"Your Daily Tripod" reflects the personal Fourth Day journeys of its authors and editors. We are happy to have companions like you share in this project. Our prayer is that these reflections will invite and inspire your Fourth Day journey of Piety, Study and Action as much as writing or editing them inspires our journey and brings us all close moments with Jesus and our neighbors.
God’s word were his works brought into being; they do his will as he has
ordained for them. As the rising sun is clear to all, so the glory of the LORD
fills all his works; Yet even God’s holy ones must fail in recounting the
wonders of the LORD … yet none of them has he made in vain, For each in turn,
as it comes, is good; can one ever see enough of their splendor? (Sirach 42:15-17, 24-25)
a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that
it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David,
have pity on me.” … Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately
(Bartimaeus) received his sight and followed him on the way.
(Mark 10: 46-47, 52)
O perfect Word!
O Verbum bonum!
Whose Name is: “Savior,”
Whom we desire to hold;
Burn in our hearts, burn in our living marrow, own our being,
Hide us and heal us in the hug of Thy delight,
Whose admirable might
Sings in the furnace of the Triple Glory!
(“Word-A Responsory”, Thomas Merton, Collected Poems, 1977, p. 111)
Joy, wonder, appreciation just spark through
these readings. Bartimaeus “sprang up”
when he went to Jesus. God who is from all eternity one and the same blessed
and graced us with his presence as a man.
For the multitudes of us who did not meet Jesus on the roadside near
Jericho we must see by becoming aware of him here and now.
We see God in the miracle of a person who
survives tragic loss. God envelops those
who struggle with incarceration or the prison of addiction. God attends those with infirmity or
socio-economic bonds. God guides
refugees and people caught in conflicts.
At the same time God’s delight shines in the daily efforts of all
workers. God joins with families who
hang tough through thick and thin. God
dances in the cloudscapes of the sky and cascading waterways. We are invited to call out: “Jesus,
son of David, have pity on me” and follow Him.
How do we show gratitude for seeing and
hearing God within and without who strengthens our faith?Bartimaeus followed Jesus.Cursillo weekends are an opportunity to
follow by being on team or by sponsoring a candidate.In prayer and gratitude discern your
involvement in Fall weekends at San Damiano.Women’s Weekends will be September 17-20, and November 19-22, 2015.The Men will meet Oct 15-18, 2015.
those who have hoped in you, and let your prophets be proved true. Hear the
prayer of your servants, for you are ever gracious to your people; and lead us
in the way of justice. Thus it will be
known to the very ends of the earth that you are the eternal God. Sirach 36:21-22
it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will
be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life
as a ransom for many.”
The first degree of humility, then, is that a
person keep the fear of God before his eyes and beware of ever forgetting it.(Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 7: On
Jesus turns the tables on end…again. The world does not know what to make of this
prophet-savior-king and neither do his closest followers. Jesus does indeed “give new signs and work
new wonders” in ways that differ from the current leaders of the world – in his
time and ours.
Today’s Gospel has two distinct
sections. First, Jesus gives a preview
of the Passion (ransom) that will take place in Jerusalem. However, despite the serious tone of this cautionary
tale, James and John proceed to ask for honored places in heaven violating all
the tenets of humility that have marked their friendship with Jesus.
In reaction, Jesus shows remarkable
restraint. After two cycles about
teaching to serve the least, we can palpably feel Jesus’s exasperation. The request of James and John for the top two
Cabinet posts (and for a share in the glory) must of necessity involve a share
in Jesus’ sufferings, the endurance of tribulation and suffering for the gospel. However, they do not seem to grasp that fact any
more than Peter does when he is in peak denial mode.
Jesus does not admonish them sternly but
explains that those honored seats are not his to give. Jesus moves to a conclusion that fits right
in with a soft rebuke of James and John.
Jesus granted the disciples wide ranging authority to heal and forgive
sin. However, any such authority must be
exercised in the humble spirit of Jesus, not the spirit of the Gentiles. Rather than holding leadership above the
people, the disciples’ leadership must, like that of Jesus, be rendered as
service to others rather than for personal aggrandizement. “The service of Jesus is his passion and
death for the sins of the human race.”
It is almost as if Jesus is saying, “Don’t be like them. Be like me.”
The next scene in the Gospel according to St.
Mark is when Jesus heals the blind Bartimaeus.
James and John are figuratively blind.
We can only hope Jesus was as successful in healing their blindness as
he was at healing blind Bartimaeus.
Jesus, make us see your service as the model
for our own leadership in our families, schools, workplaces and
activities. Leadership and service-in-humility are
two sides of the same coin. In the Kingdom,
we cannot spend one without spending the other.
Today – like any day – the media screams of
the need for justice and servant leadership.
Cleveland police. Immigration reform.
Child abuse. Murder. It is up to us to speak out for the voiceless
and to overcome our own blind-nesses. It is up to Jesus to lead us in the way of justice in order to overcome our blind-ness. It is up to us to accept the invitation.
generous spirit pay homage to the Lord, be not sparing of freewill gifts. With
each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit
of joy.(Sirach 35:10-11)
my faithful ones before me, those who have made a covenant with me by
sacrifice.” And the heavens proclaim his justice; for God himself is the judge.(Psalm 50:5-6)
began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus
said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers
or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the
sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this
present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and
lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.” (Mark: 10:28-30)
Joyful, joyful we adore
Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee,
op’ning to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of
doubt away; giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day! (“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,”
lyrics by Henry J. van Dyke)
For a long
time, I was in an online writing group. We each had a nickname, and the one
they selected for me was Joy. In fact, Melanie Joy is the pen name for the main
character in a novel one of my friends is working on now. Pretty cool.
joy can get pretty difficult for me and I suspect many of you as we all go
about bringing souls to the kingdom. For me, it’s often not the big stuff;
somehow, the enormity of the loss or pending loss of a loved one by death or
illness or separation can be so incomprehensible that there is no alternative
other than to turn it over to the Lord. No, for me anyway, it’s the small stuff
that makes me whine and complain: The first reader who just kept going and
deprived me of the gift of proclaiming the second reading. People who do the
best they can, but simply aren’t able to carry a full workload, meaning more
for me to do. The friend who’s going through some bad stuff and asks for a
reasonable amount of my time, but it’s more than I want to give. Whine, whine,
whine. Complain, complain, complain. The joy of service evaporates in the
reality of the minutiae. Maybe the devil really is in the detail.
