Wednesday, July 31, 2019

So! You Won the Lottery! What's Next??? (18th Sunday Ordinary Time C Bible Study Recap)

+JMJ+
Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Howdy,

Some time ago, after my husband Bill died (please pray for the repose of his soul…thanks!) I went on a cruise. It was wonderful! In — I think it was Barbados — I got off and headed toward what looked like a jolly picnic hosted by some of my fellow cruisers.

It wasn't all that "jolly." It was a Support Group…for Lottery Winners!

Can you imagine? A bunch of people helping each other through the trauma involved with becoming instant millionaires! As a new widow, escaping, for the time being, anyway, the dread of wondering how I was going to even pay for this cruise (I did, don't worry!), I couldn't help myself…I crashed the party.

And got an earful! Among all the groans and sorrows of these people, one statement, from a lady, sticks in my mind:

"My family is looking forward to my death."

Enough for me…I left the party and took refuge on the beach. But I thought about this group tonight on the way home from a terrific session.

Sunday's First Reading…

…can be, if not reading the entire Book of Ecclesiastes, interpreted as simply: "Life Sucks. And Then You Die."

There's so much more to this Book! Do, if you get a chance, read the whole thing. But also? Read — no devour! -- Sunday's First Reading. It'll prep you right good for the Gospel…and not, incidentally, Saint Paul's Epistle!

"Seek the things that are above" we thought, is pretty much the theme this Sunday.

The "Rich Fool" was a lottery winner.

He didn't need the extra dough. We know this because in Jesus' parable, we learn that he already had ample room to store his crops. But then God gave him more. And he didn't get the memo…just like the guy who asked Jesus to "settle" (that is, rule in his favor) the family relative's estate…just as we so often do not. I know I don't. Not always.

We need to remember that we can't take it with us when we leave this pilgrimage. Nor should we want to! Because if we play our cards right — meaning if we live our lives right — these beautiful gifts that God has given us this day needn't be, as good old Qoheleth  says, just a "vanity."

Hey, we prayed for you! Please remember us in your prayers, including,

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <--extra br="" coming="" stuff="" up="">
~~~~~
Basil the Great: What do we find in this man? A bitter disposition, hatred of other people, unwillingness to give. This is the return he made to his Benefactor. He forgot that we all share the same nature; he felt no obligation to distribute his surplus to the needy. His barns were full to the bursting point, but still his miserly heart was not satisfied. Year by year he increased his wealth, always adding new crops to the old. The result was a hopeless impasse: greed would not permit him to part with anything he possessed… You who have wealth, recognize who has given you the gifts you have received…You are the servant of the good God, a steward on behalf of your fellow servants. Do not imagine that everything has been provided for your own stomach. Take decisions regarding your property as though it belonged to another. Possessions give you pleasure for a short time, but then they will slip through your fingers and be gone, and you will be required to give an exact account of them. “What am I to do?” It would have been so easy to say: “I will feed the hungry, I will open my barns and call in all the poor…” (Basil, Homilies on Riches [trans. E. Barnecut], p. 104-105)

# # #

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

The Fool’s Vanity

Trust in God - as the Rock of our salvation, as the Lord who made us His chosen people, as our shepherd and guide. This should be the mark of our following of Jesus.

Like the Israelites we recall in this week’s Psalm, we have made an exodus, passing through the waters of Baptism, freeing us from our bondage to sin. We too are on a pilgrimage to a promised homeland, the Lord in our midst, feeding us heavenly bread, giving us living waters to drink (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

We must take care to guard against the folly that befell the Israelites, that led them to quarrel and test God’s goodness at Meribah and Massah.

We can harden our hearts in ways more subtle but no less ruinous. We can put our trust in possessions, squabble over earthly inheritances, kid ourselves that what we have we deserve, store up treasures and think they’ll afford us security, rest.

All this is “vanity of vanities,” a false and deadly way of living, as this week’s First Reading tells us.

This is the greed that Jesus warns against in this week’s Gospel. The rich man’s anxiety and toil expose his lack of faith in God’s care and provision. That’s why Paul calls greed “idolatry” in the Epistle this week. Mistaking having for being, possession for existence, we forget that God is the giver of all that we have, we exalt the things we can make or buy over our Maker (see Romans 1:25).

Jesus calls the rich man a “fool” - a word used in the Old Testament for someone who rebels against God or has forgotten Him (see Psalm 14:1).

We should treasure most the new life we have been given in Christ and seek what is above, the promised inheritance of heaven. We have to see all things in the light of eternity, mindful that He who gives us the breath of life could at any moment - this night even - demand it back from us.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

LOL with Scripture (Bible Study Recap)

+JMJ+
Saint Sharbel Maklof

Flashback to about 2,000 + years ago…

[insert dreamlike harp music here]

Kid: "Daddy! I'm HUNGRY! Please fix me an egg!"
Dad: (eyes on his scroll)…"What's that son?"
Kid: "I wanna EGG! I wanna EGG!"
Dad: (absently reaching into his robe) "Here ya go, son."
Kid: "EWWW…this ain't no egg! It's a SCORPION!"
Dad: (hunting for the sports page) "Uh-huh, ask your mother to fix it for you…"

SHEESH! If anybody doesn't crack up at this Sunday's First and Second Readings, there's a humor deficit here!

'Course the whole theme is prayer…but a beautifully put, laced with humor, sort of lesson.

"Take Abraham…PLEASE!" :-)

A rabbi once told me that Genesis 18:20-32 was the first official recording of chutzpah  ever. Reading it, reflecting on it, putting ourselves in the center of this marvelous conversation, we weren't convinced that Rabbi Ben was right…funny though it was, and is.

The thing is, Abraham, as Catherine wisely pointed out, trusted God. And, if you haven't done it yet, try to put yourself in the scene of this conversation…yes, life and death was at stake, but how beautiful it must have been to amble along with God, making, or trying to make, a deal. As Pat remarked: "God was pleased with Abraham's concern."

Prayer shouldn't, perhaps, always be "fun." But it should always be filled with love, and comfort, and yes, often, humorous. It is, or should be, an intimate encounter with Abba…our Dad…Our Father.

A wonderful session, all around. If you want some good stuff on this Sunday's Readings, shoot me an email and I'll send you a PDF of Dr. Brant Pitre's commentary.

And good news!

Russell's a GRANDPA! Little Russell Nelson was born to his daughter Maria last week!

Pray for us…we pray for you all the time.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly

~~~~~~
The Catechism on “Unanswered” Prayer

“In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we asking God for `what is good for us'? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him, but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants. (CCC 2735-36)

# # #

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Asked and Answered

Though we be “but dust and ashes,” we can presume to draw near and speak boldly to our Lord, as Abraham dares in this week’s First Reading. 
But even Abraham - the friend of God (see Isaiah 41:8), our father in the faith (see Romans 4:12) - did not know the intimacy that we know as children of Abraham, heirs of the blessings promised to his descendants (see Galatians 3:7,29).

