Peace and Service- What Do You Choose?

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year c, 9-11-16 Exodus32:7-14, Ps 51, 1Tim 1:12-17, Luke 15: 1-10

I had my desk piled high with books & commentaries about the Book of Exodus, looking for ideas for today. Then I read today’s opening prayer.  Let me read it again: “Let us pray for the peace which is born of faith and hope.  Father in heaven, you alone are the source of our peace.  Bring us to the dignity which distinguishes the poor in spirit and show us how great is the call to serve, that we may share in the peace of Christ who offered his life in the service of all.”


Well, this week Mother Theresa of Kolkata was canonized as a Saint, and today we have a Day of Remembrance for the attack on September 11th.  How much more clearly could the Holy Spirit have urged me to talk today about peace and service?


Moses was God’s servant bringing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt.  The people all had been born in slavery, as had their parents.  It was the only life they had ever experienced.  Freedom was new, and difficult.  They were accustomed to being dependent, to having decisions made for them.  They escaped from Egypt only 3 months before, and now Moses had been up on Mount Sinai for 6 weeks with God; they were afraid he wouldn’t return.  They fell back on their experiences from Egypt; they made and worshiped a golden cow, and their behavior became wild & uncontrolled.  Worshiping something they made did not bring them peace.


The people still thought of God as being made in their image, like an idol. So God is described as having a human fit of rage.  They expect God will destroy them, just as their Egyptian masters would have done.  But in the next chapter, Moses presents the 10 commandments to the people, and they promise to do their part of the covenant with God.  This is actually the high point of the Old Testament story.  The people commit to worshiping only God and God commits to protecting and loving the people.  Their worship space is filled with the Ark of the Covenant and they work together the make the space ornate and beautiful.  The Glory of God fills the meeting tent & peace returns to the people.


So, I think we can say this: that service is to bring the word of God to one other.  And peace comes from God’s word and from trust and obedience to God’s word.


Our Psalm is the confession of King David after he broke God’s law and took Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. David was God’s servant, making the nation of Israel a strong and great nation, leading the people into a time of peace, ensuring the people were faithful to their covenant with God.  But there would be no peace for David until he confessed his sin.


Likewise, our 2nd reading is a confession by St. Paul about murdering Christians prior to his conversion to Christianity.  Paul had been a Pharisee, proud & arrogant.  He had actively and violently worked to stop the followers of Jesus after the resurrection.  But then Jesus appeared to Paul, and asked, “Why do you persecute me?”  So Paul became a servant of God, taking the Word of the Risen Christ into the world.  He helped form the faith as we know it.  His peace came from not from hatred and violence; instead he found peace even as he became the subject of violence and hatred.  He was beaten and jailed, all in service of the God he praised and worshiped.


Finally, in our Gospel, Jesus, the ultimate servant of God, tells us two parables of not only peace, but heavenly joy. The Pharisees, like the Israelites led by Moses, wanted God to be in their image.  They were angry and disgusted that Jesus didn’t put people in their place – mainly the people who didn’t make a great pretense of being holy, people who didn’t or couldn’t afford to follow all the complex rules the Pharisees helped create to set themselves above other people.  So Jesus says, “What if a woman looses a tenth of all her money?  Won’t she tear the house apart, frantically looking for it, not stopping until she finds it? And won’t her happiness in finding it be known to everyone?  The angels in heaven, Jesus says, are the same way over just a single person who repents of their sin.”  Like the woman who found her coin, the repentant one will find peace and joy in finding forgiveness.


The shepherd likewise finds his lost sheep, and rejoices, telling all his neighbors and friends. He finds relief and peace, just as there is joy in heaven over a single sinner who comes to repent and find forgiveness.  I always have thought this has a touch of sarcasm from Jesus.  Did Jesus suggest that the Pharisees see themselves as the 99 righteous people, when really their pride and their prejudice creates a barrier to the so-called sinners finding peace?  But still I hear of churches refusing sacraments to people.


My neighbor has a bumper sticker that reads, “We need a Department of Peace.” Peace, like charity, begins at home. Peace, like service, is a choice.  I don’t plan to move to India to pick up the dying off the streets there.  I have found enough abused and forgotten people dying in sub-standard nursing homes right here at home.  There are enough hungry children at our local Elementary school and enough refugees and immigrants in the housing development within walking distance of this church; there are enough social agencies, church charities and social justice groups crying for volunteers and donations to keep us all busy all day every day.


