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Nineteenth Sunday in ordinary time

Reading 1 1 kgs 19:4-8

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert,
until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it.
He prayed for death saying:
“This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree,
but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.
Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake
and a jug of water.
After he ate and drank, he lay down again,
but the angel of the LORD came back a second time,
touched him, and ordered,
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
He got up, ate, and drank;
then strengthened by that food,
he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

Responsorial Psalm 34:2-9

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
Let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
And delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy.
And your faces may not blush with shame.
When the afflicted man called out, the LORD heard,
And from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the LORD is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 eph 4:30-5:2

Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.

Alleluia jn 6:51

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven, says the Lord;
whoever eats this bread will live forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel jn 6:41-51

The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said,
“I am the bread that came down from heaven, ”
and they said,
“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?
Do we not know his father and mother?
Then how can he say,
‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Stop murmuring among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

fr. andrew greely homily on today’s Gospel reading (2008)

While the setting of today’s Gospel is in the active ministry of Jesus before Easter, it is clearly Eucharistic in intent and represents St. John’s mystical reflections on the meaning of the Eucharist as a bridge between God and us. It is not an easy pericope on which to preach, though the Elijah story in the first reading is a nice companion piece. Both in their own way emphasize God’s loving care for us, come what may. St. John has in mind through this whole section which we read for the next several weeks the attractiveness of Jesus and the human propensity to turn against him when something happens we don’t like.
Once upon a time there was this doctor who was magical. He was witty, intelligent, sensitive, and a brilliant, brilliant diagnostician. He also had the political skills of a precinct captain and tons of Irish charm. He was adored by hospital staff, trusted by his colleagues (who often went to him with their own medical problems), worshipped by his patients. In addition to his medical responsibilities he helped the hospital where he worked in its many administrative problems. His reputation and his hard work brought many patients to the hospitals and its various laboratories. He became an important part of its success. Everyone said to him that they did not know where they would be without him. Then as the years went on he contracted a disease which slowed him down. The bean counters at the hospital said that he was now costing him money. The nun in charge fired him. But look at all I’ve done for you, he said. That was then, this is now, she replied.
(painting: Leonarda da vinci Last Supper 1496)



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eighteenth sunday in ORDINARY time

Reading 1 ex 16:2-4, 12-15

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them,
“Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!”Then the LORD said to Moses,
“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them,
to see whether they follow my instructions or not.”I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?”
for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,
“This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

Responsorial Psalm 78:3-4, 23-25, 54

R. (24b) The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
We will declare to the generation to come
the glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength
and the wonders that he wrought.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
He commanded the skies above
and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
And he brought them to his holy land,
to the mountains his right hand had won.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Reading 2 eph 4:17, 20-24

Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord
that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
in the futility of their minds;
that is not how you learned Christ,
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus,
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self,
created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Alleluia mt 4:4

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
One does not live on bread alone,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel jn 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him,
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”So they said to him,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”


Background: Today’s Gospel continues the incident of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. The dialog is obviously a reflection of the Evangelist on the lack of faith Jesus encountered even in Galilee and subsequently among the early Christians who reacted to the mystery of the Eucharist with a rigid literalism instead of reflecting first on its spiritual implications. John provides as usual a mystical reflection on the Eucharist. It must be said that even today much of the debate on the Real Presence cannot get beyond conflicts over how Jesus is presence so that the issue of why he is presence receives very little attention.
Once upon a time there was a young woman who had become very scrupulous about the Eucharist. She was afraid that the priest was careless about distributing Communion and permitted tiny bits of the host fall on the floor around the altar rail. After Mass was over and the priest had gone back to the Rectory, she would sneak up to the altar and collect what she thought might be parts of the hosts in which Jesus was still present. She would pick them up with a little spoon she always carried in her purse and then place them in a little plastic bag. However, after she had collected many of these little bits of Jesus, she did not know what to do with them. So she brought them home and created a little altar in her room where she could pray to Jesus. Her parents thought it was nice that she had the little altar with a vote light burning in front of Jesus. Finally, one morning the priest caught her collecting bits of the Eucharist from the floor. Greatly embarrassed, she tried to explain what she was doing. The priest who understood how young people can become obsessive, took the plastic bag from her and promised that he would wash it out in the special sacristy think. But, Martha, he said, Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist to be with us because he loves us, not to drive us crazy with fears. If he was worried about such things he would have consecrated jelly beans at the last super. That cured her
(painting: Andrei Rublev, Christ the Redeemer, 1410)



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Reading 1 2 KGS 4:42-44

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
and fresh grain in the ear.
Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.”
But his servant objected,
“How can I set this before a hundred people?”
Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.”
“For thus says the LORD,
‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'”
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
as the LORD had said.

