Pure Gold

Friday of the Fourth Week of Advent
December 23, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/122322.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Malachi preaches the news of God’s Coming with dramatic authority! He tells us that the Lord is sending a messenger, somewhat in the mode of John the Baptist, to prepare the Lord’s way.

 Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
    to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
    the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
    Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
    And who can stand when he appears?

Malachi 3:1-4

The passage is so dramatic that it inspired Handel to include it in his magnificent “Messiah”. Handel captures Malachi’s ominous tone, asking the key question: Who shall abide the day of his coming?

These are words of purification and judgement, with tiny tinges of fire and brimstone! Indeed the Lord’s coming is often stunningly fast and awesome. Just last week, our dear Sister Rosemary Herron passed away suddenly and unexpectedly while enjoying a holiday evening. Her death left all who knew her in a state of utter shock and heartbreak.


As we read Malachi today, we might wonder, “Was she ready?” Could she “withstand the Day of His Coming”? What was it like to have her world spun from earth to heaven in the matter of a few moments?

The second part of our reading gives us an answer.

Lo, I will send you
    Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
    the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the parents to their children,
    and the hearts of the children to their parents,

Lest I come and strike
    the land with doom.

Malachi 3:23-24

If our hearts have been turned toward one another in this world, and if our time on earth has been spent in so turning others, then the Lord’s coming is not a “terrible day”. As Malachi alludes, our lives refine us like gold or silver. At the Lord’s coming, these precious elements will be tested.

  • Did we love inclusively?
  • Did we turn others toward love?
  • Did we try to turn the selfish worldly tide toward love?

All who knew Sister Rosemary know that she was pure gold, already refined by her lifelong choice to be Mercy in the world. That’s what makes her sudden passing so very difficult to cope with. But for Rosemary, that Divine Coming must have been a glorious surprise when she no doubt heard the words of Matthew’s Gospel:

Then the King will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance,
the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Matthew 25:34-36

Perhaps all of you kind readers would offer a prayer of consolation today for our Sister Rosemary’s family and friends, for her beloved school community at Mercy Career and Technical High School, for her religious community – the Sisters of Mercy, and for the many people she influenced throughout her very generous life.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church;
come and save your beloved, whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


Poetry: Good-bye Poem – Meg Bowman

Life is but weak if we waste it in weeping:
So, she has left you, she would soon or late.
Death from our lives takes all in her keeping,
Nothing we do can our sorrow abate.
Love, be it ever so deep and entire,
Asks that we strive for the end that she sought:
Catch the tossed torch! Take up the fire!
Light up our world, and teach as she taught.

Music: We Miss You by Eternity

Living Justice

Memorial of St. Josaphat
Saturday, November 12, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111222.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings carry the themes of perseverance in prayer and commitment to Gospel justice.

Familiar Psalm 112 draws the theme forward for us.

That theme is justice, 
and what it really means for us in our daily lives.

Wealth and riches shall be in the blessed one’s house;
where generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
who is gracious and merciful and just.

Psalm 112:3-4

In secular culture, the words “justice” and “law” carry very different interpretations from biblical meanings. In the Bible, justice is that right-balance of Creation in which all beings support one another in the fullness of God’s love.

It is a balance which we all must help achieve, as we see in our first reading from John. In this unique letter, addressed to only one person – a Christian named Gaius, – John requests material help for his early missionaries.

Beloved, you are faithful in all you do for the brothers and sisters,
especially for strangers;
they have testified to your love before the Church.
Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.

Such requests mark the life of the Church throughout the ages, because our call in Christian community is about helping one another to live a full life in Christ. We could easily read John’s plea as a plea to us, especially in these times of seeking just global immigration and economic policies.


In our Gospel, Jesus tells a parable which is overtly about prayer. But it carries deep themes of the justice God desires for all people, especially the vulnerable:

Will not God then secure the rights of God’s chosen ones
who call out day and night? 
Will God be slow to answer them? 
I tell you, God will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. 
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find justice on the earth?

Luke 18: 7-8

Practicing justice and righteousness means active advocacy for the vulnerable. It means doing the works of mercy as a way to love God.

Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
that person is gracious and merciful and just.
It is well for the one who is gracious and lends,
who lives a graceful justice;
they shall never be moved;
the just ones shall be in everlasting remembrance.

Psalm 112: 3-6

Poetry from Micah 6:8


Music: Seek Justice; Love Mercy – by Me in Motion

 Renee 

Lead by Love

Memorial of St. Martin of Tours
November 11, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/111122.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our first reading is from John’s very brief second epistle.

