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Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Confusion


The incessant attack
A slow steady friction
Leaves me confused

All my ideas
Ruined sensibilities
Left on the spillway

Invasive constructs
Slip the net of consciousness
Ravage and confuse

Savage ferocity
Permeate my unconscious
Like the swelling tide

Waves pushing forward
I succumb to the current
And drown in their trough     

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Homily - The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118(119):57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 ©
Second Reading – Romans 8:28-30 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 5:15
Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25
The Gospel According to Matthew 13:44 - 52 ©

(NJB)

The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


Be mindful when you read the sacred text, there is a great deal of propaganda and untruth in it. Sometimes there are outright lies, not merely misinterpretation of history, or the mythologization of narrative, but deliberate prevarication.

This text from the Book First book of Kings is propaganda, but not the worse sort.

Consider this:

It is well known that Solomon was actually a despot. He enslaved his people and broke their backs with labor. Because of his malign rule the kingdom of David fell apart in the generation following him dividing into two.

Solomon was not the wisest and he was not the richest. He was a spoiled child who ascended to a throne and abused it, misusing his power and authority, squandering his wealth, and treating the people unjustly.

Know this: The reading speaks the truth on one point, when it says that discernment and wisdom are more valuable than gold and riches it is echoing the voice of God that speaks in the heart of everyone.

Pay attention to the psalmist! Shake the scriptures free from lies.

We are free in the world and the world itself is free, God does not intervene in our affairs and the future has not been determined.

Have faith in the mercy of God, for even though the future is not set, God’s mercy has no bounds.

Follow the teaching of God, live a life of justice and humility. Judge the decrees of men and determine for yourself what their worth is.

If you are looking for salvation, turn around; salvation has already found you.

God is equally good to all people, because God loves all people, the good and the bad alike, the lawful and the unlawful alike.

Know this!

God is not responsible for your suffering; you are.

Taking peace in God’s refuge merely makes enduring the suffering of the world easier, following God’s command means that you live your life in a way which strives to reduce the suffering of others.

Protect yourself from the proud and the dishonest, from other criminals, but love them as God loves them; love them because they are God’s children, they are your sister’s and brother’s.

The consolation that will come from God; will not come in this life.

Do not make the mistake of believing that the good things or the bad things that you experience, or that are experienced by others come in some way at the direction of God, the creator of the Universe.

God does not involve God’s self in human affairs. When people claim to be favored by God, they are lying, first to themselves, then to everyone else.

Be mindful.

God’s law isd simple, love thy neighbor, any other decree must be in synchrony with this, and written as a foot note to it. A law is just, only insofar as it is merciful and demonstrates compassion.

Those who fear God, do not understand God, if they are speaking to you of the fear of God, they are communicating their doubt and mistrust of God. Either that or they are pretenders, claiming to speak for God when they do not, and asking you to fear them.

If you strive for righteousness and justice, do so in the knowledge that you will fall short of the mark. Have mercy on those who also fall short.

Be wary of your own pride, especially when you assume a special place because you proclaim to love God, because you go around telling people that you follow God’s ways.

This is the statute of God: Love, love your neighbor as yourself, serve God in serving them.

Do not look to God to prevent you from breaking the law, God has made you free, God promises to love you in your errors.

Know this!

Love is better than gold.

If you hate deception, hate first the deception that lies within yourself.

God; the creator of the universe, God is light, and God is warmth, God is a God of love. Love God in return and demonstrate that love through the care you have for your sisters and brothers, your neighbor and the stranger in your midst.

Give thanks to God for being made a vessel of love, capable of receiving love and capable of sharing it.

Consider the words of the apostle and remember; we are all created in the divine image.

Remember this as well; we are all children of God.

Each of us carries a seed of the Word within us, and where God is, God is there fully.

Each of us were called from the beginning of time. When we were called, we were called as we are; sinful and compromised, but in a state of becoming.

We were called to be justified.

God does not merely co-operate with those who love God, God co-operates with all of those whom God loves, and God, the creator of the universe, God loves everyone.

Know this:

There is no condition on the friendship Jesus offers to the children of God; we are friends because God loves us, our friendship to Jesus comes from the superabundance of love that Jesus bore toward all human beings, not the love of a lord but the love of a friend and brother.

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they often are, and they have been since the beginning, as Matthew’s Gospel illustrates.

The way of Jesus is not a long con, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

Consider the Gospel reading for today.

The authors of Matthew’s Gospel should have stopped there writing with the good news, the really good news as it was presented in the first two examples of what the God’s garden is like.

