Jesus has prepared place for each of us after our lives.

Friday, 4/27/18

In telling the twelve Apostles that he was going to prepare a place for them,  Jesus was echoing what Moses did for the twelve tribes thirteen hundred years before.

Back then, before the tribes could enter the Promised Land, Moses sent surveyors across the Jordan to draw up twelve portions of equal value for farming and grazing. Then, Moes had the leaders of the tribes draw lots to fix the territories that would go to each of the tribes.

What Jesus promised the Apostles was only vaguely similar. As St. John wrote, "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, it has not entered into the heats of men the things God has planned for those who love him.

An outline history of Christianity

Thursday, 4.26/18

In the first reading Paul, on being invited to speak of Christianity's roots in the Old Testament, gave a summary of fifteen centuries of ancient Jewish history, leading to the coming of Christ.
Could you carry on from there?
At the Last Supper Jesus told the Apostles he would lead them to all truth.
In 325 the Council of Nicea taught that Jesus is true God as well as being true man,
In 400 St. Augustine taught that we cannot save ourselves.
In 500 Clovis, king of the Franks, put the clergy on the social level of the nobility.
In 1563 the Council of Trent made Friday abstinence and Sunday Mass obligatory

Mark's first eight chapters show him to be the Savior. His next eight chapters show him saving us though his suffering,

Wednesday, 4/25/18

In their Gospels, written fifty years after the facts, Matthew and Luke wrote that a Cyrenian named Simon helped Jesus carry its cross. Mark, who was a witness to the Way of the Cross, told us that Simon was the father of Rufus and Alexander (whom his readers knew well.)

Matthew, Luke and John each told us his reason for writing  Gospel, like, Matthew wanted to show us that rather than abandoning the Law and the Prophets, Jesus came to fulfill them.

Critics had been saying that Jesus could not have been the Messiah because he suffered a sad death. Answering them, Mark composed his first eight chapters showing that Jesus, by his miracles and fulfilled prophesies demonstrated himself to be the Savior.

Mark concluded the first half of his thesis by quoting Peter as saying, "You are the Messiah." In the next verse, Mark launched into the second half of his thesis by "teaching them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly."

Instead of further instruction, what we need for doing good jobs is encouiragment.

Tuesday, 4/24/18

When persecutions against believers broke out in Jerusalem many believers fled a hundred miles north to Antioch; and it was from there that they came to be called Christians.

It happened then that a good number of non-Jews joined these Christians, and the Apostles saw that they should choose a kind to deal understandingly with the non-Jewish Christians.

The man they chose had been given the name of Joseph at his birth, but later had earned for himself  the alternate name of Barnabas, meaning the Son of Encouragement.

Up to five or more years ago we had a diocesan leader of our teachers; and all of our trackers were disappointed over the lady leaving that position.

When I asked our teachers why they were sorry to see that lady go, one after another of them gave the same answer, "We'll miss her because she was so encouraging."

The reason for it when we are having trouble with our jobs, usually is that it is all an uphill grind. What we need it not more instruction, we need encouragement to continue the good fight.

Jesus is the gate to the sheepfold.

Monday, 4/23/18

Today's Gospel follows on yesterday's. While yesterday's had us marking the progress into the hills of  each little shepherd band, with out attention on the special band of Jesus; today we turn to the gate's importance to the sheepfold.

While each of the town's shepherd boys might take his turn as watchman in the gate of the sheepfold, in today's Gospel Jesus asks us to see himself as the permanent gatekeeper.

He warns us against mirauders who steal his sheep. Since Jesus is the true shepherd of all mankind,
Jesus is asking us to deny the leadership of any would-be-leaders who lead us into sin, leading us away from God's way.

Jesus is our Good Shepherd.

Sunday, 4/22/18

Jesus, as our shepherd, was similar to any other shepherd boy in any village. Every family kept sheep for meat and wool. As well. every family had a shepherd boy who grew up with the family's little flock.

The boy would lead his family's sheep up into the hills for grass. Then, at evening he would lead them back to the village sheepfold. The village shepherd boys would take turns sitting in the gate while his companions went to eat with their families. There, his flock would sleep separately until morning.

At morning, each shepherd boy would in turn arrive at the gate to the sheepfold. There he would make a sound familiar only to his own flock; and they would rise up, while the other little flocks slept on. Jesus, like each shepherd, knows his own sheep intimately; and they know him.

Fine old people are the same the world over.

Saturday, 4/2/18

When St. Peter went to the sickbed of a lady named Talitha. the women all showed him  garments Talitha had made for each of them, Peter rewarded  itha, the women of the village, one after another showed Peter the beautiful garments Talitha had made for them. 

Eighty years ago I served in a village very much like a Bible village. The houses had no furniture; and walking was our only mode of transportation.

After my Mass on every Saturday morning I was free to eat a big breakfast. So, one Saturday I was disappointed when, before i could eat, I was told I should walk five miles up our valley to where an old would-be convert was waiting for the Sacraments.

I found the old man in the middle of an eight-by-eight room with a dozen ladies squatting around him.  With the ladies dropping in. I went through all the prayers and 
Sacraments. Then I sat back, waiting for the man to die.

Suddenly he leaned forward, asking, "Has the priest had his breakfast? 

As the people took turns asking, I acted as though I just wanted to remain praying. But the old man insisted, and the women joined in asking; so I got up, and started for home.

