Fifth Sunday of Easter 2022

May 15, 2022

Today, in in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings celebrate the New Creation given us in Jesus Christ.

Rev_ new

Acts describes the continuing whirlwind journey of Paul and Barnabas. They buzz all over the Mediterranean basin, carrying the Good News to Jews and Gentiles. Their work and enthusiasm teach us what the word “apostolic” truly signifies- reaching out to all people with the message of Jesus. Paul and Barnabas return home jubilant, 

… reporting what God had done with them
and how God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Acts 14:27

In our second reading, John, the visionary and poet, has another kind of door opened for him. His vision is of a New Creation, joined with God in a covenant of love. God renews the promise once made to Abraham, this time embodied in the gift of Jesus Christ to all humanity:

Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race.
He will dwell with them and they will be his people
and God himself will always be with them as their God.

Revelation 21:3

In our Gospel, Jesus tells us once again how it is that we become part of this New Creation:

I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.

John 13:34

All of these glorious images may help us see our life in God through new eyes. Perhaps there are a few half-closed doors in our lives that need to be oiled with the grace of renewal. Simply recognizing these in prayer, in God’s presence, is a step toward a New Creation of our hearts and spirits. We are so beloved of God! Let us open our hearts to that renewing love.


Poetry: The Limits of Your Long – Ranier Marie Rilke, Book of Hours

Listen.

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.


Music: Heaven on Earth by Stars GO Dim ( Lyrics below.)

I’ve been asleep
Head in the sand
Watching the time just ticking
Clock runs around
Days in and out
Can’t really call it living
Somewhere I let light go dark
But here’s where my new story starts
Take my life and let it be
Set on fire for all to see
Break me down, build me up again
Don’t leave me the way I’ve been
Take my heart into Your hands
Come and finish what You began
‘Til I seek Your kingdom first
‘Til I shine, shine
Like Heaven on earth
Like Heaven on earth
I wanna wake, I wanna see
All of the ways You’re moving
Show me the need
‘Cause I wanna be a part of what You’re doing
In my heart, let Kingdom come
Not my will but Yours be done
Take my life and let it be
Set on fire for all to see
Break me down, build me up again
Don’t leave me the way I’ve been
Take my heart into Your hands
Come and finish what You began
‘Til I seek Your kingdom first
‘Til I shine, shine
Like Heaven on earth
Like Heaven on earth
Help me move when I should move
Help me rest when I should rest
Help me give what I should give
All of me, nothing less
Help me speak with grace and truth
Help me fight for those who can’t
Help me love the way You love
Never holding nothing back (yeah like Heaven on earth)
Take my life and let it be
Set on fire for all to see
Break me down, build me up again
Don’t leave me the way I’ve been
Take my heart into Your hands
Come and finish what You began
‘Til I seek Your kingdom first
‘Til I shine, shine
Like Heaven on earth
Like Heaven on earth
Like Heaven on earth
Like Heaven on earth

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

May 10, 2022

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the image of God’s hands emerges in each of our readings.

preachers

There were some …. proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
The hand of the Lord was with them
and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Acts 11:21

shepherd

I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.

John 10:28

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.

John 10:29

Each of these images evokes and inspires our trust that God abides with and sustains us – that we are in God’s hands.

We all know what it’s like to place ourself in someone else’s hands. Sometimes we do it willingly, sometimes not. Sometimes it is an act of trust, sometimes fear.

This morning, as I pray, I remember two parallel but distinctly different incidents of being in someone else’s hands. 


pikes

In the first, I went with friends on a drive to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. It was before the serpentine road was paved in 1999. The driver was the young cowboy nephew of one of the passengers, and he thought it was really fun to scare us out of our wits. He took the many curves and switchbacks at headlong speed. I closed my eyes and started praying. It was uncomfortable being in his hands, so to speak.


doctor-clipart-transparent-12

The second memory is more recent. Just before my knee replacement surgery, as I lay slightly anesthetized in pre-op, my surgeon came to the bedside. He sat down, took my hand and said, “I want you to know that I will do the surgery myself and be with you the whole time. I am putting my initials on your knee so you can be certain I’ll fix the right one.” He smiled, and I again closed my eyes and started praying.


