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.

We must ask ourselves what we are looking for in life

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The apostles John and Andrew were neighboring boys who worked their fathers' long nets.

They pined for more meaningful lives. So when they heard abut John the Baptist turning people's lives around, they got permission from their fathers to go help John the Baptist.

When The Baptist said there was one greater than him, they thought of following him. The next day Jesus walks by and John the Baptist points him out, "Behold, the Lamb of God." With that, the boys left John the Baptist to follow Jesus, who turned and asked them, "What are you looking for?"

The gospel reading honestly asks the same thing Jesus asked, "What is it you are looking for?" A question we all should be prepared to answer.

Even public persons can store treasures up in heaven

Friday, June 22, 2018

Jesus tells us that those who build up treasure in heaven are more blessed than those who build up treasure on earth.

I have been reading a very long Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of President Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, (No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearns Goodwin). They both accomplished great things, Franklin by stirring up our people to beat back the heartless ambitions of Hitler, and Eleanor by her great efforts for saving refugees and for making black people at home in this land of the free.

How we are to pray

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Jesus told us, “When you pray, do not babble on the way the pagans do.” So let’s come up with a simple recipe for our prayers.

1. Put yourself in God’s presence. As Paul said, “He is not far from any of us for in him we live and move and have our being.”

2. We listen for what he has said applying to us.

3. We ask his help in bringing us to live up to the ideal he has set for us.

4. We return to resting in his presence.

God’s rain falls equally

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

In the gospel Jesus said, “Your Heavenly Father makes the sun to shine on the good and the bad.”

This can recall a passage from Isaiah 35, “For justice from the heavens the rain and snow come down watering the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to him that sows, and bread to him that eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth. It does not return to me void, but accomplishes the end for which it is  sent.”

God wants us to be complete

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Today’s gospel concludes the Sermon on the Mount. In it Jesus tells us to keep clean thoughts, to freely lend to those in need, to love our enemies.

Our English version of the Sermon concludes with Jesus saying, “In a word, you must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

However, what Matthew wrote was, “You must be complete as your Father is.” God knows the clay we are made of, so he is content with our being the best we can, even if it leaves us well short of perfect.

God's children should help one another

Monday, June 18, 2018

Jesus says do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

He saw all the world's wealth as belonging to God, and he wanted all of his children to be kept from harm. And so he is asking you to help another child of his. Our present Holy Father is unhappy with the way God's children are slow about helping each other.

We become what we think

Sunday, June 17, 2018

In the gospel Jesus says, "The kingdom of God is like seed that one scattered and then takes root."

If we have good and worthwhile thoughts, the kingdom of God will grow within us. But if we have trashy thoughts, we ourselves will become trashy people.

We must leave everything in God's hands

Saturday, June 16, 2018

In the gospel Jesus tells us to make no false claims about our abilities.  

We haven't the power on our own to change the color of our hair, to make black white or white black. In restaurants we hear people using the phrase, "I guarantee," when in fact we cannot guarantee anything. 

We must leave it all in God's hands.

Listen for God's still, small voice

Friday, June 15, 2018

In the first reading Elijah waiting for a meeting with God experiences a mighty wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but he knew God was not there. 

He heard a small voice, fell to his knees, knowing the Lord had come to him.  

This parable has two meanings for me. One is that in our prayer life we must remain silent enough to hear God whispering to us. The other thing this story tells me is that God might come to us at quiet prayers at mass rather than loud "Praise God" sessions.

Generosity and regard for others is prized.

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Jesus says that before you go to give your gift to the altar, make sure you have made peace with your fellow man.

His advice makes me conscious of how poorly we take care of each other. I have a friend who takes one blind man and one cripple shopping each week. But that kind of generosity is sadly rare among us. Another man who stands out in my mind, a priest named Phil, seemed to feel he was in debt to anyone in need. But another priest friend of mine and I saw some people in trouble crossing a stream. We mentioned it to Phil, and with that, he stood up asking, "Well, what are we going to do for those people?" 

Such generosity is rare.

Parallels between Sermons on the Mount and The Ten Commandments

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Jesus said,"I didn't come to destroy the law of the prophets, I came to fulfill them."

This is the central statement of what we call the Sermon on the Mount. The sermons on the Mount improve upon what Moses taught us in ten statements on Mount Sinai.

