May 31, 2014


May 31, 2014:  Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Visitation/ Giotto

  • Zep 3:14-18a  Shout for joy!  The Lord is in your midst and has removed the judgment against you.  Fear not!  The Lord will rejoice over you and renew you in his love.
  • Rom 12:9-16  Let love be sincere:  honor, be fervent, serve God, rejoice, endure suffering, keep praying, help the needy, be hospitable, bless your persecutors, weep with those who weep, and associate with the lowly.
  • Is 12:2-3, 4bcd-6  "Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel."  God is my savior, strength, and courage.  With joy you'll draw water at the fount of salvation.  Give the Lord thanks and praise; make known his name and deeds.  Shout with exultation!
Wordle: Readings 5-31-14
Wordle of today's readings
(I found alternatives to try too.)
  • Lk 1:39-56  Mary traveled to Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth, who cried, “Blessed are you and the fruit of your womb.  And how does my Lord's mother come to me?  When I heard you, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed God's word to you would be fulfilled.”  Mary:  “My soul proclaims the Lord's greatness; my spirit rejoices in God who looked on his servant.  All will call me blessed:  the Almighty is holy and has done great things for me.  He has mercy, showed strength, scattered the proud, cast down the mighty, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry, sent away the rich, and helped Israel by remembering the promise he made to our fathers.”  Mary remained with her about three months, then returned.
    The Visitation/ Rembrandt
    Music:  mainly Magnificat settings (gospel)
    Pope Francis
    • To kids:  The light is always inside us and gives us joy and hope.  When we seek light, we can make the world a better place.  We can only make the world better with love.  When the Apostle John wanted to say who God is, he said, ‘God is love.’  We go forward together toward the light to find God's love, which never leaves us, even in dark moments.  Let's have faith in this love.
      • Magnificat poem, by Fr. Peter J. Liuzzi, O.Carm
      • Passionist:  Mary gave Elizabeth the gift of her presence.  Some prophets fought—Jeremiah ("too young"), Moses ("slow of speech"), Amos ("only a herdsman"), and Jonah (who fled)—but when Mary was called, she only asked how it could be possible.  Mary was the first disciple and the first missionary.  Salvation history was in the hands of a teenager and an elderly woman, and both responded, "Here I am."
        Windsock Visitation/ McGrath
      • Creighton:  Bro. Michael McGrath re his “Windsock Visitation”:  All big saints prayed before black Madonnas, who are associated with healing, life, conception, creativity, fertile soil, and seeds growing....  Black Madonnas have offered solace to those struggling to conceive and those who need a fresh start.  (To the left of Mary and Elizabeth is a quote from Visitation nuns foundress St. Jane de Chantal:  “This is the place of our delight and rest.”  The painting hangs in a sisters–occupied home with windsock on the porch to invite kids over.)
      • One Bread One Body:  Today's feast is a sign of hope:  when we need a visitor, God will send Mary, even if nobody knows we need encouragement.   She loves her way in.
        • Tie with hearts:  He'll renew you in his love (1st reading); love one another (2nd reading)
        • Blue in shirt, tie, and suspenders:  "Blessed Mother blue" (feast); "With joy you'll draw water at the fount of salvation" (canticle)
        • "Kneeling person" tie bar:  persevere in prayer. (2nd reading)
        • "Phone" tie bar:  Mary called on Elizabeth (gospel)
        • "Dove" pin:  Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (gospel)
        • "Eyeball" tie pin:  God has looked with favor on his lowly servant. (gospel)
        • White on tie pin:  Easter season
        Dress your life!

