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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February 29, 2020
Thus says the LORD: If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday; Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. Is_58:9b-14
Trust in Him, beloved.
With Jesus always at your side!
February 28, 2020
Thus says the LORD, “this, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!” Is_58:1-9a
There it is, beloved, THE LIST!
We ask, “What am I to do?” THIS is what we are to do! And why would I want to do that? What impact will it have on ME? . . . God will listen to us. God will answer us. We will be healed. We will find His peace. We will finally be filled! Feeling empty? Feeling missed, lonely, abandoned? Here is the secret formula. LOVE others!
And we can thank Jesus for showing us how!
February 27, 2020
I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. Dt_30:15-20
So, then, Life is not a given, it’s a choice. We ARE a PRO-Choice people. We ARE God’s people, and we choose LIFE! So when that perverted faction insists on calling themselves “Pro-Choice,” it just shows how ignorant they are of life itself. God gave the very first humans the gift of free-will or choice. If He did not we would all just be robots to His will. But we are not. We have the free will to choose – everything (unless we’re enslaved by other humans, or to SIN). Pro-Choice means choosing Life or death. Our choice, because we follow the lead of Jesus, of God, is to Choose Life. Their choice, since they do not follow God, is to choose death. They are not pro-choice, they are pro-death! And that’s a contradiction to their very own existence.
The problem is, that we can’t tell them what to do any more than God can. We can show them, we can prove to them by scientific and religious reasoning. But we cannot prohibit their “God-given” gift of Choice itself. We are Pro-Choice, because God made us so. What we can do, however, is continue to voice our objection to the choice of death over life, especially toward those who have no voice of their own – the unborn, the elderly, the handicapped.
Pray for them, beloved, ALL of them, that reason will prevail, and LIFE will be victorious! In Jesus’ Name, in God’s Love, and with the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, we pray!
February 26, 2020
Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says: In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2_Cor_5:20-6:2
So, let go of those sins, beloved, and LIVE in the life of Christ. There, is the Freedom, there, the Truth, there, the Love!
February 25, 2020
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 Alleluia Verse
Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. Jas_4:1-10
. . . and LOVE!
February 24, 2020
“The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.” Jas_3:13-18
The disciples of Jesus asked him in private, “Why could we not drive the spirit out?” He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.” Mk_9:14-29
Sometimes, beloved, faith alone is enough to bring us healing or peace or solutions to our problems. But, as Jesus just noted, sometimes we need the help of intercessory prayer. Jesus prayed to His Father. We pray to the Father through Jesus and also with the help of Mary and the saints. But it all begins with Faith!
February 23, 2020
(7th Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
Brothers and sisters: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy. 1_Cor_3:16-23
ALL of us!
The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy. “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him.” Lv_19:1-2,17-18
Keep those “Temples” holy!
Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles. Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father,” Mt_5:38-48
For all of our “Temples” are holy! And ALL of them precious in God’s eyes. (Well, maybe some of our minds may be a little warped, but our TEMPLES ARE holy!) And that’s why we pray for one another. And that’s why we never harm another’s Temple! Blessed be God, in Christ Jesus, forever!
And THAT should be enough to chew on for a long, long time!
February 22, 2020
(The Chair of St. Peter, Apostle)
Beloved: I exhort the presbyters among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. 1_Pt_5:1-4
Pray for our priests, beloved! They really need (and deserve) our prayer and support and love!
February 21, 2020
(St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
St. James wrote, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” Jas_2:14-24,26
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. . . . He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.” Mk_8:34–9:1
Today’s Scriptures are speaking to us about action in our faith. And yet, action itself can be a pretty subjective term. Is not, the paralytic who prays, day and night for his brothers and sisters, not, just as active in his faith as the young missionary who risks his life in a disease-ravaged land, to bring people to God?
You see, sometimes, the beauty of our faith is in the eye of the beholder. We can judge and condemn, or we can seek the good in others and inspire greatness. But in the end, the only true beholder that really matters in judging our faith, is God.
