I am God’s Pumpkin!

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 1st, 2018 ~ St. Monica, Palatka ~ Father Ron

“Stewardship is about loving God and One Another.”


Deuteronomy 6:2-6 ~ Moses spoke to the people, “Fear the Lord, your God, and keep all his commandments.

Psalm 18 ~ I love you Beloved, my strength.

Hebrews 7:23-28 ~ Jesus lives forever to make intercessions for us.

Gospel Mark 12:28-34 ~ “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, ‘God is One and there is no other than God.’ And ‘to love God with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself’ is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”


How do I love God with all of my heart, with all of my understanding, and with all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself?

Let’s take the first. How do I love God with all my heart? To be honest, I most likely don’t love God with all my heart. The heart is about emotions. Like when I was a child being weaned from the bottle, I sometimes wanted the bottle more than the approval of my parents, never mind love. How do we behave/react when we are challenged by our parents to put down the video game to do a chore or come to the dinner table? I don’t think our response is loving to our parents, never mind God. What about being interrupted by a child during a fantastic football game or television show? Is that considered loving with all our hearts? We don’t mean to be unloving, but we need to recognize that it is hypocritical to defend it as love.

Let’s take a look at our understanding of God and neighbor. How much information or tweets or news do we need before we label someone as being to the right or to the left? Do we harbor in our hidden thoughts our disdain or inferiority? How many labels have we placed on people this week when they don’t agree with our opinions? How many times is “Mom” called “Mean Mommy” because she simply disciplined us for our own good? How many times has a “Father” called his child “Mr. Lazy” because he didn’t play a sport as well as he did as a teenager? Whenever we label people we prove to God that we do not understand. You see, Jesus clearly instructs us to never judge unless we would like to be judged, never condemn unless we want to be condemned. Give of our first fruits only. Never give our leftovers. (The law simply said that we only have to give 10% to God and the poor. We get to keep 90%). If we do not understand that God gives us everything including our breath, 10%, citizenship and freedoms… we don’t understand God. Did you realize that when we come to church on Sunday (and Saturday vigil is Sunday) we give our first fruits of the week?

God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit.

One gift is “understanding”.

One gift is Strength or Courage.

What do you think?

Love is about Wisdom. Love is about Wonder and Awe. Love is about Counseling others about God’s infinite love and mercy for every breathing person. Love is about Reverence and respect. Do we share these gifts with others outside our family? Do we understanding that everyone, even our enemies, is our neighbor?


The remedy for our lack of love… is the LOVE of GOD with the spice of MERCY. We are children of God. What we shall become has not yet been revealed. I saw a little child at the Boo on the Avenue parade. I asked her parents, “Is you’re your little pumpkin?” The parents smiled and said, “O yes Father, she is the best little pumpkin in the world!” God might even be calling you his little “Pumpkin”.

Now that is a real 100% slice of pumpkin spice Good News!


Grumble, Grumble, Grumble

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 5, 2018 ~ St. Monica, Palatka ~ Father Ron

Gospel: John 6:24-35 ~ Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are not looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”…

So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Exodus 16:2-15~ Grumble, Grumble, Grumble

Psalm78 ~ The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Ephesians 4:17-24~ put away the old self of your former way of life,

Manna teaches us many lessons. The Israelite community was led by Moses into the Desert of Sin. In Spanish, “sin” means without. Here were the Israelite people in a desert without much, except they did have freedom from their slavery, God’s saving hand, and a whole lot of grumble, grumble, grumble!

Manna was like bread. In the morning the people ate “manna” and in the evening they ate quail (flesh). This was the routine for 40 years. The people were directed to collect only enough for their family. If they gathered too much, it rotted and was useless. If they gathered too little, they still had enough.

However, on the 6thday they were to gather enough for the 7thday. If they tried to gather on the 7thday, there was none. And boy did they try. Remember these people loved to grumble, grumble, grumble.