        May 30, 2014

        May 30

        May 30, 2014:  Friday, 6th week of Easter


        Wordle: Readings 5-30-14
        • Acts 18:9-18  Lord to Paul via vision at Corinth:  “Fear not.  Speak up; I'm with you.  You'll be safe.”  He settled and taught the word of God, but then the Jews rose up against him:  “He's inducing people to worship contrary to the law.”  Proconsul Gallio drove them from the tribunal:  “If it were a crime, I'd hear your complaint, but since I don't want to judge matters of doctrine and your law, handle it yourselves.”  Paul remained, then sailed for Syria.  At Cenchreae he shaved his head because of a vow he'd taken.
        • Ps 47:2-7  "God is king of all the earth."  God brings nations under our feet.  The Lord mounts his throne amid shouts of joy and trumpet blasts.
        • Jn 16:20-23  “You'll grieve, but your grief will become joy.  A woman in labor is in anguish, but once she gives birth, she forgets her pain because of her joy.  You're in anguish now, but you'll rejoice when I see you again.  Then you won't ask me about anything, and the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” 
        Pope Francis
        • Homily:  St. Paul was brave because he had strength in the Lord, though he, like all of us, had some fear.  Even Jesus in Gethsemane felt it.  Paul endured hardship for what he did, but that didn’t stop him.  Christian life isn't a party; we cry when we're sick, have a family problem, or can't pay the mortgage...  But Jesus says, 'Fear not!'  (There's also the sadness of the wrong kind of happiness:  when we sin and try to buy joy.)  Christian joy is a joy in hope, but we don't see it in times of trial; our trials purify that joy.  Don't go to a suffering person and say:  'Come on!  Tomorrow you'll have joy!'  Help them feel what Jesus made us feel.  Make an act of faith:  'Lord, I don't know how this sorrow will turn to joy, but I know it will!
          Women in labor suffer but forget when they hold their children; what remains is the joy of Jesus, a purified joy, a joy in hope.  We don't feel it in bad times, but it comes.  Be courageous and remember it'll come.  The sign of this joy is peace; how many who are sick, dying, and in pain have it.  If you do in times of darkness, you have the seed of joy.
            Music for "Ascension watch"
              • Creighton:  God told Paul not to fear.  We're not called to fear but rather to share Good News by word and action.  We're full of grief and joy, and Jesus is with us when we weep or laugh, in times of doubt or faith.  As he was transformed in his suffering, death, and resurrection, so too can our grief be transformed.
              • One Bread One Body:  After the Ascension, the disciples likely felt a sense of loss because they didn't understand how he'd be with them via the Spirit.  When we pray "Come, Holy Spirit" in our loss, all heaven breaks loose.
                •  Jesus told his disciples they'd be sorrowful because the way to joy is the cross.
                • Passionist:  You need to tell a GPS your destination to get directions.  Our destination is abundant life, and the Paraclete is our GPS.
                • Universalis:  St. Luke Kirby, priest and martyr; the Yorkshire Martyrs:  Margaret Clitherow, priest Henry Walpole, and 18 companions, martyrs.
                • "Bald people" tie pin:  Paul shaved his head (1st reading)
                • "Eyeball" tie pin:  God spoke to Paul in a vision (psalm)
                • Tie with crowns:  "God is king of all the earth" (psalm)
                • "Angel with trumpet" pin:  The Lord mounts his throne amid trumpet blasts (psalm)
                • "Medical" pin:  When a woman is in labor, she's in anguish, but when she's given birth, she's joyful (gospel)
                • "Hearts" suspenders:  I'll see you again, and your hearts will rejoice (gospel)
                • White tie pin:  Easter season
                Dress your life!

                May 29, 2014

                May 29

                May 29, 2014:  Thursday, 6th week of Easter
                (we don't celebrate Ascension till Sunday)

