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.”

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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.”

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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!

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I want to be a Grandfather just like you!

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 11, 2018 ~ St. Monica, Palatka ~ Father Ron

Father’s Day

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Ezekiel 17:22-24 ~ I, God, bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree …and make the withered tree bloom.

Psalm 92~ Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10~ We are always courageous…

Gospel: Mark 4:26-34 ~ Jesus said to the crowds, “Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

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            A dad told me that he and his little boy were having a real man-to-man conversation as they were playing in their back yard. The boy said, “Dad, I know what I want to be when I grow up.” My friend, the dad, thinking his son would say, “Spiderman,” or some such thing, asked, “What do you want to be son…a fireman?” The child said, “No daddy, I want to be just like you.” You mean you want to be a doctor?” The boy said, “No, I want to be a father.”

Not all of us have had the best or most pleasant experiences with our fathers. The fruit of fatherhood often takes time to grow… first the blade, then the ear, and then the full grain in the ear. And sometimes fatherhood doesn’t bear fruit until long after the father dies.

The Gospel reminds me of a true story about a young man who left his native Italy and family just about five years after the 1918 flu epidemic. Antonio served in the medical corps back in Italy, during World War I. He came through Ellis Island past the Statue of Liberty on the S/S Bella Italiana with $50 in his pocket. Although he thought he was just visiting America, Antonio, only 27 years old, met a woman in Boston, Teresina, widowed with five children ranging from 14 to 5 years old. Antonio was both moved and pressured to marry her. After all, she spoke Italian and was beautiful.

The two grew as a couple saving up enough money to get all the children back from orphanages within a year. Together they had two daughters and then a son who died at birth.  Then a year later they had one more son, Matthew. Antonio worked with his stepsons and son in construction. Teresina invested the money earned into real estate. You could say that Teresina and Antonio’s family grew, put forth branches and bore much fruit, wealth and grandchildren. Only Matthew and his six sons could carry his father’s name, they had a respectful, sincere but cold relationship.

Teresina and Antonio often argued loudly and dramatically as many Italians do, but they loved each other. No one doubted that love until Teresina died after 55 years of marriage. She managed the money and her will seemed to say to Antonio, “I neva lova you, I only lova my first husband!”

            For the next five years, Antonio alienated just about every grandchild. One grandson who was 19 when Teresina died, would visit, but left as soon as his grandfather badmouthed his deceased grandmother in Italian. He usually left within 5 minutes. During the next five years, the visits got longer and longer until the grandson only left because he had to get back to school. He even took walks on the beach with his grandfather.

One day Matthew called his son who was in the seminary. This was before cell phones. “Son, last night, Grandpa was having a great time at his 89thbirthday party with the great grandkids.  I brought Grandpa back to his apartment and was putting his food in the refrigerator when he insisted I come to him. He was in his chair. ‘Ya Pa, what do you want?’ He said, ‘Mateo, I lova you.’ I told him I loved him too.” A sigh, “But Son, your grandfather had never said those words to me before.” Matthew took a breath and told his son,  “Your grandpa died some time last night. He never left that chair.”

Do Not Be Afraid ~ 19th Sunday

Jesus said to his disciples: Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.                          St. Luke 12:32-40

IMG_1736Jesus says it over and over, “Do not be afraid.”

Let us ask the question: “What am I afraid of?”

Jesus shares with us that if we open the door immediately when the Master knocks, he will have us recline at table and then wash our feet, and then proceed to wait on us. What could we possibly be afraid of?

God was knocking on Penny’s door. She volunteered to go to Kalighat, a home for the dying run by Mother Teresa’s sisters, for the first time. I suppose she was intrigued by the love of the Missionaries of Charity. It was terribly traumatic for Penny—being a beauty therapist, she was used to everything being all nice and spick-and-span, smelling nice, so it was quite a shock. I am sure many of you can relate to this when you volunteered for mission work in a place like Haiti or Catholic Heart work camp. Or maybe the first time your first child had diarrhea. When I began volunteering as a retreat director for Ministries of Disabilities, the drooling, physical suffering, and people who violated my boundaries raised my anxieties. I had whopping headaches and emotional paralysis.

When one of the sisters asked Penny to wash this woman she just thought, ‘There’s no way. I just couldn’t.’ So the sister said, ‘All right, come with me,’ and she picked up this little bundle of bones, because that’s what this lady was, and took her into the bathroom. Even now it makes her cry—there wasn’t a lot of light in the room and she was absolutely catatonic. Then all of a sudden the whole room just lit up! One minute she was saying ‘I just can’t’ and the next she realized, ‘Of course, I could.’IMG_2740

Throughout our lives, especially those here at Queen of Peace, we have worked among the poorest of poor, people with severe mental and physical disabilities, social injustice, Marines, sailors, soldiers and families torn apart by IED’s and shrapnel to the soul. Whenever we tell God there is something we just can’t do, like shave a man who does not have use of his arms, comfort the grieving, embrace a person with AIDS, tell a person we love them just before they will die, or work with schizophrenics or drug addicts… God seems to knock on the door of our terrified hearts. Then all of a sudden, light floods our darkness. We no longer label people as a diagnosis; we see the whole person light up. One minute we are saying, “I just can’t” and the next we realize, “Of course, we can!”

God doesn’t ask us to do things he isn’t already doing.

God is hoping that we do small things with great love.

God is hoping to find us ready when he knocks.

And then Our Father will welcome us home, wash our feet and invite us to dine with him and Our Family.

When God asks us to step out of our comfort zone and we do it,

we are always better for the experience.

Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.

Now that is Good News we can treasure.

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Mission Statement of Queen of Peace

As Christians we receive God’s gifts gratefully,

cultivate them responsibly,

share them lovingly in justice with others,

and return them with increase to the Lord.DSCF0893

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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.”

