August 31, 2014

22nd Sun., Ordinary Time

August 31, 2014:  22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Jer 20:7-9  You duped me, Lord, and I let myself be duped; everyone mocks me.  Your word has brought me derision and reproach.  I say to myself, I won't speak in his name any more, but then your word becomes like fire in my heart, imprisoned in my bones, and I grow weary holding it in.
    Wordle: Readings 8-31-14
  • Ps 63:2-6, 8-9  "My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God," like parched land for water.  I bless you, call on you, and cling to you.  You help, uphold, and satisfy me.  In the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
  • Rom 12:1-2  Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, pleasing to God.  Don't conform to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, to discern God's will.
  • Mt 16:21-27  Jesus began to show his disciples he must suffer and be killed and raised.  Peter rebuked him:  “God forbid!...”  Jesus:  “Get behind me, Satan!  You're an obstacle to me, thinking not as God but as a human being.  To come after me, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.  Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  What profit is there in gaining the world but forfeiting your life?  The Son will come and repay all according to their conduct.”
Pope Francis
  • Angelus:  Strengthen efforts to safeguard people's life and health of people by respecting the environment and nature. / Jesus rebukes Peter because he plays Satan's part by not thinking like God.  Living in the world carries with it the risk that we become 'worldly,' that "the salt lose its flavor," but when the power of the Gospel is alive in us, it can transform values, thought, and models of life in contrast with God's Word and plan of salvation.
    • Creighton:  Prophets (like Jeremiah and Jesus) must "walk the walk" (show by example how God wants people to live) and witness/proclaim God’s vision.  Peter preferred Jesus' prophetic message would be received with joy, but faithful prophets are usually shamed (as carrying the cross through the city did) and are reproached.  The Church is also called to prophesy.  How am I "conformed to this age"?  “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your lives.”
    • One Bread One Body:  When we offer our bodies as living sacrifices, we acknowledge Jesus bought them on the cross.  God will transform us into weapons for justice.
    • Passionist:  Peter doesn't understand the meaning of Christ's suffering and death.  The cross is the path to discipleship, being willing to let God change whatever keeps me from his love, so he can build me up.
    •  Satan tempted Jesus to not obey the Father; Jesus calls Peter 'Satan' [='adversary'].  Peter is to be disciple, not adversary.  Paradox of God's economy:  we lose what we gain and gain what we lose.  Jesus says there no victory without the cross.  When we surrender to God, he gives us new life. Will I part with what keeps me from following the Lord?  What cross does Jesus want me to take up today?  Am I ready to lose all for him to gain all with him?
    • Universalis:  If not trumped by Sunday:  St. Aidan, abbot
    • 'Pine tree' tie pin:  "My flesh 'pines' for you" (psalm)
    • Hands on tie; 'hand' tie pin:  "Lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name"; "your right hand upholds me" (psalm)
    • 'Silverware' tie pin:  "As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied" (psalm)
    • 'World' tie:  "What profit is there in gaining the world but forfeiting life?" (gospel)
    • 'Angel' pin:  "The Son will come with his angels" (gospel)
    • Blood donation shot:  Jesus must be killed;  You gain what you lose (gospel)
    • Green:  Ordinary Time (season)

