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, 2021
The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting. The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; Is_50:4-9a
Just as God the Father protected, led and trained Jesus in the Way to teach His disciples, Jesus gives us that “well trained tongue.” It is a tongue that heals and strengthens others. It is a tongue that encourages and lifts others up rather than tearing them down. It is a tongue filled with love, no matter what kind of hatred comes back to us. And in it we are not disgraced, rather we are filled with the Grace of God at every moment and with every breath we take. Blessed be the Lord our God in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Amen!
March 30, 2021
You are my rock and my fortress. O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked. For you are my hope, O LORD; my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength. Ps 71
Lean on Him, beloved, and He will lift you up, protect you and use you to build His Kingdom. This is our Jesus!
March 29, 2021
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, Is_42:1-7
There are times, beloved, when we have to shout to make ourselves heard. And then there are times when it’s just best to keep quiet. Jesus knew his fate and He knew that getting loud to save others wouldn’t make much, if any, difference in their own fates, because they weren’t going to listen, no matter how loud He got. Sometimes people truly are just like sheep. They follow whatever the one with the biggest mouth has to say. And it’s funny how the biggest mouths can destroy a world. Yet, it is the silent ones who will truly save themselves and others. Don’t let their noise destroy YOU, beloved. For you are “worth more than many sparrows,” or sheep or goldfish in God’s eyes. Trust in Him and stand firm!
March 28, 2021
(Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion)
The disciples brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. And he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!” Mk_11:1-10
The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”
Jesus said to Peter, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.”
Jesus prayed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.”
Judas came and immediately went over to him (Jesus) and said, “Rabbi.” And he kissed him. At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
The priests of the Sanhedrin all condemned him as deserving to die. Some began to spit on him. They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards greeted him with blows.
Peter answered the bystanders, “I do not know this man about whom you are talking.”
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate said to the crowds, “Then what do you want me to do with the man you call the king of the Jews?” They shouted again, “Crucify him.”
The soldiers clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They brought him to the place of Golgotha — which is translated Place of the Skull —. They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
Then they crucified him
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. Mk_14:1-15:47
“KNOWING THAT I WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME!”
March 27, 2021
Thus says the Lord GOD: . . .
My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Ez_37:21-28
In the grand scheme of it all, God had always planned on being with His people. And how hard a time they, we, have accepting that fact. God is with us, beloved! Believe it!
The High Priest Caiaphas said to the Sanhedrin, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. Jn_11:45-56
And thus, Jesus would die to bring God’s people back together, never to be separated again. Yet, look at us. With all our denominations, sects, orders, who would have ever imagined that we could separate Christ in so many different ways. And then throw in any kind of panic, like a pandemic (??!!), and even our holy Catholic Church falls to pieces. Between our own factions, pharisaical priests, abuses, discord, isolation and even the elimination of a sign of peace between brothers and sisters in Christ. What have we come to!!! Pray, beloved for God’s unity again! This time without the death, but in the hope of Christ. The hope He brings to all of us. Hope called LOVE!
March 26, 2021
I love you, O LORD, my strength,
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.
My God, my rock of refuge,
my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim,
and I am safe from my enemies. Ps 18
They surround me. They surround me like bees to a fragrant flower. Piercing and stinging as they go, I am in dire straits. Yet, the Lord is my shield. And my nectar will yet pierce their hearts with the sweetness of my God and turn their disaster into blessing. Blessed be the Lord our God, beloved, for He is our rock of salvation, our hope and our Life!
March 25, 2021
(Annunciation of the Lord)
Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us!” Is_7:10-14;8:10
The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “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
The Choice that saved the world!
March 24, 2021
Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jn_8:31-42
“The TRUTH will set you FREE!”
Now there’s one to tattoo on your chest (men)! Jesus IS the Truth! And we are called to be men (people) of truth, in everything we do, in every thought we think, in every breath we take. Are my choices based on Truth or selfishness? Do I love out of truth or out of show? Am I a person of true integrity? Or am I wearing a mask of deceit?
