A Homily – The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Jeremiah 20:7-9 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 62(63):2-6, 8-9 ©

Second Reading – Romans 12:1-2 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

The Gospel According to Matthew 16:21 – 27 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen!

 

Do not ask God to administer the justice you desire. God’s justice is patient, taking place in eternity. God’s justice is loving and kind, and works toward the benefit of all creatures; rather, find it in your heart to administer the justice that God desires.

 

Consider the words of the psalmist:

 

It is right to thank God, the creator of the universe, it is right to thank God for all the good things that come our way, but do not blame God for the hardships we suffer in this life.

 

Good things and bad things come to us irrespective of who we are, regardless of what we do or what we have done, or who we might become. There is no plan to it; God is no respecter of persons, and God does not love anyone of God’s children more than God loves any other.

 

Praise God and give thanks for the good things, do not dwell on the bad.

 

Be mindful!

 

There is peace to be had in patience, in contemplation, meditation and prayer.

 

Make your life a constant prayer for the grace which comes from God, for the grace that brings peace to the spirit.

 

Let the peace of God within you bubble up like a fountain and overflow with abundance so that others may quench their thirst and be nourished by it

 

Consider the words of the apostle:

 

The essence of faith is trust in God, it is the belief that God, the creator of the Universe, the belief that God loves you, that God knows you and that God has a plan for you beyond this world. You must believe that this is true for you, and true for every one of God’s children.

 

Trust God, and allow those beliefs to transform you now, in this world; live as God desires you to live: just, merciful and loving.

 

Remember the life of Jesus, and God whom he called father!

 

Is god glorious?

 

Yes!

 

God is the creator of the universe and everything in it, but God’s greatest place is in relationship to us; God’s children, God greatest glory is the glory of a loving parent.

 

Know this!

 

There is hope in the knowledge of God, and remember that the hopes you have for yourself and those you love are meant to be extended to everyone; even those you do not love, extend the scope of your hope to all people, that is the way God leads us.

 

Be mindful!

 

If you think that God has promised riches and glories as the reward of the saints, remember the words of Jesus: the first will be last and the last will be first, and that true riches are not counted in gold and silver and precious things.

 

Consider the gospel reading for today, the most salient point we should take from this reading does not concern the prophecy of Jesus regarding his death in Jerusalem, and the resurrection that followed,

 

That prophecy is merely an exercise in propaganda.

 

The most salient reading from the gospel for today is not the suggestion that those who follow Jesus must suffer and die for their faith as Jesus did, such a calling is situational not universal.

 

The most salient reading from today is not the notion that there is a divine quid pro quo, that life is restored to those who sacrifice it; the economy of salvation is not a system of barter and trade.

 

The most salient reading is not the notion that there is a reward waiting for us at the end of days, a reward meted out according to measurable behavior that are quantifiable as either good or bad.

 

It is important to note that the disciples, with Peter as chief among them, the disciples did not understand the mission of Jesus, while he was alive and with them they rejected it, even scolding Jesus for his intention to follow the mission he had accepted, because it placed his life at risk.

 

Jesus went so far as to name Peter the enemy, calling him Satan; shortly after that Peter would deny him and any association with him, in the hour of his greatest need.

 

Be mindful of this!

 

Peter and the disciples lived with Jesus, they were closer to him than anyone, they ate with him, prayed with him, walked with him, slept next to him, and even they were confused about his mission.

 

Take this away from the reading for today:

 

If you find yourself confused about the way, do not worry, you are in good company

 

 

First Reading – Jeremiah 20:7-9 ©

 

The Word of the Lord has Meant Insult for Me

 

You have seduced me, Lord, and I have let myself be seduced; you have overpowered me: you were the stronger.

 

I am a daily laughing-stock, everybody’s butt.

 

Each time I speak the word, I have to howl and proclaim: ‘Violence and ruin!’

 

The word of the Lord has meant for me insult, derision, all day long.

 

I used to say, ‘I will not think about him, I will not speak in his name any more.’

 

Then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones.

 

The effort to restrain it wearied me, I could not bear it.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 62(63):2-6, 8-9 ©

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

 

O God, you are my God, for you I long;

for you my soul is thirsting.

