Monday, March 30, 2009

Tuesday March 31, 2009

Tuesday March 31, 2009 of the fifth week I Lent

Readings: Numbers 21: 4-9 John 8: 21-30

As we approach the Easter season, the Gospel of John becomes the [revelant readins both for Sundays and daily reflection.
The book of Numbers isn’t referred to too often in the Lectionary. Here it is a prelude to the words of John reflecting upon the crucifixion of Christ and the result of our belief in Him as the Holy one, the I AM of Exodus.
During their sojourn from Egypt, the Hebrews found the lack of succulent food and clear water to be a stumbling block to their belief in God’s care for them. Their complaints against Moses and Yahweh rankled Him, so He ordered seraph serpents to afflict them and many of them died when they were bitten. In opposition to the second commandment, God had Moses construct an image of a seraph serpent and mount it on a pole. Those who looked upon the image were not killed as were the others who didn’t.

In the Gospel story, Christ, the image of God, tells the crowd their salvation would come about through His being lifted up on the cross and raised from the dead as a proof of His oneness with the Father and His divine nature.

We find these words incredulous in our social system calling for “facts”. Faith is a byword for those who believe in Christ as their God and savior. By accepting His word and abiding in His Love, we become images of Him as much as the prospect may stun our sensibilities.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monday March 30,2009 of the fifth week of Lent

Monday March 30, 2009 of the Fifth Week in Lent
Daniel 13: 1-9, 15-17, 33-62 Psalm 23: 1-6 John 8: 1-11
Psalm Response” Even though I walk in the valley of death, I will fear no evil for You are at my side”

The story of Joakim and his lovely bride Susanna, strikes us as one written by someone influenced by the writings of Solomon when the wisdom it took to attain the truth is apparent.
Prompted by God, the young Daniel shouts his objection to the portended execution of the daughter of Hilkiah. He had been told by the Lord she was innocent of the charges brought against her by the Elders who, moved by lust and desire wished to seduce and ravish her.
They had stationed themselves in hiding to be able to observe her bathing and consumed by lasciviousness tried to inveigle her to lie with them in opposition to her vows of chastity, except to her husband.
Fortunately for her Daniel came to her defense and cleverly had them perjure themselves by being unable, separately, to confirm where they had seen her in a compromising situation with a supposed lover.
Under the Law, they instead were stoned to death as was the practice when someone accused another of wrongdoing and was found untruthful in his accusation.
One wonders how many innocent and how many guilty have received justice through the perjured testimony of supposed eye-witnesses.

Susanna pleaded with the Lord for justice and received it through His servant Daniel. Though she was caught in troubled waters by lies she was extricated by her Shepherd Who always looks out for His sheep and ewes.

In a similar situation but with a guilty party having been reported for a capital offense, Jesus is asked by devious men to judge the sinfulness of a woman caught in an adulterous liaison. Rather than impose the Law, Jesus, knowing the accusers attempt to catch Him off guard; Instead, He turned the tables around and by implication elluminated their accusation with His own accusing finger. Since each of the accusers walked away, knowing He knew of their own sins, there was no one left to condemn her.

We should not allow ourselves to be duped into thinking own Mortal sins will be expunged by hope. God’s mercy is momentous! But we won’t get off scot free if we are obstinate and die unrepentant!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday March 28, 2009 of the 4th Week in Lent

March 28, 2009 of the Fourth Week in Lent
Readings: Jerimiah 11: 18-20 Psalm 7 John 7: 40-53

Like many of us. Jerimiah sees the utility of recognizing the plans of his enemies. He cannot defend himself from them and in his prayers, he implores God to, at least permit him to see their downfall.
It sounds as though he was looking for revenge before anything bad happened. However, several chapters leter they subdue him enclose him in a hollowed out tree and saw it in half.
That's pretty graphic.
We experience the same thing at times when our efforts to help turn into plots for squeezing more out of us. Think of Jerimiah when confronted with these misunderstandings of our pupose and thank God for the perseverence to withstand them and not strike out in revenge.

Like the psalmist, it's better to rely on God's providence. He know what's coming and will be the source of solace for us and if necessary, the punishment of the wrongdoers.

Were we to have lived during the times of the Gospel, we too, may have wondered why there's no mention of Nazareth as the birthplace of the Messiah in the Scriptures.
Perhaps it is better to use the improper interpretation of the hearers of the time to confront those who believe, " If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't so".

Some scholars point out the use of the title "Jesus of Nazareth" is more an indication of where Jesus was born than the infancy story. However, if we look to the Bible as a theological essay rather than a history, we would know writers took liberties when applying birthplaces and geographical locations. To proclaim Jesus to be a son of David, it could be a reference to the tribal affiliation of Joseph rather than a physical place of His birth.
Biblical historians are quick to point out there was no census of the world convened at the request of Caesar. The Bible mentions the "Magi" but not the number as we suppose. There are other Historical inaccuricies but the theological message is true!

5th Sunday in Lent

Date: Sunday March 29, 2009 5th Sunday in Lent Readings: Jeremiah 31:31-34 Psalm 51:3-4,12-15 Psalm Response: "Create a clean heart in me O God!" Hebrews 5:7-9 John 12: 20-33
Today's readings have a theme of repentance and forgiveness! Jeremiah was just a kid when God called him to be His spokesman among the people of Israel and Judah. Jeremiah really didn't want the job. However, God's request is like a burning hunger. He couldn't refuse and even when his words fell on deaf ears, his inability to convince them still wouldn't permit him to throw up his hands and give up.
In our pericope today, Jeremiah presents a picture of the plan God has for the people of His unrequited love. They had toned down, forgot and even ignored, not only Jeremiah, but also every spokesperson He sent. However, God's love was not like theirs. He wants them to be saved, to be with Him for all eternity, Therefore, He promises to replace the Law written on stone tablets, with a covenant etched into our hearts throbbing with love and ever reminding us of our obligation. Not to receive a reward but to uphold a bargain made by God to our forefathers. God will never forget His Covenant even if we forget ours. He will forgive us even as we fail to forgive, He will always remain with us even if we are searching for other gods.
With the Psalmist, we implore God to replace our stone, cold hearts with renewed hearts of flesh, warmly embracing those God places in proximity to us. Neighbors who are physically near and those who are out of sight. Both are in need of our love as they are of God's love.
The writers of Hebrews describe Jesus' very human reaction to the prospect of death. Jesus knew His death was a part of the process of salvation and He is recoiled by the thought, just as we would be. He prayed, He begged, He cried to be released from the prospect of death. However, He obediently fulfilled the veiled reference to the Messiah's sacrificial death, for the sake of mankind. What a treasure for us, given out of His love for us.
To show death with positive aspects, John, to express an agricultural reality, gives Christ the metaphor of the seed to plant, to point out His sacrifice isn't all a downer, He describes the death and corruption of a grain of wheat as the beginning of a plant. The plant grows and soon bears fruit, in kind, able to recreate itself and become many grains of wheat.
Combined, the readings present the pattern of the life, the death and the resurrection, all of us must go through in order for God's plan to reach reality. Christ is the pattern. We as His followers may not have to surrender our lives for others. However, we should always be prepared, if called, like He was!
Alternate readings for the fifth Sunday in Lent;
Ezekiel 37:12-14 Psalm 130: 1-8 Romans 8: 8-11 John 11: 1-45
The Gospel story of Lazarus, Mary's and Martha's brother, is a foretaste of the expectations all Christians should have about the last days of our lives.
All of us will physically die. This was the loss attributed to the fall of our first parents. As Paul points out, our physical bodies will not please God. We were made of and will return to dust as our Ash Wednesday experience tells us. However, we receive the Holy Spirit at our Baptism and acquire an incorruptible spirit. It will survive our mortal remains and become pleasing to God the Father, who wills all to be saved. He had Jesus established our Church to guide us, as it is guided by the Spirit, to a divine essence, pure and holy. Thereby, we will be able to appear before the throne of God fully in His image and likeness, as was intended by His creation of mankind.
In this way, Scripture is fulfilled as Ezekiel manifests in today's reading. We will rise from our graves because we adhered to His will and became, thereby, an alter ego of His Son. Our eternal reward is not a tangible and mortal substance, but a spiritual, immortal and intangible essence ready and anxious to be of eternal service in the court of God.
The Psalmist opens with the declaration of our knowledge of an interim manifestation of corruption of the body. From the depths of the netherworld, we cry out for justice and God delivers us into His Holy sanctuary. He points to the forgiveness of God even though we may ignore Him and His ordinances as long as our final breath calls to Him for absolution.
Paul uses his knowledge of the Spirit, given to him in Baptism in Antioch, to advise the Romans they, too, are filled with the Holy Spirit as he is. When our first parents were created, they were pure and sacred. They had divine attributes, Through their disobedience, they lost the immortality of God’s image and thereby had to suffer the corruption attendant to our nature without the Spirit. We still have to undergo the death of our bodies. However, the spiritual nature will never die.
The attraction of Jesus for the Greeks wasn’t the signs He performed so much as His ability to present Himself as the eternal son of God. They were converts to Judaism and wanted to be fully incorporated into the body of believers. Jesus, to them, was more to their liking than the Jewish leaders. So, they asked to be introduced to Jesus in order to be able to discern, for themselves, what it was attracting so many adherents.
Jesus then presented His case! He was to be vilified, beaten and finally killed because He did what He was sent, by the Father to do.
As an example to us, He was obedient to the end. Not like our first parents who weren’t satisfied with their lot, but, like Satan, wanted more. If we analyze our lives, we can see the parallel if we decide to go it alone, instead of following Him to the end!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday March 27, 2009 of the 4th weel in Lent

