Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Away from 26May to 10June

On rereat then to the gathering of the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces of the Society of Jesus. 

Monday, May 26, 2014


“Today, those who lost their lives in military service are remembered in both large-scale events and simple tributes across the country and in Washington in particular.” All of them open summer. Today includes parades, prayer, cemetery visits and remembering by veterans and for veterans. Veterans remember in one of many posts (print & video).
Wiki-mages of Arlington Tombstones PD-Release

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday word, 25 May 14

Quietly and Clearly
Easter Sunday6 A (25 May 2014)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Easter’s Fifty Days unfold to remind us the daily ministry of the apostles announced risen Jesus to others. They called it the ministry of the word.1 By it they freely announced how they experienced him after his resurrection. They spoke their word to unbelievers where they found them; they nurtured the word among believers at table.

Our reaction may well be that none of us could be like them—in our experience of risen Jesus or their freedom. That reaction may be a temptation; if not, the reaction is unfounded. Why? Baptism has given us a share in Jesus’ Spirit. We receive Holy Spirit differently than the apostles: risen Jesus visited them the first Easter and breathed on them, and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.2 We received the Holy Spirit in sacramental ways. Sacraments breathe forth the powers of risen Jesus. “Sacraments are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in [and for] his Body, the Church.”3 Holy Spirit unites us with risen Jesus. Holy Spirit graces us with freedom to make known Jesus as we come to know him. Jesus’ Spirit make us like the apostles in our time and place.

Holy Spirit is Jesus’ promised gift to his friends. His Spirit unites us with Jesus and makes us his witnesses, as he had told the apostles: “wait for the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak...you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”4

We recall they did not wait idly; they shaped their waiting by prayer with Mary and others.5 When we allow prayer to shape our days, we grow more sensitive and alert to Jesus’ Spirit “at work in and for us and his Body, the Church.” Praying allows us to expect Jesus to meet us and by his Spirit offer us what we need. Expecting waits actively. It involves accepting and seeking: accepting Jesus’ promise and seeking how his promise breathes in each of us. As each of us enjoys greater clarity about Jesus’ Spirit enlivening us, we grow freer to announce his life to others.

Risen Jesus enlivens all who come to him. We have come to Jesus. Risen Jesus enlivens us by his Spirit given us in a variety of ways. We receive and grow in Jesus’ Spirit by choosing the ways: personal prayer and public worship; hearing and reading Scripture; celebrating sacraments which breathe forth Jesus’ Spirit; and extending Christian charity, itself a Spirit-power.

Exercising our Catholic lives helps us live in the realm of risen Jesus’ Spirit. That’s important to remember. It is easy to think the realm of the Spirit consists only in outlandish and stunning activities. Scripture recalls the first actions of the Spirit were stunning. The phrase we heard, Holy Spirit…had not yet fallen upon any of them, leads in the stunning direction. The word translated fallen can mean embracing. That image suggests Jesus’ promised Spirit works quietly, too.

At the Last Supper Jesus told his disciples he would send them another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth. We may be more familiar with the name by which we worship the Spirit in the Divine Praises: Blessed be the holy Spirit, the Paraclete. Paraclete means called to one’s side to help. (Advocate means that, but we may think first of a professional, which Jesus was not!) As a human Jesus was the first divine helper at our side. He left earth but not his church. His Spirit is Jesus’ presence with us now and until he returns. His is a very quiet presence.