The Truth will set you free!
And His name is
March 23, 2021
(St. Turibius of Mogrovejo, Bishop)
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” . . .“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
Jesus wants our belief, not our doubt, not our need for justification to believe, just faith that what He said is True. And it IS true, for it all came from God the Father. We believe, because this is what Jesus told us! And in our faith, we will live in His Kingdom and not die in our sins. God loves, forgives and gives us life! This is what we believe. And Jesus came to assure we know that! THAT is our proof!
March 22, 2021
I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord, but rather in his conversion, that he may live. Ez_33:11
Yes, beloved, the Lord delights in life, not death. What consolation that gives to us, us sinners. For we are nowhere near the righteousness of God. And yet He pardons, He loves, He wants our conversion that we may live with Him forever. Now, that doesn’t give us license to sin all the more, but reason to convert, to change, every day, becoming a little closer to knowing God, to loving our neighbor and to keeping ourselves from all taint of sin.
March 20, 2021
Nicodemus, one of their members (the Pharisees) who had come to him (Jesus) earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” Jn_7:40-53
Beloved, when feelings and opinions get in the way of people seeing clearly what is set in the law, both the civil law and the natural laws of life, dignity and respect, then begins a society of anarchy of lawlessness. And we have seen in the past year exactly where we are headed in that respect. Now, rather then learning, obeying and following the law, the laws are being changed to meet with the needs of certain people’s feelings and opinions. And the media has a huge effect on what those feelings and opinions are. And, you know what, the media has their own agenda too!
There’s an old saying that you don’t flush the baby down with the bath water, just because that baby splattered some water in your face. Maybe it’s time to find some towels and suck up our responsibility to take care of that baby, and then discover that he or she just might be our savior some day, water and all.
March 19, 2021
(Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Joseph her (Mary’s) 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,” Mt_1:16,18-21,24a
One hundred -years ago, on the second day of Spring, in the year of our Lord, 1921, a little Italian immigrant by the name of Teresa gave birth to the sixth of her 8-living offspring. Being a pious Sicilian Catholic, with this new arrival just 2-days after the, all-important, March 19th Feast Day of St. Joseph, Teresa was unable to prepare her traditional St. Joseph Table Feast that year, because of her pregnancy. So, along with her husband George, they dedicated the name of this new child to St. Joseph, calling him, Joseph Matthew.
Providentially, 32-years later, young Joseph and his beautiful, red-haired, Irish-descendant, wife, Marion, gave birth to their second child and 1st son. The child was quite unoriginally dubbed as, Joseph Matthew, Jr. And, most likely, unbeknownst to his parents, Joseph Matthew Jr. just happened to be born on the Feast Day of St. Matthew, September 21st.
And maybe, equally providential, the precise day and year of Jr’s birth turned out to be the exact same day and year that a 17-year young, Argentinean, by the name of Jorge (that’s George), heard his call to a priestly vocation.
That budding Chemist, Jorge, never imagined that 59-years later, and just 6-days prior to the Feast Day of St. Joseph, in the year 2013, he would become the 266th Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Catholic Church, taking on the name, Pope Francis.
And neither did the young Chemist, Joseph Jr., ever imagine himself as “Deacon Joe,” as being a professed, Secular Franciscan, or, as having a Franciscan Priest as a son, through his marriage to Mary Ann, another beautiful Irish descendant, just like his mom.
And so it is of no coincidence, that this Joseph, ordained at St. Joseph’s Cathedral, some 17-years ago, has the honor, in this year of St. Joseph, to present to you: the Dreamer, the Carpenter, the Husband of another famously beautiful Mary, and the Step-Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose name – is Joseph of Nazareth.
Never in My Wildest Dreams
Maybe, in order to know a little bit about the heart of St. Joseph, the Step-father of God, of Jesus, we should also know a little bit about his Jewish Patron, Joseph, the 1st-born-son of Jacob and Rachel, and the great-grandson of the Patriarch Abraham.