FRIDAY MARCH 27, 2009 of the fourth Week in Lent

Readings: Wisdom 2:1a;12-22 Psalm 34 John 7: 1-2,10,25-30
Psalm Response ”The Lord is close to the broken hearted “

Scholars tell us the Books known as Wisdom Literature were written down during the Greek occupation of Jerusalem. When rabbinical Judaism confirmed the text and canon of their Scriptures, they set certain criteria for a book to be considered and included in their official list of a book to be included in their Bible.
Books selected had to have been originally composed in Hebrew, were ancient and accepted as having been composed in Jerusalem.
When they met, after the Romans destroyed the Temple for the final time, the only copies of the Wisdom literature available were written in Greek. So, the assembly mistakenly discounted their authenticity. At the time, they were unaware Ezekiel was written in Babylon while the Jews were in exile, as were portions of Daniel and Esther.
The legend, at the time, was Ezekiel was transported to Jerusalem by an anget to compose his prophecy and then returned to Babylon.
If you believe that that yarn, I’ve got some swampland I can let you have for a song.
Christ, through His evangelists and Paul, quote from these books, and by reference authenticate their relevance.
The Catholic Bishops of North Africa affirmed their credibility as Scripture in 321AD; they reaffirmed the same canon at Carthage in 325AD.
It is amazing how closely the writings foretell the events which will take place about 200years from the writing down.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecy!

The Psalm also acts as a foretelling of future events. Do we suppose these are simply coincidences? The evidence of the forthcoming experience is almost the “smoking gun”, the true writer is the Holy Spirit, couldn’t help Himself in guiding the writers.

In preparation for His divine revelation, Jesus hesitated going to Jerusalem with His family and neighbors so as not to draw attention to Himself before the time set by His Father for His salvific action.
Later, when He appeared at the celebration, the people wondered why He would jeopardize Himself, not to His ultimate acts of salvation but the religious leaders seemed anxious to kill Him and might before His time.
Jesus emphasizes His Father’s will is the prime mover in His life and death, not the whim of those ignorant of Him or His mission.
God knows our birth and death dates. We are His and His decisions are carved in stone. So, Jesus reported, “Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink or what you will put on. The Father knows your needs and will fulfill them as He prescribed before you were conceived!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday March 26, 2009

THURSDAY MARCH 26, 2009 of the 4th week in Lent
Readings: Exodus 32: 7-14 Psalm 106 John 5:31-43
Psalm Response: Remember us, O Lord, as You favor Your people

Since we’ve been taught God is omnipotent, knows the present, the past and the future at once, we can’t imagine God being mad at the Israelite’s behavior after all He did for them. After all, He knew they were going to go astray, so, what’s the big deal?
In addition to our own intelligence, God in His infinite Wisdom gave us free will! Therefore, He allows us to make decisions; even if they’re imperfect knowing His Grace is sufficient for us all, if, we accept it. It’s a free gift. However, a gift doesn’t become a gift without a recipient!
How can we and the Israelites become inured with God? Simply by accepting His Grace!
For four hundred years, according to Scripture, the Hebrews wallowed in the Egyptian society with its massive superstition, its adoration of bovine creatures and man-made images of them. Therefore, when, even after being rescued from captivity by God’s actions on their behalf, when things began to look bleak, they reverted to their old habits and devised an image to which they could readily relate.
So, Moses, made sense of it all to God and He forgot their short memory and gave in to Moses’ intercession for them.
Our idols aren’t the same images made by man but they take the forms familiar to us: cars, homes, pleasures, etc!
Fortunately, for us, Christ became a man and experienced our proclivities. Although we believe He suppressed His own will for His Fathers, He at times paused as we do, before He made the ultimate, proper decision.

The psalm reiterates the efforts of the Hebrews to find an answer to their present problems. Unfortunately, he was writing long after the Exodus incident while in Babylon; so, while he could commiserate he had no permanent solution.

Jesus is a little perturbed at the religious leaders. His answers are not their preconceived notions, so they discount Him. They do have a modicum of interest in what John the Baptist had to say, but his words, declaring Jesus to be the One sent from God wasn’t enough, so, they discounted him.
Even if John wasn’t absolute in his proclamation, their favorite proof, signs of Divine providence; healings, resuscitations, cleansings etc., also didn’t move them to belief.
So, their judgment will come from Moses and the Scriptures as they both plainly foretold His coming and His credibility.
Hopefully, we’ll take the “light/darkness“ comparison to heart and not fall into disbelief because we can’t feel, touch, grasp every item of our Faith.
Sometimes, the obvious is hidden; not to keep us in the dark, but to reveal truth through the light of the Church He left us more than 2000 years age.

Wesnesday March 25, 2009 The Annunciation

WEDNESDAY March 25, 2009 he Feast of The Annunciation
Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8: 10 Psalm 40 Hebrews 10: 4-10\ Luke 1: 20-38
Psalm Response: “Here I am Lord, I come to do Your will”

In the 6th Century BC, Ahaz was Israel’s, the Northern Kingdom’s, Davidic King in a long line of leaders who defied the Law and bowed to alien gods. He had many wives and concubines in his harem.
Isaiah was prompted by God to speak for Him, trying to turn the hearts of man back to God. Isaiah proposed Ahaz to ask God for some sign to indicate God was with him despite his apostasy. Ahaz impudently scoffed at Isaiah’s urging and adamantly refused,. feigning humility.
So, Isaiah told him, the Lord God would give him an unusual sign, “ An unmarried maiden would conceive and bear a boy child” Ahaz was to be a father to him and he would be called Emanuel, ‘God with us’!”
Scripture writers later, would project this prophecy into the first century AD as the fulfillment God’s promise of a redeemer who would be with them. The angel Gabriel concluded the promise of God by announcing to Mary, a betrothed virgin, would become the mother of Our Redeemer.

The kings of old excused themselves of wrongdoing but, by making provision for many offerings, thought they were vindicated. The psalmist reminds us, the importance lies, not in the sacrifices and sin offerings, but in repentance snd contrition needed for us to do His will for us.

The writer of Hebrews, was thought to have written his letter after Trajan had destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in about 70 AD. The Jews thought they were lost with no place to offer sacrifices. The writer soothes them by reminding them Christ, by His cross and resurrection supplanted the animal holocausts of old, once for all. Just as the Jewish Passover places the participants at the exodus from Egypt, so, the celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Mass places us there beneath the cross with Mary and john and with Mary of Magdela at the empty tomb on Easter Morn.

Tradition has Mary the Mother of Our Lord, in the role of the Virgin betrothed to Joseph when the angel Gabriel announced her favor with God and the conception of Jesus b the Holy Spirit.
Mary, at first bewildered, accepted the responsibility and declared her intention to do God’s will for her.
When God selects us for some task, can we, like Mary say, “ Let it be done to me according to Your word!?”

