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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March 31, 2020
So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him. Jn_8:21-30
By speaking in this way, any Jew who knew anything of the Scriptures would have understood what Jesus was saying. For they held great esteem for Moses. And Moses himself reported, in his obstinate attempts to escape God’s call: Moses said to God, “if I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what do I tell them?” God replied to Moses: “I am who I am.” Then he added: “This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” Ex_3:13-14
Thus, the Jewish leaders, especially, knew EXACTLY what Jesus was saying. But they refused to accept the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah. And for this reason, Jesus said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” You see what an absolutely ridiculous question this was, coming from the Pharisees. Moses was their whole life and yet they refused to recognize his own words. So, Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning.” Jn_8:21-30
Not from the beginning of His ministry, but from the beginning of time, God IS!
Jesus spoke of being lifted up in this Scripture. In our first reading from the Book of Numbers, Nm_21:4-9, Moses references lifting up a snake on a pole for the healing of the Israelites in their Exodus. Jesus similarly was lifted up on the cross for the healing of the world. (Jesus was also lifted up from the grave in His resurrection and lifted up from the ‘world’ in His ascension.)
In the crucifixion, the persecuting Jews were not relieved of their riddance of an annoyance, they were instead, weighted down by their error in killing the God they supposedly believed in (but really didn’t). In reality what they believed in was their own Religious, oppressive Structure, which turned out to be about as far away from God and Moses as one can get. And for this reason, Jesus told them that they “would die in their sins” for their unbelief. Whereas, we, beloved, who believe – will be lifted up with Him on the “last day.”
What incredible hope our Faith gives us, beloved! What incredible love, God, our ‘Great I AM’ has for us. For we believe with all our hearts and souls in Him. And we thank you, Jesus, for the suffering you endured for us. And we pray, In your loving care, please protect us and heal us in these coming days from the wiles of the world and the wiles of the evil one!
March 30, 2020
Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side. Ps 23
Our world has moved deep into the dark valley. We’ve been told there is a viral threat that just may kill all of us. The current numbers are scanty compared to the population of the world. And the world has gone absolutely bonkers! And yet we loathe to hear ANY deaths. And the rate of the exposure and death keeps rising exponentially. So we’ve been told to hide in our homes. We’ve been told to eliminate all social contact. We’re afraid to even shake hands with one another. It’s the ultimate satanic destruction of humanity. Separate and destroy.
And yet, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God and of one another. EVEN THOUGH we walk through that valley, WE FEAR NOT! We will NOT allow Satan a stronghold upon us! For our safety, our shield, our salvation comes from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Trust in Him, beloved! And never let go of Him or one another, no matter what the world concocts next…Blessed be God forever!
And blessed are YOU, Beloved!
March 29, 2020
(Fifth Sunday of Lent, A)
Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, Ez_37:12-14
After the death of her brother Lazarus, Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.“ . . .
Jesus came to the tomb of Lazarus and cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” Jn_11:1-45
God had prepared them for centuries before the event would ever occur. The words could not have been more direct and exact. And then, upon the actual coming of Jesus, He prepared them as well, with parables, teachings, healings, exorcisms and love.
And so it was done – exactly the way Ezekiel prophesied, Lazarus ROSE! Four days in the tomb, he was beyond just dead, he was rotting. And yet this resuscitation was nothing less than a miracle, that only God could perform. They say “the proof is in the pudding.” Jesus gave them the taste! And yet many of the people of the time were cursed with ageusia (you can look that one up), besides being blind and deaf. Yet, they had no lack of overly-wagging tongues.
You see, in itself, the rising of Lazarus was a prefiguring, not only of what Jesus would do Himself in a much more spectacular, spiritual and eternal way, but it is something that we ourselves could look forward to as well.
Jesus promised we will ALL rise (some to eternal life and some to eternal damnation). And we, beloved, are in constant preparation for the former. In the meantime, Jesus gave us the Blessed Sacrament to tickle our tastes with the “pudding” of Truth, the pudding of life, the pudding of Himself in us, until the He comes again to make it a reality!
