Alleluia: An Ageless Love

Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
August 3, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/080322.cfm

Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited the people.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings carry the themes of Hope and Restoration.

Jeremiah tells the people that, even after all they’ve been through, God has an age-old love for them and therefore will not abandon them.

Jeremiah continues with a description of the future coming of the Savior, promising that Israel will be restored:

Yes, a day will come when the watchmen
will call out on Mount Ephraim:
“Rise up, let us go to Zion,
to the LORD, our God.”
For thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered the people,
the remnant of Israel.

Our Alleluia Verse announces that this expected Savior has arrived in Jesus Christ, the Divine Shepherd, Lord, Guardian and Redeemer whom Jeremiah describes in our Responsorial Psalm.

Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen in our midst
and God has visited the people.


Matthew’s Gospel today, which can seem a little contentious in tone, actually demonstrates the surprising truth that Jesus came not only for the sake of Israel, but for all people — for us.

We are all beneficiaries of God’s age-old love for us.

Poetry: You are the future, the great sunrise red – Rainer Maria Rilke

You are the future, the great sunrise red
above the broad plains of eternity.
You are the cock-crow when time’s night has fled,
You are the dew, the matins, and the maid,
the stranger and the mother, you are death.

You are the changeful shape that out of Fate
rears up in everlasting solitude,
the unlamented and the unacclaimed,
beyond describing as some savage wood.

You are the deep epitome of things
that keeps its being’s secret with locked lip,
and shows itself to others otherwise:
to the ship, a haven — to the land, a ship.


Music: I Have Loved You – Michael Joncas 

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his light and his peace.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his joy and his hope.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Seek the face of the Lord and long for him: He will bring you his care and his love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine;

I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have called you and you are mine.

Alleluia: God’s Word Brings Grace

Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori,
Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Monday, August 1, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/080122.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings convey compelling stories and life-changing miracles.

The passage from Jeremiah tells the tale of the false prophet Hananiah. He didn’t tell the people the truth. He was a kind of ancient “prosperity preacher” who spun a message similar to one we might hear today.

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success, or seed faith)is a religious belief among some Protestant Christians that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. Material and especially financial success is seen as a sign of divine favor.

Wikipedia

Prosperity religion in centered on “me” and what I have to do to have “enough” and “more than enough” material goods and spiritual assurances.


Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.

In our reading from Matthew, Jesus acts out the true Gospel. It is centered on others,especially those in need.

Picture the moment. Jesus has been gut-punched by the barbarous murder of his beloved friend and cousin John. He wants to be alone to mourn. Watch him, in your heart’s eye, as he rows alone across the lake to a place of longed-for solitude. Every swish and pull through the water is a memory of John, is a hope and fragment of the dream they shared. Every oar’s dipping is a word with his Father to understand the “why”.

And yet, on the lake’s other side, where the needy crowd has found him out, he sets his own need aside. Jesus heals. He feeds. He teaches. He IS for the other not himself.

His words summarize what his actions model. He tells the gathered people that he has fed their bodies – met their material needs. But there is so much more to spiritual wholeness. Every word from the mouth of God — even the word that John had died — every word brings grace, and the call to feed and heal the world around us.

Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth
from the mouth of God.


Poetry: Not By Bread Alone – James Terry White

If thou of fortune be bereft,
And thou dost find but two loaves left
To thee—sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

But not alone does beauty bide
Where bloom and tint and fragrance hide;
The minstrel's melody may feed
Perhaps a more insistent need.

But every beauty, howe'er blent
To ear or eye, fails to content;
Only the heart, with love afire,
Can satisfy the soul's desire.

Music:  Not by Bread Alone- M. Roger Holland II

Alleluia: Nets and Clay

Thursday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 28, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/072822.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jeremiah gives us the wonderful image of the potter and the clay. Through this image, Israel is called to repentance, faith and transformation.

Whenever the object of clay which the potter was making
turned out badly in his hand, 
he tried again,
making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.
Then the word of the LORD came to me:
Can I not do to you, house of Israel,
as this potter has done? says the LORD.
Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter,
so are you in my hand, house of Israel.

The passage carries the warning that some of potter’s attempts don’t quite cut it. They will be culled for the  spiritual “recycle bin”. Today’s Gospel offers a similar forewarning.

The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,
which collects fish of every kind.
When it is full they haul it ashore
and sit down to put what is good into buckets.
What is bad they throw away.
Thus it will be at the end of the age.


Friends, we all want to make it into the heavenly bucket, right? So let’s sincerely pray the prayer of our Alleluia Verse:

Alleluia, alleluia.
Open our heart, O Lord,
to listen to the words of your Son.