What different prayers they were! One was begging God to intervene and save me. The other was thanking God for putting me in trustworthy hands.

Jn10_29 hands

With God, we are always in trustworthy hands. Indeed, sometimes it may feel like God is flying over the edge of Pike’s Peak with us in the back seat. But here’s the thing: God is in the car with us – and God always lives! If we give ourselves completely to God in trust, we will live too.

Eventually, our practice of trust grows enough to comfort us in all things. We realize God is always sitting beside us, taking our hand, assuring us of that Loving Presence Who always abides.

A great freedom comes with that realization, steeped in years of trust and understanding that God’s Will for us is our eternal good. The preachers in Acts today, and the disciples in John rejoiced and acted in such trust. May we too be strengthened, blessed, and impelled by it.

Poetry: Reconciliation – Renee Yann, RSM

The hands of God love me
when I cannot see God’s face.
Like salve, they warmly run
over, in, and out of me,
pausing where my hurt is knotted,
barbed to their approach…
mother’s hands, lover’s, friend’s,
my own hands held in God’s hands,
healing self-estrangement.

I come to God’s hands 
like broken earth
stretches for redeeming rain.
Even in the deep night,
where God will not speak,
those loving hands are words
which I answer in the darkness.


Music:  Into Your Hands – Ray Rep

Into Your hands we commend our spirit –Ray Repp

Into Your hands we commend our spirits O Lord,
Into Your hands we commend our hearts.
For we must die to ourselves in loving You,
Into Your hands we commend our love.

O God, my God, why have You gone from me,
Far from my prayers, far from my cry?
To You I call and you never answer me,
You send no comfort and I don’t know why!

You’ve been my guide since I was very young,
You showed the way, you brought relief;
But now I’m lonely, nobody’s by my side:
Take heed, my Lord, listen to my prayer.

Careful … Compassionate

March 12, 2022
Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“This day the LORD, your God,
commands you to observe
these statutes and decrees.
Be careful, then,
to observe them
with all your heart
and with all your soul.



Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Moses tells us this:

Be careful, then …

Dt. 26:17

Be careful of what? Does Moses mean be careful like, ”Don’t fall down the steps!”. Or does he mean be careful like, “Hold tenderly to love in your life.”?

In this passage from Deuteronomy, Moses goes on to say one of my favorite biblical phrases:

… today the LORD is making this agreement with you:
you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you…

Dt. 26:18

Since the 17th century, the word “peculiar” has taken on the meaning of “odd” or “unusual”.  But the original sense comes from the Latin peculiarismeaning “of private property”

Moses is reminding us that we belong to God and God to us in a covenant similar to, but far exceeding, the mutuality of a marriage.

So we should “be careful”, full of care, in appreciation for this infinite love.


chick
When Catherine McAuley instructed her sisters in the practice of caring for the sick, she told them always to use great tenderness…

In our Gospel, Jesus tells us how to take this exquisite care of our precious relationship with God:

But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for God makes the sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
… Be compassionate as your Heavenly Father is compassionate.

Matthew 5: 44-48

So, let’s be careful of love today
when we find this precious God
in our sisters and brothers
and in all God’s Creation.
“great tenderness in all things…”


Poetry: Tenderness – Rumi

When inward tenderness 
finds the secret hurt,
pain itself will crack the rock and
Ah! let the soul emerge.

Music:  Compassion Hymn – The Gettys

What Is Hope?

February 28, 2022
Monday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, the word “HOPE” binds our readings together.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading,
ept in heaven for you…

1 Peter 1:3

Wow! That’s uplifting isn’t it!

But praying with this passage, I am aware of how hard it is to really define hope. We can get it mixed up with wishing or imagining.

Hope is very different,
and much more powerful, than wishing.
It is a share in the power of God
to animate our world with divine life.

When we wish, we imagine better things and often do what we can to make them happen. Sometimes our prayers take the form of wishes – our desire for people or circumstances to be well or better. Those wishes may or may not come true. And if they don’t, we may lose what we incorrectly defined as “hope”.