This is our Faith. And no virus and no recession and no politicians nor media can ever take that away from us. And if we ever get to feeling that those “worldly” cares have “bound us” like Lazarus in the dark, always remember Jesus’ command: “Untie (them/us) and let (them/us) go!” By our Faith in Jesus we HAVE been set FREE!
March 28, 2020
the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” (Jesus) The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” Jn_7:40-53
Funny, it just reminds me of many a boss I’ve had in my professional scientific career. They knew what the answer they wanted was. And yet if the experiment, the results, the data showed otherwise, they refused to even listen to anything other than their own preferences.
A group of the Jewish leaders had it in their minds that Jesus was a threat to their notoriety. And nothing Jesus could do, or others could profess about Him, could change their rock hard stubbornness. And that went all the way to creating their own false witnesses. Hmmm, sounds like 21st century politics, doesn’t it!
But this was not to condemn all Pharisees and Sadducees. There were Pharisees like Nicodemus and Gamaliel who did believe in righteous justice if not in Jesus Himself! So what do we do, beloved, when our leaders are heading down the wrong path and trying to drag us down with them? Well, we take our stand, just like Jesus did, without breaking the rules, but making the right path well known to all who “hear.”
March 27, 2020
Estimated by Scripture scholars to have been written some fifty years before the birth of Jesus, today’s Old Testament Reading from the Book of Wisdom is ‘bone quaking.’ For it could just as well have been written fifty years after His death. I could not cut a word from this, maybe lengthy, but awesome piece! And I think it needs no commentary! . . .
The wicked said among themselves, thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased; he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure. He calls blest the destiny of the just and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
These were their thoughts, but they erred; for their wickedness blinded them, and they knew not the hidden counsels of God; neither did they count on a recompense of holiness nor discern the innocent souls’ reward. Wis_2:1a,12-22
May our loving God bless you with peace and safety and health, beloved. May the souls of the Faithful departed rest in peace. And may we all one day join in the community of the saints with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the Father’s kingdom forever!
March 26, 2020
Jesus said to the unbelieving Pharisees, “if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” Jn_5:31-47
Moses said in Deuteronomy, “A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kindred; that is the one to whom you shall listen.” Dt_18:15
Jesus also said through a parable, “Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’” Lk_16:31
It all goes back to that self-centered blindness that every one of us has when we focus too strongly on the wrong “center.” The Pharisees focused so strongly on Moses that even Moses disappeared from their vision of their own righteousness. They were blinded from the truth of the matter, the Truth of Jesus, because He was a threat to their power and fame.
Just makes us ponder, beloved. What threatens us? What puts us on edge about our self-righteousness, about our financial security, about our perfect health? Are we listening for the voice of someone who just might be a little wiser than us? Are we listening for God from maybe the least expected place?
He has been, is and will be there all along. All we need do is listen!
March 25, 2020
(The Annunciation of the Lord)
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to the virgin Mary. … And coming to her, he said, … “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.” … Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Lk_1:26-38
Today we have the term, “Whatever!” But that is absolutely not what Mary meant by her agreement with the LORD’s plan. She, like anyone would have, had her doubts. She questioned how a birth could come about without the other half of the equation, man. Yes, the outcome of this pregnancy sounded terrific. Yes, she could already imagine some difficulties with it. But THIS was not just some Fuller Brush man selling another vacuum cleaner at her door. THIS was an Angel of God! And Mary knew God well. She knew her Scriptures. She knew the prophesies. And she WAS Chosen as the vessel to bring God into humanity. What an AWESOME gift! What an awesome responsibility! What an awesome privilege! What a scary proposition! No, it wasn’t just a “whatever” response that Mary made on that fearful but Glorious day. It was her TOTAL SURRENDER to God’s will. Mary’s fiat!
And Thanks be to God for her sacrifice!