Responsorial Psalm 145:10-11, 15-18

R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Reading 2 EPH 4:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

Alleluia LK 7:16

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has risen in our midst.
God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves
that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.



The cycle of gospel stories continues to report the signs and wonders that Jesus worked on either side of the Sea of Galilee, today the stunning miracle of the loaves and fishes which, in St. John’s Gospel towards the end of the first century has strong Eucharistic overtones. Somehow Jesus managed to feed thousands with five loaves of bread and two fishes, a phenomenon which many in the crowd misunderstood so completely that they wanted to mobilize and army and march on Jerusalem. The point of today’s Gospel is less that Jesus fed five thousand but that the notion of a political messiah was so strong in Jewish culture that it blinded people to what he had accomplished. This error continues in our own time among those people who use religion to advance a political agenda.


Once upon a time there was a good Catholic layman who wanted to run for political office so that he could clean up politics and eliminate political corruption. He had some money of his own and some affluent friends so he was able to organize a campaign. He refused the help of all the politicians. He denounced waste and graft. He promised to cut the budgets of all his departments and get rid of the loafers and the time servers. He denounced special interest groups and rejected all endorsements from activists. He was, he argued, an honest and upright man, he deserved to hold public office and once he was elected no politically ambitious men and women would serve in his administration. As a good Catholic we would clean up all the messes. He did not pretend to understand such matters as budget and taxes. A man with integrity and virtue would solve those problems by cutting both across the board. He became bitterly angry at the media folks when they asked him whether he was not exploiting religion because he had no political skills. A religious man, he snapped, doesn’t need political skills. He was buried in the primary. “The public does not want virtuous politicians,” he protested in his last public statement. All they want is weak-kneed compromisers. Politics should be about virtue, not compromise.”





Reading 1 JER 23:1-6

Woe to the shepherds
who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture,
says the LORD.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
against the shepherds who shepherd my people:
You have scattered my sheep and driven them away.
You have not cared for them,
but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.
I myself will gather the remnant of my flock
from all the lands to which I have driven them
and bring them back to their meadow;
there they shall increase and multiply.
I will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them
so that they need no longer fear and tremble;
and none shall be missing, says the LORD.Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
as king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
“The LORD our justice.”

Responsorial Psalm 23:1-6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
with your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading 2 EPH 2:13-18

Brothers and sisters:
In Christ Jesus you who once were far off
have become near by the blood of Christ.For he is our peace, he who made both one
and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh,
abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two,
thus establishing peace,
and might reconcile both with God,
in one body, through the cross,
putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off
and peace to those who were near,
for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Alleluia JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 6:30-34

The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.



I have always hoped that someone would unearth the whole catena of Martha/Mary/Lazarus stories of which this one and the raising of Lazarus story in St. John’s Gospel are the only ones we have. The two stories enable us to see Jesus in a family context, in domestic scenes, with people that he loved and loved him. The parents of the three presumably were dead because we hear nothing about them. They are also likely to be in their early or middle teens because they are not married. The two girls were clearly in love with Jesus and he treated their crushes with respect and affection. Were they people who actually existed? It would be hard to deny that because the stories presume that those who read the Gospels know all about them. Jesus is not saying that one should not wait on guests. He is rather saying that more important than waiting on them is enjoying them and loving them. We should never be so busy that we have no time for love.


Once upon a time a mommy had such a wonderful time on her vacation that she decided that on the last weekend she would have a party for the neighbors at their summer place in gratitude for what good friends they had been. She hoped that she could do that every summer. Let’s have pizza her kids said –as kids always say. We can grill some hamburgers, her husband said, that’s easy (which is what he always said). No, said the mommy, we should have a really NICE dinner (which is what she always said. The rest of the family groaned to themselves because they knew what that meant – a whole day of hard work for everyone during which the mommy would act like it wasn’t her idea but theirs and now they weren’t helping enough. The rest of the family thought that beef bourgeon was a little much for a summer dinner. There was no reason to clean up the house like it was just before Christmas. If they had to have Caesar salad, couldn’t you make it out of a bag. Was it really necessary to bake potatoes? Wouldn’t potato salad be just as good? Couldn’t you buy the apple pies at the bakery instead of making a half dozen of them? And what was wrong with package pie crust? Well, the party was a feast which everyone enjoyed. They would have enjoyed it a lot more, however, if the mommy wasn’t so worn out that she didn’t have any fun.

