The Healing Word

October 18, 2021
Feast of St. Luke

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of St. Luke, evangelist, writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, and devoted missionary companion of Paul.

Luke’s Gospel is unique in several ways. 

Six miracles appear only in Luke:

  • the miraculous catch of fish
  • the raising of the widow’s only son
  • healing a possessed, crippled woman
  • healing a man with dropsy
  • cleansing of ten lepers 
  • healing the man’s ear in Gethsemane
Good Samaritan – Vincent Van Gogh

Eighteen parables are unique to Luke, including the beloved stories of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son.

Prodigal Son – Rembrandt

While both Matthew and Luke contain the story of Christ’s birth, only Luke includes those beautiful passages which now comprise the joyful mysteries of the rosary: Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, Presentation, and Finding in the Temple.

Only Luke gives us the Magnificat and the cherished words of the Hail Mary.

The Visitation – Domenico Ghirlandaio

Think of all that we would not be able to visualize without Luke’s blessed writings. No Gabriel. No Elizabeth, Zachary, Anna or Simeon. No tender Samaritan or merciful loving Prodigal Father to show us God’s face.

Maybe some of your favorite passages are among these Lucan treasures. You might want to choose one to accompany you throughout your day.


Poetry: Luke by Malcolm Guite

His gospel is itself a living creature
A ground and glory round the throne of God,
Where earth and heaven breathe through human nature
And One upon the throne sees it is good.

Luke is the living pillar of our healing,
A lowly ox, the servant of the four,
We turn his page to find his face revealing
The wonder, and the welcome of the poor.

He breathes good news to all who bear a burden
Good news to all who turn and try again,
The meek rejoice and prodigals find pardon,
A lost thief reaches paradise through pain,

The voiceless find their voice in every word
And, with Our Lady, magnify Our Lord.

Music: The Gospel According to Luke ~ Skip Ewing – a different but interesting take on Luke’s Gospel. The music today is a country song, not really about St. Luke’s Gospel, but certainly reflecting its love and respect for those who are poor.

Tuesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145 in which the psalmist, filled with gratitude and joy, makes a prodigious promise:

Every day will I bless you,
    and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Everyday! Forever and ever!

Psalm 145:2

Such a promise requires all one’s attention, discipline and practice. We must learn to see all experience in God’s Light so that everything becomes a reason for praise.


Paul, guiding the Colossians to live that kind of life, tells them:

As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him,
rooted in him and built upon him
and established in the faith as you were taught,
abounding in thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7

Powerful words:
~ walk in Christ
~ be rooted and built in Christ
~ be established in faith
~ be abundant in thanksgiving 


God is gracious and merciful toward us as we pray for the psalmist’s prayer to be fulfilled in us and in our lives:

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
    and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
    and speak of your might.

Psalm 145:10-11

Poetry: from the Book of Hours – 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: Psalm 145 – Travis Cottrel

Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145, a luxuriant song of praise to a God who overwhelms us with generosity.

I will extol you, my God and king;
I will bless your name forever and ever.

Every day I will bless you;
I will praise your name forever and ever.

Great is the LORD and worthy of much praise,
whose grandeur is beyond understanding.

Psalm 145: 1-3

Citing verses 13-20 which are structured around the word “all”, Walter Brueggemann says:

The image is an overflow of limitless blessing
given without reservation
to all who are in need
and turn to the Creator.

Which brings us to Nathaniel and how this prayer might have sung in his heart.


I got to be friends with Nathaniel over 50 years ago when, at my reception in our community, Mother Bernard decided to give me his name. And after an initial shock, I came to love it.

Nathaniel and I have spent countless hours under his fig tree sharing both our lives. I’ve asked him many times what he was thinking about when Philip came to invite him to meet Jesus. Nathaniel always has a different answer… one amazingly similar to whatever happens to be preoccupying me at the time.😇

a favorite old book that started some of my conversations with Nathaniel

One element remains constant in every circumstance: in his quiet moment, Nathaniel sought God’s Light. As our Gospel shows, that Luminous Word came to him and he responded.


I think that in our “fig tree moments”, we have finally sifted through all that we are capable of in order to find Grace in our lives. Now we wait, in the shade and quiet of prayer, for the True Answer.

When that answering Word comes, it shatters our doubts and pretenses like an egg. And like a shattered egg, the Word releases new life in us. We move deeper into the unbreakable Wholeness and Infinity. Like Nathaniel, even in our ordinary lives, we begin to “see greater things” than we had ever imagined.


Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” 
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.”
Nathanael answered him,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree?
You will see greater things than this.”
And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
you will see heaven opened and the angels of God
ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”


After that momentous afternoon when he was drawn from the shade into the Light, Nathaniel’s life became a hymn of praise and thanksgiving.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
    and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
    and speak of your might.


Poem-Prayer from Christine Robinson

Psalm 145 – Opening Heart

I exalt you, Holy One, and open my heart to you
by remembering your great love.
Your expansiveness made this beautiful world
in a universe too marvelous to understand.
Your desire created life, and you nurtured
that life with your spirit.
You cherish us all—and your prayer
in us is for our own flourishing.
You are gracious to us
slow to anger and full of kindness
You touch us with your love—speak to us
with your still, small voice, hold us when we fall.
You lift up those who are oppressed
by systems and circumstances.
You open your hand
and satisfy us.
You ask us to call on you—
and even when you seem far away, our
longings call us back to you.
Hear my cry, O God, for some days, it is all I have.

Music: I Will Praise Your Name – Bob Fitts

Lord I will praise your name

I will praise your name

I will praise your name and extol You

I will praise Your name (I will praise Your name)

I will praise Your name

I will praise Your name

As I behold You

I will magnify, I will glorify

I will lift on high Your name, Lord Jesus

I will magnify, I will glorify

I will lift on high Your name, Lord Jesus

For Your love is never ending

And Your mercy ever true

I will bless Your name Lord Jesus

For my heart belongs to You

I will praise Your name

I will praise Your name

I will praise Your name and extol you

I will magnify, I will glorify

I will lift on high Your name, Lord Jesus

For Your love is never ending

And Your mercy ever true

I will bless Your name Lord Jesus

For my heart belongs to You

I will praise Your name

I will praise Your name

I will praise Your name and extol you

I will magnify, I will glorify

I will lift on high Your name, Lord Jesus

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings assure us that God cares about our hungry spirits and will satisfy them.

Both the prophet Elisha and Jesus respond to the needs of the hungry crowds by the power of their faith. In each story, there is only a small amount of food to meet the overwhelming need of the people. But those small amounts, given selflessly and gratefully, renew themselves until all are satisfied.


Our spiritual hungers are deep, and much harder to fill than our physical ones. Sometimes, we don’t even know what we are longing for. Thus we may end up filling our emptiness with distractions and junk.


Today’s readings encourage us to turn our soul’s needs toward God. St. Augustine said this:

You have made us for yourself, O Lord,
and our hearts are restless (hungry)
until they rest in You.


Notice that in Jesus’s miracle of the loaves and fishes, there is one key action before the multiplication occurs.

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.

Let’s sift through both the large and the small sustenances of our life for the things that we are grateful for. When we lift these up in thanksgiving, glimpsing the loving face of God, other graces will begin unexpectedly to multiply around and within us.

Music: O, My Soul Hungered – Corbin Allred

Tuesday of Fifth Week of Easter

May 4, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145 which reveals a wonderful secret – how to be a Friend of God:

Pope Francis describes friendship with God in a recent Angelus address:

God is not a distant and anonymous being: God is our refuge, the wellspring of our peace and tranquility. God is the rock of our salvation, to which we can cling with the certainty of not falling; one who clings to God never falls! God is our defence against the evil which is ever lurking. God is a great friend, ally, parent to us, but we do not always realize it. We do not realize that we have a friend, an ally, a parent who loves us, and we prefer to rely on immediate goods that we can touch, on contingent goods, forgetting and at times rejecting the supreme good, which is the  love of God. Feeling that God is our Parent, in this epoch of orphanhood, is so important! In this orphaned world…


The early Christians persevered in unfolding this secret as told in Acts today:

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city
and made a considerable number of disciples,
they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.
They strengthened the spirits of the disciples
and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying,
“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships
to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Acts 14: 21-22

In our Gospel, Jesus speaks to his disciples before his Ascension. He gives them the secret of hope, peace and encouragement. In that gift, they will stay true friends to him as he is to them:

And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.

John 14: 29-31

May we live joyfully as Friends of God, confident of and making known God’s merciful Name by our faith, love, mercy, generosity, and hope.

May my mouth speak the praise of the LORD,
    and may all flesh bless God’s holy name forever and ever.

Psalm 145: 21

Poetry: I Am – Rainer Maria Rilke

I am, you anxious one. Do you not hear me
rush to claim you with each eager sense?
Now my feelings have found wings, and, circling,
whitely fly about your countenance.

Here my spirit in its dress of stillness
stands before you, — oh, do you not see?
In your glance does not my Maytime prayer
grow to ripeness as upon a tree?

