Taking a short break

Stay tuned. Reflections on the daily mass readings will continue again in early to mid-December. Thank you.

God tells us to obey all legitimate authority

Wednesday, 11/15/18

In the first reading we are commanded to obey
all civil authority.

In the Gospel Jesus told the cured men to
register with the priests.

Both in life and in death, we are the Lord's

Tuesday, 11/11/13,

The followers of Mother Frances Cabrini whom we honor today was  a model for all of us by never
growing weary of serving God.

She took for hereof today's Gospel where it says, "When you have done all things well,
call, yourself an unprofitable servant. "

She applied to herself Paul's words, "No one lives as his own master. Both  in life and in death we are the Lords’.



We should do our best in helping those in need,

Sunday, 11/11/11

The widow of Zaraphah had the makings of
a role to prolong her life for one more day,
but she gave it to the prophet, even though
it meant instant death for her.

When we  help another way counts is not
the value of the gift, but your kindness in
depriving yourself.

Saturday, 11/11/18

Today's readings urge us avoid attachments to
money or to any wealth of petition.

Our religion teaches us that we cannot serve
two masers, wealth and God.

Our common sense tell us≤ "You can't rake it
with you."

The water flowing from the temple are the graces we bring away from church.

Friday, 11/9/18

The Lateran is one of the seven hills on which Rome
was built. On his conversion Emperor Constantine
gave the Lateran Hill to the pope for the first Catholic
church. It is dedicated to John, the beloved Apostle.

In the reading from Ezekiel the water flowing out
from the temple represents the grace and goodness
we bring out to the world from our prayerful time in

The Council of Trent in 1565, Vatican II in 1865

Thursday, 11/4/18

The Catholic teachings and rules of life life laid out for us at
the Council ofTrent were copied from Cardinal Cajetan's
Commentary on the Catholic teachings and practices in
Middle Ages.

The Catholic teachings and rules of life followed by
Vatican II come from the writings of two Eighteenth
Century French priests who went back to the time
of the Apostles for the explanation of true Catholicism.

In 1850 Pope Pius XII condemned the writings of
Father Lubac and Congar for their departure from,
the teachings of Trent. But in 1880 Pope John XXIII
named them as special counselors to Vatican II.

The differences between them can be seen in Trent's
teaching that unbaptized souls cannot merit heaven,
While Vatican II states that "The dignity of man 
consist in this that he is called to converse with God, 
and his invitation to converse with God comes to
him at the first moment of his being."

It is God who works in us both to will and accomplish.

Wednesday, 11/7/18

In the first reading Paul showed particular
 love for the people of Phillpi, who among his
host peoples insisted on feeding and  caring for

He urged them not to take full credit for their
 kindness. We too cannot take to ourselves credit
for our kind acts. He said, "It is God who works
in us both to will and accomplish."

Although he was in the form God, he emptied himself.

Tuesday, 11/6/17

This is among the most beautiful passages in Scripture.
You should read over and over, even memorize it,

Have among yourselves the same attitude 
that is also yours in Christ Jesus,

Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and, found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.


We implement out love for God by loving our neighbor

Monday, 11/5/18

Paul urges us to love God by loving our fellow man.

From 2060 to 2080 I manned St. Paul's parish in
Jacksonville with an Irish priest. Father Jim Corry.
He called me from Ireland yesterday; and we spoke
about former parishioners of whom we were both
very fond.

No people could be farther apart than we were.
But in twenty years we never had a falling out.
The many differences  we shared were smoothed
over by our love for God

We express our love for God by loving our neighbor.

Sunday, 11/4/18

After Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to
love God with our whole hearts, and to love our neigbor
as ourself,he complimented the scribe for joining them
into one commandment.

Truly, we express our love for God by loving his other
children as we love ourselves.



Paul said, "For me is Christ, to die is gain."

We admire Paul for his ability to give up this life 
in exchange for life with God, and we wonder how
far off we might be from feeling what we should. 

What we shall be has not yet been revealed

Thursday, 11/1/18

Today we honor all those who have died in God's
friendship. The Gospel identifies.

The Gospel identities them as all those who
copied Jesus in being clean of heart, meek,
strivers after goodness.

In the first reading St. John gives us his very
artistic vision of what heaven.

In the second reading Paul tells us no one
knows what kind of existence God has
planned for those who died loon him. He has
only let us know that we will become like him.

Strive to enter through the narrow gate.

Wednesday, 10/31/18

In Our Lord's time almost every town was a walled one.
The exit way from each town was outfitted with benches
where the town-leaders could meet, deciding on the steps
to take for the town's safety. Foremost among their decisions
were those to close the gate when the town was threatened
by robbers or  disease.

It sometimes happened that someone on a journey or out
working in the fields would return to find the town gate
firmly shut and barred. For such ones, the leaders provided a
narrow gate, hidden around the town's hill side. They also
stationed a gate-keeper who would only open to those who
were familiar to him.

Metaphorically, we strive to open through the narrow gate
when, instead of leaving our salvation open to chance, we
work at it day and night.

Where the Bible follows customs of th times it may change with time.

Tuesday, 10/30/18

Our readings today give us two examples of the
Bible following our customs.

While Paul speaks the need for wives to obey
their husbands Vatican II has greater respect for
wives as persons made in God's image

Where Exodus 21 says that God punishes the
offspring of evil-doers down to the fourth
generation,  Ezekiel says that God rewards
or punishes us only fo our own deeds.


Paul wrote that Jesus sacrificed himself as a fragrant aroma.

Monday, 10/29/18

Paul spoke of Christ's suffering death as giving off a fragrant
aroma. Taking the phrase "fragrant aroma" in any recognizable
sense, it certainly could not be applied to the cursing Jesus received
from one of the thieves crucified with him, nor to any smell
coming off the tearing of those nails into his ankles and wrists.

Taking the phrase "fragrant aroma" in a metaphorical sense it
would  be an excessive description of the warmth of the
handshake of old friends.

In the matter of Christ's death, the"fragrant aroma" phrase
has meaning as a description of the complete sacrifice of himself
brought on by hi excessive  love for us.      

"Lord. I want to see,"

Sunday, 10/28/18

Sunday, 10/2818

When I came to St. Paul's as pastor thirty-six
years ago I met almost every day with a man
named  Peter and his sister Mary.

In 1946  the Israelis,  taking over Jerusalem,
drove them from the family property known
for its giant plum trees.

Peter had owned an automobile agency that had
him driving customers all around the Holy
Land. He particularly hated driving through
Jericho that was very hot, and infested with

Every time I heard today's Gospel I found myself
sharing the misery of blind Bartimeus passing the
years squatting in the dust, sweating at flies. I also
shared his joy when Jesus made him see.0

We need time and ingenuity for making students do their best.


In the Gospel three years after a landowner planted
a fig tree, finding no fruit on it,  he told the gardener to
cut it down. The gardener, however, asked for a few
years to bring the tree around to bearing fruit.

The lady answering the phone for us has a daughter
who hasn't learned how to read. The other kids call
her stupid; but her mother, while building the child's
courage, has placed her with specialists who have
brought the child around, helping her to read,

Do we, agree with Paul in seeing ourselves as one body and spirit?

Friday, 10/26/18

Do we go along with Paul's command that
we see each other as all one body, one person?

Don't we follow a more  ordinary course by which
we look after our individual selves? Might
not our them song be: "You go your way, I'll go 

Do the Scriptures call on us to make any
specific changes in the way we regard
and behave with each other?

We look at the beauty of Paul's words.

Thursday. 10/25/18

I suggest that we dwell on the beauty of Paul's words.

That God may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.

Paul's special calling and what we are called to.

Wednesday. 10/24/18

Today's readings should set you to wondering what special
deeds God wants you to accomplish.

The Gospel is not specific about what God's requires of you.
It simply alludes to your duties to your calling, your health,
your neighbor, your family.

Paul was far more specific, telling us that to him was left 
the duty of revealing God's plan for summing up all 
things in Christ. To him was left the apostleship of revealing to the
whole Gentile world God's plan to sum up all in Christ. 

Together with the saints of the Old Testament we have become one people in Christ.

Tuesday, 10/23/18

As Paul went from town to town preaching the Gospel of Christ, he was
followed by Judaizers telling the new Christians that to be saved they
needed to be circumsized, and to follow the whole of the Judaic Law, and
bybobserving kosher. 

,In this Letter to the Ephesians, while insisting that we need not give
up Christianity to become Jewish, Paul was sayjng that as Christians
we need not give up the beauties of the Old Testament.

We are invited to take the best of both, as John points out in Chapter 21
of Revelation. There he described the New Jerusalem with gates inscribed
with he names of the twelve Patriarchs, and twelve rows of foundation
stones, marked with the names of the Apostles.