So we might be thinking, after hearing today’s readings, that both Jesus and St. James were being a little harsh on the actions of their listeners: James, for calling them “an ignoramus,” and Jesus for asking them for their very life itself.
But, as in all the Scriptures, it’s always important to recognize the perspective of their time and culture and situation, and then, to convert their basic message into how it fits in our own lives.
And it’s funny, because, we have a hand-full of common, non-religious idioms, or cliches that give us the same message, like: “Put your money where your mouth is;” or, “Walk the talk;” or, “Let’s make it real;” or, as St. James tells us: “Faith without works is dead.”
Both Jesus and James were facing people, who, when offered the prospect of a heavenly kingdom, of eternal life and of heavenly bliss, thought that they could sneak in a free ride – just by having the right colored ticket. The ticket called “Faith.”
You see, just because I’m wearing a crucifix, or have a ‘Jesus fish’ on my bumper, or even go to Mass every week, it doesn’t mean that I actually understand – what it means – to have the faith – that it will take to get me into heaven. Because, behind those mere symbols, I may still be despising my Priest, or my President, or even my brothers and sisters – just because they’re different from me.
And, you see, THERE is the Cross that Jesus was speaking about.
THERE is the Life that we have to sacrifice – for the sake of “the other.”
And THERE is the ACTION that makes our Faith – actually BE – Real!
When we’re willing, and DO, act pleasantly to those whom we’ve judged aren’t worth it; when we’re willing, and DO, share God’s love with others, and not just keep it to ourselves; when we truly understand that beyond the humility, beyond the pain, beyond all those fancy words that we use in our faith for what Jesus did, that it was ONLY out of PURE Love for us, us miserable sinners, that drove Him to the point of death; how can we not, in the least, feel the same and DO the same for every last human being on the earth: the aged and the unborn, the refugee, the incarcerated, the billionaire and the pauper?
And when we DO, when our love can grow to THAT point, then we WILL see – the “Power of the Kingdom,” here and now, before we ever taste death.
And that “Power” – is called Love!
February 20, 2020
My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person with shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom that he promised to those who love him? Jas_2:1-9
So, if you’re not, beloved, be poor (in mind), so that you may be rich in Spirit. And if you are poor in life, know that you can, if you so choose, be rich in the love you have to offer those who are rich in life but poor in love. In all states, we are one in union with the Love of God, through Jesus our Lord and Savior!
February 19, 2020
Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for anger does not accomplish the righteousness of God. . . . If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. Jas_1:19-27
Don’t you just love this letter of St. James, beloved! He is our sandpaper, our wake-up call, our purifying crucible. Yes! It’s not easy keeping oneself “unstained by the world,” especially when that ‘world’ constantly bombards us with everything so contrary to God’s love and mercy and forgiveness and complementarity. We really CAN get along with one another, even in our differences. We really CAN help those who are needy, rather than shunning them. We really CAN, even find agreement where it seems impossible. For nothing is impossible with God. All we need do is trust in Him, one person at a time!
February 18, 2020
Blessed is he who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proven he will receive the crown of life that he (God) promised to those who love him. Jas_1:12-18
And we all pray for each other, for strength in that perseverance. For our love drives us to want NO ONE left behind.
February 17, 2020
Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. Jas_1:1-11
Above all, ask for wisdom!
February 16, 2020
(6th Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power, and all-seeing. The eyes of God are on those who fear him; he understands man’s every deed. Sir_15:15-20
IT’S OUR CHOICE!
February 15, 2020
Jeroboam thought to himself: “The kingdom will return to David’s house. If now this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, the hearts of this people will return to their master, Rehoboam, king of Judah, and they will kill me.” After taking counsel, the king made two calves of gold and said to the people: “You have been going up to Jerusalem long enough. Here is your God, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 1_Kgs_12:26-32;13:33-34
The birth of rebellion, the birth of Death! After all the LORD had done for the Israelites, now, He could, so easily, be forgotten. Just like sheep being led by a wolf. Just like a country being led to slaughter, we in our own country must be very careful of whom we listen to and believe. Test our your premises and discern the facts from the propaganda. If it does not have to do with building community, with saving rather than destroying life, with love of all, it’s most likely not Truth. And then, hold your head up high, for no matter how hard they will still fight against you, God will be on your side!
