September 30, 2014


September 30, 2014:  St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor


  • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  "Let my prayer come before you, Lord." (psalm)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  "Incline your ear to my call" (psalm)
  • 'Medical' pin:  St. Jerome, 'doctor' of the Church
  • My darkest tie and suspenders:  Job's darkest moment:  losing everything, cursing his day (1st reading)
  • White shirt:  color of St. Jerome's memorial

  • Thy word/ Grant (St. Jerome; verses:  1st reading)
Pope Francis homily

Job was tested; he lost family, health, all he had.  His prayer sounds like a curse, but when people in hard situations complain, ask, "Why?," and rebel against God, it's prayer, just like Jesus' "Father, why have you forsaken me!"  Job was praying, being truthful before God.  True prayer comes from the heart, from the moment we're living in.  So many, like Job, don't understand and have no hope; think of Christians driven out of their homes, the elderly, the sick, and the lonely.  The Church prays for them all, while we who suffer just a little stop praying.  Some even say, "I'm angry with God; I won't go to Mass,"  but when St. Thérèse heard a voice telling her nothing awaited her, she prayed for strength to persevere, entering into patience.  Our complaints are overdramatized, compared with those of so many in the dark, who have, like Jesus, almost lost hope, exiled even from themselves!  Prepare your heart for the darkness, and pray for those in darkness and suffering; it's the Church's prayer for these ‘Suffering Jesuses.'

  • Jb 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23  Job:  Perish the day I was born.  Why didn't I die at birth?  Why is light given to toilers and life to the bitter?  They wait for death but it doesn't come...
    Wordle: Readings 9-30-14
  • Ps 88:2-8  "Let my prayer come before you, Lord."  O Lord, my God, by day I cry out; I'm surfeited with troubles, without strength, like the slain cut off from your care.  Your wrath lies heavy on me...
  • Lk 9:51-56  Jesus resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem.  On the way they entered a Samaritan village, but they wouldn't welcome him because he was heading for Jerusalem.  James and John / Jesus:  “Want us to call down fire to consume them?” / No!  and they went to another village.
St. Jerome

  • Universalis:  St. Jerome, unwillingly ordained a priest, founded monastery, hospice, and school, translated Bible into Latin, wrote many works, including letters and commentaries on Scripture, and helped refugees and those in need.  See Catholic Encyclopedia.
    • Creighton:  Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem results in his passion, death, resurrection, and ascension.  The Samaritans’ refused him hospitality because of their quarrel with Jews about the proper place to worship (Mount Gerizim vs. Jerusalem); they didn't want to support his heresy.  James and John found the breach of hospitality offensive, but Jesus urged nonviolence.  When we meet rejection, let's "love the enemy" and consider the possible source of hostility.
    • Passionist:  Job didn't know things would get better for him.  We need a vision of hope:  "When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won.  In the end, tyrants and murderers always fall." (Mahatma Gandhi)
    •  Jesus faced rejection and abuse to reconcile us with God and one another.  Christian love, following Jesus' example, seeks the highest good of friend and enemy alike.  "Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?" (Lincoln)  How do I treat those who cause me trouble?

    September 29, 2014


    September 29, 2014:  SS. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels

    • White shirt:  "His clothing was bright as snow, and his hair white as wool" (1st reading)
    • 'Lamb' tie bar:  "They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb" (alt. 1st reading)
    • Tie:  "I will sing your praises, Lord" (psalm)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  "When I called, you answered me" (psalm)
      • 3 angel pins:  Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael; "in the sight of the angels I'll sing your praises" (psalm); "you'll see God's angels ascending and descending..." (gospel)
      • 'Tree' pin: "I saw you under the fig tree" (gospel)

      The struggle between God and the devil takes place after Satan seeks to destroy the woman about to give birth.  Satan seduces to destroy; many projects for our dehumanization are his work.  Astute, he presents things as good.  The angels defend us and defend Christ, the perfection of humanity.  Our task is to safeguard Jesus who gives life to all, but Satan has invented explanations that go against humanity and against God.  This struggle is a daily reality in Christian life; if we don't struggle, we'll be defeated.  The angels do battle and win:  "Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of God and the authority of his Anointed.  For the accuser is cast out....”  Pray to the archangels.  Recite the prayer to the archangel Michael so he may continue to defend the greatest mystery:  that the Word was made flesh, died, and rose.


