Whispers – Daily Mass Quotes begins after this Intro.
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Then the LORD said (to Elijah), “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” 1 Kings 19:11-13
Why are YOU here, beloved?
Was it to discover magnificent colors? Was it to find colorful music or awesome videos? Was it just curiosity? Was it accidental? Were you really looking for God, for Hope, for true LOVE somewhere in this menagerie we call the web?
You are Loved!!
Let’s follow the Scriptures of our daily Mass and see if we can catch those Words – simple but beautiful – Whispers to the Wind . . .
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January 31, 2020
(St. John Bosco, Priest)
Jesus said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” Mk_4:26-34
In today’s Scriptures we hear the antithesis of this parable, as King David allows the seed of lust to grow in his heart. And the seed bears fruit in the conception of an illegitimate child through his breaking of the sixth commandment. Then the rupture of his morality continues through deceit, malevolence and finally murder. You see our closest example of what Jesus was trying to teach is best understood through our own every day examples of how sin grows in our hearts and in our actions.
This was precisely what Don Bosco was trying to save his student children from. For through his angelic visions he had first hand witness of where sin leads every one of us if it’s not held in check.
And there’s where Jesus and all of those saints come to our rescue. All we have to do is listen and obey!
You see, as Jesus tells us today, the goodness of God’s kingdom can just as well grow from seeds of goodness within our hearts. When we plant seeds of compassion and humility and thanksgiving and love, then the fruit of those seeds will be joy and happiness and love in return. Love so great that it will grow into a tree showering down it’s joy to all who dwell in its shade. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to envision the good from the sin. But the reward of the good is well worth whatever it takes to keep away from the evil. And that’s God’s promise!
Our most blessed birthday prayers for our beloved daughter Christie today! Happy Birthday Christie! We love you!!!!
January 30, 2020
Jesus told them, “Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Mk_4:21-25
So, the question is, beloved, are we givers or takers? Oh we work so hard to be able to get and get and get. And we think, “Well, we deserve it, for all that hard work!” But what about those who can’t work? What about those who had been thrown out for no cause of their own? What about those who are hungry for food or compassion or healing or just recognition that they exist? Sometimes it seems so hard to give – after all that “hard work.” But isn’t that what it’s really all about! After getting it all, we’ll still find ourselves hungry. But after giving till it hurts, we’ll find a satisfaction that nothing can beat. And in the process, we will have found . . . God!
We will have found what true love really is!
January 29, 2020
The LORD (God) said to David, “I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make his Kingdom firm. It is he who shall build a house for my name. And I will make his royal throne firm forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.” 2_Sm_7:4-17
David’s son Solomon did build a magnificent house for his LORD, but this Temple was not the eternal kingdom God spoke of. And neither was Solomon the eternal king, who eventually fell away from God and into sin. For it was centuries later that David’s heir to the eternal throne that God spoke of, would be born. And the “house” that Jesus would build was us, beloved. We are the living stones of the Eternal Temple! And we would carry His Name from one generation to the next. And God would be His Father and we would be His children, living with His Spirit in our hearts. Living in His Love!
January 28, 2020
(St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” Mk_3:31-35
That’s us, beloved . . .
WHEN we do the will of God.
Pray for that wisdom!
January 27, 2020
(St. Angela Merici, Virgin)
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.” Mk_3:22-30
Jesus gave the example of a house divided against itself, and how that house will never stand. The Holy Spirit is a part of us when we accept Him in Baptism. But when we blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, we, in reality, are blaspheming against our very selves. A very silly thing to do, and, with enormous consequences. Yes, we make lots of mistakes in our lives, and all will be forgiven. But the one thing we do not do, is speak against our God. For He is our life and our salvation. And that is eternal!
January 26, 2020
(3rd Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. Is_8:23-9:3
After Jesus had moved from Nazareth to Capernaum: From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mt_4:12-23
If we want to see the light, beloved, we must open our eyes. If we truly believe in Jesus, then we will want, with all our hearts, to mend our ways and teach the world about His light. For what we’ll find is that it is really difficult to teach about His light when we’re living in the darkness ourselves. Jesus preached, “Repent!” If we truly want to live in the light we must first open our eyes and mend our ways. All the rest, that Kingdom Jesus spoke of so often, will be ours when we remain in His light!
