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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May 31, 2019
(The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
At Mary’s visit with her cousin, Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” . . . And Mary responded, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, . . .” Lk_1:39-56
It’s in those times, beloved, when we most have the option to be proud of other’s compliments of us, that we give all the thanks to God. For without God we are nothing. Whether it’s something we said, or something we’ve done, it is all done through the grace and in our worship of our God. Mary didn’t proclaim her pride in listening to and following the orders of God, which she had perfect right to do. Instead, she proclaimed HIS greatness. She spoke of His promises to their nation and people. And she mentioned, in her own humble way, that she would be His instrument for the salvation of the world. What a marvelous model for us to follow, as well, beloved. Visit our neighbors, proclaim God’s mercy and kindness to all, and leave the world with Hope! Praise be to God!
May 30, 2019
(Ascension to be celebrated Sunday)
Jesus said to his disciples: “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” . . . Explaining Himself, Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.” Jn_16:16-20
As we go through life there are those times, those quotes, that we’ll never ever forget. For me, this one goes all the way back to ninth grade (and that’s a LONG time ago). Not only was it memorable for the sake of being a mystical hidden puzzle, but it was actually my first introduction to Scriptures.
So there we were signing each other’s yearbooks at the end of the school year and one of my friends simply wrote Jn 16:16. And how could you not be curious enough to look that up! So I dug out my mom’s old 20×20 inch embossed, hard covered Bible (we didn’t have internet or smart phones back in the ’60’s) and there I found the verse. Well, beloved, keeping in mind that it was just the beginning of summer vacation and in the fall we would all be back together at school again, it made total sense to me: In a little while I would no longer see that friend and a little while later I would!
And you know what, Jesus meant the same thing! But this time Jesus was talking about a heavenly break. First, He had died and was about to be resurrected (a little while gone and a little while back again). Then HE would leave to where we will all eventually be coming, heaven. And we can say the same thing about our beloved deceased. Right now there may be a little grief. But, OH, in a little while, our joy will be complete. We will be more than happy in our reunion, not only with our loved ones, but with our most beloved one, Jesus, when we reach the place of God’s heavenly glory ourselves! Just a little while!!!
May 29, 2019
St. Paul said, “The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’” Acts_17:15,22-18:1
Our God is an AWESOME God!
May 28, 2019
Jesus said to his disciples: “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” Jn_16:5-11
Sometimes, beloved, GOOD really can come from grief. It doesn’t make the endurance of the grief any easier. But Jesus did His best to try to convince His disciples that it would all be for the good! And looking back, it was! Not only for them but for us as well.
As we come closer to our celebration of the day the “Advocate” did come, Pentecost, we remember not only the joy of the Holy Spirit’s dwelling within us, but the suffering and the grief and even more so, the Love of God for us that made it all possible. And we repent of our errors in life. And we give thanks for God’s great love and for Jesus’ great sacrifice. And we offer that love to every living soul we meet. Just as God does for us!
May 27, 2019
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.” Jn_15:26-16:4
Come Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful with the love and the truth and the wisdom to boldly testify to Jesus – our Lord, our Savior and our life!
May 26, 2019
(6th Sunday Easter, C)
To St. John this great revelation was shown:
I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. Rev_21:10-14,22-23
WE are that city, beloved. And we have no other-worldly or material needs to illuminate our path. It is Jesus within our hearts who gives us light. It is God who directs our way. And we become His light for the world, leading them to the Lamb, leading them to salvation. It is the LOVE of God! It is the light of Love!
May 25, 2019
(Saint Bede the Venerable, Priest)
As Paul and the apostles preached the Word from city to city; Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number. Acts_16:1-10
And yet, as Jesus predicted there would be much opposition as well.
Jesus said, “Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.” Jn_15:18-21
And all the while, as they evangelized the world, the Holy Spirit would guide them and protect them – just as He does us, beloved! So fear not! Your life is most precious in God’s hands. Keep the faith!