Often at another’s side to help, to encourage, to share a burden we are quiet, no? I call Jesus’ Spirit to my side before an endeavor, and I feel consoled and focused. Jesus’ Spirit works effectively even when quietly working. Calling Jesus’ Spirit to my side makes me aware of Jesus’ Spirit always with me. Calling Jesus’ Spirit to our sides makes his Spirit’s presence personal. Jesus’ Spirit is more than near us: Holy Spirit embraces us, dwells within us and shapes our actions to be Christian ones. Pope Francis highlighted that Holy Spirit “teaches us to love, fills us with joy, and gives us peace.”6 Each keeps us in fellowship with the apostles; makes us witnesses of apostolic love, joy and peace; and unites us and with those most in need.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Let go your anxieties and concerns to rest in our triune God.
  • Ask the apostles to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with Jesus: praise him for dying and rising for you; thank him for sharing with you his divine nature, his Holy Spirit.
  • Ask Jesus to grace you to be more sensitive to his Spirit in you.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Praying it guides us to live by his Spirit daily, to breathe Jesus’ breath. When we do we announce quietly and clearly by our actions that Jesus breathes new life into us and all his friends.
                         Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Acts 6.4.
  2. John 20.22.
  3. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1116.
  4. Acts 1.4...8
  5. Acts 1.14
  6. His homily earlier this week.


Wiki-images of St. Philip and at the Last Supper PD-US

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Pope’s Trip, a Pilgrimage of Prayer and Penitence

Word-power: “‘Words create worlds, and we need new and creative words from the Holy Father to break out of the prisons of ideology, violence, war and hatred that the words we use today have created,’ says David Neuhaus SJ.” He was interviewed ahead of the papal trip by ThinkingFaith. The interviewer is an Indian Jesuit, and the far-ranging conversation included a question about how Indian Jesuits “could partner with the Jesuits in the Middle East for the mission of the Society of Jesus.” The post includes links for further reading.
Wiki-mages by Abraham Sobkowski OFM of relief CC BY-SA 3.0

Friday, May 23, 2014

On the Pope’s Holy Land Trip

Georgetown University is home to a noted center for Muslim-Christian dialogue. University President Dr. John DeGioia has been invited by the King of Jordan to be present at the first stop of Pope Francis’ visit. In a brief interview to Vatican Radio Dr. DeGioia talked about the royal invitation and about the challenges and the hopes surrounding the pope’s visit. Read a summary and listen to the 6-minute interview.
Wiki-mage by David Bjorgen of Coptic church CC BY-SA 3.0

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Opening Way for New Jesuit General Superior

The current Jesuit General Superior, Father Adolfo Nicolás, has decided to resign. He had asked and received permission of Pope Francis. Fr. Nicolás has set in motion the planning processes for what will happen next. He will convoke the 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus to begin at the end of 2016.

The Society of Jesus holds a General Congregation:
  • when the General Superior chooses to convoke one;
  • when the provincials and elected delegates of the provinces recommend the General Superior convoke one; or
  • at the death or resignation of a General Superior in order to choose a successor.
The predecessor of Fr. Nicolás, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, notified the Society of Jesus in 2006 that he would step down in 2008. The Society of Jesus is familiar with the preparation needed again.
Wiki-mages by MOIC of seal of the Society of Jesus CC BY-SA 3.0

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday word, 18 May 14

Our Royal Road
Easter Sunday5 A (18 May 2014)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
St. Peter addressed his letter to Christians spread over a wide area. We know it as Turkey.1 His letter brims with images for Israel found in his scriptures.2 The section of Peter’s letter we heard began with one of them: stone. Isaiah had encouraged his contemporaries that God was present to his people. Peter encouraged early Christians with both the image and the prophet’s words: See, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame. Peter experienced in risen Jesus God fulfilled that promise. Jesus was the stone, rejected and killed by humans but chosen and raised by God to life beyond shame, beyond death. Risen Jesus is the cornerstone holding together people of every race, language and persuasion.

Peter heaped three scriptures atop one another to encourage those he wrote to join Jesus and to build on him. He didn’t stop with three. He applied to Christians the images prized by Jews above all others, images God conferred on them: chosen race3; royal priesthood4; God’s own people.5 Why did Jewish people prize those images above all others? Because God conferred them at the beginning, at Mt. Sinai when God covenanted with the people he delivered from slavery and death to freedom and life. The very identity of God’s people St. Peter applied to Christians! He recognized in Jesus God extended God’s choosing call to all.

