Friday, January 30, 2009

Litany of the Sacred Heart

Hebrews 10:32-39; Psalm 37 The salvation of the just comes from the Lord; Mark 4:26-34

St. Paul in the letter to the Hebrews tells us that "We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will posses life."

The psalm tells us, "By the Lord are the steps of man made firm, and he approves his way.  Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate, for the hand of the Lord sustains him."

Jesus tells us in the gospel that "the kingdom of God is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, and he knows not how." 

The mighty hand of God knows even though we do not; in all our planned efforts and strained attempts to bring the good news to the world, like the farmer we wait for the seed to germinate, and we wonder often not knowing how.  But in the end it is under the hand of God and this is what brings us hope.  It is not by our hands alone does the kingdom come.

The Litany of the sacred Heart ends thus:
Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, touch our hearts and make them like your own.  
Let us pray.
 Father, we rejoice in the gifts of love we have received from the heart of Jesus, your son.  
Open our hearts to share his life and continue to bless us with his love.  
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rouse and visible

Hebrews 10:19-25; Psalm 24 Lord, this the people that longs to see your face; Mark 4:21-25

There are two words that stand out in today's readings. 

In the first reading, the Letter to the Hebrews, the writer exhorts us to confidence in faith due to the blood of Jesus poured out for us.  Then, we are exhorted to "rouse one another to love and good works."

Let us "rouse" one another.  The writer is telling us that letting people slumber in their life is not an option.  We must "rouse" them.  There are many ways to rouse people.  We can startle them awake or we can gently nudge them to be awaken to the beauty of the day.
Each method doesn't work for everyone or every time. 

No one likes to be startled awake, yet there might be moments when it is needed.  
If the house is on fire, then a gentle nudge is inadequate.
We must discern the method for each person at each time.
Secondly in the gospel Jesus speaks of the lamp and the lamp stand.  He tells us there is "nothing hidden except to be made visible."

In deed we are meant to be visible that is we are meant to be seen.  In fact all that we do is visible and seen.  The question is, "is what is visible a true light for the world of the higher things?"

We must rouse and be visible lest what we have be taken away.  The best way to rouse someone is by simply turning on the light.  The light itself as a way of rousing and keeping awake.  We must simply be visible and the light will do the rest.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

brothers of Jesus?

Yesterday we encountered Jesus surrounded by many.  His mother and his brothers arrived to speak to him.  

Side note: The Church teaches that Mary is ever virgin.  She did not have any other children but Jesus.  Scripture seems to speculate otherwise.  

As we read yesterday: "The mother of JEsus and his brothers arrived at the house...A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you."

The greek word 'adelphos' (brother) is used for many relational realities.  It can be used to describe those who are blood brothers from the same mother, but it is also used more frequently in scripture to describe relationship of kin whether from the same family, such as cousins, or same area of land, such as countrymen. 

When scripture reads "your brothers and sisters are outside" (Mark 3:31-25), it is not as clear as we think.  The words speak of some relational reality in general but not in particular. 

Also, If Mary had other children, especially sons,  then why would Jesus give her to the beloved disciple while on the cross.  In the gospel of John, Jesus speaks to Mary and the beloved disciple in these words, "Woman behold your son, behold your mother. And from then on he took her into his home."

Mary would not need someone to take care of her if there were other sons to take care of her, yet Jesus asks the beloved disciple to take her in.  

Many protestants will use the above scripture verse Mark 3:31-35 to attack the Catholic faith and its teachings.  Shame on them for not learning to properly read scripture; shame on them for allowing their presumptions to cloud truth; shame on them for not truly respecting the virginal integrity of Jesus' mother, Mary.  

We are left with the question, "Does Jesus have any brothers or sisters?"

As Jesus points out in yesterday's gospel, "And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers.  For whomever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."  

Should we not let Jesus, the Word made flesh, the son of God, teach us how to interpret scripture.  Jesus uses the word brother in a very general way outside of blood relation.  He is the one that interprets scripture properly; let us allow him to show us the way and the truth. 

