Monday, May 30, 2011

On Retreat. . .

. . .through 06 June.

Photo of Mission Church, Santa Clara, by Mark George, S.J.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pope Calls Astronauts. . .

. . .with thoughtful questions and his blessing

Taylor Wang was moved to say about Earth on seeing it from space:
A Chinese tale tells of some men sent to harm a young girl who, upon seeing her beauty, become her protectors rather than her violators. That's how I felt seeing the Earth for the first time. I could not help but love and cherish her. [Source]
Pope Benedict articulated what Payload Specialist Wang and earlier astronauts and cosmonauts, who beheld the earth as a globe, marveled about it. Not "to cherish" the Earth leads to the sadness of harming it and humans. The pope to the entire International Space Station crew:
From space, "I think it must be obvious to you that we all live together on this earth and how absurd it is that we fight and kill," said Benedict, speaking from the Vatican to the International Space Station, where the space shuttle Endeavour docked Wednesday during its final mission. "I know that Mark Kelly's wife was the victim of a serious attack, and I hope that her health continues to improve."
Read the Houston Chronicle post here. The Mother Nature Network [MNN] post includes a video [the call was a conversation] as well other reporting of last Saturday's historic communication.
Wiki-image of Earth from Space is in the public domain.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bright News From Middle East

Troubled news out of the Middle East and Northern Africa dominates headlines. From a "sleepy West Bank village" comes encouraging news about Christians and young people. In Jifna
Even during the local elections four years ago, politics divided families and parishioners, Abdo said. Now, he added, with an active youth outreach program, young people are beginning to become more mature in their outlook and realize the unique role the small Christian community can play in their lives.
Read this quote in the story about
Father Firas Aridah and the youth of his parish.
Wiki-image of location of Jifna is in the public domain.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Otherwise Engaged. . .

. . .Sorting, cleaning, packing

Wiki-image by Cleon Teunissen is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Unported 3.0 license.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday word, 15 May 2011

Easter Sunday4 A (15 May 2011)

Ac 2. 14a, 36-41; Ps 23; 1Pt 2. 20b-25; Jn 10. 1-10

Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.

Reassess and Reorient (Or, 15 Minutes)

The Easter mystery invites us to reassess. It was so from its first proclamation. When Peter stood up with the Eleven...and proclaimed: “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made [the crucified Jesus] both Lord and Messiah….,” they heard differently than we do. Hebrew thinking flowed from action not ideas. Its language flowed from action words—verbs got reshaped into nouns. We think differently.

When we hear that God made [the crucified Jesus] both Lord and Messiah we admit that Jesus is both. When members of the house of Israel heard Peter, they heard functions of Lord and Messiah belonged to risen Jesus. Those functions were clear. Lord was supreme creator of all things, possessing all power.1 Messiah (Christ translates that Hebrew word) meant anointed one.2 The long-awaited one whom God would anoint and send would save people from harm, from danger and offer life. As we heard Jesus in the gospel, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

The way we hear first acknowledges Jesus as the Lord and Messiah who saves. Members of the house of Israel heard that risen Jesus shared the life of God (Lord), and offered to all who are baptized into him abundant life, that is to say, life you and I cannot give ourselves (Messiah). We admit Jesus is Lord and Messiah. Those of the house of Israel heard Jesus acted as Lord and Messiah. Begin to appreciate the difference? We admit with our minds that Jesus is Lord and Messiah. Those of the house of Israel heard no ideas but that risen Jesus possessed all power as Lord and was the saving one, who rescued people from harm, from danger and offered life no one else could.

This was no matter of having been with Jesus. Jews from all over the world visiting Jerusalem heard Peter. Hearing was not enough. They had to reassess Jesus, who had died an apparent failure and a criminal’s death on the tree of the cross. One scripture made reassessing Jesus very difficult: God’s curse rests on him who hangs on a tree.3

The apostles reassessed Jesus as more significant to them after his death than before it. His risen significance was so powerful that they re-met Jesus as the ultimate norm and measure of all things; Jesus replaced scripture as ultimate. Risen Jesus—no other exists—speaks through scripture, so scripture is crucial. As our norm for everything, risen Jesus shapes how we understand and use scripture as well as how we live.

One thing risen Jesus, our norm, means for us is conversion. Conversion answered the question his hearers posed to Peter: What are we to do?” Conversion means reassessing and reorienting one’s life in an ongoing way. It includes repenting, not only from faults, but from ways of living at odds with Jesus’ faith, hope and love.

In this place we want to reassess how we receive Jesus at his table. Jesus is not something, even a sacred thing. Jesus is a person. We meet him in his word and welcome him in his sacraments. We consume Jesus to let him nourish us day to day. Yet his nourishment is not private. As Thomas Aquinas grasped, Jesus’ eucharist brings us into relationship with risen Jesus, and his body makes us one body, whose vocation is living his love.4 Eucharistic living reshapes our thinking; gives new motivation to our living; and helps us appreciate conversion in healthy ways.

So, “What are we to do?” A brief preface begins my answer. The difference between this homily and all my others is this: I let you in on my goal for having been with you. To preach and to live the faith of risen Jesus so you and all I meet might enjoy a deeper, more intimate relationship with risen Jesus; to meet him moment by moment as one’s Creator and Redeemer—which was St. Ignatius of Loyola’s favored way of naming the Lord and Messiah he had met and with whom and for whom he lived. My goal was never “classified”; it shaped my ministry with you. Many of you have already told me that you have a new relationship with our Good Shepherd. Do what you can to renew your relationship with your Lord and Messiah each day. You already know how to begin: with the ending for which I have become known.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week, pause in the presence of our triune God. Ask Mary and your patron saint to present you to Jesus. Praise Jesus for creating you; dying and rising for you; and giving himself to you. Ask Jesus for grace to help you to be attentive to him with you and to turn to him daily. Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. His words, thy will be done, on our lips invite us to reassess our relationship with risen Jesus and to reorient our lives according to the shape of his love, at once gentle, strong, life-giving and our door into the kingdom risen Jesus has prepared for us.


  1. Even Hellenistic governments gave this title to their emperors.
  2. Christos (Χριστος) translated Messiah.
  3. Deuteronomy 21.23. Yet Peter boldly proclaimed that God raised Jesus nevertheless (Acts 5.30).
  4. Now the sacrament of the Eucharist belongs chiefly to charity, since it is the sacrament of ecclesiastical unity, inasmuch as it contains Him in Whom the whole Church is united and incorporated, namely Christ: wherefore the Eucharist is as it were the origin and bond of charity.” Summa Theologica, Supplement. q. 71, art. 9, reply; also, objection 3.
Wiki-images of St. Peter preaching and of Good Shepherd in action are in the public domain.

A reception followed for Fr. Panaretos, who will soon move and begin a new ministry: offering priests spiritual direction.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wide As Well As Long

The length of parades or of demonstrations impress. Width is easily overlooked. In Yemen a demonstration was both. The four miles of people demonstrating at the risk of their lives appears expressways-wide.

Atlantic Wire tweeted this yesterday. That post includes a second video of people armed with stones against an armored vehicle.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Fact of Warming

Changes in climate over 10s of thousands of years are normal cycles. Increased temperatures in the past century have far exceeded the earth's cycles.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences released its 2011 report stating that global warming is fact and that humans need both to consider how they are contributing to green house gas emissions and how they need to prepare for the future.

This Salt and Light blogpost includes a 4-minute video report about the report released this month.

Access here the academy's statement.

Wiki-image of heated globe is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.