                  Wordle: Readings 5-29-14
                • Acts 18:1-8  Paul left Athens for Corinth, where he visited, stayed, and worked with Aquila, who had recently arrived with his wife Priscilla.  Every sabbath, he tried to convince both Jews and Greeks in the synagogue.  Once Silas and Timothy came, Paul was consumed with preaching that the Christ was Jesus.  When they opposed him, he told them, “I'll go to the Gentiles.”  He went to the house of Titus Justus, next to a synagogue.  Crispus, his household, and many other Corinthians came to believe and were baptized.
                • Ps 98:1-4  "The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power."  Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds...
                • Jn 16:16-20  “Soon you'll no longer see me, and a little while later and you will.”  Some disciples asked, “What's this ‘little while’?”  Jesus:  “You'll weep and mourn while the world rejoices; you'll grieve, but your grief will become joy.”
                  In honor of those outside the Archdiocese of Los Angeles celebrating Ascension today instead of Sunday, here's re:Worship's list of praise and worship songs for Ascension, with these gospel-inspired songs:
                  Pope Francis
                  • On unemployment, migration, and solidarity, to ILO:  God entrusted creation to human beings, charging us to cultivate and protect it.  Human labor continues God’s creative work; work is both gift and duty and has inherent dignity and worth.  Unemployment is expanding the frontiers of poverty; it's particularly disheartening for unemployed youth.  Only through free, creative, participatory, and mutually supportive work can we express and enhance the dignity of life.
                  Mass migration—that so many are forced to work away from their homelands—is a grave concern.  People with hope often encounter mistrust and exclusion and fail to find dignified work and fall victim to a “globalization of indifference”.  Their situation exposes them to further dangers such as human trafficking and forced labor.  Human trafficking is a crime against humanity that affects us all; it's time to work together to free victims and eradicate it, as well as to expand solidarity, insisting on the dignity of every person, respecting them as actors in and beneficiaries of labor; reevaluating corporations' responsibilities, encouraging governments to facilitate migration, and defining sustainable development goals.
                  Saint and meditation
                    • Universalis:  Bl. Joseph Gerard, priest, Oblates of Mary Immaculate missionary to Africa
                    • Red shirt:  Paul to opponents:  “Your blood be on your heads!” (1st reading)
                    • "Sailboat" tie bar:  Paul sails from Athens to Corinth (1st reading)
                    • "Hand" tie pin:  "His right hand has won victory" (psalm)
                    • "Children around the world" tie:  "All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God." (psalm)
                    • "Clock" tie bar:  “A little while and you'll no longer see me, and a little while later you will see me.” / “What's this ‘little while’?  We don't know what he means.” (gospel)
                    • White in tie:  Easter season
                    Dress your life!

                    May 28, 2014

                    May 28

                    May 28, 2014:  Wednesday, 6th week of Easter


                    Wordle: Readings 5-28-14
                    • Acts 17:15, 22-18:1  Paul at the Areopagus:  “I saw your altar, ‘To an Unknown God.’  What you unknowingly worship, I proclaim.  God gave life and breath so that we may find him.  As your poets say, ‘We're his offspring.’  God isn't an image we fashioned but raised Jesus from the dead, established a day of judgment, and demands we repent.  When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some scoffed, but others said, “Some other time....”  Paul left Athens for Corinth. but some joined him and became believers.
                    • Ps 148:1-2, 11-14  "Heaven and earth are full of your glory."  Praise the Lord who has lifted up his people!
                    • Jn 16:12-15  “I have more to tell you, but you can't bear it now.  When the Spirit comes, he'll lead you to truth, taking what's mine and declaring it to you.”
                    Pope Francis
                    • Audience:   My journey to the Holy Land was a great grace for me and the Church.  We prayed before the tomb of the Risen Lord and renewed our commitment to work for Christian unity.  The journey was also to encourage those who work for peace in the Middle East and those who care for those suffering the effects of war and violence.  I've invited the Presidents of Israel and Palestine to join me in praying for peace.  I wished to confirm in faith the Christian communities in the Holy Land, to acknowledge their difficulties, and to support their works; may the prayer and solidarity of the Church sustain their witness to the Gospel message and help bring peace.
                        • Creighton:  Today Paul would find "altars" to the human body, the dollar, sports, materialism, and degradation of life but have to look harder for soup kitchens, shelters, and adoption centers.  What time and money we spend indicates our priorities; our culture espouses hedonism, individualism, and minimalism.  Lord, open our eyes to the “altars” we build, help us choose the ones that bring us closer to God, and show us how we can help transform culture.
                        • One Bread One Body:  At Athens Paul tried the mission solo, impatient to wait for Silas and Timothy, and didn't proclaim Jesus crucified; lack of community and not emphasizing the cross can weaken our evangelization.  Corinth was different.
                          •  St. Augustine on how the Spirit guided the disciples in truth:  "When he says, 'He will teach you all truth' or 'will guide you into all truth,' I do not think the fulfillment is possible in this present life.  For who is there, while living in this corruptible and soul-oppressing body, that can know all truth when even the apostle says, 'We know in part'?  But it is effected by the Holy Spirit, of whom we have now received the promise, that we attain the fullness of knowledge that [Paul] references when he says, 'face to face' and 'then shall I know even as I am known.'  He is talking about something in the future when he would attain that perfection.  This is what the Lord promised through the Spirit when he said, 'He will teach you all truth' or 'will guide you into all truth.'" (Tractate on the Gospel of John 96:4)
                          At Pentecost after the Holy Spirit was poured out, the apostles boldly proclaimed the truth of the Gospel and made, baptized, and taught disciples.  Today, through the Spirit's guidance, we too proclaim the same faith.
                          • "Question mark" tie pin:  altar inscribed ‘To an Unknown God’  (1st reading)
                          • "Stone" tie pin, silver and gold accessories:  God isn't like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone (1st reading)
                          • White tie pin:  Easter season
                          • "Dove" pin:  The Spirit of truth (gospel)
                          • "Angel" pin:  Praise God, you his angels (psalm)
                          • Tie with horns:  God has lifted up the 'horn' of his people (psalm)
                          Dress your life!