Where Moses began by giving us the Ten Commandments, Jesus improves with the Beatitudes. Whereas Moses said we should not kill, Jesus said we should not be angry. Whereas Moses said you shall not commit adultery, Jesus said we should not lust after each other.

St Barnabas, the encourager

Today is the feast of St Barnabas, a very early Christian whose name was actually Joseph. The apostles began calling him Barnabas, a name which means “giver of encouragement.” Because he was noted for lifting people up when they were blue.

In our diocese for twenty years, we had a lady named Pat Tierney who was in charge of our teachers. The people were saddened when the time came for her to retire. When I asked one teacher after another what they would miss about her, each of them said she was so encouraging, a word that means she puts heart in people. 

To be a good teacher one needs to know more than teaching. One needs the heart to stay with difficult tasks.

What matters with God is what we are today

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The readings today plead with us to live properly here and now. It does not matter the evil we did in the past.

It reminds me of what my father's friend John Kilker said to him one hundred years ago. The pastor had sent John and my Dad out to collect for a new church door to door. Each of the old timers they met talked about what they had done for the church in the past. To all of this John Kilker said, "It doesn't matter what you used to be, it's what you are today."

The Greatest of Commandments

Friday, June 8,2018, Immaculate Heart of Mary

Since God chose Mary out of all humanity to mother his son, we could feel right in applying the fatherly love of Moses for Ephraim. As an example of God’s love for Mary then the gospel tells us that while Mary saw loving God as the greatest of commandments, she felt that loving God is best expressed by our loving fellow men and women.

Solemnity of Sacred Heart of Jesus

Thursday June 7, 2018,

Solemnity of Sacred Heart of Jesus is the feast today. Some pictures of the heart look too anatomical to inspire human-like love.

Strangely I find love of a father for a son the most inspiring. And so in the first reading,  the affection of Moses for his Ephraim echoes the love that God has for us. 

People fulfilling their duties keeps the world spinning nicely.

Tuesday, 5/5/18

In telling  people to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, Jesus was telling us to carry out all of our duties in this world.

In 50 B.C. the Roman senator  Cicero, in a letter to his son who was studying in Greece. made the same point, telling his son that people doing their duties is what makes the world spin nicely.  .

Moses allowed planting other crops in the years before a vineyard ripened..

Monday, 6/4/18

Our Lord's story doesn't ring true. After all, why would the owner of the vineyard lease it to untried. irresponsible tenants? Why would the tenants behave so cruelly?

The answer to these questions lies in an unusual farming practice in ancient Israel.

The Law of Moses forbade the crowing of different kinds of crops in the same fields. It was avoiding something like vegetative adultery.

However there was one loophole in the rule against planting different kinds of crops. Since a newly planted vineyard could not bear grapes in its first four or five years, for those years farmers were permitted to grow other  kinds of vegetables during those years. Our Lord's listeners probably understood him to be talking about disputes between owners and tenants as to who got what was raised between the vines,

Jesus gives himself to us in the Mass to make us physically one with him in his Eucharist.

Sunday, 6/3/18

We believe that in the Mass the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The consecration  of the Mass gives us the Body of Christ as our  spiritual food, however, that was not Our Lord's purpose in making himself present for us.

We must see the Mass as following the ritual of Jewish sacrificial  meals. The sacrifice had three steps. The first step, known by its Greek name of the Anamnesis, had Jesus as a worshipper, thanking God for his many favors. The second step, known by its Greek name of the Epiclesus, had Jesus and his followers putting themselves in the presence of God. The third step, known by its Greek name of the Eu-charis, had Jesus giving God his love and obedience as a sacrifice.

At the Last Supper it was when Jesus was about to sacrifice himself to God, that he gave his body and blood to the Apostles so that they could physically part of his sacrifice, of his Eu-charis

Likewise, in the Mass the principal reason for Jesus giving himself to us is not to nourish us with the Blessed Sacrament, but to make us body and soul one with him in his sacrifice.

Christ's teaching comes to us through the Apostles and their successors.

Saturday, 6/2/18

At the Last Supper Jesus handed on to the Apostles what they would need to know for leading the Church, and he said that the Spirit would lead them to knowledge they were not ready for.

"I have much more to tell you , but you cannot bear it. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth."

Two centuries later, people began making up their own gospels. Then, the pope called on Irenaeus to straighten out those people. To keep them from making up their own Sacred Scriptures, Irenaeus quoted what Paul wrote to the Christians of Galatia:

 "Even if  an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one we preached, let that one be accursed."