My body pines for you

like a dry, weary land without water.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

 

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary

to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life,

my lips will speak your praise.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

 

So I will bless you all my life,

in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,

my mouth shall praise you with joy.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

 

For you have been my help;

in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.

My soul clings to you;

your right hand holds me fast.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord my God.

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 12:1-2 ©

 

Offer Your Bodies as a Living Sacrifice

 

Think of God’s mercy, my brothers, and worship him, I beg you, in a way that is worthy of thinking beings, by offering your living bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God. Do not model yourselves on the behaviour of the world around you, but let your behaviour change, modelled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our mind, so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 16:21 – 27 ©

 

‘Get Behind Me, Satan!’

 

Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. ‘Heaven preserve you, Lord;’ he said ‘this must not happen to you.’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?

 

‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour.’

 

 

The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

RIP Chadwick Boseman – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

08.29.2020

 

RIP Chadwick Boseman

 

I am a comic book fan.

 

I was in the Marvel camp, and the Avengers were my crew.

 

The Black Panther was an Avenger, but he was not in the regular part of the line-up. He came around when the team was in trouble, he would help them get out of jam.

 

He was a super-soldier, like Captain America, only different he powers came from another source, something ancient, something spiritual, something magic and African. He seemed to be the equal of Captain America in nearly every way, and Chadwick Boseman personified him perfectly.

 

I woke to the news of Mr. Boseman’s passing and it made me really sad.

 

Watching the news I saw a number of tributes to him and the sadness has not passed, it sticks around because Mr. Boseman did something unique through his portrayal of the Black Panther, something he did not achieve in his portrayal of Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown; in the persona of the Black Panther he became a living icon.

 

He appeared in four Marvel movies as T’Challa, first as prince then as king of the mythical African country of Wakanda. The movie, Black Panther became the first superhero movie to be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards, it was nominated for a total of seven, and won three.

 

Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa was the reason (as far as I am concerned).

 

One of his co-stars referred to him as regal, and I absolutely agree. He was positively regal, he walked like a king, not like the head of some sick old dynasty, but as a leader a person of substance, confidence and compassion.

 

His work generated the movement hashtag Wakanda Forever, he inspired people, and he is already missed.

 

He was a born and raised in South Carolina, a graduate of Howard University, a husband and a hero.

 

Wakanda Forever!  

 

OIP

Saint Augustine of Hippo, Angelic Doctor of the Church

Augustine of Hippo is arguably the most influential Christian writer of all time, with the possible exception of Saint Paul whose epistles are the earliest Christian writings, and which delineated for the nascent church its primary creeds and basic beliefs concerning who Jesus was and why his life and death were meaningful to us.

 

It is possible that Augustine is more influential than Paul because Augustine’s interpretation of Paul’s letters have dominated Christian thought since his time.

 

Augustine’s life spanned the mid-fourth century to the mid-fifth century CE. He entered the Church just at the Christianity was completing its transformation into the official religion of the Empire, and the indispensable administrative apparatus of the same. Saint Augustine’s fixed that transformative process into the structures that we recognize today.

 

Augustine was midway through his career as a public servant before he converted to Christianity, entered the priesthood and was made a bishop.

 

All of which happened in rapid succession. It only took him four years to go from priest to bishop.

 

His mother was a Christian, but his father was not, and his father had wanted him to have a regular career in the traditional Roman mode of life. Augustine adhered to his father’s wishes for a time, but at the beginning of the fifth Century the Empire was in a process of conversion and all of the good jobs were going to Christians. Eventually he converted, only after becoming convinced that he would have a good career in the Church, and would only encounter dead ends outside of it.

 

His gambit paid off, they put him on the fast track to Bishop.

 

Augustine was a prolific writer, in the modern day he is most famous for his Confessions, and his magnum opus, The City of God.

 

He worked tirelessly against heretical groups like the Manicheans, the Pelagians and the Donatists.

 

He penned the controversial doctrine of creation ex nihillo, as apart of his seminal teaching on original sin. In addition to this, he gave the Church its teaching on sacramental theology, and he argued for the authority of the Church in all matters private and public.

 

His theology would dominate Christian thinking up until the scholastic period, but Saint Thomas Aquinas, the most influential of the scholastic theologians leans heavily on Augustine for nearly all of his views, which is to say that Augustine continued to exercise an indirect influence on the church as the preeminent standard of orthodoxy.