February 14, 2020
(Ss. Cyril and Methodius)
People brought to Jesus a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. Mk_7:31-37
Our everyday prayer to God… Lord, help me to be opened!
February 13, 2020
When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God, as the heart of his father David had been. . . . So the LORD said to Solomon: “Since this is what you want, and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I enjoined on you, I will deprive you of the kingdom and give it to your servant.” 1_Kgs_11:4-13
After all that wisdom, glory and spiritual blessing, Solomon lost it! Be it temptations of the evil one, loss of fortitude or just weakness of heart, beloved, it’s never to late to lose it all! So hang in there. Depend on the Holy Spirit for your strength. And never abandon your Lord!
February 12, 2020
When the queen of Sheba witnessed Solomon’s great wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, the seating of his ministers, the attendance and garb of his waiters, his banquet service, and the burnt offerings he offered in the temple of the LORD, she was breathless. 1_Kgs_10:1-10
Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” . . . Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” “But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” Mk_7:14-23
Today’s Scriptures offer us snapshots of two different witnesses.
The Queen of Sheba was witness to what can happen when someone dedicates their entire life to God. King Solomon, was not only filled with the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, but that Spiritual Wisdom resulted in a life of physical wealth for Solomon, as well.
The Queen was astounded by both.
And, it was not only the impact that Solomon’s faith and wisdom had on himself, but how it reflected on the servants, and the culture, and absolutely everything else in the kingdom of Israel, that amazed the Queen.
Sometimes we can get so hardened by the ignorance, the selfishness and the evil in the world, that a glimpse of true faith, true love, and spiritual wisdom can, like the queen, just take our breath away!
It’s a hope in life that we should never give up on; It’s a hope that we, ourselves, should model to others, by our devotion to Jesus.
The second witness in our readings, was that of Jesus to the lack of wisdom and the misguided faith of the Pharisees. And the problem was, that they were not totally wrong in their actions, but their focus became so legalistic, so self-centered, that they began to forget the whole point of their faith.
Even though they said His Name all the time, they forgot God in their hearts. God, who lived in the poor and the elderly. God who lived in the common man and woman. God who lived even in the spaces between and outside their law.
So Jesus takes on this discourse today about spiritual cleanliness. While the legalistic Pharisees believed that eating unclean food with unclean hands would defile their holiness, Jesus proved that it was not the physical aspects of life that defile us spiritually, but the spiritual disorders that are already planted in our hearts.
When the green end of our heart’s compass needle is always pointed inward, it’s the red end that points out to others. And that’s NOT good for them, or for us!
But when we can make sure that the green end is pointed outward, outward, toward God and toward the needs of others, then, like Solomon, everything that comes back to us both spiritually and physically will be Goodness in abundance!
Even in our suffering, God is still Good to us. And our ultimate reward will not only be an end to that suffering, but a new beginning of joy, and peace, and life with God and our loved ones forever!
It’s enough to take our breath away!
February 11, 2020
(World Day of the Sick)
(Our Lady of Lourdes)
Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of the whole community of Israel, and stretching forth his hands toward heaven, he said, “LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below; you keep your covenant of mercy with your servants who are faithful to you with their whole heart.” 1_Kgs_8:22-23,27-30
February 10, 2020
(St. Scholastica, Virgin)
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he (Jesus) entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed. Mk_6:53-56
It truly takes some kind of faith, beloved, to believe that just the touch of His clothes would heal. But these people truly believed. And they WERE healed. How much faith do we have? Can we truly believe that we can find another job, that we can survive the ravages of nature, that we can be healed? Jesus is waiting for us to believe! Have faith!
February 9, 2020
(5th Sunday Ordinary Time, A; with a special celebration of our Church Patroness – Our Lady of Lourdes)
Jesus, His disciples and Mary, His mother were at a wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Jn_2:1-11
St. Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, “Brothers and sisters, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” 1_Cor_10:31-11:1
There is something very, very blessed, we might even say supernatural about our faith in Jesus.