Our ability to converse with God comes to us at the first moment of our being.

Monday. 10/22/18

Writing to the Ephesian Cristians, Paul said that before
they came to Christ they were a people incapable of
anything but sin. It might be completely foolish of
me. but I don't feel  that Paul was being fair with the
ordinary Ephesians.

Against that view I quote from paragraph 18 of the
Constitution on the Non-Christian World that states.
"The dignity of man consists above this, that
he converses with God; and this ability to converse
with God comes to  him at the first moment of his

All men and women are for as children of God.

Although Paul had never been to Ephesus, he spoke as God's minister to the whole's Gentile world.

Saturday, 10/20/18

Paul had never visited this crossroads city of Ephesus,
but as the appointed Apostle to the Gentiles. he feels
it necessary to sum the Christian message.

Luke tells us that every sin will be forgiven us with the
exception of sins against the Holy Spirit. By that sin
Luke was speaking of sins when we are certain we
are sinning against the light, and we deliberately go
against our loving God.
Sunday, 10/21/18

Jesus said. "You know how among the Gentiles those who
exercise authority make their importance felt, but it cannot
be that way with you."

Now it so happened that after the year 550 a.d. our Church
leaders came to feel obliged to make threir importance felt.

The way it happened was that before the year 550 a.d. our
genuine Christians came to be out numbered by Arians who
 were saying that Jesus was only a  good man, but not the
Son of God.

Genuine Christianity was rescued when the king if a new
tribe, the Francs, married a Christian girl. She convinced
him that if he and his nobles became Christians he
could become a new Emperor Constantine; with that, the
king and his nobles were baptized Christians in the year
497 a.d..

That should have settled things, but it didn't. Through an
ancient custom of the Francs, only a man with an inheritance
related him to the king, was considered a real person. That
left the bishops and priests only fit to sleep with the pigs.

To rectify matters, for the priests and bishops.  The king had
each of them  come before the assembly, solemnly swearing,
"I have an inheritance, my inheritance is the Lord.

Trouble arose for the priests and bishops when the nobles insisted
they have titles of their new dignity. They had ti be addressed as
"My  Lord or your eminence."

We honor the Jesuit priests who were put death by the Iriqois.

Friday, 10/19/18

From 1675 on the French gave the Jesuits a free hand to
set up missions among the Hurons who were an Indian
nation in constant state of war with the Iriquois who were
supported by the English and the Dutch.

St. John de Brebeuf  thrilled the Hurons with a written
language that allowed them to communicate between
them selves.

Between 1646 and 1649 the Iriquois put eight Jesuits to
death, burning them at the stake after forcing them to run
the gauntlet between screaming inhabitants of several
Iriquois village.

St.Luke, composed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles after checking our his resources

Thursday, 10/18/18

Luke was an outsider who fell in with St. Paul twenty-five years Our
Lord's death and resurrection. He  dedicated both the Gospel according
to Luke to Theophilis, which translated meant "Friend of God,"

His works are loved for his stories about women: about the Angel appearing to
Mary, about one Mary leaving the work to her sister Martha, About Mary
Magdalen ate cross and at the Resurrection.    

Ignatius of Antioch is said to fav followed Peter as bishop of Antioch

Wednesday, 10/17/18

Toward the end of the first century, Ignatius, bishop ofAntioch was found guilty of refusing to burn incense to  the Roman gods. and he was sentenced to be bought to Rome where he would be thrown to the lions.

Put in the care of a platoon of soldiers who were retuning to Rome after service in the East. with them he was brought on a slow boat that stopped in every port in Asia Minor. And afterwards. he wrote
appreciation letters to seven groups that welcomed him along the way.

Writing ahead to the Christians in Rome, he begged them not to interfere with his being thrown to the lions. H wanted to be ground into wheat worthy of being one with Christ.

Religion pure and simple is keeping oneself untainted by tis world

Tuesday, 10/16.18

In the first reading Paul tells us that being circumcised
does not justify us in God's eyes.

In the Gospel Jesus says that observing rituals for
cleaning and eating do not justify us

Religion pure and simple is keeping yourself untainted by thist world.

Tuesday, 10/16/18

In the first reading Paul tells us that circumcision does not
Justify us in God's eyes.

Then, in the Gospel Jesus tells us that observing rules for
eating and cleansing do not make us good in God's eyes.

Sunday, 10/14/18

We had a ninety-eight year old woman in our parish, and
as a former president of the Jacksonville Women' Club,
she was invited to speak to their membership, and she
asked me to listen in,

The ladies in attendance were outstanding for their high
government and scholastic achievements, and I suspect
that may of them had come to secretly compare  to
their own self-sufficiency to what the old lady had
accomplished. (I might have had the intention of
comparing my achievements to  what the old lady could
boast of.)

The hostess invited the old lady to the speaker's podium,
handing her the mike. But brushing all that aside, the old
lady, like a football coach, thrust one fist then the other
across her middle. And, with each thrust, she joyfully
exclaimed, "Ive got my mind! I've got my mind."


Christian women in Galatia were taught how to write

Saturday. 10/13/18

In the year. 100 Ignatius, bishop of  Antioch, was brought
to Rome to be fed to the lions.

Emperor Trajan was reluctant to put the holy old man to
death, but Ignatius refused to burn incense to honor the
gods of Rome.

After traveling around Asia Minor in a slow boat Ignatius
wrote letters back to the Christians he visited with on the
way, and those letters have become treasured Christian

For writing his letters in those years, Trajan had
a  Christian girl from Galatia. The girl was
unique in her ability to read and write,  One year our
Eighth Grade put on a play about those events, and,
we had Trajan's secretary singing.

"Christians in Galata taught me to write, but I was
made  slave by thugs who turned my days to night"

Today's readings do not move us, so we will look at Justin's 160 A.D description of the Mass.

Friday, 10/12/18

In 160 a.d. Justin ave the Roman senate this description off the Mass.

On that day that us called after the sun, all who are in the towns
and in the country, gather together for a communal celebration. And
then the memoirs of the Apostles or the writings of the Prophets
are read as much as time permits.

After the reader has finished his task, the one presiding give an
 address, earnestly admonishing his hearers to practice those
beautiful teachings in their lives.

Then, together all stand and recite prayers, and bread and wine
mixed with water are brought , and the president offers up prayers and
Thanksgivings as much as in him lies. The people chime in with Amen.

Then takes place the distribution to all attending of the thing over
which the Thanksgiving has been spoken, and the deacons bring
a portion to thr absent. Besides, those who are well-to-do give
whatever they will. What is gathered is deposited with the one
presiding who therewith helps widows and orphans.


Paul and Jesus recommend prayerful lives.

Thursday, 10/11/18

In the first reading Paul calls the Galatians stupid for thinking
their lives would be complete by their observing dietary laws
instead of their living in union with what is right and wrong in
God's eyes.

Likewise, it would be foolish of you to think God would
give you anything you ask for. God made us as mortals,
and it would be going against him to think prayer could
reverse that set plan of God by asking him to cancel out
the threats to our mortality.

A better type of prayer is asking God to shake up our
motivation to bring us to accomplish all we need do to
become all we can.

Paul earned his fine Christian insights through fourteen years of prayer.

Wednesday, 10/10/18

None of us "though we speak with tongues of angels and
men" could express our Christian beliefs as clearly as Paul did,
but in today's first reading he tells us that his beautiful fluency
came to him through fourteen years of silent conversations with
 the Lord.

Paul achieved such a grasp of proper Christian behavior  that
when Peter went astray, Paul was capable of setting him straight.

Imagine sitting through a long evening chatting with Jesus.

Tuesday. 10/9/18

Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to him. is something
you could duplicate.

I come at it from a different Bible story, the one where John
the Baptist points out the Lamb of God, causing John and James
to follow Jesus.

They then sat though the evening, discussing
their concerns. Your memory of their long evening with Jesus
invites you to spend time with Jesus, chatting about your concerns.

We all are able to take the role of the Good Samaritan.

One Summer day, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, I was spinning down U.S. 9 5 when I spotted a young man stranded with a U-Haul. Pulling over., I found he had run of gas. While taking him down to the next Easy-Off, I got his story. He and his wife, both from Cuba, but meeting in Miami. had three children; and they had trouble living on what he could make in Miami.

He had got a better paying job near Boston where they had a fourth child. But then, when his wife came down with great cancer, their parents in Miami promised to take care of their little family if they could make it own there.

Selling what they could, they had plane free for the women and her kids, and they put the rest of their furniture in a U-Haul. Lacking money for a Motel, the man tried driving non-stop from Boston to Miami.

I paid for the gas, telling him to send on the money when he could. I wished him goodbye when he had poured it into his tank; and as I was leaving I heard him say. "I don't have to ask who you are."