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tuesday March 24, 2009 of the 4th week in Lent

Tuesday March 24, 2009 of the 4th Week in Lent
Readings: Ezekiel 47: 1-9, 12 Psalm 46 John 5: 1-16
The Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob

When we read and contemplate the words of the prophets when they were in their prophetic stance, the symbolic language doesn’t always strike a chord with us.
A bit of historic knowledge helps us better understand the meanings.
The Temple portals were constructed facing the East. Most of the ancient Churches were built with their altars facing eastward. It was symbolic of the expectations the Messiah would come from the East. In fact, the Magi (from the east) was a symbol of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the salvation plan promised to the people of Israel, in the form of a Messiah.
In those Ezekan verses, the beginning trickle of water which ultimately formed the fresh water where life thrived was symbolic of the return, contemplated by God of His people into the primoral garden established once for His original creation.

Our psalm and response give us confidence God will provide, if, we remain faithful to His covenant. Like a relentless stream, we can expect His love to prevail in every distress sent our way.

The fellow who waited at the proper time for the waters of Siloam to be stirred by the angel of the Lord, was asked by Jesus, “ Do you want to be cured?” After all, the man was there for 38 years begging; maybe he liked being pitied. The excuse, “ No one helps me into the water wouldn’t hold water in the light of such a long time without some preplanning.
Even in his healing, the man wasn’t jubilant. When asked who told him to carry his mat, an obvious ignorance of the Sabbath law, he squealed on Jesus bringing about the wrath of the scrupulous scribes ad Pharisees.

Many times in our lives, we have the opportunity to be one of God’s helpers. If we truly believe Christ is the Messiah, the one who died and rose from the dead, think opf the nails we plunge into His wrists and feet every time we deny Him by our disregard for His other brothers and sisters .

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Monday of the 4th week in Lent March 23, 2009

Readings; Isaiah 65: 17-21 Psalm 30 John 4: 43-54
“I will praise You, Lord, for You will answer me.:

The next to the last chapter of Isaiah portends of a future Jerusalem. The Israelites who heard or read these words had no inkling, Isaiah was foretelling of the New Jerusalem, the Church God would establish centuries into distant time.
Hyperbole wasn’t unheard of in prophecy. Therefore, the focus is on the good God would create.
Unfortunately, we haven’t reached the pinnacles outlined in Isaiah’s writings. No question, our salvation, the forgiveness of sin, has yet to be completed. However, in Jesus, God is manifested to us through His Apostles and His Church .
Our Country has been the recipient of God’s benevolence. We have been blessed these past 250 Years. However, the forces of the irreligious, if we are unable to pray our way out of this dilemma, may convince the majority of their unbelief.
As a result, the call of the Church to repentance may never come about. Perhaps someone, like Isaiah, will prophesize the impending disaster and we’ll positively react.

Shades of Purgatory exude from the first few verses of the Psalm. Bringing souls up from the nether word and rescuing them from going down into the pit, seems to forecast the possibility of a merciful God allowing impurities to be erased in the ‘fire’ of a repentant Spirit.

The success of Jesus’ appeal to the Samaritan woman and her associates led Jesus to Galilee a few miles to the east. There the Galileans greeted Him wholeheartedly because they had witnessed His miracles in Judea. His fame spread, even into pagan territories.
There a court official from Capernaum, came to Jesus and appealed to Him for help with his son, who was dying from some ailment and the doctors didn’t know what to do. At first, He reprimands him because he was looking for Jesus to come to his house to lay His hands on him and cure him. Not understanding the Jewish tradition of not entering a gentile abode. When Jesus hesitated, the royal official, concerned for his child, pleaded for his son saying,” Sir, come down before my son dies”. Moved with pity, Jesus told him, “Go, your son lives”.
With nothing but Faith, the official departed. When he was near his home, he was met by his servants who assured him, his son was alive and had been suddenly cured at the same hour when Jesus said, Your son lives”.
His whole household became believers!
What will it take for us to believe as the official did?
Jesus, throughout the Scriptures, tells us, if we believe whatever we ask will be granted us and more.
The official had only hearsay to believe! And he was rewarded for his Faith.
Our Church provides us with all we need spiritually, to have the same faith and more. However, it is our privilege to learn all the Church teaches so the learning will improve our faith.

Friday, March 20, 2009

4th Sunday in Lent

Date: Sunday March 22, 2009 4th Sunday in Lent Readings: 2 Chronicles 36: 14-16, 19-23 Psalm 137: 1-4 Ephesians 2: 2-10 John 3: 14-21
The Books of Chronicles are more a history of Israel and Judah than the books of Kings.
Throughout these books, the infidelity of the Kings, the leader of the people, the priests, and, in imitation of the Kings, finally, the anawim, the ordinary people, delve into the infidelity, disregard of God's precepts and ordinary courtesy.
God had enough! So, after centuries of His prophet's warnings, He allowed them their choices. They no longer deferred to him and His messengers. As a result, they were exiled to Babylon. Their Temple was destroyed and their Holy City was razed and burnt to the ground.
Now they were in captivity; slaves of the gentile Babylonians. What could be worse?
The Psalms tell of their captors begging them to sing their beautiful hymns and psalms. But, how could they? They remembered the glory of Jerusalem and the Temple, but they were gone. In their sadness and guilt, with nowhere to turn, they could no longer recall or sing their prayers and psalms.
However, God had not forgotten them. He sent Cyrus, king of Persia, to be their Messiah, their Savior. After fifty years, they were free to go home and rebuild their city and Temple. Most of the survivors had died but a remnant remembered the Glory and returned to Jerusalem to begin the rebuilding.
Do we, in our age, see the parallels?
Every daily newspaper blares out about the inhumanity to Mankind. What has gone wrong so many have lost their way?
The same newspapers exploit the stories of injustices toward our fellowman. The print media offend our sensibilities with their candor and lurid details. The Electronic media flaunt their prurient ways and the popularity of their radio and TV shows is evidence against us of our buying their goods. Even the newest space age communications are reaping billions from the display, for anyone to see, pornography in its most deviant forms. Without customers, those forms of idolatry would dry up, overnight.
However, we excuse them in the name of the first Amendment.
The framers of the Constitution would turn, NO, whirl in their graves at these weird interpretations of their words. We better turn, NO, whirl about and follow God's ways.
What are God's ways? Are they difficult? Not at all!
The letter to the Ephesians lays out the Plan of God for all to be saved. We can be brought back to life through our Faith. The Grace we receive there from, will cause us to become like Him! Believe!
Jesus told Nicodemus, He must be lifted up (on the Cross) so, just like the Israelites looked upon the lifted up serpent and were saved from snakebite, we can look upon the Cross of Christ as the instrument of our salvation.
God gave up His only Son's life so we might have eternal life with Him.
Accept the gift of Faith. It is perpetually offered!