                          May 27, 2014

                          May 27

                          May 27, 2014:  Tuesday, 6th week of Easter / St. Augustine of Canterbury

                          • Acts 16:22-34  Paul and Silas beaten, imprisoned, earthquake-freed.   Jailer:  What must I do to be saved?  Believe....
                          • Ps 138:1-3, 7c-8  "Your right hand saves me, O Lord."  In the presence of the angels I'll sing your praise; you answered me and will complete your work.
                            Wordle: Readings 5-27-14
                          • Jn 16:5-11  “I'm going to the one who sent me.  It's better for you that I go so I can send you the Advocate to convict the world regarding sin, righteousness, and condemnation.”
                          Pope Francis
                          • Monday homily:  Here in the Upper Room the Church was born to go forth and with Christ's wounds and love set out.  Jesus sent the apostles with the Spirit's power to renew the earth.  The Spirit reminds us of everything and reveals its meaning.  The Upper Room reminds us of...
                            • Service, of Jesus' example of washing feet, signifying welcoming, accepting, loving, and serving one another including the poor, sick and outcasts.
                            • Sacrifice:  In the Eucharist, Jesus offers himself for us to the Father, so we may in union with him offer our lives, work, joys, and sorrows.
                            • Friendship:  The Lord makes us his friends, giving us his very self and revealing God’s will to us.  The most beautiful part of being a Christian is being Jesus' friend.
                            • Jesus' farewell and promise to return:  “I'll come again and take you to myself.”  Jesus doesn't abandon us but precedes us to the Father's house.
                            • Pettiness, curiosity, and betrayal:  We can reawaken those attitudes when we look at someone with contempt, judge them, or sin.
                            • Sharing, fraternity, harmony, and peace:  How much love and goodness has flowed from here!  The saints drew from this source; the river of the Church’s holiness flows from the Heart of Christ, the Eucharist, and the Spirit.
                            • The birth of the Church, a family with Mary as Mother.  Christians belong to this great family and find in it light and strength to press on amid life's difficulties.  All are invited and called to be part of this family.
                          From here we go forth, impelled by the Spirit's life-giving breath.  Gathered in prayer with the Mother of Jesus, we live in constant expectation of a renewed outpouring of the Spirit.
                            Music for the psalm
                              • One Bread One Body:  "Paraclete" =  "defense lawyer."  Jesus:  "I'm leaving tomorrow and sending a lawyer"; apostles' grief is understandable.
                                •  Do I allow the Holy Spirit free reign to set me free from sin and inflame me with God's love?
                                • Passionist:  We won't see till we believe.  Proclaim the Good News with compassion, mercy, promise, hope, and tenderness.
                                • Universalis:  St. Augustine of Canterbury, archbishop, traditions-respecting evangelizer

                                • "Abacus" tie pin:  looks like prison bars (1st reading)
                                • "Sword" pin:  "Jailer drew his sword" (1st reading)
                                • "Hand" tie pin:  "Your right hand saves me, O Lord." (psalm)
                                • "Angel" pin:  "In the sight of the angels I'll sing your praise" (psalm)
                                • "Phone" pin:  "When I called, you answered me" (psalm)
                                • "Dove" pin:  "If I go, I'll send the Advocate to you" (gospel)
                                Dress your life!