January 25, 2020
(The Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle)
Jesus appeared to the Eleven and said to them: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; Mk_16:15-18
Sometimes, beloved, it takes a radical transformation to believe, as it did with St. Paul. Sometimes we are handed down that belief from family or friends. And sometimes we just have to work it out the hard way: learn and experience, rise and fall, and with each new step we grow in that faith, in that belief. Jesus wants everyone to be “saved.” Sometimes it just takes a little faith. If we had been baptized, that seed of faith has been planted in us. Now, it’s time to help it grow!
January 24, 2020
(St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
After David spared King Saul’s life, while Saul was in hot pursuit to kill David, Saul then said to David: “You are in the right rather than I; you have treated me generously, while I have done you harm. Great is the generosity you showed me today, when the LORD delivered me into your grasp and you did not kill me. For if a man meets his enemy, does he send him away unharmed? May the LORD reward you generously for what you have done this day. And now, I know that you shall surely be king and that sovereignty over Israel shall come into your possession.” 1_Sm_24:3-21
Sometimes, beloved, moral righteousness DOES have it’s rewards, especially when all the credit goes to the LORD. David was not quite done with the schizophrenia of Saul’s moods, as Saul relentlessly pursued him. And yet, the king, David did become. And in his reign, he would be tested constantly by the world and by the Lord, with failures and successes. But in the end, that promise of the Lord’s would absolutely come about: a descendant of David’s would reign in a kingdom which will last eternally. THIS is our Jesus. And His kingdom can be ours as well, if we so choose.
January 23, 2020
(St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr)
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
Now I know that God is with me. In God, in whose promise I glory, in God I trust without fear; what can flesh do against me?
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear.
I am bound, O God, by vows to you; your thank offerings I will fulfill. For you have rescued me from death, my feet, too, from stumbling; that I may walk before God in the light of the living.
R. In God I trust; I shall not fear. Ps 56
I trust Him with my dollar bills. I trust him with my weary bones. I trust Him with my food filled plates. I trust Him with my jobs and homes. I trust Him in the valleys and hills. I trust Him in my loves and hates. Keep me Lord in Love of you and let that love be ever true for friend and foe, and in all I do!
January 22, 2020
(Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children)
David spoke to Saul: “Let your majesty not lose courage. I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.” But Saul answered David, “You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.” . . . David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell prostrate on the ground. 1_Sm_17:32-33,37,40-51
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. Mk_3:1-6
Sometimes we can get so steeped in our presumptions. People in ancient times believed that the earth was flat; and they dared not travel very far, lest they fall off the edge. People as late as the 17th Century believed that the universe revolved around the earth. And they went as far as imprisoning the astronomer Galileo for proposing something different.
In the time when Jesse’s son, David, was still a young shepherd boy, the presumption was that God had abandoned the Israelites, and that nothing they could do would stop those giant Philistines from walking all over them. But David was not hoodwinked by their naivete and cowardice. And He trusted in the Lord who, he knew – never abandons His children.
So, despite their fearful warnings, David was confident, both in his own ability, and in the Lord’s support. And, by his example, the faith of the Israelites in God – was revived. It’s funny, because we’ve heard that story of young David and Goliath since we were little kids. But, we may have never thought of the incident as – the paradigm shifting, presumption shattering STAND that David took against – a society that was so lost, and faithless, and weak.
Today we hear Jesus also – take a Stand against the presumption of the Pharisees; the presumption that – following the Law superseded everything else, even the wellbeing of the people and of life itself.
And He made the reasoning for His Stand perfectly clear, when He asked, “What’s more important, saving a life or standing by your presumption?” The Pharisee’s silence, their rejection, and their obstinate refusal to accept, even what made perfect common sense, greatly disturbed Jesus. And His disturbance was not because of their stubborn objection, but because of their own loss of salvation, in choosing to reject God’s Truth.
Our lesson today, beloved, is the importance of being open. Sure our rational responsibility is to challenge and to understand the presumptions we face in life. Presumptions, like believing that all the media we hear or read – is honest and true. Presumptions, like believing that all priests are good and all politicians are bad. Presumptions, like believing that just because there’s a stop sign, the other driver will stop.