Poetry: The Song of the Potter – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Turn, turn, my wheel! Turn round and round,
Without a pause, without a sound:
So spins the flying world away!
This clay, well mixed with marl and sand,
Follows the motion of my hand;
For some must follow, and some command,
Though all are made of clay!

Turn, turn, my wheel! All things must change
To something new, to something strange;
Nothing that is can pause or stay;
The moon will wax, the moon will wane,
The mist and cloud will turn to rain,
The rain to mist and cloud again,
To-morrow be to-day.

Turn, turn, my wheel! All life is brief;
What now is bud will soon be leaf,
What now is leaf will soon decay;
The wind blows east, the wind blows west;
The blue eggs in the robin’s nest
Will soon have wings and beak and breast,
And flutter and fly away.

Turn, turn, my wheel! This earthen jar
A touch can make, a touch can mar;
And shall it to the Potter say,
What makest thou? Thou hast no hand?
As men who think to understand
A world by their Creator planned,
Who wiser is than they.

Turn, turn, my wheel! ‘Tis nature’s plan
The child should grow into the man,
The man grow wrinkled, old, and gray;
In youth the heart exults and sings,
The pulses leap, the feet have wings;
In age the cricket chirps, and brings
The harvest home of day.

Turn, turn, my wheel! The human race,
Of every tongue, of every place,
Caucasian, Coptic, or Malay,
All that inhabit this great earth,
Whatever be their rank or worth,
Are kindred and allied by birth,
And made of the same clay.

Turn, turn, my wheel! What is begun
At daybreak must at dark be done,
To-morrow will be another day;
To-morrow the hot furnace flame
Will search the heart and try the frame,
And stamp with honor or with shame
These vessels made of clay.

Stop, stop, my wheel! Too soon, too soon
The noon will be the afternoon,
Too soon to-day be yesterday;
Behind us in our path we cast
The broken potsherds of the past,
And all are ground to dust at last,
And trodden into clay.


Music: The Potter’s Hand- Helen  Baylor

I know for sure, all of my days are held in Your hands
Crafted into Your perfect plan
You gently call me, into Your presence
Guiding me by, Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes
I’m captured by, Your Holy calling
Set me apart
I know You’re drawing me to Yourself
Lead me Lord I pray
Take me, and mold me
Use me, fill me
I give my life to the Potter’s hands
Hold me, You guide me
Lead me, walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter’s hand
You gently call me, into Your presence
Guiding me by, Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes
I’m captured by, Your Holy calling
Set me apart
I know You’re drawing me to Yourself
Lead me Lord I pray
Take me, and mold me
Use me, fill me
I give my life to my Potter’s hands
Hold me, You guide me
Lead me, walk beside me
I give my life to my Potter’s hand
Take me, and mold me
Use me, fill me
I give my life to my Potter’s hands
Hold me, You guide me
Lead me, walk beside me
I give my life to my Potter’s hand
Give Him everything
Give Him everything
Right now, give Him everything
Everything
Give Him everything
Lord, I give it all
To You

Alleluia: Imperative Mood

Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 18, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/071822.cfm

Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear God’s voice,
soften your hearts.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the readings heighten the familiar imperative of our Alleluia Verse with several more injunctions:

  • Hear
  • Soften
  • Arise
  • Answer 
  • Do
  • Love
  • Walk

God is not shy in telling us what to do in order to grow in holiness – in mutual relationship with God.

We have to DO something, to be responsive in order to unite with God. We can’t be just passive lumps of inactive devotion.

Don’t Be a Spiritual Couch Potato

Each instruction has its own vitality which is meant, in turn, to vitalize our spirits and to make us agents of the Holy One in the world.


Our first reading carries this message clearly to the people of Micah’s time. It’s not about contrived sacrifice. It’s about love and compassion.

With what shall I come before the LORD,
and bow before God most high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with myriad streams of oil?
Shall I give my first-born for my crime,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
You have been told, O Creature, what is good,
and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6: 6-8

The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’s time demand a sign before they will listen. Jesus says the only sign they will get is to remember that the Ninevites listened when Jonah delivered God’s message. 

At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah;
and there is something greater than Jonah here.

Matthew 12:42

We don’t have a Micah or a Jonah coaching us to holiness. What we have is the Word present to us in the Gospel and in the community of faith. That Word reveals itself in the circumstances of our lives to which we must respond by:

Hearing God’s invitation 
Softening our hearts from judgments 
Arising from our self-absorption 
Answering the call to holiness
Doing good
Loving compassionately 
Walking humbly with our God


Poetry: from Rumi

Discard yourself 
and thereby regain yourself. 
Spread the trap of humility 
and ensnare Love.

