Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday word, 22 Mar 15

Touched by Jesus
Fifth Sunday of Lent B (22 Mar 2015)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
We profess Jesus was buried. In the Nicene Creed we say Jesus suffered death and was buried. The Apostles’ Creed lets us voice Jesus was crucified, died and was buried. With those words we profess that Jesus’ earthly life came to its awful end. The prospect of his end troubled Jesus although he knew and had told his disciples he would be put to death with cruel suffering.1 Yet his fear did not force Jesus from his mission: for this purpose…I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.

In John’s Gospel Jesus coming into the world echoes God sending his Son to save the world, as last Sunday’s gospel reminded. The Son of God fully entered our human condition with his unique mission: to save humanity and all creation. Jesus expressed his mission with the image of buried seed: Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.

Jesus’ words were never throwaway. He signaled, Listen up, when he began sayings with Amen, amen—as we heard. His hearers lived in tune with the earth, closer than many of us sophisticated, modern folk. Buried seeds die, that is, become other than what people planted. The trans-formation is mysterious, one brimming with life—life that nourished other creatures. His disciples did not know what we do until his resurrection after his death and burial. Because they lived in tune with the earth his image—the death of a grain and its transformed, abundant, nourishing life—opened their hearts and minds for what would happen.

What registered in their hearts and minds when Jesus rose from death and met the disciples again? They felt them-selves touched by risen Jesus and his power for them. From the first they named that power holy; they soon recognized that same power as personal: Jesus had said promised them, The holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.2

This reminding reached far beyond Jesus. The disciples realized that as risen Lord Jesus was the promised new covenant Prophet Jeremiah had announced. It was no-thing less than God’s promise—covenant means promise—to be their God, to be for them. God for them answered the Psalmist’s prayer, Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. After Jesus rose from the dead he wrapped them in divine presence and joy. They readily named both Holy Spirit.

Divine joy exceeds human happiness. We rightly name joy a fruit of Holy Spirit3 because it endures even in affliction. Divine joy and human sadness exist side by side. One example: when we bury a loved one who lived a full life our sadness cannot totally conquer our joy at being touched and shaped by our loved one’s life. That joy in the midst of deep sadness is not ours but from risen Jesus.  Others may not see our joy only our tears.

So it was with Jesus. His loud cries and tears, his death and burial united him with our human condition. Because he was one with his Father and his mission, he could say, I am troubled now. …But…for this purpose [to save the world]4 that I came to this hour.

As we continue our journey this Lent we might consider what closes our hearts and minds to Jesus, to his good news. The more clearly we name what tries to close our hearts and minds and bring them into the light the better able we are to move against them. We also increase our desire and our courage to replicate in our lives the pattern of Jesus and live it with the joy his Holy Spirit gives us anew each day.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest  in  our triune God’s faithful, life-giving love.
  • Ask Mary and your patron saint to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise him for being God’s life sent into the world to save and to free us from what enslaves us.
  • Ask Jesus, “Renew my life of faith; increase my courage and desire to let the pattern of your life, death, burial and resurrection shape me; and give me the joy of your Holy Spirit each day.”
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his prayer as our daily, practical guide to live his paschal mystery and to share its saving effects even now.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. His passion predictions: Matthew 16.21-23; 17.22-23; 20.17-19 and parallels.
  2. John 14.26.
  3. Galatians 5.22.
  4. John 3.17.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday word, 15 Mar 15

Left to Ourselves
Fourth Sunday of Lent B (15 Mar 2015)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

I will focus on one verse from the gospel. Before today I did not have courage to reflect on it with people gathered at the tables of God’s word and God’s son: the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. Let me begin with an experience of darkness and light.

Away from cities and towns we experience light differently. Street lamps and 24-hour shining signs nearly blind us to starlight. Away from them we see light from stars perforate the night sky from its height to horizon. Almost everywhere we have a weak sense of darkness.