We see that kind loss happen in the young man from our Gospel today. He wishes to be a better person. He wishes to truly center his life on God. He even takes the first step to make his wish come true by asking Jesus for advice:

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Mark 10:17

Jesus immediately loves this sincere young man. But says tells him that he has too many “wishes” cluttering his hope for God. Jesus encourages him to clear out space in his life for God’s Presence to transform him. Then everything will become an expression of the divine life within him.

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven;
then come, follow me.”

Mark 17:21

Sadly, the man cannot summon the spiritual strength to tap into his gift of hope – to rely fully on God in his life. The gift of hope is within him, as it is within all of us. But the way to it is so tangled with all his possessions that he despairs of finding it.

At that statement, his face fell,
and he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.

Mark 17:22

The Catholic encyclopedia says this:

Hope is defined to be a Divine virtue by which we confidently expect, with God’s help, to reach eternal felicity as well as to have at our disposal the means of securing it.


Being a “Divine virtue” means that hope, like faith and love, is given by God to each of us as a share in God’s own nature. It’s like a “divine” family trait that marks us as children of God.

When we see a child that looks exactly like a parent, we might hear people say, “You could never deny him. He looks exactly like you!” That’s how it is with the “divine virtues”. They allow people to see God in us and so to deepen their own faith.

Hope is that confidence in God which is so complete that it does not have to be proven by miracles or fulfilled wishes. Hope endures in all circumstances. It throbs within us like sacred DNA. All we have to do is clear the way for it to shine.


Poetry: Two of my favorite poems today:

  1. Emily Dickinson, in her masterfully woven metaphor, says that hope is feathered:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.


And one of my favorite poets, Lisel Mueller, says that hope is “all we know of God”:

It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.

It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
surviving cruelty,
it is the motion that runs
from the eyes to the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.

It is the singular gift
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.

It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.


Music: Living Hope – Phil Wickham

Love – The Unfailing Bridge

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy,  we begin our readings with God’s stern but magnificent commission to the prophet Jeremiah: 

… stand up and tell them
all that I command you.

What Jeremiah had to tell the Israelites was not comforting news. He prophesied that if they didn’t repent from their idolatry, Jerusalem would fall into the hands of foreign oppressors. Nobody wanted to hear it. They led Jeremiah a life, to the point that he is often referred to as “The Weeping Prophet”. Over the course of forty years and the reign of five Judean kings, Jeremiah’s message continues until, in the end, it comes to fulfillment in the Babylonian Captivity.

Jeremiah Lamenting the Fall of Jerusalem
Rembrandt

How did Jeremiah sustain such confrontational preaching in the face of intractable resistance?

Perhaps the answer lies in our second reading. He did it out of love.

Arthur Cundall, a British scripture scholar writes:

“God wanted a person
with a very gentle and tender heart
for this unrewarding ministry of condemnation.
Jeremiah’s subsequent career shows that
he had this quality in full measure.”

Jeremiah is a living example of the loving, humble, truth-seeking, hope-impelled soul described in 1 Corinthians, our second reading.

Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.
But I shall show you a still more excellent way.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues,
but do not have love,
I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.
And if I have the gift of prophecy,
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-2

In Luke’s Gospel today, we see Jesus rejected in the same manner as Jeremiah. Jesus’s message calls his listeners to deep conversion of heart in order to be redeemed. Like the ancient Israelites, they don’t want to hear it. They cannot break through their comfortable existence to acknowledge its emptiness.

Jesus is Rejected at Nazareth
Maerten de Vos – 16th Century

And he said, “Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place….

… When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.
They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built,
to hurl him down headlong.
But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

Luke 4:24; 28-30

The message for us today? Is there an emptiness somewhere in our hearts that we have not yet given over to God? Are we filling it with “false gods”, rather than the loving virtues described in Corinthians? Is there even a small resistance to the Word that keeps us in a “dead space”.

We know where our “dead spaces” are, and we deeply intend them to come alive again. Today, let’s choose to walk the bridge from intention to practice.


Poetry: Jeremiah – Saint John Henry Newman

"WOE'S me!" the peaceful prophet cried,
"Spare me this troubled life;
To stem man's wrath, to school his pride,
To head the sacred strife!