The Israelites called this food manna. It was like coriander seed, but white, and it tasted like wafers made with honey.

The wafers we use for Eucharist are really bland tasting, but with faith they fill up all of our senses, emotions and souls. “Blood of Christ inebriate me!”

God teaches us about keeping the Sabbath holy and tithing the manna in the desert. Moses told the people that the Lord has commanded “Keep an omer of manna (10% of the daily amount for a family) for your descendants, that they may see what food I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.” Moses then told Aaron, “Take an urn and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord in safekeeping for you descendants.” So Aaron placed it in front of the commandments for safekeeping, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Doesn’t this remind you of our tabernacle? It is very connected.

God gives us his First Fruits on Sunday in the Eucharist… his Son.

Everyone receives the exact same portion.  Jesus is living bread kept in the tabernacle for the past 2000 years. He is adored, thanked and loved.

People, we are in the desert of Sin. We lack so much and we tend to grumble, grumble, grumble. But God is providing our daily bread every time we call upon God in the Lord’s Prayer. I do hope you ask every day. Every Sunday, we eat the body and blood of our Savior. He sustains us in our deserts.

We must teach our children and grandchildren to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink his blood so that they may have eternal life. Nothing else in this world is worth more than one drop of his blood or of a crumb of the Body of Christ.

Jesus pleads with us, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

What are you looking for? What are you thirsting for? The five loaves and two fish were not the Eucharist. They merely represented the manna in the desert. Hunger returns after eating that bread. But to work for the Bread of Life requires us to come to Jesus and believe in him. Jesus is about to turn everything upside down by giving his very flesh to eat and blood to drink as real food. But first he must suffer and die.

If you are feeling like something is missing in your life, could it be a lack the Bread of life? A week without Eucharist is a truly bad week for me. How about you?  “When you eat my body and you drink my blood, I will live in you and you will live in my love.”  We are one Body, one Body in Christ.

I wrote this poem when I was in front of the tabernacle hungering for my invitation to join the seminary.


I must be crazed

The center of my life



Spilt on parched ground

Desperate for pieces of hope, of love


Plain – bland – and somewhat tasteless


No pomp, no grandiose

Simple bread

Sinful hands – holy hands

grapes of wrath – grapes of life

crushed – love


I must be crazed

My life centered;

Broken Bread, poured out wine

and now





The Woman gets Alone Time with Jesus

5th Sunday of Lent – March, 2016

Isaiah 43:16-21 ~ “In the desert I make a way,… for I put water in the desert and rivers in the wasteland for my chosen people to drink, the people whom I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise.”

Psalm 126 ~ The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy

Philippians 3:8-14 ~ Brothers and sisters: I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and Beloved. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…

John 8:1-11 ~ Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.

And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”



If anyone threw a stone in their arrogance, Jesus would protect her.

There is a growing time bomb beneath the soul of human kind.

The last century has been an accumulation of nuclear and hydrogen bombs and weapons. Polarization just like the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time is taking place. Jesus was the scapegoat then, now it is the nasty opinions and anger. Automatic weapons and a plethora of guns keep stockpiling.

This is just like the Israelite community after “escaping” Egypt with Moses and Aaron.

No water.

No food.

A desert.


God is bringing us Home forever.

We complain about the transport!!

We in the United States are

Blessed for no other reason:


Not everyone has to agree with us.

We can still love those with differing opinions…pray for them.

We have unheard of freedoms,




Food (freedom from hunger)

Wealth and safe water

Even crumbling infrastructure that still works

Ability to travel anywhere in the world safely

Citizenship and

Immigrants from every country in the world

The rest of the world is jealous… Can we blame them?

We can wake up in the morning and choose to walk with Jesus,

The creator of the world…

Of what could we be afraid?

Though you are homeless

Though you’re alone

I will bring you home

Home to your own place

In a beautiful land

I will bring you home


I will be your home

I will be your home

In this feared and fallen world,

I will be you home.


