With Jesus having based his New Covenant on the Beatitudes, in All the Saints we honor real New Covenant people.

Sunday, 11/1/15

Although November First calls on me to say something about All Saints, I am drawn instead to say something about St. Matthew’s wonderful Gospel about the Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew wrote this Gospel to show that Jesus, even though he cured on the Sabbath and pardoned those who did not follow kosher, could not be accused of trying to abolish the Law and the Prophets.

With the Sermon on the Mount, Mathew showed us that rather than abandoning the law and the Prophets, Jesus completed them.

Mathew described what Jesus did in today’s Gospel to mirror what happened with Moses on Mount Sinai. Moses had gone up the mountain, gathering the leaders around him, while the people stayed below; then, he began with his famous one-liners, the Ten Commandments.

Echoing that, Jess went up the mountain, gathering his disciples around him, while the people stayed below. Then, Jesus opened up with his famous one-liners, the Beatitudes.

We can say that Moses inaugurated the Old Covenant with the Ten Commandments, while Jesus opened the New Covenant with the Beatitudes.

Unfortunately, our Church chooses to stay on the level of the Old Covenant, preaching at us about keeping the Commandments. But, luckily once a year, with All Saints Day, we do honor the saints who qualified as New Covenant People by living the Beatitudes. 

We hate to be told to make room for someone more worthy.

Saturday, 10/31/15

Each of us wonders about how near the top of the table others will seat us. Out of fear that we will be told to make room for someone who is preferred to us, we usually don’t go for the top seat.

Possibly, nothing concerns us as much as how we are ranked in the eyes of others. Think of this: when God told you to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself’, he did not tell you to love your neighbor more than yourself.

 No! You are God’s precious child, and he has put this precious child that you are in your own hands. He has entrusted you to your own keeping. He has charged you to keep yourself healthy and happy

Becoming a good Christian requires you to keep convincing yourself that each of the people around you is also God’s precious child. It requires you to share God’s love for each of those around you.

God is happy at the advancement of children other than yourself. If you can share God’s happiness at seeing other people getting ahead, you are on your way to becoming a saint.

We should welcome the migrants from the Middle East.

 Friday, 10/30/15

In the first reading St. Paul spoke of how much his Jewish heritage meant to him. He called them, “My own people, my kindred according to the flesh.”

Our daily news tells stories of the hundreds of thousands of men, women and kids whom the wars in the Middle East are ripping from their homes. Their sad stories echo Paul’s anguish at being separated from the songs and stories he grew up on.

This mass migration is the biggest story of our time. Perhaps reflecting on similar mass migrations from long ago could help us in dealing with this present one. I am thinking of three similar ones from the past.

In 2200 b.c. , many years of famine on the edges of the Arabian Desert  drove the Semitic races north to invading the Sumerian land between the Tigris and Euphrates. There they became the Babylonians, Canaanites, and Hebrews.

In 300 a.d. a dozen nations, abandoning Asia, invaded Europe where they settled in as the Germans, Franks and Celts. 

More recently, after 1970, millions of Blacks, finding their new southern employers too much like their old masters, headed north to Chicago and New York.

All three of those migrations were beneficial to the lands where they settled. We should look upon these influxes from the Middle East as part of God’s plan for a happier future for us all.  

We join Jesus ion hjs love for the holy city.

Thursday, 10/29/15

Throughout the Bible the holy city of Jerusalem served as a symbol for the Lord’s people.

Abraham expressed his complete obedience to God by bringing his only son to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah, that was later to be the site of Jerusalem’s temple. In the Book of Revelation the heavenly Jerusalem is the abode of the saved.

(I did my best, but I couldn't get this down evenly)

 Last night I lay asleeping there came a dream so fair
,                                        I stood in old Jerusalem, beside the temple there.

I  heard the children singing and ever
 as they sang,   Methought the voice of Angels,
 from Heaven in answer rang,
  Methought the
 voice of Angels, from Heaven in answer rang

Jerusalem, Jerusalem! 
Lift up my gates and sing
Hosanna in the highest. 
Hosanna to your King!
And then me thought my dream was chang'd,                                                 

The streets no longer rang. 
Hush'd were the glad Hosannas                                                                  the little children sang.

