September 15, 2018

+ triumph

September 14, 2018:  Exaltation of the Holy Cross

See a dozen connections with today?
Legend below
For 2nd reading kenosis hymn
For Psalm 78
Pope Francis
Homily:  When we contemplate the cross, the mark of Christians, we contemplate a sign of both defeat and victory.  All that Jesus did during his life failed on the cross; his followers' hope came to an end.  Don't be afraid to contemplate the cross as a moment of defeat, of failure; Paul wasn't.  He says Jesus emptied himself, annihilated himself, was made sin, took our sins upon himself.  Paul wasn't afraid to show this defeat; this can enlighten our dark moments.
The complaining Israelites' punishment by serpents refers to the ancient serpent, Satan.  But the Lord told Moses that the death-dealing serpent would bring salvation.  Jesus, having been made sin, defeated the serpent, the author of sin.  Satan was so happy on Good Friday that he didn't notice the trap in which he was to fall.  He saw Jesus in such a bad state and swallowed him like a fish bait.  But he also swallowed Jesus' divinity and so was destroyed, and the cross became a sign of victory.
Look at the cross; it gives us strength to go forward.  The destroyed serpent still barks and threatens but is a chained dog (Augustine).  If you don't approach him, he won't bite, but if you try to caress him because you're attracted to him as if he were a puppy, he'll destroy you.  Our life goes on with Christ victorious and risen, but also with that dog, to whom I must not draw close lest he bite.
The cross teaches us that in life there's failure and victory.  We must tolerate defeat, bear our failures patiently, even those of our sins because he paid for us.  We must ask forgiveness in him, never allowing the dog to seduce us.  Spend time before the crucifix:  look at our sign of defeat that provokes persecutions and destroys that's also our sign of victory because it's where God was victorious.
To Capuchin Friars:  Push yourselves to live religious service and activities in gratuitousness and humility, following St. Francis's example.  With daily, concrete actions you'll bring to life the smallness that characterizes Francis’ followers.  Assume humility and simplicity, God’s way of life, in your lives and in missions.  True greatness is making yourself small and serving.  Then you'll share in the Church’s evangelization efforts.  Bring the apostolate into direct contact with the poor and suffering.  When you face difficulties, don't lose hope; let gospel joy give you strength and consistency.
People feel the need to be accepted, listened to, loved.  Your active participation in concrete problems, your spiritual conversation, and administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation create connections with people.  Your community life of “union and communion,” fulfilled through listening and conversing, to strengthen discernment, is important.  Your history includes courageous witnesses to Christ and the Gospel.  Total consecration to God, simple life among people, sensitivity to the poor, spiritual accompaniment, and humility that welcomes:  this is your identity.
    Words of today's readings
  • Nm 21:4b-9 People to God and Moses:  “Why did you bring us from Egypt to die?  We're disgusted with this wretched food!”  The Lord punished them with saraph serpents; many people died.  People:  “We sinned in complaining.  Pray that God take them away.”  Lord:  “Mount a saraph on a pole; all who look at it will live.”  Moses did, and so it was.
  • Ps 78:1bc-2, 34-38  "Do not forget the works of the Lord!"  They sought him, remembering God was their rock and redeemer, but lied to him and were unfaithful.  Merciful, he forgave them and turned back his anger.
  • Phil 2:6-11  Christ, though in the form of God, emptied himself, came in human likeness, humbled himself, obeyed to death on a cross.  So God exalted him.  Every knee shall bend at Jesus' name, every tongue confess him as Lord.
  • Jn 3:13-17  Jesus to Nicodemus:  “As Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the Son be lifted up.  God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life.  God sent the Son to save, not condemn."
  • Fr. Brian Nunes homily videoThank God the death-dealing Cross gives us life, as the image of the deadly serpent came to cure the Israelites.
