Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Popular series on Netflix – Marie Kondo – “Tidying Up.” Marie has written 4 books selling millions of copies. People have too much stuff and she helps them get rid of thing using her Con-Mari Method: keep only those things that bring joy.
So much stuff! We have become buried in stuff!
What are we full of?
Some say worries. So many things to worry about. And yet we have an amazing standard of living compared to generations before. Jesus said: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to their life?” Accept that thing will not always go as we plan and let go!
Some say responsibilities. Things to do, places to go, jobs to complete, money to make and families to raise. My sister Susan says – feel the Pressure?! How about try stopping and living! Jesus said – “Come to an out of the way place and rest a little.” This is why Sunday is called a day of rest. Slow down, spend time with family and friends – so to remember WHY we exist – why we are here. Even God rested!
Some would say we are full of ourselves – our needs – our feelings and desires. Think about how magazines have evolved: LIFE – LOOK – PEOPLE – US – SELF – all about me.
Jesus said – “If anyone would come after me, let them deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.”
Bishop Barron always says – It’s Not About You.” And he is right! Life is a gift from God – with purpose and meaning!
What has happened? Four years ago, Harvard University welcomed its freshman class – for the first time – atheists and agnostics outnumbered professed Christians and Jews.
Two weeks ago, it was signed into law in New York that babies have no protection until AFTER a WANTED birth. These two things are not unrelated.
If there is no God – then our lives do belong to us, and we can do with them what we want. If there is no God, life has no ultimate purpose or meaning. We can choose the meaning or purpose. And when things do not go the way we want, then end the life.
Woody Harrelson said not long ago: “I’ve been nursing an emptiness far too long. I made a huge mistake turning my back on religion, because I lost my soul in the process. Now, I am beginning to find a bright new reason for being.”
A man was speaking to a monk – I need spiritual advice. Here, have a drink of water. He took a pitcher and began to pour – and the glass was filled – then it began to overflow – but he kept pouring – hey, what are you doing? Teaching you a lesson. You want spiritual advice, but you are already full. There is no room for anything else. You need to empty yourself to make room for God.
That’s Why – blessed are you poor – the hungry – weeping – because, you have made room for God!
Friday, February 15, 2019
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Put out into deep water.
Master, we have been hard at it all night and caught nothing, but at your command, I will lower the nets.
The nets began to tear, and the boats were in danger of sinking.
Peter says – leave me Lord, I am a sinful man.
Who is this man Jesus? Great Question!
A miracle worker? – wise teacher? – prophet? – holy man? – good man? Perhaps all of these, but is there something more? He identified himself as one with God, the Son of God. Could it be true?
Certainly, most people agree that Jesus was an historical figure:
He existed - he lived – he taught – he died on a cross.
But the core Jesus question is Resurrection – did he rise from the dead? If he did – it changes everything – if he did not – what’s the point of this Church? Why do we bother having funeral Masses – if death is the end? Or, did he conquer death?
Proofs for Resurrection – worth learning
Empty Tomb – the tomb was empty. There were all sorts of explanations –
The authorities took his body. Well, why did they not produce it to prove it was all a lie?
Robbers took it – but why and leave behind the only things worth something – his burial clothes.
Disciples took it – but how did they do this in face of the Roman guards assigned by Pilate?
Bible recounts 11 times. St. Paul says this: first Cephas – Twelve – 500 brothers – James – all the apostles – lastly to me – on the road, the great persecutor of the early Christians – arresting and putting then to death.
Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME? How can this be? Did he hallucinate this? – 500 at once? Did they hallucinate? – impossible.
Transformed – Saul became Paul – great preacher of the good news – 11 were hiding in the Upper Room but now telling people Jesus is Alive! 10 out of 11 became martyrs – gave up their lives – for a made-up story???
Good news spread – even to Hopewell Junction. Jesus still impacting lives – 1 Billion Catholics – 2.4 Billion Christians.
Our faith is not a series of doctrines or teachings – but it is a person – Jesus, who broke the power of death and opened the way to eternal life for all of us. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life!
When I figured this out – as I struggled with the idea of being a priest - my reaction was much like Isaiah – Paul – Peter – leave me Lord, I am a sinful man – you want to use me? – yes – so OK here I am send me! Put out into deep water, and you will never be the same!