And Thanks be to God
for His Love of us!
March 24, 2020
The angel brought Ezekiel along a river that began as a trickle at the sanctuary of the Temple of the Lord. He said, “Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary. Their fruit shall serve for food, and their leaves for medicine.” Ez_47:1-9,12
Jesus, in speaking with a Samaritan woman at an ancient well said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jn_4:13-14
Jesus offers us the spring. And as we grow in our faith, and that faith becomes deeper and deeper. We eventually become the trees who feed the rest of the world the fruit of His love. And that love brings healing to the world.
In the midst of a world-wide crisis of fear and disease and economic collapse, God is the hope and the healing and the life of us all. In the midst of isolation and closure and distancing, we are still the leaves of healing and love to all who have lost precious loved ones, to all who are suffering, to all who not only are isolated but feel that isolation in core of their souls.
God never abandons us, beloved. Trust in Him, just as Jesus still trusted on the 39th day of his desert retreat. God is our light and our life, our hope and our health. TRUST!
March 23, 2020
Thus says the LORD: Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; Is_65:17-21
NEW! HOPE! REJOICING!
Come Lord Jesus!
March 22, 2020
(Fourth Sunday of Lent, A)
The LORD said, “There—anoint him, for this is the one!” Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. 1_Sm_16:1b,6-7,10-13a
Brothers and sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Eph_5:8-14
Sound like baptism, beloved? We were cleansed, anointed, blessed and became those “children of light.” Have we shined that light in our world to see? Have we produced goodness and righteousness? Are we truly sons and daughters of the God who created us? Or are we rebelling, even against ourselves? God truly does love us. And He will do all in his power to guide us to the light. Follow Jesus. Learn from the true Light. And then LIVE that light – for ourselves and for God!
March 21, 2020
Today Jesus tells a parable about a self-righteous Pharisee and a humble tax collector. The Pharisee saw all the faults in everyone but himself. While the tax collector saw all the faults in himself and begged God’s mercy for them. The Pharisee had no need for God, for he made himself one. While the tax collector fully understood his place in relation to God, and humbly respected and loved Him.
Jesus concluded the parable with this moral: “I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk_18:9-14
So where are we, beloved, in the realm of self-righteousness to humility? Maybe we don’t have to go as far as beating ourselves up for our unrighteousness, because we ARE all ‘Children of God.’ And that’s quite an honor! But we also MUST keep the perspective of WHO God is and our dependence upon Him.
And once that relationship is clearly understood AND we recognize that God resides in every one of us, then imagine how that perspective can change the world – if not everyone else’s, at least OURS. We really are just little cogs in a big wheel. And every cog is just as important as the next. So we love one another, we help one another and we support each other, especially when that wheel runs through the ‘deep mud,’ or even a world-wide pandemic! God bless us all! God save us all. In Jesus’ Name!
Very blessed and happy birthday wishes to my dad and father-in-law as they await us in God’s heavenly kingdom!
March 20, 2020
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mk_12:28-34
There it is, beloved! Out of the mouth of God Himself. It’s all about LOVE. Love God first, above all else, be it other people, or pets, or objects. Then Love your neighbor – and as Jesus tells us, even those who we might not consider very neighborly. When our hearts can be set upon Love, then all else will vanish into nothingness. ALL else! Just LOVE!
March 19, 2020
(St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Mt_1:16,18-21,24a
St. Joseph, the carpenter, was “a righteous man.” How do we see that in the few words written about him in the Scriptures? Well, right off the bat, we see his love for Mary. He loved her so very much that when scandal and distrust had all the potential of causing him enormous anger against her, he still respected and loved her enough to prohibit public scorning and even death for what was so honestly misunderstood. ‘It was the Holy Spirit’s fault!’ And the child conceived in her would not only be, just a stepson to Joseph, but He would be the Son of God Himself! Can you even fathom the enormous responsibility Joseph had, knowing that he was the overseer of God’s child.