The sun grew dark with mystery, the morn was cold and chill,                                                            
As the shadow of a cross arose, 
upon a lonely hill, 
As the shadow 
of  a cross arose, upon a lonely hill

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 
Hark! How the Angels sing                                                                          
Hosanna in the highest, 
Hosanna to your King

And once again the scene was chang'd,                                                                                              New earth there seem'd to be
,                                                                                                                    I saw the Holy City rise beside a tideless sea

The light of God was on its streets, the gates were open wide
                                                             And all who would might enter and no one was denied.              
No need of moon or stars by night or sun to shine by day.                                                    

It was the new Jerusalem that would not pass away,
                                                                               It was the new Jerusalem that would not pass away.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem
. Sing for the night is o'er
,                                                                                  Hosanna in the highest, 
Hosanna for evermore.                                                                                 
Hosanna in the highest, 
Hosanna for evermore!

Christ is the capstone that willl hold the Church together forever.

Wednesday, 10/28/15

Paul tells us that as Christians we are members of an exalted household, built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, held together by the capstone of Christ.

Paul compares the Church to a Gothic cathedral that consists of a line of arches that are held in place by a single capstone running the length of the cathedral.

In calling the foundation stones the Apostles and Prophets, Paul was saying that we cannot introduce any novelty beliefs that are not in tune with God’s Revelation that came to us through the Old and New Testaments.

I twice saw how the placing of a capstone permanently locked into place the arched walls ascending from the sides.

Once in Korea, some Buddhist monks were rebuilding their badly shelled monastery, and I helped them by making signs in English for American tourists.

They replaced their bombed away entrance arch by building a clay arch, then stacking the big  wedged stones up both side. When they were near the top, they wedged a short arch of stone between the two sides, Once it was locked in place, they pulled the clay mound out from under it, leaving the arch entrance arch to stand until the next awful war.

 The other arch I said I saw locked in place, I didn’t actually see. The 930 feet tall Gateway to the West arch on the St. Louis.’s waterfront was completed in 1965 while I was still in Korea. But after I arrived back the next year, I visited the Arch’s museum where they showed a movie of giant cranes lifting the 142 stainless steel sections to where they fit.  Once they wedged the capstone into place between the sides; the structure, like our Church, was fixed in place till the end of time.

Christ is the capstone that holds the Church inplace.

Seeing the mass of humanity around us as like so much inert flour, we must be like yeast, mixing with them to lift them up.

Tuesday, 10/27/15

Both readings have fine lessons for us today.

In the first reading, Paul told us, “In hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope.”

Hope is usually joined to Faith and Charity. We need Faith to be saved; and Jesus told us need to love the least among us to be saved. But hope? We never hear much about our need for hope.

Where hope comes in, is when heaven seems unreal for us. Paul says that’s where the virtue of Hope is all important.  It strengthens us to put our lives on the line for what we can’t see.

Then, what Jesus said about the kingdom of heaven being like yeast is important to each of us, and to the role we need to play among our fellow men and women.

The Communists, when they were trying to take root in crowds and in labor unions, they always planted one strong Red in the crowd to move the others toward Communism.

Each of us can be like that dedicated Red; but we are dedicated to Christ. Around us there are people who lead aimless lives; and just as a little yeast can bring a whole batch of flour to rise, so we can lift them up with our Christian Faith, Hope, and Love.

We shouldn't identify a person by his or her infirmity.

Monday, 10/26, 15

Jesus called the woman he cured a “Daughter of Abraham,” beyond that, all we know about her is that she was bent over for eighteen years.

It seems to be the ordinary thing for us with people whose infirmity radically alters their appearance. It makes me think of my high school day when four of my classmates had summer jobs at the Catholic cemetery. They often talked about a fellow worker whom they called old Sickle-Ass.