      • Dn 7:9-10, 13-14  The Ancient One took his throne, clothing bright, hair white; his throne was flames of fire, and myriads attended him.  Court was convened, and one like a son of man was presented and received everlasting dominion.
        Fig tree close-up (see original image)
        from words of today's reading
        Click here for animation
      • Rv 12:7-12ab  War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels overcame the dragon and its angels.  The dragon, called Satan, and its angels were thrown to earth.  “Salvation, power, God's Kingdom, and his Anointed's authority have come; the accuser is cast out, conquered by the Blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.  Rejoice!”
      • Ps 138:1-5  "In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord."  You heard and answered me; you made your name and promise great.  Kings shall thank you and sing, "Great is the glory of the Lord."
      • Jn 1:47-51  Jesus, seeing Nathanael:  “There is no duplicity in him.” / “How do you know me?” / “I saw you under the fig tree.” / “You're the Son of God, the King of Israel.” / “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?  You'll see greater things; you'll see heaven opened and God's angels ascending and descending.”
      • St. Gregory's famous homily on the Archangels:  “Angel” denotes function, not nature. Heavenly spirits are only called angels when they deliver a message; archangels are the ones who proclaim supremely important messages, as Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary the greatest of all messages.  Some angels are given names to denote the service they perform.  Whenever a powerful act must be performed such as battling Satan, Michael is sent, making clear no one can do what God does.  So too Gabriel, "God's strength," was sent to Mary to announce the humble One who would quell the cosmic powers.  Raphael, "God's remedy," touched Tobit’s eyes to banish the darkness of his blindness.
        • Creighton:  God needs to intervene into human experience.  In the Gospel Jesus finds Philip, then Nathanael, Nathaniel finds Jesus has seen and knows him, and Nathaniel responds.
        • One Bread One Body:  "God's SWAT team"  Angels appear in the Bible as men or gigantic creatures, not fat babies with wings; they attack demons.  Rejoice in spiritual warfare; we're "super-conquerors" in Christ (Rm 8:37).
        • Passionist:  "Angels are created spirits without bodies....  The good angels help us by praying for us, by acting as messengers from God to us, and by serving as our guardian angels." (New Baltimore Catechism)  "Everything said about [angels] in the Bible proclaims the marvelous truth:  God is concerned for us in a thousand ways." ("Dutch Catechism")
        •  Jesus revealed to Nathanael how God sees our hearts and invites us to communion with him.  God's word brings blessing and refreshment for those who reflect on it.  Jesus offers peace and friendship with God.  Jesus promises we'll dwell with God.  God's angels serve us and watch over us.  Jesus unites earth and heaven in himself.  Jesus gives us free access to God's presence.
        • Universalis:  
          • Michael ("Who is like God?"), leader of the heavenly host
          • Gabriel ("God's speaking power/messenger/strength") appeared in Daniel to explain visions; he bore the Annunciation to Mary.
          • Raphael ("God's healing/protecting power") healed blind Tobit.

        September 28, 2014

        26th Sun., Ordinary Time

        September 28, 2014:  26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

        Day of Prayer for the October Synod of Bishops
        on Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization


        • Crucifix:  "Jesus become obedient unto death on a cross." (2nd reading)
        • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  "God gave Jesus the name at which every knee should bend." (2nd reading)
        • 'Grapes' pin:  "Sons, work in the vineyard today." (gospel)
        • 'Money' tie:  "Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you." (gospel)
        • Brown slacks, socks, and sandals:  wood of the Cross (2nd reading)
        • Green grape leaves:  Ordinary Time season

        Pope Francis

        Prayer for Synod:  Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in you we turst and contemplate the splendour of love.  May our families be places of communion and prayer, schools of the Gospel, and domestic Churches.  May families never again experience violence, rejection, and division; may all who have been hurt find healing.  May the upcoming Synod make us more mindful of the sacredness, inviolability, and beauty of the family. (paraphrased)

        At Mass with elderly:  Mary is very young.  Elizabeth is elderly, yet God’s mercy was manifested in her in carrying John the Baptist.  Mary shows us the way:  she visit her elderly kinswoman, to help her and learn from her.  A people has no future without encounter between generations.  At times young people feel a need to "break free" from their parents and the older generation, but unless fruitful intergenerational encounter is reestablished, everyone is impoverished and the freedom is false.  The Lord formed a family where kinship is less important than our relationship with him and our doing God's will, but God's love completes family love and renews family relationships.

        The wisdom of Elizabeth and Zechariah enriched Mary's young spirit.  They weren't parenthood experts—it was their first pregnancy—but they were faith, hope, and God experts.  Mary listened to them and treasured their wisdom, and it proved precious in her journey as woman, wife, and mother.  The Virgin Mary shows us the way of encounter between young and old.  The young give strength to move forward, and the old consolidate it by their memory and wisdom.