It is the most priceless thing, it is to be guarded, protected, invested in, like a field with a hidden treasure or a pearl of great value.

God’s garden is like a fisherman’s net, full of a great and diverse quantity of fish, none of which are set aside for destruction.

Every fish will encounter God’s fire, the drying heat, the broiling pan, every person will encounter the fire as well, but know this, in scripture, fire is always an image of our encounter with God.

Every fish will be kissed by the flame of the Holy Spirit, everything and everyone it touches will be changed.

God’s fire may be like a blazing furnace, but the fire refines, rather than destroys.

The refining process may be painful, there may be weeping, but after the tears there will be joy.


First Reading – 1 Kings 3:5, 7-12 ©

Solomon Chooses the Gift of Wisdom

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’ Solomon replied, ‘O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father. But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership. Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its number cannot be counted or reckoned. Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this. ‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘and not asked for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you ask. I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 118(119):57, 72, 76-77, 127-130 ©

Lord, how I love your law!

My part, I have resolved, O Lord,
  is to obey your word.
The law from your mouth means more to me
  than silver and gold.

Lord, how I love your law!

Let your love be ready to console me
  by your promise to your servant.
Let your love come and I shall live
  for your law is my delight.

Lord, how I love your law!

That is why I love your commands
  more than finest gold,
why I rule my life by your precepts,
  and hate false ways.

Lord, how I love your law!

Your will is wonderful indeed;
  therefore I obey it.
The unfolding of your word gives light
  and teaches the simple.

Lord, how I love your law!


Second Reading – Romans 8:28-30 ©

Those He Called, He Justified

We know that by turning everything to their good, God co-operates with all those who love him, with all those he has called according to his purpose. They are the ones he chose specially long ago and intended to become true images of his Son, so that his Son might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified, and with those he justified he shared his glory.


Gospel Acclamation – John 5:15

Alleluia, alleluia!

I call you friends, says the Lord,
because I have made known to you
everything I have learnt from my Father.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

Alleluia, alleluia!

Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.kingdom.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Matthew 13:44 - 52 ©

He Sells Everything He Owns and Buys the Field

Jesus said to the crowds, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.

‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea that brings in a haul of all kinds. When it is full, the fishermen haul it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in a basket and throw away those that are no use. This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels will appear and separate the wicked from the just to throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.
‘Have you understood all this?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Well then, every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom things both new and old.’


The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Vote II - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
07.25.2020

Vote     II

The talk continues about how Donald Trump will refuse to concede the presidency when he loses the election on November 3rd.

People are talking about the unconstitutional deployment of federal agents in American cities, like Portland and Seattle, Kansas City and Chicago, and the threat coming from the orange menace that he will send tens of thousands of heavily armed, agents into other cities without insignia, without unique identifiers without a lawful mandate to police those cities as a preemptive move in support of his anticipated refusal to relinquish power.

This cannot stand.

The courts must intervene, and though a federal court in Oregon has dismissed the lawsuit filed their on the erroneous basis that the city attorney and the State’s Attorney General did not have standing, action in the courts must continue, and those federal agents must be arrested.

More importantly, everyone must vote!  

Do not forget to vote. Do not forget to register. Do not forget to vote.

Double check your registration status and vote.

Do more, prepare yourself with knowledge; we need a massive public education campaign, we need a crash course in civics. There is an electoral process that must play out, it is different from state to state, but every citizen should take the time to become familiar with the rules, the laws that govern your voting rights in each and every local.

Let’s not be confused, Donald Trump will lose the popular vote, and he will lose in the electoral college. Nevertheless, between now and then there will be a massive disinformation campaign trying to scare you into not voting, trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, or that your vote is illegitimate. The orange tyrant and his republican cronies will attempt to invalidate your vote; we cannot let them

Wherever republicans have the authority they will purge voter roles, close polling stations, make it more difficult to vote; our duty is to be undeterred, to insist on our rights, to cast our votes, and to have our votes counted.

Familiarize yourself with the laws that govern voting where you cast your vote.

Last week we discussed the voting rights act of 1965, which was designed to enforce the rights guaranteed in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and the laws that govern elections at the federal level.

This week lets discuss the statutes that govern voting in my home state of Minnesota.

In the weeks leading up to the election we will look at the statutes that govern voting in key battleground States.

Knowledge is power, arm yourself with it.