Dreamer, it is I who am your dream.
But would you awake, I am your will,
and master of all splendor, and I grow
to a sphere, like stars poised high and still,
with time’s singular city stretched below.


Music: Friend of God written by Israel Houghton and sung by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
I am a friend of God
He calls me friend

Who am I that You are mindful of me?
That You hear me when I call
Is it true that You are thinking of me?
How You love me
It's amazing

Who am I, Lord
Who am I that You are mindful of me?
That You hear me when I call (is it true O Lord?)

Is it true that You are thinking of me?
How You love me (it's amazing Jesus)
It's amazing (I am a friend of God)
I am a friend of God ....(repeated)

What a priviledge it is, yeah
Who am I that You are mindful of me?
That You hear me when I call (is it true, is it true?)
Is it true that You are thinking of me? 

(Oh Lord sometimes I don't understand)
How You love me (how You love me Lord?)
It's amazing (oh it's so amazing)
It's amazing (Lord it's so amazing)
It's amazing
I am a friend of God

(These phrases are repeated with lots of praise in between.
I hope you feel it too!❤️😇)

Psalm 145:The Hint of God

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

December 10, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145 in which the psalmist once again assures us that our God is 

The psalm extends the promises of our first reading from Isaiah:

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

Isaiah 41:17

We need promises like those of Isaiah and our psalmist, especially in times when we feel tested, alone, frightened, desperate, or abandoned. Even a taste of these radical emotions is hard to bear without some glimmer of promise.

Faith tells us that the Promise is already fulfilled in the Gift of Jesus Christ. 


Advent is our annual liturgical practice in waiting … in the recommitment

  • to a faith that cannot yet see,
  • to a hope that waits yet believes,
  • to a trust that praises even in the predawn shadows.

Advent is our promise to lean
on an invisible God. 

Christmas is the astounding Divine response –
Jesus Christ – God made visible.

Poetry: Paul’s great poem from Colossians 1: 15-23

Christ is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.

For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers;
all things were created through him and for him.i

He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.

He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in all things he himself might be preeminent.

For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile all things for him,
making peace by the blood of his cross
whether those on earth or those in heaven.

Music: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise (1867) – Walter Chalmers Smith.
The original, beautiful final verses of this hymn have been lost in the English translation. Here they are, and worth their own meditation:

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
But of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart
Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.
All laud we would render; O help us to see
’Tis only the splendour of light hideth Thee,
And so let Thy glory, Almighty, impart,
Through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020

November 26, 2020

A blessed and heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Today’s special readings for the feast are so rich and beautiful. They evoke and confirm in us a deep sense of thanksgiving as we read and pray with them today.

Let their beauty and instruction enrich your prayer as you slowly read these scriptures. You may want to speak the phrases aloud slowly, letting their wisdom flow gently over your spirit.

May you, your families, your communities
and all our precious world
be blessed in any way our spirits deeply need.
Let us give thanks
for the Lavish Mercy of God!


Thanksgiving Prayer: by Renee Yann,RSM

© ReneeYann

Music: I Will Praise Your Name (The Hand of the Lord Feeds Us)- Scott Soper

Psalm 145: Always Mercy

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 20, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145 which, with our Sunday readings, ties together the themes of call and commitment.

In our first reading, Isaiah proclaims a repentant urgency to that call:

Seek the LORD 
while he may be found,
call him 
while he is still near.


In our second reading, Paul confirms his own ultimate commitment to that call and urges his followers to imitate him:

Christ will be magnified in my body,
whether by life or by death….

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel.


But our Gospel reveals that not everyone responds immediately to God’s voice in their lives. Some of us come late to the call of grace. Nevertheless, our generous God seeks us, time and again, and embraces us fully no matter how close to the evening.

The early hires chafe against this system, imagining themselves somehow deprived by the Master’s abundance. Perhaps we heard attitudes like theirs expressed in self-sufficient phrases like:

  • but I’ve worked hard for everything I have
  • you need to earn your way in life
  • it’s not a free ride
  • if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Walter Brueggemann writes that the Psalms refute such an attitude:

The counter-world of the Psalms
contradicts our closely held world of self-sufficiency
by mediating to us a world confident in God’s preferential option
for those who call on him in their ultimate dependence.


Psalm 145 lifts us beyond our selfish imaginations. It expresses the grateful praise of one who, swaddled in God’s lavish blessing, recognizes that Divine Justice looks like Mercy not calculation.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.


Poem: by Rumi

By the mercy of God,
Paradise has eight doors.
One of those is the door of repentance, child. 
All the others are sometimes open, 
sometimes shut, 
but the door of repentance is never closed. 
Come seize the opportunity: 
the door is open; 
carry your baggage there at once.