You see, that Joseph was the obedient son of a rebellious, but very crafty father. Jacob, who was later named Israel by God, after cheating his father Isaac, out of a blessing destined for his twin brother, Esau, was forced to flee his homeland, only to be cheated himself out of the woman of his deepest desires. And yet persistent to gain Rachel as his wife, Jacob suffered years of servitude, only to find Rachel barren and childless.
Ten male children later, by three other wives, Jacob and Rachel finally conceived a son. And they named him Joseph, (which means ‘the Lord ADDS to those who are faithful’).
And like his father, Jacob, who dreamt of a stairway to heaven and battled with an angel of God, Joseph was also a God-gifted Dreamer, who would sacrifice, serve and eventually gain his reward through his Faith and his Obedience to God.
Of course, being the first-born son of Jacob’s favorite wife, Joseph was not only Jacob’s favorite son, but he was truly doted upon by his father, to the great consternation of those 10 – older step brothers. And to make a long story short, after being sold into Egyptian slavery, narrowly escaping a sexual assault, and enduring years of unjust imprisonment, Joseph not only redeemed himself, but was honored as a surrogate ‘son’ of the Pharaoh (just like Moses) eventually redeeming all of Egypt and his own family through his dreams and his resourcefulness.
You see, Joseph, the betrothed of the beautiful and pious Mary of Nazareth, knew well the value of the careful discernment of dreams, and of obediently acting on God’s will, both, through his love of Scriptures and his knowledge of that patron and predecessor, Joseph, the dreamer with the amazing technicolor poncho.
In time, Joseph of Nazareth would be called by God, himself, to respond to four of his own dreams that would drastically impact the creation and the salvation of this little, Holy Family. For, just as Joseph of Egypt, the true son of Israel, was appointed by God as the Guardian of the food stores, the bread that saved his family and all the Egyptians, Joseph of Nazareth, the Step-father of Jesus, was appointed by God as the Guardian of the Living Bread that saves the world for all eternity – Jesus!
Joseph, the Man
Now, aside from the brief, yet concise, genealogy of Joseph in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, we don’t really know a whole lot about Joseph from the Scriptures. But it’s interesting to note, that in Matthew’s genealogy, the father of Joseph is also named Jacob, as was the father of his name-sake patron, Joseph of Egypt. But, the point of those genealogies was really, more to show a Scriptural ancestry of Jesus to King David – through St. Joseph, than they were to strictly itemize descendants.
And as a descendant of the ancient King David, and the husband of the contemporary Mary of Nazareth, Joseph “stands at the crossroads” between the Old and New Testaments, as a pillar of prophetic fulfillment.
Now, the Scripture scholars infer from Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem for a census, that Joseph, was likely born there, or at least had family ties in Bethlehem. And it was also through family relationships and/or business acquaintances that Joseph, the carpenter, may have first met Mary of Nazareth.
Ancient writings and myth have conjectured a story, that has been carried on, in tradition, of a competition for the hand of Mary, which Joseph won by the divine intervention of God, through a flower-blossoming staff. Thus, in ART, Joseph has come to be recognized carrying a staff with lilies. Scripture scholars have debunked this myth as not being consistent with traditional marriage customs of the time, and, that God would not have wanted the formation of the Holy Family to be extra-ordinarily highlighted.
Another myth, construed through Apocryphal writings, regarded the AGE of Joseph at his marriage. Tradition places the age of Mary, at the time, to be about 12 1/2 -years old, and that of Joseph to be about 18 to 19. Many famous works of art depict Joseph as an exaggeratedly older man in order to emphasize the pre and post incarnational virginity of the Blessed Mother. But again, this view of the Holy Family would make them stand out in the perspective of their contemporaries, which was not the aim of God’s plan.
The Just Man
Matthew’s Gospel describes Joseph as “a just man,” where it says: “her husband Joseph, being a just man, and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly.” This IS the characteristic of Joseph that is most highly venerated and remembered about him. And it’s also the most reflective and meditative characteristic in which we all strive, to be “just.”
