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Sunday, November 29, 2020

A Homily - The First Sunday of Advent (Year B)

First Reading – Isaiah 63:16-17& 64:1, 3-8 ©

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 79(80):2-3, 15-16, 18-19 ©

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Psalm 84:8

The Gospel According to Mark 13:33 - 37 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

The First Sunday of Advent (Year B)

 

 

Listen to the prophet and trust in God, God the creator of the universe.

 

Listen!

 

God is parent to us all, and we are all laden with guilt, bearing countless transgressions: transgressions that have born fruit in the world, transgressions that have festered in our hearts, transgressions that have done real harm to ourselves and others.

 

As the prophet says: we wear our integrity like a filthy cloth.

 

And despite all of this, God loves us. God has promised to deliver us, all of us together.

 

Be mindful!

 

The psalmist misunderstands how historical events unfold and how the will of God is manifest in them.

 

Know this:

 

God is the shepherd of all people, not of Israel only.

 

God does not reside on a throne and God is not the general of armies. Those are human institutions and when we imagine God thus we do a disservice to the creator of the universe, the divine parent.

 

God’s face shines upon everyone, look for it in the face of your neighbor, in the face of your enemy, in the faces of those who persecute you. Know this, and know that God will rescue no-one from the human conditions, from the dilemmas face, the machinations of other people, or natural catastrophe.

 

God did not rescue the Israelites from Egypt.

 

God did not send the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Ptolemy’s, or the Romans, to punish the people.

 

God did not destroy the temples.

 

God will not protect you, or show you favor in this world.

 

It is up to us, God’s children, to love, show mercy and care for those who are downtrodden.

 

This is the task we have been given.

 

Listen to the Paul and be mindful!

 

If you have been baptized you have been appointed by God to be an apostles and to share the good news, the good news of God’s love for us and the promise that God has prepared the way for our salvation; for the salvation of humanity, of all people in all times and all places.

 

We are all people of the way.

 

We are all saints in the making.

 

Remember this and know that Jesus is not a lord, he is not our king, he was our brother, and he is our friend.

 

God is faithful, but God, the creator of the universe; God does not work in the world the way the apostle imagines.

 

God is revealed every day in the good works done by one human being for another, whether they are done in the name for God that we recognize or not.

 

Be mindful!

 

God will not steady you and keep you without blame.

 

God has made you free, whether you live a good life or a bad life is up to you. God will speak to you, from your heart, God will speak about the good life, but so will the voices of fear and greed, and hate.

 

It is for you to decide which you will listen to, and because you are human you will vacillate.

 

Whichever way you wander, God will forgive you, just as God asks that you forgive those who have harmed you, God also asks you to accept the forgiveness of those you have harmed, and ultimately to forgive yourself.

 

Remember:

 

God is the creator of the entire universe, all lands belong to God; all seas, all planets, all stars, all galaxies, everything and everyone that is in them.

 

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

 

We are called to diligence and mindfulness, to perpetual and continuous watchfulness.

 

That is what it means to be in the way.

 

The way of loving service is never ending, but so long as we are engaged in it, we are living in the garden.

 

Love is love, hope is hope, and trust is trust…to live out the faith means to actively trust in the goodness, the mercy and the justice of God, God the creator of the universe.

 

To live in a state of hope, requires only that we extend the hope we have for ourselves, for our friends and for our families, to the stranger in our midst, to the person who owes you money, to the person to whom you are indebted, even to your enemies.

 

To be in love, you must be loving.

 

Stay awake, be mindful, keep the lamp lit.

 

The way is like a great river; it is flowing, flowing all the time.

 

 

First Reading – Isaiah 63:16-17& 64:1, 3-8 ©

 

O That You Would Tear the Heavens Open and Come Down

 

You, Lord, yourself are our Father, ‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.

 

Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways and harden our hearts against fearing you?

 

Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance.

 

Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!

– at your Presence the mountains would melt.

 

No ear has heard, no eye has seen any god but you act like this for those who trust him.

 

You guide those who act with integrity and keep your ways in mind.

 

You were angry when we were sinners; we had long been rebels against you.

 

We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.

 

We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind.

 

No one invoked your name or roused himself to catch hold of you.

 

For you hid your face from us and gave us up to the power of our sins.

 

And yet, Lord, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 79(80):2-3, 15-16, 18-19 ©

 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

 

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,

  shine forth from your cherubim throne.