Working in a Catholic cemetery, Sickle Ass might have been a Catholic; but my classmates never spoke about his parish, his family, his speaking or singing voice. He was just Sickle Ass.

Do you catch yourself falling into similar cheap ways of summing up people? Are there people you identify only by their limp, or big nose, or poor complexion?

Isn’t each of us a treasure chest of an ancestry that struggled against great odds to raise children, to be true to God and country?

Shouldn’t we curb the impulses to judge by fleeting appearances while failing to perceive the interior worth of the people we come up against?   

Master, I want to see.

Sunday, 10/25/15

Mark’s story about Jericho’s blind Bartimaeus is so lively that he makes us part of the crowd that day.

For setting the scene, let me tell you something I heard about Jericho. I knew a man named Michael Schober who owned a Ford Agency in Jerusalem before 1946. Some  foreigners doing business in Jerusalem back then found it convenient to own and register a car there; and for a trial run, some of them wanted to take a test drive down to Jericho and back.

Michael hated taking that drive. Low lying Jericho was always hot, and it was always alive with millions of flies. I never read this Gospel about Bartimaeus without remembering Michael’s description of Jericho.

Anyway, every morning of his life the relatives of Bartimaeus led him out to his spot by the dusty road, leaving there or twelve hours of calling for help and of swatting at giant flies.

Hearing tales of Jesus, Bartimaeus, for the first time ever, began seeing a way out of misery. He planned on what he would do if Jesus of Nazareth ever came his way.

Then, suddenly it was happening. Jesus was in the midst of the crowd that came close to stepping on him.

He cried out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!” With everyone trying to quiet him, he called all the louder, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!”

The bustling crowd seemed to stall. Then, he heard that commanding voice, “Call him!”

People who had known him for years brought him joy, saying, “Get up, Jesus is calling you.”

See him wrenching himself from the dust, throwing off his cloak, and stumbling wildly through the crowd, until Jesus stopped him with a question. “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Master, I want to see.”

Jesus said, “Your faith has made it happen. Go our way!”

But, he did not go his way, he followed Jesus up the road..

Mark referred to him as “Son of Timaeus,” as though the Christian community had come to know him and his father as ones of their own. 

Jesus told us we would turn up badly if we didn't turn our thinking around

Saturday, 10/24/15

People were telling Jesus about recent disasters in Jerusalem, and they were asking Jesus if the victims were being punished for their sins. Jesus said that was not the case.

Our reading quotes Jesus as saying, “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did.”

Now, every time Catholics publish a new version of the Bible, each word of our translations from the Greek to English is voted on by a board of scholars and by a board of bishops. Sometimes the majority of those voting on the choice of English words choose a word to suit their own views, rather than its being an exact translation of the Greek word. That happened here.  

Writing in Greek, Luke quoted Jesus as saying “You will perish as they did unless you turn your thinking around.” That was in accord with Our Lord’s parable about the gardener with a fig tree. If he didn’t do more for cultivating it, the master would have him cut it down.

It’s good that the scholars and bishops feel that we need to repent for our sins, but it is not good for them to claim to be what Jesus was talking about here. 

We must read the signs of the times.

Friday, 10/23/15

Our first reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and our Gospel from Chapter Twelve of Luke are both wonderful passages. Let me say a word about each.

You would do well to make Paul’s words your own. To God, you might say:

I take delight in your law with my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind.  Miserable one that I am, who will deliver me from this mortal body?

Thanks be to God, you will find deliverance through Jesus Christ, Our Lord!”

Let us switch to taking a brief look at the Gospel where Jesus speaks to you, saying,

“You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

At another place Jesus expressed the same thought, saying, “You must read the signs of the times.”

Although the Gospel of Jesus never changes, yet it must be applied in different ways to different ages. Reading “the signs of the times” requires our carefully discerning what our present circumstances call for.   

Jesus referred to is death as a baptism.

Thursday, 10/22/15

Jesus, speaking of the death that awaited him, said, “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized.”

At first, it seems odd, pairing baptism and death; but they are rightly so associated.

