Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Solemnity of the Nativity of John The Baptist

Is 49:1-6
Acts 13:22-26
Lk 1:57-66, 80

A baby is born. Not an unusual event, babies are born every day. The birth of this baby is, however, different. He is born to a mother who is supposedly unable to have children, indeed beyond child-bearing age. His father, struck mute when he failed to believe God's promise, regains his voice when he writes that the boy's name will be John, just as the angel had instructed. Surely the boy born under these miraculous conditions would grow to become a great man. And so John, did, he became a great man, but not in the way we would normally view a great man. We would think a great man would live in a palace, be wealthy, have power and control over many people, yet John lived in the wilderness, wore animal skins, ate locusts and wild honey, not exactly our ideal of a great man. Yet John was a great man. He lived in this wilderness to follow the call he received from God. John's call was to preach, to let the people know that a change was coming, that the promise God had made from the beginning of time was to be fulfilled. John was called to be a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. John lived as he did to carry out his mission, to heed the call of God. We have that same call. No, we don't have to live in a wilderness. I assure I am not going to live in the wilderness. My idea of roughing it is a hotel room without room service. Our wilderness is not a physical location. We live in a wilderness where there is no faith, no love, no hope. How many of the people around us live without hope? How many have little or no experience of love? How many lack faith? Our call is to be the voice crying in this wilderness, to bring the light of faith and hope and love. It's not easy. How can we do this? The beat way i can think of is to simply do the right thing. Perform one good act. I will be honest with you, you or I may do one good thing, and it may not really have much of an effect. Alone we cannot change much, but we aren't alone. When the one good act I perform is added to yours, and to another and then another, when we act together, we can bring about change. We must, however, act together. As a community of faith we can, we should be the voice crying in the wilderness, bringing light into the darkness, bringing love into a loveless place. Together we can take up the call of the Baptist and prepare the way of the Lord.
Deacon John
The Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist
June 24, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Sm 12:7-10, 13
Gal 2:16, 19-21
Lk 7:36—8:3

A woman boldly approaches Jesus while he is dining in the house of Simon, a Pharisee. She is a sinful woman, though the scripture passage does not expound on what that means. Whatever it means, she is a sinner, a public sinner, one known to all as a sinner. This sinner approaches Jesus and begins to weep, weep enough to wash Jesus feet with her tears. She dries them with her hair and anoints them, all the while getting disapproving looks from the others at this dinner. Her desire to change, her repentance for her past misdeeds drives her to this act, regardless of the opinion of others. Simon, the host of the dinner, even thinks that Jesus must not be much of a prophet, allowing this woman to touch him. The weeping woman has one great advantage over the Pharisee Simon, she recognizes her sinfulness, and is seeking forgiveness. Simon sees only her sin, not recognizing that perhaps he should join this woman at Jesus feet. We, I am afraid, suffer from the same myopia as Simon. All too well we see the sins of others, while failing to see our own shortcomings. Rather we should leap at the example of this unnamed, unknown woman, one ready to acknowledge that she has sinned, and is in need of forgiveness. When we look at our lives honestly, what other choice do we have than to join her, at Jesus feet?

Deacon John
11th Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 17, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time