Alternate readings for the fourth Sunday in Lent

1Samuel 16: 1b, 6-7, 10-13a Ephesians 5: 8-14 John 9: 1-41 Psalm 23: 1-6
Response The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want
At times, in our fallen nature, we think events as reported in Scripture are just happenstance. Samuel was unhappy with the reign of Saul. He had warned the people of Israel the pitfalls of human kings. They should rely on the Lord alone. However, they wanted what they wanted and would take no advice from man or the Lord. God therefore, told Samuel to give them a King. Just as Samuel had outlined, Saul was not a good leader of their religious community. Instead, he wanted to go his own way.
As a result, God became annoyed with his reign and decided to end it.
The power of Kings was awesome, and Samuel was reticent to anoint a replacement as he feared retaliation almost as much as he feared the Lord. Under the instruction of the Holy Spirit, he, nevertheless, went to Jesse, the father of 8 boys to look for the successor of Saul. He was attracted to a good looking, strapping boy and thought he was the selection of God. He was reminded, by God, of the previous King who was selected because of his stature, good looks and ability to fight. He must have been flabbergasted when none of the first seven boys was God's choice. Asking Jesse if he had any more sons, Jesse told him of his youngest who was a shepherd. Samuel was probably just as befuddled when the Lord selected David, a young boy, to lead His people.
How many times are we swayed by outward appearances? Celebrities influence our decisions regarding clothes, makeup, demeanor and choices. We must force ourselves to make moral and faith decisions in line with the Church's proclamations. Some of the leaders of the Church have failed, just like Saul. However, remember, the Holy Spirit is with the Church (that's us) just as much as He was with Samuel when David was the Choice of God.
The psalm reminds us who is the Good Shepherd. He doesn't lead us into rough waters where we can be swallowed up in the current of daily living. We go there of our own free will. Be a participant in the banquet of the Lord, daily if possible. And, He will be with us all the rest of our days!
Christ came to save the Jews. He offered them life and light. They turned Him down flat.
Paul, a Jew, was selected by Jesus and went on to spend the rest of his life and gave his life, to spread the Good News to the Jews in diaspora and to all the Gentiles who listened to the Lord and desired communion with Him in His Church. Paul warns us of the danger to our immortal souls, if we do not turn away from the low standards of some of the celebrities and reach the high ground of holiness. We may not be dead in the usual sense of the word, but, we can arise from the state of sin to enjoy forever, His blessings he has promised.
The long story of the man born blind and his ultimate healing because of his faith, should be an example of the providence of God with respect to our own physical and spiritual lives. His parents were afraid to authenticate their son's healing for fear of being kicked out of the assembly.
We often look at the culture of the day and "go along to get along".
Stand up for the values of the Gospel! Don't allow a few moments of pleasure releave you of the eternal joy we can expect if we but walk with Him in the way He pointed out to us while He was present in person.
Now He is present in the Eucharist, in the assembly, in His Word and in the lives we exhibit for all to emulate.

Saturday/Sunday March 21/22, 2009 reflections

Saturday March 21, 2009 of the 3rd Week in Lent

Readings: Hosea 6: 1-6 Psalm 51 Luke 18: 9-14
Psalm Response: It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice.

When we try to make sense of the English erendering of the original Hebrew, we falter because the terms do not coincide with our way of speaking. Have we ever been rented? If we bring the verses up to date,when we are hired, we are essentially rented to do some task for which we get paid.
But in Hebrew, everybody knew " to rent" meant to tear; and not cry! It would be easy to change the intent of the writer just be givig the words translated their literal meaning. Is
the last verse, a fortelling of the resurrection. We could rationally say "Yes"!
But what was the writers intent both then and for the future? It was to indicate a short lapse of time; however, Paul, (1 Cor. 15: 4) refers to it as a Scripural foretelling of the resurrection.
As God'sspokeman, Hosea, tells the people if they read God's words as he presented them, and put them into practice through their love for Him and one another, then death will only be represented by His words.
God wants all to us to live for and to love Him. Thereby, we offer a sacrifice more pleasing then butchering animals and immolating them to present a pleasing fragrence.

The lament of Psalm 51, in recognition of David's sin, concludes with the acknowledgment God doesn't necessarily desire hundreds of animals be sacrificed; rather, he desires a repentant heart.

In the gospel story, we recognize the pomposity of the Pharisee who catalogues his good habits as though, what he thinks is righteous, IS righteous!
God desires those things and measures our sincerity by our continuous prayer. However, as in the case of David, He prefers the humility and repentance rather than self-aggrandizment of preceived righteousness.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Friday March 20, 2009 of the third week in Lent

March 20, 2009 Frisday ofthe Third Week in Lent
READINGS: Hosea 14: 2-10 Pslam 81 Mark 12: 28-34
Psalm response: I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

The disasterous marriage to Gomer, in the early writings of Hosea, show the disappointment of God over the abandonment of His precepts, Israel has gone over to false gods of the surrounding nations and no longer walks in the ways he was taught.
In closing his prophecy, Hosea becomes the foercaster of Israel's future. All the descriptive words describe in the fashion of the pslams and proverbs, the turn about of the israelites to their original God and His penchant for them. The sacrifices of old would measure their love and affection. They will repent of their former evil ways and take up the mantle of righteousness henchforth.

The writer of the psalm recalls God's action when Israel was foundering and knew not where to turn. Of themselves, they were hopeless. But God came to their rescue when they called out to Him even though they weren't sure of His compassion when they ignored Him. They were enthralled by the Egyptian gods and their supposed ability to strangthen the people while enbling them to enslave Jacob.

When the Scribes questioned Jesus with the purpose of entraping Him into blasphemy, they were astonished at His answer. After all, He wasn't of their ilk. He proposes actions contrary to their traditions. They, therefore, expected Him to make some outlandish statement encabling them to accuse Him of a capital crime.
Instead, He utilizes the Rabbinic style by answering using Scripture. His response followed the books of Deuteronomy 6: 4-5 and Leviticus 17: 18, emphasizing the love of God and neighbor.
These commandments of Love transend all the pther writings know to them.

We are able to focus on the Love of God and neighbor by our concern for each other's needs. When we supply them to any of His children we are in His stead, Him. Our divine nature shows iteself emphatically when we imitate His actions!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Solemnity of St Joseph march 19, 2009

Thursday March 18, 2009 of the Third week in Lent
The Solemnity of St Joseph, Mary’s Husband and Jesus’ foster-father
Readings: 2Samuel 7:4-5a, 12-14a, 16 Psalm 89 Romans 4: 13, 16-18, 22
Matthew 1: 16, 18-21,24a
Psalm Response: The Son of David will live forever

Samuel is not usually listed with the prophets. However, he is surely called to be a spokesperson for God. Here, he records the words of the Lord, regarding David, long called “a man after His Own Heart.
As David enters the last vestiges of his reign, God tells Nathan, David’s personal prophet,
of the future of David’s line. The future King of Israel, the descendant of David, will not only be of David’s line, He will be God’s Own Son. Although the nation of Israel wasn’t to be perpetuated, His reign will be forever.

The Psalm response echoes the words of Samuel. Not only will His words become permanent in the annals of Israel’s history, His Word will dwell in person and in the hearts of man from then on.

In extolling Abraham’s Faith, Paul repeats the essence of the Torah’s words. Because Abraham believed God’s words and set out to a land unknown to him or his descendants, even though rationally, he couldn’t propagate an heir, he was content to believe God would do the impossible. There are some who equate Abraham’s obedience as the Faith which justified him. He was the first to have the Hope in the promise of God. He loved his Lord. Therefore, he was rewarded, not only as the progenitor of the Nation of Israel but, also through Ishmael, the father of many nations as God had promised.

At the end of Matthew’s genealogy, he mentions Jacob,, the father of Joseph, who was to be Jesus’ father under the law.
Joseph knew he wasn’t the cause of Mary’s pregnancy. Therefore, as sinless as he could be, regarding joining with his bride before the marriage ceremony was complete, he was correct, under normal circumstances, to give Mary a bill of divorce. It wasn’t unusual for a betrothed couple to be Chaste until their marriage was officially declared by the proper authorities.
Joseph not only loved Mary, he didn’t want to subject her to the law and possible execution for implied adultery.
Following the tradition of his namesake, Joseph, he was told, in a dream, the child conceived in Mary’s womb was of the Holy Spirit and he should not be afraid to take her into his home as his bride. Joseph complied with this holy message and became Jesus’ father in name and in fact.

When we envision our life with God, we dream of the peace and serenity accompanying our welcome into everlasting joy. But, is it a dream or a reality inexperienced?
We focus much of our time and energy on stuff we can hold in our hands. Try putting yourself in the mind and time of Joseph. His patience and humility in trying times should be an example, for us, as we ply our lives and contemplate the promises of God and be as assured as Abraham.
Don't falter! Do npt be afraid!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wednesday March 18, 2009 of the Third week in Lent

Wednesday March 18, 2009 of the Third Week in Lent
Readings :Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9 Psalm 147 Matthew 5: 17-19
Psalm Response: Praise the Lord, Jerusalem

Moses reminds the Nation of Israel, although their neighboring Nations have their imagined deities, none has One so near to them as do they. He has saved them from slavery, rescued them from captivity and is bringing them to the land He promised to Abraham.
No other nation is so privileged as to have their god grant them a law, written on tablets but especially on their hearts. Ordinances, not burdens, they can all abide and which will enable them to be fair, impartial, and forgiving as He is.
They are enjoined to learn them, teach them to their children and grandchildren, so the next generations will also know and keep them faithfully.