 

Scholastic theologians often deviated from the logic of Augustine, but on the occasion that they might draw a different conclusion from Augustine, they often ran afoul of the hierarchy.

 

By the time of the protestant reformation, both Martin Luther and John Calvin believed that their work represented a realignment of the church with Saint Augustine, and Saint Augustine’s theology continued to dominate protestant thinking.

 

In my own work, Saint Augustine stands as my principle opponent.

 

His doctrine of original sin, his doctrine of double predestination, his teaching that torture can be considered a form of charity if it brings someone to the point of conversion are anathema to the way, and represent a stark contradistinction to the life and ministry of Jesus.

 

Saint Augustine of Hippo has the title of Angelic Doctor of the Church, but he was a villain, he was brutal and cruel, and a hypocrite of the highest order. He should be read in that light.

 

Augustine

 

 

Given 2020.08.28

Dajian Huineng – The Sixth Ancestor of Zen

Huineng lived between the mid-seventh century and early eighth century CE. He is the author of the Platform Sutra and is the principle proponent of the doctrine of sudden enlightenment.

 

He was a Chinese Buddhist of the Southern Chan school, which became known as Zen Buddhism when it moved across the waters to Japan.

 

Huineng was a lay person, according to the legends which pertain to him, upon reading the Diamond Sutra he attained a state of perfect enlightenment and was able to expostulate his understanding of the teachings of the Buddha to Hongren, the Fifth Ancestor of Zen. Even though Huineng was considered to be an uneducated barbarian Hongren chose him as his successor over the monk who had been groomed to fulfil that role.

 

Huineng’s Platform Sutra recapitulates all the major teachings of Chan Buddhism including the Diamond Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana.

 

Huineng taught “no-thought” and the purity of the “unattached mind” which comes and goes freely, functioning fluently without any hindrance.

 

Be mindful!

 

The principle of “no-thought” does not mean that a person is not thinking, but that in the state of “no-though” the mind is a highly attentive to its immediate experience, unentangled by the exigencies of the past or the expectations of the future.

 

The state of ‘no-thought” is understood as a way of being, wherein the mind is open, non-conceptual, allowing the individual to experience reality directly, as it truly is.

 

Huineng criticized the formal understanding of Buddhism which suggests that the individual must devote themselves to a life of quiet contemplation, likening it to the same trap that the Gautama Siddhartha the Buddha sought to free people from when he taught them that they did not have to endure innumerable lifetimes and countless rebirths before they can be free from the wheel of life.

 

Huineng’s teaching on sudden enlightenment is a doctrine of liberation such as that taught by the Buddha when he instructed the people that they could experience immediate release by following the five-fold path.

 

The Buddha was a liberator and Huineng cast himself in the same mode.

Huineng taught this: When alive one keeps sitting without lying down. When dead, one lies without sitting up.

 

Observing that: In both cases, one is a set of stinking bones!

 

Asking the most important question: What has any of it to do with the great lesson of life?

 

When I was given my first Koan to meditate on, my teacher offered me the old cliché:

 

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

 

In the spirit of Huineng I understood the Koan to be meaningless and I replied: There is no sound.

 

He insisted that I answered to quickly, suggesting that I must meditate on the Koan further, which was unnecessary because in speaking from the immediacy of our experience we are able to understand that one hand does not clap.

 

HuiNeng 

 

Given First – 2020.08.28

A Homily – The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 22:19-23 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 137(138):1-3, 6, 8 ©

Second Reading – Romans 11:33-36 ©

Gospel Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 5:19

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 16:18

The Gospel According to Matthew 16:13 – 30 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen!

 

Be mindful of the books of prophecy, all too often the writers mistake their own sentiments and dynastic ambitions for God’s. Mistaking their own desires for the will of the divine, and this is not the way.

 

Know this:

 

God does not intervene in human affairs or anywhere in creation, when you read from the book of Isaiah today, remember, God loves the house of David no more and no less than God loves your own house, or any other.

 

God does not play favorites.

 

Consider the words of the psalmist:

 

It is right to praise God, the creator of the universe.

