just don’t fit together? How can I see both sides and understand, instead of just jumping to my own conclusions? What truly is right and wrong? Or, simply, what is TRUTH? Learn from Jesus, beloved, and your light will come!
July 5, 2019
(St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest)
One day toward evening Isaac went out in the field, and as he looked around, he noticed that camels were approaching. Rebekah, too, was looking about, and when she saw him, she alighted from her camel and asked the servant, “Who is the man out there, walking through the fields toward us?” “That is my master,” replied the servant. Then she covered herself with her veil. The servant recounted to Isaac all the things he had done. Then Isaac took Rebekah into his tent; he married her, and thus she became his wife. Gn_23:1-4,19;24:1-8,62-67
Our God is a God of relationships, and we are a people – lost in trying to figure them out. And when we can’t figure them out, we, more often than not, seem to take the easy route – of breaking them apart, instead of rebuilding them. And so, we have our thousands of Christian denominations, our repulsive political parties, our ghettoes, our walls, our divorces, our murders and our wars; all because we just can’t seem to get along with one another.
And yet, give us a world tragedy, and our truly divine humanity shows itself as international, interreligious, and non-partisan compassion and aid. You see, there truly is Hope for mankind, contrary to what the media would like us to believe. And that Hope resides within the very DNA, that God has created in us.
It resides in our relationships, which first and foremost, begin with God and then extend out, with God, to every other living creature on the planet.
Abraham was the perfect example of that kind of loving and obedient relationship with God, and with every other person he encountered, as he followed God into the wilderness. And even in the face of heat, and hunger, and wild beasts, and unfriendly inhabitants, because of that tight relationship with God, Abraham gained life-long friendships, wealth and respect – in a land that would eventually – all belong to his own family.
Now, we remember, that God had made a Covenant promise with Abraham, that would make him the Father of a great nation, that would provide him with a Land he could call his own, and that would make Abraham and his offspring a Blessing to the world.
He had the Land part started, through his skillful negotiation for a plot that would be used for his beloved wife, Sarah’s, grave.
The Blessings were obvious in his own life, and in the lives of everyone he interacted with.
But the Progeny part, all depended on Isaac, that almost sacrificed kid, who now at 37-years old was still unmarried.
And thus, we have the story of Abraham and God’s, FIX today. And this is the part I always love, because its symbolism is so rich. So listen closely to see if you can catch it in this summary.
“So Abraham sent his Servant, back to his Hometown, to find a Bride, for his Son.”
Did you see it? Ok, now let’s listen a little differently:
So God sent His Servant (named John) back to His Hometown (called earth) to find a Bride (all of us) for His Son (named Jesus)!
And equally beautiful, the name of Isaac’s bride was Rebekah, which from the Hebrew, means captivating. How captivating are we, beloved, in the eyes of God, to be chosen as the Bride of His most beloved Son, Jesus! How blessed, how wealthy, how eternally loved!
This Jesus, our beloved, has come to heal the lost. And, the end of the story is that WE are called to do likewise!
Or maybe, it’s just the Beginning!
July 4, 2019
Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing; all this because you obeyed my command.” Gn_22:1b-19
All DEPENDENT upon God. All OBEDIENT to God. All LOVING of God. Abraham needed no independence. In his dependence he was blessed, and he blesses all of us when we follow his lead. You see, it was all a sign of God’s love for us, in offering HIS beloved Son for us. Jesus said to Thomas yesterday, “Don’t be unbelieving, but believe.” If we place our trust in Jesus, like Abraham, we will have no need for independence! And we will be truly FREE.
July 3, 2019
(St. Thomas, Apostle)
Resurrected Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Jn_20:24-29
We actually don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the number of things and people we believe without seeing and without proof. Names like, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon, Padre Pio, atoms and molecules, galaxies and germs. They may all have had some influence on our lives today, and may still do. But in essence we have to take our historians, theologians and doctors word for it that if we take this little chip of very expensive medicine, that invisible germ will be stopped from killing us. And if we don’t believe, well, we’ll just have to suffer the consequences of doing nothing.
We can’t see Jesus either. But do we believe? Do we believe strong enough to count on Him to keep that rain from coming until we’re done mowing the lawn. Do we believe that He placed that cloud right there to keep the 90 degree, 8:30 in the morning, heat of the sun off our heads long enough to do some of our outside work early? Do we believe Jesus can calm our anxieties and heal our illnesses?
When we can move from simple belief to action based on that belief, beloved, then we’ve moved to “faith.” Jesus told Thomas that WE who believe in Him will be blessed. And those blessings can take any form we can imagine. Then, when we move that belief to faith, Jesus tells us, we can even move mountains. Ever move a mountain, beloved, based on your prayers to Jesus? Miraculous, inexplicable healings, control of Mother Nature, restored relationships can all be possible with a little faith!
Believe! And have Faith!
July 2, 2019
Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. Mt_8:23-27
Does your life ever feel like a storm in the middle of the sea, beloved? How do we respond to that? The disciples were terrified. Yet they knew exactly where to go. They came to Jesus and asked for His help. And that’s a good example for all of us. Jesus should always be our first call – even before 911. When we rely on Jesus, beloved, no matter how stormy life may be, He will bring us calm. It may not be the exact answer we were looking for, but in that calm the answer will be a lot easier to find! And that we can count on!
July 1, 2019
(St. Junipero Serra, Priest)
While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom, the LORD remained standing before Abraham. Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said: “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it?” Gn_18:16-33
A scribe approached and said to him (Jesus), “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” Mt_8:18-22
Jesus has a way of easily seeing through some of our most hidden ulterior motives. Can you just picture that scribe all ready to head-out with Jesus, tablet in hand, earbuds plugged in, and all loaded up with his backpack, folding lounge chair and beach umbrella.
It’s funny how sometimes those ulterior motives can be pretty obvious. And actually pretty upsetting. And there’s our lesson!
Jesus didn’t, just say “Beat it” to either of his two lost followers today. Instead he offered loving responses, that showed, both His understanding of their misconstrued interest, and it clearly described the challenges of true discipleship. Following Jesus was not a mission for the faint of heart.
And neither was the mission of God in resolving the gross injustice that was happening in Sodom and Gomorrah. Any of you who are a parent can just picture the discussion that Abraham was having with God. It was one of those “Yeah but, what if” discussions. And from Abraham’s point of view, he was perfectly justified, as our children often are, in bringing to God’s and our attention – what may feel like – impetuous injustice on our part.
Of course we know that God knew perfectly well the implications of the cleansing of those two towns of their evil. And He also knew, in His boundless and merciful love, that He would never harm those few righteous innocents. So maybe this “Yeah but, what if” discussion with Abraham was just God’s test, God’s lesson, to see how merciful, how loving Abraham really was himself.
Ever have those moments, brothers and sisters – when you just want to zoom up past that mindless person who just cut you off, and jam on your breaks in front of her.
And yet something inside of you says NO, that’s not what Jesus would do!
Something inside of you says, NO, I’m better than that!
Or maybe there’s even that little hint of compassion, that blessed love, that says, “I’ll pray you and for all the other drivers you encounter today.”
. . . Because THAT’s what God would do for us!
Happy July, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
Please stop by and visit June’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
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