Music: Act Justly – Pat Barrett

Alleluia: Just Listen!

Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 12, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/071222.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we are once again enjoined:

Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.

In other words, just listen!

This verse is repeated so often because it’s so important! And the rest of our readings illustrate that fact.

In our first reading King Ahaz is in a mess with a lot of cleverly named guys trying to take over Jerusalem. Apparently Ahaz is a nervous wreck about the situation when God says, “Just listen – it’s going to be OK!”


And don’t you just love the way God encourages Isaiah to support Ahaz. God tells Isaiah to stay calm and calls the bad guys “two stumps of smoldering brands”:

Take care you remain tranquil and do not fear;
let not your courage fail
before these two stumps of smoldering brands
the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans,
and of the son Remaliah,


In our Gospel, Jesus warns his Capernaum neighbors about what can happen when we ignore God’s voice. Jesus loves this little village and has settled there in his early ministry. But he is upset with them:

And as for you, Capernaum:

Will you be exalted to heaven?
You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom,
it would have remained until this day.
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable
for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Matthew 11: 22-24

So, even though today’s readings are pretty heavy, the message is simple:

  • Soften your heart in silence and reflection
  • Just listen to God speaking in your life
  • Act on the loving Word given to you

Prose: from Frederick Buechner, Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation

Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery it is.
In the boredom and pain of it,
no less than in the excitement and gladness:
touch, taste, smell your way
to the holy and hidden heart of it,
because in the last analysis
all moments are key moments,
and life itself is grace.


Music: Ave Generose – Maureen McCarthy Draper

Alleluia: Insulted Yet Blessed

Saturday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 9, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/070922.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse captures the mixed and even contradictory conditions awaiting a dedicated disciple of Christ:

Alleluia, alleluia.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ,
blessed are you,
for the Spirit of God rests upon you.


This brief verse immediately brought to my mind the image of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. He had wonderful, faith-filled dialogues with God about his seemingly contradictory “blessings”.

So here’s a snapshot of how I prayed with our verse today:

God: You’re going to be insulted for your faith, but consider it a blessing. 
Me: What! Wait a minute! Maybe I’d prefer some more obvious blessings!
God: No, you’re going to be insulted for your faith, but it’s a sign that my Spirit rests upon you.
Me: ….. Crickets


I have been insulted and harassed for my faith, but not too often. Usually that occasional insult has come from a sad or dysfunctional source who caused more harm to themselves than to me.


The greatest insult to my faith has come from within the Church itself. The clerical sex abuse scandals and cover-ups of recent years deeply shook the investment I had made in service of the Church. The revelations mocked the innocent trust I had unquestioningly placed in the institutional Church. They invited public insult toward me and toward all of us associated with that now exposed institution.

Although my pain cannot be compared to the trauma of survivors of abuse, it has been a seismic insult and has forced me to a deeper discernment of my faith. While profoundly painful, this “insult” has, indeed, been a blessing which has helped me to separate my true Catholic faith from any misplaced institutional devotion.


The closing verses of today’s Gospel are both a warning and a pledge for those who commit themselves to Christ:

And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.


Poetry: The Break of Faith – Renee Yann, RSM

My father walked with me each day in Lent
past neighbors’ homes with names
and histories like mine,
to church, where laborers in solid faith,
received a Host before the Mass began
and left to be at work on time.

Some days, my father left but I remained
secure among the faithful whose
religion was a sure as rock.
I trusted and believed their saying
salvation was reserved for those
within the Church, praying
at ten or twelve to be like
the elite who held the ancient definitions
of the God I longed to know.  
Those devoted people were 
the heroes of my youth.
I beat my breast with secret joy and knelt
beside them in the unexamined truth.

Some were robed in black and wafted
scents of incense and of candle wax
that were to me like fine, intoxicant perfume.
Through them, I chose the worship of a God
who was the slim abstraction of my mind
the mute extension of my whim.

But my mind is not the tender thing it was.
The years have passed and I have hardened 
to them, like a lone, maturing tree.
The deeply venerated guides I loved
have journeyed with my father to the pale,
expanded universe of memory.

That I stand questioning them now is jeopardy
against the very pegs that ground my life.
I am outside the Church they held for me
because it seems a box remote from God,
who, with the years, assumed Creation’s face,
became a fire in my heart, consuming
those securities I designated once as faith.