  • Creighton:  In today's celebration the Church proclaims that by Jesus' death on the Cross, he, the light, overcame the darkness.  The Cross is the doorway through darkness to light, a symbol of the victory of life over death, grace over sin.  The feast proclaims that God's power destroys sin and so defeats death. Love overcomes hatred; hope overcomes despair.  The Israelites were “bitten” by a longing for the security of slavery they knew; they were “bitten” by the serpents of fear, laziness, and refusal to mature.  When faced with the natural outcome of death by such a life of escapism, they pleaded to Moses and God.  God told Moses to display a serpent, so they could see what was destroying them.  Similarly, sinless Jesus chose to take on our sin and was lifted up so we may see the truth of sin in our lives.  If we want life and healing, we must take on the pattern of Christ.  Today's feast invites us to desire God’s will above ours, to be free to love and be loved, possible only in God.  We were made for this and long for it but allow ourselves to be satisfied with less....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "He wins!"  Jesus overturned the shame and defeat of the cross, transforming the cross into a symbol of victory.  The serpent is a "type" of the cross:  an instrument of death, it became a sign of life once on the pole. We are to be such a sign, carrying "the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed....  We are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our flesh."  We deny our very selves, take up our cross, and crucify ourselves to the world.  To those under the influence of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we seem dead, yet we're like the mounted serpent, or Jesus on the cross. When those who dismiss us hurt, they may turn to us for compassion and healing.  "Mercy triumphs over judgment."  Jesus crucified triumphs over death, sin, pride, and the world.  Celebrate and rejoice. Carrying our cross leads to risen life. In Jesus crucified, we are more than conquerors.
  • Deliverance from the serpents
    Michelangelo (Sistine Chapel)
  • Passionist:  Rejoice in the salvation and healing won for us by the Cross of Jesus.  “We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have saved the world.”
The Israelites were so worn out by their journey that they forgot the blessing of their deliverance from servitude and complained against God and Moses.  In our dark times we too can forget the bright ones showing God's lavish kindness.
  •  "So must the Son of Man be lifted up":  Jesus came to raise those on earth to the glory of heaven.  Jesus tells Nicodemus he's the "Son of Man" the Father sent to restore our relationship with God.  The "Son of Man" is an Old Testament title for the Messiah who will establish God's kingdom.  Jesus recalls how Moses "lifted up" the serpent to bring healing and life to those bitten by deadly serpents.  This plague was because the people refused to follow God.  God, hearing Moses' prayer, told him to make a serpent, set it on a pole, and all who look on it shall live."  The serpent image fixed to the pole resembled a cross.  Those who put their faith in God were healed and restored.  Jesus links Moses' act with his upcoming sacrificial death when he'd be "lifted up" on the cross.  Unlike Moses' deliverance that gave temporary relief, Jesus' death on the cross brought decisive victory, cancelling the debt of our sin, releasing us from guilt and condemnation, bringing us new, everlasting life in his Spirit.  Jesus now rules at the Father's right hand, interceding for us.
Moses and the brazen serpent/ Bourdon
The greatest proof of God's love for us is that he sent his Son to become one of us and lay down his life for us, an act of total self-giving love.  His love embraces every individual.  God won't rest till all his children have returned home.  God gives us freedom to choose whom and what to love.  If our love is guided by truth, goodness, and true beauty, we'll choose God and love him above all.  Do I put God first in my thoughts, cares, choices, and actions?  Do I allow God's love to shape how I treat others, to transform my thoughts, to conquer unruly passions and addictions?  The Spirit gives us wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, knowledge, reverence that we may live and serve in God's way of love.
  • Universalis:  Why exalt an instrument of torture?  We rejoice that God transformed it into a means of redemption.  It reminds us Christianity is no abstraction:  God intervened in world affairs.  Without the cross, Christianity is nonsense.
Dress legend
  • 'Serpent' tie pin:  God sent saraph serpents; Moses made a bronze serpent (1st reading); "as Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the Son be lifted up" (gospel)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  They remembered God was their rock (psalm)
  • 'Car with open mouth' pin:  I'll open my mouth in a parable; they flattered him with their mouths and lied to him with their tongues (psalm)
  • 'Boundless mercy' pin:  He, being merciful, forgave their sin... (psalm)
  • 'LOVE' suspenders, 'hearts' tie:  "God so loved the world..." (gospel); their hearts weren't steadfast toward God (psalm)
  • 'Math class' pin (with formulas with =-sign):  Jesus didn't regard equality with God something to be grasped (2nd reading)
  • Crucifix, 'blood drop' pin:  Jesus became obedient to death, death on a cross (2nd reading)
  • 'Wood block' tie pin:  Wood of the Cross
  • Red shirt:  Color of today's feast