O Lord, rouse up your might,

  O Lord, come to our help.

 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

 

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

  look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it,

  the vine your right hand has planted.

 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

 

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,

  the man you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again;

  give us life that we may call upon your name.

 

God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

 

 

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 ©

 

We are Waiting for Our Lord Jesus Christ to be Revealed

 

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.

 

I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Psalm 84:8

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Mark 13:33 - 37 ©

 

If He Comes Unexpectedly, He Must Not Find You Asleep

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’

 

 

The First Sunday of Advent (Year B)




Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Fake President XV, Sabotage - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

11.28.2020

 

The Fake President XV – Sabotage

 

 

The fake president is still pretending he did not loose the election, and he is still hoping to steal it. If he has his way he will disenfranchise eighty million voters, and destroy our democratic republic in the process.

 

The fake president and his supporters claim that there was voter fraud, but they cannot show any proof of it in court, in fact they are not even trying. When in court they cry about the election being unfair, but the sad truth is that the incumbent could not get out of his own way and the American people are through with him.

 

Having lost the vote, and having lost in court, they are now looking for a political victory. They are seeking to sew enough confusion to provide their allies with political cover so that the election ends up in the house of representatives where republicans have a numerical advantage and could theoretically invalidate the will of the majority.

 

This is despotism and we must stand against it.

 

There was good news this week; the General Services Administration has officially ascertained that Joe Biden is the President Elect, which is allowing the formal transition to begin, but at the same time Donald Trump has said that he will not leave the White House unless Joe Biden can prove that the eighty million votes he earned were legitimate.

 

The truth of it is this: Joe Biden doesn’t have to prove anything. Each of the fifty states will certify their own election, send electors to congress where their votes will be counted, and if the law is followed Joe Biden will become president.

 

We must be diligent. If we care about our country we must ensure that this process takes place as it is intended to.

 

Time is of the essence and everyone who has ever sworn an oath of service, whether in the armed forces, or because the were elected to office, whether they were appointed to serve or hired to do a job, everyone must stand in the way of tyranny, in service to the constitution, ready to protect it and defend it from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

 

Those were not empty words we spoke.

 

Donald Trump has begun to sabotage the government, he threatens to embroil the United States in armed conflict out of spite, because he is a sore loser, or because he has taken a bribe…who knowns, it could be all three.

 

Stay watchful America, the orange menace has plenty of time to us American’s further harm.   




Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving, the Via Negativa

Today is Thanksgiving, a secular holiday; nevertheless, Thanksgiving is sacred to most Americans.

 

Many of us write reflections on this day, posting memes that express to the world the things we are thankful for, and that is nice, conscientious, appropriate. We have much to be thankful for as Americans, and we should never forget it.

 

A heartfelt expression of gratitude is always welcome, even the gratitude that is expressed in general for the many things we receive from those we love, by whom we are loved, for the things we are given that make our lives more comfortable, more challenging and more meaningful.

 

It is never inappropriate to thankful.

 

To express gratitude is to make one’s self humble; it is to acknowledge our reliance on others for making us into the people we have become.

 

Thanksgiving is a day for humility; therefore, be gracious. Be thankful…insofar as you are able, in-so-doing you will be following the way of the wise.

 

In theology there is something known as the apophatic tradition. In this tradition it is understood that God, by whatever name you call the creator the universe (of all that is and all we are), that God dwells in a mode of being that is beyond human understanding.

 

The apophatic tradition tells us that God is shrouded in mystery, a state of being that mystics describe as the cloud of un-knowing.

 

According to the apophatic tradition, we are not able speak in the affirmative about what or who God is, because God, the eternal and infinite, God will not be circumscribed by the finite constructs of human thought and language.

 

We are not able to posit meaningful assertions about the nature of the Divine; what we are left with is the via negative, the way of understanding who God is by stating what God is not.

 

In keeping with the via negativa, I am in the custom of forgoing the traditional giving-of-thanks, even though I am truly grateful for my friends and compatriots, I am grateful for everyone in my life, grateful for all of those who inspire me, who love me and who are patient with me every single day.

 

I am grateful for you.

 

For thanksgiving I follow the via negative, the negative way, and express what I am not thankful for.

 

I am not thankful for the coronavirus and COVID-19.

 

I am not thankful that 260,000 Americans have died from this virus, with thousands more dying everyday.

 

I am not thankful that there are more than 20,000,000 million Americans out of work do to safety measures we have had to take in order to fight this pandemic.