This is a fascinating passage. It is addressed to “Kyria”, Greek for “Lady”. The contents encourage this revered lady to keep herself and her household true to Christ.

But now, Lady, I ask you,
not as though I were writing a new commandment
but the one we have had from the beginning:
let us love one another.
For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;

2 John 5-6

Reading the passage, one wonders who “Kyria” is. At least three theories exist among scholars:

  • an actual religious leader 
  • a metaphor for the Church 
  • Mary, Mother of Jesus

The letter is beautifully personal in tone, so I like to think that Kyria was, indeed, an influential church leader and John’s beloved friend. So often, the names of early Christian women leaders are lost to history. Whether they were omitted in the original texts, or erased by subsequent misogynistic translators, we can only surmise. But the absence has served to support the misperception that women are of lesser consequence in the Church.


As we read 2 John, we can be aware of the major themes he entrusted to dear “Kyria”, whoever she might have been, to be transmitted to her household:

  • Truth is expressed through love, modeled to us in Jesus.
  • Obedience to God is expressed through service in God’s name.
  • Guard against any who distract you from these teachings.

Poetry: Seek Truth – Rumi

If you never searched for truth 
come with us 
and you will become a seeker. 

If you were never a musician 
come with us 
and you will find your voice… 

In our gathering one candle lights hundreds, 
we will light your path and give you courage 
so you will open like a flower 
and join in joyous laughter. 

Plant the seed of truth and watch it grow 
when it spreads its branches 
come with us and sit under the blossoms. 

Your eyes will open to the secret of the truth.


Music: Kyria (Lady) is the feminine form of Kyrie , as in “Kyrie eleison” (Lord, have mercy).

So the music I thought of for today is the magnificent Kyrie Eleison from Charles Gounod’s Mass for St. Cecilia.

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A Parish Church

Feast of the Dedication of the St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome
November 9, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy,  we celebrate a rare type of feast day – one that marks the dedication of a church building.  For many, that seems a little odd. We are accustomed to celebrating Mary, Joseph and other saints and feasts of Our Lord.

Here’s the thing: we are not actually celebrating a building.  We are celebrating what the building represents – the Body of Christ, the Church, made of living stones – us.

But sometimes it helps to have visible symbols of the things we venerate and celebrate. That’s why we have medals, rosary beads and candles – so that we can SEE something as we try to conceptualize a spiritual reality.


As we pray today, we might take time to remember the parish church of our youth. You might never love another parish like you loved that one – where you and your little friends snuck a whisper in the pews. Or – even now and again – maybe you fell off the kneeler in a stifled giggle as some neighbor lady leaped into soprano at the Miraculous Medal Novena.


Still, it might have been the place where we first prayed and first began to approach the beauty and wonder of God.

My memories are filled with unrepeatable treasures like:

  • our wonderful Sisters of St. Joseph, who at early morning Masses pre-Vatican II,
    mystically lowered their veils over their eyes on the way to Communion.
    I so wondered what their prayer was like!
  • the lingering smell of incense, beeswax, and holiness lingering in every corner,
    speaking a prayer for me that had no words
  • our very faithful and good priests
  • the beautiful Latin chants and prayers during which you had no idea what you were saying,
    but you knew exactly what you meant: God is Wonderful!
  • our old Irish pastor whose brogue was so thick we could not decipher a word except
    “Feast of the Great St. Patrick, boys and girrrrls! No school today!”

St. John Lateran is the Pope’s parish church. Since he is the Bishop of the whole People of God, his physical church has come to symbolize the universal Body of Christ, the world Church.

john lateran

Pope Benedict XVI in his Angelus Address, on November 9, 2008 said this:

Dear friends, today’s feast celebrates a mystery that is always relevant: God’s desire to build a spiritual temple in the world, a community that worships him in spirit and truth (cf. John 4:23-24).
But this observance also reminds us of the importance of the material buildings in which the community gathers to celebrate the praises of God.
Every community therefore has the duty to take special care of its own sacred buildings, which are a precious religious and historical patrimony. For this we call upon the intercession of Mary Most Holy, that she help us to become, like her, the “house of God,” living temple of his love.

st j lateran

As we pray today, we might want to consider the gift of faith on which our own lives are built – a faith whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ. In our second reading, Paul says this:

Brothers and sisters:
You are God’s building…..
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

And in our Gospel, Jesus speaks of his own body as a temple which, though apparently destroyed by his enemies, will be raised up in three days.

By our Baptism, that same spiritual temple lives in us and in all the community of faith. That same power of Resurrection is alive in us! So in a very real sense, what we celebrate today is ourselves – the Living Church – raised up and visible as a sign of God’s Life in the world.