It makes us ponder, how would we respond to a situation so totally out of our control, so unworldly, that it would not only impact the life of one young girl, but the lives of the entire world for all time to come? And yet, we face situations every day, that can influence the lives of others! And it just makes us wonder, are our decisions, our choices simply based on whim or selfishness, or are they based on the Scriptures and our Faith as Joseph’s were?
And exactly how did Joseph deal with having a pregnant betrothed, who could be subject to the extreme of death, based on his decision, let alone, the premature death of the Savior of the world?
It was DREAMS!
As we said a few minutes ago, Joseph had 4-life impacting dreams. The first dream came in the midst of what the Scripture scholars call “The Gethsemane of Joseph” or his Testing.
For just as Abraham’s obedience was tested in the sacrifice of his son Isaac, . . .
and just as Joseph, the patriarch’s, faith and obedience was tested in Egyptian exile, . . .
and just as Jesus suffered the test of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane,
and just as Mary suffered the test of unfathomable sorrow at the
death of her son,
so Joseph was tested and purified by God in the ‘wine-press’ – test of suffering.
We might call this period of Joseph’s suffering, the “Dark Night” – between when he became aware of Mary’s pregnancy, which was not of his doing, and his first dream, which is sometimes called the “Annunciation of St. Joseph.”
All we know, Scripturally of this period, is Joseph’s incredibly just and compassionate decision to “quietly send Mary away,” as Matthew tells us, without public discourse. And yet, the dilemma, the pain, the torture of that decision had to be as excruciating for Joseph, as it was for Mary, watching her only son, so unjustly die.
The Church Fathers believe that Joseph knew well, the purity of Mary. And yet, he also knew the human fact that child bearing could only be the result of physical human relationships, (which would clearly imply adultery in this case). But, he also knew, in Faith, that God is perfectly capable of miraculous interventions.
An unknown follower of St. John Chrysostom professed that: “Joseph believed, it was more possible for a woman to conceive without a man, than it would have been for Mary to be able to sin.” Could we even fathom, in our wildest dreams, the unspoken and the silent torture that both Mary and Joseph had suffered. Yet out of the crucible of suffering came the Savior of the world, the Mother of all, and the Patron Father as the model Guardian of our own families.
And the dream, as we know, opened the eyes of Joseph to the Truth of the miracle, which, in perfect obedience to his heavenly Father, allowed the creation of the most Holy, Trinitarian Family that the world has ever known: Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
And yet, their trials were far from over. Through succeeding dreams and decisions, obedience and actions, Joseph:
2. Saved the Holy Family from Herod’s wrath, in fleeing to Egypt,
as the angel ordered, in his second Scriptural dream . . .
3. He obediently returned to the land of Israel, most likely to Bethlehem, as the next dream directed, and . . .
4. He Fled from the threat of Herod’s successor, following a dream which brought the Holy Family back to Nazareth.
The revealing salvation of dreams!
Now, in addition to their holiness, Joseph and Mary were both virginally chaste for the entirety of their lives. Contrary to many a protesting fundamentalist, St. Peter Damian proclaimed, “Do you not know that the Son of God preferred the purity of the flesh to such an extent that He became man in the closed womb of a virgin rather than in the respectability of marriage? And that not only is the mother a virgin, but the Church believes that he who served as father is also a virgin.”
St. Thomas Aquinas affirmed this belief, saying: “Joseph, by his solicitude was like a father; (and) by his protection of chastity, was the guide of virginity.“
So Joseph was, and remained, a virgin, just like Mary.
Now, aside from Joseph’s presence at the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, 8-days after His birth, and in their desperate search for Jesus in Jerusalem, twelve years later, nothing further was written about Joseph in the Scriptures.
Sometimes the silence could be deafening.
And sometimes it can be quite awakening.
Out of the Silence
The Church teaches that Joseph ‘passed-on’ to his heavenly reward at some time before Jesus began His public ministry. This holy and just man would have had nothing to fear in death. And he would have known that he had accomplished everything that his heavenly Father required of him in his earthly existence. And for this reason, Joseph has become the “Patron Saint of a happy death.”