May 24, 2019
Jesus said, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.” Jn_15:12-17
Can we profess that same statement, beloved, to our own children? Whether we were good or bad parents, those children did not choose us. But hopefully, as good parents, we are unreservedly bound to give them whatever they ask of us. Jesus didn’t put a lot of pressure on us with tons of commandments. All he asked of us was and is – to love one another. And in doing that we are bearing the fruit we were sent to bear. And that’s the “fruit” that will remain. Love, grown and shared – from God our Father, to Jesus our brother, to us God’s children, to our own children, to the world! Oh what a beautiful inheritance!
Happy Birthday Gina, in all of God’s and my love!
You are one of my favorite Saints!
May 23, 2019
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” Jn_15:9-11
Commandment – loving others.
Remaining in Christ’s love – by keeping His Commandment.
Joy – of knowing that God our Father loves us unconditionally!
Joy – of knowing that our love for others has helped them.
Joy – of knowing that this is exactly what Jesus wants for us.
May 22, 2019
(St. Rita of Cascia, Religious)
Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers (Paul and Barnabas), “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” Acts_15:1-6
Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. . . . you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” Jn_15:1-8
Jesus used many different examples to describe His relationship with the Father, and how our relationship with Him should be, as well.
He spoke of the obedience of a servant to his master. He spoke of the trust of a sheep with her shepherd. And He even spoke of the covenant promise made between bartering parties, like the fathers of a marrying couple, or like the covenants made between God and those Patriarchs of Israel: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses. So the relationship that Jesus was describing was one of obedience, trust and commitment.
And if either party was to ever break that covenant, that relationship, it would certainly be the cause of their death, the same as breaking (cutting) the life-giving umbilical cord of a fetus or the branch from a grape vine.
The Jews knew well the importance of keeping the Old Covenant commitments with God. And, just like the sign of the rings of the marriage vow, the sign used for the covenant between the Jews and God was circumcision.
Unfortunately, so much time had passed between when Abraham and Moses had made those promises to God, and the time of Jesus, that the people had all but forgotten the Commandments, save for the Sign. So when Paul and Barnabas were trying to explain the New Covenant of Jesus, the covenant of Love and Salvation, all that, many of the Jews could remember, and vehemently clung to, was that SIGN of circumcision, without understanding that that OLD Sign was now obsolete.
It would be like insisting that the training wheels on your child-sized bicycle be installed on your adult bike, as unnecessary as they would be. To Paul and Barnabas, it made no sense!
You see, the Old Covenant of Moses only kept them from premature death, in their separation from God the Father. The New Covenant of Jesus, in reuniting them with the Father, now brought them eternal Life – in relationship WITH God. And not only Life for themselves, but Life that could be shared with the world.
When we remain on the “vine” that Jesus described today; when we remain in relationship with the Father, through Jesus, our umbilical cord, (and through His Church) then all of His LIFE, and JOY, and PEACE, and HOPE will so fill our lives, that it will be near-impossible for others not to want the same kind of Life. And THAT beloved, is the “Fruit,” the sweetness of God, that only Jesus can bring!
May 21, 2019
St. Paul and Barnabas strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God.” Acts_14:19-28
Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” Jn_14:27-31a
There’s something very different about this “peace” that Jesus speaks about, beloved. It’s not a gift given for having done something worthy of getting a gift. It’s not a gift given in expectation of repayment. It’s not a “worldly” gift at all.
God’s gift of peace is freely given to us at the cost of Jesus’ very life. It’s a LOVE gift. And along with the peace of heart, the peace of fearlessness and the peace of salvation, God gives us this incredibly peaceful gift of eternal love. Not a passing love like the world’s love, but a 100%, all the time kind of love, with no ifs, ands, or buts, no caveats nor reservations. Jesus has shown us the extent of that love, by giving His life for us. And it makes any of the hardships we have to suffer much more endurable. That’s God’s love! Persevere in the Faith, beloved. It’s well worth the cost.
