Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Genesis 19:15-29; Ps 26 O Lord, your mercy is before my eyes; Matthew 8:23-27

In our first reading we encounter the destruction of the twin cities Sodom and Gomorrah.  The destruction of the cities and the environment around the cities was due to the sins of their inhabitants.

This was no natural disaster.  We never presume that natural disasters  are the result of human sins and i think to classify the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as a natural disaster is to misread the entirety of the text.

This destruction was a supernatural disaster.

God ordained it and it happen.  But on another note, it is important to be attentive to the fact that all of material creation is somehow bound together with human goodness and human sin.  We are punished by our sins not for them.  Sin in itself brings its own consequences.

But how often does our environment, not unlike that of the terrain and land of Sodom and Gomorrah, suffer destruction because of our own folly and own sinful choices.

Look around.  How often has greed and thirst for profit led to the destruction of our natural habitat, our sister Earth.

Pope Francis has made this clear in his new encyclical: LAUDATO SI,On Care of our Common.  Check it out.  Be Blessed

Pax et Bonum

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Wisdom 1:13-15,2:23-24; psalm 30 I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me; 2 Corinthians  8:7,9,13-15; mark 5:21-43

Just a few thoughts for this Sunday.

The first reading has this to offer for us in our meditation on the Christian life, and its living it as well: God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.  For he fashioned all things that they might have being...but by envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it...the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them..."

It is good to meditate on death.  In fact, st Francis often called death his sister. It wasn't something to fend off or be frighten of but rather embrace.  Death without Christ was insurmountable; it would be depressing which would lead to despair but with Christ it changes.  It becomes an avenue by which something more awaits, a fulfillment of this earthly existence is finally embraced.

Pope Benedict would say that preparing for death is a Christian art, because preparing for one's death means preparing to meet God.

I have a dear friend who I respect greatly.  He has just reached his 80th birthday, a true milestone.  He tells me when I see him that his window is closing, it is getting smaller.  He is referring to his earthly existence.

I remind him that the window isn't getting smaller but rather bigger, in fact it is opening up so wide that before it's immense size and stature, he is getting smaller.  But isn't that what Jesus refers to when he says unless we camels can pass though the eye of the needle.

In the Holy Land there is a church dedicated to the dormition of the blessed mother. The teaching of the dormition of Mary is simply that when the course of her earthly life ended she simply went to sleep, so that she might be awakened to glory by the grace of God.  This is the change that occurs in death for us who believe.

Death is not an end.  Rather it opens wide to the fullness of life.

We need to rethink how we see death and relate to it otherwise Jesus came for nothing.

Secondly, we are told that by the envy of the devil, death entered the world.  Envy is that reality that seeks to destroy the goodness of the other.  The devil wanted to destroy the friendship humanity had with God.  We see that in our own lives.  How often we find envy becoming our motivation when we talk about others or refuse to accept their state in life or their success or whatever.

What is the remedy for envy?  It is simply this: to rejoice in the goodness of the other.  When we recognize the goodness of the other habitually we then prepare our hearts and minds to rejoice in the goodness God has put in our life.  As the wisdom tells us clearly, nor does God rejoice in the destruction of the living.  Rejoice in the goodness of the other is a good way to prepare to meet God who rejoices in our goodness so much so that he offers his son for us.

Lastly, as we see Jesus cure the the woman with sickness and then raise the little girl we are reminded that physical healthy as good as it is, remains only a relative good, not the ultimate good.

For all of us, who die in faith, will awake to find our hand in his and we shall hear his voice, "arise."

Now for the second reading, St. Paul says these words, " but as a matter of equality your abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. As it is written: whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less."

Life is a pilgrimage!!  It is not just about getting somewhere quickly, though it is that.  But as a pilgrimage it is also about who stops along the way to help us and who needs our help as well on every turn and every stretch of the mile.

salvation is in some sense our response to those who God has put in our lives on this road back to him.
We must accept that we do not control who is on the journey with us; God's providence has some say.  Thus, the people we meet are God's gift to us and they are there to mold us and to mold our response to life.

Thus, as we respond to the gift of each person as we encounter them, as we learn to rejoice in their goodness and in our own, we truly prepare to enter fully into life.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Job 38:1,8-11; psalm 107 give thanks to the lord, his love is everlasting ; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; mark 4:35-41

Just a few thoughts about our readings as I continue my journey through Italy from Rome to Milan.