        • Ez 18:25-28  You say, "The Lord's way is not fair!" but the Lord asks, "It's your ways that aren't fair:  when people die after turning away from virtue, it's because of their iniquity, but if they turn from wickedness and do what's right, they'll preserve their life.
          Wordle: Readings 9-28-14
        • Ps 25:4-5, 8-10, 14  "Remember your mercies, O Lord."  Teach me your paths.  You're good and upright.  You teach the humble and guide them to justice.
        • Phil 2:1-11  Do nothing out of selfishness or vainglory, but humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, and look out for their interests.  Have the attitude of Christ Jesus, who didn't grasp at his equality with God but rather emptied himself, coming in human likeness, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death.  Because of this, God exalted him, giving him the name above all others so that at his name every knee should bend and every tongue confess him as Lord.
        • Mt 21:28-32  "A man told his two sons to work in the vineyard.  The first said no but then changed his mind and went; the other said yes but didn't go.  The first did the father's will.  Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you; they unlike you believed John the Baptist...."
          • Creighton:  Paul:  imitate Christ’s humility.  Humility is forgotten in a world valuing success, wealth, and power.  It's not seeing ourselves as "not good enough" but the truth that God is God and has given us all good gifts.  Gifts are to be shared.  Humble people make us feel good about ourselves and happy we know them; they change the world quietly.
          • One Bread One Body:  Change to become unchanging:  To not change from virtue or love, we need to be repent from sin and reconciled with God and one another.
          • Passionist:  Attend to the needs of those close to home, in our families, parishes and communities; we're called to be Christ-like in how we relate to them.  What a difference we can make by changing our attitude!  Put on Christ and serve....
          •  The choices we make now shape our future.  The "rebellious" son changed his mind and did what his father commanded, but the son who said he'd work didn't. Good intentions aren't enough.  God wants to change our hearts so we'll do his will.

          September 27, 2014

          Vincent de Paul

          September 27, 2014:  St. Vincent de Paul, Priest

          • 'Heart' tie bar:  "Let your heart be glad in your youth.  Follow the ways of your heart." (1st reading)
          • 'Eyeball' tie pin:  "Follow the vision of your eyes" (1st reading)
          • 'Clock' tie bar:  "1000 years are as a watch of the night to you" (psalm)
          • 'Abacus' tie pin:  "Teach us to number our days" (psalm)

          Pope Francis
          • To UN:  Violence is senseless; devote yourself to the cause of peace.  Peace is the God-given fruit of our daily quest for justice and mutual respect.  Keep the dignity of every human person foremost to find solutions promoting peace confronting poverty through valuing fraternal relationships, sharing joys and sorrows.
          • To Venezuela:  Don't be afraid of peace; persevere in building a more just and peaceful society.  Dialogue, reconciliation, and union are a victory for human beings created by God to live in harmony.  Search for what unites to overcome what divides.

          Wordle: Readings 9-27-14
          • Eccl 11:9-12:8  Rejoice and remember your Creator while you're young.  God will bring you to judgment.  Youth is fleeting.  All things are vanity!
          • Ps 90:3-6, 12-14, 17  "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge."  You turn us back to dust.  1,000 years are as a watch of the night to you.  Teach us to number our days and so gain wisdom.  Return!  Fill us with your kindness.  Care for us and prosper our work!
          • Lk 9:43b-45  Jesus to disciples:  “The Son of Man is to be handed over.”  But they didn't understand and were afraid to ask.
            • Creighton:  The psalm leads me to reflect on the God of eternity and put things in perspective.  Thinking of the eternal God helps me to let go and trust that my transitory stresses are part of God’s larger plan.  Turn your worries over to God; nobody will care about them in 1000 years!
            • One Bread One Body:  The opposite of old is new, not young. As years pass, grow new in the Lord, not old.
            • Passionist: Follow your heart and trust your experience...
            *Music-related bonus
            While searching (unsuccessfully) for the preferred tune for Children, to your Creator, God above, I found these free e-books, quite a testimony to the prolific hymnwriter Isaac Watts:

            September 26, 2014

            Sept. 26

            September 26, 2014:  Friday, 25th week, Ordinary Time


            • 'Clock/s' tie/bar:  "There's an appointed time for everything" (1st reading)
            • 'Rock/stone' tie pin:  "Blessed be the Lord, my Rock" (psalm); "There's a time to scatter, and gather, stones" (1st reading)
            • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "There's a time of peace" (1st reading)
            • 'Question mark' tie pin (can you find it?):  "Who do the crowds say I am?  What about you?"  (gospel)
            •   Red stripe in suspenders (not shown):  SS. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs
            Pope Francis homily
            To be a Christian means to be a “[Simon of] Cyrene,” bearing the Cross with Jesus.  Jesus guarded his true identity, stopping people and demons coming close to divulging it, because people misunderstood the Messiah as a military leader.  He only taught his identity to the Twelve:  "The Son of Man must suffer and be rejected, killed, and raised."  This is the path of your liberation, the path of the Messiah:  the Passion, the Cross.
            Sin is ugly, but God’s love is so great that he saves us in the Cross.  You can’t understand Christ the Redeemer without the Cross!  The people didn’t understand the prophecies, that Jesus himself was the sacrificial Lamb.  Only on Palm Sunday did Jesus allow the crowds to cry out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” and only because if they didn't, the stones would have.  But after His death, his identity appeared, starting with the centurion's confession.  Jesus prepares us to accompany him with our crosses, along his path to Redemption.  He prepares us to be ‘Cyrenes’ to help him bear the Cross; without this, we're not Christians.  Christianity is grace, a spiritual path of perfection, not merit.
              "A time for everything"
              Words from today's readings
              Click here for animation
            • Eccl 3:1-11  There is an appointed time for everything:  to be born/die, plant/uproot, kill/heal, tear down/build, weep/laugh, mourn/dance, scatter/gather stones, embrace/not embrace, seek/lose, keep/cast away, rend/sew, be silent/speak, love/hate, be at war/peace.  God has made everything appropriate to its time, and put the timeless into our hearts, without our discovering his work.
            • Ps 144:1b, 2abc, 3-4  "Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!"  God is my mercy, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, shield.  We're like a breath...
            • Lk 9:18-22  Jesus / disciples:  “Who do the crowds say I am?” / “John the Baptist, Elijah, or an ancient prophet.’” / “But who do you say I am?”  Peter: “The Christ of God.”  He directed them not to tell anyone.  “The Son must suffer, be rejected, be killed, and be raised.”
              • Creighton:  We don't control time; God does.  Jesus admonishes his disciples “it's not his time.”  Time can transcend clock measurement to become oneness with the Creator.  The 'timeless' in our hearts is a yearning for God.  May we discern whether we're in line with God’s timing, so we may be guided by God's timeless love.
              • Passionist:  The first reading is about acceptance of time, God's will, the futility of our plans, and our limitations.  It's counter-cultural; we frenzied multitaskers find it hard to slow down and realize there's a time for everything and that our plans or schedule may not be God's.  Similarly, in the Gospel we hear Jesus' acceptance of his mission, bewildering his apostles that his plans weren't theirs.
              •  Why did Jesus tell the disciples to keep quiet about his identity?  "Things yet unfulfilled must be included in their preaching about [Jesus]:  cross, passion, death, resurrection.  He abolished death, robbed hell, overthrew the enemy, took away sin, opened heaven's gates to us, and united earth to heaven.  These things proved him to be God.  So he commanded them to guard the mystery until the plan should arrive at a suitable conclusion." (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke, Homily 49, paraphrased) 

              September 25, 2014

              Sept. 25

              September 25, 2014:  Thursday, 25th week, Ordinary Time

              • 'Suns' tie:  "The sun rises, sets, and rises"; "Nothing is new under the sun." (1st reading)
              • 'Clock' tie bar:  "1000 years to you are as a watch of the night" (1st reading)
              • 'Question mark' tie pin:  Herod was greatly perplexed... (gospel)
              • 'Decapitated skeleton' tie pin:  Herod said, “John I beheaded...." (gospel)

              Pope Francis homily
              Soap bubbles pop...
              Jesus rebuked boasters; he told teachers not to walk around with luxurious outfits, and he warned people to pray, fast, and give alms so no one notices.  But the vain live to be seen.  Christians who boast and live in appearances strut about like peacocks.  What about your life with the Lord?  How do you pray, do works of mercy?  The vain build on sand and fall; we must build on rock, on truth.
              Christians who live for appearances are like soap bubbles, beautiful but fleeting.  Do I boast or do good, seek God, and pray?  Vanity deceives itself:  the vain start by pretending but come to believe themselves; it happened to Herod who asked about John.  Vanity robs you of peace; it's like putting on too much makeup and being afraid of rain.  Only truth gives peace; Jesus is the only rock to build on.  The devil tempted Jesus with vanity on a platter:  “Throw yourself down and everyone will believe in you.”