The theologian says we walk in footsteps of a God
who comes to us from futures we cannot define.
That God of paradox is breaking in my mind
like lava breaks from stolid earth 
to recreate the world. But,
with an utterly profound regret,
I leave the heroes and the saints of youth behind.

Music: Renouncement – Michael Hoppé

Alleluia: Turn toward God’s Face

Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 7, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/070722.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the Alleluia Verse repeats yesterday’s declaration with an added encouragement 

Alleluia, alleluia.
The Kingdom of God is at hand:
repent and believe in the Gospel.


In the tender passage from Hosea, we imagine God as a tender, grieving mother whose child has turned away from Her Love:

Thus says the LORD:
When Israel was a child I loved him, 
out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
the farther they went from me,
Sacrificing to the Baals
and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
who took them in my arms;
I drew them with human cords,
with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
who raises an infant to her cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
they did not know that I was their healer.


Our Responsorial Psalm is a plea from that “child” to be welcomed back by God:

Once again, O LORD of hosts,
look down from heaven, and see:
Take care of this vine,
and protect what your right hand has planted,
the beloved creature whom you yourself made strong.


And in our Gospel, we receive the announcement and the urgent invitation telling us WHY it is time to turn toward God:

Jesus said to his Apostles:
“As you go, make this proclamation:
‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’


I think it’s safe to say that in most lives there are elements that jeopardize, or at least inhibit, our relationship with God. We have both responsibilities and distractions that divert our intention from a deep spiritual life.

With today’s readings God is asking us to turn around from these distractions and look into the eyes of Infinite Love. We can begin by praying this simple and powerful verse from our Psalm – for ourselves and for our world.

Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.


Poetry: ― Rabindranath Tagore from Gitanjali

Day after day, O Lord of my life, 
shall I stand before thee face to face.
With folded hands, O Lord of all worlds,
shall I stand before thee face to face. 

Under thy great sky in solitude and silence,
with humble heart
shall I stand before thee face to face. 

In this laborious world of thine,
tumultuous with toil and with struggle,
among hurrying crowds
shall I stand before thee face to face. 

And when my work shall be done in this world,
O King of kings,
alone and speechless
shall I stand before thee face to face.

Music: Show Me Your Face, Lord – Steffany Gretzinger

Alleluia: Unmuted!

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
July 5, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/070522.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, a double-sided theme runs through our readings

Our first reading references idols of silver and gold, “the work of artisans, no god at all”. 

The Responsorial Psalm describes in detail how the power of God’s creative Word  contrasts to these mute and powerless idols.

Our God is in heaven;
whatever God wills, God does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. Alleluia.

They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. Alleluia.

They have hands but feel not;
they have feet but walk not.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone that trusts in them.
R. Alleluia

In today’s Gospel, we see the power of the Living Word, Jesus, to release the mute man from his demons. As we pray with this Gospel, we can think of the word “mute” in many ways.

Wherever truth, integrity, kindness and respect are stifled – whether in us or in others – God’s desire to speak to and through us is muted. 

Sometimes we mute ourselves by burying our true voice under a blanket of pretenses, frivolities, excuses, or useless ambitions. We can mute others by our prejudices, judgements and indifference. And we can do it all so easily, like flipping a button on the TV remote!

Let’s pray to be amazed today, as were the Gospel crowds, at the power of Jesus to free the Word in us!


Poetry: In Silence by Thomas Merton

Be still.
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your

name.
Listen
to the living walls.

Who are you?
Who
are you? Whose
silence are you?

Who (be quiet)
are you (as these stones
are quiet). Do not
think of what you are
still less of
what you may one day be.

Rather
be what you are (but who?)
be the unthinkable one
you do not know.

O be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you

speaking (I do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.

“I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire. The stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
How can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
How can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?”

Music: Echo of Our Souls – Kerani

Some lovely instrumental music to unmute the Word as we pray.

Alleluia: Saints for the Ages

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Today’s Readings:

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/062922-day.cfm

Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.


I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation,
and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the great Apostles Peter and Paul. The stories of these men embody all the hills and valleys of a Christian life, albeit to majestic scale: call, conversion of heart, ministry, miracles, sacrifice, suffering, failure and glory.

Every human being passes through these hills and valleys. Why do some emerge as saints for the ages and others not? 

Today’s readings would suggest this answer: they believed, and submitted their hearts to God’s unimaginable grace and power. Through that faith, they ultimately were led to the heights of holiness and carried the rest of us believers with them.

Paul says, 

“The Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
so that through me the proclamation of the Word
might be completed.”

When Jesus asks Peter what he believes, Peter says,

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Ordinary men responding with a clear and extraordinary faith. May their lives and legacies bless and teach us.


