Thursday, November 08, 2018

Daily word, 08 Nov 17

31st Thursday of the Year (08 Nov 2018)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J. during Full Spiritual Exercises
Divine Joy Creates and Draws Us
The crowd was pressing around Jesus and hearing the word of God.

Large crowds would come together to hear Jesus.

A great number of people from all over Judea and Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon…had come to hear Jesus speak and to be healed

I say to you who are hearing me: Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you.

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them…

When all the people including the tax collectors (those who had been baptized with the baptism of John) heard [Jesus tell of John] they declared God just.

Whoever has ears to hear…Take care…how you hear!

Those who hear and do the word of God are my mother and my brothers and my sisters.

“This is my Son, the Chosen One; hear him!”

Those who hear & listen to you hear & listen to me

Many prophets & kings desired…to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.

Mary had seated herself at the feet of the Lord & was hearing Jesus’ teaching.

Blessed…are those who hear the word of God and do it!

The queen of the South…came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon: behold, something great-er than Solomon is here.

Jesus said, “Let the one who has ears to hear, hear!”

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were drawing near Jesus to hear him.1

English translates a single Greek word with both hearing and listening. I have rehearsed Luke’s lines about hearing Jesus so we might feel Jesus’ presence pressing as his first hearers pressed near him, desiring converted hearts and minds, hearts and minds transformed by God.

Ours, too, is that pressing grace: Jesus alive and present to us. It is both shared and shaped personally for each of us. These days have allowed us to exercise our prayer and experience joy before the angels of God, the joy of heaven. Both are biblese for God’s joy

To begin to feel we are treasures of inestimable value is God’s joy for us. To begin to feel that we are sought by God who finds us on a high place alone or lost in a crevasse is God’s joy for us. To begin to feel God gently shoulders us as we are is God’s joy for us. God’s joy does not deceive. Any of us may find it unbelievable—‘God desires me?’ Yet awe before divine joy does not deceive; awe before divine joy awakens to being created each moment. Awe before divine joy is our deepest, truest hearing.

St. Ignatius helped us hear with hearts and minds. Dorothy Sayers helped people hear Jesus afresh. Her character Persona voiced Christ. Hearing her Christ-figure address us may help us keep awake to God’s joy, true and ever drawing us:

Come then, and take again your own sweet will
  that once was buried in the spicy grave
With Me, and now is risen with Me, more sweet
  than myrrh and cassia; come, receive again
All your desires, but better than your dreams,
All your lost loves, but lovelier than you knew,
All your fond hopes, but higher than your hearts
  could dare to frame them; all your City of God
  built by your faith, but nobler than you planned.

Instead of your justice, you shall have charity;
Instead of your happiness, you shall have joy; 
Instead of your peace the emulous exchange of   
  love, and I will give you the morning star.
Rise up, My mother Mary and come away,
Rise up, My daughter Eve & My sweet son Adam,
Rise up, My city, rise up, My church, My bride!
For the time of your singing has come, and My  
   bright angels
Unwinter hosannas in the perpetual spring; 
So enter my Father’s house…
Where the endless Now is one with the     
   moment’s measure,
The truth with the image, the City with the King.2

Let those who have ears to hear, hear!
  1. Luke 5.1, 15; 6.17-18, 27, 47 (49); 7.29; 8.8...18, 21; 9.35; 10.16, 24, 39; 11.28, 31; 14.35; 15.1.
  2. Dorothy Sayers, her 1945 play, The Just Vengeance, London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd, 1959), p. 350-51
Wiki-images: Crowds press to hear Jesus PD-US Angesl Escort the Soul of the Good Thief PD-US

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Daily word, 25 Oct 18

29th Thursday of the Year (25 Oct 2018)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J. during Full Spiritual Exercises
Full of It. . .
...Fear, that is. I was a timid child. Maybe my first tramua contributed to that. My first trauma was my mother gone. It is a dim twilight on the horizon of my memory. Its details I learned years later: our aunt came to drive mom to a baby shower. I wouldn’t nap—during which mom and my aunt would have gone to the shower. Mom left me with my sister—then was gone.

As my sister recounted that I felt my fear afoot within me. I did not relive it; I felt its distant rumbling: distant yet real, like a rumble heard but not yet recognized as thunder.

My first fear seeped into me. Going to school was wrenching: I had to leave mom. I did come to enjoy school very much. In high-school my gran-dmother, who always lived with us—how close grandma and I were—in high-school grandma died. First I raged because she left me; then rage morphed into phantom guilt, and I kept people distant—though many never noticed what I felt and what it did within me; even I didn’t notice!

Things, possessions distracted me from my fear and my loss; they never eased them. So furtive its grasp that I was unaware. Recently I’ve grown aware that fear lurked in the 12 years between my ordination as a priest and my entering the Jesuits. I grew in those years, to be sure; yet fear frustrated my free choice to live my priesthood as a vowed religious.