 

It is even better to praise mercy wherever you see it, because mercy is what God and through the exhibition of mercy we serve the divine.

 

Trust in God; the God who does not desire glory, the way to God is one of humility.

 

Listen to the apostle!

 

Everything that exists come from God; God is opposed to nothing and God’s ways are inscrutable.

 

The apostle tells us in the simplest of terms that the mission of the church is to announce the reconciliation of things in God, the creator of the universe. He shares the hope that everyone is reconciled in the loving embrace of the divine.

 

Paul instructs us that the members of the church are meant to serve as messengers and ambassadors of this good news.

 

The church is not, nor should it ever be a recruiting agency, with the purpose of signing up members, holding out the reward of reconciliation for those who join.

 

Paul teaches that the reconciliation has already taken place, it occurred in Christ at the beginning of time and carries through to the end.

 

The mission of the Church is not to effectuate it, but to proclaim it.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

 

Matthew’s Gospel was written roughly one hundred years after the death of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Saint Paul the Apostle, was the first person to call Jesus the Christ, the anointed one. This was not a term his disciples used of him, nor a term Jesus would have ever used of himself.

 

You should keep this in mind anytime you refer to Jesus as the Christ.

 

Jesus and his disciples did contend with the title “Son of Man.” Among certain sects of the Jewish people this phrase is associated with the coming of a messiah, an individual that could represent humanity as humanity is meant to be, the human being in its most exalted state, and also free the Children of Israel from the grip of foreign rule.

 

The title, “Son of Man,” had been circulating in Jewish literature for about two-hundred years prior to the time of Jesus, and it is most closely associated with the books of Daniel and Enoch in the Old Testament. Apart from scripture, the “Son a Man” was a wildly popular archetype in a period of time known as the “inter-testamental” era, this heroic figure proliferated among non-canonical and apocryphal writers.

 

The authors of Matthew’s Gospel are doing a couple of things, they are connecting the ministry of Jesus, and so by extension their ministry, to this wider body when they refer to Jesus as the “Son of Man,” as well as when they call him the Christ in keeping with the very popular writings of Saint Paul.

 

The authors of Matthew make these claims in order to redirect popular understanding of who the expected “Son of Man” might be; the “Son of Man” was not John the Baptist, and neither is Jesus, John the Baptist returned. The “Son of Man” is not Elijah or one of the other prophets, neither is Jesus the second coming of one of them.

 

The Authors of Matthew are clear that the “Son of Man” is Jesus, the Christ, uniquely able to claim the mantle of sonship in relation to the living God.

 

This is piece of propaganda.

 

The Gospel propagandizes the ministry of Jesus, the ministry of the disciples and the faction of the church most closely associated with Saint Peter.

 

There are no cosmic truths being disclosed here, there is only the struggle of the Church to claim an identity that both carries on the most popular traditions in and around the apostolic era, and to differentiate itself from those traditions at the same time.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 22:19-23 ©

 

I Place the Key of the House of David on My Servant’s Shoulder

 

Thus says the Lord of Hosts to Shebna, the master of the palace:

 

I dismiss you from your office, I remove you from your post, and the same day I call on my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah.

 

I invest him with your robe, gird him with your sash, entrust him with your authority; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the House of Judah.

 

I place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; should he open, no one shall close, should he close, no one shall open.

 

I drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a throne of glory for his father’s house.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 137(138):1-3, 6, 8 ©

 

Your love, O Lord, is eternal: discard not the work of your hands.

 

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart:

you have heard the words of my mouth.

In the presence of the angels I will bless you.

I will adore before your holy temple.

 

Your love, O Lord, is eternal: discard not the work of your hands.

 

I thank you for your faithfulness and love,

which excel all we ever knew of you.

On the day I called, you answered;

you increased the strength of my soul.

 

Your love, O Lord, is eternal: discard not the work of your hands.

 

The Lord is high yet he looks on the lowly

and the haughty he knows from afar.

Your love, O Lord, is eternal,

discard not the work of your hands.

 

Your love, O Lord, is eternal: discard not the work of your hands.

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 11:33-36 ©

 

All that Exists Comes from Him; All is by Him and from Him.