Happy Feast Day, Church!


Poetry: Sunday Morning – Ruby Archer (1873-1961) was an American port

How sweet to wait within a holy place
The hour of song and prayer,
To yield the heart unto a spell of grace,
Serenely brooding like a presence there. 

The hymns that live within the organ’s heart,
Flow silent o’er the soul;
Unsounded echoes from the memory start,
Like mystic writing from an angel’s scroll. 


Music: Cornerstone – Hillsong

Choosing Goodness

Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
November 7, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110722.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings raise and answer some powerful questions. How does faith inspire moral responsibility? What is the relationship between moral commitment and leadership? How do we measure a person’s “communal righteousness”?

Paul asks these questions with respect to bishops and presbyters, and the standards are stringent – extending even to the leader’s family.

… appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you,
on condition that a man be blameless,
married only once, with believing children
who are not accused of licentiousness or rebelliousness

In our Gospel, Jesus is direct and practical about how morally good a leader needs to be:

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

Choosing leaders, trusting them, moving forward with them to a chosen future is something we do not only in our faith communities, but also in the civic arena. Even though we try mightily to separate religion and politics, these will inevitably touch because they so significantly affect the human person.

I find it interesting that these readings permeate my thoughts and prayers as many of us in the United States prepare to vote tomorrow. How might my faith direct me to choose those candidates who lead toward inclusivity, peace, mutual charity, and care for the vulnerable?

What I need as I ponder these questions is exactly what the disciples requested of Jesus. In our Gospel, Jesus instructs the disciples on sin, repentance and forgiveness — all of which we encounter within the struggling community of faith. Hearing him, the  disciples immediately realize what it is they most need to engage the challenges before them:

Lord, increase our faith!

Let us join their prayer today for unity and love in our faith and civic communities.


Thought: By voting, we help answer Pope France’s prayer:

I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians 
who are genuinely disturbed
by the state of society,
the people, the lives of the poor!

Joy of the Gospel (205)

 Renee Yann, RSM

God Knows

Saturday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
November 5, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110522.cfm

Lk 16_45 knows heart

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our first reading shows Paul shepherding in the very early days of Christianity.  His ministry throughout the Mediterranean basin guided early Christians as the Church planted its first harvest.

Paul lets us know that this ministry of leadership is not easy – that he relies on the good will of the communities he serves:

You were, of course, concerned about me but lacked an opportunity.
Not that I say this because of need,
for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself,
to be self-sufficient.

Paul seems to refer specifically to material help,  but certainly he values even more the spiritual and moral loyalty of his followers.


In our Gospel, Jesus offers us a sermonette that can, at first, seem a little confusing. His tone, as he speaks to a group of Pharisees, is somewhat ironic. But his bottomline message is this: loyalty to God, not to material things.

The thread running through all these passages?  The work of the Church needs both our spiritual and material loyalty to thrive  – whether in Paul’s time, or Christ’s, or our own.

The Pharisees pretended such loyalty, but Jesus challenged them:

You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts …

A sobering challenge against which to measure ourselves!


Poetry: All Your Secrets – Omar Khayyam

All thy secrets are known to the wisdom of Heaven
God knows them hair by hair and vein by vein.
I admit that by power of hypocrisy you may be able
to deceive men, but what will you do before Him who
knows your misdeeds one by one in every detail?

Music: Thank You for Giving to the Lord – Ray Boltz

 Renee Yann, RSM

Prayer of Rejoicing

Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo
November 4, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110422.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 122, one of the Psalms of Ascent prayed as the community of Israel prepared to worship.

Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

The community was happy to be able to gather at the Temple/Jerusalem which was more than a physical place of worship. The Temple/Jerusalem was a stable symbol of God’s power and faithful presence to Israel. It was so significant a symbol that, even when destroyed, its power sustained the community of believers.


The “Temple” became much more than a building; Jerusalem much more than a city. The very concepts grew into living realities with which the believer formed a dynamic relationship. Within that relationship, the believer could meet and explore the mystery of God.

“Temple/Jerusalem” became an icon of one’s faith relationship with God.


As the psalm indicates, the believer must go out of oneself to dwell within this icon, to grow in this relationship. It is a place of full spiritual integration achieved through a lifting of the spirit into the joyful discipline of grace.

Jerusalem, built as a city
with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD.Psalm 22:3-4

The essence of this graceful transformation is to respond with profound gratitude to God’s invitation to love and mercy. Such a response raises our hearts to a new understanding of God’s Presence in every aspect of our lives.

