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April 5, 2014

Saturday in the 4th Week of LentStrength to his people

Saint for the day:

Dominican - St Vincent Ferrer (1350?-1419)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Jeremiah 11:18-20

Psalm 7

John 7:40-53

                     “O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and rescue me.” (Psalm 7:2)

Today Dominicans will celebrate the feast of one of their greats, St. Vincent Ferrer. If you want to know what the Church was going through Vincent ferrerin his time, click on the “link” above. To begin with, there were three Popes! And one of them - who ordained Vincent to the Priesthood - was later publically chastised by Vincent causing him to flee for his life! How does the saying go? “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” In many ways Jesus was confronted by this same tendency and the Gospels that we hear in these last days of Lent show us that those who have power as a control will never win out in the end. There’sScribes Power another way to look at this and I’ve mentioned it here, before: “Blowing out another’s candle doesn’t make my candle any brighter.”   Jesus came into this world as a light in the darkness to share that light with all people. He used his light to draw people out of darkness into the light of his healing love. The S & P’s had no room for that light and had made their lives complicated by multiplying and drawing out the minute aspects of the law. Rather than drawing people in, they created a world of fear: fear of taking too many steps on the Sabbath; fear of reaching out to help someone in need; fear of missing one jot or title of the law. They could never understand the words of Jesus like, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” (1st John 4:18)

Jesus forgivesWhen all of our energy is consumed by fear of breaking the law there is no room for positive love to enter in. When a person spends all of their time defending and protecting their harsh stand on life … there is no room for even the possibility of love entering in. If we ask Jesus how much love he has for us He stretches out his arms this wide … and that’s how he was nailed to the Cross. In a short time, we will enter in to our most Holy Week of our Church liturgies. As we go through these last days of Lent let us try to focus on that one point: “No greater love has a man that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Let us pray that we might be able to receive all the love and forgiveness that God offers us in these Holy Days. Let us pray that we will be able to let go of all the things that we feel we have to hold on to in order to stretch out our arms widely to receive Jesus into our embrace. Amen!

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April 4, 2014

Friday in the 4th Week of Lentlight from light

Saint for the day: St. Isidore of Seville (560? - 636) 

Wisdom 2:1, 12-22

Psalm 34

John 7:1 … 30

 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word with God and the Word was God and became flesh and dwelt among us.” (The Prologue to St. John’s Gospel 1:1ff)

pentecostIf any of you are of my era in the “pre-Vatican II” days you will remember that we heard this Gospel at the end of every Mass. I think there was a wisdom in this practice which kept us aware of the living nature of “The Church” and the fact that the Gospels were put together by the early followers of Christ working from the reality of the Resurrection and Ascension – along with the Feast of Pentecost – backwards. There wasn’t anyone taking notes at Bethlehem when Jesus was born and the early Church had to grapple with the way they tied it all together.  That was then. This is now. And we’re still trying to put it all together and make the presence of God in our lives a reality. At first glance, today’s scripture reading from the Book of Wisdom could have been seen as “Gospel” since there are so many similarities between that scripture and the Holy Gospels. It’s yet another reminder that the Holy Scriptures that we hear in our Liturgies are intended to be heard in what we might call first person narrative in that they are ever real and relevant to us here and now. Listen to how this scripture from Wisdom begins: “The wicked said among themselves …’Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings …’” (Wisdom 2:12)

It makes me think of Old Testament Joseph who was thought of as a dreamer by his jealous brothers.   Can you see how our salvation history allcollared coats  fits together? It’s almost like one eternal moment of salvation. A history that we are all still experiencing. Perhaps our task in Lent is to be honest with ourselves and see that indeed “there is nothing new under the sun,” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and we are all moving through this ever-present moment of salvation.   The ending words of today’s Holy Gospel, “So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his Paschal Candlehour had not yet come.” (John 7:30)   We’re blessed in this holy time of Lent in that we are presented with powerful scriptures that evoke strong images. What we each have to do is see ourselves as the character “everyman” in a drama that we are, both in, and watching.   Soon we will be entering Holy Week and we will all sing “Hosannas” and wave our palm branches as we enter in to this most Holy Week of our Liturgical year. But the tables will quickly turn and we will hear the solemn reading of the Passion and then, at the death of Jesus we will be like everyone throughout history, and turn and walk away from the hill of Calvary … hopefully coming back to search the empty tomb.  My prayer today: ”That we might all enter in and let the sacred drama of the coming weeks touch deeply our hearts and souls so that we might always walk with those lighted candles from the Easter Vigil into the light of a new day. Amen!