But you know what, beloved, EVERY child born is a child of God. If we can really grasp the significance of that fact, how would we treat our own children? How would we feed them. How would we discipline them? How would we care for every little aspect of their lives? We are actually living with God’s child, whom we helped create.
And then, you know what, WE ourselves are God’s children as well. So how well do we take care of and love ourselves? Are we treating these bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit? Would the Holy Spirit really want to live within us? We might just say, probably not. But who’s in control here. God doesn’t make us fat or skinny, smart or dumb, pretty or not, healthy or unhealthy. THAT’s up to us! And we have a whole world of information right at our fingertips today to learn just how to make the very best of our physical lives. And just as well, we have the choice of Faith in God or not.
Joseph had the choice to be the very best, loving and faithful father and husband he could be, or not. And he chose exactly what we all should be. Trust in God, beloved. Love everyone. Know that we are all God’s children. And then LIVE it!
Happy St. Joseph’s day, beloved!
And we pray for all of our brothers and sisters suffering from the world’s pandemic. We pray for sanity in our preventative isolation. And we pray for an end to this tragic drama, before many more lives are taken from us. Blessed be God forever!
March 18, 2020
(St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” Mt_5:17-19
Moses, the Prophets of antiquity, Jesus and our Church have taught us the Commandments of God’s will. We know from the minutest detail to the overarching themes of love and life what God asks of us. It’s all there, in the Bible, in the Catechism, in the Encyclicals and even in our own hearts and consciences.
We know, from the very moment we stray from those laws that we’ve erred. And the moment after that moment, our very next thought and word and deed should be repentance and reconciliation. “Forgive me Lord!” THIS is how we stay right with God!
When we can devote, even just a portion of our time rooted in those Words, the Wisdom of the Lord, just think how much more full, more meaningful, more beneficial our lives can be. And it’s there that we gain the Kingdom of heaven, both now and forever! Thanks be to God. Thanks be to Jesus. And thanks be to His Spirit living within us!
March 17, 2020
(St. Patrick, Bishop)
“For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; . . .
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly; for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we pray to you. Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord.” Dn_3:25,34-43
In the midst of all the media frenzy, potential viral threat, economic and governmental chaos, with Masses not held, with meetings cancelled, with edicts of isolation from one another commanded, we pray. And we know that our God is with us! He will not let us be put to shame, but rather, He will raise us above it all. He will save us from death and deliver us, just as He did Daniel! Pray, beloved, for all those who lack this hope. For all those who are ill and dying. And for ourselves, that our hope in Him will reflect upon everyone we DO come upon. For He IS the hope of the world. In Jesus’ Name we pray! Amen.
March 16, 2020
The leprous Naaman, went down and plunged into the Jordan (River) seven times at the word of the man of God (Elisha). His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” 2_Kgs_5:1-15ab
A symbol of Baptism. A symbol of conversion. A symbol of faith. So what does it take to get us to have faith like that, beloved? Naaman was so converted that he wanted to take some of Israel’s dirt back home with him to remind him, always, of this miraculous event.
Do we still have our baptismal candle and garment? Are we willing to give our lives over for this faith, in true belief that God can and will do what He promised? Remember, it’s not my will, but Thy will be done! God promised heaven for those who loved Him and obeyed His command. And that command was simply to love one another as well. Now, that may not seem like so much to us here and now. But, believe me, that will be quite the miracle in the condition our world’s in today.
So pray, beloved, believe and love. For the hope of His promise, the strength of the Holy Spirit and the model of Jesus will see us through! Never give up!
March 15, 2020
(Third Sunday of Lent, A)
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” . . .
He continued, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.” Jn_4:5-42
The Samaritan woman was living in the Physical World, while Jesus was discussing the Spiritual. The woman was talking about nutritional thirst, while Jesus was explaining Spiritual Life. The woman was discussing the physical worship of place, while Jesus was offering the True spiritual worship in soul.
