Saturday, July 4, 2020

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We have heard it said that when you know another intimately, whether friend or spouse, you begin to take on characteristics of that person. Their thoughts begin to become your thoughts and their ways your ways.  Each become a part of the other and in that sense we want what is best for them because we see a part of ourselves in them.  This is the childlike faith we are called to in this “ pearl” of Matthew’s gospel.

Trust and simplicity; virtues by which the heart intimately linked to the Father resides.  If you have ever been in a position where those have been broken then you know deep pain. This trust and simplicity are the marks of the child. For if we know God we give him charge over us and this trust leads to faith, what is revealed to us, to hope, that what he reveals will come about, and to Love, that we carry through in him what he asks of us.

Any chore that we do alone can cause us to be weary. The words,” many hands make light work” are true.  Any task shared softens the burden we bear alone. Jesus gives us a beautiful picture, one he would know well as a carpenter, of bearing the burden. He shares it with us as the yoke evenly spreads the weight across the two shoulders so that we know we don’t carry the full load.

Witnesses who have, sometimes at great cost, accepted this invitation, are those we call saints.  Even in times of great trial their joy never fades, not in earthly life or the next.

Our response then can be the words of the psalmist of thanks and praise. The Lord is faithful in all his ways.  In trust we understand that.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

My youngest daughter’s former nanny and her husband, a Baptist minister, are the embodiment of today’s gospel reading. After raising six children, they embarked this last January on a called mission.  They sold their house and belongings, spent six months traveling the country fund raising and then moved to Jamaica to manage an orphanage.  These true disciples left all behind in order to bring God’s Love to ten boys.

Of course the message here is the difference in the love of families and the Love of God.  Family love, imperfect love, always comes with strings and conditions attached.  It’s messy.  God’s Love on the other hand is Divine and perfect.  He says
when you Love me first, then I will Love your families through you. No one is left out or behind, but brought into this shared experience of Divine Love. How beautiful that what we give to God is returned to our families!

But then what about loving the unlovable? These are not just the homeless.  It could be the person sitting three feet from you in church. Every person in this world needs to become our father, mother, son, and daughter.  When we begin to live this way, our lives will drastically change and we will, deep in our hearts, know the presence of the living God.

God’s Love though is never kept in a corner.  It propels outward with concern for others, especially those vulnerable. Our first reading of Elisha and the Shunnamite woman opens the door to hospitality, a fundamental role throughout scripture.  Because we live in times of distancing, Jerry and I have talked, read, and researched an added way to help and provide for others.  We have neighbors out of work and struggling.  In the next weeks we will be adding to our front yard a Little Free Library (  For now the purpose is not books, but non-perishable staples.  Food.

In the times we are living in, like my daughter’s nanny, we must look at life with new eyes. We cannot see strangers in any other way except as brothers and sisters. We are called to this in our baptism in water that is never stagnant.  The ripples circle on and on.

Dorothy Day, Pray for us!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Earlier this last week Jerry came to tell me goodbye and I asked him, “ Do you know how much I love you?”  He answered, “ Probably not.”  In an instant, in the deep whispering of the heart, I heard the same question. “ Do you know how much I love you?”  My answer,“ Probably not.”

The number of times “ love” is used in the bible depends on the translation.  The NRSV lists the most at 583. The whole of Sacred Scripture points to and reveals God’s Love.  Much of this last week’s daily readings, were sections of scripture from the Sermon on the Mount, teachings centered on love and mercy.  This is the core of Matthew’s gospel; that God is a God of mercy and this mercy is made real in Love. And what we hear in today’s gospel is that what we “ hear whispered” by the Lord in our hearts is to be “ proclaimed on the housetops.”

A few years ago I was given a prayer that speaks profoundly to this.  Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ:

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
And it will decide everything.

We see so little visible Love in the world especially in these uncertain times.  The Lord though has made us a promise and his Word is true. “ Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.” But if we deny him he will deny us. This is asking all of us the same question, “ Do you know how much I love you?”

Friday, June 19, 2020

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Who better than John to breathe words of Love and continually remind us to “ love one another”. The second reading today uses the word “love” sixteen times. John cannot but speak of the love God has for his children and how we must offer it in return.

Last fall we begin to recite after the daily 12:05 mass a specific prayer chosen and dedicated to either that month or the season of the church year. During June it has been The Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  I offer it to you here.

Hail, most loving Hearts of Jesus and Mary! We venerate You. We love and honor You. We give and consecrate ourselves to You forever.  Receive us and possess us entirely Purify, enlighten, and sanctify us so that we may love You Jesus, with the Heart of Mary, and love you Mary, with the Heart of Jesus.

O Heart of Jesus living in Mary and by Mary! O Heart of Mary living in Jesus for Jesus! O Heart of Jesus pierced for our sins and giving us Your Mother on Calvary! O Heart of Mary pierced by sorrow and sharing in the sufferings of your Divine Son for our redemption!  O Sacred Union of these Two Hearts! Praised be the God of Love Who united Them together!  May He unite our hearts and every heart so that all hearts may live in unity which exists between these Two Hearts.

Triumph, O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary!  Reign, O Most Sacred Heartof Jesus in our hearts, in our homes and families, in Your Church, in the lives of all the faithful, in the hearts of those who as yet know You not, and in all the nations of the world.  Establish in the hearts of all mankind the sovereign triumph and reign of these Two Hearts so that the earth may resound from pole to pole with one cry:  “Blessed forever be the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary!”

May your soul “find rest” in His merciful Love this day, and let it be shared with all others.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Solemnity of Corpus Christi

I have baked bread all my married life. The ingredients so different in texture; flour, sugar, salt, butter, yeast, and water. I marvel at how so many distinct ingredients mixed together can produce a food so fundamental to humanity. 

In 2018 on this Solemnity, Pope Francis broke with tradition and went outside Rome to celebrate Mass in the plaza in front of the Church of Santa Monica in Ostia where there had been much violence against the poor, homeless and immigrants. In doing so, there was an accompaniment of the suffering Body of Christ.  The wounded found unity in this simple act. Here in our own country that accompaniment, unity is desperately needed. We are a suffering people.

But, we are also a Eucharistic people.  We become what we eat and having received the Body and Blood of Christ we are to go forth into the world to bring grace and healing as the “little Christ” we have become; the persona of Christ. It is our sacred responsibility; not to divide but to heal; to channel the grace of Our Lord. 

At Sheri’s funeral (I have shared her story before) I read these words from Pope Francis in the eulogy.  They are apt for today.
“ If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, their abilities, their language, their way of thinking, or for any satisfaction we might receive, but rather because they are God’s handiwork, his creation. God created that person in his image, and he or she reflects something of God’s glory. Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness, and he himself is present in their lives. Jesus offered his precious blood on the cross for that person.  Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love.  Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life.  It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names!” 

As the bread is consecrated on this Solemnity of Corpus Christi, becoming food for the journey, which will satisfy us for eternity; we can see in our Church just as we can see in the mixture of bread ingredients, a gathering of God’s people.  We are assembled across the world from different countries, languages, customs, and goals.  But, in this Eucharist we find commonality.  In this bread we find unity.