      August 30, 2014

      Aug. 30

      August 30, 2014:  Saturday, 21st week, Ordinary Time


      • 1 Cor 1:26-31  Few of you were wise, powerful, or of noble birth, but God chose the foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, and the lowly and despised to reduce the proud.  Because of him you're in Christ who became wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  Whoever boasts, boast in the Lord.
        Wordle: Readings 8-30-14
      • Ps 33:12-13, 18-21  "Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own."  The Lord's eyes are on those who fear and hope in him, to deliver and preserve them.  We wait for, rejoice in, and trust in the Lord.
      • Mt 25:14-30  “A man entrusted his possessions to servants left then returned to find two doubled their money and one buried his.  To the doublers:  ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.  Since you were faithful in small matters, I'll give you great responsibilities.  Come, share your master’s joy.’  To the other:  ‘You wicked, lazy servant!  You should at least have put my money in the bank to earn interest!  Everyone who has will grow rich, but those who don't will lose the little they have.  Take his money and throw him outside...’”
      If you missed last weekend's guest posts, please check them out, using the links at the right:
      • Aug. 22:  Yvonne expanded 'dress' to include our city dressed with Mary's crown, and she said how Catholics came to celebrate the Queenship of Mary.
      • Aug. 23-24:  Sally expanded 'dress' to include how her choirs dress liturgically (including her own hair streaks :-)
      • Aug. 25:  I like it when we can feature songs not associated with church that still fit the readings, and Manny found one in Mr. Big Stuff.  He also added a video reflection I'd missed.
      Thanks again to our guest posters for their preparation, becoming familiar with the Blogger platform, injecting their unique spins including providing their personal reflections and profiles!
      BTW, I guess this section isn't really 'metablogging' (blogging about blogging) since I'm blogging about actual posts (vs. about the process/experience of blogging itself)...
        • Creighton:  The Reign of God is God's loving action in history, now, and forever; it prevails when we let God’s love take over.  The Lord has entrusted to us material resources, natural talents, spiritual gifts, and the Gospel; he expects us to grow them for his honor and glory, taking risks, not crippled by fear of failure but with parrhesia (boldness in the face of opposition) in pastoral life, family life, and work, creatively expressing our gratitude.  What have I been given, and how am I using it?  Spread God’s love in word and deed, make sacrifices, share your wealth, be kind, patient, humble, poor in spirit, merciful, truthful; make peace and serve others..
        • Passionist:  Develop your talents and use them for good, and help others discover and use their talents.  "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own" (Disraeli)  Praise, encourage, listen patiently...  And don't bury others talents by negative words.
        •  The Master trusted his servants and rewarded the faithful ones.  God entrusts us with gifts gives us freedom and means to use them well.  Don't stand still like the third servant. 
        • Universalis:  
          • St. Margaret Ward, martyr
          • St. Anne Line (Heigham), martyr
          • St. Margaret Clitherow (Middleton), mother, priest protector, martyr
          • St. Margaret Ward, martyr
          • Bl. Ghebre Michael ("servant of Michael"), monasticism historian/reformer, convert, martyr; see Vincentian page.
          • St. Fiacre, priest, hermit; see Catholic Encyclopedia.
          • St. Edmund Arrowsmith, Jesuit priest, martyr
        • 'Money' tie:  The master gave 5, 2, and 1 talents to his servants... (gospel)
        • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "The Lord's eyes are on those who fear and hope in him" (psalm)
        • 'Owl' tie pin:  "Christ Jesus became for us wisdom from God" (1st reading)

          August 29, 2014

          John the Baptist Martyrdom

          August 29, 2014:  Passion (Beheading, Martyrdom) of St. John the Baptist

            Salome with the Head of John the Baptist/ (Caravaggio)
          • 1 Cor 1:17-25  Christ sent me to preach the Gospel,  The message of the cross is foolishness to the perishing but God's power to those being saved,  Jews demand signs and Greeks wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, God's power and wisdom to those called.  God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, God's weakness stronger than human strength.
          • Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11  "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."  Give thanks to the Lord on the harp and lyre; his plan stands forever.
          • Mk 6:17-29  John the Baptist to Herod:  “It's wrong for you to have your brother’s wife [Herodias].”  Herodias had a chance to get him killed at his birthday banquet:  her daughter danced, delighted Herod, asked for John's head.  He had him beheaded; John's disciples buried his body.
          • Dance of the Seven Veils, from Salome/ Strauss fits the gospel:  find one yourself if you can tolerate possible adult content.
          "Roamin' Catholic" report
          Inside St. Elizabeth Church
          St. Elizabeth
          summer outdoor church
          While on vacation I attended the Saturday 5pm Mass at St. Elizabeth in Guerneville (Diocese of Santa Rosa); they sometimes celebrate outdoors but didn't then.  The presider came right from the 4pm Mass at one of the parish's mission stations, led the singing of You are mine, Servant song, We walk by faith, and two Mass parts (Celtic alleluia, Agnus Dei).  His homily focused on Peter's 'quest' spurred on my Jesus' quest-ion ("Who do you say I am?").  (more Roamin' Catholic reports)
          "How I spent my summer vacation" 
          First sunset (thanks, God and Lucy)
          We enjoyed nature and family!  Thank God for Yvonne, Sally, and Manny who kindly published guest posts while I was away; see the cartoon below for an idea about the campground's data service.

