1/20/17

Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 1/20

Photo by Mark Penta

I can't count, Lord,
or even guess,
how many and how beautiful,
how plentiful the treasures
you offer me each day...

And I wonder: how many of these
do I altogether miss?

When I'm seeking cheaper riches,
I'm too quickly satisfied...

If I don't expect your gifts,
they'll likely pass me by...

If I don't seek out such favors,
they'll escape my lazy notice...

So, open my eyes, Lord,
to the bounty of your treasure...

Open my heart to your many gifts,
hiding in plain sight...

Open my mind to the lustrous pearls
of your wisdom and your word...

Open my soul to the gems of grace
you sprinkle on my path...

And, Lord,
don't let me miss those diamonds,
strewn so generously and shimmering,
calling me to find you,
in the winter-chilled waters
lapping at the Falmouth shore...

Amen.


 

     
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1/19/17

Word for the Weekend: Gone Fishing!

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This weekend's scriptures for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time lead off with a passage from  Isaiah, chosen clearly because Jesus himself quotes it in the day's gospel passage from Matthew.  The lectionary offers a longer or shorter form for the reading of the gospel.  The shorter form emphasizes the Isaiah reference while the longer does the same, adding the call of Peter and Andrew and then James and John.

The image above will give you a clue about a well-known phrase that comes from this story.  Got it?

The intermediary text is from 1st Corinthians where Paul addresses divisions in the community based on loyalty to particular persons.  Indeed, some things never change!

You'll do well to look over these scriptures in preparation for hearing them: you'll find the texts and brief commentary on them here.  And if you're shepherding children to Mass this weekend, take a look here for hints on helping our young ones prepare to hear the Word, too.


 

   
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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 1/19


If I dread the day ahead, Lord,
remind me that you'll be with me
every hour, every minute
until this day is done
and that nothing's going to happen
that you and I,
together,
cannot handle...

If the prospect of another day
so much like all my other days
numbs my spirit
and tires my soul,
remind me, Lord,
how you'll find a way
to kindle hope within me
and warm my weary heart...

And if, perhaps, in quiet peace,
with joyful expectation,
I wait the coming of this day,
its possibilities and promise,
remind me, Lord,
that all good gifts come
from your hand
and from your heart to mine...

Amen.






   
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1/16/17

Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 1.17

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Lord, give me the smarts
to know when to STOP being stubborn,
foolish, short-sighted
and pretty much a jerk...

Teach me to YIELD to others' needs
and slow me down
'til I clearly see
what lies just up ahead...

Lord, give me the strength
to get up and GO and move ahead
with my day, my life
and the work that's mine to do...

Open my eyes, Lord,
to all the ways you signal me
and keep me safe
in my life's daily traffic...

Help me STOP and pray,
YIELD to you
and GO always where you lead me
in your grace and in your peace...

Amen.



 

     
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1/15/17

Monday Morning Offering: 1/16

Morning Coffee: George Mendoza

A song for this holiday
and for today's Pause for Prayer...



From the depths of your heart, Lord,
   help me overcome my prejudice,
   my bias and my bigotry, 
   my narrow-minded thinking
   and rash judgments
and help me overcome the temptation to think
   that none of these faults are mine... 

With the grace of your mercy, Lord,
   help me overcome my selfishness,
   my jealousy and greed,
   my pride and self-importance,
   my careless disregard of others' needs
and help me overcome the thought
   that I'm above all such things... 

With the power of your Spirit, Lord,
   help me overcome my laziness,
   my lustful thoughts and longings,
   my apathy and envy
   and my ungoverned appetites
and help me overcome the self-evaluation
   in which none of this applies to me... 

With the justice of your word, Lord,
   help me overcome my tendencies:
   to stretch the truth, to cheat and lie,
   to take what isn't mine,
   to deny what's due to others
and help me overcome the notion
   that I'm above such base inclinations...
  
With the power of your love, Lord,
   help me overcome my fears,
   my worries and anxieties,
   my doubts and my uncertainties,
   my lack of trust in you and others
and help me overcome my thinking
   that I will never be strong in spirit... 

With the strength of your arm, Lord, 
   help me overcome what keeps me down,
   what holds me back,
   what slows me up,
   what locks me in...
and help me overcome the inertia
   that holds me captive in all these ways...

With all you have to offer, Lord,
   help me overcome what keeps me
   from your presence and from prayer,
   from your mercy and compassion,
   from your love, your peace and joy...

Amen.




     
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Homily for January 15

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Homily for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

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When I was a child I was always taught that it’s “impolite to point.”
As with many things, back in the day, no explanation was offered -
just the caution that it was impolite to point.
It seems, then, at least in this regard, that John the Baptist
may not be a particularly good role model for us
since the gospel clearly indicates his pointing to Jesus and saying:
 “Behold!  Look!  Over there! That One! 
He’s the Lamb of God of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

In our own times, of course,
whether pointing your finger at someone is impolite or not,
it’s generally considered politically impolite
to point in any way towards Jesus in social settings
much less to offer the personal testimony, as John the Baptist did, that:
 “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
(No, not a good pick up line at the bar
nor a conversation starter at a cocktail party!)
But let’s look at what John the Baptist announced:
The Lamb of God…  who takes away the sin…  of the world…

If Jesus takes away the sin of the world,
how come there’s so much sin left in the world?
If, on the Cross, Jesus, the Lamb of God, the sacrificial lamb
- if in his suffering and death he took on himself the sins of all time,
- how come there’s so much sin in the world today?