May 20, 2019
(St. Bernardine of Siena, Priest)
Jesus said, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. . . . “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” Jn_14:21-26
When we allow Him to, beloved, Jesus and the Father will dwell within us and the Holy Spirit will help us to keep God there, where He belongs!
May 19, 2019
(5th Sunday Easter, C)
John heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.” Rev_21:1-5a
What incredible hope, beloved!
But how do we find Him?
Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn_13:31-35
Not always easy, but well worth it!
Because in it, we find God!
May 18, 2019
(St. John I, Pope and Martyr)
Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Jn_14:7-14
Jesus spoke a lot about the relationship between Himself and the Father. He called Him Abba (daddy). He spoke of their union in Word and Works. He said I am IN the Father and the Father is IN me. And He said that He can do nothing outside of the Father’s will. And then He spoke of the love between Himself and the Father and the love between Himself and us . This is ONENESS!
May 17, 2019
St. Paul said, “We ourselves are proclaiming this good news to you that what God promised our fathers he has brought to fulfillment for us, their children, by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second psalm, ‘You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.’” Acts_13:26-33
The Psalmist wrote: I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.” Ps 2
Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn_14:1-6
Today’s Scriptures, again bring us back to this whole issue of time. In our first reading, St. Paul was explaining to the Jews, in what would be – today’s Turkey, how the Events, the Life, and the Resurrection of Jesus fulfilled all the OLD prophesies that the Jews were well familiar with. It would be like describing a modern helicopter to Leonardo daVinci, who invented one, at least on paper, back in the 1400’s.
And yet, the timing between when Leonardo actually lived and now, and the timing between the Old Testament prophesies, Jesus’ actual life and St. Paul’s description of Jesus to the Jews of Antioch – was so far apart, that it was impossible to prove any of those claims, save by word of mouth; at least until someone, someday invents a working time machine.
So when the Psalmist, and St. Paul, and even we describe Jesus as God’s only begotten Son, not only was it challenging to understand back in the early 1st Century, but it’s still difficult for even us to comprehend. And yet we say those words all the time.
But thanks be to God for the internet, which offers us – today’s lesson in Theology. On a website called Catholic Answers, one reader posted this question (no copyright infringement intended, and minor editorial changes made):
“In the Nicene Creed the Catholic Church asserts that the Son of God is eternally begotten, but we also assert that the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary. Can you explain how the Son can be begotten twice?”
To which Catholic Answers replied:
The question you ask goes directly to the necessity of understanding who Jesus is. Scripture affirms that Jesus is both “the Son of Man” (Mt 12:8) and “the Son of God” (Mt 8:29). As we encounter God in history, through his relation with and revelation to man, we see that God acts in three distinct Persons, although he is One unique and singular whole. This is the mystery of the Trinity. As the Son of God, Jesus takes part fully in this Divine and hidden life of God.
But we also know that God is not given to change or alteration; he is perfect in his nature. God is – as he is – throughout and apart from time. He is eternally the Father, eternally the Son, and eternally the Spirit.
But we also see something else in God. We see that God is not just one God in three Divine Persons. These Persons also exist in relation to one another. In attempting to express this relationship of Father to Son within God – we say that the Son is “begotten” of the Father. This is how the Scriptures refer to God’s Divine Relationship (see Jn 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18 as examples).
But when did this begetting take place? It began before creation, since, as John notes, the world was made through the Word [the Son]. Such an “action” on the part of God takes place outside of His Creation, outside of Time itself. It is not an “event,” closed by time, but a way of being within God himself. That is why we say that the Son is “eternally begotten” of the Father.
There is NO when.
And yet, we have to be very careful in how we understand this term, begotten. The word begotten is often defined as “to be born” but what it really means “to cause to be.” Even though the Son is eternally existent, the Father “causes him to be.”
God is the cause of his own existence.
So “begotten,” in the Scriptural sense, is not the same as “being born.” That is why the Church, in the Nicene Creed, professes that: “[The Son is] begotten, not made, one in being with the Father.”