It happened with the Israelites in the exodus story. The Bible said they were “baptized in the Red Sea.”

Those Israelites were mot swimmers. So, when Moses told them that out of obedience to God, they had to throw themselves into the waves they chose a likely death out of obedience to God.

There was a similar association of Baptism and death when Christianity was in its infancy. Back then, people were only baptized on Holy Saturday.

Those first Christians each year repeated the life story of Jesus. They thought of him being born again on Christmas, of dying on Good Friday, of rising on Easter. On Holy Saturday they pictured him as being in his tomb.

They took their baptism pool to represent that tomb. Each one who was to be baptized said something like this to himself, “As I step into your grave with you, Jesus, I am signifying my willingness to die to sin with you.”

We will be blessed if the Lord, when he comes for us, finds us tending to his matters..

Wednesday, 10/21/15

Jesus compared each of us to a servant whose master, going off on a journey, has put in charge until his return.

If that servant does well, watching over his master’s interests; then the master on his return would richly reward that servant. But, if that servant, assuming that the master will be gone for much longer, forgets his duties to the master, and instead turns to pleasing himself: then, the master, returning suddenly, will punish him severely.

Each of us is that servant whom God has put in charge of serving his interests.  That said, which of the two servants do we resemble? Are you and I like that servant who was richly rewarded for conscientiously tending to his master’s interests?

Or, are we like the servant who was severely punished for pleasing only himself on the assumption that he would have plenty of time to get his life back in shape before the master’s eventual return?

Jesus says,  “Watch Out!”

God will call on us when we least expect it.

A sobering exercise for us is to go over our hand-written address books, finding that more than half of those friends were suddenly called away.

It is axiomatic in Psychology, that each of us has the mistaken conviction that we will go on and on. 

But, again, Jesus says, “Watch out!”

Our Lord's warning against falling asleep, tells us to not let TV ads do that to us.

Tuesday, 10/20/15

Our Lord’s warning against our falling asleep, gives me an opening to speak about something that is causing us to lose awareness. We hate the way that advertizing is enslaving our minds.

We older people had no resentment against the single sponsors of favorite shows. Bob Hope was sponsored by Pepsodent, Jack Benny by Jello, and we used those products to deepen our friendship with Bob and Jack.

Now, the single sponsor has given way to strings of eleven or more sales pitches. The ads for banks, for ambulance chasers, for genital enhancers, come tumbling over one another in numbers we can rightly call infestations. With that, we come to see individual product plugs as so many cockroaches.

The sad thing is that the advertisers know that their ads bring in profit. They would not do away with all good taste if they were not sure that it brought in money. They can show you figures that prove that if you throw enough mud some of it will stick.    

The finals in golf’s President’s Cup the week before last were something. This year’s  decision came down to the final hole between Bill Haas, our captain’s son, and Sangmoon Bae, Korea’s darling. With us lovers of golf glued to the TV, the ads people didn’t let a drive, approach shot or putt go by without its own infestation.

We shouldn't let getting rich rob us of the joys of poor people.

Monday, 10/19/15

Our Lord told us a parable about a rich man whose “land produced a bountiful harvest.” His story has   meaning for me, because of the dozen years when I lived with  Korean farming people whose lives were hinged on their harvests. 

Our church there had no Sunday collections, but the people supported their parish by giving a tithe of their rice harvest in springtime.

For these farmers, after the previous year’s store of rice and barley had run low at New Years, there were very thin evening meals until the harvest in late April.

But then, with the harvest there came weddings and partying of every kind.

In Our Lord’s parable, the rich man's added wealth had him so busy tearing down barns and building new ones, that he had to miss out on the enjoyments of harvest time. Then, in the middle of his tearing down and building, he died.

God spoke to him, saying, “You fool!”

What made him a fool was that he let his intoxication with building up wealth cheat him out of the joy that even the poorest people had a share of at harvest time.

