Saturday, May 26, 2018

The worst of us is not without innocence, although buried deeply it might be.

Every person that comes into this earth ... is born sweet and full of love. A little child loves ever'body, friends, and its nature is sweetness -- until something happens. Something happens, friends, I don't need to tell people like you that can think for their selves. As that little child gets bigger, its sweetness don't show so much, cares and troubles come to perplext it, and all its sweetness is driven inside it. Then it gets miserable and lonesome and sick, friends. It says, 'Where is all my sweetness gone? Where are all the friends that loved me?' and all the time, that little beat-up rose of its sweetness is inside, not a petal dropped. - FLANNERY O'CONNOR: (1925 –1964: was an American writer and essayist.)

Gospel Text: (MK 10:13-16)
People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them,
"Let the children come to me; do not prevent them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you,
whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child
will not enter it."
Then he embraced the children and blessed them,
placing his hands on them.

Children know that they absolutely depend on the big people.  They know that everything is a gift.  They know that they depend on others.  And if they have been taught to pray, they recognize immediately that they are dependent on the ultimate Other.

Utter dependence.  That’s not a much-valued quality in our post-modern world, or, for that matter, in most models of maturity.  To be an adult is to have learned to stand on your own two feet and make your way in this world.  And any parent wants those qualities for their growing child.  Yet here is Jesus saying that we are going to miss the gift of the kingdom, if we are not childlike enough to receive it here and now.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Marriage Matters–because God created it.

Marriage is the “foundation for the family, where children learn the values and the virtues that will make good Christians as well as good citizen.” - United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan

Gospel Text: (MK 10:1-12)
Jesus came into the district of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
The Pharisees approached him and asked,
"Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied,
"Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."

Divorce is commonplace in our society. Many see it as a “necessary evil”, while others see it as a positively good choice or option. However, Jesus is very clear. Divorce from a valid marriage and subsequent remarriage is morally equivalent to adultery, with the difference that while adultery is a mortally sinful act, remarriage after divorce results in a mortally sinful state of life.

In today’s gospel Jesus explains why marriage cannot be dissolved by any human person. To claim the power to dissolve a marriage is to claim power over God. To claim this power is to deny the essence of marriage: that two have become “one flesh.”

Thursday, May 24, 2018

“Money has to serve, not to rule”

The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies. – Pope Francis

Scripture Text:(JAS 5:1-6)
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers
who harvested your fields are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters
have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
You have condemned;
you have murdered the righteous one;
he offers you no resistance.

We are all sinners.  It is what I learn from those sins, how I invite God’s help, how I respond to those who are vulnerable that matters.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

“There is more that unites us than divides us. So make it a point to talk with someone who is different from you. You may find that you have more in common than you think”

“We are wired to be caring for the other and generous to one another. We shrivel when we are not able to interact. I mean that is part of the reason why solitary confinement is such a horrendous punishment. We depend on the other in order for us to be fully who we are.  - ― Desmond TutuThe Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

Gospel Text:(MK 9:38-40)
John said to Jesus,
"Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name,
and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us."
Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name
who can at the same time speak ill of me.
For whoever is not against us is for us."

What would I gain, for example, by dismissing the work of an inner city Protestant pastor, or Jewish rabbi or Muslim imam, that was meeting the physical needs of people, just because they weren’t Catholic? There can be a danger in relativism, but I’m not sure Jesus would approve of stopping good works because of it.

My hope is that more and more people of good will can come together to address the needs of the people and care for the earth. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

“BE THE REASON someone believes in the goodness of people.”

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”― Rabindranath Tagore: 1861 –1941: was a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music)

Gospel Text: (MK 9:30-37)
Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
"The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise."
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
"What were you arguing about on the way?"
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
"If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all."
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
"Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me."

Jesus surprises his disciples when he says that to be first one must make himself the servant of all. Jesus himself taught and lived this path of humility and selflessness.

We pray that this could also be our path. Are we ready to walk and live this path, of being small, least and last? Jesus tells us this is the path to being first in God's eyes.