                                May 26, 2014

                                Philip Neri

                                May 26, 2014:  St. Philip Neri, Priest
                                Memorial Day


                                  Patriots Point, South Carolina
                                • Acts 16:11-15  We sailed from Troas to Samothrace, Neapolis, and Philippi.  We spoke with women gathered outside the city gate, and the Lord opened Lydia's heart to pay attention to Paul.  After we baptized her and her household, she invited us to stay, and we did.
                                • Ps 149:1b-6a, 9b  "The Lord takes delight in his people."  Praise the Lord with song and dance, for the Lord loves and gives victory his people, Alleluia.
                                • Jn 15:26-16:4a  “The Advocate, the Spirit of truth I'll send from the Father, will testify to me.  So will you, because you've been with me from the start.  I've told you this so you won't fall away when, because people don't know the Father or me, they expel you and think killing you is worshipping God.  Remember that when their time comes.
                                Pope Francis
                                • Regina Cœli Mary, more than anyone else, contemplated God in the human face of Jesus.  To her we entrust all who dwell here, that they may live in justice, peace, and fraternity.  Mary, watch over our families, the young and old, and all who have lost faith and hope.  Comfort the sick, the imprisoned, and all who suffer. Watch over Pastors and all believers; may they may be 'salt and light.'  We entrust the future of our human family to you, that new horizons may open, with fraternity, solidarity, and peace.
                                • To Muslims:   Abraham was a father in faith and great example; he left his people and house to embark on the pilgrimage to which God called him.  We, like him, should make ourselves poor, set out, and hope.  We're not masters of our lives; we must go out from ourselves, docile to God’s call and open to the future God wants for us.  God wanted Abraham to imitate his righteousness.  Let's work for peace and justice, praying for these gifts and learning from God's mercy, magnanimity, and compassion.  Let's respect and love one another, learn to understand others' sufferings, and work together for justice and peace!
                                • To Chief Rabbis:  As Christians and Jews, we're called to reflect on the significance of our bond, one of divine origin, transcending our plans, and intact despite past difficulties.  We Catholics want to reflect on our Jewish roots, and I trust that, with your help, Jews' interest in Christianity will grow; appreciation for our common spiritual  heritage and respect in matters where we disagree can guide us to a closer relationship.  Together, we can contribute to the cause of peace, bear witness to the importance of God's plan of creation, and oppose anti-Semitism and all other discrimination.
                                • At Yad Vashem holocaust memorial and the Western ("Wailing") Wall:  "Who are you, O man?  What have you become?"—charged with the sorrow of a Father who's lost his child.  "I no longer recognize you.  You tortured and killed your brothers and sisters and sacrificed them to yourself, because you made yourself a god."  Lord, we're shamed by this massive idolatry that human beings, created in your image, were capable of, despising and destroying what you formed and gave life to.  To you belongs righteousness, but to us confusion and shame; we've sinned against you.  Grant us the grace to be ashamed of what we human beings have done.  Save us in your mercy.  Never again, Lord!
                                • To Israel President Peres:  May Jerusalem be the City of Peace!  Peacemaking demands respect for human dignity and freedom.  Our shared conviction enables us to pursue peaceful solutions and reject what opposes peace such as violence, anti-Semitism and other discrimination, attempts to impose our point of view at others' expense, and intolerance.  I keep praying for peace, security, tranquility, prosperity, and fraternity, and that honorable resolution of hostilities will soon alleviate suffering in the Middle East.