The mystery of prayer, as Jesus reveals to His disciples in this week’s Gospel, is the living relationship of beloved sons and daughters with their heavenly Father. Our prayer is pure gift, made possible by the “good gift” of the Father - the Holy Spirit of His Son. It is the fruit of the New Covenant by which we are made children of God in Christ Jesus (see Galatians 4:6-7; Romans 8:15-16).

Through the Spirit given to us in Baptism, we can cry to Him as our Father - knowing that when we call He will answer.

Jesus teaches His disciples to persist in their prayer, as Abraham persisted in begging God’s mercy for the innocent of Sodom and Gomorrah.

For the sake of the one just Man, Jesus, God spared the city of man from destruction (see Jeremiah 5:1; Isaiah 53), “obliterating the bond against us,” as Paul says in this week’s Epistle.

On the Cross, Jesus bore the guilt of us all, canceled the debt we owed to God, the death we deserved to die for our transgressions. We pray as ones who have been spared, visited in our affliction, saved from our enemies.

We pray always a prayer of thanksgiving, which is the literal meaning of Eucharist. We have realized the promise of this week’s Psalm: We worship in His holy temple, in the presence of angels, hallowing His name.

In confidence we ask, knowing that we will receive, that He will bring to completion what He has done for us - raising us from the dead, bringing us to everlasting life along with Him.



Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What's Love Got to Do with It? (Bible Study Recap)

+JMJ+

Howdy, neighbor! :-)

First? Please, in your charity (or mercy or love) keep Maureen Hall, Maureen Sullivan, and all the Bible Study Buddies in your prayers…we pray for you all the time. Thanks!

Actually, "love," or "charity" or "mercy" has everything to do with it, as the Readings for this Sunday emphasize:

Deuteronomy 30:10-14: The Commandments of God (Only you know? Read the whole chapter…it's short.)
Psalm 69—Turn to the Lord in Your Need

OR

Psalm 199—Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Col 1:15-20—The First Born of Creation
Luke 10:25-37—The Good Samaritan

Praise God, it was a great session tonight!

Except Pat was LATE!!!

Pat's never late. Other people are late but Pat never is!!! Sure, she messaged me and all that, but still — she was LATE!!! Sheesh!

I found out, on the way home, why…

She was helping out a friend — a subway musician  — he needed help — before trotting over to the Pru. Good for Pat! (And…uh…bad for me for even wondering why she was late. This is a frequent fault of mine.)

And…I was determined to go into tonight's session with evidence — EVIDENCE! -- to PROVE that the priest and the Levite were wrong, wrong, wrong!

That was wrong of me…the whole point of the Law, as Moses tells us in Sunday's First Reading? It isn't rocket science! It doesn't require all sorts of lawyers and apologists and brainy folks (not that there's anything wrong with thinking and reasoning) to figure out the difference between right and wrong. We're gifted with that ability. It's simple — maybe not easy but simple.

Wish we could've gotten into Paul's Epistle…but we were so into what God was saying to us, we forgot about the time. If you'd like the notes, please shoot me an email.

May God continue to bless you.

Oremus pro invicem!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---good br="" coming="" for="" reading="" stuff="" thank="" up="" you="">
~~~~~
The Living Tradition

Catechism: Christ died out of love for us, while we were still “enemies” (Rom 5:10). The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself. (CCC 1825)

Augustine: “The whole human race, you see, is that man who was lying on the road, left there by bandits half dead, who was ignored by the passing priest and Levite, while the passing Samaritan stopped by him to take care of him and help him….In this Samaritan the Lord Jesus Christ wanted us to understand himself.” (Augustine, Sermons 171.2; trans. E. Hill, cited in Gadenz, The Gospel of Luke, p. 213).


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Hey, hey, Mister Shea, know I love you anyway!

+JMJ+
Saint Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Hey, Mark Shea,

Now what in blue blazes are you up to now? Seems like you got some Catholic folk so all fired up, they're shoving beans up their gosh darn noses, they are!

If I recall, the last time we communicated, it was when that "apologetic" guy -- did I get that right? -- put up some dang fool post on Facebook (silly pastime, when you get right down to it, but helpful...staying in touch with family and all 'n spreadin' the Word) saying you was dead for Heaven's sake! Well, if you recall, I didn't have much truck with that and told him so...ain't heard from him since.

Anyway, what I did was -- and this was 'way before the above incident happened -- I did some finagling with that Facebook thing and made darn sure I wasn't hit by your darn fool (that's just my opinion, Mark...you know no disrespect is intended) barrages against me and my kin (who am I kiddin'? Not kin, 'cept for my husband) who did vote for the President, Donald Trump. I didn't do what they call "unfriend" (silly word, ain't it?) you, no not at all! Just fixed it so I wouldn't be socked every second I went on the app for voting for the man. (Hey, one day let's get together and talk about this guy...or maybe not, if you're not willing. No offense taken.)

So, here's what I'm befuddled about...why in God's green earth are they up in arms agin ya now? 'Course, I could go back and read everything you've written in the past couple years, but man, I've gotta work and you are a prolific writer, ain't you?

Proud o' you for that, by the way.

Anyway, I've been reading that you're:

A. Insane
B. In Need of Prayers (which, while a nice sentiment, is also what folks tend to say when they disagree with a body) :-)
C. A Prophet (well, I pity the fool who said that, sheesh!) :-)
D. Insane (guess I mentioned this before)

So, my friend, I end as I started...what in tarnation are you doing now? You know how to reach me, if you want to.

Meantime? Much love to you and your folks.

Kelly



Sunday, June 30, 2019

Our Lady, Help of the Helpers!


+JMJ+

Dearest Mother!

Your Son told us all to love one another.  Inspired by His delightful command, we ask you, Blessed Lady, to guard and help those who help your children in any way...especially those who help those in danger. Through your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Our Lady, Help of the Helpers, pray for us!

Amen.







(Inspired by Mister Fred Rogers, 1928—2003, who said: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." Mister Rogers, a Presbyterian, was a great friend of the Catholic Church.)

~~~~~

Image Credits:

Paramedic: dreamstime.com

Crossing Guard: umielauxepices.net/wallpaper

Firefighter: graphicriver.net

Policewoman: vectorstock.com

Community Help: mamasmiles.com

Mary: pintrest.com




Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Jesus' Prayer, Stephen, and Flight 93. Let's Roll. (Bible Study Recap)

+JMJ+
Eve of the Ascension
Pope Saint Paul VI

Howdy,

"That we may, Abba, Father, be one, as You and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One, in Jesus' Name. Amen."

A favorite prayer of mine…in fact, I pray it every day. And I'm confident it will be answered. When? I don't know.

