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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October 31, 2019
What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom_8:31b-39
We were born, beloved, to be IN LOVE with God.
And Jesus is the proof!
October 30, 2019
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Lk_13:22-30
So, we are called to be vigilant in our Spiritual Exercise. Through prayer, study and action we will gain that strength. Jesus isn’t looking for couch potatoes who look and learn and listen and do nothing about it all. The “narrow gate” requires fitness, beloved. Come, let us glory in the Lord and share the Hope of the resurrection life!
October 29, 2019
“Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.” Mt 11:25
Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.’” Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” Lk_13:18-21
Youthful, patient endurance for enormous growth!
When we were children, beloved, we hoped for a world of great possibilities. And as that world slowly beat all the hope out of us, we turned what was left to survival, to healing, and to a better generation, yet to come. And yet, also living what seems to be an eternal autumn, our hopes turn to a new springtime. And we prepare this seed (of ourselves), in patient endurance, to yield a new tree. A tree with such magnificence that all the preparation will seem as nothing, a mustard seed, in comparison to the wonder, the beauty, the size and the perfection of what is to come. And we trust, in faith, that this is exactly what Jesus had in store for each and every one of us. This IS our true hope and this is His promise!
October 28, 2019
(Ss. Simon and Jude, Apostles)
Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Eph_2:19-22
So, beloved, we have become that “Temple” of God, both individually and together with all of God’s Holy Church. God’s Church here on earth and in the heavenly realm. Those living in the now, those who dwell in eternity, and those yet to come. We are all One, one body of Christ, one Temple of God.
October 27, 2019
(30th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
The one who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens. Sir_35:12-14,16-18
When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Ps_34
St. Paul wrote, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2_Tm_4:6-8,16-18
Jesus told a parable about two men’s prayers, one boastfully proud and the other, a humble tax collector. “the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk_18:9-14
Yes, beloved, God does listen to all of our prayers. And He knows our hearts as well. When our prayers are made in humility and respect and love of God and one another, they’re much more likely to be answered. So we are to seek first our motive and then ask in humility and in thanksgiving for what we have already been given!
October 26, 2019
St. Paul said, “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.” Rom_8:1-11
LIFE in the Spirit, Beloved! Open your hearts and souls to accept the Spirit of God to totally convert your life! Close the door to sin and death and discover God’s life within you!
October 25, 2019
St. Paul wrote, “I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom_7:18-25a
Do you ever fight with yourself, beloved? Sometimes it can be worse than fighting with someone else. You just can’t get away! St. Paul reminds us today that we CAN get relief, when we put our faith in Jesus. No, we don’t have the capability to escape from our mortal desires and feelings and shortcomings. But we do have a Lord who knows exactly what it’s like being human. And He overcame precisely what we feel we can’t. Trust in Him, beloved and all will be well. And we CAN live in peace – even with ourselves, when we have Jesus there in our hearts!!!
October 24, 2019
(St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop)
St. Paul wrote, “now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom_6:19-23
And those wages are payment for work. The work of sin pays us back in death. But the Gift is not payment for anything. It is freely given out of God’s love for us. And that gift, in our surrender of the work of sin, is true life in Christ – forever!
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Lk_12:49-53
You see, beloved, that “surrender” of something that we are so comfortable with (sin) is not an easy task. It’s a baptismal washing away, a death and rebirth. And Jesus came to give us a hand with it – IF we choose to let Him. Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive.” Allow Him to burn it all away, beloved, and then accept His Gift of new life, of eternal life in righteousness and joy and peace, despite what the “world” contradicts!
October 23, 2019
(St. John of Capistrano, Priest)
Continuing on His theme of vigilance, preparedness and righteousness, Jesus’ parable of the faithful and prudent steward today ends: “That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Lk_12:39-48
Jesus speaks today, of the requirements and the demands of being God’s servants. And He tells us that there will be no slackers!