Or maybe the
answer is in Jesus’s response to Peter in today’s Gospel reading. Like Peter,
we may feel we’ve given up as much as we can—our time, our pride, our ego, our fears,
all our little conceits. But perhaps true joy comes when we learn to stop
thinking about what we do as sacrifice and begin to truly see and feel it as
privilege. When we stop complaining—or, for that matter, looking for the noble
intent behind someone else’s actions—and simply accept that persecutions
accompany our earthly lives and focus instead on those instances when we are
surrounded by love and peace here, we get a tiny glimpse of what eternal life
may bring. Acceptance, faith, and love allow us to pay our tithes in a spirit
complain today, out loud or mentally, about anything. When you are tempted to
do so, say a prayer instead.
the penitent God provides a way back, he encourages those who are losing hope and
has chosen for them the lot of truth. Return to him and give up sin, pray to
the LORD and make your offenses few. Sirach 17:24-25
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 10:21
on the Theme of Calling
We have heard your glorious whisper
Almost silent, yet insistent
Breaking through the chatter
Of many voices
Of background noises
Storm and hurricane
Through all of this
Your voice remains
Cuts through to heart
'Come follow me
Pick up the Cross…
My burden is no burden at all
It is simply love
Poured out for you
And through you
Come follow me'
Our glorious fifty-day journey through the
Easter season now gives us back to Ordinary Time. When last we left ordinary time for Lent and
Easter, Jesus was asking his disciples to remember back to the miracle of
feeding the five thousand. They, of
course, had forgotten the broader meaning of the day. “Are your hearts hardened?” Jesus reminds them that He performed signs in
order to change their hearts. From the
very outset, Jesus wanted them (and us) to change the direction in which they
were looking for happiness. Jesus wanted
them (and us) to look for happiness in him.
Remember the miracle of the loaves and the
fishes? Jesus wants the disciples to
remember he did not perform the sign just to feed them. The nutrition was a welcome by-product so
people did not go home at night hungry. However,
the real reason Jesus performed the sign was to CHANGE them.
Today, as we begin again our journey into
Ordinary Time, we are reminded by Sirach and St. Mark that we do not do embark
on this journey just to get from point A to point B. We embark on this journey to change. To turn away from sin. To pray.
To make our offenses few. To gain
what we are lacking. To lose what we
We interrupt this Tripod for a little liturgical calendar lesson learned along the way.
If you look
at the Liturgical Calendar for 2015, you will see that the week BEFORE Lent was
the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time and the week after Pentecost is the Eighth Week
in Ordinary Time. From Ash Wednesday
through Pentecost, all the time is allotted for in seasonal purple and red and white. So, where did the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
number of complete or partial weeks of Ordinary Time in any given year can
total 33 or 34. In most years, Ordinary Time
comprises only 33 weeks, so the Church omits one week that otherwise
would precede the resumption of Ordinary Time following Pentecost Sunday. For
example, in 2015, the Sunday before Ash Wednesday was the Sixth Sunday in
Ordinary Time, but the day after Pentecost Sunday is Monday of the Eighth Week
in Ordinary Time. To make the calendar
fit, the Church skipped the seventh week this year. However, in 2017 and 2018, there will not be
a “skipped” week.
Jesus offers The Invitation again today and always: “Come, follow me.”
What are you lacking in order to be ready to accept
the invitation? Accepting the invitation
means that we must turn away from some other pursuit in order to follow the
path that Jesus offers.
We focus our fasting, prayer and almsgiving
in Lent and to some extent Advent.However, Ordinary Time remains ripe for the same sacrificial change that
we seek in preparing for Christmas and Easter.Ordinary Time is just a different path to the Joyful Mystery of the birth
and the Glorious Mystery of the Resurrection.
the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And
suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it
filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues
as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were
all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the
Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Acts 2:1-4
a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though
many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into
one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given
to drink of one Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be
with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this,
he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Temples Of The SpiritLove announces the presence of the Spirit in our hearts.
Our recognition of the presence of God in our lives is the work of the Spirit.
The day we begin praying to the Spirit for the grace to be willing to be who
Christ would have been if he were lucky enough to be one of us marks the beginning
of a deeper love relationship with the Lord. From that moment on, the Spirit of
the Father's love for the Son and the Son's love for the Father is ours. Caught
in the deepest of all meanings of love, the still point of being in love, the
lived experience of prayer brings to life the Spirit at work in our hearts. The
Spirit speaks for us in the cry of "Abba.” to the Father. The Third Person
of the Trinity voices our needs from our hearts in the intense emptiness of a
dark night. Our prayer cries out for belonging to God. In the lived moment of
the wordlessness of our hearts we encounter the Spirit pleading for us to the
Creator. Our souls have become Temples of the Spirit.