Did you happen to notice in John’s telling of the Cana Wedding Feast story, how the headwaiter did not give the credit for the good wine to Jesus, but to the bridegroom instead? You see, Jesus never grasped for His own Fame, just for our hearts. And, even though, like the headwaiter, we may not always know the source of life’s blessings, we should, still and always, give the Glory to God, just as John did in his telling of this story.
And then, did you also happen to notice how Mary never actually told Jesus to turn the water into wine? But she did tell the servants to DO – whatever Jesus told them . . . the same way that she always points us – back to her Son.
And Jesus didn’t just satisfy His mom’s and the guest’s needs with a couple more cases of wine. He had flooded them with an overflowing torrent of 150 – Spirit-filled – gallons of it.
Water to Wine,
Ordinary to Extraordinary,
Natural to Supernatural,
Need to Abundance,
We are, indeed, very blessed in our faith!
Now, I’m not sure where you all were, or what you were doing in 1958, but as a grubby little 5-year-old, on the streets of North Jersey, I really had no idea that something so incredibly significant to my later life – would be happening, some thousand-miles away, in a little cornfield in Central Missouri.
And yet, that event would not only prove to be monumentally important to me, but to every one of us here, whether or not we were even born yet, in 1958. And it would even impact, those who have long left this mortal flesh, and yet, are still present here, with us – in Spirit.
You see, there’s a thread that ties every human, every physical aspect of our stories together, and actually our entire human existence. And that thread is called WATER.
And there’s another thread that ties every divine, every spiritual aspect of our stories together, and He’s called GOD.
And it’s only TO God, as St. Paul tells the Corinthians, that we can give the Glory for it all . . .
– The Glory for Mary, our Mother;
– The Glory for Jesus, our Savior;
– The Glory for ALL of God’s messengers in our lives;
– and the Glory for our world, with its challenges, and its pitfalls, with its joys, and its life,
and its WATER.
Water, it truly is the thread that binds!
But now, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, so let’s take a little journey back to what led us to 1958, both in the Water and in the Spirit.
We might say that it all began in the very first two verses of the Book of Genesis; in the Waters of Creation, where God tells us that “a mighty wind swept over the waters“ Gn_1:2. And that simple statement, might even clue us in to the “BIG Picture.”
So we don’t really have to go back . . .
– to Noah’s flood,
– to Moses crossing the Red Sea,
– to God’s water from a rock,
– to Joshua crossing of the Jordan River,
– to Ezekiel’s River of Life,
– to John’s baptism,
– to Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well,
– to the Blood and Water that flowed from the side of our crucified Lord . .
in order for us to see how this thread of Water ties us, not only through the Watery womb of our mothers, but through our own baptisms, TO our Union together, in Body and Spirit, with one another and with God.
And yet, as time came and went, through the peace and the wars, through the politics and the technology, through the births and the deaths, just like the Israelites, we would often forget our ties, and we would forget our Lord, and we would turn inward in the darkness of our desert solitude, away from the very Source of our lives; save for some occasional, but rare sparks of light, offered by people like Augustine, and Francis, and Teresa of Calcutta.
And in our blindness, and in our solitude, God would also speak to us through the lips of the poor and the little children.
You see, it wasn’t until 1854 that our great Church leaders would finally acknowledge, in an official, ex cathedra, infallible, proclamation, by Pope Pius the 9th, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
If you never heard or read the statement of an infallible dogma, I think you’ll enjoy hearing this little piece from the Pope’s document “Ineffabilis Deus,” Ineffable God. He wrote,
‘We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, was preserved free from every stain of original sin, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, IS a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.’
THE Immaculate Conception!
You see, in the 1800’s world, without radio, or television, or internet, and especially in the poverty stricken outskirts of rural, southern France, a little, 14-year old girl would NOT have had a clue as to the goings-on of the Pope, at the Vatican, in Italy, 4-years earlier.