Knowing Jesus’ body in the world, his church, is God’s household enlightens and refreshes. Two other things make it inspiring. First, to be part of God’s household is a gift: let yourselves be built into a spiritual house. God builds; I let God build with me. That gift quality existed for the Hebrews. God chose them and responded lovingly to them before they knew it was God. The Lord said to Moses: I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry against their taskmasters so I know well what they are suffering. …I have come down to rescue them.6 From them God fashioned a nation and Mary and Joseph so Jesus could grow human with us.

Second, the vocation of the people Israel was to make known to the world the God who chose them with tender love. That vocation of God’s chosen, priestly people shaped their living. So it is with us, the new people of God in Jesus. God chose the Hebrews for a purpose: to serve. To serve God flows through the bible like a swollen river. Service of others is not absent. Serving others is loving care and respect, Love your neighbor as yourself.7 Jesus made that commandment of old a twin sister of loving God with all we are. Christian living fulfills Jesus’ twin commands.

Their royal priesthood did not make them better than each other or anyone else. Instead, all practiced their priestly living with humility. Humility is mindful concern of others and their needs. The Proverb put it: Whoever cares for the poor lends to the Lord, who will pay back the sum in full.8 Jesus echoed that; remembering Jesus St. Peter urged everyone: Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another.9 Christians’ royalty rests in this mutual care.

God’s people resemble God. In practice that means we seek to grow more godly. From the beginning the word holy describes our resemblance. Holiness registers like this:
  • We are aware all we are and have are gifts of our triune God;
  • Our awareness moves us to be grateful; and
  • We live our gratitude in the midst of others—those like us and those who are different. Christians live their holiness as leaven in the dough of our world.
Easter’s Fifty Days allow us to connect with risen Jesus as creation’s crown and the cornerstone of the new creation. In buildings the place of each stone depends on the cornerstone. In the spiritual house of the church Cornerstone Jesus helps us place ourselves as his friends. Friendship with Jesus fulfills his twin commands to love God and others. Friendship with Jesus seeks to grow like him—holy like his Father. Friendship with Jesus is our royal road of mutual care and selfless service. We trust the road because Jesus walked it first and invites us to follow him.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Pause and rest in our triune God.
  • Ask St. Peter to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with Jesus: praise him for dying and rising for you; thank him for modeling for us how to live our baptismal priesthood.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to join his mission and grow genuinely holy, serve with deep fidelity and love selflessly.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus’ prayer is a plan of action for all his friends who join him.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. This map gives the ancient names Peter mentioned.
  2. The common translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was in Greek.
  3. Exodus 19.5; Deuteronomy 7.6: 10.15; Isaiah 43.20.
  4. Exodus 19.6.
  5. Exodus 19.5; Isaiah 43.21.
  6. Exodus 3.7-8.
  7. Leviticus 19.18.
  8. Proverbs 19.17.
  9. Luke 6.38; 1Peter 5.5.
Wiki-images of Jesus addressing Philip PD-US and church cornerstone by Nheyob CC BY-SA 3.0

Monday, May 12, 2014

Easter Season Reading

The Sunday Masses of the Easter Season draw on the Gospel of John and The Acts of the Apostles. Jesuit Peter Edmonds offered a survey of each to make the hearing of and praying with both more rewarding. He arranged his essay on Acts paragraphs; each is devoted to a major theme. Fr. Edmonds covers the relevant sections of the Fourth Gospel according to “The Story,” “The Theology” and “The Drama” of each.
Wiki-mages of Easter Mass PD-USGov

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday word, 11 May 14

Familiar Voice
Easter Sunday4 A (11 May 2014)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
In courts lawyers enter pieces of evidence. They hope enough evidence paves the way for a decision. Evidence is not identical to proof. Evidence suggests; proof is absence of doubt. Law courts and religious faith differ. Yet, both involve evidence.