We need to understand the presumptions and to understand the Truth. And yet, we are also called to take our Stand, when what we hear does not support the common moral sense of God’s love, and of the extreme value He places on the life of every one of His children, from their very conception until we take that last mortal breath.
Jesus is God’s proof of that love! He feeds us with His Life, so that we may be one, in Love and in Union with Him and each other. And that’s NOT a presumption, it’s a Promise!
January 21, 2020
(St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr)
Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” . . . After examining seven of Jesse’s sons, Samuel finally came across the last, and the LORD responded, “There–anoint him, for this is he!” Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. 1_Sm_16:1-13
And there is our Scriptural model for the Sacramental anointing we receive in Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders. It is a royal, priestly and holy anointing that permanently imbues us with the Holy Spirit. And we call that anointing oil – Chrism!
The Chrism anointing is meant to bring about a transformation within us, brothers and sisters. It brings out the heart of God in us, that gave Him reason for our anointing, just as it did Jesse’s son David. We are never to forget that heart within us. It’s a holy heart of love. And if we ever do forget, all we need do is simply quiet down for a bit, beloved, and listen. It will remind us, all by itself, with its thump, thump, thump of LIFE! That’s God’s life and love within us. That’s the Holy Spirit reminding us of our holiness! Reminding us of that blessed and Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced for our sins, yet still thumping for love of us!
January 20, 2020
(St. Sebastian, Martyr and St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr)
Samuel said (to King Saul): “Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the LORD? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams. For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry.” 1_Sm_15:16-23
Like Saul, the Pharisees in the time of Jesus were trying to rationalize, to justify the differences in their ancient Law, and the difference between John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ actions. Jesus responded, “no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” Mk_2:18-22
Jesus IS the new wine, the new “Covenant,” the new Salvation. John’s ministry completed the old and reigned in the new (Jesus). The Pharisees and many of the Jews of the time were so steeped in the old (Law and Tradition) that they were not willing to accept the new. It actually caused them to “burst” at the seams, calling for Jesus’ death rather than acceptance of Him. And that act of capital punishment was actually contrary to their own “old Law,” the fifth of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill.”
The “new wine” of salvation would instead be offered to the non-Jewish, Gentiles, while those Jews who did accept it were more than welcome to its benefits. Jesus’ new Command of Love is offered universally and unconditionally. Now it’s universally ours to accept or refuse, not just belief, but eternal salvation as well. And in the realm of Love, how can we not want that salvation for EVERYONE, even the unbelievers!
January 19, 2020
(2nd Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
The Lord said, “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Is_49:3,5-6
… when we respond to God’s call with:
“Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” Ps 40
… just as John the Baptist did:
“Now I have seen and testified that he (Jesus) is the Son of God.”
It’s OUR call!
And in answering, we become that LIGHT!
January 18, 2020
Jesus went out along the sea. All the crowd came to him and he taught them. As he passed by, he saw Levi, son of Alphaeus, sitting at the customs post. Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Mk_2:13-17
When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him, “This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people.” . . . Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head; he also kissed him, saying: “The LORD anoints you commander over his heritage. You are to govern the LORD’s people Israel, and to save them from the grasp of their enemies roundabout.” 1_Sm_9:1-4,17-19;_10:1
Two callings, two leaders, one would rise and one would fall. Sometimes, beloved, we never know when we might be the very next to be called. It may not be as king of a nation, but when it’s God’s call, you can be sure, it will be equally important. It might be as subtle as writing a new Gospel, as innocuous as calling a friend to become Catholic, or as bold as leading a new movement. Whatever it may be, beloved, take it seriously and follow through in Faith on all that God is calling us to do. With the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we will rise with it!
January 17, 2020
(St. Anthony, Abbot)
All the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.” 1_Sm_8:4-7,10-22a
They came bringing to him (Jesus) a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Mk_2:1-12
God’s second gift, or grace to us, after the gift of life, is our gift of free will or choice. Today we see three examples of the kinds of choices people can make.
The first choice was based purely on selfishness. The Israelites, who were already losing their faith in God, after all that God had done for them: freeing them from slavery in Egypt, feeding them in the desert, and saving them from predators, after ALL THAT, the Israelites had CHOSEN to step down from their position as the “specially chosen Children of God,” to be, instead, just like the foolish, godless heathen – from whom they were supposed to be escaping – wanting a king, and a hierarchy, and slaves. Slaves, whom Samuel warned them, would be they, themselves and their children.