I had a strong experience of it in a cavern. It was an easy walk; we barely noticed the downward slope of the gently lighted path. Our guide would pause every so often and turn on a light above. He then showed and explained what was before us. Midway our guide asked if any one feared the dark. No one did. Our guide suggested that our distance into the cavern would allow us to experience subterranean darkness. He asked any of us with flashlights to turn them off. Then he turned of the path lights and the one above us. It was a new experience. Immediately I brought my hand an inch from my nose. In that moment I had a felt-knowledge of the saying: “So dark I could not see my hand in front of my face.”

My experience gave me new appreciation for light. Even in dark places at a new moon darkness is not total. The faintest of light leaks in. If physical light is nearly ever-present, how much more is God, whom we call Light? It describes God well: Just as we see by light more than we see light, we don’t see God who creates us each moment. Light was the first thing God’s word created.1 God was the source of the light by which Israelites could see each other during the plague of dense darkness in Egypt.2 The Psalmist personalized what any could allow to remain an idea: the Lord is my light.3 The Nicene Creed allows us to echo the Psalmist, to make those words ours.

As we do that this gospel asks us if we practice what we profess. It questions us in layers:
  • God so loved the world. Do we love God?
  • God sent his Son…to save the world. Do we believe Jesus embodied God for us and our salvation?
  • Do we count on Jesus’ saving us and working now for us? St. Paul’s words help us: God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.
  • Do we let ourselves fall into God’s mercy and love for us? Or are we name-only Catholics who reduce God to our expectations or make God a problem to solve?

If we count on Jesus saving us now; if we do believe; and if we cultivate a loving, personal relationship with God; then do we live our belief in God, our confidence in Jesus’ saving us and our love for God in Jesus through their Spirit? To live our belief, our confidence and our love for our triune God means our actions match our words; it means our works reflect the divine light and shine it in the world’s darkness. It means we cooperate with the grace by which we have been saved. It means we share Jesus’ mission of bringing light to our world. Pope Francis has told us, “We have this mission. …We carry this light. If a Christian extinguishes this light, his life has no meaning: he is a Christian by name only, who does not carry light.…”4

Carrying the light of Christ is not heroic. Yes, it takes effort for left to ourselves we prefer darkness to light. This darkness is not limited to atrocious things people do to others—some even in the name of God! This darkness includes our rudeness to others, our harm to creation and people and our insensitive inactions, our sins of omission.

Jesus coming into our world shows us that God saving is a mutual enterprise: by graceGod’s role, and about it we boast so others may enjoy God’s grace of light and life; our role is to do what we are created to do: deeds of light, life, mercy and peace—deeds modeled for us by Jesus’ disinterested love and his faith in God, his Father and ours.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in our triune God’s faithful light and life-giving love.
  • Ask Nicodemus, St. Paul and your patron saint to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise him for being God’s light sent into the world to free us from what enslaves us.
  • Ask Jesus, “Release me from my cavern of darkness and give me courage to extend your mission of light, life, mercy and peace.”
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his prayer as our daily, practical guide to extend his mission he lovingly entrusts to us.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Genesis 1.3-5.
  2. Exodus 10.22-23.
  3. Psalms 27.1.
  4. Sunday Angelus, 9 February 2014.


Sunday, March 08, 2015

Sunday word, 08 Mar 15

Guided By God’s Heart
Third Sunday of Lent B (08 Mar 2015)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Imagine exploring wild territory for the first time. You have a guide. A guide means several things. You’re not alone; that is consoling in conditions that can bewilder, even frighten. Guides help us see what we would not see. In the Amazon rain forest our guide pointed out what I would have overlooked: an ivy climbing many trees. From the guide I learned the tree-climber is related to our philodendron.

Guides help us train our ears to hear what we would not; they help us recognize a sound we would say is a bird when it may be a frog; or to distinguish a living sound from noise. Guides help us stay on a path, choose a safer path or a more rewarding one. After paying attention to guides we become like them: able to distinguish what had been a blur to our senses. The close attention we pay to guides shapes us to help others notice more.

That brief look at guides helps us appreciate how the people God brought…out of…slavery…in Egypt understood God’s commandments and the rest of what we call God’s law. We hear law from our American experience and stress rules: rule of law is our phrase. Those freed from slavery in Egypt and their descendants viewed the commandments as guides to live according to God’s heart.

