I procliam the greatest of God

 

Tuesday of the Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Romans 12:9-16

Luke 1:39-56

 

As we celebrate the Feast Day of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we celebrate that “Almighty God has done great things for us!”

In our Gospel, God has certainly done great things in the lives of Elizabeth and Mary as they both become pregnant through the gift of God’s grace. Elizabeth in her old age, and Mary being a young girl becomes pregnant through the gift of the Holy Spirit. God has done great things in their lives by bringing these two women together during their pregnancies. Imagine the conversations they might have had?

Elizabeth expresses how God has done great things by bringing Mary to visit her. The child John, in her womb expresses his joy, and how God will do great things through him because of Jesus Christ by leaping in the womb of Elizabeth.

How do we call forth the great thing’s God has done in our lives, and how do we do this in others?

St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says, “To call forth the great thing’s God is doing in our lives, and in others, let our love be sincere, anticipating one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack, but always rejoice in hope.”

As we come forward to receive the greatest gift, the world will ever know, the body and blood of Christ, may we allow that grace to help us know the great things that God has done in our lives, and call that forth in other’s lives this day.  

 

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Do this in memory of me!

 

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Genesis 14:18-20

I Corinthians 11:23-26

Luke 9:11-17

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. What we celebrate, is that at the words of institution, when I place my hands over the gifts, and ask the Holy Spirit to come down and bless these gifts, simple, bread and wine become, the Body and Blood of Christ. That is awesome! That is life changing! What we celebrate here and now, and each week is simple incredible! Everything we do, flows from celebrating the Eucharist. Having tough times, come to the Eucharist, having joy filled times, come to the Eucharist!  Not sure where to turn, come to the Eucharist. All of that is great news, but our readings push us to a fuller understanding. While we believe that the bread and wine are truly transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, can we believe that we are transformed into the Body of Christ? As we become more Christ like, by receiving the Holy Eucharist, can we become more forgiving, more welcoming, and more charitable? If we cannot do it in our families, how will we ever become the Body of Christ here?

When I was preparing for today, and read the Gospel, I thought I was reading the wrong one. I assumed it would be one of the stories from the Last Supper. As, I sat and pondered this Gospel, I discovered how perfect it is for us today. Jesus has been teaching the people, and it is getting to the end of the day; the disciples’ plan is, send them away! Jesus is not about scattering; he is about gathering! Jesus takes, five loaves and two fish, which the disciples know is not enough; he blesses it, and it becomes enough. Then Jesus has the disciples bring the food to the hungry; the people did not form a line and get their own food. It is one more lesson, where the disciples need to know that anything in Jesus is enough, and all they have to do is listen to him and participate.

In our second reading, St. Paul has recorded the oldest words of institution that we have on record. Twice Jesus says, “Do this!” To “do this” Jesus is saying know that when you gather in my name, whatever gift you bring, I will bless and use. Know that when you “do this” I already know what you need, I know your fears and your doubts, it will all be taken care of, just keep “doing this.” These words for Paul, were meant to be food for the journey of life. These words and these actions were to be taken in and lived!

My friends in Christ, Jesus did not write a book, or leave us a set of rules of how to be a follower of his. What he left us, is a meal, a feast, so when we do this in his name, we can be changed into his Body and his Blood. Out tables of food in our homes are to be a reflection of what we do around this table. As we come forward to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, may we become even more the Body of Christ!

I have told you and I have shown you!

 

Friday Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

I Peter 4: 7-13

Mark 11:11-26

I love reading sacred scripture because not only is the Word of God amazing, the writers themselves have all these technics to highlight the meaning of God’s Word. Today the gospel writer Mark uses a technic called “sandwiching.” What he does it begins by telling one story, in this case the story of the fig tree, then he inserts another story, the story of the clearing out of the temple, then the gospel writer Mark returns to the story of the fig tree. So, what you have is the top and the bottom of the sandwich is the “fig tree,” and the middle is the clearing of the temple. Mark does this because he uses the story in the middle to give meaning to the story on top and bottom.

When Jesus condemns the fig tree for not having fruit, he then goes to the temple and condemns those in the temple for turning the temple into a den of thieves. Jesus is saying, “You appear to be healthy, but you are not.” All of this is brought home as the disciples on their return the next morning see the fig tree and it is withered and dead.

Jesus is now ready to speak to his disciples about what he wants, he has told them and given them examples. What Jesus wants is a disciple to be a person of prayer, a person willing to give their lives for someone else. However, he even pushes them even further by saying you need to be disciples who are great in forgiveness.

In this Eucharist, may we be the temples of prayer whom Jesus is talking about in our gospel, but may we also be those people willing to forgive one another.

How are we blind?

 

Thursday Eight Week of Ordinary Time

I Peter 2: 2-5, 9-12

Mark 10:46-52

St. Philip Neri

 

The whole message today is from St. Peter when he says,
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” This is where we need to go, and the gospel is our starting point.