And it was there, on a frigid, February morning of 1858, outside of a muddy cave called the Grotto of Massabielle, about a mile from the town of Lourdes, France, it was there, that the young Bernadette Soubirous would encounter, in the gust of the Holy Spirit’s wind, a beautiful Lady with a message of God’s love.
Bernadette was, at first, so unsure of the vision, that in a later encounter, of which she had 18 in total, she brought along some Holy Water to sprinkle on the lovely Lady in order to confirm that she was from God and not from the devil. And we are told that the gesture brought a smile and a chuckle to the Lady’s countenance!
In WORD, the Lady requested prayer and penance for sinners.
In Word, the Lady requested a Chapel to be built, and a Procession to be held. (Both of which can still be seen today.)
In Word the Lady would NOT promise happiness – in a world of pride, and greed, and solitude, but, rather, ONLY in a world of charity, and justice, and love.
In Word, the Lady, when pleaded by Bernadette for her name, would finally reveal herself, as: THE Immaculate Conception; a title, totally unknown to young Bernadette, but to our Church leaders, who just 4-years earlier, formally declared the Blessed Virgin Mary with that very same name, it was the first of many unequivocal proofs of the authenticity of Bernadette’s encounter.
WE had HEARD her Word!
And, in FORM, the world would be witness to Bernadette’s ecstasy, in the presence of our Blessed Mother.
In Form, the world would be witness to Bernadette’s humility, just as they were of our Savior, Jesus.
And in Form, then and there, and in all the years to follow, the world would be witness to – a healing spring of WATER, dug by the very hands of Bernadette, at the request of the Holy Mother of Jesus; Our Mother, who always points us to her Son.
It truly was a crowning moment in the history of the Church, as the apparition was approved, ‘authentic,’ just 4-years later, and young Bernadette was canonized as Saint Bernadette in 1933.
You see, there again was that essential thread of Water, tying all of humanity to each other and to that unconditional and healing Love of God.
In the years to follow, Pope John Paul II would officially designate February 11 as “The World Day of the Sick” in remembrance of that healing spring of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Of course, it is by no coincidence that the street upon which our Church is built is called Bernadette Drive. For it was in 1958, in the fifth year of my life, and just two years after the establishment of the Diocese of Jefferson City, and in the year of the 100th Anniversary of the Lourdes apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Bernadette, that our original Church, now Flanagan Hall, constructed in a rural cornfield, was dedicated by Bishop Marling as Our Lady of Lourdes Church of Columbia, Missouri.
And even today, those life-giving waters still flow beneath us: cleansing our souls, refreshing our bodies, baptizing newcomers into our Faith and building our Church, just as Jesus asked of us!
It was then, 41-years later, in 1999, that our Church grew to the point of doubling in the size of our community and in the size of our Church building. All for the Glory of God our Father, all for the Love of Jesus our Savior, and ALL, with the ever-loving guidance of Mary, our Blessed Mother, who points us to DO whatever He tells us.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God,
that we may be made worthy of
the promises of Christ.
February 8, 2020
When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mk_6:30-34
From Him we learn. And like Him we become!
February 7, 2020
After offering his daughter up to half of his kingdom, The girl hurried back to the king’s (Herod’s) presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. Mk_6:14-29
The first thing that always pops into my head when I hear this story of John and Herod, is why Herod didn’t just respond to his daughter that he asked – what SHE wanted, not what her mom wanted, especially IF he really did have any compassion for John. But I guess, when someone is naturally self-centered, arrogant, and drunk besides, there simply is no common sense or compassion left.
Jesus had all kinds of reason, and recourse, and power to unmercifully obliterate those who convicted and crucified him. But, unlike Herod, His entire focus was based on love and compassion, instead of defensive self-preservation. Rather than killing for the sake of saving face, Jesus would, and did, GIVE – His very self – for the sake of saving others.
We hear, today, how David also, had that same heart of a shepherd’s compassion for his sheep, a dad’s compassion for his children, and a king’s compassion for the people of his kingdom. He was the arch-type of Jesus, even though we know that Jesus was incomparably better than any earthly king.