Yes, Jesus does have brothers and sisters.  Those who seek the will of God and live it daily are true family members.  Jesus establishes his universal, catholic, church family rooted in the will of God. 


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Hebrews 10:1-10; Psalm 40 Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will; Mark 3:31-35


Often when we here 'willpower,' we think of the power and ability not to do something: not to smoke, not to drink, not to have that second chocolate brownie with ice cream.

Willpower is more than not doing something.  Willpower is about doing and becoming and living the fullness of our humanity in accord with God's plan. 

Willpower is about understanding the good and moving toward that good with persistence even in adversity. 

Jesus tells us that those who are his brothers and sisters and family are the ones who do the will of God, the ones who go the distance.  

Willpower is about taking our passion and allowing them to be transformed by true glory.  Letting the good of God's will become the object of our will, our choice.  

God is pro-choice, he gives us the power to choose his will, only then are we truly empowered to have the fullness of life and joy complete.

Monday, January 26, 2009


2 Timothy 1:1-8 or Titus 1:1-5; psalm 96 Proclaim God's marvelous deeds to all the nations; 

Today in the Church we celebrate the memorial of Sts Timothy and Titus. 
Timothy and Titus reveal much to us. 

First they show to us the humility and zeal that St. Paul had for the gospel and the Church.  He did not do everything on his own but rather he was willing and ready to take on collaborators so that the gospel and the Church could be served. 

Secondly they show us what true generosity of heart looks like.   They were willing and ready to take on various offices and to travel great distances to serve the gospel with great generosity. 
They traveled to Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, Thessolonica, Dalmatia, Crete, Athens, Jerusalem and many other places.  They were letter bearers, peace bringers, money collectors, shared correspondence between Paul and the church communities, they were eventually bishops, and Timothy even was circumcised at an old age for the sake of the mission.   Their feet were always on the go.
They  reveal to us that service to the gospel also entailed service to the church.  One cannot fully serve the gospel unless they also invigorate the church; they go together. 

The task laid before St. Paul and Timothy and Titus had little to do with their own personal egos but everything to do with the gospel of Christ and the Church of Christ.  Jesus was the figure head that bound them all together and filled them with humility and zeal.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Repent and believe

Readings for this Sunday

In today's gospel Jesus begins his ministerial message.  Usually when someone begins a new office or position they issue words that are meant to set the tone for their tenure; this includes both their vision statement and mission statement.

Jesus began with these words:
"This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel."

Simple, straight forward, to  the point is our savior's words.  There are two realities involved in this mission and invitation of Jesus to us all.  

We must repent.  We must recognize our straying ways, recognize that we have settled for less, recognize the good that is laid before our feet.  We must desire to make a change.  Most people understand this part.  Most people want to repent, long for change, are tired of settling for less.

We must believe.  We no longer just desire change but we reach for it.  We allow the change of this kingdom to take root in us from within.  We begin to live differently, not on our own will power, but we live by the will power of Christ who enthrones his strength in our hearts and minds.  We reach for the higher standard of life.  We are invigorated by a what is above. 
Most people struggle with believing.

We all want to repent, we all want forgiveness but we are not all ready for the new life of the believer.  Both are necessary if we are to truly tap into the power of God in Jesus who not only invites us to  anew way of life but seeks to make that way within us.

This the time of fulfillment.  The time is now.  We cannot wait for it to happen in the long run.  We do not live in the long run, we live today, we live right now.   The kingdom of God is at hand, will you take it?

Will you let go and trust the one who knows?

Repent and believe and the good news will bring the fullness of joy and life into you. 

Saturday, January 17, 2009

mile stones

Today marks the 300th post on this blog. It hardly seems that that amount of time have come and gone between the first post and this post.

I guess every one celebrates miles stones, so why not 300. I suppose post 301 will be just as telling as this post today. If there is a 301, it means I have been given the opportunity to live and pray and love and tell. It will be a token of God's mercy. Yet, I suppose a token of God's mercy will be whether 301 comes along or not. It is his mercy that keeps us going, in him we move and breathe and have our being and he holds all things in himself.

There have been two prayers in the office that have stayed with me this week. The first is the prayer from Wed. evening prayer and the other is the prayer from this morning.

