A Thimbleful of Metaphors

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051218.cfm

Today, in Mercy, our readings offer us two thoughts about communication. In the passage from Acts, Paul’s senior disciples Priscilla and Aquila need to work with a new young preacher Apollos to make sure he communicates the Word perfectly.

In the Gospel, John indicates that he has been communicating by metaphor, but that the post-Resurrection experience of the Holy Spirit will be clearer than metaphors.

Indeed, John’s writing is full of metaphor to the point that it can seem overwhelming – trying to press an infinite message into the thimble of our human minds. We need to read his Gospel not as we would read a newspaper, but as we would read a poem. This will open our minds to the suggested layers of meaning too big for human words. For example, Jesus was not really a shepherd. But the metaphor of “Good Shepherd” allows us to experience, in just two words, all Christ’s tender and protective love for His followers.

When reading John’s Gospel, it is good to savor it in thimblefuls, like a rich dessert.  Let its metaphorical sweetness sink in.

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Song: Word of God Speak – Mercy Me

Can Suffering and Sacrifice Lead to Glory?

Friday, May 11, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/051118.cfm

Today, in Mercy, Acts continues to describe the development of the early Church. Paul spends 18 months in Corinth, working with the new Christians through the many twists of a growing community. Luke’s Gospel reminds us of a key teaching for this, and our, community: If we really live like Christ, we will suffer, and die to ourselves before any hope of glory.

A true Christian life is not without sacrifice (which comes by choice) nor suffering (which comes by imposition). 

We sacrifice because we love. Consider all that parents sacrifice for their children’s sake.

When we suffer, we must also love, but add the hope for healing in ourselves and in anyone who causes our suffering.

This is to live like Christ.

Luke 24

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

Not A Piece of Cake

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050518.cfm

Today, in Mercy, we listen first to the great Apostle Paul’s experience of trying to do the work of God as He sails through the Mediterranean world. He is frustrated in trying to take the Word into Asia. Even the Holy Spirit holds him back. In the Gospel, Jesus tells it straight: You will be persecuted just like I was. This living the Gospel thing is not a piece of cake! That is why it is so important that we help, rather than block one another. Most people are trying to do the best they can. If they make a mistake, let’s give them a helping hand rather than a condemning tongue. It’s easy to bury somebody, but it takes a real Christian to give them new life. (PS: Got a pick for the Kentucky Derby? I’m going for “My Boy Jack”.)

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As I Have Loved You

Friday, May 4, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050418.cfm

Today, in Mercy, Jesus speaks his most loving words to his disciples. We can see them gathered around Jesus in the candlelit room. They are both dreading and longing for these precious words, both a confirmation of love and declaration of departure. But the words give them courage and they feel resolve rising in their hearts to be all that Jesus hopes them to be.

These same words follow us down through the ages, comforting and strengthening us to be all that Jesus dreams for us.

(Photo of Motherhouse of the Sisters of Mercy in Merion, PA, USA.  Note highlighted motto at top of photo. It has comforted and impelled many a Mercy heart. The magnificent song from Bob Dufford, SJ captures all of Jesus’ Last Discourse in John’s Gospel. PS: For those of you who know Sister Kate, she is one of the Sisters kneeling in adoration.)

Merion chapel shaded

A Sacred Peace

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050118.cfm

Today, in Mercy, Jesus continues his loving assurance that He is with us always. He promises his followers peace, but not “peace” according to our human understanding. Instead, it is an immutable trust born of deep union with God and dependence on God’s protection. It endures and survives storms and darkness. Its gaze is focused on eternity. It is the peace that Jesus has demonstrated in His own life. How do we attain it? By imitating Jesus in the ordinary routines of our days – faith, trust and above all, love.

Blushing a Little

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042818.cfm

Today, in Mercy, Philip kind of puts his foot in his mouth. He tells Jesus, “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Oh, really? Is that all, Philip? It seems like that might be enough for just about anybody, don’t you think?

And Jesus sticks it to Philip a little, “Have I been so long with you and yet you do not know Me? The Father and I are one.”

We might hear Jesus’ question echo in our hearts. Has God been with us throughout our lives and we are still slow to recognize His Presence? Do we need to wake up like Philip in order to see the face of God in nature, in our loved ones, in the joys and sorrows of our life, in all Creation? Has God already shown us more than enough to help us love and believe in Him? Maybe, blushing a little like Philip, we just need to say, “Thank You!”

Follow Him

Friday, April 27, 2018:

Readings: Acts 13:26-33, Psalm 2; John 14:1-6

Today, in Mercy, Jesus delivers the comforting words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Indeed, it does require an effort on our part not to worry about the many concerns that infringe on our peace. Jesus goes on to tell us that – in the long run -our life will be OK. There is already a place prepared for us in God’s heart. He then unambiguously tells us how to get there: “I am the Way.” Simple? Yes. Easy? No. Learn Him, follow Him – one step at a time. ( Couldn’t resist the song. 🤗)

Be Clothed in Humility

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Readings: 1 Peter 5:5-14; Psalm 89; Mark 16:15-20

Today, in Mercy, on this feast of St. Mark, we listen to Peter instruct the young Church in the way of Christlike leadership. Deep humility, born from a reverence for the mystery of the cross, empowers us to be true witnesses of the faith and to draw others into Christ’s love. As a student of Peter, Mark learned a first-hand account of Christ’s life, steeped in the mystery of life, death and Resurrection. Mark later shared that account with us in the gift of his Gospel.

It Was Winter

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Readings: Acts  11:19-26, Psalm 87;  John 10:22-30

Today, in Mercy, we accompany Jesus as He walks in the Temple area known as Solomon’s portico. In a very human touch, John tells us, “It was winter.” Thus, we can draw the conclusion that Jesus went inside to be warm. To think of Jesus experiencing the seasons – just as we do – makes him all the more real for us. Like us, Jesus experienced “inner seasons” too – that undulating range from sorrow to joy. When it is “winter” in our souls, and we seek the warmth of prayer, Jesus walks beside us.

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