Dawning Of Love Love in our Spiritual lives gives us a growing vision of God. Our
personal Pentecost is the dawning of love in our hearts. Christ indicated the
importance of Pentecost at the Last Supper when he said, "...the Advocate,
the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name will teach you
everything..."(Jn. 14:26). The apostles, even though they had known Christ
personally, did not recognize him immediately in his post-Resurrection appearances. The Christ of the resurrection was a stranger to the two disciples
traveling to Emmaus until they recognized him in the breaking of the bread.
Although the Apostles recognized Christ a number of times after he rose from
the dead, the coming of the Spirit would sharpen their awareness of Christ's
presence through the gifts of the Spirit. The "everything" the Spirit
would teach would include wisdom, knowledge, counsel, and understanding of
Christ in his humanity. The putting on the mind of Christ would complete the
Apostles’ training. Molded by piety, fortitude, and fear of the Lord, the
disciples would have hearts alive to Christ who would claim their hearts. These
same gifts of the Spirit resurface our hearts as the Christ hearts of today.
Thus, we proclaim the Sacred Heart even as we enshrine it in our heart.
Love For Others Seven gifts - Wisdom, Knowledge, Counsel, Understanding, Fortitude,
Piety and Fear of the Lord - in which we are always growing, are ours by virtue
of our membership in the family of God. The presence of the Spirit in our lives
is most pronounced in the love we have for others. Christ made it clear at the
Last Supper just how far reaching our love ought to be: "...no greater
love than to lay down one's life for a friend"(John 15:13). "What I
command you is to love one another"(John 15:17). "If you love me, you
will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Love of God and love of our
neighbor are Christ’s commandments to us. The Spirit surrounds our love and is
our love for one another.
Put On Christ The gifts of the Holy Spirit make it possible to put on the mind and
the heart of Christ. The way Christ does things can be learned by our prayer
and the example of good people. If our own adherence to Christ is to make any
sense at all, we have to put on the mind and the heart of Christ. Prayer makes
the mind and heart of Christ a living memory in us.
We come to know Christ through the Scriptures. Listening to our hearts brings
us closer to the Christ who touched our hearts in baptism. Christ reaches out
to our world by using our gifts for spreading his kingdom. If we are going to
own the mind and the heart of Christ, our gifts have to fuse with our energies
of life as we reach out to the needs of our world.
Becoming Complete The gifts of the mind are complemented by the gifts that touch the
heart. Wisdom, knowledge, understanding and counsel are the mind gifts that
need the heart-felt gifts of piety, fortitude and fear of the Lord. Together
they are the quality of a Christ life. Piety, fortitude and fear of the Lord
are other gifts of the Spirit which come together to stretch our hearts. Both
sets of gifts are the Spirit at work to help us put on the mind and the heart
of Christ. The Spirit works to capture all of our being for Christ. The
distinction of the intellect and the will often de-personalizes these gifts so
that we lose touch with the Holy Spirit. We become a complete person in Christ
by the working of the Holy Spirit in us.
No Greater Love Love is the beginning of wisdom. We cannot love others if we do not
love ourselves. But we can only love ourselves if we have been loved. Human
love begins with a parent's love. A mother's love is incomprehensible, yet it
teaches us, at an early age, the meaning of love. Divine love is best
understood in God's love for us as expressed in the humanness of Christ who
died on the cross for us. Wisdom is found in Christ's "no greater
love." Wisdom is the Word made flesh and the fleshed out forgiveness of
Born In Our Time Knowledge of Christ is all the information we possess of the events
in the life of Christ. The knowledge produces meaning in us as we grow in our
journey of faith to become another Christ. We read the Scriptures and come to
an awareness of who this man Christ is. He lives with the Church as his
Mystical Body. In what we know about the Church we come to recognize Christ in
all he does in the lives of our brothers and our sisters. Reading the lives of
great saints helps increase our knowledge of Christ. We imagine what Christ
would have been like had he been born in their age and time. The 'saints' of
our own families and friends help us to understand the Christ of the Scriptures
by the way they have incorporated Christ into their own lives. The gift of
knowledge dawning in our minds brings the light of Christ. Light is shed on who
we can be in Christ.
Our Destiny The Apostles who accompanied Christ during his Public Life, and the
understanding the Spirit gave them, sustained the early Church. Our
understanding of friends and ourselves will continue through life until the day
we see Christ face to face. Then eye will see and ear will hear what has not yet
been seen or said in the history of the world. At last we will understand, in
the fullness of the Christ of Heaven, what life in the Spirit invites us to
have as our destiny.
Test Of Authority The translation of Christ into our 20th century is the work of the
Holy Spirit. Our belonging to the Church is the movement of the Holy Spirit in
us. Paul could have heard of Christ many times in his life and never understood
what Christ was about. As he subjected his understanding of Christ to the
Spirit, through the Apostles he came to know in a deeper way what he understood
in his prayer and the time spent in darkness. Understanding puts the process of
learning to the test of authority. It allows us to realize the truth of our
Hard Love Wisdom, knowledge and understanding are the natural outcrop of the
Spirit's grace within us. The divine indwelling reaches a tangible expression
in the beauty of our love reaching out to another's need. Rid of selfishness
our hearts have a greater capacity for loving. Our world does not understand
hard love measured by Christ's giving from the cross. Hard love is measured by
how we give rather than receive. Our wisdom, knowledge and understanding are
tempered by our love of the cross of Christ. "The greatest love a person
can have for his friends is to give his life for them (Jn. 15:13).