 

How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods! Who could ever know the mind of the Lord? Who could ever be his counsellor? Who could ever give him anything or lend him anything? All that exists comes from him; all is by him and for him. To him be glory for ever! Amen.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – 2 Corinthians 5:19

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 16:18

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.

And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 16:13 – 30 ©

 

You Are Peter and On this Rock I Will Build My Church

 

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’ Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

 

 

The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

A Homily – The Annunciation, Mary Queen of Heaven, A Holy Day of Obligation (Year A)

First Reading – Ezekiel 43:1-7 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 84(85):9-14 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Psalm 118:36, 29

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 23:9, 10

The Gospel According to Matthew 23:1 – 12 ©

 

Memorial

 

First Reading – Isaiah 9:1-7 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 112(113):1-8 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Luke 1:28

The Gospel According to Luke 1:26-38 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, The Annunciation, Mary Queen of Heaven

A Holy Day of Obligation (Year A)

 

 

Be mindful!

 

It is wrong to place write about the fears and prejudices of human beings, human morality, xenophobia, and to write about them as if they belonged to God.

 

Know this: God does not interfere in the lives of human beings, the creator of the universe does not intervene in our politics.

 

All lands belong to God, all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies; everything and everyone that is in them belong to God, we dwell within God, and not one thing exists without God.

 

Be wary of the sentiments of the psalmist. God did not end the captivity of Jacob, the people did.

 

This is not blasphemy, this is not hubris. It is a greater hubris to think that God loves a special people above all others, far more prideful than to come to the understanding that that the Israelites escaped the bondage of Egypt under their own power.

Always bear this in mind:

 

The things you ask God to do for you are in truth a statement of your intentions for how you want to live your life and the things you want to see happen in it.

 

If you wish to ask God for things and tell God about your desires, that is fine, just know that whatever it is you wish for, it is incumbent on you to make those things happen, and if you should seek divine sanction for your intentions, limit that to you desire to live a lawful life, to understand God’s will, and to transcend the human condition.

 

God has given us the gift to know and desire a holy way of life, but God will not live that life for us; the burden is on us to make the choices that keep us on the path of justice.

 

God’s law has been written on your heart, you may see the path toward its fulfillment reflected in the face of your neighbor, you may see it there when you see yourself looking back at you in their eyes, and know that God is with you.

 

As we traverse the narrow way, and walk the path of truth, you must remember that the closer we are to understanding it the easier it is for us to deceive ourselves.

 

Look to the myths of concerning the fallen angels, remember how Icarus fell when he flew too close to the sun, these stories carry the wisdom of this, and look to the corrupt and the false prophets who are near to us.

 

When you petition God; do not petition God for favor. Do not ask God for special treatment, do not ask God to prefer you over any of God’s children, and do not promise to do for God what is not within your power to do… that is not the way.

 

Do not lie to God or yourself when you petition God. Do not ask from God what it already lies within your power to do for yourself, rather, be wise and ask for wisdom.

 

Listen!

 

The way is one of humility.

 

The way is the path of love.

 

It costs us nothing to be polite.

 

Be humble, walk humbly, perform humble service.

 

This is the way of God.

 

Listen!

 

The prophet errs when he ascribes a divine motive, or more, divine action to any event that transpires here on Earth.

 

God the creator of the universe, God made us in freedom; as individuals God made us in freedom, and the whole creation God made free as well.

 

God does not confer glory on anyone, not on any tribe, not on any nation, not on any church; God does not seek glory for God’s self.

 

All such talk is vanity, springing directly from the hearts of men, coming through the mouths of men, falling on the ears of other men.

 

The prophet was wrong to speak of glories, his error being the error of human ambition, representing the limits of the human imagination.

 

However, the prophet was right to speak of this: to speak of hope like a light shining in the darkness, which once perceived gladdens the heart and brings joy.

 

Hope is the way of Jesus and hope leads to God.

 

Be mindful!

 

God’s light shines on us from beyond this world, we will not see the fullness of the divine light until we have left the world behind.

 

Say it again, and carry the knowledge of it in your heart:

 

God does not intervene in the lives of individuals or in the course of human history.

 

God has made us, and the whole of creation free. We are radically free.

 

Praise God, that is wise, be thankful for existence itself, but do not look to God for favor, or justice. In this world, those things are always determined by human agency.

