Who do I say that I Am?

27 August 2017 ~ St. Monica Feast Day ~ Father Ron Moses

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Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20~ Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 

How well do we answer the questions posed by Jesus?

Who is Jesus for you? Who are you?

Jesus asks many questions, but very few really answer them. Sure, Simon answers the question, but the credit doesn’t go to Simon. Jesus tells him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.”

Who do people say I Am?

Some say the Christ, Lord, Savior, miracle worker, story teller, prophet, servant, healer, teacher, etc. All of these are correct. Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God!” But what does it mean? In order to answer this question, I believe we need to ask ourselves, “Who am I?” Jesus could only ask his question because he knew who he was. Do you really know who you are as saint and sinner?

Unless we have experienced Jesus loving us in our weakness and failures, we may never understand who Jesus is… or who we are.

Who is the Jesus of your journey?

For all of us, may I suggest that Jesus is the one who washes our feet? This probably makes all of us uncomfortable. Imagine that we are in the upper room for the last supper as one of the apostles or servants. Unexpectedly, Jesus begins to wash your feet.

Breathe in…     Breathe out…

Sensing your dismay and fear, Jesus places his hand on your knee and says, “Do you know what these years together have meant to me? You were being held even when you didn’t believe I was holding you my friend.”

You sense tears rolling down your cheeks. “But Lord, my sins, my repeated failures, my weaknesses…”

Jesus gently interrupts by saying your name, “I understand. Beloved, I expected more failure than you expected yourself.” Jesus smiled. “And you always came back. Nothing pleases me as much as when you trust me, when you allow that my compassion is bigger than your sinfulness.”

But you protest, “But Jesus, what about my irritating character defects—the boasting, the inflating of the truth, the pretense of being prayerful and holy, the impatience with people, and all the times I drank to excess or lust got the better of me?”

Jesus looks into your eyes, “What you are saying is true. But your love for me has never wavered. Your heart has remained pure. What’s more, even in the darkness and confusion, you’ve always done something that overshadowed all the rest. You were kind to sinners.”

“Now I’ll go.” Jesus says, “I’ve washed your feet. Do the same for others. Serve my people humbly and lovingly. You will find happiness if you do. Peace my friend.”

So who are you Jesus? You, Jesus, are the one who wash my feet. You are faithful to me when I am unfaithful to you. You welcome all people, especially sinners, into your loving arms. There are no exceptions. You help me to carry my cross like Simon. You wipe my face like Veronica. You never give up on anyone. You are all compassionate, joyful, kind, merciful and faithful.

You, Jesus, ask me who I am?

 

I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow, a wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind. Still You hear me when I’m calling, Lord, you catch me when I’m falling. And You’ve told me who I am. (Song by Casting Crowns)

 

I am yours. I am yours!

Who shall I fear? Who shall I fear? ‘Cause I am yours. I am yours.

I am precious in the eyes of God, the Father.

I am precious in the eyes of Jesus and his community.

I am Good News! Amazing!!!!

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(Reflection on washing of feet adapted from Brennan Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus: the stranger to Self-Hatred (HarperCollins Publishers, New York), chapter 2, pp 23-50)

QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY ~ CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK ~ Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them saying, “Blessed are…” nine times.

Jesus was a Teacher, not a trainer. A true teacher teaches in a way so that the student (or disciple) becomes an equal. Jesus, the Teacher, does not want to be our Master, but he does want to be our Friend and Beloved.

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Today we heard the introduction of the Sermon on the Mount. This is at the very beginning of his Mission. His Mission is to teach us all about the Kingdom of Heaven. He is attempting to give us the rules, just like we have rules of conduct in school, work and growing up in a family.

What kind of rules do we have growing up in a family? Yes… clean your room, say “please” and “thank you”, go to bed a certain time, eat your vegetables (not just M & M’s), take out the garbage, do your homework, go to church, say your prayers. When we are kids, if we rebel against these duties, there are consequences. As an adult, we have the freedom not to follow through with these rules, but the consequences might be more grave and could rob us of a peaceful and productive life.