The commandments guided the them to take on God’s qualities. The commandments fashioned relationship with God. They also forged a shared identity as God’s people. Both relationship and shared identity are not the fruit of rules, plain and simple.

Sharing God’s qualities shapes our daily living. Examples. God giving life shapes us to promote life not take it and to respect and honor others. God’s fidelity shapes us to be faithful: to keep our promises; to be truthful in all we do. God’s generosity to us frees us to be generous. Cultivating an awe of God’s generosity to us allows us to see the things of the world as gifts and to use them in cooperation rather than competition.

Those freed from slavery in Egypt and their descendants appreciated God’s law as access to God’s qualities and a guide to live God’s qualities in daily life. On it they heaped praises we made ours with the psalm. God’s law was perfect, refreshing, trustworthy, giving wisdom, rejoicing the heart, clear, enlightening, true, just, everlasting, more precious than…purest gold, sweeter than…honey. To those freed by God and their descendants God’s law exceeded rules.

Rules do not summon praise. God’s life in us and for us summons praise. Praise is a spirit action. God is spirit,1 and God created us images of God.2 That means we are spirits clothed in flesh. Our goal is to maintain the qualities of God’s heart. To maintain includes preserving; refurbishing; keeping in good condition; nurturing; professing; and living what we profess.

Jesus gives us access to God’s life not only God’s qualities of fidelity and generosity. Jesus, the power of God and the wisdom of God, revealed God’s life giving power in his person. He shares with us God’s life-renewing power by his resurrection. His self-gift of his Spirit has made us temples, treasuries of God’s life, God’s qualities, of the Spirit of Jesus.3

We—even Christianity—can work contrary to the Spirit of Jesus he has given us. The cleansing of the temple is not a history lesson for disciples of Jesus. Jesus now lives more powerfully with us by his Spirit. His power shapes us into his body. Our vocation is a rewarding challenge: to let ourselves be shaped more by his Spirit instead of by the marketplace. That means to respect and share creation though the world’s rule wants us to devour resources and hoard things. It means extending compassion instead of leaving everyone behind. It means contributing to the progress of others instead of competing for money and power as if they give us life or meaning. To be part of Jesus’ body always will be a scandal and foolishness in the marketplace. In his church Jesus entrusts himself to his sisters and brothers as God’s guiding life, power, wisdom and strength for the sake of the world.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest  in  our triune God’s faithful, life-giving love.
  • Ask St.Paul and your patron saint to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: thank him for enduring temptations like us; praise him for imparting to us God’s life-renewing power by his resurrection.
  • Ask Jesus to fashion you more by his Spirit to show day to day his fidelity, compassion and disinterested love in which we were baptized. 
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his prayer so we may live the qualities of our triune God by walking more closely with Jesus in a world at odds with him.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. John 4.24.
  2. Genesis 1.27.
  3. 1 Corinthians 6.19; Romans 8.11.

Wiki-images: The Ten Words on stained glass by Ji-Elle CC BY-SA 3.0; Expelling merchants from the Temple PD-US

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday word, 01 Mar 15

One Like Us
Second Sunday of Lent B (01 Mar 2015)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Look to how you hear paraphrases1 a prophet’s warning. The New Testament gave it an important place; it stresses our need to welcome Jesus and his saving work with faith and not solely with human logic. We may express its practice in two words: faithful listening. In scripture to listen is less about ears hearing—a body’s ability—and more about personal attention: to take in; to accept; to obey. It is God’s desire for us and all disciples. We heard God announce it on the mountain of Transfiguration: Listen to…my beloved Son. Today’s worship offers us models of listening: Abraham who listened faithfully; and Peter who did not. First, Abraham.