He has also been officially named, the Patron of the Universal Church, in 1870, by Pope Pius IX (9th), the Patron of Workers, in 1955, by Pope Pius XII, (12th), the Guardian of the Redeemer, in 1989, by Pope St. John Paul II, and is the patron saint of Canada, Austria, Belgium, Bohemia, Mexico, Peru and South Vietnam.
St. Joseph has had Shrines built in his name all over the world, one of the most famous and largest being the St. Joseph Oratory founded by Bl. Andre Bessette in Montreal Canada. This magnificent structure can seat over 3000 people in its Basilica and Crypt churches.
And then there are many other traditions held in honor of St. Joseph. And in them we see how, out of the silence, holiness is born!
One kinda silly tradition is the burying of a statue of St. Joseph in one’s yard to help in the sale of their house. This is one of those ‘popular culture’ things that many people do, even outside the faith. As a matter of fact, anyone can buy a St. Joseph burial kit from Amazon to do the trick.
The history of the tradition stems back to St. Teresa of Avila, who, in need of some land for a new convent, buried a few medals of St. Joseph, and offered intense prayers for his intercession. She found that in short time, the land was acquired.
Then in the late 1800s, Brother Andre Bessette, of Montreal, repeated St. Teresa’s medal burial when owners would not sell him the land he wanted for a chapel. The story goes, that they abruptly changed their minds and made the sale, leading, of course to the eventual building of the famous St. Joseph Oratory.
Today you can easily search the internet to discover the exact mode and place of burial and the prayers one would say to gain St. Joseph’s intercession for the sale of your house. Of course the most important part being the prayer.
And then there’s Prayers. There are prayers of veneration and supplication to St. Joseph that include Litanies, a Memorare, and Novenas. There are prayers of and for workers, before and after Holy Communion, for Purity, for Chastity, for Conversion and for Consecration to St. Joseph.
We also, often hear the phrase “Go to Joseph” in reference to St. Joseph of Nazareth. Ironically, that phrase actually originated from the Book of Genesis about Joseph of Egypt, where it says, “When all the land of Egypt was famished and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh said to the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph; what he says to you, do.’”
And that’s some pretty wise advise. For Joseph who chose obedience over selfishness, who chose submission over control, and who chose to support and love and father this Holy Family is always there to support us as well.
When we “Go to Joseph,” he will lead us to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, and all will be well.
March 18, 2021
(St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus said, “I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.” Jn_5:31-47
Jesus was revealing His divinity to the unbelieving Jews in terms of legal testimony. He referred to Moses, whom those Jews idolized, but did not understand, despite all of Moses’ written references to Jesus in the Scriptures. He then referred to John the Baptist who openly testified to Jesus being the Messiah, the long-awaited Savior. Then He explained how all of His miraculous works testified on His behalf. They were described in the Scriptures by the Prophets. They were remarkably unprecedented. And the healings, the raising of the dead, the exorcisms and the acts on nature like walking on water and calming storms could only be performed by God Himself. Jesus proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that He is the Son of God.
So what about us, beloved? Do we truly believe or do we make excuses and concoct rationale to explain away the truth, the reality that Jesus truly is God, the Son, sent by the Father to open our eyes to His will and desire for our salvation. The Father said multiple times to the people in the time of Jesus – “Listen to Him!”
For He is our Light and our Salvation!
March 17, 2021
(St. Patrick, Bishop)
Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life.” Jn_5:17-30
Hear, Believe, Pass and Live!
March 16, 2021
John tells the story of an encounter of Jesus with a lame man at the healing pool of Bethesda. He tells us that . . . One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” Jn_5:1-16
The man made the excuse that he couldn’t find help to dip him into the pool. You would think that after 38-years there would have been somebody! Or else, maybe he really didn’t WANT to be well.
Sometimes, beloved, we tend to revel in our misfortunes. We like the attention it brings. We like complaining. And we become comfortable in our misery. But when something changes it, all of a sudden we have this gaping hole where the misery used to fill our lives. The man was probably upset that Jesus healed him. And so when Jesus told him not to publicize the affair, the first thing he did was report it to those conspiring against Jesus.
