In Lv. 19:1-2, 11-18, Yahweh gives his people their marching orders. Everything is based on the fact that God is God and that the people are to fear Godâ€”tremble before the glory and power of God. [I use Yahweh advisedly because that is the name God gave and the circumlocutionâ€”Lordâ€”according to Fr. Roger Karban, a scripture scholar, was the word for Baâ€™al. I am afraid that Rome did not do its homework on the recent injunction regarding the use of this word.] Continue reading
You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”
He went on to say,
“How well you have set aside the commandment of God
in order to uphold your tradition!
For Moses said,
Honor your father and your mother,
and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.
Yet you say,
‘If someone says to father or mother,
“Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God),
you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother.
You nullify the word of God
in favor of your tradition that you have handed on.
And you do many such things.” Mk 7:9-13 Continue reading
In todayâ€™s Gospel reading, the initial apprenticeship of the Twelve is over (Mk 6:7-13). Jesus sends them forth. They are to preach and drive out demons. Donning sandals is a metaphor for accepting discipleship. The instructions for the Twelve as they go forth are important. They are to take no food, no sack, and no money. In other words, they are to depend upon hospitality. When they are rejected, they are to shake the dust from their feet and move on (Peacemakers sometimes have to do that!). Preaching repentance, they drove out demons and healed the sick. Continue reading
Recently, I received a videoâ€”Proud to Be an American. I was appalled at the final slides in the video. Only the American soldier and Jesus have offered to die so that you might be free. Jesus died for your soul and the American soldier died for your freedom. Most of the slides were pictures of soldiers in action and soldiers in flag draped coffins. Yes, I pray for the troops. I also pray for the conversion of those who place them in harmâ€™s way. Continue reading
One quick look at the news will tell us that we live in a world that can be terrible and messed up. It is sometimes hard to find hope. As we approach the inauguration of a new president, we know there is hope. Martin Luther King and his nonviolent followers took down some barriers to equality 40 some years ago. The residual effects of racism still haunted our land as we went through the electoral process. Barack Obama removed more of the barriers to racial equality. We are not in the Promised Land, the New Eden yet, but we are inching closer. â€œWe have seen the Promised Land.â€
Amid wars, economic collapse, and the continued exploitation of the least among us, we hope for a better future. We know that no one man can ever deliver all that we need for a better world but, here again, we are inching ahead.
I found out today that President-elect Obama has written a letter to his two daughters. It brought hope to my heart.
I hope you will take time to read it and relish dreams of better days to come.
You may or may not know that I am privileged to serve on Pax Christi USAâ€™s Anti Racism. A member of that team, who is a person of color, alerted me to this statement to help heal the wrongs brought about by slavery. The initial reaction of some may be to say, â€œThat happened in the past and I am not responsible for it.â€ To the contrary, the vestiges of this terrible practice continue to plague our society. As white people we have benefitted from white privilege and a system that was initially capitalized on the backs of the slaves. The Indians we â€œdiscoveredâ€ also paid the ultimate price for what we enjoy. [My research on my genealogy also indicates that America was capitalized on the backs of indentured servants many of whom came from my country of origin--Ireland.]
The statement says this much better than I can and I encourage you to read it and sign it. Truth commissions in various countries have shown how facing the truth of situations and apologizing for past wrongs have promoted healing.
Incidentally, I am also becoming involved in the Order of St. Luke and Christian healing ministry. Initially, I thought healing was about personal healing. It is but it is also about healing things in our social structures which keep people from being whole in the sight of the Lord. In John 10:10, Jesus assures us that the Creator wants us to have the fullness of life. â€œI have come that you might have life and that you might have everything you need.â€
Again, I encourage you to go to this web site, read the statement, and sign it.
[Note--Fr. Anthony Delisi, a Trappist monk at the Monastery of our Lady of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA has written a book, Praying in the Cellar. I have been using his prayer method and am sharing this particular moment in my cellar with you the reader.]
There is often a darkness deep down things in the cellar especially in the winter. I have gone into my room and closed the door. I have gone into Fr. Anthony Delisiâ€™s cellar. The cellar is little used after the fall canning season. The coal fired furnace has to be stoked. The sun sets early and rises late. The deep down darkness is ushering in the season of death. The leaves have fallen and are decaying. The frost and snow fall gently upon the earth. The darkness permeates my soul and deadens me. When I descend into the darkness within, I go down and down until I find nothing. Nothing! It John of the Crossâ€™ dark night of the soul. Without even a glimmer of hope-light, I rest in the darkness. I meet the God of nothingness. In that nothingness I sense the fullness of life. Continue reading
If the Creator were not on our side
â€”let all peoples now sayâ€”
If the Creator were not on our side,
As our financial systems are failing,
Then despair would be swallowing us up alive.
When the greedy financiers swindled us,
Bankruptcy would have swept us away.
When world markets were tumbling and failing,
The torrent of financial disaster would have gone over us.
When war and bailouts were bankrupting the nation,
Then the raging waters of poverty would have swept over us.
Blessed be the Creator, who has not given us as prey to their greed.
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the financiers;
The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
The Creator is lifting us up on eagleâ€™s wings,
Saving us from the greed of earthly riches.
Our only bailout is in the name of the Creator,
Who is recreating heaven and earth.
We place our hope and trust in the Creator
Who is flashing forth in splendor
Ever renewing the face of the universe.
Â© J. Patrick Mahon, 2008
Endeavor Liftoff NASA Photo
[Click here. Look for the moon upper right]
Darkness dropped like a gentle blanket
Over Cape Canaveral.
Slowly the gantry lights shone through–
Pinpoints of light in the darkness.
From the east horizon
Emerged an orange orb
Peeking over the Cape.
A huge harvest full moon
Rose higher and higher in the sky
Becoming bright yellow
Striated by wispy clouds.
The Creator had burst forth
Overshadowing the anticipated launch.
Followed by a gasping crowd.
A new fireball was rising up
Endeavor was lifting from the pad.
It hurtled heavenward
Crossing right in front of the moonâ€”
The watchers cheered in awe
As the fireballs merged for an instant,
As nature and technology dazzled.
The bright orange teardrop tail
Became but a small light
Receding high on the horizon.
The Creator and the createdâ€”
A spectacle to behold!
The world around us seems like it is in a disastrous decent into something not good. The long election campaign and all the attack ads are history but life goes on. We find God in the present moment–a beautiful sunrise, a full moon, and encounter with one of the Creator’s creatures. The Creator gave me two gifts already this week. Look at the turtle who had dug holes and was burying her eggs on the nature trail near our pad. Then look at the beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk who has been hanging around our pad (He/she probably thinks our Miniature Pincher is a potential meal!) Another treat is in store for us–a night launch of the Space Shuttle [I must admit I have mixed feelings about this technological marvel. The good news is that we are cooperating with other nations in space. The bad news is that it holds the potential for the militarization of space.]
Enjoy and be blessed!