"O place me in some silent vale,
Where groves and flowers abound;
Nor eyes that grudge, nor tongues that rail,
Vex the truth-haunted ground!"

If his meek spirit err'd, opprest
That God denied repose,
What sin is ours, to whom Heaven's rest
Is pledged, to heal earth's woes?

Music:  One of my all time favorite songs (Wow! And how about the snow geese at the end of this video!)

The Flame

January 26, 2022
Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we have the beautiful letter from Paul to Timothy, filled with tenderness, encouragement, hope and the sweet suggestion of loving memories.

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God
for the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
to Timothy, my dear child:
grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Tim 1:1

On life’s road, what an indescribable blessing to have even one companion who loves us the way Paul loved Timothy — to care for our whole life, our whole soul, and our whole “forever”.


Timothy and His Mother, Eunice – Henry Lejeune

In his letter, Paul reveals that Timothy has been immensely blessed with such love throughout his life. Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois have already – for many years – tendered Timothy in the faith.

I think gratefully of my own mother today, on the 34th anniversary of her death. How indescribably blessed I have been by her love and faith!


In this heartfelt epistle, Paul notes that he prays for Timothy daily. Perhaps as you read his words you may, like me, think of those who have nurtured and cared for you in a way similar to Paul’s love for Timothy; to Eunice’s and Lois’s love for him.

Do we pray for those who have blessed us and loved us in our lives? Do we tell them so, if they are living? Do we thank and remember them if they have gone home to God?


Paul closes this part of his letter with such a powerful charge to Timothy:

For this reason,
I remind you to stir into flame
the gift of God that you have
through the laying on of my hands.

In other words, it is not enough just to be grateful for such gifts. We must use them to light and warm a next generation of believers and faith-filled lovers.

Many people have rested the hands
of blessing on our spirits, our hearts.
May we be filled with generous gratitude
today and everyday.


For those who have done otherwise, may we forgive them and, as best we can, release them to God’s Mercy. Perhaps they, by the grace of God, have left us with another kind of “gift” — as Mary Oliver has written:

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

Poetry: God’s Grandeur – Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.


Music: for your remembering prayer: James Last – Coulin

David, the King

January 24, 2022
Monday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings place us at watershed moments in the lives of David and Jesus.

All the tribes of Israel came to David in Hebron and said:
“Here we are, your bone and your flesh.
In days past, when Saul was our king, 
it was you who led the children of Israel out and brought them back.
And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel 
and shall be commander of Israel.’”
When all the elders of Israel came to David in Hebron, 
King David made an agreement with them there before the LORD, 
and they anointed him king of Israel.

2 Samuel 5:1-4

In 2 Samuel 5, David fully assumes the kingship through the approbation of the community. The scene marks the culmination of his rise to power and “the beginning of the rest of his life”.

Through our readings in Samuel until now, we have ascended with David to the pinnacle of his life. We are about to begin weeks of moving down “the other side of the mountain”.


Scholars generally see the David narrative in two primary units, the Rise of David (I Sam. 16:1—II Sam. 5:10) and the Succession Narrative (II Sam. 9:1—20:26; I Kings 1:1—2:46). Chapters 5:11—8:18, fall between two larger units. Whereas the first presents David in his ascendancy, the second presents David in his demise and expresses pathos and ambiguity. Our chapters thus come after the raw vitality of the rise of David and before the terrible pathos of the succession narrative. They show the painful process whereby this beloved chieftain is transformed into a hardened monarch, who now has more power than popular affection.

Walter Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel

In our Gospel, Jesus also comes to a sort of “continental divide”. But rather than community approbation, Jesus encounters the condemnation of the scribes who have come from Jerusalem to assess him.

The scribes who had come from Jerusalem said of Jesus, 
“He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and
“By the prince of demons he drives out demons.”

Mark 3:22

From this moment in his life, Jesus too launches into his “kingship”, one that looks very different from David’s. The ensuing chapters of Samuel will reveal how David struggles and succumbs to the temptations of power and domination. The Gospels, on the other hand, describe Jesus’s “kingdom” as one of humility, mercy, and love for those who are poor and suffering.