Abraham had responded in faith when he first met God: Go forth from your land, your relatives, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.2 Those words began the story of Abraham. Abraham went. Year later when he was told to bind Isaac, Abraham told Isaac, “God will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.”3 The lectionary omits that verse from the reading. That is sad because it helps us feel Abraham’s faith at work. It guides us not to be distracted from Abraham’s faithful listening. The verse leads us to anticipate God’s faithful intervention,“Do not lay your hand on the boy…Do not do the least thing to him.” God had told Abraham before Isaac was born, My covenant I will maintain with Isaac.4

I am not saying it was easy for Abraham. Abraham personified the Psalmist words, I believed, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.” Faith does not override our humanity; faith heals and completes humanity. That is true when evidence before us suggests otherwise. God is faithful even when we, like Abraham, are sorely tested.

God’s fidelity uniquely entered our history in Jesus. Before Jesus and after his time on earth many believed God would work through a messiah to save God’s people from their oppressive rulers. During and after Jesus’ ministry the rulers remained the Romans. Peter acknowledged Jesus as God’s messiah.5 Jesus told him he would suffer and die before being raised; Peter would not accept a suffering messiah: he took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him.6 

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain and…was transfigured before them. Did Jesus give Peter time to cool down and come around? If he did, Peter had not changed; he remained terrified. On the mountain, as the week before, Peter wanted to control Jesus, who told Peter and the others he would suffer. On the mountain Peter wanted to control and capture in three tents the glory he beheld. On the mountain he saw Jesus as no different from Moses or Elijah, most important men of God. The voice from the cloud not only told Peter and his two partners Jesus’ identity; it tells us and what we are to do: listen to Jesus not to Peter or those who hear and consider as we are quick to do. That word alonethey saw Jesus alone? It means only: only Jesus and his pattern of living, dying and rising lived by us let us learn God’s faithfulness.

Peter’s coming to faith and his faltering make him an important model as well as intercessor for us. Coming to faith means looking directly to Jesus and listening to him more attentively. Listening to Jesus means directing our attention to him in ways both personal and communal. Not only are we like Peter coming to faith and faltering at times. Jesus accompanies us so we may be transformed like Peter: he eventually lived faith as unwaveringly as did Abraham. They both pray for us on our faith journeys.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in our triune God’s faithful, life-giving love.
  • Ask Abraham and St. Peter to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise him for enduring temptations like us; thank him for revealing his Father’s fidelity to us and the human race.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to let him be our pattern of discipleship: to shape us to live more for others as he did.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his prayer so we may daily live as true disciples of Jesus in a world that often distracts us from him.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Isaiah 6.9. Note f. at the link does not include St. Paul’s mixed quotation at Romans 11.8 in which he included it.
  2. Genesis 12.1.
  3. Genesis 22.8.
  4. Genesis 17.21.
  5. Mark 8.29.
  6. Mark 8.31-33.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rights or Goods?

Is it good in every instance for people to exercise any of their rights? That is a daily question, although it may not be asked every day. The production of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed and subsequent, recent events suggest the question is important. Jesuit Patrick Riordan considered the question using a 13th-Century perspective with a contemporary feel.
Wiki-image of Map of Paris 1223 PD-US

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spiritual Climate Change

Appreciating the earth’s climate as part of its makeup had been lost for many moderns. They also seem to be cooling toward spirituality. One point of interest in a “2014…Public Religion Research Institute…survey on attitudes toward climate change…[included] four spirituality questions.” They make a good, daily index—not only for Lent.
Wiki-image of ANWR Coastal Plain PD-USGov

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday word, 22 Feb 15

Breaking Our Rules: Revisited
First Sunday of Lent B (22 Feb 2015)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Last week’s gospel let me notice afresh that lepers and Jesus broke rules that kept them apart. Their rule-breaking was not license; their rule-breaking allowed the reign of God to break into our world. Jesus and the leper showed me I impose rules on myself to keep me apart from Jesus. I sought to uncover my rules, break them and draw nearer to Jesus. In few days I realized I had received my lenten focus. As you enter lent I thought to share with you how the pillars of lent are helping me apply the grace I have received.

Lent’s pillars, as you know, are fasting, almsgiving and praying. To each I will attach a rule, a rule to break. First, I suggest we Christians fast from the entitlement rule. Here’s what I mean. To live generously both rewards and costs. Their costs deplete us unless we make time to replenish ourselves with rest, reflective prayer, friends, exercise and spiritual companionship. When we don’t replenish properly we risk feeling entitled.