Now let’s turn our attention to that other great mystery of our faith, the Incarnation. We have already noted that Jesus was both the “Son of God” and the “Son of Man.” John puts it very simply: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory that is His as the only begotten Son of the Father” (Jn 1:14).
To fulfill God’s purpose of salvation for all mankind, and out of His great love for us, the Son freely chose to become human.
In doing this he was subject to the same biological limitations that we are subject to. He had to be born, and he had to die. Thus, He was born at a specific time, to a specific set of parents, and in a certain place. His being born in this way was a historical event, able to be examined in the record of time.
These dual events, begotten and born, are indicative of who Jesus really is: true God and true Man.
An yet, the events are of a totally different order. The first took place – hidden in God’s own being, apart from time, eternally. It was the act of God alone.
The other took place in plain view, as a sign to all of us, at a specific time and place, within God’s creation. And while it was surely the work of God, the act of giving birth to the Son was the act of a woman, a human being.
So the Son is not “begotten twice.”
He is begotten (“caused to be”), after the manner of His Father. And he is born, (brought forth as a unique human being), after the manner of His mother. They are two different, but complimentary, acts.” (end of quote from Catholic Answers)
And it’s in that complementarity, it’s in that union between the Humanity and Divinity of Jesus that WE have access to the Father.
Jesus IS the Way.
Jesus IS the time machine that carries us from history into eternity. And THAT is the Truth, and the Light and the Life that WE who believe are promised.
May 16, 2019
When Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, he said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, no slave is greater than his master nor any messenger greater than the one who sent him. . . . Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” Jn_13:16-20
An old saying goes, How do you teach a camel to drink? Well, first you have to lead him to the water. Then you drink some yourself to show him how it’s done.
Jesus was teaching his disciples humility, obedience and reward. And He did that by showing them, Himself, how to serve others. Just because He was their leader and their master, didn’t mean He wasn’t willing to teach by example. We call this “Servant Leadership.” And it is the “amen, amen” – Truth of life, when it’s lived according to God’s will. You see, being that Servant Leader takes a little humility. And in that humility we are being obedient, not only to Jesus, but to God our Father.
And that’s where the reward part comes in. God knows every little thing we do and every good and evil thought we think. So it’s important that we make all of our thoughts and actions the best we can.
When we listen to any of God’s messengers from the Pope to the Priests, and even to our own kids – then our response to that message (in humility and obedience) shows that we know that we are actually listening and responding to God Himself. And in doing so, God will reward us many times over, both in our joy now and for eternity!
May 15, 2019
(St. Isidore, Laborer/Farmer)
Jesus said, “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.” Jn_12:44-50
The light and the dark, the good and the bad, the peace and the fear, the hope and the despair. The BELIEF!
Are we lost in the darkness, beloved? Are we living in the negativity of certain aspects of our world that we have no control over? Yes, we can hide from the news, from the media, from the evil, but we can’t hide from the truth, from the fact that there will always be the good and the bad, the light and the darkness, the hope and the despair.
Then it all becomes our choice. Do we allow all that negativity to control our lives, to be our “god?” Or do we BELIEVE in Jesus and the hope – that those who DO choose to believe will find the light and will live in that light. Jesus is the light of Love, the light of hope, the light of eternal life – forever with one another and with our God!
Choose LIFE, beloved, and live in the light of Jesus, the light of love!
May 14, 2019
(St. Matthias, Apostle)
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. Jn_15:9-17
Just . . .
L O V E !
May 13, 2019
(Our Lady of Fatima)
Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Jn_10:1-10
So, who’s the thief and robber who has captured your heart, beloved? There ARE many of them, TV, alcohol, other addictions, cars, sports, and on and on. Yes, we need some of the material objects in life to comfortably survive. But we are not called to allow them to lead us, to own us. Only Jesus has the key to the gate to eternal life. He IS our Good Shepherd. And He brings us that life through our free will choice of Him!
May 12, 2019
(4th Sunday Easter, C)
Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. Jn_10:27-30
THIS is the reason for our confidence, beloved. NO ONE can take us out of His hand!