              The Egyptian Fathers said we must battle vanity all our life because it always comes to take the truth away; it’s like an onion you peel all your life, but the odor stays on your hand.  May God give us the grace to be true to the Gospel, not vain.

              • Eccl 1:2-11  All things are vanity!  What profit is labor?  Nothing is new under the sun.
                Wordle: Readings 9-25-14
              • Ps 90:3-6, 12-14, 17bc  "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge." 1000 years to you are as yesterday. Teach us to number our days. Have pity! Fill us with your kindness. Prosper the work of our hands!
              • Lk 9:7-9  Herod was perplexed because people were saying, “John has been raised,” “Elijah has appeared,” and “A prophet has arisen.”  But he said, “John I beheaded.  Whom are these things about?”  He kept trying to see him.
                • Creighton:  We'll wither and die, but we can still pray that the Lord prosper the work of our hands.  It we number our days in terms of God’s plan, we'll make wiser choices.
                • Passionist:  Today we join our Jewish brethren in celebrating Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, believed the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve. / The disciples' success is from their personal experience with Jesus; Herod wonders who this Jesus is.  Many are perplexed like him today; may our lives proclaim Jesus to them.
                •  Whom do you most admire and want to be like?  God's truth can't be suppressed, though Herod tried.  Does God's word take priority in my life?

                September 24, 2014

                Sept. 24

                September 24, 2014:  Wednesday, 25th week, Ordinary Time

                • 'Shield' tie pin:  God is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (1st reading)
                • 'Abacus' tie pin:  Add nothing to God's words. (1st reading)
                • 'Feet' tie:  "Your word, Lord, is a lamp for my feet"; "From evil I withhold my feet" (psalm)
                • Gold- and silver-colored accoutrements:  "Your law is more precious than gold and silver" (psalm)
                • 'Medical' pin:  Jesus gave the Twelve power and authority to cure diseases and sent them to heal the sick, and they did (gospel)

                Pope Francis audience re Albania trip

                I wanted to encourage a people long oppressed by an atheistic, inhuman regime but now experiencing peaceful coexistence.  I was happy to see that coexistence active at an inter-religious meeting with fruitful dialogue.  Good will to do good to others unites diverse religious expressions.

                Intimate union with Jesus, from a loving relationship, gives strength to face pain, even martyrdom.  Our strength is the love of Christ!  It sustains us and inspires us to goodness and forgiveness.  The memory of the martyrs is the guarantee for the destiny of Albania; their blood is a seed that will bear fruits of peace and collaboration.

                I encouraged everyone to draw energy from the Risen Lord, to be an evangelical leaven and to engage in charitable and educational activities.  The bitter experience of the past bred openness towards the weak and dynamic charity.  Salute this courageous, hard-working people, who seek unity in peace.

                  Words of today's readings
                  (Click for animation)
                • Prv 30:5-9  God is a shield to those who take refuge in him.  Add nothing to his words.  Provide me only with the food I need, lest I deny you or steal. 
                • Lk 9:1-6  Jesus gave the Twelve power and sent them to proclaim the Kingdom and heal the sick:  “Take nothing for the journey.  When you're not welcomed, shake the dust off your feet when you leave.”  They went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases.
                Today's Saints, from Universalis
                  Our Lady of Walshingham
                  from shrine
                • Our Lady of Walsingham:  In a vision, the Virgin Mary told the lady of the Walsingham manor to build a replica of the house in Nazareth where the Annunciation took place
                • St. Stephanie, martyr at 18 with 500 others
                • Bl. Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin, widow, first Daughters of Charity, Servants of the Poor (now Sisters of Providence) leader.

                  • Fr. Chris Bazyouros homily podcast:  God's law/word is to inspire us, not give us minimums.  [BTW you too can podcast; it took me 10 min to add his homily:  crop/download photo (Google+), import/trim/tweak/export audio (Audacity), make video from photo and audio (Windows Movie Maker), import/publish video and get embed code (YouTube), adjust code (to 210×158, float right), paste into post with link and blurb, update post (Blogger)]
                  • Creighton:  The authority Jesus offered the apostles was his relationship with them.  May we go out and live out our relationship with Jesus in freedom despite uncertainties, failure, and fears.
                  •   What power and authority does God want me to exercise in my life and service?  God's word can transform our lives.  Jesus wedded power and authority with love and humility.  He told the apostles to travel light so they'd be free and depend on God alone.