Often people can pick out  a priest even when he is in old clothes, so I said, "Alright, who am I"
And he answered. "Why you are the Good Samaritan."    

A stable marriage is an invaluable thing for its children.

Sunday, 10/7/8

God said a man and his wife should cling together, so that
they become one flesh. Since they know that marriage is
for ever they take their time about coming together.

My four older sisters shopped around some, finding a
man they could stay with. That was a  and that was a
good thing for their children, giving all twenty nine of them
lasting stability.

However, if Moses saw circumstances that called for them
to split, sadly such circumstances could arise today. No one
is bound to stay with a union that would lead to an early

Many prophets and kings hav longed to know what we know.

Saturday, 10/6/18

Jesus said, "Many ptophets and kings have longed to know what
what we know." And he said. 'No one knows the Father, except
the Son and the ones his Son has sent."

The followers of Buddha see God as all demanding, but not as kind
or understansibg, ststng.  Jesus is alone in calling God "Our Father who
gives us our daily bread."

We know mysteries of the Universe hidden from Job.

Friday, 10/5/18

Today's first  reading from the book of Job was composed 
twenty-five hundred years ago. In it God speaks of the mysteries of our universe that were known to him but 
not to Job. Job knew nothing about the size of our earth. about where the sun goes when it sets, about our distance from the stars.

Reading these words now, in October 2017, it strikes us that 
our scientists have cleared up some those ancient mysteries.
We now know the circumference of the path our earth takes around the sun, our distance from even the farthest stars.

We should rejoice in having so  many mysteries cleared up for us. 

We know many 

Francis of Assizi saw the beauty in individual poverty/

Thursday, 10/4/18

Francis, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant  was born
in Assizi  in 1181. His mother had him baptized John, but
his father, who was off in France, selling fine brocades,
had so fell enamored by French chivalry that when
he returned he had the boy renamed Francis.

Francis, at nineteen, was fighting in a boarder war with
Perugia, when he was captured and imprisoned for a year.
He filled that year with prayer and serious thoughts, and .he
emerged completely absorbed in a desire to relieve the misery of
the poor .

A  love for the poor caused Francis to sell some of his
father's fabrics to feed the destitute.When his father
brought him to court, Francis stripped himself of
everything he had from his father, and the Lord used that
example to bring tens of thousands of young  people to
give their lives as Franciscans.

Francis of Assizi inherited a love for chivalry from his father.

Wednesday, 10/4/18

The father of Francis was a dealer in fine fabrics woven
from silk smuggled out of China. Born in 1181 while his
father a selling in fine cloth in Francis, his mother had him
baptized John; but his father  had become so  enamored
 by French chivalry, that he had his son renamed

A teenaged Francis was imprisoned for a year while
fighting against Perugia, and the year turned Francis into
a man of deep spirituality.

Released from prison, and burning in love for God's poor,
Francis sold some of his father's wares to feed the poor,
bringing his father to take him to court. Before the judge
and the people or Assizi, Francis stripped himself of all
the clothing he had from his father.

Carrying on with that, Francis adopted a life of complete
poverty. passing that love for simplicity on to his thousands
of followers, Francis enriched the world with the simple

imomg j

It is God alone who treads upon the crest of the waves,

Wednesday, 10/3/17

Our first reading gives us the story of Job, a good man suffering
every kind of hardship, including the death of his children and a
skin disease that left him in misery.

His friends came to him, insisting that these misfortunes could
only come as punishments from God for his sinful ways.

In reply, Job insists that no one could know the mind of God. no
one could know the reasons for which God allowed his children
to suffer sadness.

In his defense of God's independence, Job insisted, "It is God 
alone who stretches out the oceans, he alone who treads upon 
the crest of the waves.'    

Tobit's guide, Azariah, was his angel Raphael in disguise.

Tuesday, 10/2/18

Although we are trained to pray to our Guardian Angels, they do not reveal themselves to us.

We see an exception to that in the Book of Tobit where Tobit's guardian angel,  Azariah, reveals himself to actually be the angel Raphael; Raphael, one of seven who 0000000serve before God'000s throne.

Today we honor St. Theresa, "The Little Flower."

Monday, 10/1/18

Theresa, the Little Flower, was  born in southern France
in 1873. dying there in 1897. at twenty-four. At sixteen
she entered the Carmelite convent where her sister Marie
 was mother superior.

She had wanted an active spiritual life as a foreign
missionary. but her failing health confined her to
finding what she called her Little Way.

Her Sister Marie commanded hen Teresa to write
her autobiography. Her resulted "Diary  of a Soul"
was welcomed as the finest spiritual guide of the
ineteenth Century.

We should regard other Christian communities as partners, not to as competitors.

Sunday, 9/30/18

Visitors to Jacksonville often comment on the city's large number
of Christian churches; and today's readings suggest we look on
those others as partners rather than competitors.

In the first reading Moses told his elders not to restrain Eldad
and Medad who were driving out demons although  they did
not share in the spirit bestowed on them.

Likewise, Jesus told his disciples not to restrain others who
were acting in his name.

The Catholic Church we grew up in hs been characterized
as Counter-Reformational. Perhaps we should be cooperating
 more with other Christians.

Jacob saw angels bringing our prayers to God. and bringing his answers back to us.

Saturday. 9/28/18

Chapter Twenty of Genesis tells the story of Jacob's dream in
which he saw angels ascending and and descending a stairway
 to heaven.

Th angels going up were bringing our prayers to God, while the
angels coming down were bringing God's answers to our praters.    

Jacob saw angels brining our prayers to God, and bringing his answer down to us..

Saturday, 9/29/18

Today we honor God's major angels.

In Chapter Twenty of the Book of Genesis, we have the story of
Jacob's dream when he saw angels coming and going up and
down a stairway to heaven.

The angels going up the stairway brought the prayers of men up
 to God, while the angels coming down brought us God's
answers to or prayers.

Jesus is the Savior, bt he saves us by suffering.

Friday, 9/28/28

Mark's Gospel, along with Luke's and Matthew's began with chapters
portraying Jesus aa the Savior. Then,  half way through each of
the three Gospels, we are given the story of how Peter proclaimed
Jesus to be the Savior. Following on that, each of the Gospels recorded
Jesus as saying he will save  us through his suffering.

The first reding is packed with so much wisdom that at times it has
us smiling, as when it says something like: "There is a time for kissing, 
and a time when kissing has to stop."

In centuries who all our saints were of noel birth Vincent was a peasant.

St. Vincent ds Paul

Thursday, 9/28/18

Vincent was born in 1581 of a peasant family in Southern France;
he was given his primary education by Franciscan Friars. And from
that, by tutoring, he worked his way up through Philosophy and
Theology studies.

At twenty, in search of higher studies he was captured by African
pirates. Breaking away after three years, he attached himself to a
rich prelate who had him accompanying him to Paris.

Ordained a priest, his cleverness won him the position of chaplain
to a wealthy family. Finding stability in that role, he turned is attention
back to the peasants and the galley slaves of his youth. Woking as an
individual at first, he enlisted other young priests in bringing solid  
religious life to poor people and galley slaved.

Jesus was promotimg hospitality. not poveryy

Wednesday. 9/26/18

In telling his disciples o bong no money or extra clothing,
Jesus was not telling them to practice Poverty. No, he was
telling them to encourage heir host to be hospitaliy.

In th Proverb we re encouraged to avoid riches let we become
foolishly self sufficient, and to avoid poverry lest we are l to

The plans of the diligent are sure of success.

The Book of Proverbs is sometimes called the book of
Wisdom or the Book of Solomon. It is a collection of
wise sayings from two centuries before Christ.

The plans of the diligent are sure of success, while
 those of the wicked lead to poverty.

Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will
cry and not be heard.

Whoever seeks a fortune by a lying tongue shall be 
rewarded with poverty. 

We must let,our light shine.

Monday, 9/24/1

In telling us to not let our light shine Jesus was telling us to
use our talents for the good of others.

Once Seventh Grade girl asked of we are all made in God's
image, how come some people are born left handed. My
crude answer to that was that my sister Peggy was left-handed,
so maybe God makes all mean people left-handed so we can tell
them out.

But, taking that girl's question seriously, how can we all be made
in God's image when we are so different from each other? The answer
suggesting itself to me is  that God is like a many-faceted jewel,
with each of us mirroring a different facet of him.

Today's Gospel makes sense if we we go with that explanation.
Each of us is equipped to show off a unique facet of God.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sunday, 9/23/18

The command that we love each other as much as we love ourselves
can be turned around to read we should love ourselves as much as we
love others. We must love ourselves, doing our best to make us excel.

But let's not find ourselves markedly loving others less  than we love
ourselves. In our first reading today we find Our Lord'a enemies
saying, "The just one is obnoxious to us."