Sometimes, our hearts can be so hardened against the Truth, that it can hit us on the side of the head and we still won’t understand.
The second choice was based on conditioning. The Scribes in Mark’s Gospel were responding to Jesus’ forgiving words exactly the way most lawyers would today. They knew the Jewish law inside and out. And IF the Law said – that “only God could forgive sins,” then anyone else who uttered those words of forgiveness, was making himself or herself equal to God, and according to their Law, that was blasphemy.
The Scribes choice was plain. Everything was either in obedience to the Law or NOT. And if it was not, then THEY believed that they were to act as God’s Judge and Jury and Persecutor; because THAT was the Letter of the Law and there was no room for human compassion. You see, those Scribes were “conditioned” to live and move and think only in the black and the white.
It’s a good reminder for us, beloved, to always keep a check on what’s conditioning us. What are we reading? What are we listening to and watching? Is it really the Truth, or is it biased by some one person’s, or some group’s, personal or political agenda? Does it lead us to more love and understanding, or to more judgment and hatred of others?
Jesus taught us that Love is always the very best of Choices. Which leads us directly to that third example of Choice in today’s Scriptures. You see, the paralytic didn’t really have any sins that needed forgiving. But the people of the day had this false perception that physical illness was directly caused by sin.
In reality, those who actually needed forgiveness in the story, were the four men who broke through somebody’s roof. But, you see, their motive, their whole purpose, their choice for performing that sin of destruction – of someone else’s property, was based purely on their Love for their brother, or father, or friend who was paralyzed.
They broke the least commandment in order to invoke a “Greater Good.” And Life and Love is always the Greater Good! And so, their Love – justified their creative bending of a conditioned rule. Their unselfish Choice was offering their lives for the sake of the “Other,” based on their Faith in Jesus.
God has graced us with the Gift of Choice and the Command of Love. And He’s asking us, today, “How are we making the best of both in our lives?”
January 16, 2020
Jesus preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people. Mt_4:23
What more could they ask for?
So why do any of us doubt!
January 15, 2020
When Samuel went to sleep in his place, the LORD came and revealed his presence, calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him, not permitting any word of his to be without effect. 1_Sm_3:1-10,19-20
Are we listening, beloved? For the Lord is speaking with us constantly. We hear Him in the signs of nature around us. We hear Him through the voices of friends and even strangers. We hear Him in our daydreams and night dreams, warning, preparing, comforting and urging us on toward His Kingdom.
“Speak Lord, for we, Your servants are listening!”
January 13, 2020
(St. Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Mk_1:14-20
And so it begins, beloved. Jesus came of age, was baptized by John and now began His earthly ministry. It was a call for the disciples and a call for us as well. A call to repent, believe and follow. Jesus will teach us. He will lead us by word and example. And by it we will become His fishermen and women, catching souls for their salvation.
January 12, 2020
(The Baptism of the Lord)
Thus says the LORD: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching. Is_42:1-4,6-7
Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered in the house of Cornelius, saying: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. Acts_10:34-38
After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Mt_3:13-17
A thundering voice out of the silence, a brilliant light out of the darkness, a gentle dove, a glowing flame, a pure white garment, a permanent mark and the water of life. ‘THESE are my beloved children, with whom I am well pleased.”
There was something earthquakingly significant about what happened in that dark, muddy Jordan River, 2000-years ago. Could you just HEAR the silence, as they all held their breath? Could you SEE their astonishment, as the heavens opened, the light beamed, the dove descended and the voice thundered! Could you FEEL the hope, the freedom, and the justice that was promised by Isaiah, some 700-years earlier, just knocking at your door.
If I could go back in time, seeing THIS Baptism event would be pretty close to the top of my list. And yet, where was that hope, that freedom, and that justice, when the object of all their dreams would be chastised by the very leaders who were supposed to welcome Him? Where was that justice, when He would be so unjustly crucified by their same persecutors? And where was that freedom in a world so violently oppressed by tyrannical dictators and misguided voices?
Are we not asking those same questions, brothers and sisters, when we fall into the shadows, and the cracks, and the amnesia of darkness, forgetting the glory, and the light; the hope and the promise of the Resurrection?
