READINGS FOR SUNDAY JULY 16, 2017 WITH HOMILY (Greeley)

Tags

, , , ,

Fifteenth Sunday in ordinary time

Reading 1 is 55: 10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm 65:10-14

R. (Lk 8:8) The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have visited the land and watered it;
greatly have you enriched it.
God’s watercourses are filled;
you have prepared the grain.
R. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows,
breaking up its clods,
Softening it with showers,
blessing its yield.
R. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
You have crowned the year with your bounty,
and your paths overflow with a rich harvest;
The untilled meadows overflow with it,
and rejoicing clothes the hills.
R. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.
The fields are garmented with flocks
and the valleys blanketed with grain.
They shout and sing for joy.
R. The seed that falls on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.

Reading 2 rom 8: 18-23

Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The seed is the word of God, Christ is the sower.
All who come to him will have life forever.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mt 13: 1-23

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The disciples approached him and said,
“Why do you speak to them in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:
You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted,
and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people
longed to see what you see but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

“Hear then the parable of the sower.
The seed sown on the path is the one
who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it,
and the evil one comes and steals away
what was sown in his heart.
The seed sown on rocky ground
is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy.
But he has no root and lasts only for a time.
When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word,
he immediately falls away.
The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word,
but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word
and it bears no fruit.
But the seed sown on rich soil
is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”

Andrew Greeley homily (on today’s gospel, from july 2005)

Emil Nolde “The Prophet” (1912)

 

 

Background:

For the next several Sundays we will hear parables in St. Matthew’s gospel. The parables, powerful stories with a single disconcerting and challenging point, were Jesus’s favorite way of teach and, according to many scholars, reveal the religious experience of Jesus, his insight into the Father in heaven. Parables demand thought and are often hard to understand. Both this Sunday and next Sunday, in the two parables of the sower (which may be different versions of the same parable) are part of a tradition of parables of reassurance, of encouragement, of confidence. They are paralleled by another tradition of parables of warning, of challenge, of urgency. The trouble with parables is that they are disturbing, baffling, puzzling. To try to explain a parable is to deprive it of its fire and fury, of its power and intensity. Even the earliest Christians, however, tried to tame the parables of Jesus. Thus the allegorical (a meaning attached to each event instead of a single powerful and disturbing meaning) interpretation of the stories this week and next week is something that Jesus, good story teller that he was, would have never attempted. Rather in an early stage of the Christian tradition this explanation was added to Jesus’s original story. The allegory is not “wrong” but it does deprive the story today of its most powerful meaning: the word of God, God’s people, God’s church, God’s invitation to each of us can overcome any obstacle. That is, when one thinks about it, a very disturbing notion because it demands total faith in God’s word and Her eventual triumph.

Story:

Once upon a time there were two commodity brokers. One of them dashed on to the floor of the exchange and cornered the other. “Sell!” he shouted. “Sell.” Why his partner asked him. “Because I’ve got this top secret weather report. Despite the poor beginning of the season with all the rain and the cold weather, this is going to be a bumper harvest, the biggest ever. We’re going to have grain pouring out of our ears in this place.” That was an odd thing to say because there never was any grain in the exchange, not these days. The second man glanced at the weather report – it looked very official – and noted that it did indeed predict a perfect summer for the crops. If it was true those who were buying grain now, going long, would lose tons of money and the short sellers could make a fortune. “Go short! Sell now! It’s a sure thing.” Where did you get this, his friend asked. “Don’t ask. I haven’t broken any laws, but this is a sure thing. You can make a fortune!” The second man nodded. I see your point he said. “Then sell! Now!” But the second man was unwilling to take a chance. He stopped buying grain. But he didn’t sell either. Then when the first crop reports came in, the bottom dropped out of the grain market. Our friend didn’t lose much money but he didn’t make much either. He consoled himself with the thought that one should never bet on a sure thing, even if it turns out to be sure.

READINGS FOR SUNDAY JULY 9, 2017 WITH HOMILY From Fr. Andrew Greeley

Tags

, , , , ,

Fourteenth Sunday in ordinary time

Reading 1 zec 9:9-10

Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you;
a just savior is he,
meek, and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the foal of an ass.
He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim,
and the horse from Jerusalem;
the warrior’s bow shall be banished,
and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.
His dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm 145:1-2, 8-11, 13-14

R. (cf. 1) I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.
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. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R.  Alleluia.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and holy in all his works.
The LORD lifts up all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
R. I will praise your name for ever, my king and my God.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 rom 8:9, 11-13

Brothers and sisters:
You are not in the flesh;
on the contrary, you are in the spirit,
if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
the one who raised Christ from the dead
will give life to your mortal bodies also,
through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Consequently, brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.