Poetry: Two wonderful sonnets from Malcolm Guite

If you love Malcolm Guite’s poetry as much as I do, you might enjoy his blog found at this link:


Peter Denies Christ – Rembrandt

St. Peter

Impulsive master of misunderstanding
You comfort me with all your big mistakes;
Jumping the ship before you make the landing,
Placing the bet before you know the stakes.
I love the way you step out without knowing,
The way you sometimes speak before you think,
The way your broken faith is always growing,
The way he holds you even when you sink.
Born to a world that always tried to shame you,
Your shaky ego vulnerable to shame,
I love the way that Jesus chose to name you,
Before you knew how to deserve that name.
And in the end your Saviour let you prove
That each denial is undone by love.

Apostle

Caravaggio’s Conversion of Saul
An enemy whom God has made a friend,
A righteous man discounting righteousness,
Last to believe and first for God to send,
He found the fountain in the wilderness.
Thrown to the ground and raised at the same moment,
A prisoner who set his captors free,
A naked man with love his only garment,
A blinded man who helped the world to see,
A Jew who had been perfect in the law,
Blesses the flesh of every other race
And helps them see what the apostles saw;
The glory of the lord in Jesus’ face.
Strong in his weakness, joyful in his pains,
And bound by love, he freed us from our chains.

Music: Nunc scio vere (Now I am sure…) – Introit from today’s liturgy

Alleluia: Trust!

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr
June 28, 2022

Today’s Readings

https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/062822.cfm

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Alleluia Verse, like so many of the Psalms, encourages us to TRUST.

“24” was an action-packed show popular a couple of decades ago. In that TV series, the protagonist was played by a tough Kiefer Sutherland. Iconic to each episode was his repeated assurance to his allies, “Trust me”. Doing so would supposedly get them out of every possible kind of fix!

Trusting him usually brought a few hairy escapes, gunfights and explosions. And I guess it can feel like that sometimes when we think we trust God.  But it shouldn’t.

Real and full trust in God yields deep peace
which then impels us to act for justice and mercy.

Alleluia, alleluia.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in God’s word.

Our readings this week from the prophet Amos portray a morally confused community who are tumbling toward God’s wrath. The prophet uses stunning imagery to declare his warning and to call the people to a repentance which acts for justice toward the poor and suffering.

The prophet speaks in imagery. The point is not a literal one. The point, rather, is to recognize that the cost of a disordered public life is inescapably very great. The cost cannot be denied or understated.

Walter Brueggemann

We too as a global community, and as individuals, are called to live lives ordered on God’s Law – lives patterned on justice, mercy, and love for all people.

How do you think we’re doing with that? I think Amos would have preaching tirade if he lived in our day!


But as our Alleluia Verse and our Gospel indicate, a first step toward redemption is TRUST. God is with us. Jesus is “in our boat”. These passages encourage us to get to know, understand, and trust God’s Presence through growing familiarity with the Word.

Once our spirits rest in this kind of assurance, we will have the freedom and courage not only to face ourselves, but to act for true justice, mercy, and love for every person.


Poetry: Poem 8 – Hadewijch of Antwerp, a 13th century mystic and poet.

Born is the new season as the old one that lasted so long is drawing to a close.
Those prepared to do love’s service will receive her rewards: new comfort and new strength.
If they love her with the vigor of love, they will soon be one with love in love.
To be one with love is an awesome calling and those who long for it should spare no effort.
Beyond all reason they will give their all and go through all.
For love dwells so deep in the womb of the Father that her power will unfold only to those who serve her with utter devotion.
First the lover must learn charity and keep God’s law.
Then he shall be blessed a hundredfold, and he shall do great things without great effort, and bear all pain without suffering.
And so his life will surpass human reason indeed.
Those who long to be one with love achieve great things, and shirk no effort.
They shall be strong and capable of any task that will win them the love of love, to help the sick or the healthy, the blind, the crippled or the wounded.
For this is what the lover owes to love.
He shall help the strangers and give to the poor and soothe the suffering whenever he can.
He shall pay loyal service to God’s friends, to saints and men, with a strength that is not human, by night and by day.
And when his strength seems to falter he will still place his trust in love.
Those who trust in love with all their being shall be given all they need.
For she brings comfort to the sad and guidance to those who cannot read.
Love will be pleased with the lover if he accepts no other comfort and trusts in her alone.
Those who desire to live in love alone with all their might and heart shall so dispose all things that they shall soon possess her all.

Music: Sleep in the Storm – by Unspoken Music

(Captures the essence of today’s Gospel where Jesus sleeps in a gusty storm – TRUST!)