You see, THAT’s exactly why we come back here (to Mass), week after week: to the light of His love, to our welcoming community, and to His Blessing of every one of us, in voice, and in nourishment, and in reminder every Sunday.
The significance of this incredible Celebration can not be understated! And it all begins with Baptism.
As we heard in our Gospel, John the Baptist did not yet, fully understand the “Big Plan.” And yet, he would obediently follow whatever he was called to do by his Lord. And neither did Peter understand, even after 3-years of discipleship with Jesus, and first-hand experience of the Resurrection. Aside from all the rules and taboos about ritual purity and disassociation with the Gentiles, Peter obediently reversed roles from leader to servant, raising Baptism above his leadership position, above all of his prejudices, and even above the objection of his colleagues.
By Baptizing Cornelius, the Gentile, Peter, like John, opened up a whole new world of Salvation through his obedient faith in Jesus. And God wants all of us to have that same earthquaking experience: light out of the darkness, hope in a seemingly hopeless world, and justice that begins with our love for everyone!
As I was prayerfully contemplating today’s Scriptures, and battling with how to condense this enormous and beautiful subject of our Lord’s and our Baptisms, into this tiny chunk of what we call a homily, I glanced out our window at home to see several hundred geese grazing in ours, and our neighbor’s back yards.
And there, in the middle of them all, was this one, solitary, perfectly white, short-necked goose! And contrary to my first suspicion, it was not an albino goose, and it was not some type of goose-duck hybrid. Good-old Google informed me that what I was looking at was actually a migrating, Canadian, Ross goose. Uncharacteristically separate from its own kind. Strikingly obvious by its brilliance, in comparison to it’s neighbors.
That goose was absolutely mesmerizing!
It WAS Jesus standing in the river with John, surrounded by our beautiful darkness.
It was Peter sitting at a non-kosher dinner with Cornelius and his family, teaching them about Jesus.
And it IS – each one of us – Baptized Catholics, solitary in our workplaces, and on the streets, and in the marketplace; shining with the Light of Christ on our countenance; and mesmerizing the world with our hope for eternal life, and our freedom from fear of death, and God’s justice, expressed in our Love for everyone!
THIS is the Glory of Baptism.
And for it, we too cry out in joy,
“Blessed be God forever!”
January 11, 2020
Beloved: We have this confidence in him that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours. 1_Jn_5:14-21
Our “confidence” derives in our purity before Him. Our confidence derives in our obedience of His commands and our faith in His authority. And when we ask, we ask “according to His will,” not ours. And according to His will we accept whatever we get. God will never disappoint! Believe!
January 10, 2020
Beloved: Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and Blood. The Spirit is the one who testifies, and the Spirit is truth. So there are three who testify, the Spirit, the water, and the Blood, and the three are of one accord. 1_Jn_5:5-13
January 9, 2020
Beloved, we love God because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1_Jn_4:19–5:4
It truly IS all about Love!
January 8, 2020
Beloved, if God so loved us,we also must love one another. . . God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. 1_Jn_4:11-18
After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side . . . they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them walking on the sea. . . . he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened. Mk_6:45-52
Imagine one day, you’re sitting there in your nice, comfortable, secure home, and all of a sudden, the entire building picks up off the ground and begins to fly around in space.
And then, imagine, as you’re spellbound by the views of the tops of the clouds out your window, where the lake, and the highway, and the shopping plaza used to be, THERE – is a human person, standing on the clouds; with no plane, and no wings, and no oxygen mask.
And just as he steps through that front door of yours, just as suddenly as it all happened, there you are, back on the ground: with the service people taking care of your needs, and the intercom blaring, and the bridge games being played, just as if nothing ever happened. And the man says to you, “Didn’t you understand the reason for it all?” And you have to pinch yourself, just to make sure that you really are still alive.
If we went back 2000-years, that’s about as close of an example as we can get to the wild experience the disciples went through on that sea. You see, that Sea of Galilee was the natural home to Peter and his companion fisherman.
They knew when it was calm, and they knew when it could be too dangerous to be out in a boat. And yet, that’s exactly when Jesus made them go out. And their little excursion was really a beautiful testimony to their obedience.
After seeing Jesus feed 5000-people from a little more than nothing, they were pretty close to shell-shock already. But it never occurred to them that all of that – was just a prelude for what was to come.