The psalm and response are further imprecations to God in thanksgiving for His mercy and compassion.
We, too, should offer our prayers hoping He will not remember our sins but will proffer the Grace to always abide with Him.

Jesus, at the end of His beatitudes, where He seemed to proclaim a new way, puts the disciples to rest by declaring, in no uncertain terms, the efficacy of the Law. So much so, He even sanctified the accent marks and the instructions on the use of vowels essential to knowing and understanding the Hebrew language.
In our own day, people, even Catholics, wonder about the use of Latin in the official documents of the Church. We are quite aware of the changing nature of the English words where, an innocuous term may become salacious within a lifetime.(19th Century, intercourse meant conversation/discussion; you don’t have to be reminded what the connotation is now!). Latin is a dead language and means the same as it did centuries ago.

The problem, for us, is, we teach our children by our example, not necessarily our words.
Consequently, we, not they, will be on the hook for the mistakes and misdeeds they commit because Daddy or Mommy did it!


Monday, March 16, 2009

TuesdayMarch 17, 2009 of the Third week in Lent

Readings: Daniel 3: 25, 34-43 Psalm 25 Matthew 18: 21-35
psalm Response: " Remember Your Mercies O Lord"

Azariah was the Hebrew name of Abednego. Shadrach, Mischach and Abednego were captives of the Babylonian regime which captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in 587 BC. Although written many centuries later, Daniel used the events of the Exile to reveal the triumph of God in the end.
Nebuchadnezzar took many of the leading citizens of Judah for their talents or their potential. The three friends of Daniel were chosen by the King to be magicians and advisors to him after a training period in which they were to be shown the mores of the Chaldeans, including their eating habits.
The King demanded each of the trainees eat from the royal table. Most of the foods offered were not kosher, "unclean," therefore the Judean captives convinced the royal cook to allow them to eat vegetables in defiance of the King's order. They ate only vegetables and at the end of the trial period were in better shape than those who obeyed the rules of the King.
Even though Nebuchadnezzar had acknowledged Daniel's God when Daniel was the only person in the Kingdom to interpret the King's dream, he soon denied his own conviction and had a golden statue sculpted and ordered all his subjects to bow down to this god at a prearanged signal. Azariah, Hananiah, Mishael and Daniel refused the Kings order and were thrown into a raging fire.
Each was frightened by the heat projected by the fire. However, when they were actually within the flames,they licked about them but did not harm them in any way.
Azariah, therefore, prayed the prayer of verses 26-34 in thanksgiving and praise to their God. Each was saved from the flames and were rescued by an unseen God they proclaimed and the King, himself, repeated his prior admition of their God being the only God.
Daniel is writing in the style of the age from 200 BC to 100 AD called Apocolyptic, whereby the scenes of history were projected onto the present. The message was in the end God wins!

The psalm recognizes the constant but invisible presence of God in our lives. Kings and rulers can charge and imprison us but they cannot be out done by force, because in reality, they have their positon from God's grace. They are to be obeyed by us but not according to their laws in contradistinction to God's Law.

The theme of God's mercy is epitomized by the extraordnary gift of forgiveness imparted by jesus' answer to Peter's question, "How many times do I forgive, seven?" It was his intent to show his own merciful heart!
It seemed incongruent to Peter, one would have to be merciful seven times the symbol of immeasurable occasions, onlr y to have his mentor, Jesus, tell him seventy times seven.
Peter was struck with the generosity of Jesus, until, he, himself, would experience forgiveness from an almost unpardonable action in his own past!

We cannot outdo God! His love is everlasting!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Monday of the third week in Lent

Monday March 16, 2009 of the 3rd Week of Lent
Readings: 2Kings 1:15b Psalm 42-43 Luke 4: 24-30

There are a couple of themes to ponder in the first reading.
The arch enemy of Israel was the kingdom of Arum Their glorious general, Naamen, was stricken with leprosy and was wasting away when a captive Israelite servant girl, suggested to his wife, he see Elisha, the Holy man of Israel in Samaria, before Samaria became defiled by their serving elsewhere than in the Temple of Jerusalem and they intermarried with their captives and gentiles from other captive nations.
His wife encouraged Naamen to seek the Holy man’s help. So Naamen petitioned his King to write the King of Israel to intercede for him and provide a tribute for him of gold and silver.
When Naamen brought him the letter and the tribute, the King of Israel tore his garments exclaiming, “ Am I a god?”, and he refused to help. The King thought it was a provoking gesture rather a sign of friendship.
Fortunately, Elisha, heard of the general’s plight. Elisha refused the tribute offered and offered an improbable action for the cure. “Wash seven times in the Jordon!”
Naamaen being a strong general and an Arum patriot refused the request stating, “What is wrong with the Euphrates or other rivers in our own country?” So, he started to prepare to go home.
Naamen’s men, however, implored him, “ master, if the Holy man has asked you to do some impossible task, you would at least have tried.
Encouraged by his men, he dove into the Jordon and emerged seven times; his leprosy was gone and his skin was likened to a newborn.
Naaamen acknowledged Elisha’s gift and tried to offer the tribute of the king of Arum, but, Naamen’s cure and belief in the God of Israel was payment enough!
God loves us all, even our enemies. If we pray for them or refer them to Him, He will grant their wish. No one can take the place of God. We must rely on Him alone! No prophet, no King, no Priest of our own choosing. He will provide the intermediaries needed whom we may not know.

The psalm recognizes God’s hand in everything we do or propose. When we go to the altar of God, we adore Him and offer our gifts. Whether they are tangible or spiritual, they will be equally received.

At His own home town of Nazareth, the people marveled at His authoritative speech but they regarded Him as just some local kid, looking for praise.
When He admonished them for their lack of Faith, the catalyst of healing, He couldn’t perform any miraculous act as a product of their Faith.
Consequently, when He told of the cure of Naamen and the favor of Elijah to the pagan widow of Sidon, as an example of the faith they lacked, they abruptly decided to shorten His life before His time.

When we see our children become spiritual in their thoughts and prayer, recognize it is not our work but the Holy Spirit and He will reward them and us by the humility we show in thanksgiving for His ever watchful eye to our blessings!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Third Sunday In Lent

March 15, 2009 Third Sunday of Lent
Reading I Exodus 20:1-17
In those days, God delivered all these commandments: “I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them .For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers( wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. “You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished the one who takes his name in vain. “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. “Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.”

Today's readings presents our Jewish heritage in the proclaiming of the Law, the Ten(10) Commandments, by Moses and by Jesus, traditionally characterized as the second(2nd) Moses. In the first (1st) reading, there are several citations we should emphasize.
1. Although God will punish those who hate (turn their backs on) Him, to the third (3rd) or fourth (4th) generation.
2. His mercy will extend to the just for one thousand (1000) generations about 25,OOO years, on those who love Him and who turn to Him.
We may also notice there's no admonition to attend a service of any kind on the Sabbath. When these passages were written down, during the Babylonian exile, Jews insisted the only legitimate sacrifices were those held in the Temple in Jerusalem.
Our tradition calls for celebrating the Eucharist on Sunday and we should be anxious to comply with the Church's wisdom in this matter. However, don't do just the minimum! It isn't necessary to go to Mass every day. But, we are enjoined to, by the Church and our consciences to love God's and our neighbors every waking moment.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul; The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye. R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life. They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb. R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Psalm 19 is a short version of Psalm 119. It reminds us of our obligation to know God's Word. Whether the Word comes to us as Laws, Decrees, Ordinances, Precepts, Commands, or Statutes, all of them are just; and, the words are the formulae for everlasting life as the response reiterates.

Reading II 1 Corinthians 1:22-25
Brothers and sisters: Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength”.

Paul contrasts the wisdom and omnipotence of God to the vapidity of godlessness or indifference. While some of Paul's opponents thought Christ's Crucifixion was a sign of folly and weakness, in reality, it is wiser than human wisdom ands stronger than human strength.

Gospel John 2:13-25
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, “ Zeal for your house will consume me”. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.

