Monday, July 29, 2013

Pope “Gave a Whopper of [an Interview]”

Pope Francis felt well during WYD 2013. The press corps aboard his plane to Rome would confirm that in spades. Mr. John L. Allen Jr. reported that Francis personally decided “to hold the news conference aboard the 12-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome...and that aides at one point had counseled him against it.” The Vatican bank, homosexuality, women, Synod of Bishops and reform were among the wide-ranging subjects.
Wiki-image of Shepherd One public domain.

Update: Button Appears

At the Vatican homepage a button on the left links to the pope's daily homilies.

Wiki-image of arrow is in the public domain.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday word, 28 Jul 2013

Personal and Affectionate
17th Sunday of the Year (28 Jul 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Our scriptures readings amplify the Psalmist’s words we made ours: The Lord will complete what he has done for me; your kindness, O Lord, endures forever. Two things they affirm are what God begins God completes; and God’s way of steadfast, loving kindness is the way of a parent not a guardian or a leader. Parents help children fulfill the lives parents began. Parents love their children even when their children make themselves difficult to love. Like parents God loves us when we blur God’s image in whom we are created.

Genesis describes God like parents who seek to know what and how their children are doing.   God sought to find out the truth of those in Sodom and Gomorrah. They had blurred the image of God by discounting the dignity of others. Whatever our images of God may be, Abraham enjoyed an intimate, parental one. His back-and-forth with God over those God sought to learn testified to his deeply felt knowledge of God’s faithful mercy.

Abraham’s knowledge of God’s mercy allowed him to persist in calling God to remember God’s mercy. Abraham was not coercing God to Abraham’s whim. We Christians, as Jesus taught us, do likewise: we bless God and praise God and call on God ever to remember us. When we pray our model prayer Jesus gave us, we call on the mercy and love of God we receive in the eucharist.

When we pray we do not coerce God. We seek deeper awareness of how our lives intersect with God’s desire for us. “God’s desire for us” describes the will of God in a way both personal and affectionate. God desires us always. That is why God created us and keeps creating us each moment. God’s desire for deeper personal bond with us is why God became human with us and for us in Jesus. For us Jesus recovered what Abraham enjoyed in his relationship with God.

Jesus’ prayer expresses his relationship with God, whom he called his Father. Jesus’ disciples sought it when they sought to pray like him. Our Lord’s Prayer allows us to enjoy Jesus’ relationship with his Father. Here are five ways: 1) Jesus always endorsed the holiness of God; he and all Jews knew by heart, the Lord is one, the Lord alone whom we love with our whole being and others because the Lord loves them1; 2) Jesus proclaimed the reign of God by his actions not only in words; 3) Jesus relied on God not things. Jesus used created things to help him proclaim God’s reign; 4) Jesus linked forgiveness of sins with his ministry to individuals and to the world; his blood was the new covenant for the forgiveness of sins2; and 5) Jesus encouraged his disciples to pray for courage and freedom from testing. He was tested as we3 are from his desert temptations through his agony in the garden.

Jesus’ tiny parable of the friend at midnight closed his teaching his disciples to pray. It vividly encourages us to persist in our praying. The sleepy friend responded to a crisis in the dead of night. God’s way of responding and giving always exceeds the ways humans give. God may respond and give mysteriously but never with spite nor any snake-for-a-fish or scorpion-for-an-egg trickery.

Recently Pope Francis considered Abraham and encouraged us to “forge ahead in prayer, courageous [and] insistent.” He would agree with Jesus’ tiny parable that we pray also with firm purpose. Those are “motivations,” he said, “which come right from the heart of God.”4

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Praise the Trinity for constantly creating and redeeming you.
  • Ask Jesus’ disciples to encourage you to ask him their question, “Lord, teach [me] to pray just as John taught his disciples.
  • Chat with Jesus: let him know what makes praying difficult as well as what moves you to pray.
  • Ask Jesus to deepen your courage and to strengthen your affection and your insistence with him, his Father and their Spirit.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Our model prayer Jesus gave us contains all we believe; it reminds us our Creator treats us as good parents treat their children; and it reminds us that we are siblings of Messiah Jesus, the Only Begotten of God.5
  1. Deuteronomy 6.4; Leviticus 19.18. Jesus joined these in his teaching; so Christians do.
  2. Jesus’ words over the chalice remind us of that daily.
  3. Hebrews 4.15.
  4. Today’s first reading was the first reading on 01 July and Pope Francis spoke about it in his homily.
  5. So St. John Chrysostom summarized the Lord’s Prayer in his Homily on Matthew 19 at #6.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

Thursday, July 25, 2013

“One Riveting Moment”

Favellas are Brazil’s slums. In them, Mr. John L. Allen Jr. says, the “only things that really work are the gangs and the Pentecostals.” In his third installment from Rio during World Youth Day, Mr. Allen reports that Pope Francis “came to [one] slum to say, ‘The church is with you.’    

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday word, 21 Jul 2013

16th Sunday of the Year (21 Jul 2013)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
A while ago in The New Yorker John Radney, I recall, wrote its “Shouts and Murmurs” column. He wrote about hearing voices in his head. Humorously, Mr. Radney related these voices long had been with him:
Get up; go to the bathroom; take a shower; get dressed; eat breakfast (I don’t recall he admitted always listening to that one); go to work.
Such voices drive us all.

Other drives have their voices. Many people find “voice” best describes religious experiences. I wondered what voices Abraham and Sarah heard in their heads while extending hospitality to God. Abraham may have heard, “These visitors are more than visitors, but I can’t ask them. I’ll rely on my Eastern Mediterranean behavior: when in doubt, spread a feast.” Abraham may have answered that voice, “Heaven knows if I’ll be around to tell this to my promised ancestors!” And Sarah and that flour: she used nearly a bushel! It seemed to have clouded Sarah’s hearing. At least it muted voices she may have entertained. At the tent door she overheard one visitor’s voice tell Abraham she would be the mother of his son. She had nothing to say to that voice echoing in her old soul. Her laugh was answer enough.

