May 31, 2017


May 31, 2017:  Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

See 11 connections with today?
Legend below

Magnificat settings (gospel)

For the canticle
As we prepare to celebrate the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, our catechesis on Christian hope turns to the Spirit and his saving work.   Paul prays that “the God of hope” will make us “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  As a gift of the Spirit, hope is both an anchor giving us security amid life's storms, and a “sail” driving us towards the safe harbor of eternal life.  The Spirit bears witness within us to the consoling truth of God’s promises and the inheritance awaiting us as his beloved children.  Filled with this hope, we can become “consolers in the image of the Paraclete… advocates, helpers, and bringers of comfort” to others (Cardinal Newman).  The Spirit, who brings hope to all creation, also inspires in us love and respect for this world.  May Pentecost find us, like Mary and the Apostles, gathered in prayer, and may the gift of the Spirit make us “abound in hope.”

  • 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.
    Visitation/ Giotto
  • 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.  Thank and praise the Lord; make known his name and deeds.  Shout with exultation!
  • 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.
  • Magnificat poem, by Fr. Peter J. Liuzzi, O.Carm.
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The simplicity of Pentecost":  All Christians are to receive Pentecost and give it to others.  At the first Christian Pentecost, 123 received the Holy Spirit in the morning, then gave the Spirit to almost 3,000 later that day.  Let the Spirit come to you and through you.  Many doubt they can give Pentecost to others, paralyzed by fear, feelings of inadequacy, or self-hatred.  They find it difficult to see themselves preach, heal, and pry like Peter, Paul, and Mary.  Today's feast gives us hope.  Mary brought Jesus and the Spirit to Elizabeth and John not by extraordinary works but by obeying the Lord in little things.  Mary visited Elizabeth, whom she loved and served; we can do as she did.  We give Pentecost to others by obeying the Lord.  The Spirit is "given to [and through] those who obey him."
  • Passionist:  In today's gospel, Mary, having heard the angel tell her she'd give birth to the Messiah, traveled quickly (likely with difficulty in her 2nd trimester) to Elizabeth and Zechariah's house, where she found her elderly cousin pregnant.  Elizabeth, thought barren, was now carrying John the Baptist.  Both women were in the middle of miraculous pregnancies, having had world-changing encounters with God.   Spirit-filled Elizabeth cried out, "Blessed are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does it happen that the mother of my Lord should come to me?," and Mary responded "My soul proclaims the Lord's greatness...."
    Visitation/ Sr. Mary Southard, CSJ
    At the moment the Messiah's mother greeted the Forerunner's mother, John leaped for joy in the womb.  “Though you haven't seen him, you love him, and though you don't see him now, you believe in him and are filled with joy.”  Even before his birth, John the Baptist pointed the way to Christ.  Mary brought Christ to Elizabeth, John, and the world.  When I read how she reacted when Elizabeth saw her, and how John leapt when he recognized Christ in her, it heightened my understanding of what it means to look for God in every person, every encounter.  Then I reflected on my own vocation.  I hope I help people see God’s presence in their lives and grow in their relationship with God.  I want to look for God's face in everyone I meet and in every experience.  The faces of even those we don’t care for are the faces of Christ.  We're all called to be like Mary and bring Christ to our world, and to be like John and point the way to him.  In all we do and experience, God is there, and we're called to see and announce him.  "He hasn't left the womb but speaks by leaping; he can't cry out but his actions make him heard; he hasn't seen the light but he points out the Sun” (John Chrysostom re John the Baptist).
      Ask, "Who have I been Christ to today?  Who has been Christ to me today?  How have I failed today in being and recognizing Christ?"  Lord, help us see you in the face of every person and be your face to everyone we meet.
      •  "Joyful anticipation of the Messiah":  Mary was blessed with being the mother of the Son of God, but that blessedness became a sword piercing her as he died.  "Without God's Son nothing could exist; without Mary's son, nothing could be redeemed" (Anselm).   To be chosen by God is a privilege and responsibility.  Mary received a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow, but her joy, fueled by her faith, hope, and trust  in God, was not diminished by her sorrow.  Jesus promised, "no one will take your joy from you."