Counsel Counsel is the coming together of wisdom, knowledge and
understanding in the practical advice given or received. Counsel points out
what is missing in our Christ relationship. We have counsel for others in our
understanding of what is missing in their Christ relationship. We need
spiritual direction and discernment on the spiritual journey. Counsel must be
prudent so that advice not take us beyond our strength for living a good life. Often enough, in our lives, there is a note
of scorn in our voices when we call someone pious. Yet piety is the strength of
personal love for Christ. We are called to lose ourselves in Christ so we can
say with Paul: "...I live now not with my own life, but with the life of
Christ, who lives in me." (Galatians 2:20). The Spirit strengthens our love
of God in Christ. Christ's love touches the foundation of our being, giving us
his relationship to the Father.
Fortitude Fortitude is a sorely needed gift of the Spirit in our world and in
our Church. It makes perseverance and sticking to a difficult task possible.
Fortitude energizes us to live up to what we believe. Fortitude is essential to
religious life. The intensity of a life following Christ all the way to the
Cross relies on fortitude. Marriages can flounder in its absence. Every form of
community will fall by the wayside without it. The intensity of our love is a
measure of fortitude. By fortitude we can offer a love as intense as Christ's love.
Such a love endures in season and out of season, when it is acceptable and even
when it is not acceptable. Fortitude strengthens us in the way we share our
love. The sinner who keeps on trying against all obstacles, and one day reaches
the pinnacle of holiness, gets there by fortitude. The attraction of a pleasure
locking us into selfishness is counterbalanced by the call of grace, which
gradually allows us to build up the habit of saying "yes" to our
Lord. Fortitude is the love of a heart capable of outlasting temptation.
Fortitude forges a will of iron, which enables us to do what the Lord is
Fear Of The Lord Our journey of love calls us to choose our beloved over everyone and
everything else in life. Each time we fail we have a new movement of the Spirit
flowing from a fear of the Lord. There are times when we do not want to live
with our Lord, but we need him, whether we know it or not. Every time we pick
something other than our Master, and make it, even for a moment, the meaning of
life, we feel the grumbling of our hearts, calling, calling, calling us back to
this God, whose absence we fear. Just like the awesome experience of his love
living within us, fear of losing the Lord can be one of the freeing experiences
of life. We will do the impossible to keep him.
Another Christ We dare to be another Christ. Fear, which keeps us from doing
something, is not the same as fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is different
than fear of being punished. Our hearts quake before the awesomeness of God's
presence in Jesus Christ. We have the gift of the fear of the Lord when we look
deep within. In the Mystery of Indwelling we realize in whose presence we are.
This fear does not bring paralysis; rather it brings a moment of adoration in
the unveiling of God's majesty in us.
God’s Way The Spirit is sent to empower us on our own missions in life. We
have to surrender our way of doing things in favor of God's way. We have to
realize that God is in our lives. There are no accidents in the plan of God. He
has chosen us. He has chosen to be in our lives. The coming of the Spirit
deepens the surrender of our lives to God's action in us. The surrender to this
call allows God to work through us, because grace builds on nature. This
enables us to see how much more can be done than we could ever have dreamt of
Contemplatives In Action We have to make the transition from simply being preserved in life
to being active participants with the Lord working through us. The ideal is to
let the Lord work one hundred percent while we do nothing. All blocks to
the-Lord-taking-care-of-everything need to be removed with today's Pentecost.
The Work Of The Spirit Each of the Gifts of the Spirit makes it possible for us to be present to the needs
of another. The gifts show themselves through the fruits of the Spirit. These
fruits distinguish our relationship to Christ. When grace builds on nature, the
fruit of the Spirit focuses nature by shining forth with gracefulness, and
exposing the uniqueness of each of us.
The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon Us A genuine Christian by being true to oneself offers the fruits of
the Spirit. The life of the Spirit in anyone reveals itself by the way one’s
gifts nourish another. The fruits of the Spirit are much more obvious in others
than in oneself. Love is the working of the spirit attracting our hearts by the
gift of another. Love is anything done for another and a deed of love finds
expression as a fruit of the spirit. Each act of love plants in our hearts a
fruit of the Spirit. In the Gospel of Luke we encounter Christ reading from the
prophet Isaiah, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has chosen
me to bring good news to the poor..."(Luke 4:18). His comment on the
scripture was; "This passage of Scripture has come true today as you heard
it being read."(Luke 4:21) The presence of the Spirit within us has an
outgoing manifestation discoverable in the fruit of the spirit. The force of
the spirit within flows to the exterior of our lives, and his fruit show his
Fruits Of The Spirit The genuine living of our Christ-life should have many outward
signs. A list could include more than the charity, peace, joy, patience,
benignity, chastity, continence, longsuffering, goodness, mildness, faith and
modesty that make up the traditional listing of the fruits of the Spirit. The
fruits of the Spirit reveal our Christianity. We shall know they are Christians
by their love. Our love for one another needs the uniqueness that flows out of
the mixture of the gifts of the Spirit. The recognition of the uniqueness of a
friend elaborates the meaning of a fruit of the Spirit. Love for another flows
from the appreciation of the uniqueness of one or more of the fruits of the
Spirit in another.
Love A great heart is recognized by its generosity, in its giving of self
in love. The only thing we can change in a relationship is the amount of love
we give, and the way we give it to one another. At the other extreme from
generosity is selfishness, which manipulates the gift of another for personal
gain. Love attempts to give the better gift, recognizable as the fruit of
Joy Joy flows from a genuine heart. Joy is the infallible sign of the
presence of God in any life. Joy goes deeper than a silly smile. The happiness
of being a child of God is part of joy. The closeness of belonging is part of
joy. The living of our truth brings joy. Desire to be true to our word is
written on our heart and is the source of joy. The sad-faced Christian
contradicts the Good News of the gospel. We like ourselves when we are living
up to the dictates of our hearts. Holiness brings sane living, and the
wholeness of sanctity brings a joy strong enough to survive even the trials of
Job. Joy is one of the best signs of the closeness of God to us. The divine
indwelling surfaces joy again and again, showing the truth of our heart’s
closeness to God. It is the gift belonging to the Resurrection.