August 25, 2018

Aug. 25

August 25, 2018:  Saturday, 2oth week, Ordinary Time

See ten connections with today?
Legend below



For 2nd reading
For Psalm 85
Pope Francis in Ireland
With couples in Dublin:  Our world needs a revolution of love.  Let it begin with you and your families.  Return to and take care of your family roots; they transmit generational experiences that teach life and love.  Children won't grow in love if they don't converse with their grandparents.
The witness of couples' struggles and stories are valuable to all young couples.  In the family, the “domestic church,” children learn the meaning of fidelity, integrity, and sacrifice.  The faith is passed on around the family table, in conversation, in language that only persevering love knows.  If children see their parents take good care of the less fortunate, they'll learn how to share the goods of the earth with others.  Parents are their children’s first teachers in the faith.
We're not used to anything that lasts our whole life.  The sacrament of matrimony shares in the mystery of God’s eternal love.  Temporary love is infatuation or puppy love. Love is definitive:  an ‘I’ and a ‘you.’  Love is God’s dream for us and the whole human family, one he asks us to make our own.
At Croke Park Stadium:  This is a family celebration of thanksgiving to God for who we are:  one worldwide family in Christ.  God wants every family to be a beacon of the joy of his love.  Each of us is called to find love in the family; no one said it would be easy.  Building family relationships is like brewing tea:  it's easy to bring the water to a boil, but a good cup of tea takes time and patience; it needs to brew.  Similarly, every day Jesus warms us with his love and lets it penetrate our being.  The small words “sorry,” “please,” and “thanks” are antidotes to family tensions.  There's no such thing as a perfect family.  Without the grace of forgiveness, families can grow sick and collapse, but small, simple acts of forgiveness, are the foundation a solid Christian family life is built on.
Social media used prudently in moderation can help build a web of friendships, solidarity, and support; overused, it can imprison us in a virtual reality that isolates us.  Families united by prayer can support other families in difficult situations.  Christ's love renews all things and makes possible marriage and conjugal love marked by fidelity, indissolubility, unity and openness to life.  In mutual self-giving, spouses can become one flesh and to open their hearts to those in need of love, especially the lonely, the abandoned, the weak, and the vulnerable. 
Grandparents teach us the meaning of conjugal and parental love; a society that doesn't value them has no future.  It's a big mistake not to ask the elderly about their experience or to think that talking to them is a waste of time.  Witness to the gospel to help realize God's dream of love, draw all God’s children together, so they may grow in unity and live in peace.
  • Ps 85:9ab, 10-14  "The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land."  Kindness and truth shall meet, justice and peace kiss.
  • Mt 23:1-12  “Do whatever the scribes and Pharisees tell you, but don't follow their example; they don't practice what they preach.  They burden people but won't help them.  They do things to be seen.  They love places of honor.  You have but one teacher, one Father in heaven, and one master, the Christ.  The greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