A thousand years before Jesus, God gave us the Ten Commandments through Moses. They tell us to love and obey God, our parents and our neighbors. We are to rest and worship with God one day a week. We don’t kill, cheat, steal, lie or become envious and greedy. This Gospel passage today is like the first day of catholic school. Jesus is going to teach us much more than rules, which can be challenging by themselves. If we don’t learn these beatitudes, there are grave consequences like remaining slaves rather than children of God or never finding the Kingdom of Heaven.

When our minds are developing, they work more like a puppy that needs to be trained or disciplined (discipled). If I train my puppy to be mean, what does it grow up to be? Yes, a mean dog. Does it have a choice? No, of course not. Can the dog say to itself, “I don’t feel like being mean anymore.”? That is why rules for dogs are so important when they are young. That is why rules for children and teenagers are so important when we are young. But here is the difference. We don’t just learn rules growing up. We have to learn how to think and grow in faith. We need to master the gifts of the Holy Spirit like wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

When Jesus goes on to finish teaching the crowd, the Gospel writer tells us, “When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

Jesus is the best teacher we will ever find. Our catholic schools allow the Jesus in our teachers, parents and guardians to connect with the Jesus in every student. Once we learn the basic commandments, the goal of catholic schools is to become disciples and teachers. Let us all grow in wisdom, faith and love.

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1st Reading: Prophet Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-13

Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth, who have observed his law; seek justice, seek humility;

Psalm 146

Blessed are the poor in spirit; the kingdom of heaven is theirs!

2nd Reading: St. Paul to the Corinthians 1:26-31

God chose the foolish… the weak, the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing..

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

Blessed are…, for they…

Christmas Meditation

Holy is God’s name

My Soul bursts with love for the Living God

Morning pause, morning chill

Warmth in my heart, helping to warm the morning

Rejoice, Rejoice

Children and Lovers of God

Sun splashes the top branches and houses

Birds greet the morning, warming the sound.

 

“The Beloved has exalted me by a gift so great,

so unheard of,

that language is useless to describe it,

and the depths of love in my heart can scarcely grasp it.

I offer then all the powers of my soul in praise and thanksgiving.

As I joyfully surrender my whole life, my senses, my judgment…

for my spirit rejoices in the eternal Godhead (Beloved) of that JESUS, that SAVIOR, whom I have conceived in this world of time.”

(Mother Mary through Venerable Bede, priest)

Thank You God, my Father, my Mother, my Lover for the Gift of your wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, reverence, courage and wonder/awe…

Truly the best Christmas ever!

 

So for Christmas, God has prepared a gift for the World, You and Me.

God has wrapped us in swaddling clothes after Baptism in water and fire.

We are confirmed in the Holy Spirit and sent as Good News to the world.

The Spirit of the Beloved is upon us because Our Beloved God has anointed us to bring Good News to the Poor.   God is sending us from this Christ-Mass (Chrism Mass)

to proclaim liberty to captives (emotionally, economically, psychologically, physically), recovery of sight to the blind (especially inward and of the soul),

to let the oppressed go free,

and a Year (of mercy and love) acceptable to the Beloved God.

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Navigating the Spiritual Journey of Life

 

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Psalm 46

 

God is for us a refuge and strength

a helper close at hand, in time of distress

So we shall not fear though the earth should rock,

though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea,

even though its waters rage and foam,

even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.

 

The Lord Beloved of hosts is with us

The God of Jacob is our stronghold

 

The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within, it cannot be shaken

God will help it at the dawning of the day

Nations are in tumult, kingdoms are shaken

He lifts his voice, the earth shrinks away.

 

The Lord Beloved of hosts is with us

The God of Jacob is our stronghold

 

Come consider the works of the Lord,

the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.

He puts an end to wars all over the earth; the bow he breaks, the spear he snaps.

He burns the shields with fire.

“Be still and know that I am God,

supreme among the nations, supreme on the earth!”