The other day I was having a conversation with a man who was rapidly expanding his businesses, and when I asked him about his children, all he had to say was that their education was eating up his money. I suspected that with him as well, that intoxication with building up wealth was cheating him out of ordinary joys. 

"Those who exercise authority among the Gentiles lord it over them but is shall not be that way with you."

Sunday, 10/18’15

Jesus said, “Those who are recognized as rulers among the Gentiles lord it over them, but it shall not be so among you.”

In 1950, when the Reds invaded South Korea, Monsignor Tom Quinlan stayed behind in hopes he could still serve the people. The Reds, however, put him on a death march which he later survived, being freed three years later, to become my bishop. Other survivors of that death march agreed in calling him, “The bravest man they ever knew.”

However, as or bishop, Tom Quinlan demanded that we address him as “My Lord.”

How did our bishops get so uppity? Let me tell you how it started in the year 320 a.d.

Father Arias, a priest in Egypt, back in 320 a.d., began telling people that Jesus was not the Son of God, but only a very fine man. By the year 350 a.d., his followers had come to be called Arians, and they were as numerous as the Christians.

To make this harder on the Christians, one Father Ufilas, a priest from Bulgaria, and an Arian, using the Gothic language wrote a copy of the Gospels and Epistles, changing all the passages in which Jesus spoke or acted like the Son of God. What’s more, his translation into the Gothic tongue, made it readable by Lombards, Huns and Burgundians, and all of the new races from the east that had moved into Europe.

Those peoples then turned against the pope and all Christians; and it looked like they could wipe us out.

Then, a new race, the Franks, moved into the valleys of the Danube and Rhine; and their king, Clovis, married a Catholic girl. She convinced Clovis that if he became a Christian he could become more important than the great King Constantine.

So, at Christmas of 496, Bishop Remigius of Rheims along with his priests, baptized the nobles and the whole nation of the Franks. 

But the Franks, and all those new nations had simple social structures built on inheritances. 
A noble’s inheritance gave him a title, serfs and lands; while anyone lacking an inheritance slept with the pigs. 

The priests and bishops were left with no standing. Then, in the year 500, Clovis and Bishop Remigius cooked up a ceremony that saved the bishop and the priests.

Each of them, in his Sunday best, came before the nobles, making the same announcement. He declared, “I have an in heritance, my inheritance is the Lord.”

Now, the word they used for “inheritance” was klerk, and from then on they were called “clerics,”

Whereas feudal society had previously consisted of the two estates of the nobles  and commoners ; from then on it had the three estates of the nobles, the clerics, and the commoners.

The nobles then insisted that since the clerics were on a level with them, so the clerics would need to demand the same high respect the nobles claimed for themselves. A priest could no longer be a plain Tom, Dick, of Harry. He needed to demand that the commoners address them as “the Reverend, the Right Reverend, the Most Reverend, or “My Lord.” 

Ignatius of Antioch left us a picture of First Century Christianity.

Saturday, 10/17/15
Today we honor St. Ignatius who was bishop of Antioch following St. Peter, toward the end of the First Century. Antioch held a public Roman ceremony that opened with each participant honoring the Roman gods by dropping grains of incense on red coals. Ignatius, however, refused to pay honor to such gods, and, under law his refusal was counted as a capital crime. His repeated refusing to comply, forced the officials to condemn him to be brought to Rome to be fed to the lions.

Put in the charge of a platoon of Roman soldiers who were returning home after there time in the east, Ignatius was tied to the mast of a coastal vessel that was going to Rome, traveling  from port to port. At seven stops along the coast of Turkey, while the soldiers had gone ashore, the Christians came down to visit with Ignatius. Then, before the ship crossed over to Greece, Ignatius wrote a note to each group that had visited with him. Here is a sample sentence from each of his letters.

To the Christians of Ephesus he wrote, “With hearts warmed in the blood of Christ you were eager to visit with me when I was in chains.”

To the Magnesians he wrote, “I hope that you may be fully convinced of the birth and passion of Jesus,” He wrote that because people were saying that the physical body of Jesus was a mirage; and by saying that, they denied Jesus the heroism of his sufferings.