          Zits/ Scott, Borgman
            • Creighton:  Paul and the Corinthians ran into the same rejection of the Good News as today's.  May God give us a bold spirit and a heart for his children.
            • One Bread One Body:  We may not be able to avoid persecution, but we can refuse to be crushed.  Accept God's grace to be uncrushable; stand up for the Truth.  Don't be crushed; be free, true, pure, holy, victorious, and glorious.
              Wordle: Readings 8-29-14
            • Passionist:  John the Baptist, died as a martyr for the truth he preached to those around him.  Martyrs still die making choices; we all make choices that affect our lives and others'.  Choose love, inclusion, friendship, compassion, sharing, and love.  John chose and suffered the consequences; so did Jesus.  How am I choosing?
            •  Are you prepared to be a witness, even martyr, for Christ?  John was imprisoned, then beheaded.  People still persecute God's kingdom; martyrs' testimony proves victory, through Christ's.  The Holy Spirit fills us with courage, love, and boldness to make Christ known and loved; his love is stronger than fear and death.
            • Universalis:  John the Baptist and Joseph are the only saints with two feasts:  June's celebrates John's birth; today's, his death.  John was a prophet from before birth, leaping in the womb to announce Jesus' coming.  He courageously announced he was least in the kingdom.  When the great or talented come across someone greater, they'll feel like we do.  Pray they, like John, may pass that test.  See Catholic Encyclopedia.

            • 'Sheet music with skulls as note heads' tie:  dance, then beheading (gospel)
            • 'Silverware' tie bar:  Herod's birthday banquet (gospel)
            • Crucifix:  "We proclaim Christ crucified..." (1st reading)
            • 'Owl' tie pin:  " those who are called, Christ the power and wisdom of God." (1st reading)
            • Red shirt:  color of today's celebration

            Preview tomorrowDress your life!

              August 28, 2014


              August 28, 2014:  St. Augustine, bishop and doctor

              St. Augustine

              • 1 Cor 1:1-9  Paul and Sosthenes, to the Church of God in Corinth:  Grace and peace from God!  I thank God for the grace bestowed on you in Christ:  knowledge, testimony, spiritual gifts...  He will keep you firm and irreproachable.  Our faithful God called you to fellowship with his Son...
              • Ps 145:2-7  "I will praise your name for ever, Lord."  Generations speak of the splendor of your majesty, tell of your wondrous works, and sing of your justice.
              • Mt 24:42-51  “Stay awake!  For you do not know when your Lord will come.  If the master had known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake.  You must be prepared too, for the Son of Man will come when you don't expect him.  “Blessed is the servant the master has put in charge and is found faithful when the master arrives; he'll be put in charge of all his property.  But if a servant says, ‘My master is delayed,’ beats his fellow servants, and drinks with drunkards, the master will come, punish him severely, and assign him a place of wailing and grinding of teeth.”
              • Restless Heart, from St. Augustine, the music and the restless heart, the musical
              Wordle: Readings 8-28-14
              Top words of today's readings
              St. Augustine
              • Universalis:  St. Augustine of Hippo (present Algeria) led dissolute youth but was converted through his mother's prayers and St. Ambrose's teaching.  Held Manichaean heresy, then became neo-Platonist.  34-year bishop.  See Catholic Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
              • St. Augustine and music:  see what he really said; it's not "He who sings prays twice" or "He who sings, prays; he who sings well, prays twice."  (You'll also find links to his inner conflict about music, the keyboard player named "Confessions of St. Augustine," and the country band named "Restless Heart" :-)
                • One Bread One Body:  We know Jesus is coming again but don't know when; it motivates us to "stay awake" and prepared.  Time is too precious to get entangled with petty stuff.  In the light of the 2nd coming, material things lose their value.  Jesus' coming isn't just about life after death; it transforms our lives now.
                • Passionist:  St. Augustine spent most of his life undergoing conversion:  "You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there I searched for you...  You were with me, but I was not with you."  How often do we search outside for God (e.g. in wealth or status)?  Conversion = let God be God in us; be servant; embrace consequences.
                •  Jesus' 2nd coming will be a great victory celebration establishing his kingdom of peace and justice.   Be prepared...