When we prayed over Acts:55-60 — the death of Stephen — I was reminded by two things that I heard this past Monday — Memorial Day:

"…in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me."
And In his homily, Father Jim Doran spoke about the final minutes of United Airlines Flight 93, September 11, 2001. Here's the last part of the transcript of the tape:

~~~~~~
Passengers calling from the plane are informed by people on the ground about the synchronized suicide hijacking attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Flight 93's passengers and crew decide to storm the cockpit.

One of the more storied calls comes from passenger Todd Beamer of New Jersey, who has a long conversation with a GTE Airphone operator, Lisa Jefferson. The call was not taped.

"Are you ready?" a fellow passenger asks Beamer toward the end of the call. "Let's roll," Beamer replies, according to Jefferson's previous account.

Run on cockpit

The passengers' counterattack on the cockpit begins at 9:57 a.m., the recording reveals.

"Is there something?" a hijacker asks in Arabic. "A fight?"

"Yeah," another replies.

Hijackers grab an axe to scare away the passengers who might peer through the cockpit door's peephole.

Jarrah makes a hard turn to the left, banking the plane. For the next minute, he rapidly pitches the plane from side to side, left to right, over and over again.

"Oh, Allah. Oh, Allah. Oh the most gracious," an Arabic voice inside the cockpit says.

Outside the cockpit, voices are heard saying, "In the cockpit. In the cockpit."

A hijacker says in Arabic, "They want to get in here. Hold, hold from the inside. Hold from the inside. Hold."

At 9:59 Jarrah points the plane's nose down, then jerks it back up. There are sounds of shouting and breaking glass.

"Is that it? Shall we finish it off?" a hijacker asks in Arabic.

"No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off," another hijacker responds in Arabic.

'Roll it!'

The passengers then make another run for the cockpit.

"In the cockpit! If we don't, we'll die," a male passenger says.


Seconds later, another passenger yells, "Roll it," a possible reference to a drink cart passengers might have used to ram the cockpit door.

"Cut off the oxygen," one of the hijackers says in Arabic, repeating the order three times.

Jarrah resumes pitching the plane from side to side.

Inside the cockpit the hijackers decide to crash the plane. "Pull it down. Pull it down," an Arabic voice says. The jetliner heads downward and rolls upside down.

"Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest!
" one of the hijackers shouts over and over. (emphasis mine)

The tape ends at 10:03 as the plane nose-dives at an estimated 580 mph into a reclaimed coal field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, about 80 miles from Pittsburgh.

~~~~~~

Okay. So Jesus was right, both in Stephen's day and in ours.

So, what do we do?

We pray. That we may be one. Hey, Stephen's prayer worked for Saul! And Jesus taught us how to do it in this Sunday's Gospel!

Lots more — the Holy Spirit blessed us with a fruitful session.

May He, and the Father, and Jesus continue to bless you always.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---scott better="" br="" hahn="" it="" says="">
~~~~~~~~~

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Perfection as One


Jesus is praying for us in today's Gospel. We are those who have come to believe in Him through the Word of the Apostles, handed on in His Church.

Jesus showed the Apostles His glory, made known the Father's name, and the love He has had for us from "before the foundation of the world."

He revealed that He and the Father are one (see John 14:9).

Jesus is the "first and the last" (see Isaiah 44:6), the root of David (see Isaiah 11:10; 2 Samuel 7:12), as today's Second Reading declares.

Wrapped in clouds and darkness as God was at Sinai (see Exodus 19:16), He is "the king...the Most High over all the earth," as we sing in today's Psalm.

Exalted at God's right hand, as Stephen sees in the First Reading, the Lord calls to us through the Church, His Bride.

He calls us to "the tree of life," to communion with God. This is the goal of His love, His saving purpose from all eternity - that each of us enter into the life of Blessed Trinity, be "brought to perfection as one" with the Father and Son in the Spirit.

The story of Stephen, the first martyr, shows us how we are to answer His call.

Listen for the echoes of the crucifixion: Stephen, like Jesus, sees the Son of Man in glory and dies with words of forgiveness and self-offering on his lips (compare Acts 7:56-60; Matthew 26:64-65; Luke 23:24,46).

We, too, are to commend our spirits to the Father, to pray and offer our lives in love for our brethren, awaiting His coming in judgment. We renew our vows in every Mass, coming forward to receive the gift of His life.

We answer His call by crying out a call of our own: "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!"

And in our communion we answer our Lord's prayer: "That they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You."



Wednesday, March 27, 2019

TASTE the Fattened Calf! (Bible Study Recap)

+JMJ+

Wow! Many thanks to Father Michael Warren et al for helping tonight's Bible Study be a SMASH!

God be praised! Last Saturday at Mass, Father Michael preached on the Gospel — the same one we're privileged to hear this Sunday! Only appearing in Luke, this Sunday we hear what is probably Jesus' most famous parable. Popularly called "The Prodigal Son,"  others have suggested alternative "titles," such as  "The Merciful Father,"  "The Two Sons" (Cardinal Ratzinger), and "The Lost Son,"  (Brant Pitre).

But let's concentrate on that "fattened calf" that the father (Father) had killed to celebrate his son.

Here's what I learned from Father Michael's homily last Saturday:

In Jesus' time, only the very best calf was kept in the barn, while the others were sent off to pasture. This calf was fed on only the best…in fact, by the same food the people of the house feasted on. What's more? Kids were encouraged to give the calf treats of their own…anything to A) make the calf happy but more importantly B) to fatten that calf up with scrumptious stuff and make him the most delectable thing ever eaten. Why? Because "the fattened calf" was to be saved only for the time an amazingly delicious feast would be held…for the visit of some REALLY important dignitary! Like, you know, the President or somebody!

Now, imagine this kid — the older brother — dutifully and probably joyfully trotting off, since childhood, to the barn…oh, I don't know, maybe on his way to school and then as he got older to his chores? You know what I mean. Everyone did it…and wondered with each delectable thing they gave they calf, who would be the next VIP to grace their fattened-calf table? I mean, gee…it could've been, if The Donald wasn't available, Mother Teresa! Or Tom Brady! Or…or…George Washington, maybe! (Okay, I'm straying a bit from Father Michael's homily, but you know what I mean.)

And, instead, who gets to eat this incredible delicacy?

The creepy brother, sheesh!

I know…amazing, isn't it? But it get's even better!

Catherine nailed it when she pointed to my Crucifix and said (I'm paraphrasing): "Him!"

Yes! Yes! And Yes again!

Jesus is the "fattened calf" and the father — far more "prodigal" than the so-called "Prodigal Son" --  celebrated the return of his repentant son with it (Him)!!!

How cool is that? I'll tell you!

On my way home, I passed by Saint Francis Chapel — and the light was on, as it is every Wednesday during Lent…and the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were there, waiting for the return of each one of us…no, more than waiting — actually looking out always, for the return of the penitents! To rejoice and celebrate and feed them the "fattened calf" as the VIPs they are!

Well…as usual, I'm getting carried away. :-)

We actually did get to the other readings…and prayed. Especially for Tony, Lori's cousin, Eddie, Maureen's friend, for all the Elect who are preparing to come into the Church this Easter…and for you. In your charity, please remember us in your prayers.

And, in the words of Rocket J. Squirrel? "Now here's something(s) you'll really like…

Check out a beautiful reflection on The Solemnity of the Annunciation by Father James Doran, O.M.V.:

Pope Francis:

Let us never forget that to be confessors means to participate in the very mission of Jesus to be a concrete sign of the constancy of divine love that pardons and saves... Every confessor must accept the faithful as the father in the parable of the prodigal son: a father who runs out to meet his son despite the fact that he has squandered away his inheritance. Confessors are called to embrace the repentant son who comes back home and to express the joy of having him back again…May confessors not ask useless questions, but like the father in the parable, interrupt the speech prepared ahead of time by the prodigal son, so that confessors will learn to accept the plea for help and mercy pouring from the heart of every penitent. In short, confessors are called to be a sign of the primacy of mercy always, everywhere, and in every situation, no matter what.

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn 

Found Alive Again

In today’s First Reading, God forgives “the reproach” of the generations who grumbled against Him after the Exodus. On the threshold of the promised land, Israel can with a clean heart celebrate the Passover, the feast of God’s first-born son (see Joshua 5:6-7; Exodus 4:22; 12:12-13).
Reconciliation is also at the heart of the story Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. The story of the prodigal son is the story of Israel and of the human race. But it is also the story of every believer.
In Baptism, we’re given a divine birthright, made “a new creation,” as Paul puts it in today’s Epistle. But when we sin, we’re like the prodigal, quitting our Father’s house, squandering our inheritance in trying to live without Him.
Lost in sin, we cut ourselves off from the grace of sonship lavished upon us in Baptism. It is still possible for us to come to our senses, make our way back to the Father, as the prodigal does.
But only He can remove the reproach, restore the divine sonship we have spurned. Only He can free us from the slavery to sin that causes us - like the prodigal -  to see God not as our Father but as our master, One we serve as slaves.
God wants not slaves but children. Like the father in today’s Gospel, He longs to call each of us “My son,” to share His life with us, to tell us: “Everything I have is yours.”
The Father’s words of longing and compassion still come to His prodigal children in the Sacrament of Penance. This is part of what Paul today calls “the ministry of reconciliation” entrusted by Jesus to the Apostles and the Church.
Reconciled like Israel, we take our place at the table of the Eucharist, the homecoming banquet the Father calls for His lost sons, the new Passover we celebrate this side of heaven. We taste the goodness of the Lord, as we sing in today’s Psalm, rejoicing that we who were dead are found alive again.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Bible Study Recap: Good News!

+JMJ+
Saints Paul Miki and Companions


Howdy!

"Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!" is a favorite exhortation of priests at the conclusion of Mass and with good reason…and this Sunday's Readings enrich this command.

We relished Isaiah's vision, his theophany, the purging of his sins, and his calling in the First Reading. Especially, for me, anyway, a sinner, his purging, and the gloriously anticipatory verses which we hear every time we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Response to the First Reading — particularly the lines "I bow down toward Your holy Temple," and "The LORD will fulfill His purpose in me" certainly echo this. As does Paul's sacred authorship of the Creed in his Letter to the Corinthians.

Peter's call by Jesus grabbed us firmly. Peter's humility, the miracle of the catch…yes, the person to choose to sit in the Barque of Peter.

These Readings are a wonderful reason to be rejoice in being Catholic!

Like Isaiah, we are purged by the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And the Mercy of Purgatory.

We are called, like Isaiah, Peter, and Paul, to "announce the Gospel of the Lord."

We are shown, by Jesus and by His disciples, not to be afraid, but to "catch men…" to become fishers for Jesus!

It was a blessed session, and thank God for that! And we prayed for you…please remember us in your prayers.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly
~~~~~~~
The Living Tradition