Image: Christ as the Good Shepherd, mosaic, 5th c. Galla Placidia Mausoleum, Ravenna

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Reading 1 AM 7:12-15

Amaziah, priest of Bethel, said to Amos,
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

Responsorial Psalm 85:9-14

R. (8) Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD —for he proclaims peace.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.
The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and prepare the way of his steps.
R. Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.

Reading 2 EPH 1:3-14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world,
to be holy and without blemish before him.
In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ,
in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood,
the forgiveness of transgressions,
in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.
In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us
the mystery of his will in accord with his favor
that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times,
to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him we were also chosen,
destined in accord with the purpose of the One
who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will,
so that we might exist for the praise of his glory,
we who first hoped in Christ.
In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

Alleluia EPH 1:17-18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope that
belongs to our call.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.



It can hardly be said that your typical up-to-date parish travels light. It has voice mail and a computer web page and seventy or so organizations and several committee meetings and a full parking lot every night and big athletic and drama programs and a large lay staff and a budget that runs to six or even seven figures every year. It’s not exactly the sort of community you could pick up and move across the country at a moment’s notice. None of this is necessarily bad. However today’s liturgy reminds us once again that we must not permit ourselves to become so deeply involved with out means as to forget our ends. Which are . . .?


Once upon a time a family was packing their huge and dangerous SUV for a two week vacation. There were two parents, two big kids, two smaller kids and one gorgeous little five month old baby girl who gurgled and smiled at everyone. There were a lot of things to pack into the SUV – the beach toys for the small kids (which would have filled an ordinary car) the sports equipment for the big boy who could go on vacation unless he was prepared for basketball, baseball, football and soccer, and clothes for the older girl and the mom who could only travel with enough clothes so they would be ready for a week of formal dinners and dances. As they piled stuff into the SUV the mother gave the baby in her car seat to the big girl who put her on the lawn next to the van. Well, eventually the SUV was loaded and there was just enough room for the family to climb in. They’d gone two miles when the mother counted noses and came up one short, one tiny baby nose. I won’t recount th fights as they raced back to find the baby. They pulled into the driveway and found the baby’s car seat EMPTY! They were about to call the police when two teen age girls from the house next door appeared with the baby who was grinning and smiling and gurgling happily. “We saw her out there in her car seat and figured we’d take care of her till you came back.” They made room for the car seat in all the other mess. The baby smiled contentedly and promptly went to sleep. It was a quiet ride to the lake.

(image: Coptic icon and oldest known image of Christ)

Thomas Merton Marian Poetry: The Flight into Egypt



The Flight into Egypt by Thomas Merton

Through every precinct of the wintry city
Squadroned iron resounds upon the streets;
Herod’s police
Make shudder the dark steps of the tenements
At the business about to be done.

Neither look back upon Thy starry country,
Nor hear what rumors crowd across the dark
Where blood runs down those holy walls,
Nor frame a childish blessing with Thy hand
Towards that fiery spiral of exulting souls!

Go, Child of God, upon the singing desert,
Where, with eyes of flame,
The roaming lion keeps thy road from harm.

(painting: Black Madonna of Tindari ©2018 Alfred Eaker)



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Reading 1 EZ 2:2-5

As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,
rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day.
Hard of face and obstinate of heart
are they to whom I am sending you.
But you shall say to them: Thus says the LORD GOD!
And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Responsorial Psalm 123:1-4

R. (2cd) Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
To you I lift up my eyes
who are enthroned in heaven —
As the eyes of servants
are on the hands of their masters.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
As the eyes of a maid
are on the hands of her mistress,
So are our eyes on the LORD, our God,
till he have pity on us.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.
Have pity on us, O LORD, have pity on us,
for we are more than sated with contempt;
our souls are more than sated
with the mockery of the arrogant,
with the contempt of the proud.
R. Our eyes are fixed on the Lord, pleading for his mercy.