 

Consider the gospel for today.

Whatever the truth is regarding the birth of Jesus, a man who would have been known by his family and his people as Joshua son of Joseph, if in fact there was such a child born to Joseph and Mary, if Joseph and Mary were in fact historical persons, the mission of Jesus as reported in the scriptures, the way of Christ is not served by false narratives.

 

The stories of Jesus’ birth, the annunciation as we have it presented here, these are myths, they are propaganda and lies.

 

The way of God is not served by lies, because God, the creator of the universe, the God of all people is the God of truth.

 

 

First Reading – Ezekiel 43:1-7 ©

 

The Vision of the Coming of the Glory of the Lord to the Temple

 

The angel took me to the gate, the one facing east. I saw the glory of the God of Israel approaching from the east. A sound came with it, like the sound of the ocean, and the earth shone with his glory. This vision was like the one I had seen when I had come for the destruction of the city, and like the one I had seen on the bank of the river Chebar. Then I prostrated myself.

 

The glory of the Lord arrived at the Temple by the east gate. The spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; I saw the glory of the Lord fill the Temple. And I heard someone speaking to me from the Temple while the man stood beside me. The voice said, ‘Son of man, this is the dais of my throne, the step on which I rest my feet. I shall live here among the sons of Israel for ever.’

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 84(85):9-14 ©

 

The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

 

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace,

peace for his people and his friends.

His help is near for those who fear him

and his glory will dwell in our land.

 

The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

 

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven.

 

The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

 

The Lord will make us prosper

and our earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

 

The glory of the Lord will dwell in our land.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Psalm 118:36, 29

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Bend my heart to your will, O Lord, and teach me your law.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 23:9, 10

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

You have only one Father, and he is in heaven; you have only one Teacher, the Christ.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 23:1 – 12 ©

 

Practice What you Preach

 

Addressing the people and his disciples Jesus said, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do what they tell you and listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach. They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will they lift a finger to move them? Not they! Everything they do is done to attract attention, like wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi.

 

‘You, however, must not allow yourselves to be called Rabbi, since you have only one master, and you are all brothers. You must call no one on earth your father, since you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor must you allow yourselves to be called teachers, for you have only one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’

 

 

Memorial

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 9:1-7 ©

 

A Son is Given to Us

 

The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.

 

You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase; they rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time, as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

 

For the yoke that was weighing on him, the bar across his shoulders, the rod of his oppressor, these you break as on the day of Midian.

 

For all the footgear of battle, every cloak rolled in blood, is burnt, and consumed by fire.

 

For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.

 

Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end, for the throne of David and for his royal power, which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity.

 

From this time onwards and for ever, the jealous love of the Lord of Hosts will do this.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 112(113):1-8 ©

 

May the name of the Lord be blessed for evermore!

 

Alleluia!

 

Praise, O servants of the Lord,

praise the name of the Lord!

May the name of the Lord be blessed

both now and for evermore!

 

May the name of the Lord be blessed for evermore!

 

From the rising of the sun to its setting

praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord,

above the heavens his glory.

 

May the name of the Lord be blessed for evermore!

 

Who is like the Lord, our God,

who has risen on high to his throne

yet stoops from the heights to look down,

to look down upon heaven and earth?

 

May the name of the Lord be blessed for evermore!

 

From the dust he lifts up the lowly,

from the dungheap he raises the poor

to set him in the company of princes,

yes, with the princes of his people.

 

May the name of the Lord be blessed for evermore!

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Luke 1:28

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!

Blessed art thou among women.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Luke 1:26-38 ©

 

‘I Am the Handmaid of the Lord’

 

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

 

 

The Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, The Annunciation, Mary Queen of Heaven

A Holy Day of Obligation (Year A)

Vote VI – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

08.22.2020

 

Vote     VI

 

 

The stage is set on the race is on, there are seventy-three days to go until the general election.

 

It has been two days since the Democratic National Convention concluded, having played out remotely due to the material necessities imposed by the global pandemic, COVID-19.

 

Many media analysts have said that the web based teleconference style of the presentations played well with the viewer, the fact that there was no-big-stage, the absence of crowds, the lack of cheering and the endless prattle of the pundits allowed for a more conversational presentation of the case the Democratic Party is making for their candidates and their platform, for our candidates and our platform, then would have been possible in the standard format.

