Saturday, August 1, 2020

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

When we were raising our children it was rare to sit down to a quiet meal. Jerry will tell you that with five women he hardly ever had a moment to speak. Dinner was always together around the table and as the girls grew the time there did as well; thoughts and ideas tossed around. As sons-in–law and then grandchildren were added the noise and conversation became more lively. This group has many differences; faith, occupations, professions, economic status, and size of families. These are my five-thousand. And though there is no scarcity of food, there is often a lack of understanding and tolerance between them. They come here though time and again to be fed, not just with food, but the connection of family. They gather at our table with Jerry and I at each end and we continue to teach. They sit and listen and are satisfied. And when the meal is finished, the leftovers divided into containers for each family, it is not about what their baskets hold, but what has nourished their hearts and what they give to each other. The goodness and Love of God.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 I have an affection for pearls.  I celebrated my twentieth birthday in Hong Kong with my parents and my mother’s desire, her “ treasure”, was a strand of Mikimoto pearls. We soon discovered that you don’t choose a strand from a case.  You select each pearl one by one and then watch as it is slipped onto a fine silk thread.  I knew these would eventually be mine so I was keenly engaged.  Eighty beautiful pearls. I wore the strand on my wedding day and eventually they passed to me. I wear them often and find myself fingering their smoothness much as I do the beads of my rosary.

In Matthew’s Gospel today Jesus speaks of the treasure in the field and the merchant finding the pearl of great price, using the emphasis of incomparable value as   characteristic of the Kingdom, the question of What is the treasure or pearl. But I believe the question here is Who is our treasure or pearl.

 This past week we celebrated the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles. In the first reading from the Song of Songs (3:1-4b) the bride seeks her “pearl”, whom her heart loves. At first she seeks but does not find, but she perseveres through the streets of the city even to the point of asking those who patrol the streets, “have you seen him whom my heart loves?” She will go the extreme to be in relationship with Him, a clear illustration of this gospel text…. not the What but the Who.   God is wooing her and us as His Beloved to be in the most intimate relationship. That is the most valuable treasure/pearl.

As of late I have come to see this strand of pearls as my own seeking through the city streets.  Each pearl a step toward that relationship “with the one whom my heart loves”.  As the ends come together and the clasp is fastened, there in that completion is the unity with the Beloved and the Lover, the finding of “ the pearl”.  Him whom my heart loves.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Think on these things. 

Living God’s Love as wheat side by side with someone who is struggling. 

Living God’s Love in such a grand way that just by actions and no words you draw others into your shade and let them nestle in your branches. 

Living God’s Love like leaven so that when mixed and molded you can feed a multitude with this same Love.

The kingdom of heaven is like…….

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!