Our second reading says that where our self-love outstrips our
love for others we bring on disordered and foul behavior.

It is best for us to be honest with ourselves, clearly ticking off
the arias i which others are better than us.


"Eye has bot seen, nor ear heard what God has planned for those who love jhim

Saturday, 9/22/18

Paul, in this chapter of his Letter to the Corinthians, takes up  the
doubts of those who say there is no way the dead might rise again.
People ask what kind of body they might have.

To this objection Paul opposes the way things are in nature. The seed
 that is to become a watermelon is nothing like the grown melon,
or where the oak tree is so different from he acorn.

Jesus said, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God has planned
for those who love him. "

Matthew's Gospel shows us that Jesus fulfilled the Law and thr Prophets.

Friday, 9/21/18

When I undertook to teach the Religion classes for the Seventh Grade
at St. Paul's Grade School in 1964, I had in mind devoting the four months
of the Spring  session to a careful study of the Gospel according to Luke.

To appear democratic about it, I asked the kids if studying Luke would
be okay with them,  but a little Lutheran boy demanded we do Matthew in
stead. Now, about Matthew's Gospel I knew nothing but the name, but I had
tricked myself into explain about it, and so I had to go ahead on making a
thorough study of Matthew.

And I came to be very happy about that. When early Christianity's enemies
were claiming that  Christianity was a fake, because Jesus had attempted
doing away with the Law and the Prophets. I was extremely happy with
the way Matthew's Gospel, showed how Jesus, far from doing away with
the Law and the Prophets, actually fulfilled them.

We must hold fast to the Gospel Paulad the Apostles handed on.

Thursday, 9/20/18

Jesus, at the Last Supper entrusted the Gospel to the Apostles, telling
them that when there was more to  know the Holy Spirit would
them to those truths, and he would remind them of things that Jesus

A century later, there arose a group of Christians that claimed to have
separate Gospels that God revealed to them separately. Because they
knew new Gospels, in derision other Christians called them
the "Knowing ones" or, in Greek, the "Gnostics."

To silence those heretics, the Holy Father called on Irenaeus, man
from Smyrna who had known the Apostle John. Irenaeus patiently met
with the Gnostics, listening to their claims over many years. And
then he made a clear  presentation of Christ's plan for transmitting
thr Gospel. Irenaeus said that the Gospel  was being handed on
through th body of bishops chosen directly or indirectly from the

Love does not seek is own interests.

Wednesday. 9/19/18

A loving person is one who does not seek its own interests,
but one who sacrifices self-concern while looking out f
for thr happiness of others.

At breakfast yesterday morning I thought I saw love
in action. Kevin Murphy and I had taken a rear table
with a heavy black man at the next table.

Looking over at our neighbor, I said, "You really like
your grits, don't you? And, Kevin asked him about the
emblem on his shirt.

The man said it advertises his business of shaving ice for
snow cones. He had gotten into that after twelve year in
he Navy.

Kevin said, "You must feel happy about it when kids
see you coming."

Anyway, our chit chat went on, and when we asked for
our check. the waitress said our neighbor had tasked cate
of it.

What are we to make of the sudden deaths of the young?


Jesus came upon the funeral procession of a widow's only son,
and his heart went out to the grieving mother. Once in Korea's
hill country I came upon such a funeral, and I wished Jesus was
with me to repeat his miracle.

Still. the death of the young cannot be always and every-ware
postponed. We can do no more than accept it as an essential
part of God's plan for us.

This week I have been reading the bitter Vietnam years of
John Kerry. The deaths surrounding him there were not mere
statistics. No, he knew the names and stories of every boy
cruelly done in when he was just a kid, following orders,
searching out gun runners
in the Mekong delta.

Rather than missing out on our losses, we should treasure the
memories of our short-lived friends

Monday, 9/17/18

Our first reading gives us Paul's account of what Jesus said over the bread and wine at the Last Supper.

There is a difference between what Paul wrote in Greek and the way we translate Paul's words in our English Bibles and in our Mass. Paul. in his actual Greek account used the Present tense, saying, "this is my body which is for you," and "this is my blood which is poured out for you."

Our English Bibles change Paul's words to the Future Tense, writing, "The is my body which will be given, which will be poured out."

Our church's reason for changing those tenses seems to be that we like to see Christ's sacrifice as
enacted as only the death on the cross.

Mark divided his Gosel into two parts.

Sunday, 9/16/18

Mark was the only one who wrote a Gospel  from
his personal knowledge of Jesus. As such, he often
heard the complaint that since Jesus was executed as a
criminal, there was no way he could be the Savior/

In answer to that complaint, Mark divided his Gospel
into two equal parts, with the first half giving many
many accounts of Jesus performing miracles that
 proved he was the Savior.

In the second part of his Gospel Mark showed us how
Jesus saved us by his out and out acceptance of

Our first reading today from Isaiah was a prediction
of how the Messiah would save us by not protecting his
back from beating and by patiently accepting every
kind od insult

Mary knew unbelievable sorrow as she stood beneath the cross of her dying Jesus.

Saturday, 9/15/18

Today we honor Mary for the sorrows that engulfed her. When, as a happy
young mother, she brought the forty-day old Jesus to the temple, she was
met by a holy old man who predicted that her heart would be filled with
sorrow. That sorrow would unbelievably peek for her when she stood
beneath the cross of that son as he hung there dying,

Let this mind be in you which was also In Christ Jesus,who emptied himself

Friday, 9/14/18

In a lesser sense this feast commemorates the excavation by which Helena,
the mother of Emperor Constantine dug int the Holy Sepulcher, unearthing
the true cross that had bee buried there three centuries before.

In a more important way, this feast celebrates the willing humiliation of
himself that Paul celebrated in Chapter Two of his Letter to the people
of Phillipi. There it is a plea with us that we "Have in mind with us that
mind that was also in Christ Jesus.  

A good measure padded down and overflowing

Thursday, 9/13/18

Much of what Our Lord says here can be summed up as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

However, rather than summing up his meaning, we should pause to appreciate his imagery. Today when everything is prepackaged, we should look back on our Lords time when our purchases were measured out in scoops, grains were carried home in the folds of our aprons.

The Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes

Wednesday, 9/12/18

As the Ten Commandments were the basic law for the  Old Testament, so the Beatitudes are for the New Testament.

In Chapter 20th of Exodus, God called Moses and Aaron up on the mountain to give them the Commandments, so Jesus called the twelve apostles up on the Mountain to give them the Beatitudes.

To become true Christians it is not enough to keep the Ten Commandments, we must also be copiers of Jesus by practicing the Beatitudes as he did.

The ecumenical council preserve the Gospel Jesus conferred on the Apostles.

Tuesday, 9/11/18

Let me say a few words about church ecumenical councils. They are based on
Jesus at the Last Supper telling the Apostles that he had relayed all truths to
them; and in time the Holy Spirit wold lead them to truths they were not ready for.

A hundred and fifty years later so-called Christians began professing belief in new
doctrines. We called such people the "Gnostics" from the Greek word for "knowing."
To point out the errors of the Gnostics, the pope turned to Irenaeus, a man who had
heard the true Gospel from Polycarp , a close disciple of the Apostle John.

Irenaeus told the Gnostics and the rest of us that to avail ourselves of the clear
teachings of Jesus,we would need to go to the bishops who had been chosen and taught
by the Apostles.

That is how the Second Vatican Council came about. For three years twenty-five  hundred
bishops, descendants off the Apostles, met, and together searched out what they found to be
the truth Gospel, communicated to the Apostles by Christ.


The man with the withered hand.

Monday, 910/18

With the Jews in Our Lord's time, it was thought to be unlawful to work a cure
on the Sabbath, so the Scribes and the Pharisees, anxious to find a violation of the
Law with which they could accuse Jesus, planted a man with a withered hand in
a Sabbath Day congregation. They were counting on Jesus  being too kind to
leave the man in his misery.

Back when I was thirteen, our neighborhood was so free of traffic, that we could
play ball in the street. There was a boy named Calvin whose eight hand was
withered from birth, and he would come to watch us play, but the boys usually
scared him off. He was so unsightly that we were scared him off, but sometimes
I felt sorry for him.

What I felt was nothing compared with the way Our Lord's heart went out to that man
in the synagogue. To be his followers our hearts must go out to the handicapped.

Each Sunday Mass has three Bible readings.

Sunday, 9/9/18

Each of our SundayMassses present us with three Bible readings. Today we have
selections from Isaiah, from the apostle James, and from the Gospel of Mark.''

Isaiah tells us, "Say to those whose hearts broken, 'Fear not, here is your God.'"

James wrote, "You should be as open with those in shabby attire as you are with
those in fine attire."