St. Augustine: Christ says, Give me this fisherman, this man without education or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign to speak, not even if he were buying fish. Yes, give me him: once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious that it is I who am at work in him…. The senator can always take pride in what he is; so the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman can glory in nothing except Christ alone. Any of these other men may come and take lessons from me in the importance of humility for salvation, but let the fisherman come first. He is the best person to win over an emperor. Remember this fisherman, then, this holy, just, good, Christ-filled fisherman. In this nets cast throughout the world he has the task of catching this nation as well as all the others. (Augustine, Sermon 43, 5-7; trans. E. Barnecut, p. 79)

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Into the Deep

Simon Peter, the fisherman, is the first to be called personally by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.

His calling resembles Isaiah’s commissioning in the First Reading: Confronted with the holiness of the Lord, both Peter and Isaiah are overwhelmed by a sense of their sinfulness and inadequacy. Yet each experiences the Lord’s forgiveness and is sent to preach the good news of His mercy to the world.

No one is “fit to be called an apostle,” Paul recognizes in today’s Epistle. But by “the grace of God,” even a persecutor of the Church—as Paul once was—can be lifted up for the Lord’s service.

In the Old Testament, humanity was unfit for the divine—no man could stand in God’s presence and live (see Exodus 33:20). But in Jesus, we’re made able to speak with Him face-to-face, taste His Word on our tongue.
Today’s scene from Isaiah is recalled in every Mass. Before reading the Gospel, the priest silently asks God to cleanse his lips that he might worthily proclaim His Word.

God’s Word comes to us as it came to Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and today’s Psalmist— as a personal call to leave everything and follow Him, to surrender our weaknesses in order to be filled with His strength.

Simon put out into deep waters even though, as a professional fisherman, he knew it would be foolhardy to expect to catch anything. In humbling himself before the Lord’s command, he was exalted—his nets filled to overflowing; later, as Paul tells us, he will become the first to see the risen Lord.

Jesus has made us worthy to receive Him in the company of angels in God’s holy Temple. On our knees like Peter, with the humility of David in today’s Psalm, we thank Him with all our hearts and join in the unending hymn that Isaiah heard around God’s altar: “Holy, holy, holy….” (see  also Revelation 4:8).

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Nick Sandmann's Statement: Either read it, or shut up. Thank you.

Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School Junior, Regarding Incident at the Lincoln Memorial

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I didn't not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me — to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should rethink his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen — that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech. I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.

I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

###

This is the only statement that has been made by the Sandmann family. Any comments attributed to any member of the family that is not contained in this document are fabricated. The family will not be
answering individual media inquiries.





Saturday, January 05, 2019

Epiphany Proclamation 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of His return.

Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: His last supper, His crucifixion, His burial, and His rising celebrated between the evening of the Eighteenth of April and the evening of the Twentieth of April, Easter Sunday being on the Twenty-first day of April. 

Each Easter — as on each Sunday — the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed
by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the Sixth day of March. 

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on Sunday, the Second day of June or Thursday, the Thirtieth day of May.

Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the Ninth day of June.

And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the First day of December, 2019.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God,
in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed. 