By our baptisms, beloved, we have become those servants. We may be ignorant of ALL of the requirements of the Old and New Testaments and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but, at the very least, we are aware of God’s call to love one another. And yet, Jesus tells us that ignorance does not get us off the hook, allowing us to get away with hatred, when we know that we’re supposed to love – or at least not hate. This is the Law that God wrote in every one of our hearts.
On the other hand, if we’ve grown anywhere beyond our infant baptism in the Church, we are now called to even greater responsibilities. We are called to help our fellow humanity in their needs (Christian or not). We are called to teach others the meaning of God’s love, and how it helps us all to feel better about ourselves. And we are called to avoid sin.
Now that last one may be a little more difficult, because out there in the world there is a whole army devoted to tripping us up into sin. Hatred and revenge fill our movie and TV plots. The news is filled with all the evil in the world. Evil that sparks more hatred in our hearts, even to the extreme of our displeasure with the weather and naturally occuring events. We become so over-sensitized to everything that is not exactly to our liking that absolutely nothing is EVER to our liking.
You see, that hatred is the root and cause of our – not only hating inanimate objects and conditions, but then, even our own brothers and sisters who, by no cause of their own, are a little different from us.
We may blame our anger and hatred and dissatisfaction with everything, on our human nature, but that is not the nature that God has imbued in our souls. And we can know that, with absolute certainty, by the battle that rages within us when we have those bitter feelings, those sins.
You see, nobody needs to beat us up, whether lightly or severely, because of our divergence from God’s Law of Love, we do it ourselves. And it hurts a lot more when we know we’re doing wrong, than when we’re not aware of it. And even if we’re not aware of our wrong-doing, we’ll find out soon enough through its consequences.
So, how do we escape that world of enticement to sin? Well, thanks be to God for His love, in sending Jesus, who redeems us. And thanks be to God for Jesus, sending the Holy Spirit to guide us in righteousness. And thanks be to God for His Church, who leads us in prayer, in knowledge, and in holiness through the Sacraments. Jesus never said that this worldly life would be easy. God knows, it wasn’t easy for Him. But, thanks be to God, as Catholic Christians we can not only make the best of it, but we can make it better for those who have yet to know Him.
October 22, 2019
(St. John Paul II, Pope)
Jesus said, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.” Lk_12:35-38
Our constant reminder of vigilance. Jesus reminds us, pleads with us and warns us to always remain faithful to the Gospel of Life. And we do that by keeping God’s commandments, loving one another and doing everything with a thankful heart. And when Jesus returns for His final harvest, we WILL be ready!
October 21, 2019
Jesus said, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” . . . And to the wealthy, greedy one He said ‘this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” Lk_12:13-21
If we think that all there is to life is merely what we see and physically have in the now, then, we’re greatly missing the big picture, beloved.
If we were to consider the time of the entire span of our life as a distance, it might extend from here to all the way around the world (though it would actually be much farther, infinity). And in that case, the physical, birth-to-death portion of that life would be less than the span of a grain of sand. And within the time of that grain of sand we have been graced by God to make the decision, the choice, as to whether we want the rest of that globe’s time span of ours to be with God or not.
If we choose it to be with Him, then we’ll recognize the insignificance of worldly pleasures and possessions in comparison to the eternal joy we gain by bringing Christ’s love to others, regardless of any sacrifice or cost, in this short, grain of sand time span of our physical now!
May His peace and love be with you always, beloved!
October 20, 2019
(29th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. 2_Tm_3:14-4:2
Jesus said, “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Lk_18:1-8
It’s up to us, beloved, to see that He does!
October 19, 2019
(St. John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs)
Brothers and sisters: It was not through the law that the promise was made to Abraham and his descendants that he would inherit the world, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. Rom_4:13,16-18
Faith LEADS to righteousness! When we believe in Jesus with all our hearts and minds and souls, then all we do will reflect that belief, that love. And our Faith and good works, just like Abraham, will lead to our salvation, through Jesus who loves us!