      The Visitation/ Rembrandt
      When Elizabeth greeted Mary and recognized the Messiah in Mary's womb, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promise of a Savior.  John, even before the birth of the Messiah, pointed to him as the Spirit revealed his presence.  The Spirit enables us to know and experience God and his kingdom.  May we through the Spirit live in the joy and knowledge of God's presence.
      Dress legend
      • Tie with hearts:  Exult with all your heart; he'll renew you in his love (1st reading); love one another (2nd reading)
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  The King of Israel is in your midst (1st reading)
      • 'Phone' tie bar:  Mary 'called' on Elizabeth (gospel)
      • 'Dove' pin:  Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (gospel)
      • 'Eyeball' pin:  God has looked with favor on his lowly servant (gospel)
      • 'Visitation/Magnificat' pin for gospel and feast
      • 'Sailboat' tie bar:  Hope is a 'sail' (Pope audience)
      • Blue in shirt:  "Blessed Mother blue" (feast); "With joy you'll draw water at the fount of salvation" (canticle)
      • White in shirt and socks:  Easter season 

      May 30, 2017

      May 30

      May 30, 2017:  Tuesday, 7th week, Easter

      See 10+ connections with today?
      Legend below

      For Psalm 68
      For Ascension week
      Pentecost watch
      Pope Francis homily
      Today's 1st reading could be called "a bishop's leave-taking" because Paul has left the Ephesus Church to go to Jerusalem, where the Spirit called him to.  All shepherds have to step down.  At some point the Lord says "come here, go there, come to me."  A shepherd must be prepared to step down properly, not hanging on to his position, not having links with his sheep not purified by the Cross.  During the council Paul held with the priests of Ephesus he demonstrated three “apostolic attitudes”:
      Never turning back:  Turning back is the worst of sins.  A shepherd who leads the church without compromise will be at peace.  This takes courage.
      Obeying the Spirit, without knowing what will happen:  A shepherd must know he's on a journey.  Paul was a shepherd who serves his sheep.  He had an uncompromising attitude, and when the Spirit asked him to go on his journey, he didn't know what would happen.  He went because he had nothing of his own; he hadn't taken control of his sheep but had served them.  He left knowing the Spirit had told him, not knowing what would happen except that trials awaited him.  He didn't retire; he went to serve other churches.  His heart was open to God's voice.
      Not considering your life precious, not being the center of history:  Be a servant.
      With Paul's example, pray for our shepherds, our parish priests, our bishops, the Pope, that they live without compromise, on a journey, not believing they're the center of history, and knowing how to step down.

        • Acts 20:17-27  Paul to Miletus presbyters:  “Since I first came to Asia, I've served the Lord and taught you, and I bore witness to repentance and faith.  But now I'm going to Jerusalem; the Spirit has warned me hardships await me there, but I must bear witness to the Gospel and finish the ministry the Lord gave me.  You won't see me again.  I proclaimed God's plan to you, so I'm not responsible for your blood.”
        • Ps 68:10-11, 20-21  "Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth."  You restored the land and provided your flock for the needy.  The Lord our salvation bears our burdens.
        • Jn 17:1-11a  “Father, glorify your son, so your son may glorify you and give eternal life to all you gave him.  I glorified you by accomplishing the work you gave me; now glorify me with the glory I had with you before.  I revealed your name to those you gave me.  They've kept your word and know everything you gave me is from you and that I came from you.  I pray for the ones you gave me because they're yours.  I'll no longer be in the world, but they are, while I'm coming to you.”
        • Creighton:  "For God's greater glory":  Today we hear, “I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work you gave me....  I revealed your name…”  God is love and we are the Body of Christ.  God does not love; God is Love.  Jesus does not love, Jesus is Love.  Body of Christ is meant to be a verb, not a noun.  Love, compassion, friendship, laughter, solidarity reveal us as the living Body of Christ.  I ‘glorify’ the Lord when I do God’s ‘work,’ live my vocation.  When I'm parent, child, priest, or friend being Body of Christ, I ‘glorify’ God and reveal God.
        • One Bread, One Body:  "The Spirit of paradox":  The Holy Spirit, being God, is paradoxical.  The Spirit gives us light to see what we've never seen.  We can see the future, receive insights about the past, and recognize new opportunities in the present.  But when we live in the Spirit, we might not know what will happen.  We see more, but we see it's nothing compared to the mystery of God.  In the Spirit, we receive abundant life; paradoxically, we receive it by dying to self.  We have life in the Spirit because we have death in the Spirit.  Because we fear paradox, we fear mystery and the Spirit, but the Lord commands us not to fear and graces us accordingly.  Come, Holy Spirit!
              The Ascension of Christ/ Rembrandt
            • Use your imagination, walk in his shoes, and relate it to your experience:  What did it feel like for Jesus to be committed to his Father’s will, have compassion, face opposition, agonize in the olive garden, forgive those crucifying him?