                • 'Clocks' tie: "If the master had known the hour the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake.... Be prepared, for at an hour you don't expect, the Son of Man will come." (gospel)
                • 'Roadrunner' tie pin: Our hearts are restless till they rest in You (St. Augustine) 
                • 'Medical' pin: St. Augustine, 'doctor' of the Church
                • White shirt:  today's liturgical color (for St. Augustine)

                Special greetings to and prayers for all at 
                St. Augustine Church and School (Culver City) and St. Augustine Academy (Ventura)

                Preview tomorrowDress your life!

                  August 27, 2014


                  August 27, 2014:  St. Monica

                  • Ps 128:1-2, 4-5  "Blessed are those who fear the Lord" and walk in his ways.  They'll eat the fruit of their handiwork...
                  • Mt 23:27-32  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You're like whitewashed tombs, beautiful outside but filthy inside.  You appear righteous but are filled with evildoing.... 
                  Pope Francis
                  • Audience:  The Church is one and holy:  one because her her origin is the Triune God, mystery of unity and communion, and holy because Christ founded her and filled her with love and salvation.  The Church's unity and holiness call us sinners to conversion.  Jesus intercedes for our unity with him, the Father, and each other.  When we put ourselves at the center, sins against unity–jealousy, envy, antipathy–arise, but God wants us to grow in our capacity to welcome, forgive, love, and resemble Jesus.  The holiness of the Church is to recognize the image of God in one another.  God, forgive us for times when we've sowed division or misunderstanding, and may our relationships mirror the unity of Jesus and the Father.
                  Wordle: Readings 8-27-14
                  Words of today's readings
                  (thanks, Wordle)
                    • Creighton:  Hypocrites' masks will fall; truth can't be hidden for long.
                    • One Bread One Body:  "Holy is as holy loves":  the scribes and Pharisees showed outward signs of holiness but neglected love of others and therefore of God.  What's important to me?
                    •  Appearances can deceive.  True beauty and goodness come from within...
                    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "May the Lord of peace give you peace at all times and in every way." (1st reading)

                    • White shirt:  color of St. Monica day; "You hypocrites are like whitewashed tombs..." (gospel)
                    • 'Skeleton' tie pin:  "... full of dead men’s bones" (gospel)

                    Special greetings to and prayers for all at

                      August 26, 2014

                      Aug. 26

                      August 26, 2014:  Tuesday, 21st week, Ordinary Time

                      • 2 Thes 2:1-3a, 14-17  Don't be shaken about Christ's coming and our assembling with him; don't be deceived if you hear the day of the Lord is at hand.  Christ has called you to possess his glory.  Stand firm and hold fast to what we taught you.  May God encourage and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
                        Wordle: Readings 8-26-14
                      • Ps 96:10-13  "The Lord comes to judge the earth."  Say:  The Lord is king; he made the world firm.  Let heaven, earth, sea, and forest exult before the Lord who shall rule with justice.
                      • Mt 23:23-26  “Woe to you, you hypocrites.  You pay tithes but have neglected judgment, mercy, and fidelity.  You strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!  You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they're full of self-indulgence.  Clean the inside first so the outside may also be clean.”
                      Pope Francis
                      • Angelus re Sunday gospel:  Simon professes faith in Jesus as “Christ, Son of the living God”; Jesus calls him blessed for his faith and tells him, “You're Peter, and on this rock I'll build my Church.”  The new name is Kepha ('Rock') in Jesus’ language, a word that in the Bible referred to God.  Jesus sees God gave Simon faith Jesus to build his Church/community/us on.  Jesus gives life to his Church,  founded on faith, a relationship of love and trust with him.  Our relationship with Jesus builds the Church.  Jesus needs to find in us a solid faith.
                      What happened in Peter also happens in every Christian who develops sincere faith.  How is your faith?  Firm, like a rock, or with doubt, mistrust, and unbelief, like sand?  If the Lord finds genuine faith in us, he can build the community with us, founded on Christ the cornerstone.  Peter is the rock, but each of us baptized is called to offer Jesus our faith, poor but sincere, so he can continue to build his Church.
                      Many think Jesus is a great prophet, teacher, model of justice…  Today, he asks us, “Who do you say I am?”  How will we answer?  May we respond with sincere hearts, “You're the Christ, Son of the Living God.”
                      • Creighton:  Don't be ruled by the external.
                      • One Bread One Body:  "I'd walk a mile for a camel."  People still "walk miles to swallow a camel" as the Pharisees did, e.g. working hard but ignoring family.  Let go and let God...
                      • Passionist:  "Beware the wolf in sheep's clothing.  Don't judge a book by its cover.  All that glitters is not gold."  We can be led astray or scammed.  People betrayed trust in the early Church and now, but Christ the rock, truth, way, and light is trustworthy and faithful.  Hope.
                      •  Where are my blind spots?  Scribes excelled at outward observance but ignored the needy.  God's law of love reveals what's really important.  Allow God's love to shape and transform your daily life...
                      • Universalis:  Bl. Dominic Barberi, Passionist priest, missionary, zealous preacher.  St. David Lewis, convert, Jesuit priest, martyr:  “Discover the [Gunpowder] plot I could not, as I knew of none; and conform [=recant] I would not, for it was against my conscience.”  Our Lady of Czestochowa ("Black Madonna") icon of the Virgin Mary in Poland:  Ballade to Our Lady of Czestochowa/ Belloc
                      From the garden and mall (none of my clothes today; I'm traveling)
                      • "You pay tithes of mint, dill, and cumin but have neglected mercy and fidelity." (gospel)