When St. Peter preached a crucified and risen Jesus he offered evidence: mighty deeds, wonders, and signs…God worked through Jesus in your midst, as you yourselves know;1 by them God has made…both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified. When he finished his hearers responded the way all preachers hope their hearers respond: “What are we to do?”

Place yourselves with those who heard Peter. Among those who heard him some may have been hoping Jesus was the promised Messiah. Some may have been uncertain until they realized Jesus effected the lives of others not only them. Still others may have rejected Jesus as another fanatical fraud claiming credentials as God’s promised, anointed one.

No matter how any of them had been disposed toward Jesus. Their response, “What are we to do?” signaled they had reassessed Jesus in light of the evidence Peter offered: Jesus’ deeds and Scripture’s words. His evidence squared with their experiences. Some of us may never have reassessed Jesus. For Jesus’ contemporaries it was vital. Not only did death end anyone’s life; for faithful Jews crucified Jesus meant rejected Jesus because Scripture declared that anyone who is hanged on a tree is a curse of God.2 Others may have rejected Jesus on the evidence of earlier impostors: those who claimed they were God’s ambassadors of salvation yet changed little or anything. Impostors had been exposed for what they were, and others were killed as threats to Roman occupation of Palestine.

But change had happened, and it was personal. We can describe it briefly: the first friends of Jesus had been transformed. They enjoyed freedom and confidence boldly to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Messiah. They had received his power to work mighty deeds, wonders, and signs like his. Not only that. They received power to live like Jesus: returning no insult and threatening no one. These formed the foundation of early Christian experience.

Experience is difficult to describe or measure. More accessible are the impressions an experience leaves. People and events leave their impressions on us. If Jesus of Nazareth impressed people in attractive, healing ways, how much more did risen Jesus, incontestably alive and both Lord and Messiah! Two of those impressions are these: familiar and life-giving.

When risen Jesus spoke his disciples recognized a familiar voice. They recognized their friend’s voice not the voice of a stranger. When risen Jesus communicates with us we recognize him as fitting our condition. He may console; he may challenge; he may invite; he may encourage; he may rally; he may breathe his peace into us and refresh us. Exercising our relationship with risen Jesus helps us grow more familiar with the many ways he communicates.

Jesus communicates with us for an express purpose. He told us: so we may share his life and have it more abundantly. Of his life Jesus gives us we have evidence. Often evidence of Jesus is subtle. We may not notice it; we may not easily put the evidence together; we may allow other evidence to leave us numb to Jesus’ life and deaf to his communications. To waken another day is part of his more abundant life. So is finding our purpose in the world. It is not all on us to find our purpose, just as no one wakens oneself or makes oneself breathe. Every aspect of Jesus’ more abundant life is gift. Today children take time to notice and honor mothers as gifts. Everyday Jesus gives himself to us. He abides with us—whether or not we keep him in mind; whether or not a person is familiar with his ways. The more familiar with Jesus we grow—Catholic life offers us many practices to help us—the more familiar with Jesus we grow, we recognize him more readily. All who grow more familiar with Jesus and his voice are living evidence of his more abundant life here and now.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Pause and rest in our triune God.
  • Ask St. Peter to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with Jesus: praise him for dying and rising for you; thank him for leading you, communicating with you and sharing his life with you. 
  • Ask Jesus for grace to recognize him more readily and to be evidence for our world of his life and love.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. It is his voice alive in us.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Acts 2.22.
  2. Deuteronomy 21.23.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Sunday word, 04 May 14

A Phrase and a Presence
Easter Sunday3 A (04 May 2014)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
We may join the two disciples on their way…to Emmaus at any juncture. I will join them at the place of four words: was it not necessary. Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer [crucifixion and death] and enter his glory? Two things about the phrase. First: it is necessary was a three-letter word available to Luke. He used it in his story of Jesus at turning points to disclose God was shaping the story. Translating it with have to and must dims Luke’s meaning. Second: it is necessary has no person acting. Personal action would be: Mary remembered all that had been said, pondering them in her heart.1