Wednesday Evening prayer:
Lord, watch over us by day and by night.
In the midst of life's countless changes strengthen us with your never-changing love.

Saturday Morning prayer:
Lord, free us from the dark night of death.
Let the light of resurrection dawn within our hearts to bring us to the radiance of eternal life.

It is the never-changing love that dawns within our hearts, scattering the darkness of our worries and concerns, and fills us with radiance that empowers us to action and brings us to the radiance that awaits. God's never-changing love introduces into our life and world stability. In the midst of the scourge of violence that is happening around the world, it is this stable force of never-changing love that will bring about a dawn of peace whose radiance finds it source in the face of Jesus.

May we continually seek His face. He descended into the misery of the human condition. His face is a "bleeding Head, so wounded;" precisely in this way it manifests the mystery of God's never-changing love whose power transforms violence into hope, thus a dawn of ressurection is always on the horizon. In peering in His face we are awaken to courage to carry on in the struggle of turning wounds into glory.

Psalm 34 "look toward him and be radiant...the Lord turns his eyes to the just and his ears to their appeal."

Friday, January 16, 2009


Hebrews 4:1-5, 11; Psalm 78 Do not forget the works of the Lord! Mark 2:1-12

We continue our reading of the letter of Hebrews. Chapter 3 and chapter 4 are commentaries on Psalm 95 in the Old Testment. In fact, much of the New Testament is a commentary on the Old Testament. But for those who writing the New Testament, the old testament was not old it was considered to be "scripture" in its entirety.

The Jewish scripture was considered to be that which contained the propehtic utterance that is fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.

If Jesus fulfills the prophecy of scripture revealed by God in Adam all the way to the prophet Malachi, then Jesus in his person is fulfillment. Thus, when the writer in the letter of Hebrews speaks of entering in to God's "rest", a rest that is promised from the beginning in the Seventh day of creation, he necessarily is speaking about Jesus as the fulfillment of that rest.

It is faith in Jesus that opens up the possibility of rest eternal.

When we say "eternal rest grant unto them O Lord; let your perpetual light shine upon them; may they rest in peace; may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace," we are in the most concrete way depicting what awaits us.

What will heaven be like? There will be rest. There will be rest from anxiety, stress, temptations, sinful inclinations and desires; there will be rest for love to truly abide; there will be rest for the heart; there will be rest for the body;

Where will this rest be? It will be in Jesus himself. In the ascension He already makes space for us that we might have rest and have it abundant. Rest is only possible where love is secure. Thus, heaven is rest for love abounds perfectly secure.

Vocation prayer

This week has been National Vocation Awareness week. Below is a prayer by JOhn Paul II.

Lord Jesus, as you once called the first disciples
to make them fishers of men,
let your sweet invitation continue to resound:
Come! follow Me!

Give young men and women the grace
of responding quickly to Your voice.
Support your bishops, priests and consecrated people
in their apostolic labor.

Grant perseverance to our seminarians
and to all those who are carrying out the ideal of a life
totally consecrated to Your service.

Awaken in our community a missionary eagerness.
Lord, Send Workers to Your Harvest
and do not allow humanity to be lost for the lack of pastors,
missionaries and people dedicated to the cause of the Gospel.

Mary, Mother of the Church, the model of every vocation,
help us to say "Yes" to the Lord who calls us to cooperate
in the divine plan of salvation.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Hebrews 3:7-14; Psalm 95 If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts; Mark 1:40-45

In the letter to the Hebrews we read, "Encourage yourselves daily while it is still "today", so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin."

The writer is reminding us that our life can never be lived in the past or in the future it can only be lived "today."

We must learn to leave the past to the mercy of God and the future to divine providence and live today in the love of God.

Today is all we have; today is lived in God and with God and this is what makes tomorrow hopeful and yesterday meaningful.

If today you hear his vocie harden not your hearts, the response of the Mass proclaims.

How do we encourage ourselves daily?