For, you see, like Herod, and like us, David also had his moments of weakness, his moments when the green end of the compass needle pointed inward, and the red end outward. You know, like those times when we hear those words in our heads saying: “It’s just not fair!” “What about me!” and “Who do they think they are!” And even worse, when we act on those thoughts with a “Take that!” response. Those are the times when we’re walking hand in hand with Herod instead of Jesus.
You see, Herod was stymied, for just a second – with that all-too-familiar question, “Now what?” But after a lifetime of conditioning in the art of death, Herod’s natural response was “So what! It’s just another head on the pile.”
And confronted with the same “Now what?” dilemma, David was much more disciplined to respond that “God is WHAT and God is WHO.”
With Jesus, of course, there was never even any second thought: “God is ALL and IN all!” And remembering how John, the Gospel writer, described God as LOVE, Jesus knew that Love – IS all, and is IN all.
We just need to always keep that in mind when we’re confronted with the “Now whats?” in life.
It all just makes us ponder: How do we respond, on the Herod to Jesus scale, to those unexpected dilemmas? Because, you know what, beloved? One day we will all find ourselves face to face with St. Peter, asking for that head or this heart.
And which will we give?
February 6, 2020
(St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs)
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. Mk_6:7-13
“Two by two,” that they may support each other. “Authority,” in the Name of Jesus. Forgiveness, reconciliation, cleansing, purifying, exorcism, these are the authorities Jesus has given to His apostles, His representatives, to those whom we have come to know as bishops and priests. And yet we ourselves, as baptized Catholics also have that same authority to forgive others for their offenses against us, to repent of our own uncleanliness and to keep ourselves clean by staying close to the holy guidance of the Law, the Lord and the Scriptures, in communion with the Holy Spirit who lives within us. You see, nothing is impossible with God. Trust in Him, beloved, and we will be saved!
February 5, 2020
(St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr)
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me. Jn_10:27
Are YOU one?!
February 4, 2020
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. Mk_5:21-43
If that doesn’t sound just like today! Sorry doctors, but from this skeptic’s point of view, it seems more often than not to be the case. Maybe instead of worshiping those doctors and their toxic pills, we should grow a little faith in Jesus. And sometimes we just have to accept the inevitable, and look forward to something better!
February 3, 2020
(St. Blase, Bishop and Martyr)
In desperate flight from the wrath of his son Absalom, David fled Jerusalem. As David went up the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. All those who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went. 2_Sm_15:13-14,30;16:5-13
Jesus too went up to the same Mount of Olives to pray and weep as His mortal life was about to be taken. He prayed, knowing the passion He was about to suffer, but even more so He prayed that the message He tried to transmit to His Apostles was understood. He prayed for their strength in the trials they were also about to suffer as well. And He prayed for those Jews who just refused to listen or understand. For you see, it was all about love, not competition, not power, not fame!
It was all about LOVE!
David suffered too. And his love for his son Absalom was more intense than anyone could understand, even Absalom himself. If you’re a dad, you too, just might understand the same thing! So find your Mount of Olives, and pray. The Lord understands!
February 2, 2020
(The Presentation of the Lord)
Taking the child Jesus into his arms, Simeon said, “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Lk_2:22-40
Revelation! Simeon waited a lifetime for the moment he was living! It was God’s promise fulfilled! In this Jesus would not only be glory for Israel but its shame. It would not only be salvation for sinners but the pain of judgment. And most importantly it could lead to our conversion. “Turn away!” the prophets shouted. Away from sin and toward the Lord. Jesus came to show us the way. Everything is possible with the Lord. So let it be! So let us live!
February 1, 2020
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan answered David: “The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die. But since you have utterly spurned the LORD by this deed, the child born to you must surely die.” 2_Sm_12:1-7a,10-17
Sometimes, beloved, we can’t even imagine the consequences of our sins. No, we don’t have a vindictive God. But just imagine how we would feel if we were to be done TO as we do unto others. Just makes us think! “So be holy,” Jesus said, “just as my Father in heaven is holy.” LOVE!
Happy February, 2020, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
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