The Gospel of John places the episode of the Temple cleansing at the beginning of Christ's ministry. Here was gentle and meek Jesus, upsetting the status quo; going against accepted values. As Paul pointed out, the Jews wanted a sign. However, they never expected the sign of resurrection to be cast in their faces. Using the metaphor of the Temple's destruction to focus on His crucifixion, collectively, they laughed at Him. They took His words literally and compared the time to build the physical House of worship, forty-six(45) years, as the standard by which He would be judged.
Are we the Jews of today? Do we wonder when God will zap the evil doers, but not us, of course? However, rather than measure our worth by the many covenants we ascribe to but the ones we defer to later or never. In doing so, we jeopardize the gift of salvation by omission as well as commission!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Saturday of the 2nd week in Lent

March 14, 2009 Saturday of the 2nd Week of Lent

Readings: Micah 7: 14-15, 18-20 Psalm103 Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32
Psalm Response: The Lord is kind and merciful!

The prophet Micah gives us an opportunity to experience God, not in a physical way, which wanes with distraction, but with the spiritual love of God, filling our souls as only God can.
Who, among us, could envision, centuries removed, the hand of God in every event written about by our ancestors.
When we obey our religious leaders, we aren’t benign sheep, baying at the feeding given us by our shepherds; but, rather as knowing creatures of our God and recognizing His hand in all we do out of love for Him.
Our contemporary society, as advanced as it has become, with education and learning unavailable in the time of our ancestors, still behaving as animals when it renders decisions against those we believe deserve ill treatment, we may wonder if we apply our learning or do we react with a vengeful heart?
Even so, He regards us as His children, often excusing and pardoning our unthinking ways and inviting us to the repentance needed to enable us to be as forgiving as He.

Our psalmist relates the incongruity of God’s dealing with us as He does. When we regard the unforgiving hearts of those around us, do we truly realize the Love of God could be so intense as to forgive and forget? The Lord is kind and merciful!

When we read again this parable of the wasteful son, we are apt to place undue blame on him when it seems as likely his father doesn’t react as we might given the same circumstances.
Squandering his share of the inheritance, wouldn’t necessarily endear an heir to his benefactor.
Some even side with the remaining son who remained faithful while realizing the balance of his father’s estate was his. This wastrel spends his portion on desolate living and is then welcomed by his equally wasteful dad. Who could side with the first son?

The message is clearer to us than it was with His listeners. God’s mercy is unfathomable.
The depth of His love for His sinful brothers and sisters is the same as the father’s love for his wayward son. We can’t even profess our sorrow as long as we are ardent in our resolve to repent in our hearts.

It helps to think of God as the ever waiting redeemer expecting us with open arms and straining at every moment to see if we’re coming to our senses.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Friday of 2nd Week of Lent

Friday 3-13-2009 of the 2nd week in Lent
Readings: Genesis 37: 3-4, 12-13a, 17b-28a Psalm 105 Matthew 21: 33-43, 45-46
Psalm Response: Remember the marvels the Lord has done!

The whole of Chapter 37 has some interesting thoughts we sometimes lose when we skim the intent of the story’s selection for the day.
Joseph, the dreamer was the foretaste of the Joseph the dreamer we learn of later in the story of Mary’s betrothal and her conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. When this story of Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers and his being sold into slavery, was written, God, the inspiration of all Scripture was well aware of the picture to be unfolded centuries later.
Andrew Lloyd Weber dreamed up the “Coat of Many Colors” for his hit musical “Jesus Christ, Super Star”.
Taking liberties with the Scripture stories often makes more sense than the written word, which was written in an age and culture which has no relation to the culture in which we live.
If we discount the second Joseph’s dreams, he wouldn’t have taken Mary as his wife; he wouldn’t have taken Jesus to a safe haven in Egypt. His trek to Bethlehem might not have been taken.
Had this first Joseph been killed as his brothers first had plotted, the formulation of the twelve tribes of Israel wouldn’t have taken place. And On and On!

We must realize the infinite knowledge of God, when our own lives are sometimes uprooted and seemingly destroyed. Perhaps His plan for us, which is always better than our own, made with the foreknowledge exclusive with the Almighty, will be proven in our lifetime to be the best solution we had not even thought of in our wildest dreams.

The Psalm and response are our guides when all else seems to be collapsing around us.
He knew Joseph would somehow be vindicated, released from prison to become the Vicar of the Pharaoh, and ultimately his brother’s savior. Sometimes we need to recall the kindness shown the Israelite people in ancient times and apply His thinking in place of our own.

The use of Parables to teach a lesson is used by Jesus many times, especially in the synoptic Gospels. This Parable about an absentee landlords expectations and the result of his disregard for the laborers needs is often taken to be an allegory of heaven’s images.
The vineyard was often used to describe the nation of Israel; the workers the people; the servants of the owner, God’s prophets and messengers; the son, God’s own representative His only Son.
The use of Scripture was often a device to show the authenticity of the teacher’s credentials. Here, Jesus cites Psalm 118: 22-23; and, Isaiah 28:16 predicting the “Stone rejected by the Builders would become the cornerstone of the New Jerusalem, the Church!” We don’t often wish to grant the authority to the Church Christ had given it. All sorts of excuses release us from our obligation to believe the word of God by our own “inerrant” interpretation. However, when we use our own thoughts to replace the studied expertise of the Church we make our trip to righteousness wary indeed!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thursday of the 2nd week in Lent

Thursday March 12, 2009 of the 2nd week of Lent

Readings: Jeremiah 17: 5-10 Psalm 1 Luke 16: 19-31
Psalm Response: " Blessed are they who hope in the Lord"

When we sit down to read a book, we like to begin at the preface and continue to the end. If you recall, yesterdays reading was from Chapter 18 of Jeremiah. Today, we're reading excerpts from Chapter 17. A little backwards, don't you think.
In reality, the books of the Bible and even the chapters of each book aren't necessarily in chronological order.

The point of the message of Jeremiah and the writer of the first Psalm dovetail perfectly. Although David is the supposed author of the Psalms and Jeremiah wrote his prophecy in about the 7th Century BC, both sacred writers were inspired by the same God to exchoriate the rebellious people of their tim. Both generations denied their Lord by seeking other gods in contrdistinction to their heritage of One God alone.

We aren't farmers; but, we know instinctively, not to plant our garden away from an instant source of water or in an arid region. Jeremiah and david both enjoin their listeners to be near the source of their Faith and consolation. No need to look elsewhere. He provides; we are to thank Him alone.

Our Gospel parable relates a story of the incongruity of the wealthy as opposed to those in want.
Somewhere, it was proposed the rich man's name was Darius. Lazarus was a common mispronunciation of the name Eleazar. The people of the northern provences had a strange accent. It was even noted in the Book of ACTS 2:13, the Apostles speech was muddled and they were thought to be drunk. They were all from the north, Galilleans!
Darius, who hoarded his means for some unknown time, was called to his "reward" at the same time as Lazarus.
Darius seemed to be in the abode of the dead, the netherworld; a sort of purgatory! He petitioned Abraham for a bit of water from the hand of Lazarus. He even asked for Lazarus to go to his family to escape the ravages he was experiencing. Wisely, Abraham, having witnessed the obdurance of generations of Israelites and their present denial of the One sent to save them, wisely explained, they wouldn't listen to someone, even if He were raised from the dead.

When our Faith seems to question the ability of the saints and those who preceded us into their reward, to be our help, perhaps we should reminsce to these words from Scripture to get the proper prospective and pray we'll use the right words to plead for our help.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wednesday of the 2nd week in Lent

Wednesday March 11, 2009 of the 2nd week in Lent

Readings; Jeremiah 18: 18-20 Psalm 31 Matthew 20: 17-28
Psalm Response: “Save me O Lord, in Your Kindness”

When God chose Jeremiah to be His spokesperson, His prophet, he was just a kid, he complained; not imbued with the knowledge of the sages and scribes; and, he was tongue-tied. He, therefore, was reluctant to accept the position.
God assured him, He would guide him every step of the way, his every word, help his writings and He would remain with him in all his efforts all the days of his life.
Sounds like the familiar refrain, “Do not be afraid, I am with you”.
Here, Jerry complains about his mistreatment at the hands of the king’s henchmen and cohorts. They are out to get him, because he predicts a dire result from their apostasy.
When Jesus told His disciples, “Do not be afraid, I am with you until the end of the world, just like Jeremiah, He didn’t mean He would be physically present but in the Spirit. He has never left!
This should be consolation to those who have faith. Otherwise, apparently things are on a steep slope, iced by problems we can’t solve.