Peace Peace is the sign of a soul that has it all together. It is
tranquility of a heart secure in its relationship to the Father. Love calls us
to togetherness with the beloved. Poverty, short life and dishonor that mark
the life of Christ are difficult to want until love for Christ and the Father
strengthens us. Once our peace is strongly established in our relationship to
Christ, our unruffled spirits flow from our freedom to give of ourselves rather
than our concern with what we are receiving. Christ chose poverty, and his
spirit within us chooses his poverty. The disgrace of the cross bringing the
glory of Christ makes possible the great peace accompanying Christ's cross in
the saints. It allows us to know in the midst of our crosses that we are close
to Christ. The human Christ who lived two thousand years ago is out of our
reach, but his choices of life are possible to us. Christ can be touched and
held in no better way, with the exception of Eucharist, than by the way we live
out his choices of life. Our awareness of trying to choose as Christ chose
Peace is possible amid fears. The Apostles of the upper room were filled with
fear when Christ brought them his peace. Once we make the choices of Christ our
own, nothing can separate us from the peace Christ brings. The world no longer
can force us away from Christ because honor and power lose their attraction;
they are not his choices. He chose poverty, short life and the dishonor of the
Only the choice of something other than Christ endangers peace. Sin is the
distance that exists between who I am and who I should be in following Christ.
Sin is rarely a “we,” it is always an “I.” Our peace is in what we do for
Christ as the other. Our peace is in our being with Christ by our togetherness
with others. Peace births the leaders our world needs.
Patience Patience is seen in the acceptance of our own and others' growth. It
is easier to see growth in others than in self. Growth requires pruning to
remove the dead wood. Such pruning is the work of the Father. It makes room for
the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
The pruning away of faults opens us to growth. Pruning and growth are not
always easy. They often occur in periods of great stress, where we are not
aware of what is happening. The piercing of the heart of Jesus on the cross
ranks as one of the sharpest cuts of all time. Our own cuts do not always draw
the best from us. Wanting to be close to Christ can calm the troubled waters of
our lives. Closeness to Christ allows the fruits of the Spirit to flow out of
our hearts in the patience we have with each other. We walk on water with the
touch of Christ on our hearts.
Kindness Christ becomes part of the excitement of our life in the experience
of the coming forth of the Spirit in our salvation history story. When the
Spirit comes to us, we are enabled to live up to Christ in us. Our Christ gifts
are always renewed for what is needed as our hearts are claimed to meet the
challenge of what is to be done in our world today. A gentle heart is one that
belongs to Christ. Violence is foreign to a soul caught up in the wonder of
Christ having died for us. The willingness to be a non-violent person flows out
of the oneness one has with the Christ of the Cross.
Gentleness We joyfully recognize the presence of the Spirit as the bursting-out
expression of the pleasure of giving. Not only does God love a cheerful giver.
We all do, even loving ourselves when we give cheerfully. The fun of giving
opens the eyes of our soul in an ever-widening circle of love until one day we
can be more concerned about the world in which we live than about ourselves.
Gentleness comes from respect for life and all life stands for. The life of
Christ, knowable from the scriptures, becomes real to us in the way Christ
dealt with the woman taken in adultery. Gentleness is how the good Shepherd
comes alive in our dealings with one another. A placid spirit and a kind heart
find expression in gentleness of spirit.
Goodness Each of the fruits of the Spirit is a living out of a gift of the
Spirit in a practical way, thus making it a pleasure to be with another. The
fruits of the spirit make us loveable. Once we are willing to say that we need
another, we know, in the recognition of the gift they possess, the working of
the Spirit in our relationship. It goes both ways. Others can discover in us
what we discover in them. A living people-list of the twelve fruits is its own
reward. Much more rewarding is the discovery of what attracts our hearts to
holy people. Goodness is a label we put on holiness.
All of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit have to do with love. Perfect
love generates new love. The fruits of the Spirit are found in Christ and the
imitation of Christ produces fruits of the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit
reveal the uniqueness of Christ's holiness in each of us. We are called by the
gentleness of Christ. He does not call us by force. The "come follow
me" touches our hearts as an invitation. The desire to follow is born of
the truth of the attraction of holiness. Christ calls us to find ourselves in
The beauty of Christ's love is that it has anticipated us. Before we have been
born, Christ has loved us and we are called to find in him the deepest meaning
of our creation. All the other religions are touched by the Spirit of God, and
in the very touch tell us something about holiness. Christianity not only tells
us something about holiness, but also in telling us about Christ gives us the
example of the perfect holiness of life. Christ tells us something about what
it means to be ourselves and the richness of the Spirit in each of us is
founded on the relationship to Christ's gifts of the Spirit.
The Birth Of The Church As the blood and water issued forth from the pierced heart of
Christ, the Church was conceived. Pentecost marks the birth of the Church and
claims Christ's spirit as its ongoing life that will be fulfilled in the final
resurrection. Love carries us toward fusion with the beloved. The tension of
love is found in the need of independence and autonomy. Growing up in this love
carries us into the Mystical Body of Christ in the interdependence of our lives
together where our gifts are needed and expressed as the life of the Church.
The source of this love is the Holy Spirit. The locus of this love is the
Sacred Heart of Jesus. And the possibility of this love is the exchange of
hearts with Christ.