In Minnesota you can find information on voting, the voting process and your voter rights at the Secretary of State website: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/

The Secretary of State in Minnesota is Steve Simon. At the web address above you can register to vote online, request an absentee ballot online, you can find out where you go to vote if you plan to vote in person based on your address, and what the hours of your polling station will be.

You can view a sample ballot, view candidate filings, and volunteer to get involved, participate in non-partisan voter education and even become an election judge. IN addition you can stay up to date on how COVID-19 is impacting the voting process.

Participate, protect both your right to vote and the rights of your neighbors.

On this Minnesota Secretary of State website you can learn all you need to know about how elections are managed in Minnesota: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/how-elections-work/

In Minnesota, the laws governing presidential elections are clear, nevertheless it may be up to the citizenry to keep the election process in good order. It is being reported the Republican National Committee is prepared to spend tens of millions of dollars to challenge election results across the country. Their planned obfuscation may result in your vote being invalidated, or your neighbors.

We cannot let this happen.

Below is the process as articulated on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website for electing a president. Memorize the applicable statutes, know the process, ensure that it is adhered to.

The state canvassing board meets on the third Tuesday after the state general election. (Minnesota Statutes 204C.33) At that meeting the board will open and canvass the returns made to the secretary of state for presidential electors and alternates, prepare a statement of the number of votes cast for the persons receiving votes for these offices, and declare the person or persons receiving the highest number of votes for each office duly elected. (Minnesota Statutes 208.05)

"The governor shall transmit to each person declared elected a Certificate of Election, signed by the governor, sealed with the state seal and countersigned by the secretary of state.” (Minnesota Statutes 208.05)

On the day before the day fixed by congress for the electors to vote for president and vice president the electors shall notify the governor that they are at the state capitol and ready to fulfill their duties as electors at the proper time.  The governor shall deliver a certificate of the names of all the electors to the electors present. (Minnesota Statutes 208.06) On the day fixed by congress to vote for President and Vice President the electors shall meet at 12:00 PM in the executive chamber of the state capitol and shall perform all the duties imposed upon them as electors by the constitution and laws of the United States and the state of Minnesota. As a condition of having been chosen under the name of the party of a presidential and vice presidential candidate the electors are obligated to vote for those candidates. (Minnesota Statutes 208.46) The day fixed by congress for the electors to vote is the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. (3 U.S.C. 1)

This process must be fulfilled, republican interference notwithstanding.

Hold your government accountable!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Boot Camp


I have been patient
And now I want to break loose
It is time for leave

But there is work, yet
To be done before the end
There is no rest here

Duties fill my mind
My hands from scrubbing
There is no laughter

There is little joy
Marching under the hot sun.
Day by day by day

Our spirits are stained
We neither wilt nor blossom
Work under pressure

No play-time no fun
Up the hill like Sisyphus  
Dread the daily run

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Homily - The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


First Reading – Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 85(86):5-6, 9-10, 15-16 ©
Second Reading – Romans 8:26-27 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Ephesians 1:17, 18
Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25
The Gospel According to Matthew 13:24 - 43 ©

(NJB)

The Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)


Listen to the faith of your forebears and take heart.

There is one God, the creator of the universe, one God the creator of us all, one God who never judges unjustly, one God omnipotent, one God who is lenient to all.

God demonstrates power through mercy, and justice through grace, teaching us to emulate the divine by looking on our sins and bringing us to repent.

This is true for one and all.

Speak truth concerning God’s mercy, God’s compassion and God’s love; these are the paths of divine and God’s light is always shining on them. When we are merciful, compassionate and loving, we honor the will of God, reflecting on all whom we encounter the divine light.

Do not hope for God to interject God’s will on your behalf as you strive with your fellows for any of the things of this world; rather conform your will to the will of God, if you are poor you will still be happy, if you are destitute, you will still have hope, if you have enemies they will no longer bother you and if you are rich you will be a blessing to others.

It is wise and good to anticipate the coming of God, just as it is wise and good to desire God’s presence. Anticipate that moment, relish it, cherish it, while remaining present to the people and events that are actually occurring in your life.

When you are in prayer and your thoughts are unformed, when your feelings are unclear and no words come to your mind, or when the words that do come are inappropriate for prayer, then be silent, quiet your mind, still the murmurs in your heart, let go of the voices; be silent and listen.

Let your prayers be prayers of listening.

Remember the life of Jesus, and God whom he called Father

Is god glorious? God is the creator of the universe. God’s greatest place is in relationship to us; God’s children as a loving parent.