Reading 2 2 COR 12:7-10

Brothers and sisters:
That I, Paul, might not become too elated,
because of the abundance of the revelations,
a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan,
to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.
Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me,
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness.”
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Alleluia LK 4:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue,
and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this?
What kind of wisdom has been given him?
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands!
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?
And are not his sisters here with us?”
And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them,
“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there,
apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.
He was amazed at their lack of faith.



Mark in his simple yet vivid style thrusts us back into the early days of the preaching of Jesus when he was still a mystery even to those who knew him, but a rather simple mystery. The mystery would only deepen with time, but eventually no one asked him any more who he thought he was. It had become clear that he thought he was someone extraordinary, special unique, like the prophet we hear in the first reading, but even more special. Even today we try to put labels on him, to claim him for our side, but it doesn’t work. He continues to be utterly transparent and yet utterly mysterious. Take the mystery out of Jesus and what remains, however impressive, is not Jesus any more.


Once back in the nineteen forties there was this very popular and very intelligent priest who presided over a certain suburban parish. The people loved him because he was urbane and sympathetic and kind and preached a fine sermon, as the homily was called in those days. He was quite famous nationally too because he was the head of a band of crackpots who wanted the Mass in English and facing the people with lay people actually reading the epistle (in those days there were only two readings). His fellow priests dismissed him as likeable but a little mad. These crazy ideas were a bit of an embarrassment to his people, but somehow they fit with his slightly quirky(as they saw it) character. Priests and people, however, agreed that nothing would ever come from his odd ideas. Some folks said he was a little ahead of his time, maybe a hundred years. But they knew him very well, so in his own diocese and his own parish and among his own people, no one thought him a prophet. In fact they kind of laughed at him behind his back. As it was, he lived to see all his ideas become reality. He laughed a lot too. Moral: listen to your crazy monsignors, they may be prophets

(painting Fr. Sieger Koder “Jesus rejected at Nazareth”)



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Reading 1 WIS Q:13-15, 2:23-24

God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
nor any domain of the netherworld on earth,
for justice is undying.
For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who belong to his company experience it.

Responsorial Psalm 30:2, 4-6,11-13

R. (2a) I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
R. I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

Reading 2 2 COR 8:7, 9.13-15

Brothers and sisters:
As you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse,
knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you,
may you excel in this gracious act also.For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your abundance at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their abundance may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less

Alleluia 2 TM 1:10

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Jesus Christ destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MK 5:21-43

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat
to the other side,
a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years.
She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors
and had spent all that she had.
Yet she was not helped but only grew worse.
She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd
and touched his cloak.
She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up.
She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him,
turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?”
But his disciples said to Jesus,
“You see how the crowd is pressing upon you,
and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?'”
And he looked around to see who had done it.
The woman, realizing what had happened to her,
approached in fear and trembling.
She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you.
Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside
except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official,
he caught sight of a commotion,
people weeping and wailing loudly.
So he went in and said to them,
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
And they ridiculed him.
Then he put them all out.
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.



Mark continues to pile up miracles. First the storm on the lake, now two cures. Are these “real” miracles? Did Jesus really reverse the forces of nature or did the woman’s confidence in Jesus cure her and was the little girl only in a deep sleep, a coma? Those are modern skeptical questions. Jesus worked signs and wonders, generally not spectacular ones, to show that God was present among his people. The little girl would die eventually anyway, the woman’s flow of blood with end eventually. The storm may have ended as quickly as it started. Did not Jesus only postpone death for all those involved in these signs? The point in the stories is that everyone had great faith in Jesus’ power and love.


Once upon a time a little girl, very little in this case, was hit by a car backing out of her family’s garage. She had been playing where she had been told repeatedly not to play. She lay on the ground like a lifeless doll. They picked her up and rushed her to the emergency room at the hospital. A young intern looked at the child, frowned, and said, “how did this happen?” We want to see a real doctor? Her parents said. I am a real doctor. What’s her name? Elizabeth. The doctor touched her cheek and said, “Elizabeth, wake up!” Nothing happened. Her big brother said we call her Lizzie. “Lizzie, dear, wake up now.” Lizzie opened her eyes, frowned and closed them again, “Come on Lizzie, wake up.” She did and smiled at her mommy, “I fall down!” She had a concussion the doctor said. We just woke her up. We’ll keep her here till we do some tests and then we’ll send her home. It’s a miracle, the mommy said. In a way it is, the young doctor said. If she’d been a bit closer to the car, she would have been killed. Miracles like this happen all the time.”