October 18, 2019
(St. Luke, Evangelist)
St. Paul wrote, At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. 2_Tm_4:10-17b
Jesus sent His disciples out on a mission to preach the Good News to all who would hear, and said, “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’” Lk_10:1-9
Jesus sent his disciples out on a mission to spread the Good News of God’s love. But it was by no means a haphazard commissioning. The disciples were trained and sent specifically to those towns that Jesus had planned on visiting.
It was a highly effective advertising campaign. And by the time Jesus reached those towns, the people were not only open to hearing what Jesus had to say, but they were excited and motivated to learn more. It was the beginning of a world-wide network of training and evangelization schools.
From “the 12,” and from “the 72,” and from those who would follow in their footsteps, the whole world would learn of the loving mercy of God and what His Plan IS for every one of them.
Of course, as we’ve seen, and as we know by experience, there are always those who will obstinately refuse to listen or believe. And St. Paul was one of them. But His story teaches us that even the obstinate can be converted. And more often than not, it is that tough convert who is the most zealous and fearless of teachers.
St. Paul told Christ’s story of life and hope at the risk and at the actual cost, of great peril to his own life. And he made that cost well known through his letters. From beatings, to imprisonment to shipwreck, abandonment, isolation and eventually even martyrdom, Paul would proclaim that Good News more like the wolf than the lamb. But like the wolf who was out to devour Souls for their own Salvation, instead of as flesh for his own self-preservation.
And then there was Luke. By no means short on his own challenges with persecution, Dr. Luke was more like the lamb who preferred the intellectual, ordered and structured evangelization-style of a written record of the life and times of Jesus.
Thus, we have the Third Gospel, the Gospel of Luke, which begins as an instructional letter to his dear protege, Theophilus, a lover of God.
You see, there really are many different styles of evangelization. But they all have the point of showing the world that there is more to life than just cell phones and pocketbooks. There is more to life than just power and fame.
God has a Plan for every one of us.
And it’s a Plan of LOVE!
And Jesus shows us exactly how it works, with the help of the Holy Spirit, our Gospels, and our Church.
You see, brothers and sisters, somewhere deep within every one of us, there’s a Story. And once we get beyond the muck and the fires, and the earthquakes, there’s also something very Beautiful. And in the beauty, when we look close enough, there we’ll find our Jesus. And there’s the Story that we’ve been personally blessed to share, just like Paul, and just like Luke. It’s our Gift, and it’s God’s Plan that we use it to bring His light and love into the world. And THAT’s the Kingdom we seek!
October 17, 2019
(St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr)
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication. If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered. I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the LORD more than sentinels wait for the dawn. Ps_130
Our hope rests in the Lord, who is our light and our salvation. Only in God is there mercy and forgiveness and fullness of redemption. For we are born and burdened down in our sin and our downfall lies always before us. But you O God are there to pick us up, even from the depths of the pit. We savor Your kindness and we hope in your salvation, for we are humble of heart and loving of all Your Creation. Thanks be to God our Father for the Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and for all of Your boundless Love!
October 16, 2019
(St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin)
Jesus said: “Woe to you Pharisees! . . . Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.” Lk_11:42-46
Hmmmm, we should never prod a growling bear, never buzz a fly-swatting human and never judge a judging Lord. Rather than attacking in self-defense those who judge, or rashly accuse someone of an offense, we should look inside and, as Jesus said yesterday, “cleanse the inside of the cup first.” The Lord will eventually judge all. So unless we are willing to correct others purely for the sake of their own salvation, we should keep our differences to ourselves and just try to be as holy as we can be ourselves. Most times a lesson is learned much better by example than by direction or rebuke! Follow Jesus!
October 15, 2019
(St. Teresa of Avila, Virgin and Doctor of the Church)
St. Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters: I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” Rom_1:16-25
The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. Heb_4:12
Our call, beloved, to fall in love with the Gospel! Jesus is our life, and how can we have that unless we know Him intimately!
Today Jesus tells us, “give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” Lk_11:37-41
. . . For it is in the spirit of Giving and Thanksgiving that we will become One with Him and one another! And our hearts will revel in His JOY!
