An Eternal Weight of Glory

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061018.cfm

Today, in Mercy,  is a powerful Sunday!

woke 6_10_18

In our readings, we encounter one of the more perplexing Gospel passages. Jesus, in the thick of controversy with the scribes and Pharisees, goes home to seek some respite. But the crowds follow, harassing him with questions and demands for signs. His friends and family are increasingly concerned for him, as the animosity to his challenging message rises. Some even think he is unhinged to jeopardize himself by confronting the evils and blindnesses of his society. His mother and brothers arrive, concerned for him. When Jesus learns this, he delivers what may seem a hard-hearted comment, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” — they are the ones who do the will of God.

With this question, Jesus is not disowning his family and those who love him. He is stating clearly that, rather than deter him from his redemptive work, they need to open their minds to the deeper purpose of his life. To use a contemporary phrase rooted in the socially conscious African-American community – they need to be “woke” people. 

How hard it must have been for them! How hard to love a prophet, to fear for their safety in times when truth and justice are assailed!

Walter Brueggemann, in my all-time favorite book Prophetic Imagination, says this:

“In both his teaching and his very presence, Jesus of Nazareth presented the ultimate criticism of the royal consciousness (or self-serving power of the dominant state). He has, in fact, dismantled the dominant culture and nullified its claims. The way of his ultimate criticism is his decisive solidarity with marginal people and the accompanying vulnerability required by that solidarity. The only solidarity worth affirming is solidarity characterized by the same helplessness they know and experience.” 

In today’s second reading, Paul is experiencing the same kind of vulnerability as Jesus. Paul says that he is not discouraged for:

“ … although our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison,
as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.”

As Christians, we are called to live prophetic lives in imitation of Jesus. We are called to foster that kind of witness in others, to work together for that “eternal weight of glory”.

The prophet Dorothy Day puts it this way:

“As we come to know the seriousness of the situation, the war, the racism, the poverty in our world, we come to realize that things will not be changed simply by words or demonstrations. Rather, it’s a question of living one’s life in a drastically different way.”

On this powerful Sunday, the message is this: we need to be “woke” people!

Music: Wake Up My Heart ~ The Afters

Listen for Angels

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052918.cfm

1Pet 1_12 Angels

Today, in Mercy, we begin reading Peter’s first epistle. Addressed to Christians dispersed through Asia Minor, the letter reminds them of the revelations of the prophets passed down to them and ultimately realized in in the Person of Christ. Peter instructs these early Christians to persevere in trials because they are now the bearers of this continuing divine revelation.

Today, we are the agents in that evolving revelation of the mystery of salvation. How we live as Christians opens the world’s insight into God’s Mercy and Love. Our testing ground is not a Roman persecution. It is a prevailing culture of death and degradation of the human person. This culture mesmerizes and poisons us to the point that we fail to see the glorious mysteries revealing themselves in our lives.

Peter says that even the angels long to look into these glorious mysteries. And yet, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been given that blessing. It deserves our continual, grateful and responsive attention.

Listen for the angels circling your life today, singing “Look, the glory of God is here!” – in a child’s smile, a beloved’s hand, a gentle sunset, a raging storm – a call to mercy, justice, forgiveness, or generosity.

Music: Emanuel ~ Tim Manion

Even though this is an Advent/Christmas hymn, it captures the gift of revelation in Christ announced to us by the songs of angels. A lovely hymn.

Let Your “Yes” Be “Yes!”

Friday, May 25, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052518.cfm

Today, in Mercy, we once again are faced with “tough talk” readings. James is simply that kind of preacher. And, in the Gospel, Jesus takes on the gnarly topic of adultery. So it’s not going to be sweet inspiration today!

What both readings have in common is the quintessential call to integrity at the core of committed Christian life. Our word, given in compassion and mercy, should be our bond. Our loving care for ourselves and all Creation should be trustworthy and persevering. For a person of faith, “fake news” and “alternative facts” are simply code for the deceitful avoidance of our duty to love one another.

We should not allow deceit, indifference, pretense or abuse to ever adulterate our efforts to love. Respect for ourselves and for other human beings requires that we say “Yes” and “No” honestly. Our reverence for God demands that we offer the same loving veracity to God.

The covenant of marriage, or of religious profession, places this obligation in a particularly bright light. When we give ourselves in commitment to another, and receive their commitment in return, we imitate the Blessed Trinity who exist in the unity of selfless, creative love. This “Yes”or “I do” is tied to our very identity as a person capable of living in the mutuality of love as God does.

James and Jesus tell us today to take every care to treasure and protect such precious commitments by the deep integrity of our hearts.

Holy Trinity Icon by Andrej Rublëv, an Eastern Orthodox monk, considered to be one of the greatest medieval Russian painters of Orthodox icons and frescos.

Music: Russian Orthodox Chant ~ Srtensky Monastery Choir

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VyREJRz8wNI

Come, Holy Spirit!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/052018-mass-during-day.cfm

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit comes to us to remain with us forever. May we open our hearts and souls to this infinite power of God within us!