          •  "Eternal life:  to know the Father, the only true God":  Jesus' glory is the cross, in which God reveals his love for sinners and his power of redemption.  Eternal life is divine life within us. When we possess it, we experience God's majesty, peace, joy, love, and holiness.   Knowledge of God is personal.  Jesus makes it possible for each of us to know God as our Father. In Jesus we see God's perfect love.
          Lord, may I possess the grace to be at one with You!  Amidst all the things around me, all I crave is unity with you.  You are all my soul needs.  Dear friend, unite this little soul of mine with your perfect goodness.  You are mine; when shall I be yours?  Beloved, be the magnet of my heart; press and unite me to your sacred heart.  You made me for yourself; make me one with you.  Absorb this tiny drop of life into the ocean of goodness it came from. (Francis de Sales)
          Dress legend
          • '?' tie pin:  "I don't know what will happen to me in Jerusalem" (1st reading)
          • 'Dove' pin:  "The Holy Spirit has been warning me" (1st reading)
          • 'Blood drop' pin:  "I'm not responsible for any of your blood" (1st reading), York martyrs (today's memorial)
          • 'Sheep' tie bar:  "Your flock settled in the land" (psalm)
          • 'Bear' tie bar:  The Lord 'bears' our burdens (psalm)
          • 'Eyeball' pin:  "Jesus raised his eyes to heaven" (gospel)
          • 'Clocks' suspenders:  "Father, the hour has come." (gospel)
          • 'Airplane' tie pin, 'hot air balloons' tie:  "Jesus has been taken up to heaven and will return." (Sunday 1st reading)
          • White shirt and socks:  Easter season

          May 29, 2017

          May 29

          May 29, 2017:  Monday, 7th week, Easter / Memorial Day

          Wait—catch my Ascension post if you haven't yet!

          • 'Hands' pin:  "When Paul laid his hands on them, the Spirit came" (1st reading)
          • '?' tie pin:  "Did you receive the Spirit?" (1st reading); "You don't need to have anyone question you" (gospel)
          • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "I've told you this so you have peace in me" (gospel)
          • 'Dove' pin:  "Did you receive the Spirit?" (1st reading); "you'll receive power when the Spirit comes" (Sunday 1st reading)
          • Red, white, and blue shirt:  Red for Holy Spirit novena, white for Easter season, blue for baptisms of John and Spirit (1st reading)