In our Gospel, all week-long Jesus has been on his way to Jerusalem, and he has been teaching his disciples about being a good follower of him, but they do not get it, they are bumbling fools. As they near Jericho a blind man, named Bartimaeus calls out to him. The crowd around Jesus responds by telling him to be quiet, but he only cries out the more. There is no evidence up to this point that this blind man and Jesus had ever met in person before, but Bartimaeus knows enough about Jesus to keep calling out to him. Bartimaeus calls him, “Jesus, Son of David” This is the first time this title has been given to Jesus. The blind man is professing that Jesus is the Messiah. One of the promises of the Messiah, is that when he comes he will make the blind see. When Jesus calls out to him, Bartimaeus jumps up with great enthusiasm leaving his cloak behind. A sign, that he is leaving his old life behind and beginning a new life following Christ. Jesus asks him the same question he asked James and John yesterday, “What would you like for me to do for you?” Bartimaeus responds, “I want to see!” Jesus says, “Go your way, your faith has healed you.”

Bartimaeus is our hope, and the one we need to model our lives after. How are we being called out of darkness into the light of Christ? May this Eucharist help us be a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.

 

 

Called to be a servant

 

Wednesday Eight Week of Ordinary Time

I Peter 1:18-25

Mark 10:32-45

In our Gospel today, there are two things that sound unusual and are not, and there is one thing that sounds normal, and it is not.

Then James and John say, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” We might say, “Wow! How rude of them to ask such a question?” But we do it all the time! We at times, not only ask, but demand God answer our prayers, the way we want. I pray, “Lord, give me a slow day, with nothing to do!” I would be much better to ask, “Lord, with whatever you give me this day, give me the strength that I need and only let me see your face.” A good servant is one who in intent on whatever they hear from the Lord.

Now James and John seize the opportunity to talk about places of great honor and say, “Grant that we will sit one on your right and one on your left.” I can totally see why James and John would ask this question; they were part of the inner group. Whenever, Jesus wanted to go away to pray, or go up a mountain, he would take Peter, James and John. They already felt pretty special, why not push the boundary a bit more while they had the chance.

The message of the Gospel for me is, that Jesus did not blow a gasket? He has already told them that is it harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. He just finished telling them that they would be rewarded a hundred times over, and these two ask this question? Jesus models for them what it means to be a person of great authority. In ancient world and today, authority is naturally assumed to entail perks and benefits for those who are powerful. Not so with Jesus, to have authority, means that you are the one who serves all the others. A person with authority makes sure that all those around them succeed, that they have what they need to succeed.

All of us here have authority, we all have power. How will we use it to better ourselves, or for the building up of God’s kingdom?!

Be ready to be holy!

 

Tuesday Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

I Peter 1:10-16

Mark 10:28-31

As, I sit in my home in GH on Monday mornings, and I look over the readings for Tuesday morning, most mornings the readings hit me like a ton of bricks. What I mean is that I am still a bit tried from the weekend, I just want to relax, and enjoy my day off, and all I read seems to say, “Get up and get moving, you have so much more to do!” It snaps me back into reality, and I am ready to go.

In our Gospel, Jesus has just got done telling the story of the rich man, and Peter speaks up saying, “Lord, we have given up everything to follow you!”  Jesus responds by telling Peter that anyone who gives up house or brother or sister or mother or father or children for the sake of the Gospel will receive a hundred more times now in the present age and will receive eternal life. Wow is that great news! But before they get a big head and think they have got it made, Jesus says, “Just remember, those who think they will be first, will be last, and those who think they are last will be first.”

Peter must have taken this message to heart, because now Peter is talking to his followers, and he says, “Gird up your loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace that is offered to us in Jesus Christ. Live like obedient children not giving in to evil desires.” If that was not strong enough, now Peter comes in with his final blow and says, “Be holy because I am holy.”

Are we ready today, to live in accordance with God’s rule, and live only in his love, not giving in to any evil this day? The Eucharist is given to us to get out there and try!

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit

 

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Proverbs 8:22-31

Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

Begin by making the Sign of the Cross: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. It is a doctrine of our faith that says there are three distinct persons in one God. It is a mystery; and I will never be able to explain what it means, and I am ok with this. This Solemnity is constantly at work in our lives as we are being invited to go deeper and deeper into this mystery.

We enter this mystery very easily by making the sign of the cross. The sign of the cross is not simply a way to begin praying. It is a powerful prayer! Whenever we make the sign of the cross, we enter a sacred tradition that goes back to the earliest days of Christianity, when this ritual began to offer a source of divine power and protection. The early Christians made the sign of the cross often to invoke God’s presence, to invite God to bless them, to keep them from all harm and to protect them from all evil. St. John Chrysostom said, “Never leave home without making the sign of the cross. It will be your staff, your weapon against all evil. The sign of the cross is your armor, and let that be a lesson to all evil.”

In Sacred Scripture to call on the name of someone not only made reference to the person, but it mysteriously represented the essence of a person and carried the power of that person. Therefore, to call upon God’s name is to invoke his presence and his power. That is why every time we make the sign of the cross, we should do it with reverence and not be in a hurry.

Think how often we make the sign of the cross in this liturgy? In all of our sacraments we make the sign of the cross. In Baptism we are signed with the cross on our foreheads, ‘claiming the person for Christ.’ In Conformation we are sealed with the Holy Spirit with Sacred oil with the sign of the cross on our foreheads, and in the Anointing of the Sick, the person is signed with oil with the sign of the cross on their foreheads and hands.

In our Gospel Jesus says, “I have so much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” I hear this and I say, “Ok, I do not understand everything right now, but I will, when the time is right. All I need to do is keep making the sign of the cross and trust that the Holy Trinity is already at my side helping me and defending me.”

 Let us never take for granted the power of making the sign of the cross this week. When we are grateful or unsure, let us call upon the Holy Trinity. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”