It’s a funny reminder of how we can sometimes hang on too tightly to our own misfortunes. Do we REALLY want to get well? Maybe it’s time to do some deep soul searching. Maybe it’s time to either own up to seeking an answer, or to just stop complaining. And there’s the second part of the problem. Beyond seeking the attention that our misery brings to us, we are also seeking to bring everyone else down to where we are.
Well maybe no one else WANTS to be in the state we’re in. Maybe everyone else is tired of hearing our belly-aching. Maybe that’s why we have no friends, no jobs, no hope. You see, beloved, Jesus is here to lift us out of that life. Jesus is here to help us find an answer that’s much much better than misery and complaint. Jesus is here to offer us hope.
Trust in Him and He will point you in a better direction. And with a new smile on your face and hope in your pocket, no matter what those struggles of yours may be, that yoke will be lifted and all will be better.
Trust in Jesus!!
March 15, 2021
Jesus returned to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. Now there was a royal official whose son was ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.” Jn_4:43-54
Jesus could tell in His heart when people were just seeking another sign, another show, another miracle and when they truly believed that He could heal either themselves or their loved ones. And yet, His mission was to convert people to believe more fully in God and in Himself. So He offered healing to ALL who exhibited the least bit of faith in Him. And when this “royal official” actually observed the healing of his son from afar by Jesus, not only he, but his whole family were converted. And you can bet there were others in that town who began to believe, as well.
What does it take for us, beloved, to have that level of faith? Faith strong enough to be willing to exert some effort, to suffer a little, or maybe even to die for the sake of our beloved Jesus, like many of the martyrs before us. Jesus is calling us to let go of our strong self-independence and trust in Him for all of our needs. And then go and spread that faith to others!
March 14, 2021
(4th Sunday of Lent, B, Laetare Sunday)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. Eph_2:4-10
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. Jn_3:14-21
Our Salvation, beloved, has nothing to do with our doings, but our being. And knowing that we have been baptized as Children of God, we have been given the grace of salvation through Jesus Christ. In Him, as Paul had said, we live and move and have our being. And in that being we offer all our love to God and His body (humanity). We are not here to boast, but to bring as many souls as we can into this glorious life of God’s family! Blessed be He forever and ever!
March 13, 2021
Jesus told a parable about the self-righteous and the self-knowing and concluded: “the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk_18:9-14
We are called to be righteous, beloved, but not self-righteous. People will know what’s in our hearts. And we’ll know what’s in theirs as well. But we are not to judge their misgivings any harsher than we should our own. And when we are ‘self-knowing’ then we’ll realize that we have no right to judge anyone! And our call is to work on ourselves before we ever worry about others. And when we even begin to feel the least bit comfortable with ourselves, then we raise others up and not knock them down, in our own humility!
March 12, 2021
The Scribe said to Jesus, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘He is One and there is no other than he.’ And ‘to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” Mk_12:28-34
So, how far are we, beloved (from the Kingdom of God)? Do we understand? Do we truly understand that beyond and above all the trivial things we do for the looks of it, for thinking that it really matters somewhere in the universe (all that doing), that beyond it all, love must come first? When what we do is OUT of love and not pride, then it really doesn’t matter what others think, how we’re treated, and what we can check off in our book of ‘to-do’s’ for the sake of righteous pride.
Why is it beloved, that whenever we cross paths with someone we haven’t seen for a while, the first thing they ask us is “So what have we been doing?” “Well,” I say, “I’ve been wandering here and there, about the barren wasteland of modern culture and loving! Loving the homeless man on the street corner, loving the “hurry” diseased neighbor who insists on driving two inches from my tail, loving the money hungry salesman who all but crawls down into my pants to find my wallet, loving the frazzled mother trying to keep a boat-load of children in tow, loving you beloved, for spending your valuable time (hopefully not wastefully) reading my dribble.”