The letter to the Hebrews, in chapter 3, is commenting on Psalm 95. At the beginning of Psalm 95, the psalmist gives us a cue as to how to encourage ourselves daily to avoid the hardens of heart:

"come, let us sing to the Lord and shout with Joy to the Rock who saves us. Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving and sing joyful songs to the Lord...Come let us bow down and worship, bending the knee before the Lord, our maker for he is our God and we are his people, the flock he shepherds."

This is how we encourgae ourselves daily and avoid the hardness that kills.

Excerpt from St.Athanasius: Discourse against the Pagans

The ALmighty and most HOly Word of the Father pervades the whole of reality, everywhere unfolding his power and shining on all things visible and invisible. He sustains it all and binds it together in himself. He leaves nothing devoid of his power but gives life and keeps it in being throughout all of creation and in each individual creature.

Excerpt from the book of Sirach ch 43

Behold the rainbow! Then bless its maker, for majestic indeed is its splendor; It spans the heavens with its glory. this bow bent by the mighty hand of God.

This is why we sing to the Lord ans shout to the rock who saves and thus keep our hearts soft.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Question of the day?

Hebrews 2:14-18; Psalm 105 The Lord remembers his covenat forever; Mark 1:29-39

In our local paper under the section dealing with local concerns, there is always a "question of the day" heading. In this section, a question is posed concerning some particular matter of consquence or not, and usually there are pictures of those randomly selected citizens who answered the question. Beneath their "mug shot" is the answer they gave to the question of the day.

Reading through the selected scripture passages for today in the Church, a question came to mind. This is a question posed by Pope Benedict in his book, Jesus of Nazareth.


This question is posed by Pope Benedict in his explanation as to why we say "Deliver us from Evil" in the "Our Father" prayer.

Today in the readings we encounter Jesus being bombarded by "the whole town gathered at the door."

Why were they gathered? I speculate they gathered not so much because they were sick or diseased or possessed by demons, though they were all of these things. I speculate that the reason they gathered at the door waiting for their turn with Jesus was because they were tired of being afraid. They knew that Jesus had the power and the authority to not only cure them, make them whole, but to cast out their fear.

Fear is what keeps us from living our truest identity and a life of fulfillment. Jesus comes to show us that in him the power and authority of God has entered the world to protect us. Perfect love cast out fear. In Jesus, we encounter perfect love. As the Hebrews reminds us, "Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested."

When we say "deliver us from evil" we are not only crying out for rescue; it is not just a plea for redemption; it is also an acknowledgment that redemption has come in Jesus.

Question of the day:
"What could the world make you fear, if you are protected in the world by God himself?"

The question is posed, now it is our turn to answer!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Lord looks

Hebrews 2:5-12; You have given your son rule over the works of your hands; Mark 1:21-28

Psalm 33 we read in morning prayer: 

From the heavens the Lord looks forth, he sees all the children of men.  From the place where he dwells he gazes on all the dwellers on the earth, he who shapes the hearts of them all and considers all their deeds.

The psalmist directs our attention the Lord above who looks down  and shapes the hearts of them all.  

I find great hope in this passage.  God never rest nor closes his eyes.  His gaze is always upon us.  He is always seeking to shape our hearts to be like his.

Today when you look upon someone, old or young, small or big, short or tall, remember you do not look alone.  Your gaze joins the gaze of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, a communion of love.  This gaze seeks to make our gaze one in the same. 

In that gaze there is a conversion taking place, someone's heart is being shaped anew. 

Look but look with awareness that our gaze is not the only gaze and this gives us hope.

Monday, January 12, 2009

work place

Hebrews 1:1-6; Psalm 97 Let all his angels worship him; Mark 1:14-20

St. Paul tells us in Galatians that Jesus was born in the "fullness of time."  Mark, in the gospel tells us that Jesus' preaching was centered on a new reality, "this is the time of fulfillment."

The one who is born in the fullness of time, who has the fullness of God within him now brings that fullness in time and offers it to us each day. 

He doesn't wait for us to come to him.  We do not encounter that fullness just in the church building or in a place of prayer.  These places are meant to enrich that encounter.  But as the gospel reveals that fullness that Jesus offers comes initially to the work place.  

