Thursday, June 29, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, July 2, 2017: Whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones…

How important is hospitality to you? 

   Etymologically, the notion of hospitality involves a mutual, reciprocal relationship:  the Latin word hospitem is the word for a guest or stranger, a visitor or sojourner; it is also the source of our word host, the person who receives a guest or visitor.  (In French, the word hôte can mean both guest and host.)  Such reciprocity of relationship in the context of our relationship with God may well give us pause:  what can we offer to God?  Isn’t God the one who does the giving, as the host, while we are mere guests?

  Consider the story of the woman of Shunem in 2 Kings, a woman of influence who opens her table and her home to the prophet Elisha as he passes through her land.  Elisha naturally would like to thank the woman for her hospitality:  Can something be done for her?, he asks his servant Gehazi.  Ultimately, the woman will bear a baby son; her generous hospitality to Elisha is thus mutually beneficial – each is, in a sense, both host and guest, enjoying the fruits of kindness and faithfulness in relationship.

   In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus also insists on the mutuality of relationship, albeit in a way that might at first seem off-putting.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, he says.  Our gift to God is to put God first, before all else – to be faithful to the covenant relationship God offers, a life of kindness and faithfulness the psalmist describes in Psalm 89.  God’s most generous gift to us will become clear to the disciples after Jesus’ death:  he died to sin once and for all, Paul tells the Romans.  Taking our sins to the cross, Jesus offered us the greatest possible gift:  that of his life.  Moreover, Jesus knows that if our relationship with God is our first priority, we can love others better, for to embrace God’s love is to be transformed by it; to embrace an existence in which God, Jesus, is our first love is to live for God in Christ Jesus, enjoying newness of life as we wait for the fullness of perfect union with him.  In the meantime, we are called to offer hospitality – to receive all, from prophets and the righteous to the little ones in Christ, to be gift to others as we recognize the gift others are in our own lives.  As with God, so with us:  let us live lives of generous hospitality, singing the goodness of the Lord in all we say, living for God in all we do.

Image source:  Wordle

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Tear down these walls (Levi Robin)

  In the days of my youth 
I fell in love with you 
like a raft on the river 
no paddles no use 
But all the rocks they took their toll 
each hit a bit of soul 
‘til one day down the river 
we fell overboard 
Wisdom come speak to me 
don’t let me be in the shadows 
Wake up these tired eyes 
raise me high from sorrow, 
When I was young I found a road 
I saw but couldn’t show 
seeking and wandering 
deep into the unknown 
But I’ve strayed and so you’ve seen 
these wounds 
oh how they bleed red 
as the earthen war torn plains 

Like my father used to say 
good luck ain’t no mistake 
Know you have destiny 
Don’t you hesitate 

I place this hammer in your hand 
let me break let me shatter 
start again 
Tear down these walls 
let the roof cave in 
To read "God is right here," an interview with Levi Robin on the Word on Fire website in which he discusses the spiritual source of his song Days of Our Youth, click here.  To see the video, click on the link below:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rejection (Rev. Veronica Goines)

   Holy One, I come to you, contrite in heart and mind; 
Assured that you will look on me and, with your ear, incline. 
I’ve wrestled with rejection, deep within my soul; 
At times triumphant in its wake, at others, less than whole. 
For I’ve known rejection all too well in many different forms… 
In relationships, 
In grand pursuits, 
In countless hopes deferred. 
Ushered in by mere self-doubt, it plants a tiny seed 
That roots in the soils of my mind till it yields a mighty weed – 
Crowding and competing as it’s choking out my dreams. 
I’ve known rejection all too well, all dressed in formal wear… 
In polite handshakes; 
In envelopes filled with 12-point type. 

It dines on my self-confidence, gnaws on my self-esteem; 
It sucks the sinew of my soul, while it robs me of my peace—with its 
Dissing and dismissing ways, until all conforms to its pain. 
I’ve known rejection all too well, though dressed in different garb; 
In furtive looks, 
In broken dates, 
In unrequited love. 
While I nursed, cursed, and rehearsed what was never meant to be, 
I missed the joy of blessing you for always blessing me. 
But I’ve found within another word, an eternal point of view. 
It speaks to me of blessing; it speaks to me of truth: 
Man’s rejection is God’s protection, 

Mama used to say.  So, I’ll incline my heart to this truth, empowered on my way. 

Written by the Reverend Veronica R. Goines, Ph.D.
(Pastor of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Marin City, CA)
Copyright by Presbyterians Today
Patrick David Heery, Editor
January/February, 2016, 26.
Poem reprinted with the permission of the author.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

His Eye is on the Sparrow (Hill & Blount)

Why should I feel discouraged and why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart be lonely and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is he,
His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches over me.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches over me.

I sing because I’m happy;
I sing because I’m free;
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.

Let not your heart be troubled; these tender words I hear;
And resting on his goodness I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me.


Whenever I am tempted; whenever clouds arise;
When songs give place to sighing; when hope within me dies;
I draw the closer to Him; from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches over me.