 

The Lord Beloved is with us

The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

 

Psalm-Prayer

   All powerful Father, the refuge and strength of your people, you protect in adversity

and defend in prosperity those who put their trust in you. May they persevere in seeking

your will and find their way to you through obedience.

 

July 3, 2010        my backyard in Atlantic Beach after praying the Liturgy of the Hours

 

Beloved God, you are everything and in everyone.

You absolutely love all World Cup nations.

You are peace.

You are joy.

You are love.

You are patience.

You are kindness.

You are generosity.

You are gentleness.

You are purity.

You are faithfulness.

 

You have created this world,

nourished the earth

and infused her with love and compassion.

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Teach us and show us how to end all wars, surrender all weapons and trust in you…until the day we walk again with you in the summer breeze as friends and lovers.

            Wow!…oooh!…breath!…            o my!

 

You do put an end to all wars all over the world.

You are found in the stillness and silence.

You are found in the waters of summer

if we splash in your beauty and solemnity and sunshine.

 

You are within us…especially in moments of utter and inexplicable ecstasy

or devastating darkness and loneliness.

One sigh of Yours is a raging hurricane.

One kiss of Yours is the healing balm after tragedy or plotted betrayal of a friend.

I have seen a mountain melt into the sea in Hawaii…nothing to fear.

And then the morning explosion of life while curled up in the palm of your hand on frozen lava.

You show me Your creative spirit

            Your indescribable awesome beauty…even in the center of ugly wars

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O Beloved! O Father! O Jesus! O Blessed Mother given to us from the Cross! 

Inebriate my senses with your sensuous touch and kiss and embrace.

Take me now, for I trust in your mercy, your love …your sacred heart.

 

The heavens are telling the glory of God and all creation is shouting for joy!

Come dance in the forest! Come dance in the field!

And sing! Sing to the Glory of I AM!

 

Sail on in prosperity.

Hang on to Jesus in adversity.

Be not afraid…ever!

For YawehThewaY is with us and within us always and in all ways!

Always, until the end of time…and beyond

ALLELUIA!

 

Beloved, have a blessed week in your journey with Our God who loves you.

Love, joy, peace,

Father Ron  Moses +Image

50 Years of Edgar and Margaret

A few weeks ago
I went to visit Edgar
who was declining at the hospital
He didn’t seem to have much life
as in weeks
Body was shutting down.
Yesterday, just before Mass
Josie told me he would die that day
I told her we would pray
And then go after praising the Lord

So we praised the Lord, Our Beloved Jesus

I thank you God for my truck
It brought us safely
Josie and I shared how
we were not afraid of death
We both had brushed up against it,
peace and warmth
We remembered her husband, Jim,
two years ago when I was there
We enjoyed the ride.
Josie and I journeyed through the bereavement,
such good women at St. Patrick’s Church
Edgar wasn’t Catholic
But he always paved the way
for his beloved wife of 50 years and their children
The children went through our school
So here we were
gathered around Edgar’s deathbed
Renewed their vows
sang songs of love
kissed his ravished body
The Beloved is our Light and Salvation
of whom should we be afraid?

We peeked into heaven…
Edgar was leaving promptly
When I anointed Edgar,
I felt such a warmth
He smiled the best he could
Then, when I anointed his beloved Margaret…
I sensed that him leave his body

Their Marriage has left
yet it still remains
Heaven and Earth
together
Earth giving way to Heaven
This isn’t exactly romantic
but beyond comprehension
All the Spirit asked me to do
was to move her hand toward his
and clear the path for
their lips to lock and let go

Love, poverty of life, joy

You see, just before we die
we are the poorest of the poor
When our loved ones die
we are so poor and desperate
because we love to love
and need the food produced when we
love one another

God you are magnificent,
to create us in your image
breath,
beat,
blood

Sing praises, Dance Eternal
Alive
A love
Alone
All One!

Suffer, we do
Die, we will
Rise, we are
In love
In joy
In peace… Alleluia!

Father Ron Camarda – 2004

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