                      Cup tie tack


                      • Cup tie tack (vs. Aug. 19 "cups tie"):  “You hypocrites cleanse the outside of cup and dish but not the inside; clean the inside first..." (gospel)

                      August 25, 2014

                      Aug. 25

                      August 25, 2014:  Monday, 21st week, Ordinary Time

                      • 2 Thes 1:1-5, 11-12  Thank God for you; your faith and love are growing.  We boast of and pray for you....
                      • Ps 96:1-5  "Proclaim God’s marvelous deeds to all the nations."  Sing to the Lord:  great, praiseworthy, awesome....
                      • Mt 23:13-22  Jesus:  "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, blind guides.  You lock the Kingdom, neither entering nor allowing others to enter.  You work hard to make a convert then make him a child of Gehenna.  You say, ‘Swearing by the temple means nothing, but swearing by the temple's gold is binding.’  What's greater, the gold or the temple that made it sacred?  You say, ‘Swearing by the altar means nothing, swearing by the gift on the altar is binding.’  What's greater, the gift, or the altar that makes it sacred?...
                      • Mr. Big Stuff/ Knight, a song for the hypocrites Jesus warns (gospel)
                        • One Bread One Body:  Big companies wouldn't put their name on a rundown, grimy building for fear of disgracing their name.  As Christians, we're a building "that displays Jesus' name to all.  Jesus loves us even when we're grimy, but as his ambassadors, we want to exalt and glorify his name by our holy, joyful lives.  What will people see when they look at you?
                        • Passionist:  The Gospel took root and bore fruit in Thessalonica even though Paul had to leave the city early.  Today, world news isn't good news.  Human and Gospel values are being challenged.  May God bless us with steadfastness, faith, and wisdom!
                        •  Jesus warned the religious leaders they were shutting the door of God's kingdom on themselves and others;  'woe' expresses sorrowful pity, concern, grief, and sadness.  He was angry because they didn't listen to God and they misled the people instead of teaching them God's ways.  They required unnecessary, burdensome rules which obscured love of God and neighbor, and they preferred their idea of religion to God's, shutting the door of their hearts.  If we close our ears to Jesus, we shut our door too....

                        For this section, I figured the appropriate attire would be that of a religious.
                        Lead by example; who else should one mimic other than Jesus Christ?  "Do not be afraid" is found over 300 times in the Bible, which to me, means that we need to let go and let God. The first reading reminds me yet again to have faith in God, while the Gospel tells me not to put anything else before God but to trust, to have faith that money, popularity, or anything else will not do me as much good as God can.  It's probably the hardest yet the easiest thing to do.  Although a it seems to be paradoxical, the reality is, letting go and letting God will always lead to happiness because it will lead you away from yourself and all that hold you back. #letgo #letgod

                        About the guest blogger
                        My name is Emanuel and I am a man who wears many hats:  I teach an RCIA for children, I am now a substitute Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.  I have two jobs, one being my own small screen printing business and the other working for the Catholic Church.  I have recently married the woman of my dreams.  I have tried my best to follow God and trust that he is guiding me (now us) in the right direction.
                        Thank you all for reading and God bless!