Where are we beloved, in our faith? Are we living in that physical realm of action, with little to no true spiritual belief? Or are we truly believing in God in a spiritual sense, such that our actions are simply manifestations of that belief? It does take a little work to let go of our infatuation with the physical side of life, in order to truly be infused with the spiritual. But it is well worth more than the effort, to become truly one with God in Spirit and in Truth.
Climb the stairway to Heaven!
Jesus will be our guide!
March 14, 2020
Jesus told a parable about a loving father and a son who had abandoned him. After losing all of his father’s inheritance, becoming poor and destitute, the son decided to return back home. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Lk_15:1-3,11-32
Jesus’ story was all about His Father’s great love for us. What have we done, beloved, that may have been hurtful or abandoning to our Father in heaven? He would love nothing more than to see us return, for us to recognize our failures and repent, and to recognize all of His goodness towards us (grace). How can we not come back to Him? He is here, and along with the help of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we will have all the strength and wisdom we need to return. God will never stop loving us! Come back, beloved, and find the LOVE we’ve been missing so!
March 13, 2020
Jesus said, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?” Mt_21:33-43,45-46
Moral of the story: Watch out for whom or what you reject. They just may be your next boss, your savior in a sinking ship, or a Grace sent by God for your salvation. ALL is wonderful in the Lord’s eyes – and so should it, or they, be in ours!
March 12, 2020
Thus says the LORD: . . . Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit. Jer_17:5-10
Certainly the hope we could use today! Seek out those hope-filled people beloved. Do not let the world drag you into its scenarios of doom and disaster. Do not become another of the panicking masses. The LORD is in control and Jesus proved His love for us. He is our hope and our salvation. TRUST in Him! And become one of the HOPE-filled – who spreads the GOOD News!
Blessed be God forever!
March 10, 2020
Jesus said to His disciples, “As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Mt_23:1-12
Funny comment there at the end. Human nature seems to make us all want to be needed, to be recognized, to be acknowledged. But Jesus is telling us to be humble. Not to seek that exaltation. And yet, it will be the reward for our humility. If we truly do not want exaltation and that’s the reward for our humility, then why be humble in the first place. It’s more like a punishment than a reward. And if we truly do not want to be humble and seek only exaltation, while our reward will be humility, then why want to be exalted.
If our human nature causes a desire to be acknowledged, I think Jesus is telling us that we can actually find that acknowledgement in raising others up more than ourselves. Feeding the poor, while we are hungry; encouraging the downtrodden, while we are being stepped upon; teaching the lost soul, even though we are no experts ourselves.
In performing the work of God, while not taking the credit for being God, those for whom we exalt and help, will (sometimes) be more than grateful for our help – and THERE’s the acknowledgement, there’s the reward. Accept it humbly, beloved, not for its sake, but for the sake of the Kingdom we are helping build for God. And one day, we will be able to rest in His arms, knowing that this was His whole purpose for our existence, and we did the best we could to fulfill that purpose.
All the praise BE to God, in Jesus’ Name, amen!
March 9, 2020
(St. Frances of Rome, Religious)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Lk_6:36-38
Can I burn that into my brain. Can I distribute this short verse to the world. Can we just find a way to live, understanding this. I pray, O Lord, Your will be done. And let us understand that THIS is your will – that we love one another!
March 8, 2020
(Second Sunday of Lent, A)
Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. . . . While he (Peter) was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Mt_17:1-9
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Abram, before his baptismal, ‘name-change’ to Abraham, often spoke with God, and God spoke back to him. And Abram learned to trust in God, even when His instructions may have seemed a little slow in coming, or didn’t quite make any sense to him.
Did you ever have a conversation with God, brothers and sisters?
The Apostles spoke with Jesus, and Jesus instructed them. And even though they may not have realized exactly whom it was that they were speaking with, yet, they were already having conversations with God.