                                    Wordle: Readings 5-26-14
                                    Today's readings
                                  • To priests, religious, and seminarians:  Here at Gethsemane, Jesus felt the need to pray with his disciples, but doubt, weariness, and fear overcame them.  As the Passion unfolded, they adopted attitudes of closeness, distance, or hesitation.  Ask:  Who am I, before my Lord's sufferings?  Do I fall asleep, or keep watch?  Flee in fear, or face reality?  Is there duplicity in me?  Do I deny him?  Did I start planning to go about life without the Lord, like the Emmaus disciples?  Do I remain faithful, like Mary and John, who stayed at the cross to the end?  Would I imitate the Master to the point of martyrdom?
                                  Jesus’ friendship, faithfulness, and mercy are gifts encouraging us to follow him in spite of our failures and betrayals, but we need vigilance before the Tempter, sin, and evil to which we're all exposed.  The good, merciful Lord takes us by the hand and never abandons us.  Let's press forward in our journey and mission!  The call to follow Christ with joy is a gift and a responsibility.  Be courageous witnesses of the Lord's passion and resurrection.  Imitate Mary and John, and stand by the crosses where Jesus continues to be crucified; there's no other path!  “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be.” 
                                    • Creighton:  The Holy Spirit dwells in each of us, and we are called to witness at work, home, service, and play, putting the other person first, living counter-culturally, and showing respect.  The Spirit gives us courage and wisdom to fulfill our call; all we have to do is listen, acknowledge, and depend on him.
                                    Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.  Move in me, that my work may be holy.  Attract my heart, that I may love only what is holy.  Strengthen me,  that I may defend all that is holy.  Protect me, that I may always be holy. (St. Augustine)
                                    •  Adversity strengthens true friendship.  Jesus offers the best and truest friend:  the Holy Spirit, Counselor, Advocate, Paraclete, Helper.  Counselor is a legal term for one who defends someone and guides them during a trial.  The Spirit guides and strengthens us and brings us safely through life's challenges.  The Spirit is one with the Father and the Son, gives life, quickens faith, makes personal knowledge of God possible, witnesses to us that the Father has sent and raised Jesus, reveals God's wisdom, gives us eyes of faith, and helps us to follow Christ and witness, with courage in adversity.  Holy Spirit, strengthen me in faith, hope, and love, and give me perseverance!
                                    St. Philip Neri
                                    O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord. (St. Anselm)
                                      • Passionist:  Memorial Day invites us to 'remember' those who have died in service to our country.  'Remembering' is more than simple recalling of the past; the Latin root is memor:  being mindful/aware, making a person/experience real in our hearts.  In Scripture prophets and kings beg people to remember God's graciousness; today let's remember people who have loved us and events that have shaped us.
                                      • Universalis:  St. Philip Neri, tutor, priest, confessor, minister to youth, "Congregation of the Oratory" (Oratorians) founder, cat lover, supporter of laughing...
                                        • Tie with purple and sailboats:  They sailed, and Lydia was a dealer in purple cloth (1st reading)
                                        • "Hearts" suspenders:  The Lord opened Lydia's heart (1st reading)
                                        • "Dove" pin:  The Spirit will testify to me. (gospel)
                                        • "Peace sign" tie bar:  Remember all peacemakers; bring peace (Memorial Day)
                                        • White in tie:  Easter season
                                        Check out Sunday's post too, and dress your life!