2 Cor 3:15—4:1, 3-6
Mt 5:20-26

One unfortunate trait that we share as human beings is the tendency to judge other people. We know we aren’t supposed to, we know that judging is wrong, after all, we can’t possibly know the all of the circumstances surrounding another person’s behavior. We may judge them harshly, then, when we learn their story, we realize we were hasty in our harsh judgment of that person. We do this very thing with the Pharisees when we read about them in scripture. Jesus was always after them wasn’t he? So why shouldn’t we think they were bad people? Yet the very beginning of today’s Gospel has Jesus saying, “If your righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” If your righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees, implying they must have had some righteousness. They were, after all dedicated to keeping the law as completely and as well as they could. That isn’t a bad thing. What Jesus wanted them to know, wanted us to know, is that just keeping the letter of the law is not enough. We must exceed the law. Jesus goes on in the Gospel to say that if you hate, you have broken the law, if you hold a grudge, you are breaking the law. To enter the Kingdom, we must read more than the words on the page, we must go beyond them. Jesus tells us if you go to offer your gift at the altar and realize you have a problem with someone that needs to be resolved, go and resolve it, before you approach the altar. You go, you make the first move, do not wait for the other person to act, act first. Work to bring about reconciliation, even if you don’t think it is your place to act first. As a follower of Jesus, it is always our place to act first, to seek reconciliation, so that we follow the letter, and the spirit of the law, so that we keep the one commandment Jesus left us, love one another. Love is the only way we can keep the law, the whole law, letter and spirit. Act in love, then we will be doing the one thing that God asks of us, “to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Deacon John
Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time
Feast of St Anastasius of Cordova, Deacon and Martyr
June 14, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tuesday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time

2 Cor 1:18-22
Mt 5:13-16

In a firehouse in Livermore California there is a light bulb that the people of Livermore claim has been burning since 1906. I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed. There are light bulbs in my house that don’t seem to last 100 days, much less 100 years. As you can imagine, this bulb has become quite the tourist attraction in Livermore. People stop at the firehouse to gaze upon and admire the 100 year old light bulb. The people of Livermore have enshrined the bulb, showcasing it for all to see. There’s even a webcam, continuously showing the 100 year old bulb. As impressive as all this is and even though I don’t want to rain on Livermore’s parade, that bulb, like all things, will eventually burn out.
In the Gospel today Jesus tells his followers that they are the light of the world, there to shine before others. Just as a lamp is lit and placed to provide light for all, so too should the followers of Jesus, shine for all to see. But, unlike the Livermore light, we all too often seem reluctant to showcase the light that is entrusted to us. Instead of shining for all to see, we reach for the bushel basket. Why do we want to hide the light? Let it shine! There is no greater light, there is no greater privilege, than being entrusted with that light. Let it shine! And remember, this light has one great advantage over the Livermore light, over all other lights, this light will never go out. Let it shine!

Deacon John
Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
June 12, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Most Holy Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

Gn 14:18-20
1 Cor 11:23-26
Lk 9:11b-17

The Body of Christ. What do we mean, what do we understand when those words are spoken? What does the Body of Christ mean to us? Certainly we mean the Eucharist, the Body of Christ with us in the form of bread and wine, food, basic necessity. As we heard in 1Corinthians we are called upon to remember Christ in the breaking of the bread. As Catholic Christians we hold firmly that this is Jesus, with us as the Bread of Life. Were that the only meaning of the Body of Christ it would be enough. But the Body of Christ is so much more. It is our privilege, our blessing, to partake in this sacred meal. We receive the Body of Christ, and in doing so become the Body of Christ ourselves. We become the bread meant to feed the world. In the Gospel Jesus tells his disciples “Give them some food yourselves.” So we are called, to give them some food ourselves, by giving them ourselves. As stated by the Dutch hymnist, Huub Oosterhuis in the hymn What is this Place, “we are each other’s bread and wine.” Alone what we have to give may seem inadequate, but we are not alone. We have received the Body of Christ and now are the Body of Christ. In sharing what we have, in sharing who we are, the Body of Christ, our gifts are more than enough. Remember,
They all ate and were satisfied.
And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
In the Eucharist Jesus gives us the Bread of Life, his Body, so that we may be his Body, so that we may share his Body with all in need. Receive the Body of Christ, be the Body of Christ, spread that which you are.
LAUDA Sion Salvatorem,
lauda ducem et pastorem,
in hymnis et canticis.

Deacon John
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
June 10, 2007

P.S. I just can't resist a personal, non-religious cheer for the Cardinals - Louisville, not St. Louis or Rome! GO CARDS- WIN IN OMAHA!!!!!