To the Tralians he said, “Jesus Christ is our hope, if only we believe in him.”    

To the Romans he wrote, “Please let me be thrown to the wild beasts so that through them I shall reach God. I must be ground by their teeth so that I may end up as the pure bread of Christ.”

Of the bishop of Philadelphia he wrote, “I am full of admiration for you. You do more by his silence than others by speaking.”  

To Christians in Smyrna he wrote, “Wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

To Bishop Polycarp he wrote, “There is no thanks for us in liking good people. The real task is by mildness to bring to obedience the ones who plague you.”

Not one fallen sparrow escapes the attention and care of the heavenly Father.

 Friday, 10/16/15
Five sparrows are sold for two small coins, yet not one of them escapes the notice of God.

Let me burden you with two things that Our Lord’s words bring to my mind. The first thing is the memory of  standing up, jostled from side to side, on a crowded all-day bus ride in Korea years ago. 

For thirty miles or so, I was  wedged in so tightly that I had to stare down at an old gentleman who had a seat below me. He was neatly dressed in a jacket and matching vest, but both of them were fashioned from a U.S. army blanket.

What was memorable about him was what he was grasping twelve inches out in front of him. It was a sliver of bamboo that he had threaded through the beaks of two small birds.

People putting on their annual banquet for their dead ancestors, paid well for such delicacies that they laid out on a banquet table to tempt the spirits of their deceased grandparents. 

The other thing in Our Lord’s story that caught my attention was the Father’s concern for the fate of those sparrows.

Lately I have kept coming back to the scientific fact that each of our bodies is composed of over five trillion cells. God not only planned and assembled all of those movable parts, he also keeps them in running order as long as he wants us to live. As busy as he is, if he can tend to all of that, then, it is no problem for him to be attentive to our prayers.

Teresa so much wanted to be alone with God that she wanted to be away from all chatter.

Thursday, 10/15/15

Teresa was born on 1515 while Luther was still Catholic, and she died eight years after the conclusion of the Council of Trent. The Inquisition had suspected her grandfather of being Jewish, and that had her father, after buying a knighthood, striving to be seen as a model of strict Catholicism. That strict life was hard on her mother who was a closet reader of romances, and that good woman, finding Teresa to be the most sympathetic of her ten children, brought her into the conspiracy of hiding the romances from her stern husband. That mother died when Teresa was fifteen, and her father, unhappy over Teresa’s liking for boys and fine clothes, put her in a Carmelite convent.
While she was at first unhappy with convent life, she came to realize it was less confining than life with her father. But in time she found herself locked in a struggle with inclinations toward sinfulness. That ended with her deciding that staying in the convent was the best protection from her wayward nature. With that decision made, she took up the task of learning how to meditate on God. Writing about those years, Teresa said, “I tried as hard as I could to keep Jesus Christ present within me, but my imagination was dull, and I had no talent for coming up with Theological thoughts.”
She had a bout of malaria in her twenties, and it led to a paralysis and a coma that had her out of her senses for three days. When she came to, she heard the nuns talking about how they had dug a grave for her. With her health back, she joined in the aimlessness of young women who were making the best of having been put away in convents.
Teresa was forty before she met up with a priest who gave her a scolding for her laxity, and that forced her to determine to make the best of praying. Forcing herself to spend a full hour at mental prayer, she would spend that hour holding up an hourglass, shaking it to get the sand to run through quickly.
But, having stuck with her determination, she began having what she called “spiritual delights.” They were experiences of God’s presence. Our Lady of Victories Church in Rome houses a great Bernini statue of Teresa, laid low with an angel driving an arrow of love into her heart.
 The unusual favors God granted Teresa became so obvious that people turned her over to the Inquisition, but its learned fathers found no hint of heresy in Teresa. Emperor Charles V, wanting to put the matter to rest, sent St. Francis Borgia to question her closely; and that future General of the Jesuits, came away with his own spiritual life lifted to a higher plane. 
Teresa spent her last twenty years founding convents where silence and poverty were strictly enforced. Teresa so much delighted in being with God that she wanted to be away from the chatter that interfered with it.