We often replenish ourselves well. Sometimes we turn to unhealthy distractions. We withdraw into activities that are neither true exercise, rest, prayer nor companionship—human or spiritual. I know withdrawal into self instead of opening to life giving restoration. After ministering generously I can be tempted to want to be repaid in currencies of unhealthy distractions. If I don’t keep alert I become my temptations! This lent I want to guard my graces and not boast of them. Beginning to ride on graces, silently boasting of them, opens the door to the Tempter instead of keeping it shut tight against it.

How to fast from the entitlement rule? We may think of Pope Francis and exercise discretion if we feel entitled to gossip1; we may increase our visits here or any church, chapel or shrine if we feel entitled to diminish our friendship with Jesus; we may set aside two minutes each supper to name how we recognized Jesus alive during the day. Ask Jesus to help you identify your entitlement rule and how to fast from it.

Second: give alms to break the stinginess rule.
Heightened awareness about caring for the planet, promoting personal and social health and protecting the vulnerable fosters frugal behaviors: with resources; with food and ease; monitoring power over others. It is good to be sparing or economical. Yet a frugal one risks turn-ing stingy. Though it means sparing frugality itself does not close hearts. Stingy means closed-hearted; its sound is tight compared to the muted openness of frugal.

Christian stinginess focuses on Jesus-and-me to the exclusion of others. Christian stinginess considers Jesus is on my side more than I am at his. Christian stinginess clamors with the indignation of apostles in formation wanting sole rights to the power Jesus’ name bestows.2 Leaving a room or a yard better than finding it is an ecological alms; a moment helping another is a social alms; Sending a note to a younger sibling or friend is an interpersonal alms; it shapes us to edify others beyond family and friends. This Lent give alms that thwart Christian stinginess you confront.

Ignatius of Loyola befriended lent’s third pillar. His rule, or norm, for praying: chat with Jesus as one friend to another. What self-imposed rules limit our friendship with Jesus? A brief look at friendship can shed light.

Friends use their time wisely to fulfill responsibilities so they have time to devote to each other. You know and do that. What remains to do? Break rules you impose on yourself that keep Jesus from befriending you and you him. How? Two examples: If giving more time to Jesus helps your mutual befriending, then put Jesus on your calendar to be in his company.

Second: others may not venture to chat with Jesus and limit themselves to a few, albeit venerable, ways of praying. Friends who refuse to be creative around each don’t let their relationship deepen. We create without words. We communicate with more than words. When St. Paul counseled, pray without ceasing,3 words alone were not on his mind. He was a self-proclaimed tongues-speaker4 who did not advocate its inexpressible groanings5 for everyone.6  Prayer also involves images and memories. St. Paul savored Jesus choosing him as his apostle and revisited the memory often; his savoring made the moment vivid in his letters.7

Pray with more than words this lent. Uncover and break rules you impose on relating with Jesus that keep you from more intently, more intensely organizing your life around him, his vision and his desires.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Pause in our triune God’s true rest, life-giving love.
  • Ask St. Paul and your patron saint to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise him for enduring temptations like us; ask Jesus to help you identify rules you impose on yourself that keep you distant from each other.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to break your rules so can draw nearer and be kinder, more generous and more free like him.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. No prayer better appeals to God and helps us be ambassadors of the new creation in our risen Lord.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Francis repeatedly warns against gossip’s poison. Most recently, last Sunday. [Here if not yet translated into English.]
  2. See Luke 9.49. In Matthew 19.13 || Mark 10.13 the disciples mani-fest their stingy feelings when they rebuked those who brought children to Jesus.
  3. 1Thessalonians 5.17.
  4. 1Corinthians 14.18.
  5. Romans 8.26.
  6. 1Corinthians 14.19. Ch. 14 holds his reservations and qualifications.
  7. Paul opened his letters with his self-awareness and in some (1Corinthians 9 and Galatians) defended it: apostle.


