Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Saturday, September 17, 2016 - Supplemental

Luke 8: 4-15

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another
journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.
“A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold.”
After saying this, he called out,
“Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

Then his disciples asked him
what the meaning of this parable might be.
He answered,
“Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God
has been granted to you;
but to the rest, they are made known through parables
so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

“This is the meaning of the parable.
The seed is the word of God.
Those on the path are the ones who have heard,
but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts
that they may not believe and be saved.
Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear,
receive the word with joy, but they have no root;
they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation.
As for the seed that fell among thorns,
they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along,
they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life,
and they fail to produce mature fruit.
But as for the seed that fell on rich soil,
they are the ones who, when they have heard the word,
embrace it with a generous and good heart,
and bear fruit through perseverance.”

Man was put on the earth to care for the garden. When he sinned he was expelled from the garden and told that his living will only come after much work tilling the soil. Our hearts is that soil. God the Father is the sower and His Word, Jesus, is the seed. The Father sows Jesus into each and every heart. How have you prepared your heart?

Some hearts are stony hearts that the seed cannot penetrate. Other hearts are full of the love of self and material things. The seed is choked out by the thorns of desire. Some hearts have useable soil that is very, very thin. The seed germinates but cannot take root. It lives in the heart for a short time and then dies away. Such soil germinates many seeds but few can ever survive. Usually only scrub brush and weeds can survive in such a heart.

Being a good gardener is hard work. Because of sin we have to till the soil by the sweat of our brow. We have to weed and irrigate. The Word will not grow within us on its own. It takes dedicated, personal, and constant work on our behalf. We cannot till the soil in the spring, let the Father plant the seed, and then walk away expecting the plant to grow healthy on its own. Just as the Word can grown in rich soil, so too the weed. Seeds of hate, prejudice, bigotry, and evil all flourish in rich soil. We must be constantly vigilant to pluck these weeds out as soon as they germinate. Left unattended the garden will soon be overrun and the seed the Father plants will be choked out by the weeds we let creep into our lives.

Our hard work is rewarded by the many fruits of the Lord. A life lived with a well tended garden is in itself a reward.

Grab your shovels and your hoes and let’s get to work removing everything not planted by the Father in the gardens of our hearts.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Saturday, September 17, 2016

1 Corinthians 15: 35-37, 42-49

Brothers and sisters:
Someone may say, “How are the dead raised?
With what kind of body will they come back?”

You fool!
What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.
And what you sow is not the body that is to be
but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind.

So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.
It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious.
It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.

So, too, it is written,
“The first man, Adam, became a living being,”
the last Adam a life-giving spirit.
But the spiritual was not first;
rather the natural and then the spiritual.
The first man was from the earth, earthly;
the second man, from heaven.
As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly,
and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly.
Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.

How fitting this reading comes for me today. Today is the first anniversary of my mother’s passing. She left us last year after a long and painful battle with COPD and other lung related diseases. My mother was born on the seventeenth day of February and died on the seventeenth day of September. These days stuck in my mind as historically important. Then I realized, these were the days the bible tells us that the great flood started and ended.

It came about after the seven days, that the water of the flood came upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”

In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.”

But September is the ninth month…

Actually, September used to be the seventh month (‘sep’ means seven). It only became the ninth month after July and August were added to the calendar to honor Julius and Augustus Caesar. Historically speaking, the calendar that we go by today is really only about 150 years old. The symbolism of this is not lost on me, a man who lives for symbolism in a Church rich with it.

My mother came into this world like a mighty flood and departed when it was  time for new life.

Our earthly bodies are nothing more than seeds for the next life. Inside a seed is everything needed to create a new plant. When it germinates a new life is set free. These bodies contain our soul, incarnate. Once planted we will germinate into the next life into an incorruptible, eternal, and perfect body.

Through Adam we have our earthly body and through Jesus we have our heavenly body.

Pray for the repose of my mother. Pray that through the mercy of God she is given a place in his heavenly Kingdom where she can flower with all her beauty.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

1 Corinthians 15: 12-20

Brothers and sisters:
If Christ is preached as raised from the dead,
how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
If there is no resurrection of the dead,
then neither has Christ been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised, then empty too is our preaching;
empty, too, your faith.
Then we are also false witnesses to God,
because we testified against God that he raised Christ,
whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised.
For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised,
and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain;
you are still in your sins.
Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ,
we are the most pitiable people of all.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

If Jesus did not rise from the dead then our faith is in vain. All who have gone to their graves believing in Jesus will remain there for all eternity. My soul rests joyfully for I know our faith is not in vain and that Christ did conquer death. How can I be so assured of this?

Because something happened.

The Twelve had just spent three years learning from Jesus, both publically and privately. They were his trusted friends and they pledged to follow him to his death. Yet, when the guards came the Twelve fled in fear of their own lives. They ran and hid.

Jesus underwent his Passion alone, without those so close to him. Besides John, who accompanied Mary, none of the remaining disciples could bring themselves to visit Jesus on the cross. Jesus died and was laid in the tomb. The Twelve hid.

Can you imagine what was going through their minds? The last three years wasted. Christ was not the king they thought he was. They were on the verge of giving it all up and returning to their old lives. The stories Jesus had shared with them ended up being nothing more than stories. Hooie.

And then something happened.

The Twelve became embolden. The Twelve drastically changed. The Twelve proclaimed the Good News with a vigor and zeal no one had ever seen. They went from bumbling fools that could never get anything right when they were with Jesus to leaders that could stand the test of man. Each and every one, except John, went to their own torturous death for Christ.

One has to ask why. One has to know what changed in not one but all of the Twelve. What could have possibly happened that would have caused an immediate 180 degree swing in their attitudes and abilities?

Christ rose from the dead and appeared to the twelve. They saw with their own eyes that Jesus’ promises and teachings were true. They understood that death no longer had claim on them and that they had nothing to fear for in the end Jesus was the King promised to them. They knew they would find life by giving theirs up for God’s Kingdom.

That is all the proof I need to know that Jesus lived and died so that I will be raised up on the last day if I trust in him and live my life in the way he has asked me to.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

John 19: 25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

It is from this passage that the Catholic Church derives her teaching that Mary never had other children. If Mary had other children they would have been with her at the foot of the cross and they, by Jewish custom, would have been responsible for her well being going forward. Jesus would have never entrusted care for his mother over to John if she had other children and she would have never gone to live with John if other children existed.

At the foot of the cross Jesus entrusts the care of his mother over to his disciple John. Our Mass is a time machine, a conduit connecting heaven and earth, and each and every time we participate in Mass we are transported back to the foot of the cross to take part in the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even though we cannot see it with our earthly eyes, we are there, standing with Mary and John when Jesus entrusts Mary to John.

Imagine Jesus looking at each and every one of us directly. “Behold your mother.

Hail Mary, full of grace

Blessed are you among women

And blessed is the fruit of your womb


Holy Mary, Mother of God

Pray for us sinners

Now and at the hour of our death.

Mary, Mother of the living God, intercede for us with Jesus, your son.