We must love others as much as we love our selves.

Wednesday, 10/14/`5

In our first reading Paul speaks against blaming others for faults we have our selves. In the Gospel Jesus  spoke against those who demand they be treated as superior.

Those faults come to us naturally, since each of us goes through life as the center of  his or her own world.

In a discussion on suicide, I found one Jewish point of view interesting. One rabbi declared suicide to be a grave sin since every human is the center of his or her own world, so that in committing suicide anyone agrees to kill off everyone else with him or herself.

Jesus did not tell us to love our neighbor more than our self, just as much as we love our self. You sin against the commandment that says, “Thou shalt not kill,” when you fail to take good care of yourself. Selflove is as important as love of neighbor.

Loving yourself is the first step toward love of neighbor. By practicing empathy we imagine we are that other person, and we go on to love him or her as much as we love ours self.

What can be known about God is evident t us all.

Tuesday, 10/13/15

Today’s first reading is a unique Bible passage with which we should be familiar.

Paul says that atheists have no excuse for not believing in God. He asserts that logical people  are compelled to see God’s hand in creation. We should memorize the  evidence he gives for believing.

For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.”

Lately, I have listened to too many people asserting that Mother Nature had mysteriously brought about all the wonders of our macro and micro world.

I find it helpful to hear St. Paul tell us those people are leading us astray with empty logic.

St. Paul opened his Letter to the Romans with a formal introduction.

Monday, 10/12/15

St. Paul had never been to Rome, but in preparation for going there, he wrote this letter to introduce himself to its Christian community.

He wrote a most formal introduction for himself, saying that he had been set apart for the task of announcing to the Gentiles the good news concerning Jesus, whose coming had been prophesied by all the prophets.

The good news is no other than this, that Jesus, by rising from the dead, has conquered death for himself and for his followers even throughout the Gentile world.

If you were ordered to compose a formal introduction for yourself, how would you describe the task set before you in this life of yours?

Our readings have us asking God for the wisdom to avoid sorrow, and for the Wisdom to understand deep things.

Sunday, 10/11/15

In today's first and second readings we ask God for a great gift, the gift of Wisdom, but those two readings asks God for two different kinds of Wisdom.

The first reading is from The Book of Wisdom , and the wisdom we there ask God for  is identified as being the same as Prudence.  That kind of Wisdom always makes choices that will make him or her happy in the long run. The Old Testament speaks of Wisdom as having a sister named Folly. Folly always makes choices that will give her pleasure now, while the other sister, Wisdom, makes choices that will make her happy in the long run.

Today's Second Reading has us asking God for the Wisdom to see things the way God sees them. That kind of Wisdom helps one to understand difficult matters. The reading says, it is "sharper than a two edged sword." It gives one the ability."to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart."  

We need both kinds of wisdom. We need to be wise enough to see trouble coming; and we ned to be wise enough to understand what is really going on.

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."

Saturday, 10/10/15

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

The idea of hearing the word of God reminds me of a conversation about the Bible that I got into yesterday.

I was waiting for the bus when a young lady who recognized me sat with me for a few minutes. She started telling me that Catholics don’t know the Bible. She said we were always just talking about the saints.

She was saying that she particularly liked Chapter Eleven of The Letter to the Hebrews. She said that it gave a list of all the Old Testament’s great people.

That gave me an opening to justify our Catholic approach, but the bus came, and I didn’t get my chance to show. So, let me do it here.

After Chapter Eleven’s litany of Old Testament heroes, Chapter Twelve gives us a chance to boast about our saints and about Jesus. I memorized that passage years ago, and I think it goes something like this.

We therefore, having such a cloud of witnesses over us, let us set aside every sin entangling us, and run with patience to the fight set before us; looking forward to the author and finisher of faith: Jesus, who for the joy set before him endured a cross, despising shame; and now sits at the right hand of God.”

When I recall that, I make a stab at observing it.