While Simon was casting his nets and while James and John were mending their nets, the fullness of time tapped them on the shoulder and called them forth.  While they were doing their ordinary job, in ordinary time, that the fullness of time, this time of fulfillment, made himself present.

In the place of work, Jesus comes to offer this new reality, this new way of keeping time.  The time clock that regulates the hours worked, now points to a new reality; with every tick and every tock the fullness calls us to change and to work unlike the rest; we are called to work as believers.  

In our hands we no longer just make a living we now are called to make a life. 
We work as believers in the gospel so that the gospel himself might be made present in and through us in the fulfillment of time. 

Saturday, January 10, 2009


This was the reading of morning prayer today January 10, 2009

Wisdom is the refulgence of eternal life, 
the spotless mirror of the power of God,
the image of his goodness.

And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;

And passing into holy souls from age to age, 
she produces friends of God and prophets.

Book of Wisdom 7:26-27

Wisdom is the gift that enables a taste of eternal life to shine through us.  Thus, we become friends of God and prophets.  Being a friend of God goes hand in hand with being prophetic with our lives.  Wisdom so saturates our being that with every step we take and every word we speak, God's' fragrance spills out and overflows. 

Mary, Mother of Wisdom, pray for us!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Yesterday we read in the gospel the interrogation of John the Baptist. 

The question posed was who are you to do these things?  "What do you have to say for yourself?"

That is the question that should always linger in our cerebral folds.  Who are we to do such things?  What do we have to say for ourselves?  What gives us the right as Christians to demand that the world change.

John the Baptist clarified who he was by clarifying who he was not, "I am not the Christ" he says. 

The paradox of our faith is that Jesus wants us to go before him to make straight the path of his coming, to prepare the way, but he does this by calling us to walk behind him. 

Only in walking behind him are we invited to go before him. 

John the Baptist knew this.  He was a disciple, a  follower, only then could he truly prepare the way of the Lord. 

Through him, men and women were drawn to the Christ. 

We are not the Christ, but we are Christians.  This is our battle Cry; this is why we do what we do; this is why we can make demands on the world.  We walk behind the Christ and thus are invited to go before him preparing the way for transformation. 

Excerpt from St. Gregory:
Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements.  But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year same Mother

Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 67 May God bless us in his Mercy; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21

Today the Church ask us to turn our gaze toward Mary, the Mother of God.  As we read in the opening prayer at Mass: 

"may her prayer, the gift of a mother's love, be your people's joy through all the ages.  May her response, born of a humble heart, draw your Spirit to rest on your people."

Today we celebrate the gift of a mother's love.  

A mother's love is truly a gift.  Today I spent some moments with my own mother. She worked all night at a nursing home, arrived home around 6:30 am, slept until 10 am and then she cooked.  I couldn't believe it.  What was she doing up?  

But then again, mom has always done this.  She has always worked nights and yet she always made sure all of us were cared for first.  She seldom complains about her lack of sleep but always has energy to give herself away. 

I watched her today to learn about a mother's love.  What a gift we have all been given in Mary, the mother of God.

A poem that moves me: The Watcher

She always leaned to watch for us
anxious if we were late

In winter by the window,
in summer by the gate.

And though we mocked her tenderly who had such foolish care
the long way home would seem more safe, because she waited there...

Her thoughts were all so full of us, she never could forget!
And so I think that where she is she must be watching yet

Waiting til we come home to her, Anxious if we are late
watching from Heaven's window, leaning on Heaven's gate!

With a Mother's love Mary waits for us...

Excerpt from St. Athanasius:
"This is explains the fact of Mary's presence: she is to provide him with a body of his own, to be offered for our sake."

As we turn our attention to the New Year and once again fill our minds with resolutions of things to change let us remember Mary.  It was through her body that Jesus received flesh and blood and became one with us.  She gave Jesus a body of his own so that goodness and mercy might reign in the human heart and might have a final home.

As we ponder new resolutions for our bodies: to lose weight, to gain weight, to lose fat or gain muscle; to shape and form this flesh; to exercise and eat right...may we do something different. 

May we surrender our body so that Jesus may make it his own, such that mercy, peace and love may reign in our homes.