To Jesus Christ, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

"Do as they say..." I'm scared, I'm sorry, and I beg you.

From today's Gospel (Saturday, March 25)

"The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice."
Matthew 23:1-12

For they preach, but not practice. And isn't that precisely what we're facing in the Catholic Church?

Our leaders -- many of them, too many -- coach a good game, but don't follow the rules. And I'm scared.

I'm scared that many -- like the disciples in tomorrow's Gospel -- will leave Jesus. I'm scared of what has happened since the moment Christ founded His Church..that wolves in sheep's clothing will again come up with "solutions" to mend Her. And will end up wrecking even more souls in their efforts.

I'm sorry. I'll never be a priest, never mind a "lay leader." I'm just an ordinary lady in the pew. But I must tell you: I apologize. I apologize for every Church leader who has let you and so many others down. I apologize for their actions and inactions. Whether you forgive us is your choice. I can only ask, and pray, and hope.

I beg you: don't leave the Body of Christ. Don't let evil bully you away. Don't -- again, I beg you -- give up the inheritance Christ won for you because some people -- some "leaders" -- didn't practice what they preached.

In your charity, pray for me. I pray for you all the time. Because that's what we're supposed to do, yes, but also because it's a joy to do so. To pray for each other...without ceasing.

Thank you for reading this. May God continue to bless you,

Kelly




Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bible Study Recap: The Right to Choose

+JMJ+
Queenship of Our Lady


Howdy, Howdy, Howdy!

What a JOY, JOY, JOY tonight's session was!

It started out by praying this Sunday's Entrance Antiphon and Collect…

…and I thank Frank for so beautifully praying it for us. You know, the Collect — or "Opening Prayer" -- is well worth contemplating. We start our sessions every week with it.

And then…the poignant words of Jesus in the Gospel, beautifully read by Catherine…

As has become our custom, we started our readings with the Gospel, without comment…just listen, reflect, and pray. I admit I was close to tears when Jesus asked His apostles — His friends! -- "Do you also want to leave?" We meditated on that, and then turned to the First Reading.

"As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD!"

It always amuses me to think that the "right to choose" is some modern meme. Good grief, God gave us the "right to choose" -- AKA "free will" -- at the dawn of creation. This Sunday's First Reading has Joshua, in the Name of God, giving the Israelites the right to choose — and they chose the BEST! Yes, I know that this is just a brief moment in salvation history, and that not all choices made by mankind were the best, but I think we had the right to wallow in this beautiful passage…and wallow in it we did! We were filled with joy, and many thanks to the Liturgy Guys, Whoever You May Be, for choosing these exact verses!

'Course, then there was the Second Reading (or its sadly edited alternative…which we ignored, seeing it makes no sense)

I say "sadly edited" because the Liturgy Guys — alas — gave us the "benefit" of a butchered reading. I pray you won't have to endure it. Thanks to Liz, and ably abetted by Nick and Karen, for expounding on the joys of being the Bride of Christ…the members of the Family of the King…God's children! Add the mutual submission of family members here on earth and no wonder so many brides and grooms choose this passage for their Nuptial Masses. (Father Michael's homily on today's Feast helped me a lot with the help of Liz, Nick, and Karen.)

Once again? Psalm 34!

Russell led us in the Responsorial Psalm — beautiful — and quick as a whip, Liz opened her phone Bible to John 19:33-36 and read the verses out loud. How cool is it that the HUGE Old Testament testifies to Jesus! "He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken."

Back to the Gospel…

Again, Catherine's beautifully read passage had us all on the edge of our seats. This time, we rollicked in joy and amazement…especially at Jesus' question: "What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?"

We gave ourselves the luxury of eating up — literally! -- this Gospel. And musing on the fact that John's 4-week Bread of Life discourse is so important that not only the Catholic Church, but the Episcopal and Lutheran churches as well, consider it well worth while to devote themselves to these four weeks every three years. "Father, that we may be one, as You, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one! In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Tons of other great stuff — what a wonderful hour!

We prayed for you…please pray for us!

In Our Lady, Queen of the Universe, your humble scribe,

Kelly
~~~~~
Extras!

"In the Eucharist we also receive the pledge of our bodily resurrection at the end of the world: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54). This pledge of the resurrection comes from the fact that the flesh of the Son of Man, given as food, is his body in its glorious state after the resurrection. With the Eucharist we digest, as it were, the “secret” of the resurrection." (John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia no. 18)
Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

"A Choice to Make"

This Sunday’s Mass readings conclude a four-week meditation on the Eucharist.

The 12 apostles in today’s Gospel are asked to make a choice—either to believe and accept the new covenant He offers in His body and blood, or return to their former ways of life.

Their choice is prefigured by the decision Joshua asks the 12 tribes to make in today’s First Reading.

Joshua gathers them at Shechem—where God first appeared to their father Abraham, promising to make his descendants a great nation in a new land (see Genesis 12:1-9). And he issues a blunt challenge—either renew their covenant with God or serve the alien gods of the surrounding nations.

We too are being asked today to decide whom we will serve. For four weeks we have been presented in the liturgy with the mystery of the Eucharist—a daily miracle far greater than those performed by God in bringing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

He has promised us a new homeland, eternal life, and offered us bread from heaven to strengthen us on our journey. He has told us that unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood we will have no life in us.

It is a hard saying, as many murmur in today’s Gospel. Yet He has given us the words of eternal life.

We must believe, as Peter says today, that He is the Holy One of God, who handed himself over for us, gave His flesh for the life of the world.

As we hear in today’s Epistle, Jesus did this that we might be sanctified, made holy, through the water and word of baptism by which we enter into His new covenant. Through the Eucharist, He nourishes and cherishes us, making us His own flesh and blood, as husband and wife become one flesh.

Let us renew our covenant today, approaching the altar with confidence that, as we sing in today’s Psalm, the Lord will redeem the lives of His servant.

Monday, August 20, 2018

On the feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvoux...

"Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.

"Inspired by this confidence I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother!

"To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful! Despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen."


Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Saint Bernard of Clairvoux, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Bible Study Recap: "Put on the New Self..."

+JMJ+
Saint Alphonsus Liguouri

Howdy,

When I realized today's Mass readings for the day were to be read, rather than the memorial readings, I thought to myself: "Oh bleep…we're going to hear old Jeremiah with his complaints. Again. Goody."

Only during the homily did I realize two things:

That the prophet shared an intimacy with God, allowing him to gripe (and that his gripes would be heard), and…

That we — by virtue of our Baptism into Christ — share an even greater intimacy with God than even Jeremiah!!!

We focused a lot on Paul's Letter to Ephesians (Ephesians 4:17, 20-24)…

…especially verses 23 and 24:

"…and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth."

The "new self" is Christ — Whom we "put on" symbolically in dress, in reality in brotherhood, at our Baptism. Which made us God's children. Which gives us the right — not to complain like spoiled brats, exactly, but to complain nevertheless, knowing Abba will fix it, in one way or another. In His way. Trust in Him.

I think I'll skip the constipated "scientific" explanations of the miracles of the manna and quail…

And instead, give you a nice Hebrew word to drop at your next party. :-) "Man hu" is Hebrew for "what is it?" This is where we get the word "manna." You're welcome!

"Signs, signs, signs, give us signs!"

In both this Sunday's First and Gospel readings, God — after doing amazing things — is asked for signs. Miracles are awesome, yes, but we don't need them. We've been given plenty of miracles. The manna, which is the precursor of the true Bread of life, is miracle enough. No wait…Christ's Resurrection is miracle enough. No wait, God becoming man for us is not just miracle enough — it's an undeniable proof of His love for us, His creatures.

(So, you know? Knock it off with stuff like "copy-this-novena-to-saint-whoever-nine-times-and-make-a-wish-and-it'll-come-true" junk. GOD is our Father for Heaven's sake…what more do we want???

Anyway, it was a blessed session…and we prayed for you!

Please remember us in your prayers. Thanks!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly
~~~~~~
Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Endurance Test