  • Creighton:  Today's readings focus on our relationship with God and our mutual commitment.  God demonstrates commitment to his people, displaying his glory and saying he'll always dwell with his children.  This glory only dwells in us when we open our hearts to it; a gift must be opened to enjoy its benefits.  We need to be grateful, not feel entitled to it.  'Fear' embraces the gift and recognizes its immensity.  When we fall short, we wonder why we don't see the outcomes promised.  Pray this ancient celtic prayer:  God enfold me...
  • One Bread, One Body:  "Humility and reality":  If we don't humble ourselves, the Lord will. Humility is facing reality, not humiliation or putting ourselves down. 'Humility' derives from 'humus' ('earth'); it's being 'down-to-earth,' realistic.  We're weak "earthen vessels," but Christ is strong. We can't save ourselves; we depend on Jesus for life.  We can trust our faithful Father completely.  We're temples of the Spirit who can claim divine power.  Humility is facing the reality that we can't control our lives and we don't have to provide for ourselves. We can be different, even vulnerable, because we have a loving Father.  We can live simply because God will take care of us. We can live with boldness, freedom, and purity because we have the Spirit's power.  Humility is living in holiness, simplicity, and vulnerability to persecution.
    Justitia et pax osculantur/ Dell'Orto
    (More at my Kissing gallery)
  • Passionist:  "Everyone is welcomed, loved, forgiven":  Ezekiel, who speaks for God, “Here I will dwell among the children of Israel,” saw God's glory enter the temple.  Jesus, in admonishing the scribes and Pharisees, also addresses church and politics today, too, as when ministers or officials use their office for personal gain or to protect a system, rather than caring for the vulnerable.  “I prefer a bruised, hurting, dirty Church because it's been on the streets, rather than an unhealthy, confined Church clinging to its own security”; “let the Church be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is welcomed, loved, forgiven” (Pope Francis).  “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less” (C.S. Lewis).
  •  "Humble yourself; be exalted":  Jesus warned the scribes and Pharisees to teach and serve with humility, but they drew attention to their status and practices.  In trying to be good models, they sought recognition for themselves rather than God and made practicing their faith a burden for those they were supposed to serve.  Respect for God inclines us to humble ourselves and listen and submit to God.
Jesus wanted to warn about the temptation to seek honors that draw attention to ourselves, not God.  Pride tempts us to put ourselves above others; it goes before destruction.  "You have one teacher, and you are all brothers to each other... Ministers don't put themselves forward to be called teacher; they know when they do well it's Christ within them.  They should only call themselves servants..." (Origen).
Respect for God inclines us to humility and simplicity, readiness to seek God. Humility isn't feeling bad about yourself or thinking yourself inferior. Humility frees us from preoccupation with ourselves, while low self-esteem focuses attention on ourselves. Humility is truth in self-understanding and action, seeing ourselves the way God sees us.  The humble assess themselves realistically.  Humility frees us to be ourselves, not despair or be proud, not wear a mask to look good to others, and not be swayed by fame, reputation, success, or failure.  Humility is the foundation of the other virtues because it enables us to see and judge correctly.  It helps us to be teachable, directs our energy and will to give ourselves to something greater, and frees us to love and serve selflessly.  The greatest example is Jesus who humbled himself and became obedient to death on a cross.
San Luis, Rey
Today's saints, from Universalis
  • Louis, King of France from 12, good ruler, Sorbonne founder, fair arbitrator; reared 11 well, known for prayer, penitence, love of poor
Dress legend
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Ezekiel's vision (1st reading); the Pharisees' works are to be seen (gospel)
    • 'Angel' pin:  The angel led me... (1st reading)
    • 'Feet' pin:  "This is where I will set my feet" (1st reading)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  The Lord proclaims peace (psalm)
    • 'Scales' pin adjoining 'peace sign' tie bar:  "Justice and peace shall kiss" (psalm)
    • 'Silverware' tie bar:  "They love places of honor at banquets" (gospel)
    • 'Fingers' tie pin:  The scribes and Pharisees lay burdens on people but won't lift a finger to move them (gospel)
    • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