Moms all over the world and since the beginning of time, are with their children always.
Zebedee’s wife and the mother of James and John, decided to ask for the spot of CEO and CIO in the coming incorporation of His Kingdom.
Christ wanted to know if they were ready to devote their lives to the ultimate goal of helping others become imitators of Him.
She thought He wanted to share a cup of wine., not the death He had just predicted for Himself.
Do you think you could say “yes” to His call?

Tuesday March 10, 2009

Tuesday March 10, 2009 of the 2nd Week in Lent

Readings: Isaiah 1: 10, 16-20 Psalm 50 Matthew 23: 1-12
Psalm Response: “To the upright, I will show the saving power of God!”

Isaiah proclaims the deeds of the generation to whom he writes, in God’s name, and compares their actions to those of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. They had refused Lot’s offer of his daughters to sate their lusts with women, to the disordered sins they wished.
We must wonder; how base was the present generation to have had Isaiah call down God’s wrath as they forgot His words and did what was abominable to Him.
Our generation doesn’t think of the positive actions we might take when we subject others to the condemnation for their sins. We usually focus on the DON’TS, rather than, by our example and consolation to bring about joy into their lives.

The Psalmist repeats Isaiah’s remonstration! How can we sit idly by while our duty calls on us to have mercy. Who knows? One day we may be the object of derision or we may be in the bread line seeking compassion. The psalm response promises, to the upright; those who care; the saving power of God.

Who among us hasn’t at times been holier than thou? Christ points out the failings of the Scribes and the Pharisees as reprehensible. They lay out the Law as was their responsibility, but they ignore it themselves.
Are we not like that ourselves?
Sometimes, we make known our “problem” with the action of someone else; while, we continue our own pursuits to the detriment of the needy.
The Pharisees were considered the successors of Moses; “Sitting in his chair”, with his authority to lead and teach others. However, Christ warns against imitating their actions in opposition to their teaching.
When Christ speaks of the One Teacher, His Father, it’s the reminder of our consciences as the arbiter or right and wrong. Learn from Him!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Daily Bible Readings Monday 3-9-09

Monday March 9, 2009 of the 2nd Week of Lent
Readings: Daniel 9: 4b-10 Psalm 79 Luke 6: 36-38
Psalm response: “Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins”

Daniel was written in the apocalyptic style in vogue for about 200 years before the advent of Christ and the deliverance from sin advanced from His Passion, death and Resurrection.
Apocalyptic literature writes of persecution which predates the actual time but emulates the conditions found by the people of the time.
When Alexander the Great, had conquered the known world, he prematurely died at the age of 28. He willed portions of his kingdom to several of his generals. One of them, Epiphanies I, who oversaw the area which included Palestine under his realm, was so enamored of himself, he and some of his Greek subjects considered him a god. He insisted on being adored and venerated by all his subjects but, of course, most of the Jews
wouldn’t bow down to his demands. So, he made life miserable for them.
Daniel, living and composing his “prophecy” during Epiphanis’ years, reflected to the Babylonian captivity to emphasize, in the end, God will be the victor in the debate, because He is immortal and all the kings, past and present would die while He remains.
How wonderful are these words of wisdom. Though not foretelling in the true sense of these words, the future failure of the Greeks, Romans and Parthian and any other world conqueror was immanent!
We can receive solace from Daniel’s words of promise. In the end, God will be the winner with us receiving His Grace.

The Psalm and response implore God’s mercy. Realizing all generations will be lulled into complacency and sin by appearances; he asks God not to remember our failings but to recall His promise to remain with us until He comes again!

In His advice to His disciples, Jesus instructs them to be as they expect His father and Him to be. Merciful, not judgmental, forgiving, offering hope and the Grace to follow His will for us.
In our culture, we cannot understand Jesus’ uses of clothing as a receptacle. In metaphoric terms, when a client approached a merchant for a commodity, like flour, to bake bread for his family, paper sacks didn’t exist. Instead the tunics worn would be held to make a receptacle for the items purchased. The tradesman woulf pour the commodity into the folds of the garment.
Therefore, the people hearing the term, “Good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing, they could visualize God’s mercy as infinite to which we are to imitate.

Daioy Readings

Monday March 9, 2009 of the 2nd Week of Lent
Readings: Daniel 9: 4b-10 Psalm 79 Luke 6: 36-38
Psalm response: “Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins”

Daniel was written in the apocalyptic style in vogue for about 200 years before the advent of Christ and the deliverance from sin advanced from His Passion, death and Resurrection.
Apocalyptic literature writes of persecution which predates the actual time but emulates the conditions found by the people of the time.
When Alexander the Great, had conquered the known world, he prematurely died at the age of 28. He willed portions of his kingdom to several of his generals. One of them, Epiphanies I, who oversaw the area which included Palestine under his realm, was so enamored of himself, he and some of his Greek subjects considered him a god. He insisted on being adored and venerated by all his subjects but, of course, most of the Jews
wouldn’t bow down to his demands. So, he made life miserable for them.
Daniel, living and composing his “prophecy” during Epiphanis’ years, reflected to the Babylonian captivity to emphasize, in the end, God will be the victor in the debate, because He is immortal and all the kings, past and present would die while He remains.
How wonderful are these words of wisdom. Though not foretelling in the true sense of these words, the future failure of the Greeks, Romans and Parthian and any other world conqueror was immanent!
We can receive solace from Daniel’s words of promise. In the end, God will be the winner with us receiving His Grace.

The Psalm and response implore God’s mercy. Realizing all generations will be lulled into complacency and sin by appearances; he asks God not to remember our failings but to recall His promise to remain with us until He comes again!

In His advice to His disciples, Jesus instructs them to be as they expect His father and Him to be. Merciful, not judgmental, forgiving, offering hope and the Grace to follow His will for us.
In our culture, we cannot understand Jesus’ uses of clothing as a receptacle. In metaphoric terms, when a client approached a merchant for a commodity, like flour, to bake bread for his family, paper sacks didn’t exist. Instead the tunics worn would be held to make a receptacle for the items purchased. The tradesman woulf pour the commodity into the folds of the garment.
Therefore, the people hearing the term, “Good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing, they could visualize God’s mercy as infinite to which we are to imitate.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday March 7 & Sunday March 8, 2009 Reflections

Saturday March 7, 2009 of the 1st week in Lent
Readings Deuteronomy 26: 16-19 Psalm 119 Matthew : 43-48
Psalm Response: " Blessed are they who follow the Law of the Lord"

In Moses' final discourse to the Hebrew people, he instructs them/us in the way God enjoins us to become mature servants of His. His commandments waste no language. Anyone of average intelligence can commit them to memory with full uinderstanding and rationale.
To love God, our creator, is as natural as to love the one who bears us; no one would demean his mother! ;
Setting aside one(1) day out of seven(7) to devote ourselves to thanksgiving and praise doesn't call for anything but love;
When we honor our parents, we remotely honor God. As He is our Creator, they are the means of our lives;
As yesterdays Gospel relates hate with murder, avoid both;
Our lifelong commitment to one spouse is just that; no other can satisfy;
Instinctively, the property of others isn't ours!;
Honesty in speech and manner, speaks volumes of our character;
Another's wife and goods are theirs not to be shared with anyone but God.

This longest Psalm makes God's Laws sacrasinct, not to be avoided, but to be an anchor of our lives.

When Christ equates our actions to those of sinners, can we do less than His best? Love of neighbor is natural. To disdain someone not intimately part of our near family is to neglect another creature created in His likeness. The lesson for today is Love. All problems cease if love is the basis for our actions!