The journey of discipleship is a life-long exodus from the slavery of sin and death to the holiness of truth in Mount Zion, the promised land of eternal life.

The road can get rough. And when it does, we can be tempted to complain like the Israelites in this week’s First Reading.

We have to see these times of hardship as a test of what is in our hearts, a call to trust God more and to purify the motives for our faith (Deuteronomy 8:2–3).

As Paul reminds us in this week’s Epistle, we must leave behind our old self-deceptions and desires and live according to the likeness of God in which we are made.

Jesus tells the crowd in this week’s Gospel that they are following him for the wrong reasons. They seek him because he filled their bellies. The Israelites, too, were content to follow God so long as there was plenty of food.

Food is the most obvious of signs—because it is the most basic of our human needs.  We need our daily bread to live. But we cannot live by this bread alone. We need the bread of eternal life that preserves those who believe in him (Wisdom 16:20, 26).

The manna in the wilderness, like the bread Jesus multiplied for the crowd, was a sign of God’s Providence—that we should trust that he will provide.

These signs pointed to their fulfillment in the Eucharist, the abundant bread of angels we sing about in this week’s Psalm.

This is the food that God longs to give us. This is the bread we should be seeking. But too often we don’t ask for this bread. Instead we seek the perishable stuff of our every day wants and anxieties. In our weakness we think these things are what we really need.

We have to trust God more. If we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, all these things will be ours as well (Matthew 6:33).

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Bible Study Recap: Food, Glorious Food...and Humilty and Unity

+JMJ+
Saint James the Greater

50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae
 
Howdy,

And a happy Name Day to all the Jameses!

FOOD is, ostensibly, the theme of this Sunday's Readings. Elisha feeds a hundred guys with the first fruits of barley. And there were leftovers.

Jesus multiplies the loaves and feeds thousands…and there were leftovers.

See a theme here? We did.

We talked about the Eucharist.

"Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them…"

And fed thousands. Pretty much the words in the synoptics to describe Christ's institution of the Sacrament of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

"Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted…"

This led us to reflect on the fragments left over after the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament. Now, most of us — and this is a good thing — are too deeply in union with Christ after receiving His Body and Blood to pay much attention to what the priest is doing. But what he's doing is "purifying the sacred vessels." (Lay people are NOT allowed to do this, by the way. That indult was rescinded by Pope Benedict back in 2006. Please tell your pastor and friends.) The Ordinary Ministers carefully make sure that not one scrap of the species remains in the ciboria and chalice(s).

Also…the remainder of the Sacred Hosts?

Unlike some of our separated brethren, Catholics know that once consecrated, the bread and wine remain, always and forever, Jesus Christ. That's why the Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle! The remaining Precious Blood is consumed before the chalices are cleansed.

Speaking of "our separated brethren"…pray for Christian Unity!

After Frank beautifully read this Sunday's Epistle, I asked him how many times Paul used the word "one" in this passage alone. At least eight times! Clearly, the Apostle to the Gentiles is urging what we should all strive for…ONE in Christ Jesus!

Paul also speaks of humility (Ephesians 4:2)

Now, as in Paul's time on earth, "humility isn't and wasn't exactly a prized virtue…or a virtue at all! We speak of "humble beginnings," our "humble abodes," and so on. The Greeks eschewed humbleness. Grandeur, then as now, is the goal. Yet, as Nick pointed out, Jesus — by His own example! -- raised this self-effacing service to others to the dignity of a virtue.

Which brings me to this prayer: The Litany of Humility

About five years ago, we prayed this litany, composed by Cardinal Raphael Merry Del Val. At first? It's not an easy prayer. But I promise you…if you stick to it, it can — and will — change your life for the better. Here it is. If you have a smart phone, do what I did (she said, humbly) ;-) and use the Reader's Version for handy reference.