Every death, every injury, every mourner from 9-11 deserves our prayerful remembrance today. As does every one of the hundreds of thousands of innocent children and adults who still now continue to die from hunger and acts of war and hatred.  We know the one source of peace, and we know a life of service to be the Christian life.  I suggest to you, as well as to myself, to make our act of remembrance in the coming days by finding new ways to be of service, and new openings to bring peace in our own families, our own neighborhoods.  Surely the Holy Spirit whispers in your ears chances to do this service, so let us encourage each other to do it.

Homily at Holy Trinity Parish April 10, 2016 the 3rd Sunday of Easter

Homily from Holy Trinity Parish March 22, 2015 the 5th Sunday of Lent

Holy Trinity Parish Homily for November 9, 2014

Homily September 7, 2014 23rd Sunday of Ordinary

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, church events, Eucharist, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on September 3, 2014

23 sun aPaul today, as well as the gospel, looks at the human side of the church. Paul speaks of the commandments and how all are summed up in the command to love your neighbor as yourself. True love does no evil to your neighbor, thus love is the fulfillment of the law. In a real sense then, the law is truly written on our heart, a real part of ourselves. It is not the insincere and trivial thing sometimes portrayed in our entertainment media but something real and dynamic and part of our very being. 23 sun cThis is the love we bring to the church and is in all our activities within the church. Each of us has been called and each has been baptised and belong to this body of Christ we call the church. What I want to address today is that each of us in our own way, in our own personality and in our own talents, serve the church using our talent. More than anywhere I’ve been I find in our church the enthusiasm and the willingness to come together and serve and be a part of our faith community in worshiping together and in reaching out and sharing the love of God we all have received. The word ministry doesn’t mean only for someone to minister, but for a sharing of time, and talent and treasure in the service of our church and to those in the community around us.

Today, as I think back on many years of priestly service, I realize that the beginnings of that call began from what I saw to be God working in real way. My experience growing up was of seeing faith and love being an activity, an action for and positive doing of good things for others. Many things have happened in the church in the years since, but more and more the love of 23 sun dGod has come to free up so many people to see that his love and spirit remain in the church and is as alive and active as it always has been. As in Jesus’ time the clouded or self-serving vision of men and the multiplication of insignificant things into roadblocks can actually hurt the work of the Spirit of God. That is why with an open heart I ask all today in a spirit of love and service to open your hearts and ask what I can do to further contribute to our faith community. In faith, nothing is impossible. God calls us to express our talents in numerous ways and surely at least examine whatever call you feel. We are here because we found all are welcome and Jesus and his Body and Blood are here to share and celebrate. God has been good to us let us share that good news.

Homily August 31, 2014 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture, Spirit, Word by Fr Joe R on August 27, 2014

22 sun aPaul reminds us today that we can not conform ourselves to this age or for that matter to any age. If we look back we can see how true this is. No past age has been perfect or come close to living out the will of God. Christ’s life was perfect in that he carried out the will of God, taking up the cross and giving up his life. He was a man of His time, yet he transcended it in many ways. His words, his message, his church was relevant then, is relevant today. His Word was a seed, a slow release time capsule meant to bring his love to all generations. His love is not a static thing nor is his church. It is a place where people have laid down their lives only to be raised up in giving it and their love to others. 22 sun cAs a human being grows and gains wisdom, love and understanding, so too our love of Christ and the church and all within it grow together. The built-in contradiction of our life in Christ is the we give it up and lose it to actually gain it. The challenge of each generation is different. God certainly hasn’t changed, but the place we live, the world has changed and is different. The challenges our parents met while similar in some ways were far from what we see today. Communication alone should make us aware that Christ’s message has as yet to have gone out to all the world. The weakness and ineptitude of men has at times weakened and slowed the flow of Christ’s message. But that message is within us, implanted and growing if we only nurture it by seeking it out in prayerful contemplation. We don’t need the confines of a monastery to find him,but just that moment, that time to speak, to listen, to learn. He is always there we need only be aware.

And so, here we are, his life continues, his church is here, the cross holds as his boldest symbol calling all brother and sisters following Christ. In following, in putting aside ourselves, we actually find the real self we always seek. Life is not meant to be simply power, profit, gain, but love for one another. The value of common sharing, interacting, giving is the way, the cross that Jesus speaks of at times. 22sun bThe contrary is Satan, the snake, the creature in the desert, it is Peter seeing through the eyes of his humanity only. Such temptation Jesus is quick to rebuke, for as a man he too feels the comfort of the easy way out. But who he is requires more than that. God’s ways are in no way like those of his creatures. We can only understand and know by discerning what is for us. Love for each other and prayer are necessary ingredients. God has put us where we are, who better to know us and judge us?