According to the decree for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
In it are set up judgment seats,
seats for the house of David.Psalm 22:4-5


The psalm verses not included in today’s reading tell us that once we begin to live this sacred relationship, we become a force for peace and justice among our sisters and brothers.

For the peace of Jerusalem pray:
“May those who love you prosper!
May peace be within your ramparts,
prosperity within your towers.”
For the sake of my brothers and friends I say,
“Peace be with you.”
For the sake of the house of the LORD, our God,
I pray for your good.Psalm 22: 6-9

These verses seem like such a good prayer today.


Poem: from Rumi

Remember, 
the entrance door 
to the sanctuary 
is inside you.


Music: Fill This Temple Once Again – Don Moen and Benny Hinn 

Remembering ..

All Souls Day
November 2, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we remember the beloved Holy Souls who have gone before us. They are never far from us. Some of us may visit cemeteries today. Some will place a list of names upon the altar. But all of us will whisper their names: grandparents, parents, spouses, children, brothers, sisters and beloved friends — meeting each name in a sacred memory.

Romans6_8 All Souls

May those memories, whatever they contain, be transformed by our loving prayers. May whatever grief remains in us be blessed by the grace of faith and thanksgiving. And may the Holy Ones we honor today brighten us with some of their overwhelming Eternal Light in God.


Poetry: All Souls Day – Frances Bellerby, (1899–1975) was an English poet, novelist and short story writer. “Her poetry is imbued with a spiritual awareness encoded through the natural environment while her political socialism is more evident in her prose”. (from The Encyclopedia of British Women’s Writing – Jane Dowson)

Let’s go our old way
by the stream, and kick the leaves
as we always did, to make
the rhythm of breaking waves.

This day draws no breath –
shows no colour anywhere
except for the leaves – in their death
brilliant as never before.

Yellow of Brimstone Butterfly,
brown of Oak Eggar Moth –
you’d say. And I’d be wondering why
a summer never seems lost

if two have been together
witnessing the variousness of light,
and the same two in lustreless November
enter the year’s night…

The slow-worm stream – how still!
Above that spider’s unguarded door,
look – dull pearls…Time’s full,
brimming, can hold no more.

Next moment (we well know,
my darling, you and I)
what the small day cannot hold
must spill into eternity.

So perhaps we should move cat-soft
meanwhile, and leave everything unsaid,
until no shadow of risk can be left
of disturbing the scatheless dead.

Ah, but you were always leaf-light.
And you so seldom talk
as we go. But there at my side
through the bright leaves you walk.

And yet – touch my hand
that I may be quite without fear,
for it seems as if a mist descends,
and the leaves where you walk do not stir.

Music: Lux Aeterna- Eternal Light – Michael Hoppé

Lux aeterna
Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.

Requiem aeternam
dona eis, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord,
with Your saints forever,
for You are Mercy.

Eternal rest
give to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

All Saints Day -2022

November 1, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110122.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate all those canonized and uncanonized sisters and brothers who lived their lives in Christ with gusto and fidelity.

saints

The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III by (731–741) of an oratory in St. Peter’s for the relics “of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world”. (Wikipedia)

I’ve personally known many of these saints, whether I fully recognized their sanctity or not. They have lived in my family, school, neighborhood, parish, ministries, and workplaces. Some were clothed as nuns and some as beggars. Some taught me by words and some by silence. I knew some by name, others by grace. Now they have all joined the eternal family watching over us and cheering for us.

There they have formed communion with my more recognized and favorite holy friends like Mary, Joseph, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Kateri Tekawitha, Anna the Prophet, John XXIII, and of course Catherine McAuley.

What a wonderful day to know that these beloveds of God are our sisters and brothers, who pray with and for us that we may one day rejoice with them in eternal light.

Who are the saints that speak especially to your heart? Take time to have a nice conversation with them on this glorious feastday!

If you are interested in learning more about the saints, this is a wonderful book by Father James Martin, SJ.


Poetry: All Saints Day – Ada Cambridge, (1844 – 1926), later known as Ada Cross, was an English-born Australian writer. She wrote more than 25 works of fiction, three volumes of poetry and two autobiographical works. Many of her novels were serialized in Australian newspapers but never published in book form.

“But they are at peace.”

Never to weary more, nor suffer sorrow,— 
   Their strife all over, and their work all done: 
At peace—and only waiting for the morrow; 
   Heaven’s rest and rapture even now begun. 

So tired once! long fetter’d, sorely burden’d, 
   Ye struggled hard and well for your release; 
Ye fought in faith and love—and ye are guerdon’d, 
   O happy souls! for now ye are at peace. 