October 14, 2019
Jesus said, “At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” Lk_11:29-32
Yes, Lord, we have offended you. Please forgive us and we will change our ways. We will LOVE. We will put away hatred. We will calm down and listen and give and thank! Yes, Nineveh we hear you. Yes Jesus we hear you and we promise by your grace to REPENT!
October 13, 2019
(28th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.
Naaman said: “. . . please let me, your servant, have two mule loads of earth, for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD.” 2_Kgs_5:14-17
St. Paul said, “Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.” 2_Tm_2:8-13
Of ten lepers whom Jesus healed, one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Lk_17:11-19
People sometimes ask me, “Where are you from?” It’s an interesting question, because for some people, and I’m one of them, it’s difficult to give the exact WHERE – without the WHEN, since we’ve lived in many different places over the years.
And yet, the answer to that question also depends on where – it was asked. From anywhere BUT Columbia, my answer is usually, “Columbia, Missouri,” since we’ve lived here for the past 30-years. But if someone asked me that same question in the back of Church, it would be a little tougher to answer, because I can take them on a journey across half the country.
On the other hand, if you were to ask one of my 5th Graders where THEY came from, you would get the immediate response: “That I came from God and my parents;” which is really, the same answer, that any one of us can give.
And IF we’re ALL from God and our parents, then it doesn’t matter if we are physically from New Jersey or Tokyo, from Islamabad or El Salvador: we are all related! And we are all family!
But what bounces around in these little brains and hearts of ours, that’s another story.
You see the secret to a happy existence in this Life of ours, where-ever else we may be from, is always keeping that Relationship between God and ALL of us in the forefront of our thoughts. We are ALL from God, with a little help from our parents!
Now, if we look at just that little, telescopic, snapshot, in the middle of the Naaman Story, that we heard in our First Reading today, we will have missed the point that this man, Naaman, was NOT from around there!
As a matter of fact, not only was Naaman from across enemy lines, but he was considered a highly successful Commander of the Army – that devastated Israel.
And when this foreign, enemy Commander approached the King of Israel for a favor, the King was so distraught, that he literally tore his clothes off. It was a sign of total surrender and fear, even though the guy was hopelessly covered with leprous sores.
It just makes us ponder, brothers and sisters: How do WE respond to that unexpected stranger? How do we respond to the homeless guy or gal who parks their backpack on the front doorstep of our Church, for some overnight shelter, at what they think is a “safe place?” Do we tear our clothes in fear, like the King? Do we sneer in anger or disgust and chase them away, like an unwanted fly? Or do we welcome that foreign stranger, just as Jesus would have; or just as the Prophet Elisha DID with Naaman, the Syrian leper?
You see, Naaman’s whole reason for making this, pretty risky trip into HIS enemy territory, was all based on a recommendation that he heard from a little Israelite girl, whom HE had captured, separated from her family and enslaved, years earlier. You see, Naaman didn’t want to BE there, any more than they didn’t want him there. But, for the reward of a healing, Naaman felt that it was well worth the risk.
And when he finally got to his destination, to the place of his redemption, he was told, by a Messenger, and not even Elisha himself, to perform this ludicrous act of plunging himself into the dirty, muddy water of the Jordan River.
It was the absolute limit of his humiliation tolerance. Yet, there he was just minutes away from the most magnificent experience of his entire life, and he almost missed it!
You know, sometimes we just have to surrender to the ludicrous to experience the Extraordinary!
Well, we all heard the rest of the Naaman story. Not only was he cured, but he was totally converted to Faith in the God of Israel. Naaman was SO converted, that, thinking Elisha’s God resided only there, in the Land of Israel, he wanted to take some of Israel’s ‘God-infused-dirt’ back home to dwell with him in Syria.
You know, I’m one of those junk collectors. And I’ve got sand from Dubai, volcanic rock from Hawaii, seashells from Florida and petrified wood from my parents honeymoon (all legal). But none of those souvenirs holds a candle to the Holy Dirt that Naaman was after!
And how could Elisha take that gesture as anything other than extraordinary thanksgiving, even though he knew that God really resides in all of our hearts, no matter where – WE ARE FROM.