          Listen to music for today and Holy Spirit novena
          For Psalm 68
          Pope Francis homily
          Today's 1st reading could be called the Ephesus Pentecost:  the community had received the faith but didn’t know about the Holy Spirit.  They were good people of faith but not aware of this gift of the Father:  When Paul laid his hands on them the Holy Spirit came upon them and they began to speak in tongues.
          The Spirit moves hearts as we read of people moved to approach Jesus, like Nicodemus, like the woman subject to bleeding for twelve years, like the Samaritan, like the sinner.  Ask yourself, what place does the Spirit have in my life?  Can I hear it?  Can I ask for inspiration before making a decision or doing something?  Or is my heart quiet, lacking in emotion and turmoil?  If an EKG were performed on some hearts, the result would be a flat line, totally lacking in emotion.  Even in the gospels there are “still” hearts:  the doctors of the law believed in God and knew the commandments, but their hearts were closed; they were not disturbed.
          Let yourself be “disturbed”; ask the Spirit to help you discern and not have an “ideological faith.”  "I felt this…"  But isn’t that being sentimental?  Not if you're on the right track, if you to feel the urge to go visit that sick person or change your life….  The Spirit is the master of discernment.  If you don't have this kind of turmoil in your heart to discern what's happening, you have a cold, ideological faith.  The “drama” of the doctors of the law angry with Jesus derived from their hearts closed to the Spirit.  Ask the Spirit to guide you on the path of everyday life, to give you grace to distinguish good from less good, because it's easy to distinguish good from evil.
          Open your heart to the Spirit.  In RevelationJohn invites the "Seven Churches," the dioceses of that time, to listen to the Spirit.  Ask for the grace to hear what the Spirit is saying to our Church, our community, our parish, our family, and for the grace to learn the language to understand.
            • Acts 19:1-8  Paul / disciples at Ephesus:  “Did you receive the Holy Spirit?” / “We never heard of a Holy Spirit.” / “How were you baptized?” / “John's baptism.” / “John told people to repent and believe in Jesus.”  He baptized them in Jesus' name and laid hands on them, and the Spirit came upon them.  For three months they debated boldly about the Kingdom.
            • Ps 68:2-3ab, 4-5acd, 6-7ab  "Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth."  God arises; his enemies are scattered like smoke is driven away and wax melts, but the just rejoice.  God is father of orphans and defender of widows...
            • Jn 16:29-33  Disciples / Jesus:  “Now we realize you know everything and believe you came from God.” / “The hour has arrived when you'll be scattered and leave me alone, but the Father is with me.  I tell you so you might have peace in me.  You'll have trouble in the world, but take courage; I've conquered the world.”
                The Ascension/ Dossi
              • Creighton:  Running a race is a success for all runners with benefits outweighing their struggles.  The race we run for Christ has benefits that outweigh the struggles we endure:  eternal life.  We'll have trouble but are encouraged that Jesus has "conquered the world."
              • One Bread, One Body:  "12 weak men":  The Ephesian believers talked and acted in such a way that Paul questioned whether they had the Holy Spirit.  When he found out they'd only received John's baptism, he told them about Jesus and baptized them, and the Spirit came down on them.  Though they didn't know Jesus, they soon received him and the Spirit.  They admitted their weakness, that they never heard of the Spirit.  The Spirit's power isn't for those who pretend they're powerful but for children.  Are you weak enough to receive the Spirit?
              • Passionist:  Paul baptized and laid hands on new disciples so they'd receive the Holy Spirit and receive gifts of speaking in tongues and prophecy.  We too receive the Spirit's gifts and the ability to strengthen the gifts that God gave us from our birth.  What we do with these gifts is up to us.  In the gospel, Jesus is giving his last instructions before his crucifixion.  He challenges the apostles' belief and tells them they'll leave him.  They won't understand his teachings till Pentecost when the Spirit makes things clear.  He didn't say believing in him would be easy, but our faith and prayer are the key to weathering today's storms, tapping into the gifts the Spirit has given us, and bringing hope and courage to others.
              •  "Peace in overcoming the world":  Jesus often taught in parables:  stories and images intended to spur reflection; now he speaks plainly about his mission to redeem the world through love.  The disciples believed Jesus came from God and taught as one who knew God.  Jesus, who knew their hearts, strengths, and weaknesses, warned them they'd be tested and would fail; he met their betrayal and abandonment with love and prayer.  Jesus reassures us of his peace, love, faithfulness, and victory as he did to them.  We may fail him, but he won't forget or fail us.  He assures us he's overcome the world and all that would seek to keep us from his help and healing.  He promises to guide us through trials or hardships.  He gives us his Holy Spirit who strengthens us and fills us with hope and trust.  The Spirit gives us the strength and courage we need to overcome adversity and to persevere.