 

I am not thankful that tens of millions of Americans refuse to participate in those safety measures, that they do not care for the lives and safety of their neighbors, or their families or even themselves enough to wear a mask, and keep distant from one another.

 

I am not thankful that the track record of the United States is the worst in the world for dealing with this crises, that with four percent of the population we have twenty percent of the deaths.

 

I am not thankful that Donald Trump lies about these facts and figures as a means of trying to avoid responsibility for his dismal failures.

 

I am not thankful for the food lines that stretch for miles in some communities this holiday season so that families can have something to put on the table to celebrate the good things in their lives.

 

I am not thankful that the economic relief which the entire country is in desperate need of receiving is being held up by the political machinations of Mitch McConnell the senate majority leader and his caucus of heartless, short-sighted republicans.

 

I am not thankful that in the Fake President, Donald Trump, continues to divide us by class, culture, color, and is desperately trying to overturn the results of the election he just lost by 7,000,000 votes, and counting

 

I am not thankful for their collective failure of Congress to protect the constitution, or for the individual members who have forgotten their oath of office.

 

I am not thankful for our failures of leadership.

 

I am not thankful for white supremacy, and domestic terrorism.

 

I am not thankful for terrorism anywhere. I am not thankful for the religious fundamentalism that drives it. I am thankful neither for the fear that spawns it, nor for the fear it generates

 

I am not thankful that there is hunger in our bountiful world. I am not thankful for the greed and the sloth and the bad public policy that fosters it.

 

I am not thankful for willful ignorance, for anti-rational, anti-intellectual, demagoguery. I am not thankful for the cultural relativism that has promoted it, for anti-objectivism, for liars.

 

I am not thankful for Donald Trump. I am not thankful for my fellow Americans who voted for him, I am not thankful for his allies in congress or people anywhere who continue to support him.

 

I am not thankful for the media outlets, the reporters, the editorialists who failed and continue to fail to take the threat Donald Trump represent to our Democracy seriously. I am not thankful that they abdicated their responsibilities as the gatekeepers of society, as the so called 4th Estate, allowing his corrupt and criminal regime to cause so much harm to ordinary people.

 

I am not thankful for his corruption of the rule of law.

 

I am not thankful for our government’s continuous assault on our population of immigrants and refugees, for the way we have abdicated our responsibility to care for the asylum seeker.

 

I am not thankful for these things.

 

I am not thankful that there is so much more to add to this list.

 

Did I say that I am not thankful for white supremacists? I did, but let me say it again…I am not thankful for them or their apologists, both their soft supporters and their ardent advocates. I am not thankful that they have had a seat at the table in the Trump administration, I am not thankful for the normalization of that kind of hate in our society.

 

I am not thankful for that.




 

 

 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Saint Katherine of Alexandria - Patron Saint of Philosophers

As a Roman Catholic Theologian, and a student of philosophy, Saint Katherine of Alexandria is my patroness.

 

I have this image of her, painted by the renaissance master Raphael tattooed on my right arm.

 

Her legend tells us that she was born in Alexandria, Egypt around the year 287 CE, and that she died as a martyr during the reign of the Roman Emperor Maxentius c. 305.

 

She was broken on the wheel; she was tied to it, impaled on its spikes, and crushed beneath it as it was rolled through the streets.

 

Katherine was only eighteen years old but gifted with a rare intellect. She was from a wealthy family and used her fortune to hold salons where she invited pagan philosophers to debate with her and other Christian scholars on matters concerning the central tenets of the faith and the doctrines of the Church.

 

Katherine is always depicted in the saffron and ochre robes of the philosopher, which had been the tradition throughout the ancient Near East and Hellenistic Civilization since at least the time of Socrates (mid-fourth century BCE). It is likely that these colors, and their association with philosophy come from the Buddhist missionaries travelling west from as early as the sixth century BCE.

 

Given First 11.25.2020




Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Certainty

Craftsmen of language

Wield instruments of reason

Penetrating myths

 

Poetry blossoms

Like flowers on the parchment

Before they decay

 

Insight and meaning

Sculpted in fragile symbols

Words dissemble, quick

 

Delicate sonnets

Battered by analysis

Bruised petals dropping

 

A poem seeking light

Wilts and withers in the heat

Choked by certitudes




Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Homily - The Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), The Solemnity of Christ the King

First Reading - Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17 ©

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22(23):1-3a, 5-6 ©

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28 ©

Gospel Acclamation – Mark 11:10

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:31 - 46 ©

 

(NJB)

 

 

The Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), The Solemnity of Christ the King

 

 

Consider the words of the prophet, this is the divine injunction: Carry out the will of God, the impetus for which is in your heart.