Mark recalls how Jesus with a deaf man spit in the dust, rubbed the mud on the
deaf man's ears, telling them, "Ephetha!" or, "Be opened!" Priests used to do that
when baptizing anyone, but we were told to stop that cause in was unsanitary. Was
that right?

We congratulate Mary on her birthday,

Saturday, 9/8/18

We congratulate Mary on her birthday, but the Gospel turns our attention elsewhere. It turns it
back to the thirties and forties when we had hundreds of young  seminarians, and the best of them had us marveling at their ease in rolling off the names of all of Mary and Joseph's ancestors.

These days we haven't a tenth of the young men and women entering the priesthood and the convent.
That should turn us to praying for vocations, but it should also turn us individually. to taking up the Lord's work that previously we left to our official nuns and priests.

Saturday, 9/8/18

We congratulate Mary on her birthday, but the Gospel turns our attention elsewhere. It turns it
back to the thirties and forties when we had hundreds of young  seminarians, and the best of them had us marveling at their ease in rolling off the names of all of Mary and Joseph's ancestors.

These days we haven't a tenth of the young men and women entering the priesthood and the convent.
That should turn us to praying for vocations, but it should also turn us individually. to taking up the Lord's work that previously we left to our official nuns and priests.

The teachings of the Council of Trent were the wrong new cloth used to patch the old garment.

Friday, 9/7/`8

In reading Our Lord's words against patching an old garment with  a piece
of new cloth, I immediately thought of the possible  harm Vatican II
teachings did to our traditional Catholic beliefs, but on consideration,
I have come to see that it was  the Council of Trent that failed us as an
adequate patch on our real Catholic teachings.

The Council of Trent presented the deliberations of only three Catholic
countries, presenting as Catholic doctrine only the faulty religious ideas
held at that time. For instance, although Jesus had said that God wants the
salvation of all men, Trent taught that unbaptized people could not get
to heaven.

What gave strength to the views of Trent was it insistently demanding  
that individuals to remain Catholic were bound to accept all its decisions
as the true and only teachings of the Church.

Jesus at the Last Supper entrusted the Apostles with passing on all of our
beliefs, adding that as time went on the Holy Spirit would give us the
answers  of later times.

The great fans of Vatican II see the 2500 bishops gathered there three year in
a row were the new Apostles leading us to all truth by the Holy Spirit.

Why did Simon ask Jesus to depart from him?

Thursday, 9/6/18

Jonah and Zebedee were a pair of fishermen who, in Our Lord's time, teamed up to work long seining nets on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Jonah was aided by his sons, Simon and Andrew ,

Thursday, 9/6/18

Jesus came upon two fishermen who teamed up fishing with seining nets on the north snore of the Sea of Galille. Jonah was assisted by his two sons, Simon and Andrew. while Zebedee was assisted by his sons, James and John.

In today's Gospel, Jesus, followed by a crowd, was strolling along the shore when he came on the  four boys mending their net. Stopping by them, Jesus told the boys to pull off from  the shore to lower their net. Simon said, "There are no fish out there. We have worked the whole night through, catching nothing

The four boys were dead tired after their unsuccessful night, but the strong personality of Jesus was overpowering, so they pulled out into the deep where they made the biggest catch ever, causing Simon to say, "Depart from me. Lord, for I am a sinful man."

Let me pass on to an altogether different time and place. In September 1952, I had just decided on entering the seminary to become a priest. Then,  two of my grade school classmates, Len and Matt announced they were entering the seminary too.

For twenty years our parish had benefitted from a holy Irish pastor who never socialized with  any  parishioners. On that September evening, Matt and Len and I had just finished serving Benediction, when the pastor surprised us by asking usto sit down and chat with him.

He had brought us around to today's Gospel, when he stunned us with the kind of insight that clergy
passed around between themselves.

Father confided in us, "Simon's reason  for telling Jesus to depart from him was that he was anxious to sell that huge catch of fish, because he was looking forward to the pile of money he'd earn by selling them.

You must live along with Jesus in an early day of his ministry

Wednesday, 9/5/18

It is not enough for us to just read through today's GospelI account of a day
in Our Lord's early ministry, we must feel ourselves as living through it.

We must experience the hunger of those hurrying over to Peter's house,
following that long day in the synagogue. Then, we share in everyone's
disappointment at finding Peter's mother-in-law, the one who was to do
the cooking, lying prostrate with a fever.

The other disciples were speaking about how long such  fever hung on,
when Jesus called for an immediate cure.

Through the evening that followed you were kept busy ushering cripples
and near-dying people up to Jesus for miraculous cures.

Afterwards, as you came together, comparing notes on what most impressed
each of you, you realize that Jesus is no longer with you. That sends you scouring
the shoreline and the hills until you find him bent to thr ground, lost in
conversation with his Father.

The suffering Jesus underwent were his way of saving us.

Tuesday. 9/4/18

Everyone was saying there was no way this Jesus could be the Messiah. Wasn't he
crucified with two common criminals? How could such a man of suffering be the Savior?
What kind of messiah could that make him?

Luke's Gospel offers a two-part answer to that question. His first part. the first
nine chapters, are made up of accounts of Jesus acting with Godly power and Godly
authority. This part ends with Peter expressing the unavoidable conclusion that Jesus
is the Savior. Luke then moves on to the second part of his Gospel.

In this part-two of his Gospel Luke brings us to the realization that it was precisely
by his suffering that Jesus saves us.  

nday, 9/3/18

Gregory is noted for having given us the Roman Canon, also called the
Mass of St. Gregory. It was a three-part formula of words that made up
the Mass as Jesus offered it at the Last Supper. In Our Lord's time, the
three-part grace at meals offered by all Jews, (and by Jesus) was left to the
individual hosts. They wanted it to express the host's sincere sentiment.

However, in 800, in Pope Gregory's time, the priests were not educated
enough to make up their own words.  So, Pope Gregory put together the
words for the Mass that was much like the wording used by Jesus at the
Last Supper. It was the Latin Mass that I learned to offer aa a new priest.

We also commit sins of neglect.

Saturday, 9/2/18

Our reading today list the Old and New Testament ways we commit sins
against the Commandments. However, in our day to day lives, we
sin more often through what we neglect than from what we commit.

At day's end, should we not more blame ourselves for what we have
neglected? Have we neglected comforting a friend? Have we e have
neglected taking to heart the readings for Mass. Although we have said
all our usual prayers, have we neglected sitting down for a person-to-
person chat with Jesus, who became man and who set up his "Meeting
Tent" for us.  

God gave us our talents to be worked with for his good.

Our Lord's parable was based on the story of Herod who went
to Rome as a student, and who then was rewarded with his
kingship.As king, he rewarded his childhood chums with
high offices.

When Monsignor Haut dropped by yesterday, our long
conversation seemed to be a comment on this Gospel as
we spoke about priest friends who made the best of their
talents, while others squandered their gifts on drinking
and ambitions.

We must be ready and waiting when the bride comes

Friday, 8/31/18

My time in a Korean country parish introduced me to the marriage customs similar
to those in the Bible story. We had one to five day good-bye celebrations for the girl in
her village where the partying lasted until the food and drink ran out.

Meanwhile the unmarried girls in the bride's future home went out on the road to meet
her and the groom at their uncertain time of arrival.

In my first three years over there, I possessed  an Army jeep that came in handy for those
trips to the the groom's village.

Some of my weirdest memories come from those trips. Once a dozed pheasants  landed on
road ahead of us, and the bride and groom in their fancy dress went run after them. One time our narrow road was blocked by a deaf-mute bound into a human sled.  We loved him into our
trailer alone with the girl's belongings. I brought him to the police in the next town, but
they wouldn't take him, so I left the human sled scooting down the snowy road.

Today's readings demonstrate the wide scope the New Testament.

Thursday, 8/30/18

Our  readings today portray the New Testament'wide scope, with Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians dating from the year 53, and Matthew's Gospel coming after the year 80.

After Paul had left the Christians of Corinth in the year 51, he three years later wrote to them,
full of praise for their progress, but with warnings against errors he heard of seeping in there.

A dozen or more years after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70, the surviving Jews had
come to see their true Jewish remnant to consist only in those Jews who adhered exactly to  those recent additions to the Law which forbade any dealings with Gentiles.

 By this narrow reckoning, even Jesus, by his associating with Gentiles, had moved toward destroying the Law and the Prophets, and ceased to be trurly Jewish.  Matthew's Gospel shows
that far from  destroying the Law and the Prophets, he fulfilled them.

m,. he fulfilled them


Fascinated by John, turned on by Salome, shamed by friends.

Wednesday, 8/29/18

Like Herod. sometimes we're up; sometimes we're down; sometimes we
are shamed by others.