So, WHAT about you, dearest, who are you loving today? Maybe it’s time to say a prayer for them as well. And maybe now, we’re just beginning to “understand” exactly what thrilled Jesus so much about the Scribe’s answer. It’s not about the doing as much as it is about our loving!
March 11, 2021
Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Lk_11:14-23
In a world of hopes and disappointments, of fear and ignorance, of care-less abandon, “whatevers” and “no problems,” we certainly do have a lot of problems, cares and opinions. So where in the midst of all that is our anchor, our rock, our faith in anything?
Well, if we have any hope, and if we have any knowledge, and if we have any openness to Truth, we will find everything our hearts desire in Jesus. Jesus is our bond, the glue that holds us all together. And in these times of chaos and dissension we truly need some glue. Trust in Jesus, beloved, and gather, don’t scatter. Love, even in the midst of so much hatred. And Jesus will see us through to realize all of our hopes, and to gain all of His wisdom, and to eventually come into union with God and one another forever! That’s the Joy of Jesus, dearest! Come, and let’s do some gathering!
March 10, 2021
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. 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
Ok, so let’s start with honesty, integrity and respect. Then we can move to driving the speed limit, not stealing and not cheating. We can move on to being honest in elections, in treatment of foreigners and in politics in general. Then let’s look at God’s laws! Being honest to ourselves, loving ourselves and others, and offering compassion to the needy, the poor, the lost and the neighbor. Then we will be great in the Kingdom of heaven.
March 9, 2021
(St. Frances of Rome, Religious)
Daniel’s friend Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud to the Lord, “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
Let us, beloved, stand up in the midst of our messy, messy world. In the midst of our burning flames, we pray this same prayer to our God. With our whole heart we pray, deliver us O God, our Father. Save us – to the glory of your Name and in the name of Your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. We offer you our hearts, our souls and our lives, to bring sense out of our nonsense. For we love you, we fear you and we worship You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
March 8, 2021
(St. John of God, Religious)
Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” Lk_4:24-30
Sometimes, beloved, receptivity to the extraordinary only comes from or to the outsider. So whom do we know, who’s in our midst every day, that we might be missing: a sibling, a parent, a child, a colleague, a street beggar, a spouse? Sometimes we can be blind to what’s right in front of us. Let us pray that our Loving Father will help us to see the very source of blessings we receive, unknowingly, every day.
Come Holy Spirit and change my vision! Give me a thankful heart and take away my skepticism, bias and judgmental attitude. And help me to be more like You!
March 7, 2021
(3rd Sunday Lent, B)
(Ss. Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs)
“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Ex_20:1-17
Ever read or listen to a Scripture and something strikes you, after which not one word more ever even enters your mind because you are so struck by that one phrase or concept! Well today this piece hit my wife so extraordinarily that it was all she could think about for the rest of the Mass. And when she mentioned it to me, I was dumbstruck, because I didn’t even realize that in the Sabbath day Commandment they mentioned all those different people: “you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast or (even) the alien who lives with you.”
What struck Mary Ann was the fact that “your wife” was never mentioned. Guess you have to be in that position to recognize that you were missed! I find that same feeling very often as a deacon (being missed, ignored or forgotten, or maybe even left out on purpose). But Mary Ann’s is a very good question. And it leads us to pondering two possible responses.
First, women in general, and wives in particular, were held in very low esteem in that mid-eastern culture, which has been the case for several thousand years to follow. So that could be the case in the writing of this Scripture. Though they did mention daughters and female slaves. Maybe the writer spilled his coffee or had to go to the bathroom just before writing “his wife” and then forgot about it when he got back.
And secondly, maybe the writer (or God) figured that wives are just too important to the survival of the family to take a day off. Gee, just because it’s Sunday, we still need clothes to wear, food to eat and lovin’ to be had. So wives were exempt from the Sabbath working fast (tongue in cheek, just kidding women!) while all the rest of us workaholics had to suffer cold-turkey resting (you know, football, beer and chips). Awwwwww!