(painting: William Blake ‘Christ Raising Jairus’ Daughter’ 1800)

Evaluations Silva Life System as presented by Fr. Justin Belitz, O.F.M. Indianapolis, Indiana


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Silva Life System

as presented by

Fr. Justin Belitz, O.F.M.

Indianapolis, Indiana

June 23 and 24, 2018

Fr. Justin Belitz. O.F.M., the Founding Director of The Franciscan Hermitage in Indianapolis, Indiana, conducted a workshop in Indianapolis, Indiana on the Silva Life System for 29 participants on June 23 and 24, 2018. At the time of tabulation, 19 evaluations were summarized. The following is a report based upon the replies.

Silva Life System 

June 23 and 24, 2018

Fr. Justin Belitz, O.F.M. 

Indianapolis, indiana

Satisfaction Items


Question 1 2 3 4 5 No  response Average
What is your impression of the program? 0










0 4.94
How well did this program relate to your personal role? 0










0 4.95
How clearly were the concepts presented? 0










0 4.84
To what degree did you find it useful in your spiritual life? 0










0 4.89

Age of Respondents

1-22 23-30 31-45 46-60 61-72 72+ No response
1 (6%) 1 (6%) 1 (6%) 4 (22%) 7 (39%) 4 (22%) 1

Sex of Respondents

Male Female No response
1 (5%) 18 (95%) 0

Religious Affiliation

Protestant Catholic Jewish None Other No response
2 (12%) 11 (65%) 0 (0%) 1 (6%) 3 (18%) 2


  • Retired-5
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Software Product Mgr.
  • Primary Caretaker
  • Law
  • Educator
  • Student
  • Professor
  • IT
  • LCSW
  • Consultant/trainer

What happened that was most helpful?

  • “There’s a hope for a wretched soul like me,” (Amazing Grace). I enjoyed the class so much. It has changed my life.
  • The laboratory exercise and the mirror exercise. Very powerful healing experiences.
  • Learning all the techniques to visualize success and health. Learning that we are all connected and our thoughts create reality.
  • Understanding to use meditation to project healing for others even though they have not asked, and their choice to accept.
  • Reminded me I am not alone and there are people there to help me.
  • To be able to look into myself and find more potential to grow.
  • Sharing of success stories, meeting Fr. Justin, a positive connection with other like-minded individuals, lastly, the group conditioning sessions.
  • All strategies used for meditation.
  • I had prayed to God our Father for help. I was desperate. A few days later I received LuLu’s email about the class. I accidently found my certificate with the ID numbers. It was God’s intervention, mercy, and grace that I am here and changed. God bless Fr. Justin and of course, LuLu.
  • Realization of whole new dimension of life that includes the power of the spiritual and connection to the spiritual world. This work has opened up a dimension of life that has not been very present. I feel like I have been introduced but need to continue and expand this relationship. I am grateful for this awareness and hope to open more doors.
  • The meditations and Father Justin’s voice was very helpful. Some exercises I was afraid of such as the lab and counsellors but it was good in practice. 
  • Repeated guided meditation.
  • My intention Saturday AM was to release any/all blocks I have held onto that cloud my joy. All the processes worked.
  • His stories and openness. He is genuine and well-versed on the subject. Great job!
  • Confirmation and development of pre-existing abilities. 
  • Healing hand.
  • Have taken Silva before but feel I got more out of it this time.
  • Review of materials.
  • All the content.

What changes would you suggest for improvement?

  • Spread the class out a few days or weeks to give enough time for practical absorption and beginners’ practice experiences.
  • Nothing.
  • Maybe have new students skim through the packet at the beginning of the first class.
  • Comfy chairs. Hard to meditate when my body is falling asleep.
  • I can’t imagine how it could get any better.
  • More comfortable chairs.
  • Slow down a bit.
  • Reduce the 1 1/2 hour break. It would actualy end up one hour, forty minutes.
  • More oreos! 
  • The chairs are uncomfortable when used for extended periods.
  • Lunch here for all to share and continue momentum.
  • ?
  • It is very good.