Thanks be to God for a wonderful session tonight. And may God continue to bless you!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---scott br="" hahn="" speaks="">
~~~~
Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Bread Left Over

Today’s liturgy brings together several strands of Old Testament expectation to reveal Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah and king, the Lord who comes to feed His people.

Notice the parallels between today’s Gospel and First Reading. Both Elisha and Jesus face a crowd of hungry people with only a few “barley” loaves. We hear similar words about how impossible it will be to feed the crowd with so little. And in both the miraculous multiplication of bread satisfies the hungry and leaves food left over.

The Elisha story looks back to Moses, the prophet who fed God’s people in the wilderness (see Exodus 16). Moses prophesied that God would send a prophet like him (see Deuteronomy 18:15-19). The crowd in today’s Gospel, witnessing His miracle, identifies Jesus as that prophet.

The Gospel today again shows Jesus to be the Lord, the good shepherd, who makes His people lie down on green grass and spreads a table before them (see Psalm 23:1,5).

The miraculous feeding is a sign that God has begun to fulfill His promise, which we sing of in today’s Psalm - to give His people food in due season and satisfy their desire (see Psalm 81:17).

But Jesus points to the final fulfillment of that promise in the Eucharist. He does the same things He does at the Last Supper - He takes the loaves, pronounces a blessing of thanksgiving (literally, “eucharist”), and gives the bread to the people (see Matthew 26:26). Notice, too, that 12 baskets of bread are left over, one for each of the apostles.

These are signs that should point us to the Eucharist - in which the Church founded on the apostles continues to feed us with the living bread of His body.

In this Eucharist, we are made one body with the Lord, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Let us resolve again, then, to live lives worthy of such a great calling.





Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bible Study Recap: How CATHOLIC is Psalm 23!!!

+JMJ+
Saint Camillus de Lellis

Howdy!

How CATHOLIC is Psalm 23??? Or, rather, how does Psalm 23 refer to the Sacraments?

Normally we just prayerfully — and silently --- reflect on the Responsorial Psalm in our session...but tonight was special!

Aside from the usual grumblings about the translation of the Psalm in this Sunday's Mass…

We really got into it, from a Catholic point of view, and it was wonderful! What, for example, is the "banquet" and the "cup overflowing" and the "table?" And the "restful waters?" And the OIL???

They're the Sacraments!

Our Shepherd gives us an amazing banquet of His Body and Blood! The TABLE IS THE ALTAR! And let's not forget the "oil," which is used to anoint us in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, The Sacrament of the Sick — amazingly wonderful!

"Thy Rod and Thy Staff"…what's the difference?

Pat and Frank got it immediately when I asked the question, but they spoke so low I didn't here them. Did you ever wonder about that? No? Well, you should! :-)

Here's the thing about a good shepherd:

A good shepherd carries a rod to ward off enemies of his sheep — like wolves.

His staff is not just for walking, but — you know how the bishop's crook has that little curved thing on the top — you know, the stick that looks like that thing in old time movies that roughly remove the flops on the vaudeville stage? That's to gently but firmly bring back the sheep that go astray…the shepherd simply cuffs the little lamb — think Little Bo Peep here to get an image — and brings the little guy back to the fold! So, in Psalm 23 — just from the parts read this Sunday alone! -- we've got the Eucharist, pretty much all the other Sacraments, and a bishop to boot!

Of course, Jeremiah led us to good things…and some arguments…

…or rather, we let the passage do so. My fault. I compared the tragic division of the Chosen People with the tragic division among Christians. Probably because some of us were at Mass today at Saint Francis Chapel and heard Father Michael Warren's homily, which centered on the schism between Roman and Orthodox Christians, which he based on today's Gospel. (Matthew 11:25-27). Again, my fault. If I told myself once, I've told myself a zillion times: do not try to "figure out" the Trinity! (Fortunately, no bones were broken, and we continue to pray that, as Saint John Paul II prayed, "that the Church will breath with both lungs." Enough to say: the Holy Spirit DOES proceed from the Father and the Son.)

Take it easy…if you can.

It's pretty easy to understand, on reading this Sunday's Gospel, why priests especially are pretty much required to make a retreat periodically. As a wise confessor once told me (I'd rather self-righteously I must admit), to being annoyed at the "interruptions" I'd had to "put up with" from people while I was striving for quiet prayer in a church. "Interruptions," he told me, "are a part of prayer. Jesus Himself was constantly `interrupted' while at prayer. Read the Gospels!"

Good advice. And a good session tonight, thanks be to God.

We prayed for you…please remember us in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bible Study Recap: Apostolic Pardon and "Professional Catholics"

+JMJ+
Saint Benedict

Howdy!

In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus commissions His Apostles to go off and spread the Gospel. One of the Sacraments mentioned is the Anointing of the Sick, also called Extrreme Unction, especially when administered to the dying.

Father Michael Warren explained a part of this in a homily awhile back, and it seems to me extremely important to share it with you:

Apostolic Pardon

I can't quote Father Michael exactly, but I will tell you it made such an impression on me that I've been telling everybody I know about it — whether they want to hear it or not.  From EWTN:
~~~~~~~~
The Apostolic Pardon (or blessing) is an indulgence given in situations of danger of death, usually after the absolution of the sacrament of penance. The focus is on the remission of temporal punishment due to sin. The words of the prayer explain the meaning of the act: "Through the holy mysteries of our redemption may almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May he open to you the gates of paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy." Or "By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
The Handbook of Indulgences #28 states: "Priests who minister the sacraments to the Christian faithful who are in a life-and-death situation should not neglect to impart to them the apostolic blessing, with its attached indulgence. But if a priest cannot be present, holy mother Church lovingly grants such persons who are rightly disposed a plenary indulgence to be obtained in articulo mortis, at the approach of death, provided they regularly prayed in some way during their lifetime. The use of a crucifix or a cross is recommended in obtaining this plenary indulgence. In such a situation the three usual conditions required in order to gain a plenary indulgence are substituted for by the condition 'provided they regularly prayed in some way.'" ~~ Reverend Mark J. Gantley, JCL.


~~~~~~~~~

Here's what Father Gantley didn't mention. Some priests are unaware of this indulgence. If you're ever in a situation where you or another is near death — ask for the Apostolic Pardon. I mean, don't do it if you're suffering from a cold or a hangnail or something like that, but in the case of imminent death? Don't hesitate. If the priest looks at you with those deer-in the-headlights look, call another priest. Any Roman Catholic priest can administer this pardon, but --- incredibly enough — some priests don't know it. Remember it!

Do you have to be a "pro" to be "called?"

There's no such thing as a "professional Catholic evangelist." Now, yes, while there are evangelists who are paid for what they do — diocesan priests come to mind — it's not necessary to be an expert to be called by God. This sorta seems to be the theme of this Sunday's Readings. Amos wasn't a "prophet," nor even a son of one. But God called this guy who was probably really good at tending sheep and trees…and he said "yes." And look at the Apostles! Let's see, we have our fishermen, we have our tax guy, we have our kid — yet all of them said "yes." The word "yes" is key!

Lori asked an interesting question:

I'm paraphrasing her, but I think the gist is this: "Did those called in the Bible (and therefore, I'm adding parenthetically, do we) actually hear the voice of God when called?" She was referring to, I believe, the folks in the Old Testament…like Amos and Abraham and Noah and all our good friends. And the answer is:

:::::::::drumroll:::::::::::::

I don't know. I thought of Elijah, who heard the voice of God in a whisper.  Moses and the burning bush. Catherine remembered an Oblate Brother who actually heard God calling him to the priesthood. Me? Sometimes — well, for example, I got the urge yesterday to tell a lady who looked like she was about to give birth at any moment, struggling with a couple of kids, that she was beautiful and that her beautiful family had made my day. And she was! And she did!

Nobody was much impressed by my "Dick and Jane" primer books approach to reading the Bible, but hey, that's my theory and I'm sticking with it (until somebody tells me I'm nuts AND DON'T YOU DARE!!!) :-)

Anyway, it was a blessed session, and I thank God for sending His Spirit to be with us tonight.

And I thank you for your prayers…please keep them up! We pray for you all the time.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---stand br="" by="" extras="" for="" some="">
~~~~~~

The Council of Trent on the Anointing of the Sick:

“This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark [cf. Mk 6:13], but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord: “Is any among you sick?” he says, “let him call for the elders [presbyteros] of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” [James 5:14-15] (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.; cf. CCC 1511)

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

The Church’s Mission


In commissioning the apostles in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, a preview of His Church’s mission after the resurrection.

His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the twelve tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites likewise were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff (see Exodus 12:11; Deuteronomy 8:2-4). Like the Israelites, the apostles are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.

Perhaps, also, Mark wants us to see the apostles’ mission, the mission of the Church, as that of leading a new exodus - delivering peoples from their exile from God and bringing them to the promised land, the kingdom of heaven.