It just makes us ponder: Have we ever spoken with God, with Jesus, or with the Holy Spirit? And if we have: What has God said to us? Maybe it was a blessing given to us by a friend or stranger. Ever have someone say “God bless you,” besides for a sneeze, or in a church?
Maybe God’s words came to us through a blessing that we gave to others. Ever offer a blessing to another person, or even say a simple, “I’ll pray for you,” unexpectedly? You’d be amazed at how profoundly God rewards those simple actions.
And THAT’s communication with God!
Or maybe God’s communication came to us through a challenge at work or at home. A problem, we just couldn’t solve, or a relationship that seemed out of control. And out of the blue (and into God’s realm), all of a sudden the rough seas were calmed and everything worked out perfectly.
. . . Conversations with God . . .
Now it might sound like a rhetorical question, beloved, but when we think about it, “How well do we really know this Jesus?”
Is He just an image on our wall? An image that might embarrass or scandalize us, anywhere other than in Church?
Is Jesus just another historical figure? And we never really got into history anyway?
Is He just one more of those Sunday-School lessons, with lots of tedious memorization?
You know, the question we might actually ask, is how well do we really know anyone! Do we really KNOW our own kids, our spouse, our parents, or even ourselves?
So WHO is this Jesus, beyond some sanitized image of human brutality?
Well, we’re all quite familiar with the infant Jesus, born in a cave on Christmas Day . . . very cold and very poor. But even as early as that, in His life, there was already something very different about Him, something special: angels and shepherds, a star and three kings.
And we can all relate to this birth, because we were all born. And we might have even brought birth to another generation, ourselves. So we know the joys and the woes of babies. It’s the cycle of life, the harsh reality of individuality, that separates us from our Creators: mom, dad, and God.
You see, it was through that Nativity Story, that we’ve learned, that Jesus was, or actually IS – one of us!
But do we know Jesus, the little boy, who cried when he fell, and played ball with the other little kids in His neighborhood.
Do we know the Jesus who, at 12-years old, knew the Scriptures so well that He could teach the Pharisees a thing or two. Who at 12-years old, loved nothing more than to BE in His Father’s house, among His brothers and sisters, God’s other children.
Do we know the teenage Jesus, who learned the carpenter’s trade from His stepfather; sometimes pounding his own thumb with a missed hammer swing, or carving that wood a little too deep, only to have to start all over again, without ever a “Raqa” or a “You fool” even in His thoughts.
Do we know the 30-year old Jesus, who left His mom, so that He might teach the world – what true Love really meant.
Who went head-to-head with the religious elders, trying to convince them that it wasn’t the ritual, but the Love behind it, that really mattered.
Who had no qualms with hugging a disease-riddled leper or confronting a demon-possessed lunatic.
Do we know the Jesus
– who understands our grief even more than we do,
– who lifts us up when the world is crushing us,
– who lightens the load when it’s just too much to bear.
Who gives us patience and forgiveness when our emotions are yanking us toward explosion, and vengeance, and hatred.
Do we know the Jesus who feeds us when we have no work,
– who helps us find that perfect job,
– who brings us comfort when our mothers die,
– who sees us through those awful tests,
– who saves us from that fatal wreck,
– who brings us here – to be with Him, even when we don’t quite feel like it.
Do we know the Jesus who allowed a vile and heartless world to think that it could actually kill Love, when, in reality, it was only killing itself.
Do we know the Jesus who DIED, only to show, us, who love Him, that death really has NO power over us at all.
You see, Peter, James and John got a glimpse of a Jesus that they could have never imagined! After miraculous healings, walking on water, raising the dead, and amazing lessons in morality and love, the true nature of Jesus was finally revealed – in this Transfiguration.
He was not only human, but Divine as well.
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
How do we walk with Divinity at our side? The disciples would eventually learn. But it would take one more human miracle for them to recognize, that Divinity was right there with them, all along. In the Resurrection, they finally understood everything that was said and done by Jesus, as He greeted them with that ‘Kiss of Peace.’ The same kiss we offer back to Him at every Mass, and to one another; if only in our hearts.