Homily from Holy Trinity Parish August 17, 2014

Posted in christian, Christianity, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, scripture, Word by Fr Joe R on August 17, 2014

Homily Holy Trinity Parish Sunday July 27, 2014

Posted in Called, christian, Christianity, ecclesiology, ethics, inspirational, religion, Resurrection, Word by Fr Joe R on July 27, 2014

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 23, 2014

5473e7f897aab994b55fe11ebc82540f_w600Gospel reading:

Matthew 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Two thousand years after Jesus’ death and resurrection, we know that the coming of the Kingdom of God is not without setbacks, and Jesus’ Parable of the Sower of the Seed assumes an air not just of parable but of prophecy as well. Jesus said the the Kingdom will not arrive in a smooth and orderly process. There will be fits and starts along the way. Epochs in history will seem like the gospel is being consumed wholesale, and in other times, it will sprout only to whither. But the ultimate trajectory of the Kingdom is secure. When all is said and done, the gospel will produce a rich harvest. We only need to do our part and wait for God to yield the rich harvest.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Virginia Blanco Tardio was the second of four daughters of Louis Pius White Unzueta and Daria Late Quiroga. She was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia on April 18, 1916 and earned the Bachelor of Humanities at the College of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She had a general knowledge far superior to most of her contemporaries and had extensive biblical and theological knowledge. Blanco_VShe received the title of Professor of Religion School when I was 32. From the time when she was young, Virginia was an exemplary catechist teaching children, youth, and adults in Spanish and Quechua to receive the sacraments. She was beloved by her students to whom she taught religion in several public schools in Cochabamba for 40 years; she worked more than 10 of those years without receiving a salary. Virginia was a member of Catholic Action, and for many years, she served as the president of the Diocesan Women’s Association of Catholic Action. During the 1950s, she served the welfare of indigent people, even opening her house to support their needs. In 1962, she founded the Prayer and Friendship Group. She continued her service of the poor throughout her life, dying of a heart attack on the night of July 23, 1990 at age 74. The investigation of her virtues is drawing to a close, and there is a strong likelihood she will be named a venerable in the near future.

Spiritual reading: Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself. (Thomas Merton)

Homily July 27, 2014 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time

17 sun 1One thing ingrained in all of us is that we want the best that we can have for ourselves. We all work hard and do our best to achieve a comfortable life and the same for our family. The parables today liken the kingdom of heaven to a treasure or an expensive pearl that prompts us to sell all that we have and use that to get the treasure or pearl and a better life. It is not hard to imagine a person so dedicated to a thing or a cause that his life is centered on one thing or goal. We see it around us in our daily life, in some athletes and business people driven by the lure of wealth and advancement and power. But really implanted in all of us is a desire for a goal in life, to make a difference and means to carry it out. As we grow we realize that one choice pretty much shapes future choices. So it is in our spiritual life. The treasure of God’s love might seem ethereal or out there, but it is real and is a call, a goal to seek. Throughout history, we might be surprised and even marvel at the dedication that that love brought about in different individuals. To see people who have dedicated their whole life to serve God by giving of themselves to others is always an inspiring thing. Some can do this and still support and lead a family life, while other choose to serve in a religious life. The point is really the selflessness they show in how they go about getting the treasure or pearl they see.

It is interesting, that Christ never mentions or goes into the ethics of hiding the treasure and 17 sunbuying the land and the ownership of the treasure belonging to the finder or the land owner. His concern was the value of the treasure, the kingdom of heaven. Its magnitude and importance pushed aside other considerations and truly one seeking the treasure of the kingdom would not be one to selfishly keep the news of the kingdom for himself. All who are called learn to embrace others. Their wealth, their treasure, their love becomes present for all. Giving up everything and selling it all to get the treasure, is more than hitting the lottery, rather it is the beginning of a foundation for life. God’s love is a starting point and a compass on a journey that twists and turns and has peaks and valleys along the way. As long as our eye is on that treasure, God’s love will lead us there.

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, Resurrection, scripture by Mike on July 22, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

John 20:1-2, 11-18

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

40Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he told her.