Whatever’s the matter

Whatever’s been done,

I will be your home…

                  (Song composed by Michael Card)


For all that happened to the poor woman dragged in front of Jesus,

She gets alone time with Jesus…

Are we jealous of her?

Such intimacy

Such love

Such mercy

She is my nomination for the Supreme Court justice…

Very, very liberal in Mercy!

O to Good News!!!




Put out into the deep and trust Jesus!

Fading Beauty

The tree is not dead

Spectacular colors peaked today in the Land of Mary
Explosion of yellows, reds, browns and greens
What a show of fire reflected in the soul of God—
The Harvest of Color and Joy most abundant
But the witnesses are few
Behold I bring Good News of Great Joy!
Must have been like this day of sun and splash of beauty
But it will not last
It is at the end of the last season—
Between the Fall and the Cold of Winter
The Beauty fades, falls from heights
I am in love with Fall again, but like the first time.
I have missed this while exiled in Fallujah
We human beings, who often lack being
Born in a cycle of light
Vulnerable and beautiful
We grow strong and taller and swifter
And then we start fading in a cyclical flow
Yet toward the end of our years of breathing
Our depression and joys swing to and fro
And like our brother and sister trees
We too exude colorful, if not brilliant radiant
And then it disappears and hides
Stripped like the great oaks and maples
barren and lifeless from observant eyes
But wait!
Another Season
Another Spring
Gorgeous green leaves among puny perennial flowers
Yes, flowers are really beautiful, but nothing compared
To the glory of the Fading Beauty of Fall!!!

Fading Beauty

Thank God for William!

Thank You God for the Gift of William

In keeping with my November theme and continuing to “give thanks”, I would like to share with you about a little boy who died at about 7 years of age back in 1992 in my second year of priesthood at Sacred Heart Church in Jacksonville. He would have been 26 years old today. One of his classmates served with me in Iraq in 2004. I give great thanks that I met him. William taught me how to live and die with great love and respect. I was so hesitant to be there at the moment he died, and yet it is probably one of my most amazing and precious gifts. Because of William, I believe I was taught to stand by the men and women who died in Iraq as they died and serve with integrity those left behind.

God bless you on this Journey of William. The Gospel I used for this homily at his funeral is Luke 24:13-35 which is the Road to Emmaus. They recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread which was at the dinner table when they were giving thanks!


Thank you God for the gift of William,
His life, his love, his longing for God
I, a priest, met William in the hospital
last fall when he was beginning to be shaken from the tree.
The winds of time
And the hard frost of cancer weakened this small boy terribly

But at the same time we were stunned with helplessness
Our William became stunningly colorful
William was a work of art,
A reflection of God’s holiness and creativity

In the too few times
I encountered William these past few months
I felt a wonderful peace and presence
that permeated my soul from this gentle and lovely boy.
He laughed and giggled and prayed with me
through songs and puppets and goofy tricks

What amazes me most of all about William
is that he knew who I was
as a representative of God and Jesus.
William called me to be Christ,
even though I am unworthy for the role…honest
We, the parish of Sacred Heart,
anointed William three times with the oil of the sick
Once in front of the entire community
as he hid his face within his Father’s arms
and moved every one of us with deep emotion
I believe that when William was anointed with the holy oils
and the laying on of hands, he healed us a bit
We received the touch of God through the touch of William
who still touches us now
as our hearts burn
almost to the point of consuming us with grief and loss

We weep and we hurt
William has wept and hurt
But no longer
Jesus, O Jesus
Meet us on this road
Meet us today and explain to us what is happening
Let our hearts burn with William’s presence and love and spirit
Let this church of lovers burn with your presence and love and spirit
Break open the Silence
Comfort our hurtin’ hearts
and assure us that you have not abandoned us