                                        May 25, 2014

                                        6th Sun. of Easter

                                        May 25, 2014:  6th Sunday of Easter

                                              It's 'paraclete' (παράκλητος, 'Advocate'), not 'parakeet'
                                            • Acts 8:5-8, 14-17  Philip went to  Samaria and proclaimed the Christ.  The crowds paid attention to what he said and saw the signs he did.  Unclean spirits came out of many, and paralytics and cripples were cured.  There was great joy in that city.  When the apostles heard Samaria had accepted God's word, they sent Peter and John to pray that the Spirit fall on them.  They laid hands on them, and they received the Spirit.
                                            • Ps 66:1-7, 16, 20  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  Say to God, “How tremendous your deeds!”  See God's works:  he changed the sea into dry land, he rules by his might, he heard my prayer, and he showed his kindness!
                                            • 1 Pt 3:15-18  Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.   Explain the reason for your hope with gentleness and reverence.  Keep your conscience clear; it's better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  Christ suffered for your sins, to lead you to God.  Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.
                                            • Jn 14:15-21  “If you love me, you'll keep my commandments, and I'll ask the Father to send you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.  I won't leave you orphans; I'll come to you and you'll live.  You'll realize I'm am in my Father, you in me, and I in you.  Whoever keeps my commandments loves me; my Father and I will love them, and I'll reveal myself to him.”
                                            Wordle: Readings 5-25-14
                                            Today's readings
                                            Pope Francis
                                            The Child Jesus was the sign to those who awaited salvation, and remains the sign of God’s tenderness and presence.  The angel announced, “This will be a sign for you: you'll find a child….”  Children are a sign of hope and life but also a “diagnostic” sign of our health.  Where children are accepted, loved, cared for and protected, families and society are healthier, and the world is more human. 
                                            The Newborn of Bethlehem was frail; the Word made flesh couldn't speak.  As Jesus was vulnerable, so too today's children need to be defended, from the moment of their conception.  Children live in inhuman situations, exploited, maltreated, enslaved, trafficked, in exile, as refugees, lost at sea; we feel shame before God who became a child. 
                                            Who are we before the Child Jesus and today’s children?  Like Mary and Joseph, who welcomed and cared for Jesus with love—or Herod, who wanted to eliminate him?  Like the shepherds, who knelt before him and offered their gifts—or indifferent?  Do we use pious words but exploit pictures of poor children to make money?  Do we “waste time” with children, listening, caring, and praying for and with them—or are we too caught up in our affairs? 
                                            The crying of children—hungry, cold, wanting to be held—challenges us:  they cry in vain, hungry and sick as tons of food and medicine get discarded daily.  While we insist on protection of minors, children are pressed to be soldiers and slaves, and their cry is stifled.  Their mothers cry for them, as modern-day Rachels, inconsolable.
                                            Every child is a diagnostic sign, and frank diagnosis can lead to life with relationships marked not by conflict, oppression, and consumerism but fraternity, forgiveness, reconciliation, solidarity, and love.  Mother of Jesus, who accepted, teach us to accept; who adored, teach us to adore; who followed, teach us to follow!  [More]
                                              • Creighton:  The Holy Spirit is God's presence in our lives, an encourager, advocating, calling us together, and supporting us.  When we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit prays in groans beyond words.  We can die to ourselves quietly and daily by putting others' needs ahead of ours, reaching out, and showing mercy to those in need.  When our hearts are like Jesus', we find Jesus more easily.
                                              • One Bread One Body:  A 'paraclete' is one who helps, usually at a legal trial, convincing judge or jury—but the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, is with and within us so we may be more than conquerors in life (Rm 8:37) and be judged faithful in heaven.
                                                  •  We love because it's our nature to love, and it is because the Holy Spirit has made it so.  (John Henry Newman)  How do we know that God loves us?  The cross.  Jesus' best gift for us is the Holy Spirit, Advocate, Counselor, Paraclete, Helper.  As a counselor defends and guides during a trial, the Spirit guides and strengthens us and brings us through our challenges and adversities.  The Spirit gives life and guides us to love, truth, goodness, and peace.
                                                  "O God, you are the abyss of peace, the sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection; you send peace to those who will receive it.  Open to us the sea of your love, and water us with streams from your grace and springs of your kindness.  Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace; enkindle in us the fire of your love; sow in us your fear; strengthen us by your power; bind us to you and each other in our firm bond of unity." (Syrian Clementine liturgy)
                                                      Special greetings to and prayers for
                                                      my parish community,
                                                      St. Bede the Venerable 
                                                      parish and school!
                                                      Read St. Bede online:,Crossroads, or Online Library of Liberty.
                                                    • Passionist:  What's the reason for my hope?  I've seen the Risen Jesus at work here and now:  he's lifted me up repeatedly, I've seen him raise others, and I've seen people help those in need and people work together across divisions and barriers.  Where there's love, there's hope; Jesus loves us and exhorts us to love each other.  If we stay in a loving relationship with God and others, there's hope; Philip, Peter, and John reached across the divide to build relationships with "different" people and were accepted.  If we follow Jesus and accept "it's better to suffer for doing good...  then doing evil," there's hope.  Bring hope; don't give in to despair, selfishness, resentment, or fear.
                                                    • Universalis:  Today's saints if Sunday hadn't trumped them:  St. Bede the Venerable, monk, Church doctor.  Pope St. Gregory VII, monk, Church reformer.  St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, religious, prayed for reform and conversion.
                                                      • "Signs" tie:  the crowds saw the signs Philip was doing (1st reading); children as diagnostic sign (homily)
                                                      • "Medical" pin:  paralytics and cripples were cured (1st reading), St. Bede is a 'doctor' of the Church.
                                                      • "Hand" tie pin:  Peter and John laid hands on the people of Samaria; they received the Spirit (1st reading)
                                                      • "Hearts" suspenders:  "Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts." (2nd reading)
                                                      • "Dove" pin:  The Father will give you an Advocate, the Spirit of truth. (gospel)
                                                      • White and red shirt:  white for Easter season, red for Holy Spirit
                                                      Dress your life!