Sunday March 8, 2009 Second Sunday in Lent

Readings: Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18, 26b Psalm 116: 10, 15,16-17, 18-19 Response: “ I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.” Romans 8:31b-34 Mark 9: 2-10
Depending on the mood of the celebrant, the theme of the Mass begins with a request for Mercy or, a request to be before the Lord in His Heavenly Kingdom.
The opening prayer continues the plea for a sure way to God's Son. Darkness has fallen upon the nations of the world with the threat of war and the light will only come forth through the pleasure of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Some Christians wonder why we would consider the story of Abraham's faith compelling in our day. Abraham and Sarah were childless most of their lives. Isaac came along with God's intercession when both were beyond the capacity to bear children without Divine prerogatives. This story of faith is to remind us, even in the most dire of circumstances, we are to obey the calling of God. The missing verses from this pericope tell a tale of a frightened boy carrying the wood for the sacrificial fire on his own shoulders. When Abraham told the boy, "God would provide", he already knew what the sacrifice was to be. How it must have torn at his heart to know the victim would be the son he loved, his only son. When, in the final analysis, his faith was manifest, we may fast forward to the Passover many years ahead when God did not withhold His only Son so we might live.
The Psalmist might have been thinking of his father Abraham when he wrote this poem of love. He believed, even at the point of great affliction. Never questioning the request for the sacrifice of his son, Abraham gained the trust of the Lord so all nations would bless him and all three great religions would honor him as their progenitor.
Paul puts into perspective the point of God's love. "If God is for us, what does it matter if the rest of the world is against us? We must recognize God could have selected many ways of offering His salvation. When He sent His Son, it was not His intent for Him to die on the cross. It was the circumstance many field generals face when they know a mission is dangerous and someone must be sent to perhaps sacrifice his life for the benefit of all. However, God did not hesitate. Otherwise, the opponent, the devil would have won.
Mark shows Jesus' Transfiguration as evidence of His Divinity. The appearance of Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and The Prophets in the Glory of Heaven, not only helped them better understand His mission, but, it also permitted them a vision of the future when Christ, our Light, would reign with them as His Emissaries. When He told them, after their heavenly experience, He would be raised from the dead, their minds must have gelled. What did this mean? To them it was an irrational statement. To us, it is our reason for following in His footsteps!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Reflections Thursday 3-5- & Friday 3-6-09

Thursday March 5, 2009 of the 1stWeek in Lent

Readings : Esther C-12: 14-16; 23-25 Psalm 138 Matthew 7: 7-12
Psalm Response: “ Lord, on the day I called for help, You answered me.”

In previous chapters of Esther, we learned the King of Babylon was enthralled with the beauty of Esther a Jewish detainee, her simple wisdom. Therefore, he took her into one pf his harems. When his queen, Vashti, rebelled.against an order of the king, he was advised to depose her and parade the most beautiful maidens in his kingdom from whom he could select her successor. The maidens appeared, unadorned, but Esther was, by far, the most beautiful. She pleased the king who crowned her his queen.
The king didn’t know Esther was a Jew. He had doomed those who remained in Babylon after Cyrus, the king of Persia defeated the Babylonians and released those who wished to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their city and their Temple.

One of the king’s ministers, trying to make a name for himself, convinced the king, the Jews were plotting against him and would ultimately cause his demise.
So, the minister, Haram, proposed the execution of all the Jews as a solution to the problem.
Esther’s uncle, Mordeci, had attained a position of pride in the king’s court and, being a Jew, was in jeopardy, as was Esther.
Esther prostrated herself in homage and prayed to her God aloud, constantly for intercession.
Since she wasn’t an educated woman, she prayed to God for the wisdom and words to persuade the king not to fulfill Haram’s solution.
Ultimately, Mordeci, was the instrument sent by God to dissuade the king from carrying out the out the order of Haram.

When we look to the recent past, Hitler and his minions sought to solve the “Jewish Problem” by inhumane means. Just as today, the “population problem” and the Abortionist solution, even where under-population prevails uses inhumane methods to put forth their culture of death upon the innocent.

By our prayers and protestations may direct abortion be seen as murder of innocent life.

The psalm induces us to believe the answer to all our problems lies with consistant prayer. As Esther relied on her God and He answered, so, may our lifetime of prayer bring about the reverence of life at all progressive stages.

Christ tells His disciples and US, when we sincerely pray, whatever the petition, His response will not only be quick but consistent with His promises to provide for us. He is our Creator; knows our needs and how to best resolve any questions, if we have Faith.


Friday March 6. 2009

Readings: Ezekiel 18: 21-28 Psalm 130 Matthew 5: 20-26
Psalm Response: "If You O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand!"

All the readings for this solemn day, relate to the disobedience of the people to God's commands, His readiness to forgive and forget.
Humans tend to remember , not the good we do, but, they dwell on what we did. The verses from Ezekiel in the words of God, tell our duty is to be like Him. Forgiving iniquity and removing the guilt attentant our eyes and memory.
We are reminded we are vulnerable and must be guarded at all times. Temptation is rampant, never ending, or receding. So, like sentinals, we must at all times, be alert to the evil one's urgings.
As related in the Psalm, God knows our every mood and acxtion. He doesn't stop us from our deeds, but allows our consciences to decide, from the experience of His Church, how we should conduct our lives.

How far should we go, when we become aware of our sinful actions? Christ asks us to settle things among ourselves before we are sunjected to constabulary intervention. He even tells us to delay our offerings, which He deserves, to make settlement with our adversaries.
Relating our anger to murder seems farfetched! However, every hateful action has a beginning. Someone takes us for granted and we don't ponder his motives but, flat out, try to justify our thoughts. Each time someone disses a proposal of ours we lash out! Soon, the dislike becomes obsession; obsession hate; and, hate blssoms into inhumanm action!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday March 4, 2009 Daily Reflections

Readings: Jonah 3: 1-10 Psalm 51 Luke 11: 29-32
Psalm Response: "A contrite heartand humbled, You will not spurn!"

After his experience of shipwreck and three days in the belly of the fish, a light went off in Jonah's head. God plans to give the Ninevites andother chance to repent. God instructs Jonah to preach a penance to them and he began the three day trek through this huge city.


Assyria was one of the fiercestof the nations. Its warriorlike methods were henious. Not only did they use the weapons they designed to inflict massive destruction and death, they ignored the suffering iposed on their enemies with abandon.

So, Jonah felt his reluctence to offer them forgiveness was justified, they deserved God's retribution.

We ae much like Jonah. Isklam seems to justify terror and mayhem to those who perpetrate it. So, when our troops cause havoc and collateral damage to people and property, we try to justify our stand. It almost seems normal to us to want revenge when we are attacked.
However, childfen are not our enemies. How can we think one child's lfe is precious and yet we support, by our silence, the disaster we foist upon them in the name of justice.

We should join our voices with David as he regrets his sins against innocence, purity of thought and, even murder. Knowing God forgives as we reciprocate, our first priority should beforgiveness of others to facilitate our own.
Our Gospel passage harkons back to the tale of Jonah and the repentence of Nineveh. The people seemed to insist on further proof of His claims by way of more miracles.

What had proceded, the many healings, the resurrections of the dead He wrought enough?

So, when their time comes, the pagan nations of Nineveh and the Queen of the South will be their judges. She believed Solomon, God's messenger, was from God and would be impartial in her mediation of their behavoior.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

March 2, 2009 Biblical Readings Reflections

Readings: Leviticus 19:1-3; 11-18 Psalm 19 Matthew 25: 31-46

Psalm Response: Your words O Lord are spirit and truth.

In the writings of the Hebrew Scriptures, (Old Testament) ever in the author's mind and heart was the Law. In a metaphor, the commands and tenets of Judaism were "Carved in Stone", not to be compromised or lessened.
The verses from today's reading's outline the norm we each expect from our contemporaries, plain common sense. The whole Law is encompassed in the last verses; "You shall love your neighbor as yourself".

The essentials of the Law are iterated in the Psalm's injunction to love the Law no matter how or in what words it is presented..

Finally, Matthew's story of the final judgement should give us all pause to reflect on our own attitude toward all people. If we put the face of Christ on each of the examples cited bu Christ, who, among us, could refuse the poor, the lame, those uncared for.


In doing any act of Charity, we show our love of christ more plainly than words of praise , sascrifices and offerings to God!