              May 28, 2017


              May 28, 2017:  Ascension of the Lord

              See 16 connections with today?
              Legend below

                For Psalm 47
                For upcoming Sundays
                  Pope Francis Ascension homily
                  Prayer is not a way to be a little at peace with yourself or find some interior harmony; it's to bring all to God, to entrust the world to him.  In Christ’s Ascension, Jesus' power, God's strength, that linked earth and heaven for us, is revealed.   This power continues and will last forever in Christ’s prayers and intercession for us.  Jesus has gifted this capacity to intercede also to us; the Church has the power and the duty to intercede for all.
                  The power of prayer lies in anchoring ourselves on God with our burdens, persons, and situations so as not to be submerged by the "evil of living."  Prayer allows God to enter our time.   Prayer is intercession and charity, not tranquility.  Our power lies not in triumphing or shouting according to the world's logic but exercising the gentle power of prayer that can stop wars and bring peace.
                  Another power of Jesus revealed in the Ascension is that of proclamation.   When Jesus sent his disciples to proclaim him with the Spirit's power, he trusted us.  We must not close ourselves:  the gospel can't be shut in and sealed; God's love is dynamic and wants to reach others.  To proclaim him, I need to go out, come out of myself, not relax in acquired comforts.  A Christian is a pilgrim, a missionary, a marathon runner, always on the move with the Lord towards other.  The Lord wants the proclamation to go ahead with his strength, with the limpid and meek strength of joyful witnessing.
                    Wordle: Readings 6-1-14
                  • Acts 1:1-11  Apostles / Jesus, “Are you going to restore the kingdom now?” / “It's not for you to know, but you'll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you'll be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him.  While they were looking up, two men stood and said, “Why are you standing there?  This Jesus will return.”
                  • Ps 47:2-3, 6-9  "God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord."  Shout to God with gladness, for the Lord is king over all the earth!
                  • Eph 1:17-23  May God give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know him.  May you be enlightened, that you may know the hope of his call, the riches of his inheritance, and the greatness of his power for us believers, in accord with the might he worked in raising Christ and seating him at his right hand.  God put all things beneath his feet and gave Christ as head of all to his body, the church.
                  • Mt 28:16-20  When the Eleven saw Jesus at Galilee, they worshiped but doubted.  Jesus told them, “All power has been given to me.  Go and make disciples of all, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them.  I am with you always.”
                  • Creighton:  If I were an apostle hearing Jesus say, “Go make disciples...  baptizing them... teaching them; I am with you always.” then seeing him taken up, what would I think?  Today's celebration marks the loss of Jesus on earth and the hope that he remains with us.  Had the apostles not lost Jesus in the flesh, they likely would not have spread his message.  We’re scared of facing the unknown, but Jesus’ promise of presence reassures us.  We trust Jesus will stay with us no matter what.
                  • One Bread, One Body:  "Look up and go out":  When the apostles wanted to know when Jesus would restore the kingdom, Jesus instead responded about who is responsible for restoring it, then ascended, leaving them responsible to make disciples, but with the promise of his presence and the Spirit's power.  We take up where Jesus left off, with the responsibility for evangelizing the world, the Spirit's power, and the privilege of living for the kingdom.
                    Himmelfahrt Christi
                  • Passionist:  When we take leave of someone or something, our lives change.  There's joy and sadness as we part and move on.  Jesus' parting words to his apostles are for us too. As ministers of God’s Word, we're called to be Jesus' hands, feet, heart, and soul.  It is no simple task to serve the people of God in the name of the One who created us.  Ministry is filled with joy, positive outcomes, and relishing the growth in love and faith we see, but even when we're tried, tested, or doubting, we can remember Jesus is with us “always, until the end of time.”  We're called to embrace the leave-takings life throws at us, whether illness, injustice, or lack of mercy and compassion among people.  I believe the church Jesus founded on love and mercy is big enough for what surrounds us.  The faith and love of God’s people enriches my life and helps me stay on the path of servanthood....
                  •  "The Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven":  40 is a significant in Scripture:  days of Moses' prayer and fasting, years the Israelites were in the wilderness, days Elijah fasted, days the risen Jesus appeared to his disciples.  Jesus' departure and ascension was the end of his physical presence with his disciples and the beginning of his presence with them through the Spirit.  The Risen Lord reigns from heaven as our Redeemer and King; he intercedes for us and empowers us through the Spirit, giving us new life and strength to carry on his work.  His last words point to the mission he entrusted to his followers:  to be his witnesses so that all may  hear the good news.  He gives us the same power he received when the Spirit anointed him at the beginning of his mission.  The Gospel is God's power to free, heal, and transform.  We're called to be ambassadors for Christ, heralds of the good news, to speak on his behalf and bring others into a personal encounter with him.  The risen Lord works in and through us by the power of his Spirit....
                  Dress legend
                  • 'Hot air balloons' tie:  "Jesus has been taken up into heaven and will return the same way." (1st reading)
                  • Blue in shirt:  "John baptized with water..." (1st reading)
                  • White in shirt:  "Two men dressed in white stood beside them" (1st reading); Easter season
                  • 'Angel with trumpet' pin:  "The Lord mounts his throne amid trumpet blasts" (psalm)
                  • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is king over all the earth  (psalm)
                  • 'Hands' pin:  Clap your hands (psalm)
                  • 'Musical note' tie pin:  Sing hymns of praise (psalm)
                  • 'Feet' pin:  He put all things beneath his feet (2nd reading)
                  • 'Owl' pin:  "May God give you a Spirit of wisdom" (2nd reading)
                  • 'Phone' tie bar:  "May you know the hope that belongs to his 'call'"  (2nd reading)
                  • 'Eyeball' tie pin, 'hearts' suspenders:  "They were looking at the sky" (1st reading); "May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened" (2nd reading); Verdi Chorus "salute to love" concert tonight including parishioner Judy
                  • 'Dove' pin:  "You'll be baptized with the Holy Spirit, receive power when the Spirit comes" (1st reading); “Make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit" (gospel)
                  • 'Olympics' tie pin:  You'll be my witnesses to the ends of the earth (gospel)