All Naaman needed now, was a little Catechesis. And he had the perfect little girl to teach him. A little girl captured by evil, but sent by God, just like St. Paul, in chains!
St. Paul tells his disciple Timothy and us today, that “the Word of God is NOT chained.” It’s not chained to a place or an economy. It’s not chained to a ritual, or a culture, or a language, or a race. God’s love and grace have absolutely NO bounds, save for what WE refuse to accept, just like Naaman almost did.
Which brings us to the ten Galilean and Samaritan lepers of our Gospel. Like Naaman, they were all hopelessly cursed with an incurable and totally debilitating skin disease. And like Naaman, the Samaritan leper was not only a foreigner, but an enemy to the Jews.
So when Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priest, as was the Jewish custom, the Samaritan was torn as to WHERE to go. He wasn’t a Jew, so he couldn’t present himself to their priests. And his own Samaritan priests would just shun him for even speaking with Jesus, who WAS a Jew.
And yet, his healing was SO very REAL. It was real enough to make him want to shout in glory to God . . . Somewhere, somewhere! Where ARE You From, Oh God of my salvation?
Well, just like the Messenger that Elisha sent to bring healing to Naaman; a messenger who embodied the very spirit of Elisha, who embodied the very Spirit of God, God, Himself sent HIS Messenger, in human flesh, who IS the very Spirit of God, this Jesus, to bring healing to us.
And just like Naaman, that “healed,” Samaritan leper realized exactly that! And he bowed down in worship and Thanksgiving . . .
– to the God who loves – even the foreigner;
– to the God who saves – even the lost;
– and to the God who lives, not somewhere beyond the clouds, but right there in our own hearts!
As we come to His altar today, in Thanksgiving, in Eucharistia, for every breath we take, we remember our world-wide family.
And we remember exactly WHERE we are
ALL – really – FROM.
October 12, 2019
Jesus said, “.. blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Lk_11:27-28
And the Angels sang . . .
– “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
– Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
– Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
– Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
– Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
– Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
– Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
– Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
– Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” Mt_5:3-12
October 11, 2019
(St. John XXIII, Pope)
The Prophet Joel said, “Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the elders, all who dwell in the land, Into the house of the LORD, your God, and cry to the LORD! Alas, the day! For near is the day of the LORD, and it comes as ruin from the Almighty. Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all who dwell in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming;” Jl_1:13-15;2:1-2
Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” . . . “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Lk_11:15-26
Judgment, Accusation, Condemnation and Annihilation . . .
After a week of hearing about God’s mercy and forgiveness, about prayer, and persistence, and belief, today ‘the rubber hits the road’ as we hear about the consequences of disbelief and rebellion against God, and about the urgency and importance of being prepared.
The writings of the Prophet Joel, that we heard in our First Reading, were especially somber, as Israel, at the time, was under a devastating siege of locusts and life itself was literally ‘in the balance.’
But it was a good reminder of our own need to always be on the alert against both Physical and Spiritual attacks on our lives.
Physically, being prepared for things like fires and earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes, or even direct violence against us.
And Spiritually, being prepared for attacks on our Faith, just as Jesus was attacked, by the skeptics, the Pharisees, and the unbelievers.
After preaching love, healing incurable sicknesses, and expelling demons, the accusation that Jesus was working with Beelzebul or Satan, made absolutely NO sense. And Jesus made that obviously clear in His rebuttal.
Anyone, whether it’s a government or a corporation, or a family, or even our own internal, psychological condition, IF it’s fighting against itself, it will NEVER stand.
And it’s in the weaknesses of those struggles against one’s self, that nations and corporations, families and We are most vulnerable. Without a moral compass, without a strong leader, without authority, and consequence, and urgency, an empty soul will simply be filled with all the evil the world has to offer.
And it’s only by the Grace of God that WE, as Catholic Christians can recognize our Creator and Redeemer and Sanctifier as filling all of those needs.
Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me.”
