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
 Pharisees.




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.

Wednesday,8/22/18

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.




 Monday/8/20/18

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,

Saturday/8/18/18

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.
i

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.

.