Monthly Archives: June 2019

Readings for the 13th Week of the Year

July 1  Mon Weekday

[USA: Saint Junípero Serra, Priest]

Gn 18:16-33/Mt 8:18-22 

2 Tue Weekday

Gn 19:15-29/Mt 8:23-27 

3 Wed Saint Thomas, Apostle Feast

Eph 2:19-22/Jn 20:24-29 

4 Thu Weekday

[USA: Independence Day]

Gn 22:1b-19/Mt 9:1-8, or “For Peace and Justice,” nos. 887-891

5 Fri Weekday

[Saint Anthony Zaccaria, Priest; USA: Saint Elizabeth of Portugal]

Gn 23:1-4, 19; 24:1-8, 62-67/Mt 9:9-13 (381)

6 Sat Weekday

[Saint Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr; 

Gn 27:1-5, 15-29/Mt 9:14-17 (382)

7 SUN FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Is 66:10-14c/Gal 6:14-18/Lk 10:1-12, 17-20 or 10:1-9 (102)

The calendar brings three “hot-button” issues before us this week.

 Monday: What do we think of our missionary work among the native peoples? (St. Junipero Serra)

Thursday: What do we mean by “All men are created equal?” (Independence Day}

 Saturday: Is purity still possible in today’s world? (St. Maria Gorretti)

Our calendar is not just a bland recital of nice things that should comfort us. Celebrations bring questions.

60 years

I’m celebrating 60 years of priesthood today, among my own community, the Passionists, gathered here in Jamaica, NY,  for an assembly. There are three of us left. Fr. Theodore Walsh, Fr. Paul Cusack, and myself. 

The first reading today is from Genesis 15, 1-12,17-18; Abraham complains to God he is childless, without an heir, and God takes him out into the night and shows him the stars: 

“Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.

Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.”

Abram put his faith in the LORD,

who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.” 

The responsorial psalm goes on:

“You descendants of Abraham, his servants,

sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!

He, the LORD, is our God;

throughout the earth his judgments prevail. 

R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

He remembers forever his covenant

which he made binding for a thousand generations—

Which he entered into with Abraham

and by his oath to Isaac.

R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;

whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.”

And so may it be. Amen.

Genesis 11-50

For the next two weeks at Mass we’re reading from the section of the Book of Genesis we could call its Jewish phase (Genesis 11-50). The first 10 chapters of Genesis describe the origins of the world and the beginnings of the human race. Then, the various peoples multiply and go out to parts of the earth God assigns them. 

Chapter 11 begins with the call of Abraham. A Jewish tradition suggests that the peoples of the earth became so unmanageable that God decides to concentrate on one nation, the Jews, with the hope that they will bring all the other peoples together. 

God calls Abraham and his family to take possession of the land God will show them. But that’s not as easy for them as it was for other nations. They’re going to have a more mysterious and more difficult journey. The main obstacle they face is that Abraham and his wife Sarah are childless. How can you take possession of land if you don’t have anyone to follow you?

They have to trust in God and not themselves. We can see that trust in today’s story of Abraham and his nephew Lot. They can’t all go on together, too much conflict between them, so Abraham tells Lot to pick out the land he wants to have. Abraham will take whatever God wants him to have.

He trusts in God. Of course, the supreme act of trust is when Abraham is told to sacrifice his son, his only son after many years.

Our lectionary readings for the next few weeks relate some key events from the story of Abraham and Sarah and their descendants, which the Jews recognize as their history and Christians see it as theirs too. 

Our lectionary readings omit many dis-edifying parts and details from the accounts of the patriarchs and their wives and their times, which the Bible doesn’t hesitate to recall.  

That might be a weakness in reading the scriptures from the lectionary and not the Bible itself. The bible is not a story of human achievement and human courage and human trust. It’s the story of God’s grace moving humanity on its journey, where human weakness is strengthened by the power and love of God. 

From the beginning, God creates the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.

READINGS FOR THE 12TH WEEK OF THE YEAR

JUNE 24 Mon THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

Solemnity

 Is 49:1-6/Acts 13:22-26/Lk 1:57-66, 80 

25 Tue Weekday (Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time)

Gn 13:2, 5-18/Mt 7:6, 12-14 (372) 

26 Wed Weekday

Gn 15:1-12, 17-18/Mt 7:15-20 

27 Thu Weekday

[Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church]

Gn 16:1-12, 15-16 or 16:6b-12, 15-16/Mt 7:21-29 

28 Fri THE MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Solemnity

Ez 34:11-16/Rom 5:5b-11/Lk 15:3-7 

29 Sat SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES

Solemnity

Day: Acts 12:1-11/2 Tm 4:6-8, 17-18/Mt 16:13-19 

30 SUN THIRTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21/Gal 5:1, 13-18/Lk 9:51-62 (99) Pss I

This week we’re reading some stories from Genesis, chapters 12-50, about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph who represent “a forward step in the divine plan to bring about recognition of the divine blessing promised to the world, if only humanity would obey and honor God.”   BG 66. Catholic Study Bible,   

The stories are puzzling (the sacrifice of Isaac), sometimes unjust by our standards (Sarah and Hagar). Hard for us to see “a forward step”,  but as we read them we’re to realize that “the overall purpose of Genesis 12-50 is to carry forward God’s promise “despite all obstacles.”” (BG 70)

That’s how we should look at our times too, isn’t it? Hard to see a forward step going on now too.