Reflection on the gospel reading: The story of Mary Magdalene is a story of faithfulness Though all of Jesus’ male disciples abandoned the Lord while he suffered on the cross, Mary stood by the side of Jesus’ mother to grieve without fear of the authorities. Even after Jesus took his last breath, and all hope of Jesus’ vision seemed lost, Mary stayed by her teacher and friend and prepared his body for burial. Her faithfulness was so great that on the first day of the week, when the Sabbath concluded, it was this woman who promptly went to the tomb at the earliest hour the Law permitted to anoint the Lord’s broken body. She it is who finds the tomb is empty, and she it is who as an apostle to the apostles, runs to announce the empty tomb to Peter Mary Magdaleneand John. Though Peter and John walk away from the tomb after they see it is empty, she does not. She stays. And it is to her, for her love, singleheartedness, and devotion, that the Lord gives the reward of revealing his resurrection.

Saint of the day: Mary of Magdala (her hometown, a village on the shore of the Sea of Galilee) was a leading figure among those attracted to Jesus. When the men in that company abandoned him at the hour of mortal danger, Mary of Magdala was one of the women who stayed with him, even to the Crucifixion. She was present at the tomb, the first person to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection and the first to preach the “Good News” of that miracle. These are among the few specific assertions made about Mary Magdalene in the Gospels. From other texts of the early Christian era, it seems that her status as an “apostle,” in the years after Jesus’ death, rivaled even that of Peter. This prominence derived from the her close friendship with Jesus. Beginning with the threads of these few statements in the earliest Christian records, dating to the first through third centuries, an elaborate tapestry was woven, leading to a portrait of St. Mary Magdalene in which the most consequential note—that she was a repentant prostitute—is almost certainly untrue.

Spiritual reading:

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,

Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:

Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.


Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 21, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 12:38-42

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet.

“Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here. At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The scribes and pharisees come to Jesus to ask him for a sign. Of course, Jesus has been giving signs since the start of his ministry, and the people who followed him have understood something new and amazing was here. When they asked him to heal them, they approached him with faith, not asking for a proof but an intervention. These scribes and pharisees approach him in doubt, demanding evidence and not asking for regeneration. Jesus responds to them saying they will receive no sign but the sign of Jonah, who spent three days in the belly of a whale. Jesus uses Jonah’s experience as an allegory of his own burial in the tomb and his resurrection on the third day. In other words, the sign that these pharisees and scribes will receive is Jesus’ resurrection. But as Jesus says in his parable about Lazarus, they will not believe even if someone were to return from the dead.

Saint of the day: Born in 1324 at Fossano in Piedmont, Blessed Oddino Barrotti returned to his native city after his ordination to the priesthood, and for a time served as pastor of the Church of St John the Baptist. From the beginning he devoted himself completely to the care of his flock, hardly taking any rest, fasting rigorously at the same time, and giving to the poor almost every penny that he received. The bishop of Turin, to which diocese Father Barrotti belonged, found it necessary to warn him against overdoing it. “Keep at least enough of your income,” the bishop counseled him, “so you can have a decent living.”

FranciscanA few years later the young priest was chosen provost of the collegiate church in Fossano, but in his humility, he resigned this office to become the chaplain of a confraternity. It was at this time that he became a member of the Third Order of St Francis. He then converted his own house into a shelter for the homeless. He was made director of the Guild of the Cross, an association whose members cared for the sick and for pilgrims. In this capacity he succeeded in having a hospital built at Fossano for the sick, as well as a hospice for pilgrims. Father Barrotti himself made many pilgrimages, especially to the churches of Rome and the shrine of Our lady of Loreto.

Four years before his death, he yielded to the urgent request of the canons and once more accepted the post of provost or director of the collegiate chapter in Fossano, and with it the duties of a pastor. And when the city was visited by a plague in 1400, the holy pastor cared for the sick with such indefatigable zeal that he too was stricken by the disease and died a martyr of charity at the age of seventy-six. He was beatified in 1808.

Spiritual reading: The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one’s curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detour, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between. (Dine Ackerman)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 12, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 10:24-33

Jesus said to his Apostles: “No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!

4a49eaeea690a4ac231777711802894d_w600“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born in 1858 and died in 1916. He started his life as a sort of playboy but died an ascetic in the tradition of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. Charles lived as a hermit in the Algerian desert living in contemplation and service and affording hospitality to passersby. Charles once wrote of the essence of Christian life:

Our entire existence, our whole being must shout the Gospel from the rooftops. Our entire person must breathe Jesus, all our actions. Our whole life must cry out that we belong to Jesus, reflect a Gospel way of living. Our whole being must be a living proclamation, a reflection of Jesus.