Alleluia mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mt 11:25-30

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

Fr. Andrew Greeley Homily on todays’s gospel (from 2014)

Background:

 

Some think that Jesus told this parable of the harvest at harvest time, perhaps in response to a remark from one of his followers about the fields being ready for the harvest. It is altogether possible because while there was a chronic oversupply of labor during most of the year in the Palestine of those days, there was an equally chronic shortage of workers during the harvest season when farmers had to get their crops out of the field before they either withered in the hot winds or were washed away by early rain and hail. The metaphor would fit the message of Jesus perfect: now is a time of great opportunity. Dependent as he is on human helpers, Jesus needs co-workers desperately. This could be a gospel story that suggests that we need more priests and nuns (and of course we do) but it also and more importantly suggests that we are all coworkers of Jesus and he needs the help of all of us in his harvest.

Story:

Once upon a time there was a family which loved to garden, the mommy and the daddy and the two sons and the one daughter worked in the garden from the time the kids were little. They all enjoyed working together and shared pride in the beauty which resulted from their work (Well, this is only a story!). Everyone in their neighborhood admired the garden. The whole family was very proud of that admiration. The family that gardens together bears fruit together said the daddy who liked to mix metaphors. Then once summer, when all the Shakespeare movies were popular their city sponsored a Shakespeare garden contest, the first prize for which was five tickets for a trip to Stratford where Shakespeare grew up. The mommy and the daddy thought it was a wonderful idea. We’ll certainly win the prize said the mommy. It’s a better risk than the lottery said the daddy. Get real said the three kids who were not teens. No way we’re going to win. No way we’re going to work in the garden all summer. It’s geeky. It’s bad for my manicure said the daughter. REALLY! They all said together. Well, the mommy and the daddy went ahead anyhow because they still loved to garden. A lot of people in the neighborhood came over to help, but the three teens said they were all geeks. Anyway, you know what happened? Sure you do, they won first prize. Did the mommy and the daddy let the kids come to Stratford with them? WELL, they shouldn’t have

 

Creation Spirituality by Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M.

Tags

, , , ,

Creation Spirituality by Fr. Justin Belitz O.F.M.

Spirituality is simply “The way you relate.” Every day you are relating – to yourself, to others, to things, to life experiences, to God, etc. My experience, however, is that most people do not pay attention to HOW they relate.

Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, the saints and holy people of all major religious, as well as indigenous peoples related to all of creation as the expression of ONE Divine, Cosmic, and Unconditional Love Energy. This Energy they referred to as God.

Today, this way of relating is referred to as Creation Spirituality. In this model all creation is ONE. God, for example, is identified as the Love Energy that produces and sustains all of creation. That means we humans are connected in this Love Energy. The human race is indeed ONE FAMILY. If you relate to the universe this way, you will relate to every human being as a brother or sister.

At present, scientists tell us that 13.7 billion years ago there was a cosmic explosion called the Big Bang. From this single point emerged all of creation – 100 billion galaxies. Inside each of these galaxies there are 100 billion stars. In our own galaxy, the Milky Way, there are also 100 billion stars. One of these is our sun.

So where is God in this enormous reality? God is the Intelligence that permeates every part and every aspect of creation. The Universe is expanding all the time but the expansion rate is absolutely perfect. If we were to alter the expansion rate 1 millionth of 1 percent, the entire universe would collapse. God is the intelligence that orchestrates this magnificent reality. God is not outside of the universe directing traffic. God is the moving energy that is within the cosmos supporting and sustaining every part of this glorious creation.

Please note that all parts of the cosmos work together to create a vast network that is impossible for us humans to comprehend fully. In cosmic reality, everyone and everything is of equal importance. This is a model that creates “power with” everyone and everything. This way of relating is call Creation Spirituality.

When applied to human beings, the Creation Model imagines God as Divine Love Energy. Unconditional Love Energy is what creates, and sustains in existence, every living being, including the human race.

In an effort to understand God and to find a way to talk about God, the ancient Hebrews thought of God as “breath”. The Hebrew word “Ruach” when pronounced correctly sounds like breath, ‘Ruach’. Ruach cannot be construed as a person. It is a force. The Hebrews compared it to wind because it can be felt and experienced, but it cannot be seen. In this metaphor God is seen as the force we call Life.

This Life Principle is ONE. Life Energy is the same in all living things: plants, animals, and humans. This Love Energy is given freely and equally throughout the cosmos. There is no hierarchy in Love Energy. All are equally blessed with this gift. As Scripture says: God makes the sun shine on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust Mt. 5:45. In this Creation Model of relating, all parts of creation are of equal value and together they share the Unlimited Power we call God.

When you imagine God as ONE Divine Life Energy, then you know that we are connected to every other living being. You realize we all share the same Energy that created and sustains us. With this understanding follows the principle: When I generate and project Love Energy, I generate and multiply that same Energy within me, AND in the external world. When I radiate and share Unconditional Love, I feel joyful and happy AND I become an instrument of God for making our world a more loving place. In this reality I am a co-creator with God!