And it wasn’t about the hungry people. And it wasn’t about the lack of money to feed them. And it wasn’t even about a mighty and miraculous sign. What the Apostles did not understand, was that the “Miracle of the Loaves” was really – all about WHO Jesus was and WHY He was there.
You see, it wasn’t about taking their breath away with incredibly un-natural events. But it was about taking their breath away with an incredibly NATURAL Love.
A love of father and mother for their children. A love of husband and wife for each other. A love of God for all of us. A love so unnaturally – natural that God would put-on our human flesh to express it; He would feed the hungry, heal the sick, walk on water, revive the dead, and even be willing to allow Himself to be nailed on a cross – in order to prove to us – that WE have that very same Love within us.
Ever notice, beloved, that whenever we do, or think, or say anything that is NOT based on LOVE there’s a little pin prick that pierces our side. We might call it conscience, but it really is God’s Love within us that we’re piercing with our own un-love!
It’s the same God, that we could see walking on water, and feeding us and calming our storms, and levitating our buildings when we just recognize Him, when we understand!
Ever wonder why some people are always so miserable? It’s because they are constantly pricked by their own pins of un-Love. All they need is to understand, that it’s not about the external serving us. But it’s all about – us serving God’s LOVE – because it IS there within every one of us!
January 7, 2020
(St. Raymond of Penafort, Priest)
Jesus, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish. Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand men. Mk_6:34-44
Miracle, illusion or reality? Jesus made it obvious that what they had witnessed in this multiplication of the food was reality! The number of people were unquestionable. The starting amount of food was unquestionable. The blessing was a model of what we should all, always do before we eat.
The satisfaction of the crowd could have been subjective. But the leftovers proved that no one was left hungry. And if five loaves of bread and two fish filled five-thousand people, it was obvious that they could not have been broken into small enough pieces to ever give each man even a morsel. And those morsels would surely never have been enough to fill them.
Finally the ultimate proof of the miracle was the fact that there were more leftovers than they even started with! The point? The point was not that God, that Jesus is here to feed us bread and fish. The point was that when we believe, when we trust in Jesus, for whatever we are in need of, He will fill us to abundance.
Do we need strength in tough times? Jesus will provide it. Do we need money to survive an unexpectedly early retirement? Jesus will bury us in it – as long as we use it wisely and give our time and appropriate tithing to the poor. Do we need love? Well, sometimes we just have to keep on praying. But in the meantime, we give as much of it as we possibly can. And we keep assuring ourselves that our God loves us beyond anything we can possibly expect out of humanity. And it’s that Love that sustains us!
May our loving God, bless you, beloved, and keep you in His love forever – for that love is unquestionable – and it was proven by our Lord, Jesus Christ!
January 6, 2020
(St. Andre Bessette, Religious)
Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. 1_Jn_3:22–4:6
Jesus went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. Mt_4:12-17,23-25
Our Gospel reading today could not have been more appropriate for the Saint we commemorate today. St. Andre Bessette was God’s model for us – of the healing power of Jesus.
Born in the mid 1800’s, out of obscure poverty, a Canadian orphan at the age of 12, who had to forgo formal education in order to work for his living, Alfred Bessett himself was sickly from birth, yet lived to the blessed age of 91.
After multiple attempts at entrance into seminary in Montreal, Alfred, who took the name Andre after his Pastor, was admitted into Notre Dame College, and was assigned as the Door Keeper.
And yet, little did his superiors realize, that Andre was a Saint in the works. For, in the years to come, through Brother Andre’s prayers, and the intercession of St. Joseph, to whom he had a lifetime devotion, it was estimated that St. Andre had cured in excess of 10,000 illnesses of the people he loved and cared for.
St. Andre Bessett truly embodied the Spirit of God that St. John speaks of today. He would not let the spirit of a judgmental or condemning world influence, in the least, his love for God and God’s people.
On the very site where many of his miracles occurred, St. Andre built a small shrine dedicated to his patron, St. Joseph. Today, in its place stands the massive Oratory / Basilica of St. Joseph, in honor of both St. Joseph the step-father of Jesus, and its founder, the “Miracle Man of Montreal.”