You see, beloved, when we are with Jesus, both here in community and out there in the world, we ARE that moral compass, that strong leader, that reminder of the importance, the consequence and the urgency of Faith in God, just as Joel and all the Prophets were!
We are God’s messengers, sent to save a world, lost in its own emptiness. And we can be very proud of that Mission. It may not always be easy. It will take prayer, persistence and strong belief, even in the face of opposition, but for the reward of eternal salvation, for the sake of saving souls from eternal damnation, and for the joy of living life, filled with the Holy Spirit, both now and forever – it’s well worth it!
As we come to His Table of Life today, allow the Lord Jesus to immerse us in the Joy of being ONE with Him. And let that Joy-in-us be a light to guide our entire day!
October 10, 2019
Jesus told His disciples a parable about a neighbor who was reluctant to help his friend in need. He concluded, “I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.”
He continued, “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. . . . What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?” Lk_11:5-13
In his rebuke against the wickedness of the nation, the Prophet Malachi noted, ‘Then they who fear the LORD spoke with one another, and the LORD listened attentively; And a record book was written before him of those who fear the LORD and trust in his name. And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my own special possession, on the day I take action.‘ Mal_3:13-20b
Continuing in answer to His disciples request, yesterday, to teach them how to pray, Jesus, today, speaks of the need for persistence in their prayer and belief that their prayers will be effective.
Of course, when WE pray, we always throw in that caveat, “If it be God’s will.” But you know what? Most of the time that’s just our excuse to say that we DON’T really, truly honestly – BELIEVE! It’s our scapegoat to give us someone to blame if it doesn’t go – just our way. We say, “It must not have been God’s will: that so-and-so died, that so-and-so got cancer, that I didn’t win the lottery this week.”
So let’s cut out that, “If it be God’s will” piece, and go all the way back to what we’re actually asking for and why. And to do that, we might first ask ourselves: Is this prayer just for our own personal satisfaction, or is it for the good of the community, the good of the needy, the good of the world?
Is it something we really NEED, or do we already have it and are just not making good use of it, like the increase in faith, the disciples asked for in Sunday’s Gospel. If you remember, Jesus never really told them how to increase their faith. But He did tell them that they already had more faith than they even realized, and they were not even using a mustard seed’s worth of it. So, we don’t really need to pray for what we already have. And we really do have QUITE a bit.
And then, we might consider: Are we asking for the snake and the scorpion, instead of the fish and the egg? Jesus didn’t say that the Father would give his child the snake! And yet, look at all the snakes we give to our children and our grandchildren, and even ourselves. The stores are filled with them!
You see, maybe the key to belief in answered prayer is asking the right things from the very start. And equally, if not more important, is recognizing when they’re answered, and then giving thanks!
A wise man once said, “For every one Ask – there should be nine Thanks.” And if we’ve got toes, that should be 19 – Thank you’s.
It was exactly this aspect of prayer that the first Israelites who returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile, missed. Because in their freedom, they totally forgot the God who saved them. And it took an anonymous ‘Messenger,’ who called himself Malachi, to remind them that they were lucky they even had 19 fingers and toes, let alone a place to call Home, only BECAUSE of the God who Loved them, and Blessed them, and Set them apart from the wicked.
You see, God is not our scapegoat for a lost gambling ticket.
And God is not the blame for anyone’s timely or untimely death.
And God is not the answer to why there’s evil in the world.
But He is our comfort, despite it all! He is our fear, that keeps us in line. And He is our Blessing and our Hope and our Salvation.
If we were to pray to God for ONE thing: From the Prophet Malachi’s words today, we should be praying for more Fear and Respect of God’s Holy Name in the world.
For the truly greatest Fear of all Creation is – Eternal Life without God!
And WE can give thanks to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit for freeing us from that calamity, when we truly and persistently BELIEVE!
October 9, 2019
(St. Denis, Bishop and Companions, Martyrs)
The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” Lk_11:1-4
God said to Jonah, “Have you reason to be angry over the plant?” “I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.” Then the LORD said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?” Jon_4:1-11
God has a plan for every one of us. And Jonah was having a little bit of a hard time understanding it.