Whom Shall We Send?

At the recent meeting of US Bishops in Baltimore, Bishop Robert Barron offered some alarming statistics about the US Catholic Church today. For every I person who joins 6 leave, and these are often young people. As early as 13 young people give up believing in the church and what it teaches. Barron urged the  bishops to take action and they agreed we need to take action.

What will the action be and who will take it? Barron advocates a stronger presence in the social media, which makes sense. But who will bring the word, who will we send? If we look at the past, God usually sends someone young, like the prophet Jeremiah, who initially say they can’t do it.

Today, June 21, is the Feast of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, who belonged to a powerful Italian aristocratic family. They were shocked when the young man announced, after hearing stories of Jesuit missionaries in China, that he was entering the Jesuits. His family did everything to stop him, but the young man wouldn’t listen. 

He entered the Jesuits and when, in 1591, a fierce plague broke out in Rome where he was studying, Aloysius took care of the victims, despite his own bad health. He died from the plague, convinced that God called him to this dangerous ministry. Today he’s celebrated as a patron of those who care for victims of AIDS.

Whom shall we send? Look around for the young. That’s what God does.

Morning Prayer: A Genesis Prayer

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We may think morning prayer is a few mumbled words or the Sign of the Cross quickly made, but morning prayer is meant to be an important part of our experience as we wake from darkness and sleep.

“Let there be light and there was light; and God said it was good.” (Genesis 1, 3-4) Light was the first thing God made. True Light, which enlightens everyone, came into our world, John’s gospel says. ( John 1, 9)

I sit on the porch for a few minutes in the early morning and watch the sun come through the tall trees lining our garden to the east. In winter it takes awhile. In summer, the sparrows and the doves and sometimes a pair of cardinals gather at the bird feeder to begin the day. Before I do a thing, the world gradually is bathed in light and comes awake.

Before I do a thing.

Morning prayer is a Genesis Prayer, an assurance we shouldn’t miss. Light comes to our world today, True Light, as it was from the beginning. Darkness is a sign of the world that’s chaotic. The psalms and hymns of morning prayer say light comes, and we pray our eyes be open to see.

The images in morning prayer are important. In the beginning God created a garden, a symbol of the world ordered and in harmony, beautiful and fruitful. God is the great Gardener, a king enthroned over creation, and all is God’s garden, the morning psalms say.

“Shout to the Lord all the earth, ring out your joy…Let the sea and all within it thunder praise, the world and all its peoples. Let the rivers clap their hands, and the hills ring out their joy. Rejoice at the presence of the Lord, for he comes to rule the earth.” (Psalm 98, Wednesday Morning 111)

The world, however chaotic it seems, is cared for by the One who made it.

Sometimes God is a Shepherd, a Great Shepherd bestriding the world: “Here comes with power the Lord God…Like a shepherd he feeds his flock, in his arms he gathers his lambs, carrying them in his bosom and leading the ewes with care.” (Isaiah 40, Thursday Morning 111)

Sometimes we’re asked to see the world as a city, God’s holy city. “On the holy mountain is his city, cherished by the Lord…a holy city.” (Psalm 87 Thursday Morning III) We’re asked to see our world as holy, yet still to be built.

“Sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth; sing to the Lord and bless his name.” we’re told as we begin the day. (Psalm 96. Monday Morning, 111)

“Serve the Lord with gladness, come into his presence singing for joy.”

READINGS FOR THE 11th WEEK OF THE YEAR

June 17 Mon Weekday 

2 Cor 6:1-10/Mt 5:38-42 

18 Tue Weekday

2 Cor 8:1-9/Mt 5:43-48 

19 Wed Weekday [Saint Romuald, Abbot]

2 Cor 9:6-11/Mt 6:1-6, 16-18 

20 Thu Weekday

2 Cor 11:1-11/Mt 6:7-15

21 Fri Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious Memorial

2 Cor 11:18, 21-30/Mt 6:19-23 

22 Sat Weekday[Saint Paulinus of Nola, Bishop; Saints John Fisher, Bishop, and Thomas More, Martyrs;] 2 Cor 12:1-10/Mt 6:24-34 

23 SUN THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST (Corpus Christi) Solemnity

Gn 14:18-20/1 Cor 11:23-26/Lk 9:11b-17 

Our gospel readings, from Matthew’s gospel, the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5, 1-7,29) are meant for all of us, ordinary or extraordinary saints. They also indicate how Jesus lived his life and ministry. He lives what he teaches.

The readings from the letters to the Corinthians offer a picture of church life then and now.

The saints this week come from different times, Romuald, 11th century Italy, Paulinus of Nola, 5th century Italy, Aloysius Gonzaga, 16th century Italy, Thomas More and John Fisher, 16th century England. Holiness is found in every age and social condition.

The Church of England also honors Thomas More and John Fisher for their holiness.