                          August 24, 2014

                          21st Sun. in Ordinary Time

                          August 24, 2014:  21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

                          Peace be with you all! Hi, it is Sally Scuderi again! I have decided to continue my piece on Dressing for Liturgies.  I know it is not Advent, but I wish to talk about how my choirs and I show our solidarity with the liturgy in other ways than choir robes and song.  BTW..... song is very, very important to all of us, and I would be remiss not to mention that we sing a variety of different kinds of Sacred Music for all our liturgies. 

                          So: Advent:..... Every year we put on a version of Lessons and Carols, on Gaudete Sunday, that I wrote the script for as a graduate student at St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont in 2008.  Each person speaks in costume and in the voice of various people from the Bible... from Eve to St. John the Evangelist.

                          The choir and instrumental soloists sing and play various Advent and appropriate music between readings.  This picture illustrates how they are dressed.... matching Advent Gaudete Raspberry Scarves and Ties.

                          This is a way for the laity to feel that they are dressing to celebrate the seasons and it just makes us different, especially at Advent, from the madness of secular Christmas.  We love the anticipation and we so wonderfully celebrate the joy that is coming our way with the Incarnation. We also ask the parish family to join in our celebration by wearing pink or raspberry.  I have been in this particular church for 17 years, so they really get into the joy of each liturgical season.

                          And here is my little addition to the fun:

                          I hope you all have a great Autumn and that the coming liturgical year is one of peace, joy and love. And remember:

                          August 23, 2014

                          Aug. 23

                          August 23, 2014:  Saturday, 20th week, Ordinary Time

                          Hi, my name is Sally Scuderi.  Thanks Jim,  for asking me to be a guest blogger on your site. I am very new to blogging, but here goes.... I am the Director of Music Ministry and Bereavement Services Coordinator at my church:  St. Michael the Archangel, in South Glens Falls, NY, about one hour north of the capital, Albany.  I have been involved in music ministry since i was in the sixth grade and filled in for an organist during Lent.  I am a retired public school music teacher with also an MS in Education, an MS in Family counseling, and most recently, an MA in Theology.

                          I was drawn to Jim's blog due to his snazzy pictures of his ties.  I have four choirs:  an adult choir, a contemporary choir, a children's choir and a newly formed Resurrection Choir. Having a dedicated group of singers just was the topping on the cake to our 'seamless garment' Bereavement Ministry.  We have to move quickly and (seemingly) effortlessly within a short turn around of about three days.  The pastor and the funeral director alert me of a funeral, I, in turn send out an email to the head of the Bereavement Hospitality teams, as we share a full luncheon for the grieving family after the funeral or the internment.  Then an email goes out to the Resurrection Choir and the Sacristans.  The people who have joined the Resurrection Choir are mostly retired folks who still wish to sing and share their ministry with others, but prefer a standard repertoire and daytime rehearsals.  I sought to make them feel as comfortable as possible.  We have achieved a most valuable ministry that is welcomed by the families.  I make sure everyone is dressed alike to identify them and to also keep it simple and non-distracting to the mourners.  So, I decided on white tops and black slacks or skirts.  I bought them all music notes matching scarves and ties, and black ties and black shawls for the bitter winter months.  They are just such a wonderful group of people and actually feel that they are both making a 'joyful noise' and celebrating the life of the deceased.  This is a picture of the first time they sang at a liturgy of Christian Burial:

                            August 22, 2014

                            Queenship of Mary

                            August 22, 2014:  Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

                            • Ez 37:1-14  The Lord led me to a plain filled with bones.  How dry they were!...  They say, “Our bones are dry; our hope is lost.”  Tell them God says:  I'll have you rise from your graves and bring you back to Israel.  Then you'll know I'm the Lord!  I'll put my spirit in you that you may live.
                            • Ps 107:2-9  "Give thanks to the Lord; his love is everlasting."  The redeemed went astray and were wasting away.  They cried to God; he rescued them.  He filled the hungry with good things.
                            • Mt 22:34-40  Pharisee / Jesus:  “Which commandment is the greatest?” / “Love the Lord with your heart, soul, and mind.  The second is like it:  love your neighbor as yourself.  The law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
                            Pope Francis and Pope Pius XII
                            • Salus Populi Romani  The day after his election, Pope Francis prayed in front of the icon of Mary.  The crowning of the icon, Salus Populi Romani by Pope Pius XII in 1954, proclaimed the Queenship of Blessed Virgin Mary.  Ad Caeli Reginam, "according to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her Divine Motherhood…  But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation."
                              • Creighton:  Ezekiel attacks the infidelity of Israel, but it fits today too.  Are my bones well connected but lacking life?  Only when we give the the Spirit free rein can we really live and receive what God has for us...
                              • One Bread One Body:  After Ezekiel obeyed the Lord's command to prophesy, the bones came to life.  If we repent, obey, and fan the gift of the Spirit into a flame, we'll come alive...
                              • Passionist:  Isaiah looks to the birth of a king to restore the line of David and save the people.  The mother of this King is a humble maidservant of the Lord.  Her 'yes' to God transformed her life to one of service to her Son and us all, drawing us lovingly to her Son.  She reigns as Queen, humble, gentle, and loving. 
                              •  Jesus startled the Pharisees by distilling the law into love of God and love of neighbor.  God loved us first; our love is a response.  The more we know of God's love, the more we can love as he does.  Faith and hope strengthens us in our love.  The Spirit gives us freedom to love as Jesus did.  What's in the way of such love and generous service?
                              • Universalis:  Besides Mary, we celebrate St. John Kemble, priest, missionary, Gunpowder plot martyr at 80:  “I die only for professing the old Catholic religion, the religion that first made this kingdom Christian.”
                              • Sacred Space: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

                              City of Los Angeles: Wearing the crown of Mary

                              Living and working in Los Angeles, it is easy to overlook the obvious about the City of Angels. Specifically, it is the Town of Our Lady Queen of the Angels.  From its start, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles is adorned with the crown of Mary!  Henry N. Cobb designed the Library Tower, now the US Bank building, with an illuminated glass crown.  While it's not liturgically illumined (Lakers colors are displayed when they are playing at home!), it stands in honor of the Queenship of Mary over Los Angeles.

                              As I drive by and around LA and fly over it, I am always reminded of Mary's resounding fiat! Whether or not the inhabitants of Los Angeles are aware, Mary's love and intercession reign over the city offering the hope and promise of God's love.  It's not surprising that Los Angeles is a place where the imagination and soul can dare to dream and tell of the mystery of the Divine Spirit and our human experience. 

                              I know Jim always includes his own apparel, but really, what could be more fitting than the city wearing the crown of Our Lady Queen of the Angels?

                              Guest Blogger

                              I hope Jim is enjoying some well-deserved rest.  Knowing what great care he takes with this blog, I accepted to contribute some thoughts today with much trepidation but with a willing spirit. 
                              Yvonne Huitron with daughter 

                              My experience of liturgy has profoundly nurtured and challenged every aspect of my life.  In moments of joy, celebration, tragedy, and loss, the sacred and ordinary are transformed to guide us in the way of love.  In celebrating the Queenship of Mary, so uniquely founded in the dignity of her motherhood, it is only fitting that I hold my daughter in my arms and imagine Mary's love, strength and resolve that we all know Jesus.  

                              As I prayed with the student body at Our Lady of the Assumption on the Octave of their feast day, I know Mary's intercessions are at work in each of them and I am grateful that they know Jesus.

                              This morning I went to mass filled with thanksgiving for the example of Mary as mother, wife, and daughter.  In all ways, submitting her entire soul to the call to be the Mother of God:  an unimaginable call.  Assuming the role of caretaker for all of us, only she can speak to the blessing, challenge, sorrow, and joy that mothering brought into her life.

                              It saddens me that we do not hear the voices of mothers during our liturgies, especially during these Marian feasts.  What would we hear if we let them speak?  What wisdom would be shared from their silent struggles, worries, strength, triumphs, and joys?  As a daughter I understood motherhood from one perspective, but as a mother, I can say that the depth and breadth of understanding does not compare to walking in those steps. 

                              So, I give thanks for all those who have mothered me and for all those I have mothered, especially my own child, because I have learned how to be loved and how to love beyond my own capacity.       

                              Humbly offered,
                              Yvonne Huitron