Only through faith can we understand the inverse power of God present in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, and in our own lives. Jesus, the “new David”, is anointed in the Spirit to reveal and incorporate us into the kingdom of God.


Prose: from Immanuel Jakobovits who was the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1967 to 1991.

To those without faith
there are no answers.
To those with faith, 
there are no questions.

Music: King David, music by Herbert Howells, sung by Sarah Connolly from a poem by Walter de la Mare

King David – Walter de la Mare

King David was a sorrowful man:
    No cause for his sorrow had he;
    And he called for the music of a hundred harps,
    To ease his melancholy.

    They played till they all fell silent:
    Played-and play sweet did they;
    But the sorrow that haunted the heart of King David
    They could not charm away.

    He rose; and in his garden
    Walked by the moon alone,
    A nightingale hidden in a cypress-tree
    Jargoned on and on.

    King David lifted his sad eyes
    Into the dark-boughed tree-
    ''Tell me, thou little bird that singest,
    Who taught my grief to thee?'

    But the bird in no wise heeded
    And the king in the cool of the moon
    Hearkened to the nightingale's sorrowfulness,
    Till all his own was gone.

The Miracle is Love

January 4, 2022
Memorial of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings are full of surprises for Jesus’s new followers and for us.  

Jesus begins to reveal what his Presence among us is all about. The message is this: I am here for the poor, hungry, sick and abandoned:

The Lord has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor
and to proclaim liberty to captives.

Luke 4:18

And Jesus wants us to be like him.


In our first reading, John makes that sound so simple:

Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:8

Someone might read that line and think, “OK! I can do that! I love lots of people and things. I know how to love.” 

But then our Gospel suggests that maybe we, like the disciples, have a lot to learn about how God loves. Mark shows us that Jesus is living a new kind of love.


Imagine the situation. John the Baptist has been murdered. The new disciples are returning from their first “apostolic gig”. They, and probably Jesus, are shocked, saddened and tired. Jesus recognizes this and tells them:

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 

Multiplication of the Loaves – Michael Wolgemut

But instead the hungry crowds followed them, their needs intruding on the deserved and desired solitude. The disciples sound a little annoyed in their practicality:

By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said,
“This is a deserted place and it is already very late. 
Dismiss them so that they can go 
to the surrounding farms and villages
and buy themselves something to eat.” 

Mark 6: 35-36

But when Jesus saw the crowd, his response was not annoyance or practicality.

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd…

Mark 6:34

In the Greek translation, the word for “moved with pity” is “ἐσπλαγχνίσθη” (Esplanchnisthē) – “splancha”

“Splancha”, in my mind, says that the heart of Jesus ”rumbled with mercy”; that he was so shaken to his roots with compassion that he pulled heaven down in a miracle to feed these people who were hungry at every level of their being.

The crowds, and indeed the disciples, are surprised not just by the cataract of fish and bread. But they are even more deeply astounded at this astounding demonstration of how God loves – with impractical, unlimited, immediate, miraculous generosity!


The lesson for us? Just as the disciples were commissioned to distribute the basketsful of miracles, we are charged to carry God’s mercy in our time.

Through the grace of Baptism, we have it within us to be the agent of miracles – the power to let God love through us. As John encourages us:

Beloved, let us love one another,
    because love is of God;
    everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.

1 John 4:7

Poetry: Miracles by Robert William Service

Each time that I switch on the light
A Miracle it seems to me
That I should rediscover sight
And banish dark so utterly.
One moment I am bleakly blind,
The next–exultant life I find.
Below the sable of the sky
My eyelids double darkness make.
Sleep is divine, yet oh how I
Am glad with wonder to awake!
To welcome, glimmery and wan
The mighty Miracle of Dawn.
For I’ve mad moments when I seem,
With all the marvel of a child,
To dwell within a world of dream,
To sober fact unreconciled.
Each simple act has struck me thus–
Incredibly miraculous.
When everything I see and do
So magical can seem to me,
How vain it is to seek the True,
The riddle of Reality . . .
So let me with joy lyrical
Proclaim all Life a Miracle.