How did the program improve your relationship with yourself?

  • See above. “The laboratory” has already become a place of comfort. It is so wonderful.
  • It made me see myself “more clearly” and authentically and real. I accept myself where I am so I can move into miracles.
  • Helped me be at peace knowing I can control everything I think.
  • Helped me to dig deep to determine my true friends’ wants–healthy relationship with family.
  • I feel more at one with myself, more accepting of the changes I was unsure about.
  • By looking deep inside to see how I can improve.
  • Reawaken some aspects of program.
  • Challenges me to study and implement further changes.
  • With yourself I decided to change negative habits to positive and healthy actions.
  • I learned a lot about myself and how to connect with the spirit.
  • I am more open to the third and fourth dimension. I no longer want to live flat and no longer afraid of getting older.
  • Increased my belief that intention and spirit can affect change in the material plane.
  • Taking back my energy physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual and applying it to me, then allowing the overflow to go to others.
  • This was a refresher, a much needed boost to my practice.
  • Changing energy.
  • Comfort/support/direction and prayer.
  • Gave me a more positive outlook in self, health, and life.
  • More enlightening and understanding and tolerant of people.
  • All the information.

Additional Comment

  • A blessing to all. It is a blessing in my life.

Thomas Merton Marian Poetry: The Quickening of John the Baptist



The Quickening of John the Baptist

Thomas Merton

Why do you fly from the drowned shores of Galilee,
From the sands and the lavender water?
Why do you leave the ordinary world, Virgin of Nazareth,
The yellow fishing boats, the farms,
The winesmelling yards and low cellars
Or the oilpress, and the women by the well?
Why do you fly those markets,
Those suburban gardens,
The trumpets of the jealous lilies,
Leaving them all, lovely among the lemon trees?

You have trusted no town
With the news behind your eyes.
You have drowned Gabriel’s word in thoughts like seas
And turned toward the stone mountain
To the treeless places.
Virgin of God, why are your clothes like sails?

The day Our Lady, full of Christ,
Entered the dooryard of her relative
Did not her steps, light steps, lay on the paving leaves
like gold?
Did not her eyes as grey as doves
Alight like the peace of a new world upon that house, upon
miraculous Elizabeth?

Her salutation
Sings in the stone valley like a Charterhouse bell:
And the unborn saint John
Wakes in his mother’s body,
Bounds with the echoes of discovery.

Sing in your cell, small anchorite!
How did you see her in the eyeless dark?
What secret syllable
Woke your young faith to the mad truth
That an unborn baby could be washed in the Spirit of God?
Oh burning joy!

What seas of life were planted by that voice!
With what new sense
Did your wise heart receive her Sacrament,
And know her cloistered Christ?

You need no eloquence, wild bairn,
Exulting in your hermitage.
Your ecstasy is your apostolate,
For whom to kick is contemplata tradere.
Your joy is the vocation of Mother Church’s hidden children –
Those who by vow lie buried in the cloister or the hermitage;
The speechless Trappist, or the grey, granite Carthusian,
The quiet Carmelite, the barefoot Clare, Planted in the night of
contemplation, Sealed in the dark and waiting to be born.

Night is our diocese and silence is our ministry
Poverty our charity and helplessness our tongue-tied
Beyond the scope of sight or sound we dwell upon the air
Seeking the world’s gain in an unthinkable experience.
We are exiles in the far end of solitude, living as listeners
With hearts attending to the skies we cannot understand:
Waiting upon the first far drums of Christ the Conqueror,
Planted like sentinels upon the world’s frontier.

But in the days, rare days, when our Theotokos
Flying the prosperous world
Appears upon our mountain with her clothes like sails,
Then, like the wise, wild baby,
The unborn John who could not see a thing
We wake and know the Virgin Presence
Receive her Christ into our night
With stabs of an intelligence as white as lightning.

Cooled in the flame of God’s dark fire
Washed in His gladness like a vesture of new flame
We burn like eagles in His invincible awareness
And bound and bounce with happiness,
Leap in the womb, our cloud, our faith, our element,
Our contemplation, our anticipated heaven
Till Mother Church sings like an Evangelist.

Painting: Black Madonna of Regla (Ode of the Theotokos/The Visitation) ©2018 Alfred Eaker