At the teaching of Paul and Barnabas, the Gentiles were delighted when they heard this (that, at the rejection of the Word by the Jews, the Gentiles would take priority in Paul and Barnabas’ teaching time) and (they) glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. Acts_13:14,43-52
Yes, beloved, unfortunately, there will be those who reject Jesus. We, like the apostles, will do our best to teach them His word. But in the end, if they still reject Him, like the apostles, we will shake the dust of their stubbornness off our feet and move on. And even when they insist on verbally and physically abusing us because of Jesus, we will stand firm and look forward to the Heavenly reward Jesus promised for those who persevere.
John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev_7:9,14b-17
Not JUST our Hope!
THIS is our Faith!
OH and a very happy Mother’s day to all who are blessed with that title. You are all extremely loved by your children and our Lord. We thank you for YOUR love for us.
May 11, 2019
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. Jn_6:60-69
The Church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers. Acts_9:31-42
This period, that Luke describes in the Acts of the Apostles, may have been the only time in ALL of history that the Church was “at peace.” It certainly is not now and it was not even at peace in the time of Jesus, where John describes all of the challenges Jesus faced, not only by the religious leaders, but even by those who were following him.
It just prompts us to ask of ourselves, where do I stand in my peace with the Church. Do I believe in some and not believe in other aspects of her dogma and traditions? Am I struggling with the issues of clergy abuse, clericalism, secrecy, or the whole huge topic of sexuality (not only in the Church but in the world as well)?
Maybe it’s time to go back to the Truth of the Scriptures and the Catechism and then back to our own strong faith in Jesus. Yes, the Church is composed of men and women who are not infallible. But Jesus IS! So keep your faith and actions in Him and His teachings and He will see us through to His peace with the help of the Holy Spirit. And all those other trivialities will fade into nothingness when we attain to His Kingdom both, in our hearts now and in our eternal residence in His Kingdom to come!
The Peace of Christ be with you always, beloved!
It IS the peace of LOVE!
May 10, 2019
(St. Damien de Veuster, Priest)
Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him (Saul), he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength. Acts_9:1-20
Sometimes, beloved, we may have scales hindering our sight, and not even know it. Saul was blindly obedient to a law that called for love and kindness to one another while his actions were blindly intolerant to a truth that was staring him in the face. Jesus was the God, the Messiah they were waiting for all along.
And sometimes it takes falling into that pit, it takes that deadly disease, or even total blindness to wake us up to the truth of our own actions. Today let’s pray for clarity of vision in our lives to open us up to the life of others all around us; those in need of a little love, a little thoughtfulness, a little Jesus!
May 9, 2019
Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” Jn_6:44-51
Enough said! We just have to believe. And if it’s a struggle, then we most likely need a little more power. The power that comes from knowing God through prayer, through the Scriptures and through our actions. If we want to live forever, we have to first learn how to live! And God teaches us exactly that.
May 8, 2019
Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. . . . For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.” Jn_6:35-40
There’s an old proverb that prompted the question, “What’s the difference between the Jewish son who didn’t believe in Moses, and the one who did?” Well, the one who did, was saved!
And then there’s another one that goes like this: “What’s the difference between the unleavened bread of the Pharisees and the Italian bread of Lazarus?” Well, the Italian bread was raised on the last day! (ha,ha)
Now they may sound a little silly, but these quirky questions helped the young children to remember the importance of BELIEF, the importance of being SAVED, and the importance of RESURRECTION in the Biblical stories.
As adults, it’s really fun to see those ties between the Old Testament stories and the actual events in the Life of Jesus. Events like the Passover Lamb’s blood on the doorposts and the Lord’s blood on the cross; like Ezekiel’s vision of a river, flowing from the Temple of God, and the actual river of Life flowing from the pierced side of Jesus, (who is God, our true Temple); and like the Passover bread, the manna from heaven, and the covenant bread of Jesus’ Last Supper.