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
February 3, 2019 Feast of St. Blaise Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
My Dear People of the Archdiocese:
Rarely do I intrude on your Sunday Mass, our most sacred time of the week, but in light of the events of the past two weeks, our priests have asked me to share some reflections on the radical abortion expansion bill, recently passed by our state legislature and signed with fanfare and celebration by our governor.
This chilling law, if you have not heard, insists on the right to an abortion up to the moment of birth; drops all charges against an abortionist who allows an aborted baby, who somehow survived the scissors, scalpel, saline, and dismemberment, to die; mandates that, to make an abortion more convenient and easy, a physician need not perform it; and could be used to suppress the conscience rights of healthcare professionals not to assist in the grisly procedure. All this in a state which already had the most permissive abortion climate, and one of the highest rates of abortion, in the nation.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” Can there be any clearer statement of God’s eternal love for each one of us from the womb to the tomb, than these words from the prophet Jeremiah in today’s first reading?
In the “throw-away” culture that Pope Francis so often decries, we saw actual celebrations at the passage of a bill that makes it even easier to dispose of a life that someone might find inconvenient or troublesome, for any reason at all. Those who told us that abortion had to remain safe, legal, and rare, now have made it dangerous, imposed, and frequent.
We also had to watch and listen as our governor proudly proclaimed his dissent from this and other clear Church teaching, as if it were a badge of honor, and used an out-of-context quote from Pope Francis as an applause line.
I’m a pastor, not a politician, and as a pastor, I am obliged to challenge our political leaders, to urge them to re-examine their priorities, and to respect and protect the unborn baby in the womb as strongly and passionately as we should the undocumented immigrant, the single mom worrying how she will feed her family, our dying grandparents, or the poor struggling to make it.
At the same time, we can recall the words of Saint Paul in his moving letter to the Corinthians, from today’s Bible readings, “Love is patient, love is kind…It is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury. It does not rejoice over wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” No matter the hurt, frustration, the disappointment, and yes, even the anger we may feel now at the passage of this horrific and grisly bill, we should not respond with more bitterness and divisiveness, but continue to put our trust in the Lord and ask for his guidance and inspiration.
Thank God we have the promise of Jesus that “not even the gates of hell will prevail.”
With gratitude for your attention, and promising my prayers as I ask for yours, I am,
Faithfully in Christ,
+Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan Archbishop of New York
Sunday, February 3, 2019
Thursday was Jackie Robinson Day in Brooklyn. He was born 100 years ago on Thursday. Born in Georgia, he was raised in California. He was a great athlete -basketball, football, baseball. He hoped to play major league baseball – but he could not, because of the color of his skin. Can you imagine? He ended up playing for the KC Monarchs of the old Negro Leagues.
The President of the Brooklyn Dodgers was Branch Rickey, a man of deep Christian faith. He said “There was something wrong at the heart of the game I loved – and I ignored it. But I can no longer do that.” He heard that Jackie was also a man of deep faith and inner strength & he asked to meet him.
Do you want to play for the Dodgers? You must be strong. But - you must be strong enough NOT to fight back. They will call you every name in the book, try to hurt you – but you must live out the Sermon on the Mount – turn the other cheek.” Mr. Rickey, I have 2 cheeks.”
April 15, 1947 played his first game. It was terrible how he was treated – remember – love your enemies. Dorothy Day would say – love is a harsh and dreadful thing in action compared to love in dreams.
A turning point – that May - first game in Cincinnati – yelling terrible things – a man from the south SS Pee Wee Reese came over and put his arm around Jackie – I want everyone to see who I really am – maybe one day we will all wear 42 so no one can tell us apart. On April 15 – once again everyone in baseball will wear 42.
Because of Jackie, the color barrier in baseball was destroyed forever.
St. Paul writes . . . love is patient, love is kind, is not jealous . . .
What love is this? Greeks knew one word cannot contain all meanings:
Eros – attraction – like I love pizza or car
Storge – family – special relationship with my brother and sisters
Philia – friendship – that grows over the years
Agape – self emptying – Aquinas – willing the good of the other as other. It’s not about me – it is about you! JESUS!
That’s why: love must be patient & kind. Love must not be jealous or rude. It does not seek self-interest, is not quick tempered.
Believes all – faith in God and faith in humanity.
Hopes all – even when there is evil, goodness will triumph.
Endures all – even when there seems to be no hope left – does not return evil for evil.
This is telling us what God is like – that God is love, and if we want to become like God, we must love as God loves.
Jackie was one of the best people of our time “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives” In the end remain only faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love!