    August 24, 2018


    August 24, 2018:  St. Bartholomew, Apostle

    See a dozen connections with today?
    Legend below

    For Psalm 145
    • Rv 21:9b-14  To show me the Lamb's bride, the angel took me, showed me radiant Jerusalem with its wall, 12 angel-staffed gates and 12 Apostle-inscribed courses of stones.
    • Ps 145:10-13, 17-18  "Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom."  Let your works thank you and your faithful bless you.  Your dominion is for all ages.  You are just, holy, and near.
    • Jn 1:45-51  Jesus / Nathanael [Bartholomew]:  “Here's a true child of Israel, duplicity-free.” / “How do you know me?” / “I saw you under the fig tree.” / “You're Son of God, King of Israel.” / “You believe because I told you I saw you under the tree?  You'll see greater things:  heaven opened, angels ascending/descending.”
    • Creighton:  Jesus had invited two of John the Baptist's disciples to “Come and see.”  Now one of them tells Nathanael (Bartholomew) to check things out.  Jesus says a good word about Nate, who takes Jesus' knowledge as a sign and believes; then we don't hear of him till an account of the Resurrection.  Faith needs doubt as a setting for belief. Belief plays out in doing and receiving, but never convincing.  We want certainty, but data, logic, and experience don't always convince us.  Believing is a way of being seen by God, called by Jesus, and accepted....
      St. John and St. Bartholomew/ Dossi
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Know body":  Nathanael's response is revealing response.  You may typically ask, "How do you know this about me?" but he asked: "How do you know me?"  Nathanael had a personal encounter with Christ and realized Jesus knew and loved him and was the Son of God.  Jesus' comment is also revealing, that Nathanael would see greater things.  He'd see the glory of heaven and the Church and be chosen as an apostle....  May we all encounter Jesus personally and accept him in his glory as our Lord and Savior.
    • Passionist:  "No deceit":  When Jesus complemented Nathanael for being without 'deceit' (Gk. dolos = lure, snare), he was saying he didn't bait people.  We live in a world of fake news, which is usually aimed at destroying a person.  Jesus disdained lying.  There's power in truth.  “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal faithfully are his delight.”  A follower of Christ must always be truthful because Jesus is the truth!  Jesus calls Nathaniel 'true' (Gk. ä-lā’-thā-ä, 'un-hide').  Truth is the opposite of deceit.  Jesus "came to testify to the truth.  Everyone of the truth hears my voice.”
    •  "Come and see":  Philip was eager to tell Nathanael (Bartholomew) about his decision to be Jesus' disciple; he tried to convince him Jesus was the Messiah.  Nathanael was skeptical because he didn't think the Messiah could come from Nazareth, a town he disliked and whose residents he considered unworthy of religious toleration.  Aren't we all a bit like that, skeptical when someone tries to convince us of the truth till we can comprehend it for ourselves?  Rather than argue, Philip just invited him to see for himself.  Arguments rarely win people over, but an encounter with Christ can.  Jesus opened Nathanael's heart, and he recognized Him as the Messiah.  When Jesus says "you'll see heaven opened, and God's angels ascending and descending...," he's referring to Jacob's dream.  Jesus promises Nathanael He will be the ladder that unites earth with heaven, the fulfillment of the promise to Jacob.  Jesus is the true stairway to heaven; in his incarnation we see heaven and earth united, God dwelling with us and bringing us into his heavenly kingdom...
    Today's saints, from Universalis
    • Bartholomew, apostle, patron of the sick.  Went to India?  Martyred in Armenia?
    Dress legend
    • 'Lamb' tie bar:  "I'll show you the bride of the Lamb" (1st reading)
    • 'Alps' pin:  "He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain" (1st reading)
    • 'Jeweled piano' pin:  "Jerusalem's radiance was like that of a precious stone" (1st reading)
    • 'Angel' pin:  "The angel spoke to me"; angels were stationed at 12 gates (1st reading); "You'll see God's angels ascending and descending..." (gospel)
    • 'Crowns' tie:  "Your friends make your Kingdom's splendor known" (psalm); "You are the King of Israel" (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  "Come and see" (gospel)
    • 'Phone' tie bar:  The Lord is near to all who 'call' on him in truth (psalm); "before Philip 'called' you..." (gospel)
    • 'Tree' pin:  "...I saw you under the fig tree" (gospel)
    • Red shirt, tie, suspenders:  St. Bartholomew feast
    Special greetings to and prayers for the community at

    August 17, 2018

    Aug. 17

    August 17, 2018:  Friday, 19th week, Ordinary Time
    in memory of Diana Salinas, RIP