While today's reading are all about John, we might see yourselves in Herod's weak behavior.

St. Augustine was Christianity's leading scholar.

Tuesday, 8/28/18

We might see four areas in which Augustine was dominant.

First, when he tried dividing his love between God and his mistress he gave in,
saying, "Our hearts are made for you, Oh God, and they cannot rest until they
rest in you."

Next, while Christians had been saying that any true sacrifice had to
end in the death of a victim, Augustine taught that the sacrifice of the Mass
consisted in Christ and his followers entirely submitting their selves to God.

Thirdly, a fallen away priest could seemingly enact a true Sacrament, since
every sacrament is actually conferred by Christ.

Fourth, Augustine demonstrated the truth that we cannot save ourselves, that
salvation comes only from God.


The Scribes and Pharisees opposed to Jesus.

Monday, 8/27/18

The Scribes and Pharisees opposed to Jesus date back to 970, 430 and
160 B.C,,

In 970 B. C. when David was passing away, the brother of Absalom was
taking over the kingship that David had promised to Solomon, the son of
Bersheba;  but David, recalling his promise to Bersheba, sent the priest
Zadoc to consecrate Solomon.

Fearing for his life, Zadoc consecrated Solomon king, and the people,
honoring Zadoc's bravery, vowed that they would always choose a
direct descendent of Zadoc as their high priest.

In 430 B. C. Jerusalem's leaders, feeling that the Law of Moses was
inadequate for solving modern problems, set up a body of lawyers to
modernize the Law.  Unfortunately. this group, the Scribes, went overboard
imposing thousands and thousands of unnecessary regulations.

In 160 A.D. the only living descendent of Zadoc was an idiot, so they replaced
him with a national hero. A tenth od the citizens separated themselves
from this choice, and they became the Separate  Ones, the Pharisees.

It is the Spirit that gives life, while the body is of no avail.

Sunday, 8/26/18

Jesus compared purposeless lives to empty human bodies.

Once on a Seventh Grade field trip our class was brought to the
morgue in St. Louis. The bodies were laid out in individual closed
units that we were allowed to open up, sliding the slabs out.

Those soul less bodies were gruesome. We couldn't say they were
staring up at us. The unstaring lunks of them were just laying there.

Jesus said that social groups with no real purpose for living, lay
soullessly through their days.
Saturday, 8/26/18

In our Lord's time Jerusalem was ruled by a 70-man group known as the Sanhedrin.  It was composed of elders and the Srcibes and Pharisees. To get a grasp of these two groups, we have to go way in history, to 970 BC. Back then,  another claimant was taking over the kingship, when King David  had promised it to Solomon, the son of his beloved  Bathsheba. When she asked  David to honor his promise to let Solomon be the next king,  David called for a priest named Zadoc. telling him to immediately consecrate Solomon as king.

It happened, and all of Jerusalem were so delighted at this, that Zadoc became a hero. Such a hero, that for hundreds of years, Jerusalem allowed itself to be ruled only by the immediate descendants  of Zadoc, following the Law of Moses. 

But in 450 B.C., Jerusalem seeing the inadequacy of the Law of Moses for regulating their modern behavior, enlisted a band of lawyers who came to be known as the Scribes, and they added thousands  of amendments to the Ten Commandments'  

Another major twist in Jerusalem's self government came along in 160 B.C. when an idiot was the only  available descendent of Zadoc.  That brought the Jewish leaders to hand the post of high priest over to Johnathan, a brother of Jerusalem'a greatest hero, Judas Maccabeus. 

The notable segment of the city that rejected that compromise  were the separitists or or the

How wonderful it would be if Jesus saw no deceit in you?

Friday, 8/34/18

Following St. Barnabas in your daily meditation you should strive to always be
completely honest with yourself.

We think of ourselves as Christians, comp;leterluy different from being Jews.
However, Chapter 21 of Revelation shows us that Judaism, and Christianity
together make up the heavenly Jerusalem.

Jesus called Barnabas a completely honest man

Friday, 8/24/18

Jesus greeted Barnabas as, a man  in whom there is no deceit. Could
he say the same about you?  

Revelation, 21 pictures the Old Testament and the New blended in one
heavenly Jerusalem.

We must be properly attired for our Lord's banquet.

A short time ago we discovered a handbook for First Century
Christian communities. This "Teaching of the Apostles" is known
as the "Didache" the Greek word for teachings.

The Didache begins by saying, "Who you come together for your
sacrifice on the First Day of the week, begin by confessing your sins,
so that your sacrifice will be pure.

While this short paragraph on the Mass three times speaks of it as
the people's sacrifice, it nowhere makes any mention of a specific
role for the priest

Shepherds who stay with their flocks.


Our readings today picture shepherds who stay with their flocks.

Let me mention a few such who did in Korea who died at the hands of the Reds, rather than desert their people.

 Father Timothy Rhee, the priest in Yang Yang before me, ministered to the people under Communist control for five years before they shot him.

Monsignor Brennan sent the young priests off to safety while staying behind, because "It was his job."

Father Tom Cusack stayed behind, saying he could not live with himself if he deserted his Catholics.

Three mistaken views of today's readings

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

First mistake: Peter and his companions had come to believe that God rewards good people with riches. So, when Jesus said it was difficult for a rich man to be saved, Peter asked who could be saved if those whom God rewards with riches can't be saved.

Second mistaken view of this Gospel is that put forward by Fundamentalist interpreters of the Bible.
Their belief that everything in the Bible was literally true leads them to imagine that Jerusalem had one very small gate known as the Needle's Eye. It was so narrow that a  camel could not get through it.

The third mistake in my eyes was made by a priest named Tim Connoly. He compared us students to Peter and his companions who had given up all to follow Jesus, Father Tim was my hero. But when I came on him years later I saw that drinking had robbed him of his charm.

Today we honor Bernard, a most charming saint.


Today we honor St. Bernard. Born in 1090, at nineteen he entered the Trappist monastery at Citeaux. There the monks imediately came to see him as a man fo great spiritual charm. He had immersed himself in Greek and Latin literature, and he showed such a deep love for Mary that he mind the Old Testament for her symbols,  blending them into his Litany to Mary.

In 1120 the monks at Citeaux, in planning a new monastery at Clairvaux, chose Bernard as their abbot.

Though he was a lover of praying in solitude, he had all Europe repeating such sayings of his as "Hell is full of good intentions."

When the Church held the Second Lateran Council they called on Bernard as a consulant. When the Church brought forth two climates as popes. They called on Bernard to make the choice.  


Jesus is the living bread come down from heaven,

Sunday, 8/19/18.

We are all familiar with Jesus telling us that his body will come to us in the form of bread, our Holy Communion.  However in this Chapter Six his Gospel, John also tells us that apart from coming to us as Holy Communion Jesus is the Bread of Life that nourishes us by coming to us in our moments of solitude.

In line with that First Reading, Jesus is Wisdom personified. As such, he leads us to adopt ways of behavior that will lead us to living as happy people. Jesus is also Wisdom personified through  prayerful interludes in which he leads us to understand the truth.

Children should be loved for what they are,


There is a slight connection between today's two readings. In the first reading God told Ezekiel that children  should not be punished for the sins of their parents

In the Gospel, Jesus commanded his followers to love all children what's so ever.

If Moses had the right to sanction second marriages, then the Church has the right to sanction them after annulments

Friday, 8/17/18

One would need to study the history and the poetic forms of the times to be able to make out what Ezekiel was speaking about. It seems to me that he was speaking to the descendants of the people of Canaan from whom the Israelites inherited the Promised Land

In the 00Gospel Our Lord clearly says that marriages should last forever. However, he did not deny the right of Moses to make exceptions, so that right would also be available to the Church as she allows for second unions after annulments.

As captives you shall go into exile.

Thursday, 8/16/18

Ezekiel the Prophet, leading up to the year 600 B.C., over and over warned the people of Jerusalem that if they did not give up their out-and-out sinful lives they would be carried off in exile. When the people, weary of this preaching, said they would no longer listen further to his warnings, he began acting out a people made to pack up and leave.

The collapse of Jerusalem back then has me wondering if our present dayAmerica is.morally strong enough to resist its being overtaken by a foreign people. My unfavorable estimation of our moral strength comes from comparing Americans in 2017 with the survivals of Pearl Harbor back in 1941.
Back then everyone rose to the challenge. I read about four young men in the same town who committed suicide when they were judged not strong enough to fight fo r their country.

As Christians we must freely forgive those who have offended us.

Thursday, 8/16/18

Offhand, we might not be able to bring to mind those whom we must forgive. However, such enmities have a way of hiding, and to get at them, we must stand back, and try listing those for whim we harbor dislikes.