In the same way that we cannot separate the dance from the dancer or the music from the orchestra, so too we cannot separate anyone or anything from God. We are all ONE.

Because we are connected to all living things in the Universe, we cannot attack another living being, without attacking ourselves. Imagine Frank refusing to talk to his brother, Gus. Frank intends his action to be a punishment for Gus but in fact, Frank is punishing himself. His negative energy will have a negative effect on his life and even on his physical wellbeing.

In the 21st Century, the Creation Model of Spirituality is becoming more common in religions institutions. In the Catholic Church, for example, a gathering of all the bishops of the world met in Rome from 1962 to 1965. This meeting was called the 2nd Vatican Council. It was an ecumenical meeting, which means that
Representatives of other religions were invited and participated. The purpose of this gathering was to help the Catholic Church (and our world) to get back to the Spirituality of Jesus, which is the Creation Model – one that leads to unity.

One of the major ideas of the 2nd Vatican Council is this: Truth is infinite. Because the material world is limited, no one person or institution can have all the truth. Therefore the Council suggested that Catholics share their understanding of the Truth with other denominations. BUT it also suggested that they be open to the expressions of Truth from other religious traditions. This kind of thinking can help organized religion move toward unity, understanding, love and compassion.

800 years ago, St Francis created a movement (not an institution). His little community was known as the band of “Little Brothers”. In his mind, all of the Brothers were of equal importance. All had a voice in governing the community. Those is positions of leadership were called “Ministers” and were to carry out the directives of the Brothers and to serve the needs of the brothers.

Soon after Francis formed the “Little Brothers” the leadership of the Church demanded that Francis create an institution. Over many years, like most institutions, the Creation Model of Spirituality got lost and the ideal of Francis suffered contamination in the form of a hierarchal model of spirituality.

In 1978, the Franciscan Province of the Sacred Heart (to which I belong) followed the directives of the 2nd Vatican Council and went back to the ideal of Francis. The Friars gathered all members of the Province for a full week of meetings. With the help of a professional facilitator WE (the rank and file) decided what the priorities and the direction of the province would be. After that we elected our leaders and told them: “This is your agenda.” The body of the province once more took over the leadership of the community and gave direction to those in positions of authority. The leaders now are in the role of “Servant Leadership.” Leadership is once again in the hands of the community.

In the Creation Model, “Servant Leadership” is the ideal not the “Hierarchical Model” so common in the business world. As you well know, in business the people at the top tell the people down below what to do. It is a “power over” model, not a “power with” model.

At present, there is a huge movement toward Servant Leadership in business. In Atlanta, GA there is a center called Greenleaf Servant Leadership. This organization is training young and old, experienced and inexperienced individuals, in both the theory and practice of Servant Leadership. In this model executives are “servants” not “bosses”. In this model, the purpose of leadership is to create equal relationships among all the employees. Businesses using servant leadership have contented workers who are more productive than the average employee. In this model, employees have a voice in how the company is run. Wages are spread equally throughout the company and employees are dedicated, motivated, and happy.

The Creation Model of relating is also being taught by the Scientific Community. Quantum Physics is proving that the Cosmos in which we live is truly a mystery!
Laboratory investigations show conclusively that all reality is ONE. When anyone thinks a thought, the energy of that thought vibrates throughout the Universe. Human thoughts can and do effect physical reality. Science tells us that because of our ability to think, we are truly co-creators of our world. We are not, and cannot be, alone and separate from the Cosmos. We are the Cosmos.

The Creation Model in the 21st Century is effecting people and institutions all over the world. Consider number of countries over the past 50 years that have moved into democratic models of governance. The British Colonial System is completely gone and in its place are independent countries. Today hundreds of thousands of people are leaving countries of dictatorship and violence to find homes in countries where there is equality, understanding and peace.

When you understand the true reality of the Creation Model of Spirituality – that
we are all one, one with each other, one with God, one with the Cosmos, and one with all of nature, – your thoughts will change, your perception will change, and your expression of reality will change, all in the direction of Universal Love.

READINGS FOR SUNDAY JULY 2, 2017 WITH REFLECTIONS FROM FR. ANDREW GREELEY

Tags

, , ,

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 2 kgs 4:8-11, 14-16

One day Elisha came to Shunem,
where there was a woman of influence, who urged him to dine with her.
Afterward, whenever he passed by, he used to stop there to dine.
So she said to her husband, “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God.
Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof
and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp,
so that when he comes to us he can stay there.”
Sometime later Elisha arrived and stayed in the room overnight.

Later Elisha asked, “Can something be done for her?”
His servant Gehazi answered, “Yes!
She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years.”
Elisha said, “Call her.”
When the woman had been called and stood at the door,
Elisha promised, “This time next year
you will be fondling a baby son.”