It’s all simply a reminder to us, beloved, that when we dedicate our lives to God, when we follow His command of love, and even when we mess up and repent, despite the illnesses that will inevitably occur, He is our healer.
And regardless of how small, how insignificant, or how uneducated we may feel, we are and always will be His Saints.
St. John reminds us: “You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1_Jn_4:4
January 5, 2020
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Is_60:1-6
After entertaining Herod with a question that never should have been asked him, the magi continued their journey. And the star they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. Mt_2:1-12
You see, beloved, it was ALL an epiphany: the star, the gentile magi, the revelation to Herod, the child, the mother, the wonder of it all. And Isaiah told us all about it. Rise up Jerusalem your long awaited Lord has come, shining like a star, innocent as an infant and yet shrewd as a serpent. He came out of love and died still in love with us!
January 4, 2020
(St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious)
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter. Jn_1:35-42
Among the earliest of the chosen disciples of Jesus was Andrew’s brother Simon. Jesus knew immediately that Simon would be something special. And with that, Simon was given the nickname Peter. It was this Simon Peter who would lead the 11 after the completion of Jesus’ life with us in the flesh. And it was this same Peter who would bring thousands into the Faith. Have you found the Messiah yet, beloved? Know, that He is looking for you. And He has a special name for you, as well.
January 3, 2020
(Most Holy Name of Jesus)
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. . . . John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God. Jn_1:29-34
If there’s one thing that we Catholics are abundantly rich in, it’s symbols. From the crucifix, to the sign of the cross, from the rosary to our relics, from our holy water to the dove, they’re all great reminders of our faith. But unless we know what they really represent, what they really mean, they can also be quite confusing.
Back in the days of the apostles and the early Church, there was reason for all the secret signs, because if it was known that they were Christian, they would have been killed or worse. And we are well familiar with the persecution and martyrdom that those early Christians had to suffer – and many still do today.
Unfortunately, all those signs still permeate our Church, 2000 years later. And we can spend a lifetime trying to figure them all out. And yet, on the good side of it all, today we can quickly and easily find the answer to pretty much any question we have about our faith and all of those signs and secret symbols with a quick search on the internet.
For example, did you know that the letters IHS that we often see in Church actually come from the first three letters of the Name of Jesus, written in Greek. That Christogram symbol originated from a Franciscan priest in the late 1300’s, named, Bernadine of Siena. Bernadine designed a picture of the letters surrounded by the rays of the sun, in order to displace certain pagan and political symbols that were prevalent in central Italy at the time.
And aside from being an artistic defender of the faith, Bernadine was also a highly respected preacher and evangelist, who fought against sin in all of its different forms. He worked tirelessly to bring peace and unity to warring communities in his native Italy. And he was the perfect model of loving evangelism, in the style of John the Baptist.
Today we commemorate that most Holy and blessed Name of Jesus. As St. Paul professed in his letter to the Philippians, “God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:9-11
As we begin this new year of “Vision” (20-20), we open our eyes to the power of His Name. Because it’s only in that Name, that: the darkness of sin will be dispelled, that the light of hope will be found, and that the clarity of life, through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, will guide us in all righteousness to that glory of God our Father, in the most Holy Name of Jesus. Amen
January 2, 2020
(Ss. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen,
Bishops and Doctors of the Church)
John the Baptist said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.” Jn_1:19-28
John knew exactly what his place in the scheme of God’s plan of salvation was. It was to open hearts in preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus. We open hearts beloved, by cleansing ourselves of sin and evil. We make it a straight path, that the Lord may enter unencumbered. And then, with the Lord in our hearts, we rejoice in his presence. And in that rejoicing we bring others to the awesome peace and love of God with us. THIS, beloved, is the Good News that Jesus came to share. God loves us so incredibly much that we have reason to prepare the way for Him and we have reason to share it as well. Life can truly be glorious with Jesus in our hearts!
January 1, 2020
(The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God)
The LORD said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! Nm_6:22-27
The very best of New Years to you, beloved!
May you Live in God’s grace,
Love as did His Son Jesus, and
Fly like the Holy Spirit in strength and wisdom and freedom (from all sin)!
All our love,
as brothers and sisters in Christ!
Happy January 2020, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
Please come visit December’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
in monthly subcategories of – “Whispers“
Link to Previous Month’s Whispers
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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