May each and every one of come to the full knowledge of God.

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

If you think that God has promised rich glories to be the inheritance of the saints; remember that the first will be last and the last will be first, and that riches are not counted in gold and silver and precious things.

Be mindful.

The teachings of Jesus cannot be treated like a shell game, though they are often treated by the church as such, and have been since the beginning as Matthew’s Gospel illustrates.

The way of Jesus is not a long can, it is not a bait and switch, it is a simple teaching that cannot be controlled or owned by any one group of people.

Be mindful of this.

God, the creator of the universe, God has hidden nothing. The truth is in the open for anyone to see. The wise and the powerful, the learned and the clever, the weak and the meek, everyone has access to the same truth, to the knowledge of God, of justice, of hope and love.

Who are the wise and powerful, who are the learned and the clever, who are the faithful and childlike? In every generation, you will see a new group rise up, labeling the elder generation as out of touch, blind, privileged, in the dark, corrupt.

It is an endless cycle and the truth remains the same; love justice, be merciful, do good, serve God through the loving service you provide to one another, to your family, your friends, your neighbors, the stranger, even your enemy.

Just because a person may be wise and powerful, learned and clever or a child of the church, does not mean they recognize the truth when they see it, or act upon it when they do.

It is not your station in society, it is not how other people regard you, it is not the titles you have earned\ or the ways that you have been marginalized that give us the tell on how you will fulfill the calling to follow Jesus and keep to the way. What matters is what is in your heart, and your willingness to trust in the content of your hope.

Consider the Gospel reading for today, and bear this in mind:

The Gospels were written long after Jesus died.

Matthews Gospel was compiled by a community of believers between 80 and 100 years after his death.

If you practice mindfulness in your reading you can see two threads in the Gospel:

The teaching of Jesus as remembered by the community, and the community’s interpretation of that teaching, one that they believe promotes their interests.

These threads are often out of synch with other.

Practice discernment and you will be able to see movement from Jesus’ view of the way as understood by the people who first listened to him, to the view of the Church and those who were endeavoring to preserve his teaching. When the gospels report that Jesus is deliberate using mysterious messaging to hide something from the people, passing on secret teachings to his disciples alone, look harder and you will see the Church putting itself in the place of authority rather than the Spirit of Truth..

This is when the Church places its own interests above the teaching of Jesus, and this is where they begin to lead people astray, substituting simple wisdom for fantastical stories about angels, and the evil one and the end of time.

Be mindful of this and reject that messaging, focus instead on the way, which is loving and patient and kind.

Plant the smallest of seeds in the hearts and minds of your listeners and wait, the seed will grow into a mighty tree.

Allow the yeast to leaven the dough, it will leave no part of the bread untouched.

Let the weeds grow until the harvest. The wheat will go to the granary, the weeds will go to the fire, and remember, in the scriptures fire is an image representing our encounter with God, the creator of the universe, God who is just and loving, and good.

Watch them burn in a column of fire, ascending straight to the heavens while lighting our way.


First Reading – Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 ©

You Will Grant Repentance After Sin

There is no god, other than you, who cares for every thing, to whom you might have to prove that you never judged unjustly.

Your justice has its source in strength, your sovereignty over all makes you lenient to all.

You show your strength when your sovereign power is questioned and you expose the insolence of those who know it; but, disposing of such strength, you are mild in judgement, you govern us with great lenience, for you have only to will, and your power is there.

By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people how the virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men, and you have given your sons the good hope that after sin you will grant repentance.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 85(86):5-6, 9-10, 15-16 ©

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving,
  full of love to all who call.
Give heed, O Lord, to my prayer
  and attend to the sound of my voice.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

All the nations shall come to adore you
  and glorify your name, O Lord:
for you are great and do marvellous deeds,
  you who alone are God.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.

But you, God of mercy and compassion,
  slow to anger, O Lord,
abounding in love and truth,
  turn and take pity on me.

O Lord, you are good and forgiving.


Second Reading – Romans 8:26-27 ©

The Spirit Himself Expresses Our Plea in a Way that Could Never be Put Into Words

The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words, and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well what he means, and that the pleas of the saints expressed by the Spirit are according to the mind of God.


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!

Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 11:25

Alleluia, alleluia!

Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Matthew 13:24-43 ©

Let Them Both Grow Till the Harvest

Jesus put another parable before the crowds: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” “Some enemy has done this” he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”’

He put another parable before them: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.’

He told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’

In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:

I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.

Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.’ He said in reply, ‘The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!’