This encouragement which Charles offers us mirrors the gospel passage which the Church recommends to us today for our reflection. Jesus, through our meditation, prayer, and participation in the worship of the Church, speaks to us in whispers in the obscurity of own interior lives. But as he says elsewhere in Matthew’s gospel, we are not to hide our light under a bushel basket. Our interior dispositions are not enough. Our insides and outsides need to connect. If we look at the life of Brother Charles, we gain an insight into the meaning of the gospel passage. Jesus is not necessarily asking us to engage in a very public ministry which exposes us to many people; he may ask that of some of us, but he certainly doesn’t ask that of most of us. But what Jesus does ask us, as he asked Charles, is to bear witness to our faith through our presence, our manner, our way of being with others.

Saint of the day: The church remembers today a family of Japanese martyrs who lives in the 17th century. John Naisen was was a wealthy layman married to Monica Naisen and the father of Louis Naisen. He worked with Blessed John Baptist Zola, a Jesuit missionary to Japan who died as a witness to the faith. John Naisen withstood personal persecution for his faith, but when the authorities threatened to force his wife into prostitution, he briefly renounced Christianity to save her. He later repented his backsliding and made a public pronouncement of his return to the Church. John Naisen’s wife Monica was arrested with John for sheltering Fr. Zola. John and Monica, along with their seven-year-old son Louis, were all martyred for the faith in 1626 by beheading. Blessed John Naisen, Blessed Monica Naisen, and Blessed Louis Naisen were beatified in 1867.

Spiritual reading: The spiritual life is the power of our ordinary daily active life. (Walter Ciszek, S.J.)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 10, 2014

484353_193893687401155_295375856_nGospel reading of the day:

Matthew 10:7-15

Jesus said to his Apostles: “As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus invites us to cultivate hearts of goodness and peace and to spread the wealth we build there to the people who surround us. In Luke’s gospel, the Lord counsels, “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,” and in the passage from today’s gospel, Jesus advises that as we “enter a house, wish it peace.” It’s old maxim that you can’t give away what you don’t have. Spreading goodness and peace presupposes that we are engaged in a spiritual journey that acquires and encourages those characteristics.

Saint of the day: Born in October 1954 in Turin, Italy, the Servant of God Maria Orsola Bussone came from a family of blue collar workers. Her father owned a car repair shop and her mother was a basic tailor (a “sarta”). From her childhood she regularly and frequently took part in her parish’s activities and in meetings of youth in the Gen Movement, the young MARIA ORSOLA 1people’s section of the Focolare Movement. The spirituality of that movement so impressed Maria Orsola, that in a letter sent to Chiara Lubich, the founder of Focolare, Maria said that she wanted to aspire to unconditional love of other people, letting “God use me as He wants . . . because that’s the only thing that’s worthy in our life.” MARIA ORSOLA 2She said she had made the decision to become a tool in God’s hands. Her association with the Focolare Movement caused her to deepen in her introspection and evaluate herself in light of her understandings of Jesus and Mary. She was a happy extroverted girl who was always prepared to be of service to others. Whenever she failed, she resolved to try again.

In July 1970 Maria Orsola, who liked to play guitar and sing with other young people of her parish, went to a trip near to Venice, as a group leader in the parish school-camp located at Ca’ Savio. She arrived on July 3 with 40 other teenagers and children, including her brother. Getting ready for Mass one day at camp, she died of an electrical discharge while she dried her hair with a defective hair-dryer at the age of just 15 on July 10, 1970 in Cavallino-Treporti. On May 26, 1996 Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, the archbishop of Turin, opened a diocesan inquiry into whether she heroically lived out of the virtues of Christian life, an inquiry that resulted in the cause for her canonization being referred to Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Spiritual reading: We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way. (Francis of Assisi)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 9, 2014

60c8c92a3cd9839713e0dcbe7f59a8bb_w600Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 10:1-7

Jesus summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness. The names of the Twelve Apostles are these: first, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Jesus’ primary message is the inbreaking of God’s reign in human history, and for this reason, the basic vocation of each baptized person is to help bring heaven’s reign to the world. When Jesus commissions the apostles, he commissions us. The commission we receive through baptism to is to cast out unclean spirits, heal every disease, and make ourselves available to the lost. The reign of heaven is an ethos, a sort of relational environment that exists between us as we live out in the world the things that God values. We live out our commission as Jesus’ disciples when we act compassionately wherever we encounter need.