Afterwards I heard that the old man died as soon as I left his village. He had been more concerned about me than about himself.

Friday, 4/20/18

Today's readings explain themselves, and I have nothing to say further. So, please excuse me for telling about an incident from thirty-five years ago , one that touched on this first reading.

Thirty-five years ago, to celebrate my twenty-five years in the priesthood, I had an evening's Mass in my home parish in St. Louis. It was a quiet affair, with just my sisters and their children attending, but with sixteen of their teen-aged sons as part of that number.

The pastor in that home parish of mine was a very friendly Monsignor Lloyd. His one fault was that  once he started speaking, he couldn't find a way to stop. Well. the monsignor looked in at my family, and although he had said he would not speak, the presence of my sixteen teen aged nephews moved him to say a few words about the Church's need for fine young priests.

He told the boys that their vacation to the priesthood would come quietly. It would not be like when  St. Paul was knocked off his horse.

He said that several times, without finding a way to stop. So, on the fourth time he got to speaking about St. Paul being knocked from his horse, I broke in. Without meaning to interrupt, I said, "There was no horse."

That gave the monsignor a way to wind ups his remarks.

At every Mass Jesus asks us to be one with him, in offering the Father all our obedience and love.

Thursday, 4/19/18

St. John, in Chapter Six of his Gospel, developed two ways in which Jesus is the Bread of Life.

First, John quoted Jesus as saying He himself was the Bread of Life come down from heaven.

Secondly, John quoted Jesus as saying the bread that he would give us is his life which he gives to us.

Let me transfer to another matter, namely to the question as to how the Mass can be a sacrifice. Now, the only sacrifices known to the ancient world were ones in which the victim was brought to death. And so, Christians debated on ways that the death of Jesus was part of the Mass.

However, St. Augustine, put aside the element of death in our Masses. He said that the sacrifice of the Mass consists in Jesus and his followers giving God their complete love and obedience. To grasp this point we must see how the Last Supper followed the customary formula for such ritual dinners.

That ritual divided the table bless into three parts. In the first, the diners recalled all of God's favors to them. In the second part they reminded theirselves that they were living in God's presence. The third part had the host and the diners making themselves into one pleasing gift to God in return for his may favors to them. The Greek word for Pleasing Favors was Eucharist.

Both St. Paul and St. Luke in their account of the Consecration at the Last Supper tell us that it was at that their part of the table blessing, at the Eucharist, that Jesus said, "This is my body which is for you." He is there asking you and I to become part of his one Eucharist that he offers to the Father as an act of obedience and life.

Saul imprisoned all the Christians he could find.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The state of Florida has over 20,000 imprisoned. At a facility near Ocala, we have thousands of imprisoned women. Fr. Bob McDermott of our Diocese is an authority on prison life. Fr. Bob began his official life as a lawyer in Atlanta; but over the last 39 years, he has been giving consolation to our prisoners.

Bob says an average person makes 200 decisions daily, while a prisoner at best may make 24. In Florida's prison system, only those prisoners with less than five years to go are permitted to use their time in learning trades. So Bob with concern for those who have more than five years to serve encourages them to partake more fully in religion.

One of our corporal works of mercy falls on us to visit prisoners. To be real Christians we have to pay them visits, write them letters. In Florida released prisoners are not allowed to vote and find it difficult to locate work. Our help and concern must go out to these men and women.

Jesus himself is the bread

Tuesday, 4//17/18

It had been a tradition among the Jews that when the Savior came he would make actual manna come down from heaven.

Jesus said that rather than his giving bread he himself was bread.

Th Synagogue of the Roman Freedmen.

Monday, 4/16/18

Our first reading today honors St. Stephen, the first person to be put to death for his belief in Jesus. Let us look briefly at the men who stoned him to death. They are called members of the Synagogue of the Roman Freedmen.

Through the centuries the Roman senate had a way of keeping the scattered Jews in line. Every year Rome would take Jewish hostages from every Mediterranean port keeping them in Rome for five years.

While those young men may not have been very religious as boys, their detention for their faith would begin them longing to live the full religious life of the temple. So, when their five years as hostages were complete, they would settle in Jerusalem, leading ultra conservative Jewish lives.

They turned against Stephen when they saw him eating with Gentiles.

We must avoid imitating those men who turned against good men like Stephen.

"O Lord, you put gladness into my heart."

Sunday, 4/15/18

At a holiday gathering of priests and seminarians I asked a priest about a very serious seminarian across the room. My priest friend said it was funny that I should ask, because the boy had been anxious to meet me.

With that,  my priest  called the boy over; and as if by magic, the boy's seriousness gave way to a gladness that compelled me to say, "Young man, that smile does wondrous things for you."

I tell that story because it brings out the value of gladness in our lives. In the Alleluia verse we say, "O Lord, you put gladness into our hearts."

Our Lord's repeated greeting of "Peace be with you" is a  bestowal of  gladness.

St. John, in his reading begs us avoid sin, so that we might be filled with God's gladness.

Jesus asked his disciples to look upon the wounds in is side and in his feet. Let us join them in gazing at the crucified Jesus. By his self sacrifice he has won us lasting gladness.

Jesus came walking to them over the water,

Saturday, 4/14/18

The Apostles, on their return to Capernaum, fought against such winds and waves that they thought they were to perish. So, when Jesus came to them, actually walking on the water, they saw him as conquering death.

When death is coming on us, we should see it as a stormy sea over which Jesus can come walking to us.