And then it’s even more revealing to see those same ties from the life of Jesus to our own lives. Like the spilled blood of Jesus, 2000-years ago and His Sacramental Blood in our Eucharist today; like the water that flowed from the pierced side of Jesus on the cross and the baptismal water that flowed over us, in our entrance into God’s Church; and like the bread of that Last Supper, (the bread that Jesus insisted was actually Himself, when He said, “I am the Bread of Life,”) and the Bread of our Eucharist, the true Body of Christ, that brings us Life in Him.
You see, when we can truly and honestly BELIEVE in this Jesus, this Jesus who came in the flesh (out of God’s pure love) and died for us, then, just like the leavened bread (of the kid’s proverb), and just like Lazarus (resuscitated from death), and just like Jesus Himself (resurrected), we will be RAISED on our “Last Day.” And just like the believing Israelites (in the time of Moses and Jesus), we will be SAVED for Eternal Life in that Kingdom of Love that Jesus promises for all of us.
This IS the will of God our Father, IF we believe!
May 7, 2019
Jesus said to the unbelieving crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jn_6:30-35
So, what will it take, beloved, for us to truly believe? Throughout His ministry, Jesus shared meals with His disciples and the crowds that followed Him. They understood the importance of eating and even more so, got to understand the importance of community. Jesus always ate in community! And at His last meal together with His disciples He made the final tie between food and community to His own life and ours. In that first Eucharistic celebration the Sacrament was consecrated. Jesus IS that bread of life, body, blood, soul and divinity, that we share together in every Mass. And by it, through Him, we grow in holiness and unity with Jesus and every other person in the world who similarly shares that Eucharistic Sacrament! No more hunger, no more thirst, Jesus is our all in all!
May 6, 2019
Jesus said to the crowds, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” Jn_6:22-29
God will provide all the nourishment our bodies need when we have faith in Him. And Jesus will provide all the spiritual nourishment we need when we follow His lead. Learn from Him, beloved, and live!
May 5, 2019
(3rd Sunday Easter, C)
The high priest questioned them (Peter and the other Apostles), “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. Acts_5:27-32,40b-41
John reported: Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.” Rev_5:11-14
Jesus said to Peter the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” Jn_21:1-19
You’re on the top of your class of twelve, though the others may have wished, or thought, that THEY were “the greatest.” You’re a little impetuous, but you always felt, THAT was better than being shy and ignored or secretly rebellious. And your lack of inhibition, in both words and actions, has gotten you: not only Satanic exorcisms, with words like: “Get behind me Satan,” but even the amazing ability to walk on water.
And yet, what do you do when your shield, your shepherd, your shelter, your security blanket is taken away? What do you do when all that’s left, in the cold, dark night, is a charcoal fire and a thousand mosquitoes buzzing in your ears? . . .
Do you love me, Peter?
Buzz, buzz, sting, sting.
Do you really love me?
Buzz, Sting, Bite!
Do you truly love me, brothers and sisters, even when the world around you seems to be crashing down upon your heads, or when you’re totally secure in your own little comfort zone?
Do you really love me???
Today’s Scriptures are rich in theological and ecclesiastical symbolism that forms the very foundation of our Church. From the boat, the untorn net and the 153-fish, we see our Church as a place of unity, and permanency, and universality.
In Peter’s 3-fold confession of love we see his restitution from a 3-fold denial of Jesus at another charcoal fire. And in his bold proclamation of faith to the Sanhedrin, we see Peter’s vindication.
In Jesus’ call of Peter to feed and to tend His sheep, the Church sees Peter as its supreme shepherd, our first Pope, following in the footsteps of Jesus.
In the charcoal meal of fish and bread we’re reminded of the ‘Multiplication of Loaves,’ the Passover Supper, and our own Eucharistic celebrations of thanksgiving and praise and glory to God.
And, beyond these few examples, volumes more have been written on the symbolism of these particular Scriptures.
But today, I’d like to share with you a personal story of reflection on this Love, that Peter and we have been so deeply interrogated about.