Like Amos in today’s First Reading, the apostles are not “professionals,” who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men (see Acts 14:15) summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters.

Again this week, we hear the theme of rejection: Amos experiences it, and Jesus warns the apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called, not necessarily to be successful, but only to be faithful to God’s command.

With authority and power given to it by Jesus, the Church proclaims God’s peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

This word of truth, this gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as Paul proclaims in today’s Epistle. In the mystery of God’s will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world - to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.

Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church’s mission - to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lauda Sion Salvatorem! (Bible Study Recap)

On Wednesday evenings, the Catholic Blue Collar Bible Study Evangelists meet in the Prudential Center in Boston to reflect on the upcoming Sunday's Readings. Here's a recap from tonight's session.
~~~~
I H S
+JMJ+
Saint Joan of Arc

Greetings from a BLAST of a session tonight!

'Course this could be just me — Corpus Christi (The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ) -- is an absolute FAVORITE day of mine — but gee, I had more fun and joy tonight just savoring the Readings for this Sunday and the commentaries — from the "scholars," yes, but perhaps even more so? The amazing insights of the Blue Collar Bible Study Evangelists!

I mean, the connection between the first covenant, the early Passover Feasts — including the Last Supper of Jesus — and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass makes me want to get down on my hands and knees and pray in a loud voice "For Heaven's sake, God, won't You unite us! Or, forgive me, what I mean is make us REALIZE that we ARE united???"

Ahem. I may have been a tad overexcited tonight. :-)

Why Psalm 116?

 "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the LORD!" Yes, yes! But did you know that Jesus sang this Psalm at the Last Supper, following the eating of the Passover lamb? Well, He did…as a Jew, of course, in thanksgiving (Eucharistic meaning!) for the deliverance to the exodus from Egypt. We sing it in gratitude for the exodus from sin, with much thanksgiving, through the sacrifice of Jesus!

But wait…there's more!

I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid; -- get this! Jesus sang about His Mother at the Last Supper!!!

"Kelly, for Heaven's sake, calm DOWN!"

You're right, you're right. And I — we — did reflect silently and seriously on this strophe of the beautifully translated Sequence:

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
Endless death, or endless life.


It certainly gave us pause, and an impetus to pray for, as Sunday's Collect reminds us:

O God, Who is this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of Your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood, that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of Your redemption.

The Passover Preparation — this is TOO COOL!

You know what the ritual preparations for the Passover Feast were? (They aren't now…there's no temple, but there was:

  • Choose an Unblemished Male Lamb
  • Sacrifice the Lamb
  • Spread the Blood of the Lamb
  • EAT the Flesh of the Lamb!!

And get this:

For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and
For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of a cross.
one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb. (Justin Martyr,
Dialogue with Trypho)


This is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, friends!!! Is there a reason NOT to be excited????

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus
gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus’ passing over to his father by his
death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in
the Eucharist… (CCC 1340)


Okay, I'll let you go now. Thanks for bearing with me!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---- a="" and="" birthday="" br="" doran="" father="" from="" hahn="" happy="" james="" now="" scott="" word="">~~~~~
Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Blood of the Covenant

All of today's readings are set in the context of the Passover. The First Reading recalls the old covenant celebrated at Sinai following the first Passover and the exodus.



In sprinkling the blood of the covenant on the Israelites, Moses was symbolizing God's desire in this covenant to make them His family, His "blood" relations.



Quoting Moses' words in today's Gospel, Jesus elevates and transforms this covenant symbol to an extraordinary reality. In the new covenant made in the blood of Christ, we truly become one with His body and blood.

The first covenant made with Moses and Israel at Sinai was but a shadow of this new and greater covenant made by Christ with all humankind in that upper room (see Hebrews 10:1).



The Passover that Jesus celebrates with His 12 apostles "actualizes," makes real, what could only be symbolized by Moses' sacrifice at the altar with 12 pillars. What Jesus does today is establish His Church as the new Israel, and His Eucharist as the new worship of the living God.



In offering himself to God through the Spirit, Jesus delivered Israel from the transgressions of the first covenant. And, as we hear in today's Epistle, by His blood He purified us, and made us capable of true worship.



God does not want dead works or animal sacrifices. He wants our own flesh and blood, our own lives, consecrated to Him, offered as a living sacrifice. This is the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving that we sing of in today's Psalm. This is the Eucharist.

What we do in memory of Him is to pledge our lives to Him, to renew our promise to live by the words of His covenant and to be His servants.



There is no other return we can offer to Him for the eternal inheritance He has won for us. So let us approach the altar, calling upon His name in thanksgiving, taking up the cup of salvation.




Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Dirge for Ireland

Oh now Paddy dear, and did you hear
The news that’s going round?
A babe, a child, may be forbid
To grow on Irish ground!

Remember Napper Tandy’s lass?
Remember how we smiled?
But now? A cruel law law agin’
A poor unwanted child.

Like that sad country ‘cross the pond,
Some children won’t be born.
Oh pray to God for Ireland
Because today we mourn.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Birthday, Father Dennis Brown: Rep of the Saints!

He was ordained a priest in May of 1989...but he wasn't always the guy we know now.

He's a Spiritual Director, Retreat Director, Chaplain...but he wasn't always the guy we know now.

Prior to the early 1970s? He wasn't a Catholic. I don't know that he even knew who God was.

But somehow, the Holy Spirit led him to — of all people! — Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

I highly doubt that Dennis ever saw the show "Life is Worth Living" before meeting the good Bishop. But somehow, thought the intercession of Father John Hardon, S.J., and his book, "The Catholic Catechism," Dennis found himself first at Saint John's University in New York, and then, the Pontifical Institute for Advanced Studies in Rome.

And was ordained by Pope Saint John II in 1989 as a priest of the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Among his friends? Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

And, among his many accomplishments? He helped this sinner (that would be me)...well...become less of one.

But he's probably known more than anything — at least, to me and his friends — as The Greatest Fan of Saints the Church Has Ever Known!

No kidding, this priest has never met a saint he didn't love!

Tomorrow is Father Dennis' birthday, and I just wanted to say to him — hey wait, what's going on, here??? Yikes! Wait a minute, guys, ladies, one second...oh sheesh! Go ahead!

So pleased with you, my friend!
Hey, we all love you Dennis!
A privilege to ordain you!
Hey, you still got that book?


Happy Birthday, to you, Happy Birthday, to you!
Happy Birthday, Dear-Great-P.R.-Guy!
Happy Birthday, Dear Dennis, to You!

Much love,

All the Saints and Wanna-Be-Saints



Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Love the Immaculata! Father Greg Staab, O.M.V.

Eternal rest grant onto him, O Lord! And let Your perpetual light shine upon him! May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, though the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.









Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother: to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
"Always love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!"


Father Gregory Allen Staab, O.M.V.
June 11, 1957 — March 1, 2018
Religious Profession — September 12, 1980
Ordination to the Priesthood — May 31, 1984