Ever get to the end of your rope, beloved, ready to cash in your chips and be done with it all?
And then there are those Christians, smiling at us all the time, even though we know they’re poor, even though we know they’re suffering. And we just have to wonder: How do they do it? And why are they always pouring cold water over all my fiery anger, over all my self-pity?
Well, Jonah thought he was doing all the right things; and that he had a perfectly valid reason for every little thing he did. But he never realized that his train was on the wrong tracks, that his reasoning was flawed, and that there was another side to his one-sided picture of life.
You see, Jonah felt that God called him to do the impossible. And he knew that he couldn’t fight God, so instead, he fled. And in His flight, Jonah learned that there really IS no place that anyone can ever hide from God. In his epic poem, Francis Thompson called our Omnipresent God, “The Hound of Heaven.”
And yet, if we truly are seeking a hiding place from God; and if we feel that God has become the enemy of all of our self righteousness, then, just maybe, we’re the ones needing His mercy and forgiveness.
Maybe WE are the ones who need to remember the repentance part of the Lord’s Prayer – about ‘forgiving us – as we forgive others.’
And maybe we’re the ones who need to be seeing the world in a little different light, just like Jonah, in God’s light and not our own.
Sure there are times when the world really does seem to be crashing down upon us. But those are the times when we also need to put on our Christian smiley faces. Those are the times we need to pray a little harder, to sing a little louder, and to read a little deeper about the boundless love and mercy of our God.
Yes, God has a plan for every one of us.
And Jesus has shown us a way, that not even death can block.
The Bishop, St. Denis held his head up high, even after it was severed from his body, because he knew that beyond the door of death, there is a Kingdom awaiting every one of us, . . .
when we remain faithful
to God’s plan of love.
October 7, 2019
(Our Lady of the Rosary)
.. the LORD sent a large fish, that swallowed Jonah; and Jonah remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. From the belly of the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God. Then the LORD commanded the fish to spew Jonah upon the shore. Jon_1:1–2:1-2,11
Salvation. Mercy. The prefiguring of our Lord’s 3-days in the belly of the earth before His resurrection. And where was all that to lead? It was to lead to OUR salvation, when we repent and turn back to God, just as it did for the repentant Ninevites, as we’ll hear tomorrow. Listen to Jesus, beloved! He IS our salvation and our life!
October 6, 2019
(27th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Jesus said, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” Lk_17:5-10
In response to Jesus’ disciples’ request to increase their faith, Jesus responds with an allegory about a master’s gratitude for servant doing his duty. Faith is a gift from God, and God will give it as He pleases. It is not for us to ask for more. We are to use the faith we have, which Jesus tells us is way more than we can even fathom. It’s up to us to rely on it, to use it and to be thankful for it. In the meantime, we do what we are “obliged” to do: keeping His commandments, loving one another and God with all our hearts, minds and souls! God will do the rest!
October 5, 2019
(St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Religious)
( Divine Mercy and the Bible Story – Part 1, Part 2 )
The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Lk_10:17-24
God’s immeasurable love gives us the power to “save” the world, just like those disciples. Share His mercy, beloved, and dwell in it forever. For Jesus came not to save the righteous, but all of us sinners! What better reason to rejoice!!!
October 4, 2019
(St. Francis of Assisi)
St. Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters: 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.” Gal_6:14-18
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_11:25-30
When we look at the lives of people like St. Paul and St. Francis, it might seem like there’s a contradiction in this statement, that we just heard from Jesus, about an “easy yoke” and a “light burden,” because their lives were pretty far from easy! And it might make us wonder if it’s ever easy to suffer for a cause that has an invisible destination.
Was it easy for Jesus, Himself, to battle with the hard-hearted and the hard-headed; to take their curses, and their beatings, and their crucifixion?
Was it easy for St. Paul or St. Francis to start up new congregations with principles that were so very different from those of the world, or really, for anyone who was martyred for their faith?
