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.