“This is my beloved Son”
(here in our blessed Sacrament)
and I offer Him,
to live within every one of you!
Listen to Him!
Walk with Him!
And BE Him to others!
Our call, brothers and sisters, is to be grateful, to be obedient, and most importantly, like Jesus and with Jesus, our absolute best of companions, we are called to LOVE.
An ancient sage once said: Bring Jesus home to Friendship; above just Knowledge; all the way – to LOVE. For, Knowledge is nice, Friendship is forever, but Love – is Eternal.
And that’s more than just Communication, beloved.
Blessed be God forever!
March 7, 2020
(Ss. Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs)
Jesus said to his disciples: “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, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. Mt_5:43-48
So, rain on the world, beloved, the goodness of God in your heart!
March 6, 2020
Jesus said, If you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Mt_5:20-26
How do we get past the hurts, beloved?
How do we get past the judgment?
How do we get past the anger?
How do we get past the loss and the loneliness?
Love God, despite it all, and in that love, we’ll know that His love will never ever leave us . . . when we can find it in ourselves to FORGIVE one another – just as Jesus did of us!
March 5, 2020
Jesus said, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” Mt_7:7-12
Ever drive down the road, beloved, only to have some other driver cut you off for no reason at all, save for maybe, you were going the speed limit. But you didn’t get angry and you didn’t get back, you just watched . . . For just a couple blocks later someone else did the exact same thing to them.
Corollary to Jesus’ “Golden Rule,” Watch out what you do to others, for given time it will definitely be done back to you.
God loves a cheerful Forgiver. Let it pass, beloved, and goodness will surely replace it, before it’s totally forgotten! And let goodness, then, be your rule for life! (Jesus will help!)
March 4, 2020
Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,” when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth. Jon_3:1-10
Our Lenten reminder. A time to repent, fast and BELIEVE!. In forty days from whence we started (Ash Wednesday), all the evil shall be destroyed and our Savior, Jesus will return with forgiveness and with hope. Death is NOT the end, beloved, but just the beginning!
(We will miss you though, John, until me meet again!)
March 3, 2020
Thus says the LORD: Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. Is_55:10-11
And how do we know that Word unless we listen? And how do we learn that Word unless we study? And how do we study unless we read? Jesus IS the Word of God. And we learn about Him not only through the Scriptures, but through prayer and through sharing in Community. Just like breathing or eating we truly need God’s Word if we want to live! And that Word of God will not return to him void, but will take us right along with it!
March 2, 2020
Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Mt_25:31-46
Hungry, Thirsty, Stranger, Naked, Ill, Imprisoned!
Are WE any of these beloved?
And how have we been cared for?
Then, on the other hand, have we cared for anyone else who might have been in these situations?
This is what the Lord wants all of us to do. And we don’t do it for some heavenly reward. We do it out of love. For you see, even the “Blessed” ones in Jesus’ story didn’t know they were doing those things for Jesus. But when we do, knowing that Jesus is in everyone, God will see our good works and reward will be given when our time is come. And that time is EVERY time we bring God’s healing joy to others. It might be as simple as a dollar or even just a smile!
Blessed birthday wishes for my beloved sister, Patricia!
March 1, 2020
The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. Gn_2:7-9;3:1-7
From the dirt and the Spirit we were created. Thus we are composed of both, physical and spiritual natures. And both want to return to their sources. And connecting both are our souls and our bodies. And in control of it all is our mind. Our mind has the ability to choose which nature wins.
Yes, our bodies are the temples of our spirits. But our minds can allow our lives to be driven back into the source of our physical, the dirt. Or those same lives can be allowed to rise in spirit back unto its source, God!
Which do you choose, beloved? Will it be dirt or glory? Will it be Satan or Jesus. Will it be eternal death or eternal life.
As for me and my household, we will choose Life!
We will serve the Lord! Jos 24:15
Happy March, 2020, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
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