 

The speeches that were given were somber yet hopeful, personal and hard hitting, they successfully portrayed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the thoughtful intelligent human beings that they are…if you believe it.

 

Unfortunately, the self-styled “progressive” left, which I refer to as the fundamentalist-wing of the democratic party, they have taken no time at all to disparage the Biden/Harris ticket as not representing their interests, not in touch with the base (whatever that means).

 

They are unhappy that the spotlight has moved away from them, unhappy that the PARTY writ large is putting up the big tent in the hope of turning out a landslide victory against Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the treasonous traitors that make up the Republican Party.

 

All I can say is, STOP IT!

 

Stop talking about turning against Joe Biden the day after he becomes the President Elect, stop complaining about the former republicans, and Never-Trumpers who spoke at the DNC. Stop making the swing voters, whether they are traditional swing voters, or people who are going to shift party for the first, stop making them feel uncomfortable, they have come to the dance, let them in.

 

For the first time in their lives they are talking with us, with you, this is an opportunity for dialogue…take it.

 

Say your piece and listen, find common ground and hold it.

 

It is impossible to know what will happen seventy-three days from now, we may wake to find ourselves rejoicing, we may wake in a state of anxiety, we my wake to a state of despair, whatever it is that we are going to face lets face it together, with purpose and resolve.

 

Let me be clear…Your vote is so important, we need everyone to vote, to vote early, to ensure that your vote is counted, to stir your friends and family, to get them to the poles as well.

 

It is equally as important that everyday between now and then you spread the same message of hope and strength through unity of purpose.

 

Check yourself, and check those around you. Check the self-styled “progressives” if they won’t come along, tell them to keep quiet, the real change-agents are working now.

 

It is time to lead or follow, or get the hell out of the way.

 

 

A Homily – The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

First Reading – Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5-6, 8 ©

Second Reading – Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 ©

Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:23

The Gospel According to Matthew 15:21 – 28 ©

 

(NJB)

 

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 

 

Listen!

 

This is the promise of God, the creator of the universe. God promises to save all people.

 

It is God’s will that all people come to the mountain Isaiah spoke to us about, God will’s that we all ascend it, take a seat at the table and ,make the holy offering of our lives to God, a sacred gift to be shared with all.

 

Be mindful, the conditions that the prophet sets out for a seat at the table, are conditions that God fully intends for everyone of God’s children to meet.

 

God will lead the way, have no fear.

 

We cannot exhaust the patience of the divine; the integrity of God is everlasting.

 

Consider the words of the psalmist:

 

The psalmist is right to ask God to bless all peoples and all nations; to have pity and to merciful, as we pray we look forward to the promise of God fulfilled.

 

Know this!

 

God is not confined to one place, nor to one time, neither does God belong to one people, one nation, one church or one tribe.

 

God, who created the universe, God is the God of everyone.

 

Praise the fairness of God; ask for God’s blessing, not just four yourself but for everyone.

 

Be mindful of the meandering mind of the apostle.

 

Saint Paul often allows himself to wander into legalisms that distract us from the way, erecting barriers to the faith and hope which enkindle love and light the path that Jesus set before us.

 

Skip across the mire, do not get bogged down in these tricks of the mind, look to the other side of the morass and see this, the essential truth:

 

It is god’s will to show mercy to every human being. God, the creator of the universe intends to save us all.

 

Know this!

 

The sheep do not choose the shepherd; the shepherd who chooses the sheep.

 

Everything and everyone belongs to the divine, the divine essence infuses everything and the words indwells us all.

 

There is just the one shepherd, one sheepfold.

 

Listen for the voice of the shepherd and do not trouble yourself with how the shepherd speaks to you, in what language, in what text. Do not concern yourselves with how the shepherd speaks to your sister or your brother, to your neighbors or the stranger; know that the shepherd speaks to them to, and they listen as they are able.

 

Everyone who is, everyone without exception follows in the way of God, there is no other way. Do not trouble yourself if you do not understand the journey that another person is on, God is guiding them, just as God is guiding you.