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                                               I’d like to hear from you to know that you’re getting these reflections. Click on the following “link”   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

April 3, 2014

Thursday in the 4th Week of LentExodus 2 flip

Saint for the day:

St. Benedict the African (1526-1589)    

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:    

Exodus 32:7-14    

Psalm 106     

John 5:31-47    

“You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39) 

I love the way John puts a very human-like face on God who seems to stoop to a level where we can more easily see Him. We’ve been turning away from Godblessed in these recent days – hearing of God’s enduring mercy and his long-lasting desire to have us come back to him. Today, God seems to come at us from a different angle reminding us of how faint our allegiance to follow Him has been. From the Old Testament to the Holy Gospel we are being reminded of our tendency to backslide, or forget how blessed we’ve been during our journey.   If we look closely at this Exodus reading we should be able to see that any “spiritual journey” is going to entail some hardships and difficulties. What we have to do is see that most of these trials beset us because we have not “stayed the course.” The “Old Testament Exodus” reminds us that we can’t deny our sinfulness and our tendency to give up on God. If the Exodus tells us anything, we should be able to see how patient God is with us as we stumble and fall in our efforts to stay on the right path.

Then, just in case we’ve forgotten how vast is God’s mercy, the Responsorial Psalm summarizes it all for us – again – with the plea, “Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.”

All of a sudden I was struck with a powerful thought: here I am, sitting in the quiet, dark of our little Chapel in the early hours of the morningJesus embrace writing these “reflections.” How easy it is for me to “wax eloquently” of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness when it’s just me and God. But that’s not how life – spiritual or natural – works!   The Exodus Story shows us that God took on an entire nation to lead them to freedom in the Promised Land and this journey was not without its hardships and difficulties. I have to be aware that it is good for me to spend this quiet time with the Lord and I truly believe that I have been graced because of this practice. BUT my sanctification will most likely happen in the midst of the “rag, tag people” that I live with! The ones who leave lights on and who seldom clean up their messes in the kitchen. Sure … I can talk about “Jesus as my personal savior” but I have to believe that in the context of the journey that I’m on, right here and now. God didn’t just save Moses – his faithful leader – but a stubborn and stiff-necked people who mumbled and grumbled all the way.

Moses often took time to “be alone with God” during the journey and he often came out of the tent “glowing with the presence of God.” But he still had to deal with the same stiff-necked and stubborn people as they wandered in and out of God’s love and mercy.

I think our “bottom line” for today would have to be our coming to the reality that our personal sanctification will come to us through our living and working with the people who are on the journey with us – and who are often the people who rub us the wrong way!

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I’d like to hear from you to know that you’re getting these reflections. Click on the following “link” This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

April 2, 2014

Wednesday in the 4th Week of LentGod calling w-clouds

Saint for the day: St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507)

Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy:

Isaiah 49:8-15

Psalm 145

John 5:17-30

“Thus says the Lord: In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you…” (Isaiah 49:8)

Lord is my shepherdThis quote, above, is the start of this beautiful scripture from Isaiah that is just jam-packed with God’s promises to restore the land and set prisoners free. In some ways it’s a paraphrase of Psalm 23 – “The Lord if my Shepherd.” Take some time go back over it and read it slowly. Try to hear it speaking directly to you. You might even put you own name in wherever it might fit in order to be able to hear God speaking these words to you. You can do the same with the Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord is good to Daniel … and lifts him up when he falls. The Lord is near to Daniel when he calls and He is gracious and merciful to me.”   It’s always good for us to remember that these Scratchpad Reflections are a means for us to “scratch” through the veneer and get to the heart of the matter.  Nobody’s going to check to see how “orthodox” we are and that makes us more likely to hear the Lord assuring us of His love, forgiveness and desire to draw us into his presence In today’s Holy Gospel Jesus says, “… Whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation.” (John 5:24)

It might be good for you to go back and read the Isaiah scripture again. And when you get to the end notice thatcarved on my palms they left off the verse that I think is so important: the reading ends with the words, “I will never forget you” but the next verse shows us how/why he will do this: “I have carved you on the palm of my hand.” (Isaiah 49:16) You need to stop right there and ruminate on those ten fantastic words. These are the creative hands of God and He promises that we will always be a part of His ongoing re-creation. Isn’t that something? Some time back our Morning Prayer ended with this wonderful phrase, “… and fill this day with   an active love for you and our neighbor.” Say, “Amen!”

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                                               I’d like to hear from you to know that you’re getting these reflections. Click on the following “link”   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The General Curia

The church and convent of Santa Sabina on the Aventine hill in Rome have been home to the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) since the 13th century. At that time the church and associated buildings formed part of the holdings of the Savelli family. A Savelli Pope, Honorius III, approved the Order in 1216. Read more...

Province of St. Joseph

The Dominican friars of the Province of St. Joseph were founded in 1806 by Edward Dominic Fenwick, O.P., an American who had joined the English Province of the Order as a young man during its exile in Belgium. Fenwick eventually returned to the United States with the dream of establishing the Order in his native land. Read more...

 

The Third Order of St Dominic

The Third Order of Saint Dominic consists of men and women, singles and couples living a Christian life with a Dominican spirituality in a secular world. Read more...

 

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