Personal Pentecost We live in an age of the Spirit. But we often pay only lip service
to the Holy Spirit in the Gloria, the Creed and the sign of the Cross. How
often do we adore the Holy Spirit in the depths of our hearts? Our missing
challenge to holiness could be the ignorance of the coming of the Spirit in our
own lives. The gifts of the Spirit can make us aware of the coming of the
Spirit to us. We have all heard of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles
at Pentecost. Yet our unawareness of his coming to us from without makes us
incomplete in our own relationship to the Spirit. Most of us claim the Spirit
at Baptism, but need encouragement to frequently tap the Spirit. Few realize
that for every new need of the community, there is the possibility of a new
coming. Christians will never get beyond the need of new comings because the
problems of the growing pains will be with us until the end.
A New Coming We think of someone missing when we hear of the Holy Spirit, and yet
the Spirit moves us when we adore the Lord our God. People whom we respect as
spiritual are filled with the Spirit. Yet many of them do not realize that for
every need of the people of God, there is the possibility of a new coming just for
the asking. The very need of the people of God brought the new coming we call
the second Vatican Council. What the Church can do as the macrocosm of the
people of God, we can do in community as a microcosm of the people of God. Each
new need of the people of God can invite us to go beyond the way we see
ourselves. Our need is the basis for a new coming if we will but call out from
the depths of our being with the cry that the Spirit makes possible. We need
the combination of wisdom, knowledge, counsel and understanding that brings the
integration of the mind of Christ into our way of thinking, and the piety,
fortitude, and the fear of the Lord that claims for our living the very heart
of Christ as our own. The mind and the heart of Christ give rise to all the
fruits of the Spirit.
Love To Be Shared We are looking for the Spirit of the Father. Looking at Christ
discovers the Father. Christ was such a good teacher of the Father that he
could claim at the Last Supper that all the Father had given him he had passed
on to his disciples. He told his disciples, "As the Father has loved me, I
have loved you." And he wanted his disciples to live on in that love. The
disciples could well have come to the upper room of Pentecost out of fear and
out of the memory of what they had shared in Christ. The promise of Christ to
send the Spirit and not the qualifications of the Apostles made Pentecost
possible. Peter, forgiven by Christ for having denied him, would be the
spokesperson of Pentecost. Peter had a need of sharing this Christ who had died
for him. What happened in that upper room was not just the rush of the fire of
divine love that reached their hearts, but the need of that love to be shared.
Excitement Of Love The Pentecost experience is filled with an energy that cannot be
restrained. The Spirit of the living God within us breaks free in the sharing
of our love. At Pentecost, the Resurrection becomes the dawning awareness of
Christ bigger than hearts and the encounter with Christ needs to be shouted out
to our world with all the excitement of love. We capture in Christ's humanness
all the mercy and love of God. Pentecost makes it possible for a dearly
departed friend to live on in our lives in the love of our hearts reminding us
of our friend.
Wings To Words At Pentecost all the memories of Jesus came together with such a
rush, it was like a loud wind gathering in one place. The Apostles could not be
quiet. The urgency of their hearts to speak of their Christ gave wings to words
that reached the hearts of the many listeners of that day. The tongues of fire
set them free. The gathering of the day and the memories shared caught up and
freed their spirits to proclaim to any and all the good news of Christ's
Resurrection. The Apostles needed Pentecost to become free. What we would say
because of our new Pentecost speaks the louder to hearts seeking to be free.
The truth reaching the heart reflects the working of the Spirit. Each of the
gifts we possess, given for the needs of the world, relates whom we are to the
world groaning to know the salvation of Jesus Christ. Christ is revealed in us
even as we reach out to the needs of the world under the inspiration of the
Spirit. The victory of Christ lives in each of us through our goodness. Christ
had to go. As long as he was on the scene, the apostles would always want to be
around Christ and would be following his lead. They were not about to initiate
anything that would risk their lives or spread the news that God was in the
land. They needed something that would galvanize them into action after Christ
had left them in the Ascension; they had to be taken from being bystanders and
watchers to heartfelt livers of the Kingdom of God. Christ told the Apostles
that he had to go in order that the Spirit might come. He was telling them that
there was something missing between what he stood for and their living the
fullness of whom he, Christ, was. When someone finally leaves us, all we shared
becomes a living memory in us. We know the need of honoring the memory with
The Awakening Pentecost brings the awakening of all the Apostles in the excitement
of the day we read about in the second chapter of the Acts. Their membership in
the human race showed through their fear. We can imagine the doors locked. They
could not bring themselves to leave. Confusion reigned. Would Jesus come soon?
How will we recognize him this time? What could be done in the meanwhile? Were
they all talking at once? Was it Mary who first understood? Did she wait for
the others to understand? So many questions then and today capture our hearts
before we are ready for the work of Jesus. The Apostles were beset with
confusion and doubt. They were held together by expectation and love of Jesus.
The "Come, Lord Jesus" prayer of the early community was perhaps
first uttered from the hearts of these men at this time.
Tongues Of Fire When the Apostles were together, they possessed the presence of
Christ missed so desperately when they were alone. This group of ordinary
people would be made extraordinary by tongues of fire. The ground swell of fear
is swallowed by a heaven swell of love. The doors of their hearts are swung
open and the doors of the room hold them no longer. They burst forth from the
room charged by the movement of the spirit, charged with spreading the good
news. His excitement in sending the Spirit has to be measured by our joys in
sharing the good news. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the
same spirit. What the apostles received, we receive. New times and new needs
call forth the gifts that are so different, but the same in the Spirit, the
giver of the Gifts.