Was it easy for St. Paul, or St. Francis, or Jesus, or actually, any one of us to endure a “Lost Love,” whether it was from an infant Church, or a follower, or a disciple, or a child, or even a spouse?
You see, it really is there, in the physical and spiritual pain of the world that we truly discover this “yoke” of Jesus. It’s in the humility, the meekness, and the child-like faith, that we realize: It’s ONLY with and in God, that Love can never be lost. And it’s RIGHT THERE – that we discover those “Train Tracks” of life.
St. Paul found them in a blinding light and a bruised ego. St. Francis found them in a useless sword, in a helpless leper, and in a dark, dank prison cell. And it’s right there, and only there, in the light of Jesus, that we can discern the Railroad Tracks from the Crosstie Beams.
You see, life in the world, as we all know, is a lot different from life in the Faith. We might compare it to two Trains, one riding ON the tracks and one OFF.
Both trains have to go through long, dark tunnels. Both trains have to cross scary, high and narrow bridges. Both have to cross paths with low, swooping birds and lazy, inattentive cows. And both have to deal with stowaways and vagabonds . . . Freeloaders who don’t contribute, but still add weight to a long and treacherous journey.
Now, the train that’s ON the tracks will find its travel smooth and level. But the train that’s OFF the tracks will have to constantly deal with rocks and mud, bumps and pits.
The train that’s ON the track has a clear and definite destination, and it doesn’t even have to watch very carefully where it’s going, because the tracks know the way. While the OFF-Track train will find itself facing constant diversions and distractions that make it very easy to lose its way.
And even though both trains have heavy burdens to bear, it’s a lot easier to stay-the-course ON the tracks, than OFF.
You see, just like the child who knows, in Faith, exactly where her next meal will come from, so, our Faith will keep us On-track, no matter how many tunnels, or cows, or bridges we have to face.
And to help us on our journey, besides the Holy Spirit, we have real-life people like St. Francis, people who endured real-life problems, just like us, all for that same invisible, but Faith-driven destination – of an Eternal Life – of Joy and Peace with God! And it’s the easy yoke, the light burden, and the ON-Track train that will get us there.
Thank you, Jesus!
October 3, 2019
Jesus sent the seventy-two off on mission 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
God’s peace will not rest on a person who chooses not to accept it. All we can do is offer it. But we are not to allow its refusal to serve as a burden to us. God’s peace will return to us and we are called to shake their dust off our feet. They and their dust will remain in their state of ‘un-peacefulness’ until they choose to turn toward the Lord! Those are the ones, beloved, whom we pray for. We pray for their conversion. We pray for their awakening. We pray for their eternal lives!
May God’s peace and the love of Jesus, rest upon you, beloved, all the days of your life!
October 2, 2019
(Holy Guardian Angels)
Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.” Mt_18:1-5,10
Guardian angel dear, my hope and my fear, comfort me when the world weighs too heavily upon my shoulders, lift me when my feet become too tired to bear life’s weight, enlighten me when my foe’s arguments are beyond my understanding, protect me from the stones and arrows of my enemies, and keep me always under your wing, reminding me of my mighty, strong, merciful and loving Father. In Jesus’ Name I pray!
October 1, 2019
(St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church)
When the days for Jesus to be taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. Lk_9:51-56
What could possibly cause us, beloved, to not welcome the stranger. Is it the hat he wears, the color of her skin, the car he drives or the accent of his speech? They excluded and rejected the King of Glory, the Creator of the universe, because He was traveling to a city they disliked. Oh, how sad we become when we let such petty differences separate us. God wants us all to be welcoming, to be open to others – no matter who they are. It’s just a good check on our own attitudes. Remember Jesus and let His love overwhelm us with love for our brothers and sisters. And then, think of the smile on God’s face for what we’ve allowed – Kindness!
Happy October, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
Please come visit September’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
in monthly subcategories of – “Whispers“
Link to Previous Month’s Whispers
Link to Next Month’s Whispers
Link back to Whispers to the Wind
Link to Saint of the Day
(also in Time page, under Liturgical Seasons section)
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