I’m afraid the answer to that question is an uncomfortable one.

Jesus did, indeed - and literally - shoulder the sin of the world.
But, in a kind of spiritual tug-of-war with Jesus:
we’re very good at holding on to the sin of the world;
we’re experts at holding on to our own sins;
we’re practiced in clinging, tenaciously,
to our many faults and failings --
rather than let Jesus take away the sin that burdens us,
that separates us
from God, from one another -- and even from our own selves.

On his shoulders, on his scarred back, on his thorn-crowned head,
Jesus takes away the very sins we hold on to.

• Yet, still - the world depends on the destructive violence of war
as a solution to its geo-political disagreements.

• Still, we preserve the sinful scandal
of the hungry millions around the world
while we waste what’s in our kitchen cupboards and on our tables.

• As individuals, we cling to petty grudges,
prizing resentment over reconciliation.

• We hug embrace the cheap, the tawdry and the lusty
as if what’s beautiful and true and pure were beyond our reach.

• We preserve the injustice so many suffer
by our blind silence and our failure to act.

• We tolerate divisions among us
in favor of our pride and ego.

• We greedily collect and hoard more and more
of what we already have in great store,
of so many things we really don’t even need
- while others around us (and around the world) want
for even the most basic of human necessities.

• We hang on to our own sins
for the fleeting pleasure they afford us,
for the momentary comfort we find in them,
for the ways they shield us from challenge, change and growth.

But look! Behold! Over there!  (and please, pardon my pointing, but)
- there he is!  he’s the One! Jesus!
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
- and takes away our own sins, too.
And we, his people, his brothers and sisters,
we are so often not yet ready
to let go the many burdens he offers to take from our shoulders
- and place on his own.

And perhaps that’s why we’re slow, so very slow,
to mention even the name of Jesus in polite company.
Perhaps that’s why we’re so reticent
to offer personal testimony of our faith in Jesus:
because we know we’re holding back precisely
what he wants to take away from us.
John the Baptist pointed to Jesus
because he knew how much we need him.

Each of us needs, every day, every morning,
to point to Jesus ourselves,
to recognize him as the Lamb of God
who takes away not only the sin of the world,
but our own sins as well.
Every morning, every day, you and I need to pray: 
Give me Jesus!

(I ended my homily singing “Give Me Jesus,”
inviting the assembly to join in on the refrain.
We at Holy Family are happy to share that prayer with you
in the audio widget at the top of this post.)


 

     
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1/14/17

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 1/15

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A day ahead but never too early for words like these.
The widget gives you the beautiful song from which they come.





Shed A Little Light 
Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood
That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest 

(chorus) 
Shed a little light, oh Lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh Lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh Lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh Lord

Can't get no light from the dollar bill
Don't give me no light from a tv screen
When I open my eyes
I wanna drink my fill
From the well on the hill

(do you know what I mean? ) 

(chorus) 

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest
Oh, let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood


 

   
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1/13/17

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 1/14


Christmas and its season are behind us - but just behind us - and so I hope it's not too late to share this song with you for today's musical Pause for Prayer on Martin Luther King Day weekend...



Some children see him lily white,
The baby Jesus born this night,
Some children see him lily white,
With tresses soft and fair.

Some children see him bronzed and brown,
The lord of heav'n to earth come down;
Some children see him bronzed and brown,
With dark and heavy hair.

Some children see him almond-eyed,
This savior whom we kneel beside,
Some children see him almond-eyed,
With skin of yellow hue.

Some children see him dark as they,
Sweet Mary's son to whom we pray,
Some children see him dark as they,
And, ah! they love him, too!

The children in each diff'rent place
Will see the baby Jesus' face
Like theirs, but bright with heav'nly grace,
And filled with holy light.

O lay aside each earthly thing,
And with thy heart as offering,
Come worship now the infant King -
'tis love that's born tonight!

- A. BURT and W. HUTSON

 

     
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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 1/13



Sean LeClaire, a friend with a mystic's soul, is the source of the quote above.  Spend some time today with Sean's words and my reflection on them, below...   


Lord,
help me know your silence,
your deep silence,
as a gift...

Help me come into your silence,
and wait there,
in the quiet,
for your peace...

Help me find within your silence
not your absence
but the fullness of your presence...

Help me trust that in your silence
I will find you
and we'll meet:
Lover and beloved,
in the silence,
where every sound is hushed
and love's the only Word...

In your silence, Lord,
I'm truly who I'm made to be
for only in your silence,
in the silence of your Word,
am I truly known and loved...

Help me know you
in your silence, Lord,
that I might learn
who in your love I am
and who I'm called to be...



 

     
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