When no human can affect what is happening in his story of Jesus, Luke used the phrase it is necessary to alert us that God shaped things for human salvation. God completed the work of our salvation in ways beyond understanding—not to mention good taste. Our best authority for that is Jesus. He told his disciples at the Last Passover he ate with them: I tell you it is necessary that the Scripture be fulfilled in me: ‘He was numbered with the lawless.’ Indeed, that which concerns me has its fulfillment.”2

God acted with our salvation at heart. Nothing or no one could stop it: thus the phrase, it is necessary. Nor was God’s action distant: it happened in Jesus. Salvation, God’s desire, came to term in Jesus: that which concerns me has its fulfillment in me. To the two disciples on their way…to Emmaus Jesus remembered Scriptures for them. To get a feel for that we may recall how Luke remembered the boy Jesus.

When Jesus was 12 his parents took him to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover.3 When they left with their traveling companions Jesus stayed behind without their knowing. That led to their three-day, frantic, anxiety-ridden search. At finding him what did Jesus say? “Why did you seek me? Did you not know it is necessary that I be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand him.

When a child is lost—even momentarily—anguished fear falls like a tsunami over parents and guardians. Take it from me: I routinely wandered from my parents, sister, aunt and uncle. Shopping and other outings began after lectures from them at home and before leaving the car!

Some of those lectures echoed Luke’s imagery: losing me was death and finding me was life. Luke words: my son…was dead and has come alive; he was lost and has been found.4 Our experience as parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles makes sense of Luke’s imagery. It also connects us with Mary and Joseph and the two disciples on their way together. Let me suggest one way.

My teacher called Jesus and his earthly ministry an “open secret”: Jesus served, healed, taught, celebrated and suffered for all to see; yet few, his disciples included, understood him. Mary and Joseph received angelic prophecy about Jesus before his birth. Yet Jesus asked his parents when they found him after three days why they sought him. They were astonished. The two disciples on their way…to Emmaus had lost their hoped-for redeemer. They were astonished. They were astonished on the third day angels asked women they knew, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead—and lost?”5 Connections you are making between a promised son and a crucified Messiah link you with Mary and Joseph and the  the two disciples on their way…to Emmaus. 

The growing boy Mary and Joseph found and took home had begun to inhabit God’s desires. In Nazareth Jesus’ presence with his parents was a different sort than they had known. For the two disciples on their way…to Emmaus Jesus recalled in the Scriptures God’s desires to save through him. Then Jesus broke bread: their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Yet he vanished from their sight. Vanished yet present: his presence with them—and us—is different. It is more powerful than anyone’s presence.

We give a personal name to the manner of risen Jesus’ presence: Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is the person inside the impersonal phrase, it is necessary. Holy Spirit mothers faith anew in us from the womb of Scriptures we remember yet again. Holy Spirit helps us imitate the two disciples, who rushed to the Eleven to share the truth that the Lord has truly been raised! When we let that truth reshape our words and deeds, we assure that wherever we are risen Jesus will abide as an open secret: open because he is available through our Christian living; secret only in that we do not control his presence is. He is a temporary secret until his glorious return.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in our triune God.
  • Ask the two disciples to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with Jesus: praise and thank him for fulfilling all Scripture to die and rise for you.
  • Ask Jesus for grace to be like the two disciples: to long for what he promised; and to make him an open secret where you live, work and play.
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. His words, give us…our daily bread, remind us risen Jesus responds to us and our needs with himself. His Spirit-presence may surprise us; it may feel remote; it will even enflame our hearts to do what we never dreamed—like the saints.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. Luke 2.19.
  2. Luke 22.37.
  3. Luke 2.41-50.
  4. Luke 15.24…32.
  5. Luke 24.6.