Music: Beloved, Let Us Love One Another – a perky encouragement for your prayer 🙂

The Holy Family

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Sorry for the late post today. Blame it on my being the big cook today and on my Aunt Peg’s wonderful pineapple casserole. She went home to God almost 30 years ago. But she lives in my kitchen anytime I cook a ham…and so many other times in my heart. ❤️ Merry Christmas once again, my friends.

in case you’d like to try it!

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our prayer is turned to the Holy Family, that unique configuration of love which nurtured the developing life of Jesus. Can you imagine how tenderly the Father shaped this triad, this nesting place of love for God’s own Word?

Today, we look to the Holy Family so that we might see our own families through their lens of grace and mercy. We pray to the Holy Family so that we might be strengthened in the virtues that will help us build our own families: sacrificial love, reverence, courage, unfailing support, committed presence, shared faith, gentle honesty, unconditional acceptance.

“Family” is the primordial place where we learn who we are. The lessons it teaches us about ourselves – for better or worse — remain with us forever. 

This is my crew. How blessed I am in them!

Not everyone is blessed by their family. Family can ground us in confidence or undermine us with self-doubt. It can free us from fear or cripple us with reservation. It can release either possibility or perpetual hesitation within us.

Some families are so dysfunctional that we spend the rest of our lives trying to recover from them. But some, like the Holy Family, allow God’s dream to be nurtured in us and to spread to new families, both of blood and spirit.


The challenge today is to thank God for whatever type of family bore us. Lessons can be learned from both lights and shadows. Let us spend time this morning looking  at our own families with love, gratitude, forgiveness, understanding. Where there are wounds to be healed, let us face them. Where there are belated thanks to be offered, let us give them. Where there are negligence and oversights to confess, let us use them as bridges to a new devotion.


For some, it may seem too late to heal or bless our family. Time may have swallowed some of our possibilities. But it is never too late to deepen relationships through prayer, both for and to our ancestors.

May this feast strengthen us for the families who need us today. May it be the beginning of refuge for families broken and tested by migration and worldwide inhospitality


Music: God Bless My Family ~ Anne Hampton Calloway

God Knows My Truth

November 8, 2021
Monday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with the comforting yet challenging Psalm 139, a prayer of awareness, intimacy, and trust.

O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
    you know when I sit and when I stand;
    you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
    with all my ways you are familiar.

Psalm 139:1-3

The thought that God knows us so intimately might be both assuring and/or scary — depending on how we know and understand ourselves. The psalmist describes an overwhelming wonder at the thought of God’s closeness:

Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O LORD, you know the whole of it.
Behind me and before, you hem me in
    and rest your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    too lofty for me to attain.

Psalm 139:4-6

As we pray Psalm 139, the awe settles into a deep awareness that God’s penetrating Presence in our spirits is ever beneficent and merciful. We pray to yield to its Love and seek its Wisdom.

Where can I go from your spirit?
    From your presence where can I flee?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
Even there your hand shall guide me,
    and your right hand hold me fast.

Psalm 139:7-10

On this 32nd Monday, we begin a week of readings from the Book of Wisdom. Written in the century surrounding the birth of Christ, Wisdom is the work of a poet, theologian, philosopher, and moralist. 

Today’s passage alerts us, as does our Gospel, that holding God’s Presence within us, we must live lives that bear it witness:

For wisdom is a kindly spirit,
yet she acquits not blasphemers of their guilty lips;
Because God is the witness of the inmost self
and the sure observer of the heart
and the listener to the tongue.
For the Spirit of the Lord fills the world,
is all-embracing, and knows what the person truly bespeaks by their lives.

Wisdom 1:6-7

A millstone at someone’s feet …

For as our Gospel tells us today:

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 to have a millstone hung around the neck
and be thrown into the sea
than to cause one of these little ones to sin.”

Luke 17:1-2

Poetry: Wisdom – Tagore

The small wisdom 
is like water in a glass:
clear, transparent, pure.

The great wisdom 
is like the water in the sea:
dark, mysterious, impenetrable.

Music: The Perfect Wisdom of Our God – The Gettys