Responsorial Psalm 89:2-13,16-19

R. (2a) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The promises of the LORD I will sing forever,
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever;”
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Blessed the people who know the joyful shout;
in the light of your countenance, O LORD, they walk.
At your name they rejoice all the day,
and through your justice they are exalted.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
You are the splendor of their strength,
and by your favor our horn is exalted.
For to the LORD belongs our shield,
and the Holy One of Israel, our king.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 rom 6:3-4, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.

If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all;
as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.

Alleluia 1 ptr 2:9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation;
announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel mt 10:37-42

Jesus said to his apostles:
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross
and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it,
and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me,
and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet
will receive a prophet’s reward,
and whoever receives a righteous man
because he is a righteous man
will receive a righteous man’s reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones to drink
because the little one is a disciple—
amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”

Fr. Andrew Greeley Homily (from 2002)

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time MT 10:37-42

Background: Today’s reading concludes Matthew’s account of Jesus’ second discourse, the great missionary discourse in which Jesus instructs his twelve disciples. Both the cost and the reward of the commitment required of a disciple are noted. No one and nothing must be more important than commitment to Jesus. The unity of the family of Jesus is more important than the unity of the natural family. Even the shameful death of the cross is not too high a price to pay if one is to be a true disciple. However there is a positive side to discipleship. Those who receive Jesus receive the one who sent Him. So, too, those who help the “little ones” who are the messengers of Jesus are receiving Jesus. The final words of this selection are addressed to the crowd, a device Matthew uses to put the reader of the gospel into the crowd listening to Jesus.

Story:

Once upon a time there was a kind of worthless teenage boy. I mean he never did much wrong, but he never did much right either. He got the kind of grades which would just barely get him into college. He helped out around the house only when he had to. He loafed on his job, doing only enough so that he wouldn’t get fired. He was a good athlete, but he never went out for any of the teams. He avoided all school projects. Everyone said he was lazy. He didn’t deny that he was. He defended himself by saying that life was boring. He spent all his time reading adventure stories and romances which weren’t boring. The priest in his parish said that he was one of the best young men of the XIII century. He told the priest that he wished he had a time machine so he could so back to that century and serenade lovely damsels on their balconies at night. WELL, on3 spring he announced he was going to South America for the summer as a volunteer to work with the poor people up in the mountains. W! hat good will you do for them, his mother said. It’s a waste of time his father said, you should be home earning money for your college tuition. It’s really BORING work said his teachers. It’s not medieval Saville, said the priest. Everyone told him not to go. His parents practically forbid him to go and refused to pay for his plane fare. He took all the money from presents out of his account and went anyway. What happened? Well, the people in the mountain village where he worked loved him, especially because as they said they never knew anyone who worked so hard. The priests reported back to his parish priest that this kid was one of the finest human beings they had ever known. He returned home his eyes glowing with excitement. He didn’t care what anyone said. He would return next summer.

READINGS FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2017 WITH FR. ANDREW GREELEY HOMILY

Tags

, , ,

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1 JER 20:10-13

Jeremiah said:
“I hear the whisperings of many:
‘Terror on every side!
Denounce! let us denounce him!’
All those who were my friends
are on the watch for any misstep of mine.
‘Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail,
and take our vengeance on him.’
But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion:
my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.
In their failure they will be put to utter shame,
to lasting, unforgettable confusion.
O LORD of hosts, you who test the just,
who probe mind and heart,
let me witness the vengeance you take on them,
for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the LORD,
praise the LORD,
for he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the wicked!”

Responsorial Psalm 69: 8-10, 14, 17 33-35

R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
For your sake I bear insult,
and shame covers my face.
I have become an outcast to my brothers,
a stranger to my children,
Because zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness;
in your great mercy turn toward me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.
Let the heavens and the earth praise him,
the seas and whatever moves in them!”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Reading 2 ROM 5:12-15

Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned—
for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world,
though sin is not accounted when there is no law.
But death reigned from Adam to Moses,
even over those who did not sin
after the pattern of the trespass of Adam,
who is the type of the one who was to come.

But the gift is not like the transgression.
For if by the transgression of the one the many died,
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ
overflow for the many.

Alleluia JN15:26-27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord;
and you also will testify.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 10:26-33

Jesus said to the Twelve:
“Fear no one.
Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light;
what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul;
rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy
both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin?
Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.
Even all the hairs of your head are counted.
So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Everyone who acknowledges me before others
I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.
But whoever denies me before others,
I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Fr. Andrew Greeley Homily on Mt 10:26-33, from 2005

Background: We now have returned after a long hiatus to our year long reading of St. Matthew’s Gospel. Today’s Gospel continues a theme we have heard often in June -there is no reason to be afraid. God loves us, Jesus loves us, we are of infinite worth because of that love. Nothing, no threats, no evil tongues, no sickness, no failures, no disasters can separate us from that love. It is one thing of course to profess this faith, which we can easily do, trippingly on our lips and another thing to live that way. In today’s Gospel Jesus offers us the possibility of the joy and happiness which comes from taking his promises seriously.