William called for me via his mother
His mother asked me to help William, so I thought,
to pass through the Fear of Death
Upon arrival I realized, that no
I experienced that William
was to help me and you through this pain in our hearts

I anointed William for the third and last time
And then the oil poured down from heaven
I broke the bread, the Body of Christ, and touched it to his lips
and then shared it with his family

A spasm
A song
A prayer and breaking open of Scriptures

While his family wept for William with heads bowed,
they knew he was saying good-bye
I noticed his little gasps for breath
and focus of his eyes
William seemed to take the appearance of Jesus
William was seeing the Glory of God with Jesus
and Jesus took the pain!
I was looking at Jesus
And Jesus was looking at me!
And now Jesus looks at You!
Calling you all to love one another
And be loving
Come to Jesus
and live the Kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven
And William will not be far from you
In fact,
In the Breaking of the Bread
which we will share soon
Rejoice in the Love of God
The burning of Love
A God who shares our pain, and sorrow and joy
Believe it
As you feel it right now
Be alive and risen

This little boy
Like a small seed falling to the ground
Has become a tree of love, of life
To shade us
And bring us peace
Thank you God for William
Thank you God for

Beloved on this first week of Advent, may we journey to the Birth of Christ and then on through his life to the glory of Easter.

Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses +

Let US give Thanks!

Let us give thanks!

Sometimes giving thanks is the best gift we can give to ourselves. When we give thanks, we tend to get a better conviction of our own values and beliefs. Giving thanks is a way of affirming the good that others do. When we say, “Thanks!” we are informing someone else and ourselves that we want to strive to imitate another’s goodness.

Lest we be naïve, sometimes evil distorts the “thanks” especially when it is for selfish motives or to get something out of the thanks giving. For instance, I might say, “Thanks for your service!” to a military person because I am benefiting from the war in that I own or manage a weapons factory. Surely it isn’t ‘black and white’. Unfortunately, in our global economy, we all profit from war. If my church or restaurant is in a location near a military base, I most likely will be better off financially from a war or rise in conflict.

So I give thanks for the ability to think about these things. If a couple divorces, the economy benefits from the tragedy when they have to have two domiciles. What I need to do is live more simply so others can simply live. I desire to empty myself through giving thanks constantly, and then realize that I am filled up from God within me. The more love, joy and peace I give, the more love, joy and peace I seem to have. How is that for Good News?

Instead of turkey for this Thanksgiving, I am going to eat the Lamb of God. Jesus’ way is considered the foolish way. And so if I follow Jesus, then I am a fool for Christ or maybe even “a turkey for Christ!” I give thanks every day for the Lamb of God on my table. They say we are what we eat. Let us feast not on turkeys, but on the Lamb of God!

From a commentary on the Song of Songs by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop:

Where do you pasture your sheep, O Good Shepherd, you who carry on your shoulders the whole flock? For it is but one sheep, this entire human race whom you lift onto your shoulders. Show me the place where there are green pastures, let me know restful waters, lead me out to nourishing grass and call me by name so that I can hear your voice, for I am your own sheep. And through that voice calling me, give me eternal life.
Tell me, you whom my soul loves. This is how I address you, because your true name is above all other names; it is unutterable and incomprehensible to all rational creatures. And so the name I use for you is simply the statement of my soul’s love for you, and this is an apt name for making your goodness known. Very dark through I am, how could I not love you who so loved me, that your laid down your life for the sheep you tend? No greater love can be conceived than this, that you should purchase my salvation at the cost of your life.

Thank You Jesus, for being the food on my table this Thanksgiving!

Thank you, Catholic Stewards of Creation, for allowing me to be part this wonderful ministry. A true steward cannot exist without gratitude.

“The heavens are telling the glory of God,
and all creation is shouting for joy!
Come dance in the forest,
come play in the field
And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord!”
(from the Canticle of the Sun by Marty Haugen)

Let us give thanks!
Have a most blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving

Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses Camarda +