No more of pain, no more of bitter weeping! 
   For us a darkness and an empty place, 
Somewhere a little dust—in angels’ keeping— 
   A blessèd memory of a vanish’d face. 

For us the lonely path, the daily toiling, 
   The din and strife of battle, never still’d; 
For us the wounds, the hunger, and the soiling,— 
   The utter, speechless longing, unfulfill’d. 

For us the army camp’d upon the mountains, 
   Unseen, yet fighting with our Syrian foes,— 
The heaven-sent manna and the wayside fountains, 
   The hope and promise, sweetening our woes. 

For them the joyous spirit, freely ranging 
   Green hills and fields where never mortal trod; 
For them the light unfading and unchanging, 
   The perfect quietness—the peace of God. 

For both, a dim, mysterious, distant greeting; 
   For both, at Jesus’ cross, a drawing near; 
At Eucharistic gate a blessed meeting, 
   When angels and archangels worship here. 

For both, God grant, an everlasting union, 
   When sin shall pass away and tears shall cease; 
For both the deep and full and true communion, 
   For both the happy life that is “at peace.”

Music:  All Saints Day – featuring “Lifesong” by Casting Crowns (lyrics below)

Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
Now joined with my life
I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to you

Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
I want to sign your name
To the end of this day

Lord led my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to you
Lord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to you

Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
I want to sign your name
To the end of this day

Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to you
Hallelujah, Hallelujah let my lifesong sing to you
Hallelujah, Hallelujah let my lifesong sing to you

Hallelujah,…
Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
I want to sign your name
To the end of this day

Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
Let my lifesong sing to you
I want to sign your name
To the end of this day
Lord led my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to you

Released from Hate

Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
October 31, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/103122.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, what a beautiful prayer Paul spreads over his listeners. It is a prayer that calls all believers to live in love, peace, and reverence for one another:

Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.

Philippians 2:1-2

Reading this passage, I was immediately struck by the awareness of how much opposite messaging we receive in today’s world.

In the arenas of entertainment, politics, civic life, and – sad to say – even religion, we often hear a message contradictory to Paul’s. We hear civic and supposedly “religious” leaders tell their followers to attack, shun, fight, and even “hang” the other. Night after night on our TVs, we watch fictional characters act out the hate and crime that has become normalized in our culture. Our video games, music and movies are drowning in blood, hate and anger.

Sometimes, I am just astounded that we entertain ourselves with murder, war, rape and other outrages against human beings!

With the vicious attack on Paul Pelosi this week, as in so many other horrendous incidents of unbridled hate, we see a perpetrator sickened and abetted by the violent rhetoric our society has allowed. And perhaps even worse than the crime itself, we see political leaders not only minimizing the atrocity, but mocking the victim!


If St. Paul were here, what would he say?

  • where is the encouragement in Christ?
  • where is the solace in love?
  • where is the participation in the Spirit?
  • where is the compassion and mercy?

As a matter of fact, if St. Paul were here, I think he would wail in sadness!


In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tells us what a society should look like when it respects God and God’s Creation. It should be impelled by the deepest respect and tenderness toward the self and the other:

When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; 
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Luke 14:12-14

Bottom line is this: a lot of people just don’t buy Paul’s or Jesus’s message. A lot of people would rather live for themselves to the expense of others.

But we’re not just “a lot of people”. We are Christ’s, and we must examine our speech, attitudes, choices and behaviors for anything that contradicts his message of love, mercy, inclusion, and mutual reverence.

The contradictions are subtle. Discovering and uprooting them takes honest and humble prayer. It requires a good look at how we entertain ourselves, how we confront those we disagree with, who we criticize and how we do it.


Several years ago, I was shocked when someone close to me announced, “I hate Obama!” I asked her why and she said, “I just do. I don’t need a reason!”

Where does all the hate in our culture come from? And, oh, how much more does it tell us about the haters than the ones hated! And of course, the essential question, “What can we do about it?”

Jesus made it simple. He told us to look around the “table” of our attitudes, behaviors and choices.

Who is welcome? Who is shunned? Who is embraced as a human being? Who is objectified and dispensed with as unimportant.

As in all solutions, we can begin with ourselves. Ridding ourselves of these contradictions requires that we listen to ourselves to see if, how, and why we ever use the word “hate”. Only then might we cleanse our hearts of its subtle poisons.


Prose: Two thoughts today

The enemy is fear.
We think it is hate,
but it is really fear.

Mahatma Gandhi

Who would I be,
and what power would be expressed in my life,
if I were not dominated by fear?

Paula D’Arcy

Music: At My Table – JJ Heller – a kinda fun video to watch!