Thursday, November 30, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, December 3, 2017: Wait for the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ...

Are you living this moment for Christ? 

   Late in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the exiled people of Israel have at last come to realize that they have failed in their covenant with God, and beg the Lord to return for the sake of his servants. They are in a posture of waiting, not waiting out their circumstances, but rather waiting in expectation, waiting for God’s salvation to come.  They recognize that God’s is the only power that can come to their aid:  no eye has ever seen any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him, they cry. In Psalm 80, the psalmist similarly calls upon God to save us, and protect what your right hand has planted. Knowing they themselves are the work of God’s hands, the people must trust and call upon God’s name, waiting, confident that if only God turns God’s face to them – a moment of revelation – they will be saved.

   In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus likewise exhorts his disciples to be watchful and alert!  He speaks not, however, of simply waiting for some moment in the future, but of living this moment, being alive, fully alive to Christ alive in them, now.  May the Lord not come suddenly and find you sleeping; stay awake, he tells them, be about what you are supposed to be about, do what is needed, but be ever ready for Christ to step into your lives at every given moment. The disciples are to live, as Paul later tells the Corinthians, in a state of expectation as they wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

   Grounded in chronos time, we are called during this Advent season to tune ourselves, our very beings, to kairos time, living in eager expectation of Christ’s ongoing revelation in our lives, a revelation that comes to us, new, every time.  So be watchful, this Advent season, and live your life, fully alive in this moment, for Christ!

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Remember me... (Henry Purcell)

  Thy hand, Belinda, darkness shades me, 
On thy bosom let me rest, 
More I would, but Death invades me; 
Death is now a welcome guest. 
  When I am laid, am laid in earth 
May my wrongs create 
No trouble, no trouble in thy breast; 
Remember me, remember me, 
But ah!  forget my fate. 
Remember me, but ah! forget my fate… 

To hear Dido’s Lament performed by William Christie & Les Arts Florissants, click on the video below and scroll to 46:00.

During the month of November, we remember All Souls...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A theft from those who hunger (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

 For I was hungry and you gave me food,  
I was thirsty and you gave me drink...  
(Mt. 35:25) 

   Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

   The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this:  a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.  It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.  It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.  It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.  We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.  We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. 

   This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world is taking.

   This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.  Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

--Dwight D. Eisenhower, The Chance for Peace, 1953

To read a historical account of this quotation, 
and the original speech in its entirety, click here.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Catching sight of the Kingdom (Frederick Buechner)

   If only we had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to be born within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for about all other things, even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for.  The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers.  We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know.  We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength.  The Kingdom of God is where we belong.  It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it.

--Frederick Buechner

Saturday, November 25, 2017

King of all our hearts (St. Francis de Sales)

   Open your heart wide, my dear daughter, and as long as the love of God is your desire, and your aim is his glory, live with joy and courage.  How ardently I long for the Savior’s heart to be king of all our hearts! 

--St. Francis de Sales, 
Letter to St. Jeanne 
de Chantal, 
20 January 1607 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, November 26, 2017: I myself will look after and tend my sheep...

Who shepherds your life? 

   When sentiments of nationalism increase, so naturally does a focus on self, and both of these can blind us to what is needful elsewhere in our world.  It was sentiments of nationalism that gave rise to the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe in 1925, between two world wars. The Solemnity is meant to remind us that it is God, our shepherd and savior, who is to rule in our lives; it is Jesus who is King.  The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, God tells the people in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy, shepherding them rightly.  These sleek and strong – the goats – have established their independence; they have separated themselves from God.  They are far from the psalmist in Psalm 23, who identifies with the sheep, and who allows God to shepherd him rightly, accepting all the gifts God offers:  repose, a banquet, and a cup that overflows. 

   Jesus is similarly concerned with shepherding his sheep rightly in Matthew’s Gospel, and this involves instructing them on what they must do to inherit the kingdom:  they must feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and care for the ill.  What does this have to do with Jesus’ kingship?  As Paul tells the Corinthians, Jesus’ goal is to hand over the kingdom to his God and Father, once he has subjected everything to himself.  This doesn’t involve power in the traditional, nationalistic sense, but rather the power of God’s love, which Jesus employs to help us to be united in him.  And for that power to be operative in our world, we must embrace it as well, seeking union with others, with all, reaching outside of ourselves, feeding the hungry, caring for the ill, clothing the naked, with Jesus, King of the Universe, as our shepherd and guide.  Only when we live as one in Christ Jesus can God finally be all in all.

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

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Savor it... (Fr. James Martin)

   As you enjoy that feeling of wondrous satisfaction after your Thanksgiving meal, consider this evening meditation from Fr. James Martin:

   What beautiful thing did you see, or hear, or feel, or experience over the last few days?  Can you remember it, and savor it?  St.  Ignatius Loyola often asked people to savor something, especially an experience in prayer, almost like a good meal.  Then you can thank God for what you’ve experienced, remembered and savored.

   Savoring is a way of slowing us down, and making us pay attention to the graces that God has given us.  It’s an antidote to a life that may be one of gratitude, but of quick gratitude, anxious to move onto the next experience.  In this way, savoring can help deepen our gratitude and our awareness of God’s presence in our lives.

   Savor it, and give thanks.
--Fr. James Martin, Facebook
Evening Meditation, July 5, 2016