Story: Once upon a time back in the last century there was a young woman from Ireland who had lost her parents and all her family. Some kind people wrote to their relatives in America and said we have this fourteen year old orphan here who is very bright and very pretty and very hard working, We don’t want her to go to the orphanage because she won’t have any opportunities there to develop her talents. Would you eve consider hiring her as a servant girl. You’d have to pay her way over on the boat, but she’ll work for nothing until she earns her fare. You won’t go wrong with her. So the Americans who could afford a serving girl, but never had one and weren’t altogether sure what they would do with such a person talked about it and said, well, what have to lose. So they sent the fare for the boat and the train. And waited for the young woman to come. She sailed from Kinsale. The last she saw of Ireland were the twin spires of the church as they faded into the background. Weeks later, sick and thin and exhausted, she arrived in the city where her master and mistress lived. They took one look at the poor child and said, Dear, we don’t need a servant, but we have room for another daughter. When they brought her home the other children hugged her and said, hooray! We have another sister. With their help she grew up to go to college and university and become very successful and was a great credit to those who took her into their family. So has God invited all of us into His family.

READINGS FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 18, 2017 WITH REFLECTIONS FROM FR. ANDREW GREELEY

Tags

, , , ,

Solemnity for the body and blood of christ

Reading 1 dt 8: 2-3,14-16

Moses said to the people:
“Remember how for forty years now the LORD, your God,
has directed all your journeying in the desert,
so as to test you by affliction
and find out whether or not it was your intention
to keep his commandments.
He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger,
and then fed you with manna,
a food unknown to you and your fathers,
in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the LORD.

“Do not forget the LORD, your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
that place of slavery;
who guided you through the vast and terrible desert
with its saraph serpents and scorpions,
its parched and waterless ground;
who brought forth water for you from the flinty rock
and fed you in the desert with manna,
a food unknown to your fathers.”

Responsorial Psalm 147: 12-15, 19-20

R. (12) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;
praise your God, O Zion.
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;
he has blessed your children within you.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has granted peace in your borders;
with the best of wheat he fills you.
He sends forth his command to the earth;
swiftly runs his word!
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.
He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,
his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.
He has not done thus for any other nation;
his ordinances he has not made known to them. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 COR 10:16-17

Brothers and sisters:
The cup of blessing that we bless,
is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?
The bread that we break,
is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
Because the loaf of bread is one,
we, though many, are one body,
for we all partake of the one loaf.

Sequence — Lauda Sion

Lo! the angel’s food is given
To the pilgrim who has striven;
see the children’s bread from heaven,
which on dogs may not be spent.

Truth the ancient types fulfilling,
Isaac bound, a victim willing,
Paschal lamb, its lifeblood spilling,
manna to the fathers sent.

Very bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us,
Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.

You who all things can and know,
Who on earth such food bestow,
Grant us with your saints, though lowest,
Where the heav’nly feast you show,
Fellow heirs and guests to be. Amen. Alleluia.

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 6:51-58

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
“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.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Reflections from Andrew Greeley

Background

The Feast is a medieval celebration instituted at a time when the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist was not understood as being as closely tied to the Mass as it is today. However, it is not incompatible with our new liturgical understanding so long as we realize that in effect it is an extension of the Eucharist banquet. 

 The discourse in today’s Gospel is a theological reflection on the Eucharist written for the early Christians and not an actual dialogue which occurred during Jesus’ life. Those who are pictured as contending with Jesus are in fact straw persons that are there to give the Evangelist an opportunity to present his theological and mystical reflections on the Eucharist. 

 Translated into modern parlance (and oversimplified) the message is that it is the community we celebrate with God and one another in the Eucharist that becomes the center of our lives and the promise of a banquet which will never end.

Story

Once upon a time, Maggie and Jack, newly-weds moved into a small apartment complex in a new city, far from their hometown. Soon after they arrived, they were invited to an end of summer barbecue on the rooftop of their apartment complex and met most of their neighbors. However, one man in the complex never returned their good morning greetings. The others in the building referred to him as the grouch in 6A or even just as 6A. No one knew his story. Maggie often wondered why he was so unfriendly. Jack told her not to concern herself with him. He had a right to his privacy. Maggie and Jack were not going home for Thanksgiving. 

 The day before Thanksgiving as Maggie prepared all the traditional dishes her Mom made, she wondered again about 6A. Would he go somewhere for Thanksgiving? Did he have anyone to go to or anywhere to go? She suggested to Jack that since they had so much food, she having cooked from her mother’s recipes that feed many more than two people, maybe they should invite 6A for dinner. Jack was about to say no when he saw that homesickness was setting in so he said, “Ok but be prepared to be turned down. 6A doesn’t seem like he wants to get involved with anyone.” 