    See 16 connections with today?
    Legend below


    For canticle
    • Ez 16:1-15, 60, 63  "Make known to Jerusalem her abominations....  You became mine:  I entered into a covenant with you, bathed, anointed, clothed, and adorned you.  You were beautiful, but, captivated by your beauty, made yourself a harlot.  Yet I'll remember my covenant with you, and you'll be silenced for shame when I pardon you...."
    • Ez 16:59-63  You broke a covenant; I'll deal with you according to what you've done.  Yet I'll re-establish my covenant with you, set up an everlasting covenant, that you may know I am Lord and be covered with confusion and silenced for shame when I pardon you.
    • Is 12:2-3, 4bcd, 5-6  "You have turned from your anger."  You'll draw water with joy at the fountain of salvation.  Thank and acclaim the Lord.  Great in your midst is the Holy One!
    • Mt 19:3-12  Pharisees tested Jesus:  “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” / “The Creator said, a man shall be joined to his wife.  Don't separate what God has joined.” / “Then why did Moses allow divorce?” / “Because of your hard hearts.  But whoever divorces his wife... and marries another commits adultery.” / Disciples:  “Then it's better not to marry.” / Some were incapable of marriage because they were born so; some because others made them so; some because they renounce marriage for the Kingdom's sake.  Accept this if you can.
    • Creighton:  Jesus tells us marriage is from God.  The Creator made us male and female. Husband and wife leave their parents and become one flesh, a human relationship blessed by God. The U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Marriage explains marriage is a blessing not only to the couple but also to their families and society; the couple co-creates human life.  "Don't separate what God has joined" is the first decisive statement against polygamy in Jewish tradition; the husband is made responsible; and women are protected from their husbands’ power to divorce at will (New Interpreter's Bible Commentary).  The exception ("unless...") in Matthew points to God’s will rather than a legalistic code.  Amoris Laetitia, a reminder of God’s mercy and love, helps us understand the challenges married couples face and how marriages can break down.  Let's remember this instead of judging those who have separated or divorced.
      Thanks to DeviantArt
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Radically new":  God's thoughts and ways aren't ours.  All human societies have had divorce and remarriage, because; lifelong monogamy is hard.  God can have extreme ways because he's given us a new nature in Christ.  Also, God's way for some is to renounce sexual relations for the Kingdom' sake of God's reign."  "Anyone in Christ is a new creation.  The old has passed away; all is new!"  May we be radically new (Christifideles laici 10).
    • Passionist:  Ezekiel tells the Israelites that they were like a child nobody wanted, but God loved and chose them. But instead of being grateful, they were captivated by their beauty and betrayed God's love. The people rescued and brought to life by God’s love forgot what God had done, but God still pardoned them.  We live from a love we don't deserve, a love we may forget or take for granted, but a love that's faithful even when we're not....
    •  "What God has joined together":  Jesus deals with divorce by harking back to the beginning of creation and God's plan for us.  The ideal that two people who marry should become indissolubly one flesh is found in the union of Adam and Eve, created for each other, symbol for all to come.  Jesus sets the ideal for marriage but explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession.  He also sets the ideal for those who renounce marriage for the kingdom's sake.  Both are calls to consecrated life.  Our lives belong to God, who gives strength, joy, and blessing to those who follow him.  Lord, give us the grace to live our call faithfully....
    Dress legend
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  "I saw you weltering in your blood....  I washed away your blood" (1st reading)
    • 'Plant' pin:  "Grow like a plant" (1st reading)
    • Sandals (not shown), 'feet' pin:  "I put fine sandals on your feet" (1st reading)
    • 'Crown' tie bar:  "I put a glorious diadem on your head"; "You were beautiful, with a queen's dignity" (1st reading)
    • Gold- and silver-colored accessories:  "I adorned you with gold and silver" (1st reading)
    • 'Scroll' pin:  "I entered into a covenant with you" (1st reading); "I'll remember and re-establish my covenant with you" (alt. 1st reading); bill of divorce (gospel)
    • Blue and green shirt:  "I bathed you with water" (1st reading); "You'll draw water joyfully..." (psalm); green for Ordinary Time season
    • 'Musical notes with "joy"; tie pin:  "With joy you'll draw water at the fountain of salvation" (psalm)
    • 'Olympics' tie pin:  "Make known his deeds among the nations" (psalm)
    • 'Interlocking rings' tie bar:  "They're one, no longer two; don't separate what God has joined” (gospel)
    • 'Heart' clip:  "Moses allowed divorce because of your hard hearts" (gospel)