 

If you resist God will be patient; if you resist God will wait for you, just as God waits for everyone. The God of Jesus Christ, the good shepherd, the God of all people, the God of creation, our God is love; love is patient and love is kind.

 

Have faith!

 

God will not lose a single one of us. Neither will any one of us lose God. No matter what; God is with us.

 

There is not place, not a single place where God is not.

 

Be mindful of the scriptures, especially when the authors are attempting to fit their narrative of the life of Jesus into a picture that makes it look as if he is fulfilling a prediction made by a prophet from past ages.

 

In these cases the literal story is always false and cannot be relied on for anything, even to provision a metaphor, if a narrative rests on false foundation even an allegory which comes from it should be treated guardedly.

 

This is the truth, the future is not predetermined, it never has been and it never will be.

 

God, the creator of the universe made us, and creation free.

 

Prophets only speak of the future for two reasons; to engender hope and to warn of danger, there is no other purpose and there is no predictive power in it.

 

The words of a prophet are always addressed to the people in their own time, in their own place. Prophecy is never meant to guide the lives of future generations, except in cases when the prophet is addressing an issue of universal truth, such as the nature of justice itself, which is unchanging.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today:

 

There are multiple currents taking place in this passage.

 

Note well, this is the only place in any of the Gospels, in all of the scriptures where Jesus is rebuked and corrected by another person.

 

The woman pleads to Jesus as the son of God for aid and is among the first people in the entire gospel narrative to recognize Jesus as King, and the Son of David.

 

Also of enormous significance is the fact that the person who corrects him is a woman, and she is not Jewish, she is not instructed in the law and yet she knows better than Jesus how his gifts are to be directed.

 

Pay attention to the disciples. They uncharacteristically call for Jesus to give the woman what she asks for. However, they are not moved by the spirit of love and mercy, but rather they bothered by her, and her insistence.

 

For his part Jesus is not inclined to give in to her demands; he refuses her, stating in error that his mission and his gifts are only intended for his fellow Israelites.

 

Then the woman asks again for his help.

 

Jesus responds by comparing her to a dog, stating that it would not be right to take food away from the children of Israel and give it to the unworthy.

 

At this point she corrects Jesus; she humbly accepts being likened to a dog, and uses the analogy to make her point, stating that even dogs are fed scraps from their master’s hand beneath the table.

 

Jesus stands corrected and remarks on the strength of her faith, suggesting to the disciples that because her faith is so strong she will receive the gift she has asked for, a gift of healing for her daughter.

 

Here the gospel writers get it wrong, again, make the entire matter transactional: a demonstration of faith in exchange for the miracle.

 

Know this!

 

God, the creator of the universe does not offer God’s favor in exchange for anything. God gives because God loves. God loves all people. God loves all of God’s children without exception, without qualification.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 56:1, 6-7 ©

 

I Will Bring Foreigners to My Holy Mountain

 

Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.

 

Foreigners who have attached themselves to the Lord to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 66(67):2-3, 5-6, 8 ©

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

O God, be gracious and bless us

and let your face shed its light upon us.

So will your ways be known upon earth

and all nations learn your saving help.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

Let the nations be glad and exult

for you rule the world with justice.

With fairness you rule the peoples,

you guide the nations on earth.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you.

May God still give us his blessing

till the ends of the earth revere him.

 

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

 

 

Second Reading – Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 ©

 

With Israel, God Never Takes Back His Gifts or Revokes His Choice

 

Let me tell you pagans this: I have been sent to the pagans as their apostle, and I am proud of being sent, but the purpose of it is to make my own people envious of you, and in this way save some of them. Since their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, do you know what their admission will mean? Nothing less than a resurrection from the dead! God never takes back his gifts or revokes his choice.

 

Just as you changed from being disobedient to God, and now enjoy mercy because of their disobedience, so those who are disobedient now – and only because of the mercy shown to you – will also enjoy mercy eventually. God has imprisoned all men in their own disobedience only to show mercy to all mankind.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – John 10:27

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord, I know them and they follow me.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 4:23

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Jesus proclaimed the Good News of the kingdom and cured all kinds of sickness among the people.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 15:21 – 28 ©

 

The Canaanite Woman Debates with Jesus and Saves Her Daughter

 

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

 

 

The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)