 First thing Thanksgiving morning, Maggie knocked on 6A’s door and rattled on about having so much food and being alone because they lived too far to go home and it was their first Thanksgiving and she didn’t want to be feeling down and making Jack feel bad because they couldn’t go home and would he please join them so it would seem a bit more than just a regular dinner. 

 At first the startled man looked like he would refuse but when he saw Maggie getting a little teary eyed, he said he would join them and he would bring some wine. Maggie and Jack agreed they would not pry. If Bill, 6A’s name, wanted to tell them anything, they would listen but not ask questions. Things were a bit strained at first; but as Jack and Bill watched football and Maggie put the finishing touches on dinner, Bill seemed to relax a bit. As they ate, Bill seemed to relax even more and over coffee and pumpkin pie, he told them his story.

 Two years before while he was on a business trip, a disgruntled former employee went to Bill’s home, killed his wife and three children and burnt down their house. Life no longer seemed worth living. This was the first time he had socialized since the tragedy. He thanked them for their invitation and left shortly after that revelation. Now I won’t exaggerate and said that from then on Bill was friendly to everyone. But he did begin to return people’s hellos and the following summer when Maggie and Jack hosted the end of summer party, he came and brought a Caesar salad. He told Maggie it was the only thing he knew how to make.

READINGS FOR SUNDAY JUNE 11, 2017 (the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity), with Pope Francis: The Voice of the pastor (video) and a trilogy of beautiful music conducted by Leonard Bernstein (Ives’ The Unanswered Question, Mahler’s Adagietto, and Barber’s Adagio for Strings)

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Reading 1 EX34:4-6, 8-9

Early in the morning Moses went up Mount Sinai
as the LORD had commanded him,
taking along the two stone tablets.

Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there
and proclaimed his name, “LORD.”
Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out,
“The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”
Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.
Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O Lord,
do come along in our company.
This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins,
and receive us as your own.”

Responsorial Psalm DN 3:52-56

R. (52b) Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!
Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
R. Glory and praise for ever!

Reading 2 2 COR 13:11-13

Brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Mend your ways, encourage one another,
agree with one another, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the holy ones greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Alleluia RV 1:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
to God who is, who was, and who is to come.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 3:16-18

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,
but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,
because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

READINGS FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017 WITH A PRAYER TO GOD THE FATHER ON THE VIGIL OF PENTECOST BY THOMAS MERTON

Tags

, , , , ,

Pentecost Sunday

(Emil Nolde, “Pentecost’ 1909)

Reading 1 Acts 2:1-11

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven staying in Jerusalem.
At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd,
but they were confused
because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
They were astounded, and in amazement they asked,
“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?
We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites,
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia,
Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene,
as well as travelers from Rome,
both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs,
yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues
of the mighty acts of God.”

Responsorial Psalm 104:1, 24, 29-31, 34

R. (cf. 30) Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD, my God, you are great indeed!
How manifold are your works, O Lord!
the earth is full of your creatures;
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD be glad in his works!
Pleasing to him be my theme;
I will be glad in the LORD.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
If you take away their breath, they perish
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.
R. Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 cor 12:3-7, 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;
there are different forms of service but the same Lord;
there are different workings but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit
is given for some benefit.

As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.

Sequence — Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked, where the disciples were,
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst
and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained.”

A PRAYER TO GOD THE FATHER ON THE VIGIL OF PENTECOST BY THOMAS MERTON

Today, Father, this blue sky lauds you. The delicate green and orange flowers of the tulip poplar tree praise you. The distant blue hills praise you together with the sweet-smelling air that is full of brilliant light. The bickering flycatchers praise you together with the lowing cattle and the quails that whistle over there. I too, Father, praise you, with all these my brothers, and they all give voice to my own heart and to my own silence. We are all one silence and a diversity of voices.
You have made us together, you have made us one and many, you have placed me here in the midst as witness, as awareness, and as joy. Here I am. In me the world is present and you are present. I am a link in the chain of light and of presence. You have made me a kind of centre, but a centre that is nowhere. And yet I am “here,” let us say I am “here” under these trees, not others.For a long time I was in darkness and in sorrow, and I suppose my confusion was my own fault. No doubt my own will has been the root of my sorrow, and I regret it merciful father, but I do not regret it because this formula is acceptable as an official answer to all problems. I know I have sinned, but the sin is not to be found in any list. Perhaps I have looked to hard at all the lists to find out what my sin was and I did not know that it was precisely the sin of looking at all the lists when you were telling me that this was useless. My “sin” is not on the list, and is perhaps not even a sin. In any case I cannot know what it is, and doubtless there is nothing there anyway.

Whatever may have been my particular stupidity, the prayers of your friends and my own prayers have somehow been answered and I am here, in this solitude, before you, and I am glad because you see me here. For it here, I think, that you want to see me, and I am seen by you. My being here is a response you have asked of me, to something I have not clearly heard. But I have responded, and I am content: there is little to know about it at present.