Anyone out there who’s a “Scripture Scholar,” we’d be glad to hear your input on this one!
Of course the point being – even if we do have to work on Sundays, which many of us still have to do, we should always keep the day holy in our thoughts and prayers, remembering that it was God’s day of rest after creating our humanity, and it was Jesus’ day of resurrection in creating our eternity.
Blessed be God forever!
And thanks be to God for our Holy, indispensable Wives!
March 6, 2021
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits. Ps 103
ALL His benefits: like our life, like our home, like our car, like our spouse, like our job, like beautiful sunny days, like refreshing rainy days, like our family, like our peace, like our love, like our hope, like our strength in tough times, like His healing, like His mercy, like His kindness, like our freedom, like our choice, like His love. Bless the Lord, O my soul and help me to be more like You every day, with every breath I take, a blessing to the world!
May the Lord bless you and keep you, always in His love!
March 5, 2021
Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him a long tunic. When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his sons, they hated him so much that they would not even greet him. Gn_37:3-4,12-13a,17b-28a
Jesus told a parable about a landowner who rented out his vineyard to greedy tenants. After they had killed all the landowner’s emissaries, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Mt_21:33-43,45-46
“Some people are special, and it’s not me!”
And the moment we believe in our hearts that it is, then we’re in trouble. Because when we learn that others are special too, that’s when jealousy, hatred, anger and even worse begins.
The question is, can I accept the fact, that in this life there will be other people who are more special than me? They may have a funny accent, they may be much younger than I, they may wear clothes that are different than mine, they may make comments that I think are outrageous or stupid. But the fact of the matter is, that God created us all special, in different ways. And it’s not our job to judge, or compare, or belittle, or destroy that specialness of others.
As we continue on this journey of Lent, 2021: in the midst of decisions we may not agree with, in the face of people who may totally repulse us, in the realization that we are NOT in charge, can we learn to accept our own specialness in the eyes of God and use it to build up others rather than destroy?
For God only knows,
someday they just might be our Savior.
“Some people are special,
and it’s not only me,
it’s ALL of us!”
March 4, 2021
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
In whom or what do we trust, beloved? Do we trust in riches? Is it our job and employer in whom we trust? Is it our family, our friends, or even our Church? Jeremiah tells us today that there is only One in whom we could trust who will save us in times of distress and keep us fruitful! It is the Lord. Trust in Jesus alone, dear one, and Jesus will see you through it all: poverty, unemployment, death, desertion, covid-19. Trust in Jesus!!
March 3, 2021
(St. Katharine Drexel, Virgin)
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Mt_20:17-28
Couldn’t have been more clearly said. And Jesus told His disciples this multiple times. So why weren’t they more prepared? Why weren’t they even awake when that fateful moment came? It was all in the plan. For, as they say, there would be no resurrection with a death. It says a lot about human nature. And yet it promises us something far better than the temporary and chaotic existence we live. As we prepare for our commemoration of the Resurrection of Jesus, it’s a good time to ponder this life. Will I be welcomed into the eternal bliss of heaven? Maybe a good time to think about how we can make every day count a little more in the eyes of God. Love!
March 2, 2021
Jesus said, “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
Sometimes we can get so self-conscious about what others think of us, how we talk, what we wear, how we look. Jesus is telling us today that all of that doesn’t really matter. What really matters is, whether we can put anyone and everyone else above us? Can we look at others without judging them, without comparing them to ourselves? Can we let go of ourselves enough to see the best in those we might otherwise be looking down at. Maybe it’s really us whom the rest of the world IS looking down at. And, you know what, it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is how good of a person we can be in serving everyone (even ourselves, when it’s necessary)!
Today, I offer birthday blessings to my beloved sister Patricia. Hope you have an awesome day, Patricia. Happy Birthday! Love you always!
March 1, 2021
Jesus said, “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Lk_6:36-38
What greater reason to be abundant in our giving, beloved! And maybe, not even for the sake of our own good, but for those to whom we are giving.
What a blessing we can be!
The blessing of Jesus!