Wiki-images: Jesus tempted PD-US; Noah Giving Thanks by A. Davey CC BY 2.0

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday word, 15 Feb 15

Sixth Sunday of the Year B (15 Feb 2015)
Lv 13. 1-2, 44-46; Ps 32; 1Co 10. 31-11. 1; Mk 1. 40-45
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Modern minds discount old ways, practices and customs. Knowledge, after all, has freed us from prisons of misunderstanding and ignorance. Our desire to know belongs to being human; yet no one can know everything. An example: medical science keeps making breakthroughs and the human brain still holds secrets, like the purpose of sleep, of dreaming and the nature of brain disorders.

One attitude bows before knowledge as if it were fundamental or life’s goal or even divine. If knowledge is not fundamental, what is? Mystery. “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”1 So Albert Einstein wrote. The revolutionary scientist reminded people to be humble before creation: humble before the sky’s expanse of stars; before nature’s powers; and before another human.

Mystery to religious folk is power, energy that affects them deeply: so deeply they organize their lives around it. Mark’s gospel presents Jesus to us as the Christ-mystery. As he announced the reign of God Jesus re-patterned creation according to God’s desire; his actions amazed everyone.2

The desire God held for creation humans had disrupted by sin. Its presence in the world is no secret. To pretend sin is not present strengthens sin’s deceiving, warping sway. From its beginning the law of Moses sought to guide humans away from sin’s deceiving scourge.

Scourge forms the root of the word in the Hebrew bible we translate with leprosy. We know what Moses referred to is not the disease3 we think of when we hear leprosy. The point is not correct or incorrect knowledge of the disease—as if correct, modern knowledge makes us greater than Moses. The point is two effects on people: that of the scourge of the skin…blotch which develop[ed] into a scaly infection; and Jesus’ compassion for those suffering it.

The effect of that blotch or scab on the skin made people unclean. Being unclean kept people from approaching one another and God. For a person with biblical leprosy to dwell apart outside the town was a vicious quarantine.

To be shunned was a death sentence to Mediterranean people. They were gregarious; their culture oriented them to groups more than ours. If our need for social interaction were a liquid that would fill quart jars, then Mediterranean peoples’ need would overflow our jars many times over. That continues in Mediterranean lands today: people flock to central squares or to harbors in the cool of the evening and socialize as they walk.

Being apart was torture. The leper languished living apart. Living apart caused greater anguish than the sore of leprosy that separated him. Separate and apart from others the leper still learned of Jesus. People have wondered how. Greater astonishment is this: the leper broke a rule to reach Jesus. [He] came to Jesus. He knelt and begged him…“If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus also broke a rule. Moved with compassion, Jesus…touched him and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” A lesson rests there.

Our lesson is not license to do wrong or be excessive. Our lesson calls us to search our inmost selves and uncover self-imposed rules that keep us apart from Jesus. What may this search look like? One may distance himself from Jesus when circumstances challenge or wound self-esteem. Proving ourselves is not always as prudent as asking Jesus’ help. Or a search may reveal one chronically distances herself from Jesus. Jesus longs we come close: Follow me. What can we do to learn Jesus better? Or our search may reveal we do not let Jesus amaze us. To ask that the grace of wonder resurge in us may be one of the more urgent prayers most of us can make.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Compose yourself in the Trinity’s healing love.
  • Ask the leper of the gospel to present you to Jesus with the same reverent  courage.
  • Chat with him: praise Jesus for announcing God’s all-embracing love; tell Jesus what you do to isolate yourself from Jesus and from others. 
  • Beg Jesus to touch your wound with his wounds to make you whole. 
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave us his prayer so we may remind ourselves God desires us to seek God’s healing help so we may become whole and to help others become whole.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise


  1. His 1931 essay, “The World As I See It.”
  2. Mark 1.27; 10.24, 32. The latter two show the disciples remained amazed at the one they followed. The word also carried the nuance of alarm and fright. See 16.5, 6: rather than resolve the Christ-mystery, Jesus’ resurrection intensified it. 
  3. Hansen’s disease.