First all we arrive at the book of job chapter 38. Prior to this chapter job and his friends have been acquiring whether or not God knows what he is doing. Chapter 38 is a turning point in the narrative.  God who has been silent, who has allowed man to speculate and argue and discuss matters concerning his style of governance, finally speaks.

Once the opinions of man have been expressed God now speaks for himself. Job finally gets his wish.  He finally gets to have his day in court. He finally gets God to speak about why all this stuff has be fallen him.

Job never gets the answers he is looking for. God never tells him the why behind the what of all that has happened.  Rather, God reveals to Job and all of humanity that we are not fully suitable to weigh the evidence.  We cannot judge what has happened.  All we can do is just keep living and loving and let God connect the dots as life rolls on.

How many times have we put  God on trial?  How many times have we found God guilty? Yet, we judge what we cannot fully comprehend, as God speaks it clearly enough, " who is this who darkens counsel with words of ignorance?"

Our job his not to make sense out of everything.  Rather, our duty is to trust and receive as life unfolds.  We cannot judge the story of our life until the end as been reached.  God continues to lead us forth.

Just because we think God isn't paying attention doesn't mean he isn't paying attention.  We see that in the gospel, even while asleep Jesus is aware and concerned.  Just like the apostles we too mistake Jesus' sleeping as a lack of concern and nothing can be further from the truth, " quiet, be still!"

In this wave tossed life, whether Jesus is awake or asleep from our perspective, we need not ever be terrified but rather like the apostles as the gospel tell us, "leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was."

There is our invitation to faith, "to take Jesus as he is."  That is to say, to take life as it unfolds, to trust and to receive knowing we will never fully comprehend but with Jesus we never truly go alone.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


John 21:20-25

"When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, 'Lord, what about him' Jesus said to him,
"What If I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me."

These are the words to Peter from Jesus as Peter worries about John.  Peter finds himself sticking his nose in another's business. Even Peter had to be taught to focus on what was most important of all.

How often do we get caught up in other people's lives?  How often do we find ourselves worried over thing that don't concern us?

Nosey, Nosey, Nosey.  I bet this is what Jesus was trying to say.

Imagine how much drama would be eliminated in our life if we weren't so worried about things that don't concern us.  Imagine what our life would look like if we Just minded our own business and trusted God to take care of the rest.

What concern is it if yours?

Mediatet on these words of JEsus to Peter and evaluate your life.  Where do these words bring true freedom of heart and mind.  PErhaps its time to let go and use that energy on more productive things.

Then remember the words of Jesus, "Yo follow me."
There it is.  The paradigm of true freedom and empowerment for us: you follow me.  If we focused on being a disciple of Jesus how much more would the world be transformed.

Don't be nosey.  Do be a follow of Jesus.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Exodus 24:3-8; Psalm 116 I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord; Hebrews 9:11-15; Mark 14:12-26

Over the past decade or so, or maybe even longer, the Health world has been flooded with the notion of super foods.

These are foods that are considered "power houses" of nutrients that contain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins that when consumed i a regular diet are meant to reduce the risk of chronic disease, prolong life, make us healthier and even thinner.

Now, who doesn't want to be healthier or even thinner.

The common super foods that we hear about all the time is Kale, Broccoli, Salmon, Blueberries, Tomatoes, and oats.  A regular diet of these are meant to make us healthier.

The health world is always tinkering with diets that are good for us.

I wonder if bacon is considered a superfood.  Or I wonder if kale wrapped in bacon still counts as a superfood.

What about spiritual food?

We all have unhealthy spiritual lives!  We all have struggles and addictions and other vices that deeply affect our life and the lives of those we love and encounter daily.

What food has Jesus given us to be a "powerhouse" of grace for us as we journey back to him?

Thin about the last time you did something you knew you shouldn't do?  Or think about for struggle against vice, that same ole temptation that seems to snag you every time?

Perhaps its pornography or drinking excessively, or gossiping, or speak ill of others, or maybe it is just pure unadulterated laziness, or maybe its being irritable at authority.  What ever it maybe, Jesus has a solution.

This is where the Eucharist come in for our benefit and good. God's grace is his assistance that we might do what is true and good.

The church teaches that when we receive the eucharist,  what material food does for our body communion achieves for us spiritually.

1)it augments our union with Christ.  This is the principal fruit of communion, intimate union with Jesus.  Jesus says he who eats my body and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him.  Don't we need to be more united to Christ so that his strength becomes our strength.  Receiving the Eucharist is like riding on a tandem Bike with Jesus.  He is pushing the pedals right along side with us.