Pentecost

The Pentecost Sequence is so beautiful.  You might like to find the phrase within the Sequence that most touches your heart and soul at this particular time in your life. Let that phrase bless you with the Holy Spirit’s Love.

May this be our prayer for today and the days to come:
Come, O Holy Spirit, come!
From Your bright and blissful Home
Rays of healing light impart. 

Come, Father of the poor,
Source of gifts that will endure
Light of ev’ry human heart. 

You of all consolers best,
Of the soul most kindly Guest,
Quick’ning courage do bestow. 

In hard labor You are rest,
In the heat You refresh best,
And solace give in our woe. 

O most blessed Light divine,
Let Your radiance in us shine,
And our inmost being fill. 

Nothing good by man is thought,
Nothing right by him is wrought,
When he spurns Your gracious Will. 

Cleanse our souls from sinful stain,
Lave our dryness with Your rain,
Heal our wounds and mend our way. 

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray. 

On the faithful who in You,
Trust with childlike piety,
Deign Your sevenfold gift to send. 

Give them virtue’s rich increase,
Saving grace to die in peace,
Give them joys that never end. 

Amen. Alleluia.

Music: The Pentecost Sequence in beautiful Gregorian Chant

Some Amazing Developments

Monday, May 7, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050718.cfm

Today, in Mercy, some amazing things occur in our reading from Acts. First of all, Paul ventures into Europe preaching the Word. He and his team have come to the Roman colony of Philippi. While there, he speaks with and befriends – not the leading men – but Lydia, a holy woman of significant influence. These occurrences indicate how different this new religion will be, where Gentiles and women are welcomed into the community of faith. Let’s pray for a similar inclusivity in our churches today, even as society attempts to label, stratify and isolate people based on race, sex, nationality, economics, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.

Acts16_Lydia

To Love Like God

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050618.cfm

Today, in Mercy, in our readings from John’s letter and from his Gospel, we again see the reiteration of Jesus’ most important message: Love one another.  It sounds so easy and sweet, but it is so difficult to love as Jesus loves – without judgment or the expectation of recompense; without reserve and without preference. It is so hard to continue to love when love is met with indifference, arrogance or even hate. Still Jesus asks us to love as He does – to will the eternal good of every person and to foster it by our actions. May we have the grace to keep on trying.

as I have loved you

The “Scriptures of Our Lives”

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Readings: Acts 13:13-25; Psalm 89; John 13:16-20

Today, in Mercy, our readings continue to extol the blessings of salvation history as it culminates in the Resurrection. In Acts, Paul recounts God’s presence throughout the Jewish Scriptures . In John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about the fulfillment of these scriptures in Himself. Psalm 89 allows us to offer thanks for God’s presence throughout the “scriptures of our lives.” Are there times in your life when you remember God’s presence most gratefully? Are there times God has carried you through to salvation? Mary sang her thanks so beautifully that I thought our prayer would be blessed by a song about her.

A Blossoming Faith

Sunday, April 15, 2018: Today In Mercy, Jesus opens the minds and hearts of his followers to understand that He is the fulfillment of the Scriptures. Faith is like the evolution of a beautiful flower. The miracle does not happen all at once. There is a patient, silent process which finally yields the blossom. In these stories of the Resurrection appearances, the early Christians are showing us how they matured through trust, prayer and a shared community of faith. It is a model for us and the whole Church. Many of us will attend services this weekend. Is there a mutual nourishment between us and our faith community? If not, how can I help change that?

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One Heart and Mind

Tuesday, April 10, 2018: Today, in Mercy, our readings visit some of the earliest Christians: Nicodemus, Matthias and Barnabas. Each one is engaging his own call to this new, post-Resurrection community. Act 1:1 describes the deep love and fervor of this group who held all in common and loved one another. We live in many communities: family, faith, friends, neighborhood, school, work, country, world, Creation. What is my level of commitment to love, justice and Mercy among those with whom I share life?

( I am trying to post each reflection on the evening before, so that it can be used to prepare tomorrow’s morning prayer, if desired.)

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Mercy Surrounds Us

We exist in the infinite embrace of God’s mercy.  In mercy, we all were created.  In mercy, we all live.  In mercy, we all have the hope of eternal life.

The lavish mercy of God pours over us in every sunrise and sunset, in every noon and midnight.  With every breath, we draw on mercy.  With every thought, we capture its spirit and turn it to our hope.  The gift of such divine power in us calls us to lavish mercy with our own lives, to be agents of mercy in all things.

This journal is offered as an act of thanksgiving and celebration for that lavish mercy.  It is a gathering of reflections and prayers which sift through our ordinary experience to seek the breath-giving grace of God awaiting us there.

My name is Renee Yann. I am a Sister of Mercy.  I love to chase God through the bright blessing of words. I love to discover words in the dark blessing of silence. It is a joy to share with you the humble fruit of those mutual blessings.

Our entire theological tradition is expressed in terms of Mercy,
which I define as the willingness to enter into the chaos of others.
James F. Keenan, S.J.

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