Here you ask of me nothing else than to be content that I am your Child and your Friend. Which simply means to accept your friendship because it is your friendship and your Fatherhood because I am your son. This friendship is Son-ship and is Spirit. You have called me here to be repeatedly born in the Spirit as your son. Repeatedly born in light, in knowledge, in unknowing, in faith, in awareness, in gratitude, in poverty, in presence and in praise.

If I have any choice to make, it is to live here and perhaps die here. But in any case it is not the living or the dying that matter, but speaking your name with confidence in this light, in this unvisited place: to speak your name of “Father” just by being here as “son” in the Spirit and the Light which you have given , and which are no unearthly light but simply this plain June day, with its shining fields, its tulip trees, the pines, the woods, the clouds and the flowers everywhere.

To be here with the silence of Sonship in my heart is to be a centre in which all things converge upon you. That is surely enough for the time being.

Therefore Father, I beg you to keep me in this silence so that I may learn from it the word of your peace and the word of your mercy and the word of your gentleness to the world: and that through me perhaps your word of peace may make itself heard where it has not been possible for anyone to hear it for a long time.

To study truth here and learn here to suffer for truth.

The Light itself, and the contentment and the Spirit, these are enough.

(El Greco, “Pentecost” 1596)

“What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as ‘play’ is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously. At any rate the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance.”  ~ Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

MEMORIAL DAY READINGS with reflections : Karl Barth and Thomas Merton on Mozart (from Church Dogmatics & Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)

Tags

, , ,

MONDAY the SEVENTH week of easter

Reading 1 acts 1:12-14

While Apollos was in Corinth,
Paul traveled through the interior of the country
and down to Ephesus where he found some disciples.
He said to them,
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?”
They answered him,
“We have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
He said, “How were you baptized?”
They replied, “With the baptism of John.”
Paul then said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance,
telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him,
that is, in Jesus.”
When they heard this,
they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And when Paul laid his hands on them,
the Holy Spirit came upon them,
and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Altogether there were about twelve men.

He entered the synagogue, and for three months debated boldly
with persuasive arguments about the Kingdom of God.

Responsorial Psalm 68:2-7

R. (33a) Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
God arises; his enemies are scattered,
and those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so are they driven;
as wax melts before the fire.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
But the just rejoice and exult before God;
they are glad and rejoice.
Sing to God, chant praise to his name;
whose name is the LORD.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The father of orphans and the defender of widows
is God in his holy dwelling.
God gives a home to the forsaken;
he leads forth prisoners to prosperity.
R. Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia col 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel jn 16:29-31

The disciples said to Jesus,
“Now you are talking plainly, and not in any figure of speech.
Now we realize that you know everything
and that you do not need to have anyone question you.
Because of this we believe that you came from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you believe now?
Behold, the hour is coming and has arrived
when each of you will be scattered to his own home
and you will leave me alone.
But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have told you this so that you might have peace in me.
In the world you will have trouble,
but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

Karl Barth on Mozart (from Church Dogmatics, Vol 3)

‘Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Why is it that this man is so incomparable? Why is it that for the receptive, he has produced in almost every bar he conceived and composed a type of music for which “beautiful” is not a fitting epithet: music which for the true Christian is not mere entertainment, enjoyment or edification but food and drink; music full of comfort and counsel for his needs; music which is never a slave to its technique nor sentimental but always “moving,” free and liberating because wise, strong and sovereign?

Why is it possible to hold that Mozart has a place in theology, especially in the doctrine of creation and also in eschatology, although he was not a father of the Church, does not seem to have been a particularly active Christian, and was a Roman Catholic, apparently leading what might appear to us a rather frivolous existence when not occupied in his work? It is possible to give him this position because he knew something about creation in its total goodness that neither the real fathers of the Church nor our Reformers, neither the orthodox nor Liberals, neither the exponents of natural theology nor those heavily armed with the “Word of God,” and certainly not the Existentialists, nor indeed any other great musicians before and after him, either know or can express and maintain as he did. In this respect he was pure in heart, far transcending both optimists and pessimists.