To hear this song performed by Lauryn Hill & Tanya Blount, click on the video below:

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The most deadly poison (St. Maximilian Kolbe)

   The most deadly poison of our time is indifference. And this happens, although the praise of God should know no limits.  Let us strive, therefore, to praise Him to the greatest extent of our powers. 

--St. Maximilian Kolbe 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Aloha from OLMC's new DRE, Danny O'Regan!

    Aloha – Not a common welcome from an Irishman, I know, but having spent the last eight years in Hawaii, I am very happy to be back in the Bay Area where (apart from this week) the weather is a little cooler and to my liking!  I am so very excited and happy to be here at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.  It feels like such a blessing, and I have already met so many warm, king and welcoming parishioners.  Fr. Pat has truly made me feel at home, and I can’t wait to get started. 

   My journey in Ministry has taken me from Corby in the United Kingdom, to Daly City (Our Lady of Mercy with Fr. William Brown), to the University of San Diego the University of Hawaii, Chaminade University, and back to San Francisco and Mill Valley.  It’s been quite a journey, yet in every step of the way, God truly has led me.  I have been fortunate to work in campus ministry and the last two years as Director of Faith Formation in Hawaii.  I hope to bring my creativity and passion for ministry to Our Lady of Mount Carmel as we continue to keep bringing the gospel alive and to enrich the next generation.

   I look forward to getting to know this community, and that we continue to grow together in faith.

   Danny O’Regan

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, June 25, 2017: Answer me, O Lord...

How do we avoid separation from God? 

   Jeremiah doesn’t have an easy time of it.  Called to be a prophet to a people that has returned to its idolatrous ways, he is under constant threat from his persecutors.  It is not surprising that he undergoes an interior crisis of sorts:  you seduced me, Lord, and I let myself be seduced, he laments.  Jeremiah knows his persecutors believe God has abandoned them; they are profoundly self-centered and thus live in separation from the God who invites them to covenant.  But Jeremiah surmounts his own moment of crisis thanks to his returning confidence in the Lord:  to you I have entrusted my cause.  Like the psalmist in Psalm 69, Jeremiah is able to praise the Lord, able to bear insult because zeal for the Lord’s house consumes him.  Unlike his persecutors, who have cut themselves off from relationship with God, Jeremiah resists such separation, putting his faith in the relationship that is at the core of his existence.

   Whenever we put our own self-focus before our faith in the Lord, we are entering into that mode of separation that follows the pattern of the trespass of Adam, as Paul explains to the Corinthians.  Sin – separation – isolates rather than incorporates.  But the death of Jesus restores us to relationship through grace and forgiveness; this is his gift to us, a gift that overflows for the many.  It is also a gift that leaves no place for fear:  Fear no one, Jesus tells the Twelve in Matthew’s Gospel, for no one can take this gift from you.  Instead, go out and share God’s love, proclaiming it on the housetops!  If we do, living from that love, separation diminishes as we move ever closer to the fullness of life in Christ.

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source:  Wordle

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A tiny white host (Venerable Fulton Sheen)

 The greatest love story of all time 
is contained in a tiny white host. 

 --Venerable Fulton Sheen 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Our celestial food (St. Catherine of Siena)

   O inestimable charity!  Even as You, true God and true Man, gave Yourself entirely to us, so also You left Yourself entirely for us, to be our food, so that during our earthly pilgrimage we would not faint with weariness, but would be strengthened by You, our celestial bread.  O man, what has your God left you?  He has left you Himself, wholly God and wholly Man, concealed under the whiteness of bread.  O fire of love!  Was it not enough for You to have created us to Your image and likeness, and to have recreated us in grace through the Blood of Your Son, without giving Yourself wholly to us as our Food, O God, Divine Essence?  What impelled You to do this? Your charity alone  It was not enough for You to send Your Word to us for our redemption; neither were You content to give Him us as our Food, but in the excess of Your love for Your creature, You gave to man the whole divine essence…
--St. Catherine of Siena

Image source
Quotation source

Monday, June 19, 2017

Immortal food (Julius Firmicus Maternus)

   There is another food that gives health and life, another food that really commends man to God and returns him to God, another food that strengthens the weak, calls back those who stray, lifts the fallen, and gives to the dying signs of eternal immortality.  Seek the bread and the chalice of Christ, so that, having overcome earthly weakness, the substance of man may be fed with immortal food.

--Julius Firmicus Maternus 
(died ca. 348)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day, Fr. Pat!

   Fr. Pat, we celebrate you this Father’s Day for all you do in God’s service – for your liturgies and your homilies and your prayerful presence, for your art and your cooking and your creativity.  In all you do, you live your faith as you help us to live ours, serving, blessing, and strengthening the faith of those in your care.  It would be impossible to count the gifts you have shared with us, gifts that touch the hearts of all of your spiritual children at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  May God bless you for the light you bring to the lives of others as you fulfill your vocation with love and care; you are a source of blessing and a gift to us all.  Happy Father's Day to you!

At its deepest level, 
every vocation to the priesthood 
is a great mystery;
 it is a gift which 
infinitely transcends the individual.

--St. Pope John Paul II