                                                      May 24, 2014

                                                      May 24

                                                      May 24, 2014:  Saturday, 5th week  of Easter

                                                      Wordle: Readings 5-24-14
                                                      • Acts 16:1-10  Paul reached Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy of whom the brothers spoke highly; Paul wanted him to come along.  The churches grew stronger in faith and larger in number.  They passed through Asia and Bithynia because the Spirit prevented them from preaching there.  After Paul had a vision of a Macedonian imploring him to come to Macedonia, they concluded God was calling them to proclaim the Good News there and so went.
                                                      • Ps 100:1b-3, 5 "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy."  Know the Lord is God.  We're his people, the flock he tends.  The Lord is good, kind, and faithful forever. 
                                                      • Jn 15:18-21  “I've chosen you out of the world.  You don't belong to the world, and so the world hates you; it hated me first.  ‘No slave is greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they'll persecute you too; they'll do all this to you on account of me because they don't know the one who sent me.”
                                                      Pope Francis
                                                      • Friday homily:  Jesus: “I'll pray the Father, and he'll give you another Paraclete” (Jn 14:16).  The first Paraclete is Jesus himself; the other is the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit prepares, anoints, and sends:
                                                        • At Jesus' baptism, the Spirit prepared him for his mission.  The Spirit had been at work in him from his conception: “Mary, the Spirit will come upon you... and you'll bear a son.”  The Spirit acted in Simeon and Anna at his presentation in the Temple; both awaited the Messiah and, inspired by the Spirit, knew the child was the one, and their prophecy prepared for the encounter between the Messiah and the people.  The Spirit's works are part of a divine plan of love.  The mission of the Spirit is to beget harmony and peace.  Diversity shouldn't prove an obstacle; variety enriches.  Ask the Spirit for peace and unity.
                                                        • The Spirit anoints:  he anointed Jesus inwardly and anointed his disciples, so they could have the mind of Christ and live in peace and communion.  Through the Spirit's anointing, human nature is sealed with the holiness of Christ, and we're enabled to love with God's love and concretely show humility, fraternity, forgiveness, and reconciliation, prerequisites of true peace.  Ask to be anointed, conformed to Christ, seeing each other as brothers and sisters, setting aside divisions and showing love:  “If you love me, you'll keep my commandments, and the Father will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever.”
                                                        • The Spirit sends:  Jesus, filed with the Spirit, is sent forth.  Anointed, we're also sent as messengers and witnesses of peace.  Peace is a gift to be sought patiently and “crafted” through daily actions.   We're members of the one human family, children of the same Father, made in his image.  The Spirit descended on Jesus and inaugurated his work of redemption.
                                                      Let's ask the Spirit to prepare our hearts to encounter others and overcome our differences; let's ask him to anoint us with the oil of mercy to heal the injuries caused by mistakes, misunderstandings, and disputes; and let's ask him to send us forth to seek peace.
                                                          Music for the psalm [more info:  Sept. 6]
                                                            • Creighton:  “We're not human beings having a spiritual experience; we're spiritual beings having a human experience.” (Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man, but I couldn't find it there or in Le phénomène humain)  Jesus was a “re-orienter,” disorienting us from the world we're comfortable in by challenging us to view it differently, calling us to a new way of living, and preparing us for the ultimate “re-orientation” of death.  He calls us to love others, keeping our orientation in perspective relative to our future one. If we act as if this world is temporary and all possessions, including life, are borrowed from the Creator to be used as the Lender intends, then we'll help the weak and give/share generously...
                                                            • One Bread One Body:  Today Acts moves from "they" [were prevented from preaching in Asia] to "we" [sought passage to Macedonia; see note].  Once Luke joined the team, the door was opened to bring the gospel to Europe; God chose him to use his gifts to that purpose.  Am I a Luke?  Is there a ministry, community, or vocation for which I'm the missing piece?  Grant me discernment and docility to the Spirit. 
                                                                •  Don't love the world or things in it; in Scripture, 'the world' is society opposed/hostile to God.  Do I  seek to please God in my intentions, actions, and relationships?
                                                                  • Passionist:  "To keep the word":   the Greek τηρέω is more nuanced than keep; it connotes guard/treasure.   "Mary treasured up all these things, pondering [the angels' words] in her heart." (Lk 2:19)   Prize God's powerful word to us; hearing and keeping it brings us into family intimacy with Christ: "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."  (Lk 8:21

                                                                    • "Dove" pin:  "The Holy Spirit prevented them from preaching in Asia and Bithynia" (1st reading); "Because you don't belong to the world, the world hates you." (gospel)
                                                                    • "Children around the world" tie:  "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy." (psalm)
                                                                    • "Sheep" tie bar:  "We're the flock he tends" (psalm)
                                                                    • White in shirt:  Easter season
                                                                    Dress your life!