 

Be forgiving.

 

Be just.

 

Be mindful.

 

Be humble.

 

Be watchful.

 

Be caring.

 

Look after the well-being of all who come your way; as you treat the stranger, so do you treat God, the creator of the universe.

 

Know this!

 

God looks out for everyone, the whole of the flock, humanity, is in God’s care, and God is determined not to lose a single one of us. God will seek out the lost, bring back the stray, heal the wounded and strengthen the weak.

As the psalmist says:

 

God, the creator of the universe, God is shepherd to us all.

 

If we walk in the ways of God, we will be as a shepherd to our sisters and brothers.

 

Whatever it is that we experience of lack, our time in this world is not the end of all things. It is transitory. If we are hungry, we are hungry only for a time. If we thirst, it is but for a moment.

 

Trust in God and find peace therein. In the end you will be fulfilled.

 

It is not only because God loves you that God guides you, but it is for the God’s own sake that God blesses you.

 

The power of death and sin are temporary, it is only God that endures forever, and we are the children of God, the divine dwells within us.

 

If God has set a table before you, share it with the world; turn enemies into loved ones.

 

Be mindful of the apostle’s words.

 

The Apostle has a deep liking for circular arguments. The reading for today begins in circularity. Paul insists that Christ must be raised from the dead or his faith, and the faith of Christians everywhere is in vain, because the faith of Christians everywhere is not in vain, he says that we must believe that there is a resurrection, and the risen Christ is the proof of it.

 

This is not a reasonable argument. Set it aside, because it has no bearing on the main point of this passage.

 

The main point is this:

 

Sin and death enter through the world from a single point in time, and it is another singularity that brings sin and death to an end.

 

Adam causes the fall, Christ lifts creation back up.

 

The scope of their work is equal and includes the totality of all living beings: past, present and future.

 

Listen to the apostle; who understand the ways of God. We are created all-together as one. We are one creation in God. In our failures and our faith we are one. 

 

Remember this!

 

God is not a king, a prince or a lord.

 

The Church, following in the way Jesus taught, can never be the extension of a royal dynasty, and should not be seen as one.

 

The reading for today contains much of what is true, and much that is false.

 

Let us begin with this:

 

Jesus is not a king, nor is he an emperor.

 

Jesus is our brother, Jesus is a friend.

 

The glory of Christ is expressed in his mercy, you will not find Christ seated on a throne, commanding armies of angels, with the nations assembled before him.

 

It is the duty of all Christians, of all who would follow in the way of Jesus to reject such images. They lead to fallacies.

 

What is true is this:

 

Our love and fidelity to God and Christ is expressed in how we treat one another; rich or poor, weak or strong, right or wrong.

 

Among the ancient Hebrews, both the sheep and the goats were integral to their community, the Hebrews tended and cared for flocks of each. Both the sheep and the goats belonged to the community..

 

We are one human family, we are not sheep and goats, we are never divided by God, we are only divided by each other.

 

We must reject all such efforts to divide us.

 

In our human family there is good and bad, there are right and wrong. We are called on to foster the good, and forgive the bad. We are called by Jesus to forgive even those who do us harm.

 

 

First Reading - Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17 ©

 

The Lord Will Judge Between Sheep and Sheep

 

The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

 

As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.

 

 

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 22(23):1-3a, 5-6 ©

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

The Lord is my shepherd;

  there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

  where he gives me repose.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

Near restful waters he leads me,

  to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path;

  he is true to his name.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

You have prepared a banquet for me

  in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

  my cup is overflowing.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

  all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

  for ever and ever.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

 

 

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28 ©

 

Christ Will Hand Over the Kingdom to God the Father; So that God May Be All in All

 

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

 

 

Gospel Acclamation – Mark 11:10

 

Alleluia, alleluia!

 

Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!

 

Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David!

 

Alleluia!

 

 

The Gospel According to Matthew 25:31 - 46 ©

 

I Was Naked and You Clothed Me; Sick, and You Visited Me

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

 

‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

 

‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”

  

‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

 

 

The Thirty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A), The Solemnity of Christ the King