1756–1791! This was the time when God was under attack for the Lisbon earthquake, and theologians and other well-meaning folk were hard put to it to defend Him. In face of the problem of theodicy, Mozart had the peace of God which far transcends all the critical or speculative reason that praises and reproves. This problem lay behind him. Why then concern himself with it? He had heard, and causes those who have ears to hear, even to-day, what we shall not see until the end of time—the whole context of providence. As though in the light of this end, he heard the harmony of creation to which the shadow also belongs but in which the shadow is not darkness, deficiency is not defeat, sadness cannot become despair, trouble cannot degenerate into tragedy and infinite melancholy is not ultimately forced to claim undisputed sway. Thus the cheerfulness in this harmony is not without its limits. But the light shines all the more brightly because it breaks forth from the shadow. The sweetness is also bitter and cannot therefore cloy. Life does not fear death but knows it well. Et lux perpetua lucet [light perpetual shines] (sic!) eis [upon them]—even the dead of Lisbon. Mozart saw this light no more than we do, but he heard the whole world of creation enveloped by this light. Hence it was fundamentally in order that he should not hear a middle or neutral note, but the positive far more strongly than the negative. He heard the negative only in and with the positive. Yet in their inequality he heard them both together, as, for example, in the Symphony in G-minor of 1788. He never heard only the one in abstraction. He heard concretely, and therefore his compositions were and are total music. Hearing creation unresentfully and impartially, he did not produce merely his own music but that of creation, its twofold and yet harmonious praise of God. He neither needed nor desired to express or represent himself, his vitality, sorrow, piety, or any programme. He was remarkably free from the mania for self-expression. He simply offered himself as the agent by which little bits of horn, metal and catgut could serve as the voices of creation, sometimes leading, sometimes accompanying and sometimes in harmony. He made use of instruments ranging from the piano and violin, through the horn and the clarinet, down to the venerable bassoon, with the human voice somewhere among them, having no special claim to distinction yet distinguished for this very reason. He drew music from them all, expressing even human emotions in the service of this music, and not vice versa. He himself was only an ear for this music, and its mediator to other ears.

He died when according to the worldly wise his life-work was only ripening to its true fulfillment. But who shall say that after the “Magic Flute,” the Clarinet Concerto of October 1791 and the Requiem, it was not already fulfilled? Was not the whole of his achievement implicit in his works at the age of 16 or 18? Is it not heard in what has come down to us from the very young Mozart? He died in misery like an “unknown soldier,” and in company with Calvin, and Moses in the Bible, he has no known grave. But what does this matter? What does a grave matter when a life is permitted simply and unpretentiously, and therefore serenely, authentically and impressively, to express the good creation of God, which also includes the limitation and end of man.

I make this interposition here, before turning to chaos, because in the music of Mozart—and I wonder whether the same can be said of any other works before or after—we have clear and convincing proof that it is a slander on creation to charge it with a share in chaos because it includes a Yes and a No, as though orientated to God on the one side and nothingness on the other. Mozart causes us to hear that even on the latter side, and therefore in its totality, creation praises its Master and is therefore perfect. Here on the threshhold of our problem—and it is no small achievement—Mozart has created order for those who have ears to hear, and he has done it better than any scientific deduction could.’

Thomas Merton, From Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander.

Karl Barth had a dream about Mozart.

Barth had always been piqued by the Catholicism of Mozart, and by Mozart’s rejection of Protestantism. For Mozart said that “Protestantism was all in the head” and that “Protestants did not know the meaning of the Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi.”

Barth, in his dream, was appointed to examine Mozart in theology. He wanted to make the exam as favorable as possible, and in his questions he alluded pointedly to Mozart’s masses.

But Mozart did not answer a word.

I was deeply moved by Barth’s account of this dream and almost wanted to write him a letter about it. The dream concerns his salvation, and Barth perhaps is striving to admit that he will be saved more by the Mozart in himself than by his theology.

Each day, for years, Barth played Mozart every morning before going to work on his dogma.: unconsciously seeking to awaken, perhaps, the hidden sophianic Mozart in himself, the central wisdom that comes in tune with the divine and cosmic music and is saved by love, yes, even by eros. While the other, theological self, seemingly more concerned with love, grasps at a more stern, more cerebral agape: a love that, after all, is not in our own heart but only in God and revealed only to our head.

Barth says, also significantly, that “it is a child, even a ‘divine’ child, who speaks in Mozart’s music to us.” Some, he says, considered Mozart always a child in practical affairs (but Burckhardt “earnestly took exception” to this view). At the same time, Mozart, the child prodigy, “was never allowed to be a child in the literal meaning of that word.” He gave his first concert at the age of six.

Yet he was always a child “in the higher meaning of that word.”

Fear not, Karl Barth! Trust in the divine mercy. Though you have grown up to become a theologian, Christ remains a child in you. Your books (and mine) matter less than we might think! There is in us a Mozart who will be our salvation.

READINGS FOR SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, MAY 28, 2017 WITH ST. FRANCIS REFLECTION

Tags

, , , ,

Reading 1 aCTS 1:12-14

After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles
returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day’s journey away.

When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Responsorial Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-8

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek:
to dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1PT4:13-16

Beloved:
Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But let no one among you be made to suffer
as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.
But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed
but glorify God because of the name.

Alleluia JN14:18

I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord.
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN17:1-11

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

(Franz Marc: Animals In Landscape)

St. Francis of Assisi

The Canticle of Creatures (by Brother Sun)

 Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour, and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble
and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night
and he is beautiful and playful,
and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us
and who produces varied fruits,
with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm

and give Him thanks
and serve Him
with great humility.