It all began a little over a month ago when I decided to cut down a huge thorn-locust tree in my back yard. It was one of those trees with the finger-long thorns that painfully pierce and scratch your arms and your head whenever you try to mow the lawn anywhere near it.
It reminded me of Jesus’ parable about the fruitless fig tree that the gardener pleaded to save for just one more year. Except this tree was much, much worse. And its time was long overdue.
So revving up my 18″ chainsaw, I proceeded to cut a “notch” in its trunk, giving that tree a precise direction for its eventual fall. Next, I made my “felling cut” from the opposite side, carefully anticipating the familiar, “Crack” and “Crash” of accomplishment. Any of you, who have ever ‘felled a tree,’ know the exhilaration of those mighty sounds. Remember when we were kids, and we used to yell, “Timmm – Burrrrrr”
Unfortunately, in the case of my nasty thorn tree, it was just NOT to be. So I cut and I cut, until it was severed all the way through to the notch on the other side. And STILL, that tree would not fall!
Next, I tied a rope around its thorny trunk, and attempted to yank it down with my tractor. (I’ve been told that unless you’re an expert at this stuff, Don’t try this at home!) In the process, all I managed to accomplish was to drag that 30-foot tree off its 20-inch stump, to be firmly planted – UPRIGHT in the dirt.
I was beginning to wonder if, just maybe, the Lord didn’t want that tree down, quite as much as I did.
Well, to make a long story short, after more cuts and more tractor pulls, I finally got it down, a half a day later.
It was all – pretty exhausting.
But before I quit for the day, I insisted on chopping up all the branches and the logs into manageable pieces. Which itself, took another few hours.
Well, it wasn’t until two-days later that I felt like one of those thorns had grown by 3-feet, and was stabbing itself through my back and deep into my abdomen. With pain so bad that I couldn’t even put my own socks on, I wondered how I was ever going to carry that 4-foot candle in procession, all around the Church at the Easter Vigil.
And it was in that moment, that the voice of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Joseph, do you Love me?”
By the time Sunday rolled around, the pain was so excruciating, that I couldn’t even get my legs out of bed, let alone make it to Mass.
And again He cried out,
“Joseph, do you Love me?”
You see, brothers and sisters, what we learn, is that life goes on, despite the pain.
Jesus forgives us, despite our failures, despite our weaknesses, despite our ignorance. Despite it all, Jesus STILL loves us! But, Do WE Love Him, even in the pain, even in the false security of our wonderful independence?
“Feed my sheep,”
Stand up for what you believe, just like St. Paul did, even in the face of death. And tell the world that there IS Hope, despite the pain, despite the thorns, and even despite Satan’s stubborn opposition to God’s plan for us . . .
We ARE God’s people of Hope.
So here we sit, before the charcoal fire of God’s unfathomable LOVE for us, confessing our (meager) love for Jesus.
And yet, TOGETHER, united in Eucharistic thanksgiving, along with every living creature in the universe (as revealed to us by God through St. John), together, with a Love that burns Eternal in our hearts, we too cry out: “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb,” while Jesus invites us, as well, to:
May 4, 2019
The Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the Apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. Acts_6:1-7
Today the Bishop of our diocese ordained thirteen men as new deacons. In the footsteps of St. Stephen, in the footsteps of the Apostles, in the footsteps of Jesus our Lord, a new journey begins for these men and their communities. We are joined in diaconal brotherhood with 13 new souls to carry out the mission of St. Stephen and his Spirit-filled brothers. Pray, beloved for their mission and for all who serve the Lord as Ordained priests, deacons and bishops. Pray for those who have devoted their lives to the Lord in religious orders. And pray for our laity who trust in these men and women to offer their lives for the salvation of everyone. May our loving God bless you always, and give you His peace!
May 3, 2019
(Ss. Philip and James (Lesser), Apostles)
Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jn 14:6-14
Sometimes we have to wonder if the Apostles, especially Thomas and Philip, from what was written of them, were not ancestors of the early Missourians, because, as zealous in their faith as they were, they would just not believe every aspect of what Jesus was telling them, unless they saw it for themselves. We might call them “the Show-me Apostles!”