I also imagined voices Mary and Martha heard as they opened their home to Jesus. Voices like: “It is so kind of Jesus to stop when he visits Jerusalem!” Mary, right? “We have little food! Jesus never comes alone!” Surely Martha. “When I listen to Jesus it’s as though he had never left Bethany.” “I never look forward to Jesus’ visits even when I expect him.” “Being with Jesus is to live in the presence of the Lord”: Jews often made the Psalmist’s voice theirs!

Freeing my imagination I realized Martha and Mary dwell in me. I suppose they dwell in each of us. To which voices, like ones which may have echoed within them that day at home, do I give first importance in the home of my heart? Does the melee of mundane, essential events drown my thirst for inner quiet? Do I allow only one voice? The gentle voice or the urgent one? When we afford room to each in the right proportion, we allow God to make known the riches ofglory in us. Proportion is key to this gospel. We see what the lack of it has done.

Some had and gave the impression that Mary won that day. Some contemporary folk think Jesus settled for Mary over Martha. Others live frustrated, thinking Mary had never helped her sister at all. A close reading opens onto freedom not frustration. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to Jesus and said to him, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

Would any of us ask guests to settle squabbles? Guests are not asked to do that. We ask nothing of guests and forbid them to help. When a guest defies a host and helps, the host allows the guest to win. It’s the hospitable thing for us.

Ancient Mediterraneans had a stricter code of hospitality than us. To ask guests to settle disputes violated their code. In her stress Martha did. Jesus did not gasp to Martha that she had done anything wrong. Nor did Jesus obey Martha’s order. He assured her that as important as hospitality is, it is not the only thing.

I have to remind myself of that all the time: when I’m a host or hard at work of other kinds. How easily I am tempted to lose proportion! How easily I can choose not to give 15 minutes to savor the mystery in whom I live my day, Jesus, who creates me and you each moment.Jesus did not demean hospitality and the work it and other stewardship entails. He lived from the hospitality of many, especially women.1 Nor did he idolize it. He did invite people to cultivate a gentle, savoring manner to appreciate all they do. Why? Activities of every kind tend to dominate us and seduce us from loving Jesus more deeply and from following him more closely.

That New Yorker journalist wrote he sometimes spoke responses to the voices he heard. He responded, he insisted, “for the voices’ sake.” While he wrote in humor, responding to voices pictures prayer aptly. In gospel words prayer is the Mary in us attending to Jesus after we do other vital things to satisfy the Martha in us. If not she will distract us from Jesus, this mystery in whom we live, to use St. Paul’s phrase.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Pause from activity to rest in our triune God.
  • Ask Martha and Mary to present you to Jesus.
  • Praise Jesus for creating you and giving you life this moment. Thank Jesus for allowing you to welcome him as your guest.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to welcome him regularly so activity of any sort will not frenzy you.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer: say one word as you breathe in; say the next as you breath out. That method2 is vital for us who are tempted never to slow ourselves and savor what is most real.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise
  1. Luke 8.3.
  2. Ignatius of Loyola recommended praying “according to rhythmic measures” (Spiritual Exercises, 258). A recent translator of the Exercises noted the method was akin to the ancient Jesus Prayer, “which had widespread popularity in the 14th century and its apogee in the 17th.” The 15th Century was Ignatius’ era. (George E. Ganss, S.J., The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1992, note 135, p. 187.)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

More Than a Gathering

History is being unearthed in Brazil. “Diogo da Silva Cardoso, a doctoral candidate in geography at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro…is conducting an archeological dig on the sight [of Guaratiba. [It] has strong Jesuit roots. At the close of WYD2013 the sight will live no longer as an artifact but a place where heaven, earth and people (millions is the current estimate) will converge.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Catholic Charities Partners with Bethlehem University

News released by Catholic Charities USA at the top of July:

“To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accom-panying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.”
- Pope Francis
Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), July 5, 2013

Catholic Charities USA Launches Internship Program with Bethlehem University
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is partnering with Bethlehem University, a Catholic university located in the Holy Land, to sponsor a select group of students to spend the summer learning and serving with Catholic Charities agencies across America.
Eight Palestinian students underwent a one-week orientation at CCUSA before spending the next six weeks working at local Catholic Charities agencies across the country.
“This internship program is an opportunity to students to engage with the mission of the Catholic Church and apply it to the real-world challenges facing so many,” said Father Larry Snyder, president of CCUSA. “We hope they will take these life-altering experiences and stories back to Palestine and call others to meet the needs of their community.”
For more information, please visit the CCUSA Newsroom.
Wiki-image from Bethlehem University by Philip daoud of BU Main Bldg CC BY-SA 3.0.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not Indifferent to Indifference

In last Friday’s All Things Catholic Mr. John L. Allen Jr. noted a recent book. In the main it suggests “that selective memory underlies Americas ambivalence on immigration.” Mr. Allen also recalled and summarized the witness of Pope Francis on behalf of the “roughly 20,000 people who have died trying to make the crossing [from Africa and the Middle East into Europe] and to show compassion for those who survived.” Mr. Allen noted reaction to the pope’s “penitential act” included the author of the recent book at the top of his column.
Wiki-image by Jeffrey Sciberras of n.e. cliffs of Lampedusa CC BY-SA 3.0.

Monday, July 01, 2013

On Vacation. . .

...from 01July through 14July in Omena, MI   

Image of Omena Bay in late morning by PDP.