2)When we receive the Eucharist the grace preserves, increases, and renewed the grace of baptism.  This means that our divine sonship is deepen.  Our life becomes more receptive to the working of the spirit in our life.  The Eucharist fine tunes our life and sync us with the Holy SPirit.  How awesome is that.

3)It separates us from sins that is is cleanses us from past sins and preserves us from future sin.  Don't we need that to happen in our life.  The Eucharist is like yard guard for mosquitoes, it keeps temptation at bay.

4) it strengthens our charity that tends to be weakened by daily life, by the daily grind of living, of coming and going.   The Eucharist revives charity and it breaks our disorder attachments to self and roots us more firmly in Christ.

Talk about a super food that is worth the investment.  A daily dose of the Eucharist is essential.  In fact, one of the greatest compliments is to be called a daily communicant.  A daily communicant is one who sets a side time daily to participate in the divine life that is offered to us in the Eucharist.

Here is the true super food.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Tobit 3:1-11,16-17; Psalm 25 To you O lord, I lift my soul; Mark 12:18-27

In today's reading from the book of Tobit we are introduced to Raphael, the archangel.  He is commissioned by God to do several things.  He is sent to bring healing to Tobit who has lost his eyesight, but not only his eyesight he seems to have fallen in ill will toward his wife.  His marriage is in need of fixing as well.

Then Raphael is also sent to bring peace to a trouble daughter of God, Sarah, who seems to have the great misfortune of having her husbands die on her before consummation due to a certain "demon" that is attached to her.  Perhaps it is some sort of possession, it is unclear why the demon is fixated on Sarah and attacks who husbands on the night of consummation.  But she has buried 7 husbands and is being abused and made fun of by her family.  She is distraught and on the verge of taking her own life.

There is turmoil, misfortune, and despair brewing in the two lives and in the lives of their families.

Now, a quick note.  We often seek the intercession of St Michael to defend us in battle and to protect us against the onslaught of the temptation.  And rightly so.  But I suspect we need little raphael as well in our life especially in regards to our relationships.  Raphael seems to be the one God sends to help lead us through the evil stat are often intertwined when two hearts seek to become one.

These are the words of sacred scripture in regards to Tobit and Sarah, "So Raphael was sent to heal them both: to remove the cataracts form Tobit's eyes, so that he might again see God's sunlight; and to marry Raguel's daughter Sarah to Tobit's son Tobiah, and the drive the wicked demon Asmodeus from her."

There it is.

Raphael brings healing, shows the path for love to blossom in a relationship, and handles decisively he evil the is plaguing God's children.

Should we not ask god's messenger Raphael to help us see more clearly and to guide us in our relationships and especially to tune is in when evil is trying to reek havoc in our lives and relationships.

Here is a prayer for those like Sarah seeking a companion for the journey:

Prayer to St. Raphael
St. Raphael, loving patron of those seeking a marriage partner, help me in this supreme decision of my life. Find for me as a helpmate in life the person whose character may reflect some of the traits of Jesus and Mary. May he (she) be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with chaste and unselfish love we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please God to entrust to our care.
St. Raphael, angel of chaste courtship, bless our friendship and our love that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely that our future home may ever be most like the home of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Offer your prayers to God for the both of us and obtain the blessing of God upon our marriage, as you were the herald of blessing for the marriage of Tobiah and Sarah.
St. Raphael, friend of the young, be my friend, for I shall always be yours. I desire ever to invoke you in my needs.
To your special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future husband (wife). Direct me to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God's Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love and harmony in this life, and attain to eternal joy in the next. Amen.
In honor of St. Raphael: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

And another as part of a novena:
Most merciful Archangel Raphael, who faithfully accompanied young Tobias from Nineveh to Media, please accompany me, a wretched sinner, on this dangerous journey through life on earth to my eternal home in Heaven.  Glory be to the Father. . .
Most wise Archangel Raphael, while walking beside the Tigris River, saved the young Tobias from death, teaching him how to obtain control of the fish which threatened his life, save my life also from the attacks of the evil one who threatens the sanctity of my soul. 
Glory be to the Father. . .
Most powerful Archangel Raphael, who by a miracle of God, restored the precious gift of sight to the blind Tobit, heal me, free me from spiritual blindness and lift the veil of spiritual blindness of the world, so that we may come to know and love the divine splendor of Truth, who is Jesus our Lord, God and Redeemer. Protect me from deception, and help me to live and honor God’s laws.  
Glory be to the Father. . .
Holy Raphael, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for …
(mention silently your special intentions).
 Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be . . .