New Coming Chapter four of Acts tells us about Peter and John praying: "[T]o
speak. Your, message with all boldness... grant that wonders and miracles may
be performed..." (Acts 4:29-30) The building shook and the sound of the
rushing winds made them aware of a new coming of the Spirit. The Pentecost we
celebrate as the beginning of the Church was the first of many great needs that
would be met by sending the Spirit.
Ongoing Life The Holy Spirit comes to the great needs of the Church, inspiring
men and women of every age to use their gifts for the Church. The great
civilizations which have come and gone so quickly in the history of the world
suggests something special keeps the Church going amidst all the weaknesses and
sinfulness of its members. The presence of the Spirit in the Church, constantly
renewing us, explains the ongoing life of the Church. The inspiration of the
Holy Spirit brings the truth the Church shares with its people. The father of
lies will not prevail over the Church. The Spirit’s presence nourishes and
insures the growth of the Church. The Spirit is the love present in the Church
in its relationship to the Father and the Son. Limiting the operations of the
Spirit to the day of Pentecost would make the Spirit an isolated part of Church
history. In truth, the Spirit is the life-giver of every day. The Spirit is in
the ''now-ness'' of the mystery of love as the breath and life of the Church.
I Am If we could hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us we might hear. “I am
the love of the Father, and the Son for each other. I would be your love of God
even as I am God's love for you. I am the meeting of love and the reaching
beyond the boundaries of life to the meeting of the divine and the human. I am
the moment of time that is eternal because it only takes a moment to love
forever. I am your deepest wish and the wellspring of all knowledge. I am the
truth of who you are, and of whom you will become in the fullness of all love
that Christ makes yours in my coming. Forget yourself and all the desires you
have of this world and allow me to do the talking for you. Open your heart to
the sound of my voice and I will speak for you to the world crying out for the
human to make sense. I am the moment before common sense, even as I am the
divine logic of all love. Open yourself to hear the truth of the heart you can
be in God's love as you accept the truth of yourself.”
Let Us Pray We claim you, Spirit, as the truth of our hearts. Come, fill our
hearts and make us faithful. Your gifts are the heartbeats of Eternal Life in
us. Give us open hearts to love even as Christ did. Move us and mold us as
lovers of life and all that is holy. Make us noble in the way we reach out to
the hurting and the little ones of life.
Teach us what we need to know that we might always possess the truth of Christ
in who we are. Let us be totally receiving and totally giving so the life of
the Trinity might have a counterpart in us in the Mystery of Indwelling. Make
us a giving people so poverty might be driven away forever. Deafen us with the
cry of "Abba" from our hearts so we may only hear the word of our
hearts calling to our Father in heaven. Speak for us so we might be heard by the
Father in the truth of our Christ life within. May each of your gifts be strong
in us and may the fruits of your life within us be seen by all. Enkindle in us
the fire of divine love and never let it go out. Recreate us anew in Love. Let
the Sacred Heart be our heart. Amen.
After trying my case
the Romans wanted to release me, because they found nothing against me
deserving the death penalty. But when the Jews objected, I was obliged to
appeal to Caesar, even though I had no accusation to make against my own
nation. This is the reason, then, I have requested to see you and to speak with
you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear these chains.” Acts 28:18-20
Jesus said to him,
“What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You
follow me.” John 20:22
the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains only a grain. But if
it dies, it bears much fruit ” (John 12:23-26).
"You follow me." Perhaps
the simplest commandment.
"You follow me." Jesus was addressing Peter and countering Peter’s status check – comparing himself
to John. Jesus stopped him in
mid-thought and brushed off Peter’s questions.
"You follow me." What
concern is it of ours no matter what happens to someone else? Our only concern is to follow Jesus. No matter what the consequences. No matter what the price.
showed us that he had to set his ego aside in order to let Christ rise up in
Oscar Romero, the great peacemaker was shot and killed while saying Mass and
preaching for peace on March 24, 1980.Today,
Pope Francis is beatifying Archbishop Oscar Romero—naming him a “blessed,” the
stage just before he is officially canonized as a “saint of God.” But for the
people of El Salvador and much of the world, Romero has always been a saint.
is the latest in the line of Peter who will formally get this honor by the
church. In reality, people like Blessed
Oscar Romero are considered saintly by the people long before they are bestowed
any formal honor by Mother Church.
to Rev. John Dear, S.J. writing in www.commondreams.org:
“For me, though, Archbishop Oscar Romero is not just the greatest bishop in Christian
history, he is one of the greatest human beings in history—right up there with
the likes of Jeremiah and Isaiah, Francis and Clare, Mahatma Gandhi and Dorothy
Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, Thich Nhat Hanh and Archbishop
Tutu. Oscar Romero is the epitome of what it means to be a Christian—a prophet
of peace, justice and nonviolence.”
Oscar was not concerned with what the government would say about him. Blessed Oscar was not concerned with what the
military would do to him. Blessed Oscar
was only concerned with following Jesus.
John Dear reminds us that “Romero’s prophetic example challenges us to speak
out as never before.” We must die so Jesus can live through us. Fr. John implores
This weekend, we can all join with the people
of El Salvador to celebrate the resurrection of Oscar Romero, and commit
ourselves to carry on the struggle, as fiercely as he did, for the abolition of
war, poverty, nuclear weapons and environmental destruction, for the coming for
a new world of peace and nonviolence. As we do, Romero will rise in us too, and
we might all begin to experience new breakthroughs of peace.
Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said
to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you
know that I love you.”Jesus said to
him, “Feed my lambs.”He then said to
Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you
know that I love you.”He said to him,
“Tend my sheep.”He said to him the
third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”Peter was distressed that he had said to him
a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything;
you know that I love you.”Jesus said to
him, “Feed my sheep.”(John 21:15-17).
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:11-12)
Peter has to be dealing with all sorts of
emotions.In the verses before today’s
reading, Jesus, he and some of the other disciples have shared a meal cooked
over a charcoal fire.The last time we
read about Peter and Jesus in connection with a charcoal fire, they were in the
high priest’s courtyard, Jesus about to be questioned and Peter denying any
acquaintance with his friend.(Jn
18:18)Now Peter, full of shame and
remorse, doesn’t say anything.It’s
Jesus who initiates the conversation. In
English, lose some of the nuances of the conversation.The first two times Jesus asks Peter if Peter
loves him, he uses the word agape,
the type of love which is pure and selfless and seeks the well-being of the
other.Peter answers him using the word phileo, which is the type of affection
we might have for a close friend.Uppermost
in Peter’s mind must be his betrayal of his friend, and there’s no way he can
say he loves Jesus selflessly.The third
time Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, he, too, uses the term for brotherly
love, phileo.Three denials counterbalanced by three
affirmations of love.
We’ve all been in Peter’s shoes at one time or
another, hurting and betraying a close friend or loved one.We know we need to say we’re sorry and to ask
for forgiveness, but sometimes the shame and guilt hold us back.We can’t even bring ourselves to look the
other in the eye.The beautiful thing
about this passage is that Jesus doesn’t wait for Peter to say a thing.The Risen Christ reaches out and raises his
friend from the death of sin and despair.He then goes beyond forgiveness and turns over the care and feeding of
his flock to Peter.If you truly love
me, follow in my footsteps.Look after
all those whom I love.I entrust them to
Our God is a compassionate, forgiving God who sent
his Son into the world to heal sinners.When
you are praying today, open your heart to Jesus.Share with him what needs forgiving in your
life. Let him lift from you the burden of sin as he did Peter.Listen as he asks you, too, to continue his
work in the world.
Thursday of the
Seventh Week of Easter By
Beth DeCristofaro Paul … called out
before the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; I am
on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a
dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the group became
divided….The following night the Lord
stood by (Paul) and said, “Take courage.For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must
also bear witness in Rome.” (Acts 23:6-7, 11) Lifting up his eyes
to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:“I pray
not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their
word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that
they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. (John 17:20-21) Piety Fill me with the awe of your presence in
all my interactions with fellow humans, Jesus, because of your love and the
love of our Father for me and for all people.Dissolve my prejudices, fears, paucities.May the Spirit propel me to humility, witness
and wholeness in You.
And Jesus says to us, each day, each
hour:“Take courage and witness to Me.”Today is the final day of a Symposium at Catholic University on Nostra Aetate (“Declaration On The
Relation Of The Church To Non-Christian Religions”, Vatican II).The document recognizes that there is truth
and holiness and witness to God’s presence in the world in non-Christian
religions while affirming the unique and incarnate mystery of the Word that was
and is Jesus Christ.The document declares
in part that humans have in common “One is the community of all peoples, one
their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the
earth. One also is their final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of
goodness, His saving design extend to all men”[i]
Our witness must include looking for God in
the hearts of others rather than imposing ourselves upon them.The recent ugly debacle in Texas where
participants mocked in cartoons and violence the prophet Mohammed, the
Christian militias who make war in Africa, Christian vandals defacing mosques
and synagogues, Christian politicians who claim that other governmental leaders
who have differing views are not Christian, Catholics asserting that only this
prayer or that set of rituals is the only and right way to worship and
experience Christ, all these throw Jesus’ words back in His face.
Unity begins with me.I can look for the face of Jesus in each human
face rather than judge her/his right to be respected and cherished.I can pray for the well-being and spiritual
expanding of other peoples.I can give
and serve rather than hold onto or receive.I can profoundly live with humility, gratitude and generosity the
furthers words of Jesus:And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me (John
Wednesday of the Seventh
Week of Easter I know that after my departure savage
wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your
own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples
away after them. Acts 20:29-30 ”Consecrate them in the truth. Your
word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And
I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”John 17:17-10
The young girl dancing to the
Has found new ways to move her feet
The young man speaking in the city square
Is trying to tell somebody that he cares
Yeah, the ones that you're calling wild
Are going to be the leaders in a little while
This old world's wakin' to a new born day
And I solemnly swear that it'll be their way
You better help the voice of youth find
"What is truth?”
Paul must realize how odd his
words sound.He readily admits that for
three years, he was the one blazing a trail of tears.Now, Paul/Saul is the one warning about the
wolf in sheep’s clothing, the false prophet who will come to divide the community
and tempt the followers off the path of truth.
Jesus must realize how final
his words sound.For three years, he has
been there leading his followers to the way of truth.Soon, he will depart and they will be on
their own.Jesus also knows that the way
of the world will come to divide and destroy the community.
Men and women will come
forward from Madison Avenue, from Wall Street, from Hollywood, from K Street,
from even Main Street who will show a different way.An easy way.A wealthy way.A tempting way.
The temptation will not always
come in the form of violence.The
temptation will disguise the truth.The
temptation will look easy.But Jesus and Paul and the
prophets never promised easy.They only
promised life.Nothing important in life
Before you give to any charity, do your research.Watchdog groups like CharityWatch, Charity
Navigator and GuideStar can be sources to help you make sure your money goes to
legitimate organizations and not just to “false prophets.”
Do the research.Be prudent.Make good choices.However, do not let these wolves (aka crooks)
discourage you from giving to legitimate charities that do good work.See More