Friday, February 3 is the Feast Day of St. Blase. We are happy to offer the Intercessory Prayer of St. Blase:
- after the 7:00 a.m. Mass
- after the 10:00 a.m. Mass
- at a 7:00 pm Service
Sunday, January 29, 2017
2nd Season on National Geographic Channel - “The Story of God” narrated by Morgan Freeman. It is a study of all things God – how God is understood and worshipped across the whole earth. As Morgan has suggested – there is truth to be found in many religions. It is interesting to learn about the Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. Many have exceptional teachers – Mohammed, Confucius and the Buddha. But only one – Jesus - has said – I AM THE way, THE truth and THE life. Follow me!
Today we follow Jesus up the mountain – just like Moses went up the mountain to receive the 10 commandments.
Then Jesus sits down – the posture of a teacher - Cathedral come from word Cathedra – the chair – from which the bishop teaches.
This is the path to happiness – to true joy! Beatitudes - Be-Attitudes - Attitudes for being.
1) Happy are the Poor in Spirit – not praising poverty – rather, how good it is to be detached from things – do things own us or do we own them?
2) Happy are those who mourn – not good to be depressed – rather those filled with compassion, to suffer with.
3) Happy are the Meek – sounds like allowing people to walk all over us. Rabbis described Moses as the meekest person ever, yet he erupted in anger when they worshipped the Golden Calf. The meek person empties themselves out so they can hear God.
4) Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Makes us think of being self-righteous. No – righteous means in right relationship with God. Stay in God’s good graces. Do it God’s way. Thy will be done!
5) Blessed are the merciful - Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Det Steven McDonald said the boy damages my body, I will not allow him to damage my soul – I will let go of the hate! Allow the divine life in us to grow!
6) Blessed are the Clean of Heart – pure of heart – My heart is focused on God – not divided between my life on the internet or TV & my life with my family.
7) Blessed are the peacemakers. – Madonna “I’ve thought about blowing up the White House.” Later - "However, I know that acting out of anger doesn't solve anything," she said. "And the only way to change things for the better is to do it with love." Exactly! Can we listen? I have monthly lunch with local Protestant clergy. Many differences – but can listen.
8) Persecuted for the sake of righteousness. Very hard in certain areas of the country to say you are Right to Life. But if we don’t experience some ruffled feathers, we are probably not living our faith.
Nietzsche thought that Christian values were mere “consolation prizes” for those who could not make it in the world. For losers. And Jesus was the ultimate loser – hanging on the cross – or was he? Where there is death – now there is life! So consider the Beatitudes – path to true joy – as way that leads to heaven!
Monday, January 23, 2017
Back in September, a high school teacher in NC gave a lesson on the First Amendment. He took out an American flag. First, he tried to burn it. Then, he tried to cut it. Then he placed it on the floor and took two steps on it. He said – this is an example of free speech.
Two students just got up and left the classroom. No words, they just left. Another student stood up and picked up the flag. Later, he was suspended. “There are better ways to teach about the First Amendment then by desecrating the Flag.”
Some might say, what is the problem? It is just cloth. More than cloth, it is a symbol.
I have stood in many cemeteries, watching members of our military carefully and even reverently fold the flag and carefully handing it to a member of the family. A symbol of – as they say at West Point – duty, honor, country.
I was thinking of that as I watched Martin Scorsese’s film “Silence.” A very difficult film to watch. In the 1600’s, The Jesuit Order and the Catholics they were serving in Japan were experiencing great suffering. Word had gotten to Portugal that one of the Jesuit priests had recanted, turned against God, and left the priesthood. Two of his former students could not believe it. We must go to see if this was true. They were warned that they could face great suffering, but they insisted.
When they arrived in Japan, they found a church living in fear and secrecy. One could be arrested or killed for being Catholic. For some time, they could serve secretly, but they were found out. As the 2 priests hid, people were arrested. They were being forced to renounce their faith. All they had to do was step on the “fumie” an image of Jesus. They were told – just step on it, it does not matter, save your life. Some did, some did not. For some who did, they then took out a crucifix. Just spit on it. They could not.
Just a picture, just a piece of wood. Rather, what is symbolized. Easy for me to judge. Who knows, would I have the strength? But, I am afraid I am very capable of stomping on the image of Christ right in my midst.
Rel Ed teacher wanted to teach a lesson. Boys and girls, they may be people that you don’t like. Would you please draw a picture of them? And they did. She attached the pictures to a sheet of paper on a dart board. She handed out some darts. Now throw them at the pictures. They did. They were ripping big holes. Now stop. Removed the pictures, removed the sheet of paper. Beneath – the face of Christ, all torn up. Do you understand??
So much hate. Ranging from politicians we don’t like, to children yet to be born, to our elderly, sick and immigrants. Where does it stop? I always show reverence for the flag of our country, for an image of Christ. If only I could do the same when I see the face of Christ in others.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Burglar broke into house. As he flashes a light around, he hears a voice – Jesus knows you are here. He nearly jumped out of his skin. When he heard nothing more – he continues his search for valuables. Once again he heard – Jesus is watching you! He looked around frantically – in the corner – there was a parrot. Did you say that? Yes. I’m just trying to warn you that he is watching you. Warn me? Who are you – Moses, replied the bird. Moses, who would name their bird Moses. The same people who would name their Rottweiler – Jesus!
A name! Names are so important. Tells everyone who we are. During the course of our lives, we hear our names 1,000’s of times. I usually loved to hear my parents speak my name – except when I was in trouble!
Readings today speak about names
1) Book of Numbers – Moses is told to have Aaron bless the people in the name of God. And what is God’s name – I am Who Am – Yahweh – so awesome it is not pronounced. When it is written, the vowels are left out. Jesus said – Hallowed be thy name! Second Commandment – Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord Thy God in vain.
2) Paul tell us, because of Jesus, we can call God by another name – When you pray say – Father – Abba – Daddy. An intimate word. Points to a relationship. God is awesome and all powerful and also Abba!
3) Eight days after his birth, Jesus was presented in the Temple by Mary and Joseph. He was given the name Jesus – the name the angel gave him – Yeshua, a form of Joshua – Yahweh saves. St. Paul wrote that this is the Name above every other name. At his Name, every knee should bend and every tongue declare that Jesus is Lord.
At Baptism – this is the first question that parents are asked – what name have you given your child? Reminds everyone that this is a unique individual – never before and never again will this unique person exist. This child has been entrusted by God to your family to be loved and cared for – this is a child of God!!!
President Bush (41) was once visiting a nursing home. A resident was giving him a good looking over. The President asked him “Do you know who I am?” Resident – No, but if you speak to those nurses over there I’m sure they can help you!”
Who are you – Joseph, Mary, Michael, Susan - You are a child of God!!!