For a start,we should admit to our having the same faults as those that annoy us in others.  As a step in that direction, we should recall times when we forgave ourselves for similar faults. If we are put off by people making burping sounds, we should recall our having done the same. When we are hurt by someone failing to answer our letters  we should recall our doi0000000..ng the same

"A woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.

Tuesday, 8-15-18

Jesus, from the cross, gave Mary unto the care of John, who ended his days at Smyrna on the Aegian coast. And, from the beginning Christians have passed on the story that from the end of her days, Mary was taken bodily into heaven.

John, toward the end of his days, composed the highly poetic "Book of Revelation" the New Testament's longest and most complex book. From the beginning, Christians have identified Mary as the woman  clothed with the sun, the moon beneath her feet."

"The bow which appears in the clouds on a rainy day proclaims God's splendor."."

Monday, 8-13-18

Ezekiel tells us that rainbows proclaim God's spender.

In his Divine Comedy" Dante said something of the same thing. There, Dante, on arrival in Paradise,  was stricken by the way that while all of heaven was new to him, it somehow reminded him of the best things he saw on earth.

He went to the heavenly Beatrice for an explanation of this, and she answered. 'All things among themselves possess an order, and this order is the form that makes the universe like God.

Returning to today's reading, its rainbow proclaims God's glory by its perfect orderliness. Every rainbow has the same orderly spectrum, passing from red to orange, to yellow, to green. That orderliness mirrors the orderliness of God. likewise, the orderly sequence from do to re, to mi is the musical scale reflects the orderliness of God.

jesus is the bread of life.

Sunday, 8-12-18

There are several different ways in which Chapter Six of John's Gospel sees Jesus as the bread of life.
The day before,  Jesus fed five thousand people with just five loafs; and that prompted the people to say Jesus must be the Prophet of whom Moses spoke when he said, "God will send you a Prophet like me, and you must listen to him."

Now, among the Jews there had sprung up an idea that when the Prophet come, he would bring fresh manna down from heaven. It was going on that expectation that had the Jews asking Jesus what sign he would give them.

Jesus, changing the subject, said that what Moses gave them was not true bread. Then, changing the subject, he said that he himself was the bread of life. He was not there referring to Holy Communion. No, he was saying that the words he spoke to us deep in our hearts would be like bread, nourishing the soul.

After that, switching to speaking of his presence in holy Communion,  Jesus said he he would give us bread that was actually his flesh.

That was too much for the people to accept, and most of his followers  left him. Turning to his Apostles, he asked if they too would leave him. That caused Peter to ask, "To whim might we go? You have the words of everlasting life."

The rash man has no integrity, but the just man lives by faith.

Saturday, 8-11-18

"The rash man has no integrity, but the just man lives by faith."

That Bible verse reminds me of two kinds of students. When the school assignment asks them about the Beatitudes, the rash man writes that the Beatitudes are about being humble and all of that, while the just man takes the Beatitudes to thoroughly rebuild his life into something beautiful.

Blessed are the poor kn spirit/

Saturday, 8/11/18

Th first reading packs a lot of wisdom, It says, "The rash man has no integrity, but the just man lives because of his faith."

We can see this contrast in two different ways we had of doing our schoolwork. Like, if we were told to learn the Beatitudes, we might pick up a passing grade by writing, "Blessed are those who always  do the right thing." but we will reman inferior to the man who is meek and who always seeks to do what is right and just.

We do believe, Oh Lord, help our disbelief.

Friday, 8/9/18

 St. Lawrence of Rome distributed the valuables of the pope to the poor before submitting himself to death.

As followers of Chris, we should give all to the poor, and we should gladly submit ourselves to death. However, we are all human, and as such we are pulled toward our  own security.

One saintly man was asked  if he completely believed in Christ;a nd he answered, "I believe, Oh Lorf, help my unbelief

Today we reflect on our covenant with God.

Thursday, 8/9/18

Jeremiah spoke of the new covenant that God wanted to enter into us, and Jesus, giving us the cup at the Last Supper, told us this was the beginning of the new covenant.

A covenant is a special contract in which the parties exchange not only money and possessions. No, they  exchange their very selves.

The Old Covenant at Sinai was enacted by the sprinkling of blood not only on the people, but also on Cod's altar, so that the same blood flowed through them all, At  Mass we are united by having the blood of Christ flow through us all.

St. Dominic brought heretics around by leading very holy lives.

Wednesday, 8/8/18

As a student, Dominic sold all his books to support the poor.

Dominic, by his simple ways won a strange group of heretics back to the Church. That group, the Cathars were followers of Zoroaster, and they abstained from unnecessary sexual  activities, and also from eating meat, and from engaging in  struggles.

Dominic, and his companions, when the Pope asked them to bring the Cathars back to Christianity, impressed the Cathars by leading  lives even holier than those of the Cathars.

a of a very holy life in th

Jesus will come walking toward us when we are threatened by death.

Tuesday, 8/7/18

After Jesus fed the five thousand on five loafs, the people began moving to make him their king. Jesus, wanting to save the Apostles from being too ambitious, made them head off in their boat, while he went up the mountain to pray, and the throng made their way around to Capernaum.

Meanwhile, the Apostles in the middle of the lake, were hit by a storm that they felt would kill them. It was then that Jesus came to them, walking on the water.

That story is actually a parable, with the storm standing for a sure threat of death. If we have Faith when we are about to die, Jesus will come walking to us over the waves of death.

There are four storied behind mamma.

There are four stories behind the bread of life.

First, even today Bedouins gather a white cream at dawn, while in the evening, quail, weary from their flight from Europe, flop in the desert.

Second. Moses promised that a prophet like me will the Lord raise up from among you; and that led the five thousand from the previous day to ask Jesus what sign he could do.

Thirdly, Jesus said that his words were the bread of life.

Fourth, Jesus promised us real bread with his indwelling. When many left him, finding such a bread unbelievable, Peter asked,  "To whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.

Ordinary people reject scary prophesies about themselves.

Friday, 8/4/17

In 600 B.C. Jeremiah foresaw the destruction of Jerusalem, but the people, feeling that their good times would last, threw him down into a well.

The people of Nazareth were proud of Jesus, but they could not see him as better than any od them, So they cast him aside,

If we are unsatisfactory God will replace us with someone better.

Thursday, 8/3/18

In the first reading God compared himself  to a potter who can make something new of our clay if we are not useful.

Let me burden you with an account of my own experiences with potters. In Korea, back in 1860 the government banished all Christians from the province around the capitol and its farmland;  and many of those people took to using the mountainside clay for making pottery.

After 1955 when I was sent as the lone priest to that hill country I found that every Catholic village was engaged in making pottery, and I often used a plank spanning two large pots for my altar.

I often saw potters doing what Jesus did. If the vessel they spun out of the clay was faulty the, potter used the clay for something better.


Ignatius found the pearl of great price

Tuesday, 8/1/18

Ignatius was an illiterate Spanish soldier in 1551 when he was wounded in the hip, and had to spend almost a year regaining his footing. He learned how to read the lives of the saints, and he devised a thirty-day exercise for turning himself to God.

He regained his abilities by leaning to read and write properly by going to school with children. Mentally equipped then, he enrolled at the University of Paris. The other Spanish soldiers there at first laughed at him, but his sanctity so won them over that together they decided on going to Jerusalem to win the people there for Christ.

After they had failed in finding passage there they came to the attention of the Holy Father who constituted them as the Jesuit Fathers. The pope used them for doing missionary work in Canada and India, he also enrolled them to write out the resolutions of the council of Trent.

His priests had great respect for Ignatius. Francis Xavier always knelt while writing to Ignatius.

TV watching has robbed our speech of poetry,

Monday, 7/29/18

Jesus taught the people only in poetry, and he compared the sudden spread of Christianity
to the smallest of seeds springing up as a tree,

Jeremiah was consistently poetic in his teaching. Like he compared a politician who never  changes his approach to a nan who never changes his underwear.

Our substituting watching TV for good reading has turned us into dull teachers.

God does not punish sinners immediately

Saturday, 7/28/18

Thinking back over the twenty-five years I taught at our parish school, I recall 270 graduates, and most of them benefitted from the training that we and their parents showered on them. I am saddened by the way twenty or thirty of them turned out. They gave in to addictions, and they deserted the little families God gave them.

The sad thing about them is that with driving their big cars, they seem to be getting away with  self-centered living,  In today's Gospel Jesus says that God cannot be cheated. He will see to it that their sins will catch up with them.

God pitied the foreigners that Jonah wanted destroyed

Monday, July 23, 2018

At the year 450BC, the Jewish people were brought to avoid all foreigners. They went so far in their hatred of the people of Nineveh, that God inspired a humorous writer to compile the fictional story of Jonah.