Saint of the day: The Servant of God Rose Hawthorne was born on May 20, 1851 in Lenox, Massachusetts to the famed American novelist and short story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia. Rose’s father wrote such works as The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. Rose and her family lived in Massachusetts; Liverpool, England; then London; Paris; Rome; and Florence, Italy. The family returned to Concord, Massachusetts in 1860. Her mother and the family moved to Germany, then England.

Rose HawthorneRose married author George Parsons Lathrop in 1871; both converted to Roman Catholicism in 1891. In 1876, the couple had a son, Francis, who died of diphtheria at the age of five. Afterwards Rose and George separated permanently in 1895.

After her father’s death in 1864, she tried to become an author, like him. She wrote a book of poems, Along the Shore, which was published in 1888. She later decided to rededicate her life to restoring her family’s reputation after her brother’s conviction and imprisonment for mail fraud.

She was known for her service near and within New York City, caring for impoverished cancer by founding St. Rose’s Free Home for Incurable Cancer in the Lower East Side. After George’s death in 1898, she became a nun, and was inspired by “The New Colossus,” a poem penned by her close friend Emma Lazarus, to found a community of Dominican religious, now known as the Dominican Sisters of 220px-Rose_Hawthorne_LathropHawthorne. Rose made her vows as a Dominican nun Dec. 8, 1900, taking the name Alphonsa. With her first companion, Sister M. Rose, she founded the Dominican Congregation of St. Rose of Lima, later called the Servants of Relief for Incurable Cancer. In 1901, Mother Alphonsa opened Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne, New York (now the mother home of the order).

Rose Hawthorne Lathrop was awarded an honorary Master of Arts from Bowdoin College in 1925. She died a year later on July 9, 1926,the anniversary of her parents’ wedding, at Rosary Hill Home. In 2003, Edward Egan, Cardinal Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York approved the movement for Lathrop’s canonization.

Spiritual reading: There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way. (C.S. Lewis)

Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on July 8, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

Matthew 9:32-38

A demoniac who could not speak was brought to Jesus, and when the demon was driven out the mute man spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He drives out demons by the prince of demons.” Jesus went around to 162c6616c3a379060cbc3db2389998f7_w600all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: Matthew writes that Jesus’ heart is moved with pity for the crowds, because they are troubled and abandoned. The people in the crowds have many troubles. The problems that Jesus notices are the ones we face: The same long hours, the monotony of obligations, the work that everyone finds matter of fact, the long and bitter effort for which no one is thankful, the exhaustion and sacrifice of old age, the disappointments and failures, the misunderstandings and lack of understanding, the unfulfilled aspirations, the small humiliations. For all of these things that constitute the day-to-day condition of living–not to mention the truly hard things, like the deaths of children or parents, alcoholism and drug addition, chronic health conditions, broken relationships, financial reverses–Jesus’ heart is filled with compassion. It is an emotion that runs so deep in him that it makes the evangelist take notice of it: he is so agitated that his face betrays his emotion and his body shows his anguish. So we are not alone in what life presents us, neither in the big things we face nor the little ones that trouble us. This is the mystery of the incarnation, the mystery of God pitching God’s tent among us: We are not alone, because when we suffer, Jesus suffers with us.

Chiara-1-Biogr.Saint of the day: Clelia Nanette was born in 1872 in Italy. She was known as a pretty, high-spirited, intelligent, joyful, energetic, and impulsive girl. Her parents encouraged her to a more active social life in the hope that she would marry, but she declined, working at home, and living a private vow of chastity. At 18 she asked permission to enter religious life, but her parents vehemently opposed it. With her brother’s help, she joined the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary on January 24, 1892, taking the name Maria Chiara (Clare). She frequently said, “Onward always.” She became a missionary to China, but her short lived career ended during a crackdown on foreign missionaries. She was beheaded on July 9, 1900 at Taiyuanfu, Shanxi, China and canonized in 2000. She was 28 when she died. Known as Saint Maria Chiara, her life is celebrated on July 8 each year as one of the martyrs of Shanxi.

Spiritual reading: Behind all seen things lies something vaster; everything is but a path, a portal, or a window opening on something other than itself. (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)