But, you know what? I think the concept of “Seeing is believing,” goes far beyond just Thomas and Philip. I think, to some extent, that skepticism is ingrained in all of us; especially in a society overwhelmed with dishonest salesmanship and media lies. . . .
We’re hesitant to buy that car, or to vote that candidate, or to support that cause, unless we’ve proven to ourselves that what was said about them was really true. And that aspect of human nature is not just modern. Even Pilate asked Jesus, what “Truth” was, some 2000-years ago.
By the time Jesus made this statement about Himself and His Father that we heard in John’s Gospel today, He had been together with the Apostles for 3-long years. You would think that after all that time, they would have finally got it: they would have fully understood that Jesus and His Father are One, both in “works” and in “word.”
And in the same vein, you would think that after 60, or 80, or 90-some years of Christian Life, WE would finally get those concepts of death, and salvation, and eternal life, so thoroughly, that there would be absolutely no hesitation, no fragment of a doubt about a Heaven that we’ve never seen, but have been preached about, for a zillion times. We should be so incredibly excited about Heaven, that, like a child on Christmas Eve, we just can’t wait to open that most magnificent Gift of God to us.
And yet, we also know that our time is NOT God’s time. We know that if we open that package before it’s time (death), it will be empty. And that “its time” may just require a little suffering, a little aging, a little preparation.
We know that the skepticism of our human natures still lives within us. And we know that Life is NOT about anxiously awaiting Christmas, but it IS about living every day instead, as if it were.
Today, both St. Paul and Jesus are emphasizing the importance of works in our Faith. And St. James strengthens that notion of works and Faith in his letter to the dispersed, Jewish Christian faithful of the late-First Century.
For, you see, it’s through those works, and in that Faith in Jesus, that we are given the opportunity to make every-day another Christmas, both for ourselves and for others.
Philip, James, Thomas, Paul and Jesus all gave their lives working to spread that Gospel message of God’s love for us. And in our Creed, we profess that we believe in ALL things visible and INVISIBLE.
So, YES, we may be from the “Show-Me State” of Missouri. And YES, we may still have that discerning, skeptical nature of humanity within us. But, thanks be to God, through our Faith in Jesus and in our works of Love for one another, we know that everything we do as Catholic Christians, is done for the Glory of God and for the Building of that INVISIBLE Kingdom that binds us together, forever in His love.
May 2, 2019
(St. Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus said, “The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” Jn_3:31-36
Jesus again insisted that if salvation and eternal life are our goals, then we must believe in Him. But on the other hand, if death and wrath are our goals, then all we have to do is NOT believe. Sadly, beloved, there are many of God’s beloved children who refuse to believe, who savor death and darkness and who propel their evil on others. We are children of light! And with the Holy Spirit’s control of our lives, we will be protected from the evils of Satan. But we have to be open to follow His guidance. And sometimes that may even hurt. But it’s a hurt that is well worth the temporary suffering in order to gain the eternal life that God promises to us who DO believe!
May 1, 2019
(St. Joseph the Worker)
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. Jn_3:16-21
And there’s the WHY, beloved! God’s boundless love for everyone! All we have to do is believe it! Maybe we can’t love to that extreme. Maybe we all seem to judge and condemn one another. But, you see, we are NOT God. And “thanks be to God,” we’re not, and He is. Would you want anything less? And yet, what we CAN do is – work on it. One little love at a time: the one who slighted us, the one who ignored us, the one who hurt someone we love, the one who wrongly judged us. One little love at a time. One little forgiveness. One little swallowing of pride, of vengeance and we’re on our way. YES, it’s not easy. And NO, we’ll never be quite like God. But trying sure does make us feel a lot better about ourselves. And then, wouldn’t we want everyone to have that same feeling! So, if we missed it today, well tomorrow always offers us another chance! And Jesus is ALWAYS there to help! Thanks be to God!!!
Happy May, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
Please stop by and visit April’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
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