Looking at myself over time did not show me flaws; rather, that fear is always lurking in my life. Fear is universally human with individual symptoms. Jesus encouraged not to fear in the face of threats to oneself. Do not fear those who kill the body….1 He then encouraged not to allow fear to control us through things. What possessions can do! Recall the one who saw Jesus as an arbitrator; Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me?.2 Possessions led him to make an inappropriate request of Jesus: people outside a family did not meddle in its disputes. Seeing what possessions do Jesus told his parable of a wealthy man: not with abundant crops; he entrusted his future to them. Abundance is “an insolent quack,” a 1st-C, wealthy Roman citizen noted. “From what…evils…can riches free us, if they deliver us not even from an inordinate desire of them?”3

Who can deliver from fear and what it uses to keep us from being true to ourselves and others? We cannot deliver ourselves. Jesus casts us the lifeline of his Spirit: fire is gospel-symbol of Jesus’ Spirit. He offers his Spirit as he travels with each of us and earnestly wants us to accept. My mission holds me, consumes me and I’m intent to fulfill it for you, for all.

Fear creeps in when we want to want with Jesus. Jesus’ Spirit-peace does not always leave personal or domestic life undisturbed. In many guises fear prevents freely choosing to accept Jesus’ offer of peace. Fear is a paper-tiger. We can’t tame it; rather Jesus shreds it. Stay near Jesus to do that for you.

  1. Luke 12.4.
  2. Luke 12.13.
  3. Plutarch, On Wealth, 2.
Wiki-images: by Jessie Eastland Astronomical Dusk CC BY-SA 4.0; by Valis55 Altus Segment CC BY-SA 3.0

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saturday word, 20 Oct 18

28th Saturday of the Year (20 Oct 2018)
Eph 1. 15-23; Ps 8; Lk 12. 8-12
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J. during Full Spiritual Exercises
Letting Our Futures Emerge
How did Jesus mean his words: blasphemes against the Holy Spirit? To answer I’ll use an already and a not yet: an already and a not yet in the drama of Luke’s gospel. We approach well Jesus’ words we already heard by recognizing a tendency. Our ever-present penchant to define and categorize leads many to twist Jesus’ words and have Jesus say what satisfies us. Jesus did not emphasize the second commandment that forbids abuse of God’s name. Nor have humanly imagined worst-case behaviours—actions named in attempts to define blasphemes against the Holy Spirit—captured the heart of Jesus’ words. They continue his support for his disciples not to fear.1 Why did Jesus encourage not to fear?

Events had taken an ominous turn. After Jesus had spoken truth to the religious professionalscleansing outside does not get to one’s inner self—they grew terribly hostile and lay in wait to ensnare him.2 Hunters immediately can appreciate the premeditation and planning involved; all of us can appreciate deeper involvement intensified their hostility. Jesus was aware of possible outcomes: persecution; arrest; death for him—and any who walked with him. My friends, do not fear, emphasized God’s caring protection.

Rightly so: Jesus knew spiritual forces contended not only human ones. In saner, more modest moments we share Jesus’ realism. We know, for example, brute force against another has an origin that eludes our grasp: the human heart. Hearts suffer unseen though real cyclones that swirl and lash long before tongues lacerate, fists beat, fingers fire weapons or groups plunder from others and the earth what groups do not need. Such spiritual forces vie in us as much now as in Jesus’ day.3

Fear is the spiritual force Jesus addressed. A not yet in the gospel-drama gives it a face. You’ll recall it: a certain servant girl looked at [Peter] intently and said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “…I do not know him!”4 Peter denied Jesus before others! Everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. Peter’s forgiveness was a visitation: risen Jesus rejoined Peter, and he welcomed Jesus. Every storm in Peter’s heart—regret, shock, guilt, sorrow, pain—did not hinder Jesus returning to Peter and calming his heart-storms. Peter did not reject Jesus’ loyal, loving friendship. Outright rejection, totally refusing God’s love blasphemes against Holy Spirit.

To welcome risen Jesus is to be taught by the Holy Spirit! Learning is not only speech; we also learn silently. Healing is silent. We learn silently when we welcome Holy Spirit to heal our hearts; healed hearts move us to welcome and not resist.

Risen Jesus is ever at the doors of our hearts.5 Refusing him entry is anyone’s choice; it seems a choice not easy to complete. St. Paul, once breathing threat and murder against the disciples of risen Jesus6 discovered Jesus so near to him he could not recognize who touched and beckoned him or how. Logic and sense were useless; he ceased resisting.  

Let’s close with another already and a not yet. If something is lodged in your heart, ask Peter and Paul to present you to risen Jesus to breathe Holy Spirit on you. Welcome Holy Spirit to soothe you. What will yet happen no one can predict. Rely on count-less testimonies that Holy Spirit dislodges blocks, opens long-closed hearts, melts the frozen, warms the chill, heals our wounds, renews strength; waters dryness and washes away residues of guilt7 we never knew we lugged. We’re perfectly poised to begin to let Holy Spirit’s |not yet for us| emerge as our already.
  1. Luke 12.1-7, yesterday’s gospel selection. Fear appears 4 times in 2 verses.
  2. Luke 11.53.
  3. Colossians 2.8, 20
  4. Luke 22.56-57.
  5. Revelation 3.20.
  6. Acts 9.1.
  7. Based on the still sung prayer; its earliest form is in 11th Century manuscripts.
Wiki-images: by Mahargg Jesus teaching his disciples CC BY-SA 3.0; Healing Light, detail PD-US