Music: I Will Praise Your Name – Marty Haugen, David Haas

Psalm 145: To Life!

Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Saturday, September 5, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145, the only chapter of this Book which is specifically identified as a “psalm”, a hymn of praise.

I think of “praise” as gratitude steeped in awe, rising from our hearts when we are overwhelmed by God’s mercy, love, generosity or power.

Praise is a connection between God and us – so powerful that it is beyond words. It flows from us in song, dance, tears, and that profound silence which enfolds us in the Holy.


My whole family is filled with praise this week because, yesterday, we welcomed our second baby this week, precious Nathaniel.

Nathaniel joins his cousin Claire, born on Monday, both shining the beautiful Face of God on our family and the world! (And they join their treasured brother/cousins Robert and Ollie who must, of course, be mentioned in our praise🤗)


As we pray today, may each of us relish the sacred icons of Divine Life that God has given us. Sometimes these signs come in very surprising costumes. May we recognize them with the eyes of faith.


Poetry: Opening Heart – an interpretation of Psalm 145 by Christine Robinson

I exalt you, Holy One, and open my heart to you
by remembering your great love.
Your expansiveness made this beautiful world
in a universe too marvelous to understand.

Your desire created life, and you nurtured
that life with your spirit.
You cherish us all—and your prayer
in us is for our own flourishing.

You are gracious to us
slow to anger and full of kindness
You touch us with your love—speak to us
with your still, small voice, hold us when we fall.

You lift up those who are oppressed
by systems and circumstances.
You open your hand
and satisfy us.

You ask us to call on you—
and even when you seem far away, our
longings call us back to you.

Music: Forever Young – Joan Baez

Psalm 145: Mercy Makes Us Sing

Tuesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

September 1, 2020

2018 reflection on Corinthians 

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145, a consoling hymn of confidence in God’s Mercy.

And, my dears, all I really want to say to you is, “September 1st! God bless us! We have made it this far in these times (as one gifted friend calls them, “these quantum weird times”.)

And, certainly, we pray in profound companionship with all those who suffer because of this pandemic. But at the same time we are so grateful for all who have, so far, been delivered from its grasp!

So hooray for us, and hooray for God! Let’s pick up our hope, energy and faith by drinking in the beauty of Psalm 145. Together, in faith, we CAN make it to a vaccine time- a time to forget,  AND to remember all that might transform and bless us from these days…

… because God is MERCY,
and there is some gift for all of us
even in shadow

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.


Jesus meets the demon in today’s Gospel, a demon who is no match for Uncreated Grace. By the power of our Baptism, let us draw that Grace into our spirits, into our world today as we pray. 

And let us be at once both astonished and confident in the power of God’s Word to heal even the immense darkness of our world.

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.


Poetry: The Fountain – Denise Levertov

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water
to solace the dryness at our hearts.
I have seen

the fountain springing out of the rock wall
and you drinking there. And I too
before your eyes

found footholds and climbed
to drink the cool water.

The woman of that place, shading her eyes,
frowned as she watched—but not because
she grudged the water,

only because she was waiting
to see we drank our fill and were
refreshed.

Don’t say, don’t say there is no water.
That fountain is there among its scalloped
green and gray stones,

it is still there and always there
with its quiet song and strange power
to spring in us,
up and out through the rock.

A Second Poem for the month’s beginning: September by Deborah Landau
Some of us might also find ourselves somewhere  in this wistful poem. I just like it. Thought some of you might too. 🤗

Dazzling emptiness of the black green end of summer no one
running in the yard pulse pulse the absence.

Leave them not to the empty yards.

They resembled a family. Long quiet hours. Sometimes
one was angry sometimes someone called her "wife"
someone's hair receding.

An uptick in the hormone canopy embodied a restlessness
and oh what to do with it.

(How she arrived in a hush in a looking away and not looking.)
It had been some time since richness intangible
and then they made a whole coat of it.

Meanwhile August moved toward its impervious finale.

A mood by the river. Gone. One lucid rush carrying them along.

Borderless and open the days go on—

Music: I Will Praise Your Name – Marty Hagen and David Haas

Antiphon: | will praise your name, my King and my God.
1. I will give you glory, my God and King, and I will bless your name forever.
Every day I will bless and praise your name forever.
2. The Lord is full of grace and mercy. He is kind and slow to anger.
He is good in all His works and full of compassion.
3. Let all your works give you thanks, O Lord, and let all the faithful bless you.
Let them speak of your might, O Lord, the glory of your kingdom.
4. The Lord is faithful in all His words, and always near. His name is holy.He lifts up all those who fall. He raises up the lowly.