In this humorous story when God inspired this fictional character Jonah to go and save the people of Nineveh, Jonah tried to travel west over the sea to get away from God. God delivered a storm that caused Jonah to be swallowed by a whale. After the whale threw Jonah up on his native shore in obedience to God, Jonah went to Nineveh, he walked through its streets calling out, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be destroyed.”

The people of Nineveh repented and reformed their lives.  This disappointed Jonah so much that he complained to God. God said, “Why should I not have pity on the 30,000 people of Nineveh along with their animals?”

Jesus gave would-be shepherds two bits of advice.

Sunday, 7/22/18

Jesus gave would-be shepherds two bits of advice. First, he told us to learn God's truth by silently speaking with him in prayer. We question God about his truths, then we silently wait for him let us see things the way he does.

Secondly, he told them to give immediate attention to all who are seeking help from God,

If we want to please God, we must keep our priorities straight.

Monday, 7/16/18

Isaiah in the first reading. and Jesus in the Gospel, tell us  that to be a good person you must have your priorities straight.

So, Isaiah tells us that forwarding the prosperity of family members is s good thing, but not if  conflicts with our prior duty towards advancing the will of God.

And, celebrating Religious rituals is a good thing, but not if it conflicts with pleasing God through acts of kindness toward his children.   

Jesus left us examples of how we are to spread the Gospel together.

Sunday, 7/15/18

For the final three years of his life Jesus travelled from village to village through Galilee, leaving examples for us to follow.

1. We must work together as loving couples

. 2. We must free people from the demons of addictions/

3. Rather than paying our own way at expensive inns, we should stay  with people, encouraging  them to be hospitable.

4. Just as people snake the world's dust from their sandals on entering the temple's holy ground. so should they shake a house's inhospitable dust from their feet before stepping out into God's holy world

We should never utter his name without respect.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

I have sat near a couple of ladies in a restaurant recently, and more than twenty times I heard one or the other of them say, "Oh my God," "For God's sake," or "God damn it." I bring this up to mark the degrees of reverence we have for God.

Isaiah the greatest of the prophets was called to speak for God in the year 742 BC.

God's greatness and holiness struck him so deeply that before he could even utter the name of God, he had to have his lips singed clean with a red ember.

Some contrast to those who are casual with the name of God.

Jesus tells us he will give us the right things to say

Friday, July 13, 2018

Today's Gospel is one that priests often used to joke about... Jesus  tells us not to worry in advance about what we are to say when we are brought before people. He said the right thing to say would be given to us at that time.

Our priest joke dates from the time when we had to study and speak in Latin. Back then, our Lord's saying, "What you are to say will be given to you" in Latin was "dabitur vos."

So, whenever a priest preached a homily without first preparing his words, other priests would remark that he went on the "dabitur."

The Feast of St. Benedict

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Today we honor Benedict who was born of a wealthy family north of Rome in the year 485AD. Although he had been given in marriage to  he became he wanted to avoid the immorality of young men of his age. that led him to become a hermit in a cave called Subiaco east of Rome.

In Subiaco, Benedict began remaking his life by the pattern of St. Anthony as it was written by the bishop of Alexandria.

After Benedict had spent several years in the cave of Subiaco, he inherited land on Monte Carlo. The monastery he built there became the mother house of all the benedictine monks and nuns throughout the world.

We cannot follow other Gods.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Let us take a look at today's first reading.

It comes from 800BC, one hundred years after Israel's ten northern tribes had broken away from the Temple of Jerusalem. When the people of those ten northern tribes wanted to consult with God they replaced Him with a God mounted upon a golden calf.

In the reading the prophet Hosea warns the people that by sowing their seed in the wind they will reap the whirlwind. By this he is warning them of a time when driven to hunger they would accept the cruel rule of Asyria.

The reading is a warning against away from God and turning to other Gods.

Bring your troubles to the Lord

Monday, July 9, 2018

The readings today touch on the three troubled women: one already dead, one addicted to adultery, and one who for eight years had exhausted her funds on useless cures.

Whatever our failings may be, one could bring them to the Lord for a cure.

We cannot be proud of the gifts given to us

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The readings today remind us that while some of us are gifted in many ways, others of us are broadly lacking. To those of us who are highly gifted, Jesus says, “What have you that you have not received? And if you have received these gifts from God, how can you glory as though they were of your own doing?”

In the second reading Paul thanks God for the shortcomings that have kept him from becoming proud.

Taking the readings altogether, they ask us to be patient with all of God’s creatures who are not gifted.

The disciples of Jesus do not punish their bodies

Saturday, July 7, 2018

In the gospel the disciples of John asks the disciples of Jesus ask why they did not fast and do penances. There is a similar division between old time Catholics and modern ones. This division can be traced back to the split between those who follow Apollo and those follow Aristotle, Apollo said that our souls are created before our bodies and need to go through life punishing our bodies. While dieethose who follow Aristotle, bgoelieve that our bodies and souls are created together can go through life seeking to have healthy bodies and healthy souls.

Who would Jesus eat with in Jacksonville?

Friday, July 6, 2018

In the gospel Jesus is said to have sat and eaten with sinners. We wonder how far he would go with that.

Like here in Jacksonville, we have unclean people with absolutely no place to bathe. Do you think Jesus would sit down with them? Would you? As Christians do you feel obliged to mix with such people?

Heroes come to mind on the Fourth of July

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A little over four weeks ago I fell and broke my leg in the hip joint. Badly hung up, I couldn’t write these daily homilies.

Coming back to these posts after the Fourth of July I want to thank our Founding Fathers for guaranteeing us the freedoms that protect our rights to grow into what God wants us to become.

The Statue of Liberty welcomed my grandparents, allowing them to learn, to grow, and to start new stable families. Today I recall my boyhood friend Johnny Burkheart who gave his life for us on D-Day during the invasion of France. I also remember Barry Albright who died for us in Korea. I remember a soldier friend named Stephen who wanted to become an operatic baritone but he was cut down by a sniper in Korea. I had to zipper up his dear face in a body bag, ending his singing ambitions.

pain brings healing

Per aspera ad astra
Through hardships we reach the stars.

Coming soon...

Thank you for visiting Father Sullivan’s webpage. He is back at home after a hospital stay. He will return soon to his regular posts.

Irenaeus saves the word of Jesus for us

Thursday, June 28,2018

Today we honor St Ireneus who passed on to us the teaching of Jesus as he heard it from St. John.

On the cross jEsus put Mary into the Johns care who took her to Smyrna. From that Ireneus wrote a lengthy account of the gospel that was handed on to us through the apostles.

Two great covenants

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The first reading tells how a workman rebuilding the temple around 600 BC came upon a copy of the Old Covenant between and God and Moses dated around 1200 BC.

A covenant is an agreement in which the parties exchange themselves.

There are two great covenants in the Bible. The first had people agreeing to live by God's commandment. As that was happening, young men sprinkled blood over the people and God's altar making them one.

The second covenant comes at the Last Supper where Jesus bound the people to keep the commandment to love one another as he loved them. He sealed the covenant with his blood, saying "This is the blood of the new and everlasting covenant which is being shed for you."

Enter the Kingdom by the Narrow gate

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

In the gospel story, Jesus tells us to enter through the narrow gate.

He is asking us to picture a typical walled town of his days. The main gate was furnished with benches for the town elders. When they heard about diseases or robbers loose nearby, they would tightly shut the main gate.

In addition, each town had a narrow gate hidden by bushes or branches on the opposite side of town. That narrow gate was guarded by its own gatekeeper. He opened the doors only for those they knew, bolting it for strangers.

When Jesus speaks of entering through the narrow gate, he means that we come to know God through difficulty and hardship, putting up with tough times.


Monday, June 25, 2018

John the Baptist was born to very old parents who before they died assured him that his life mission was to make the Messiah known.

As a boy he went out, lived in the desert eating locusts and wild honey. Longing to know more precisely, one day saw a flock of sheep on a hillside. John was stunned by the beauty of a lamb who stood apart from the others.

John then took to baptizing people in the Jordan River. He was at that until one day he saw Jesus walking, and felt with 100% certainty that this man was the Messiah. He called out, "Behold, the Lamb of God."

Seeing him as a rival, Herod imprisoned John in his castle across the Jordan. People came to him saying that they admired him above this Jesus, but John insisted, "Jesus must increase, and I must decrease." 

Outside of the Holy Family, we honor John the Baptist as the greatest of saints

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Today and tomorrow the mass will honor John the Baptist. He is such a great saint that we celebrate him over two days. Monday, we will look at this special circumstances from his birth and his life.

Today we look at his greatness of spirit. John's are summed up in one thing he said about Jesus. "He must increase while I must decrease." He said he was not worthy to undo the straps of Jesus's sandals. This silenced the complaints of John's disciples.