 

Finally

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.

Grumble…Grumble…Grumble

God is bringing us Home forever.

We complain about the transport!!

We in the United States are

Blessed for no other reason:

IN GOD WE TRUST

Not everyone has to agree with us.

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

We have unheard of freedoms,

Speech

Religion

Rights

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!!!

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Put out into the deep and trust Jesus!

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Love with allJune 29-30, 2013

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Community

Columbia, Maryland

1st Reading: 1 Kings 19:16b, 19-21

You shall anoint Elisha…as prophet to succeed you.

Psalm 16

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body too, abides in confidence because you will not abandon my soul

2nd Reading: Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ has set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery…For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Gospel: Luke 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem

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The Scriptures today speak of the fact that God will never leave us and calls us to life. God does know that if we follow Jesus, we will also have to suffer greatly and sometimes die. Because God loves us and hates to see us cry, God’s heart breaks in two when we are persecuted for proclaiming the Good News.

The problem is that most of try to follow the rules rather than the love.

Two people were applying for the same job. The first came in to the final interview. The interviewer said, “Before we can offer you the job you are applying for we have to ask you a simple question. Are you ready?”

“Yes!” he said.

“What is two plus two?”

“Four,” he answered.

Then the second applicant came in. She was asked, “Are you ready for the question?”

“Yes!” she answered.

“What is two plus two?”

She answered, “Whatever the boss says it is!”

The second applicant got the job.all faiths

 

Which comes first, orthodoxy or truth? We all come from families. We have been trained in our school system to get the right answer on tests and exams that we seldom question the purpose. Many of the people at the time of Jesus could answer the question, “What is the most important commandment?”  This was their 2 plus 2 question. “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, mind and soul.” It is the right answer for the exam, but Masters level and above professors insist that we explain our answer. This requires critical thinking that many of us balk at.

 

The second applicant gets the job, but does that mean she is better off? I don’t think so. Jesus asks the question, “Who do people say that I am?” Peter gets the right answer and is able to be called the top apostle. However, he does not know how to go deeper and integrate the suffering that will follow. To answer, “Whatever the boss says it is,” is the beginning stage of maturing to be a friend and lover of Jesus. God is calling us to divinity and an heir of eternal life. But we often settle for just squeaking in to heaven as a mere servant or slave. God desires to give us so much more.

Consider this story:  Two brothers—one a bachelor, the other married—owned a farm whose fertile soil yielded an abundance of grain. Half the grain went to one brother and half to the other.

All went well at first. Then, every now and then, the married man began to wake with a start from his sleep at night and think: “This isn’t fair. My brother isn’t married, he’s all alone, and he gets only half the produce of the farm. Here I am with a wife and five kids, so I have all the security I need for my old age. But who will care for my poor brother when he gets old? He needs to same much more for the future than he does at present, so his need is obviously greater than mine.”

With that he would get out of bed, steal over to his brother’s place, and pour a sack full of grain into his brother’s granary.

The bachelor brother too began to get the same attacks. Every once in a while he would wake from his sleep and say to himself, “This simply isn’t fair. My brother has a wife and five kids and he gets only half the produce of the land. Now I have no one except myself to support. So is it just that my poor brother, whose need is obviously greater than mine, should receive as much as I do?” Then he would get out of bed and pour a sack full of grain into his brother’s granary.

One night they got out of bed at the same time and ran into each other, each with a sack of grain on his back!

Many years later, after their death, the story leaked out. So when the townsfolk wanted to build a church, they chose the spot at which the two brothers met, for they could not think of any place in the town that was holier than that one.

The most important question that Jesus asks us about religious distinction. “Is religious distinction more about those who worship and those who do not worship, or about those who love and those who don’t?”

When Jesus says to each and every baptized person, “Follow me!” He calls solely from a deep and compassionate love. Jesus knows that to look back to security or even family means to take our eyes off of God’s light, love, truth and concern for us. Yes, 2 plus 2 equals 4. Yes, 2 plus 2 sometimes equals whatever God says it is. But most importantly, the question “What is my heart plus your heart plus the heart of Jesus equal?”

 

One heart of Love. O my!  One Heart

 

Isn’t that Good News?

 

**Both stories are adapted from the late Father Anthony de Mello, S.J., (1988). Taking Flight: A book of story meditations & (1982). The Song of the Bird (1982). Garden City, New York: Image Books.

Sticky Prophets…

Sticky Prophets!

 

   We are hearing from a different prophet every week at Sunday Mass. This week it is Ezekiel 2:2-5: As the Lord spoke to me, the spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking say to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord God! And whether they heed or resist—for they are a rebellious house—they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

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   When we reflect on prophets, they are like sandpaper. They tend to be so abrasive to our senses. Then I realized that when we are baptized, we are baptized as priests, prophets and kings (or queens)! We are abrasive without Jesus.

 

   In the summer of 1925, a sandpaper salesman for the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company would do his sales pitch at auto-body shops. After Dick Drew made his pitch he would sit in the back of the shop and watch the men work He soon noticed that all the mechanics shared the same problem. (This story comes from a book: IMAGINE: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston 2012, pp 25-27)

 

   It occurred when the mechanics were applying two-toned paint to a car. The workers would begin by painting everything black. Then they would protect this new coat of paint with taped-on sheets of butcher paper and carefully apply the second shade—usually a sleep like of white or red. Once the paint dried, the paper was removed. Here is where the process failed: the paper was usually attached to the metal with a strong adhesive, which meant that removing the paper and tape often peeled away the newly applied black paint. And so the frustrated workers would begin on that section again, their labor undone.

   When Drew got back to the office after this realization, he began exploring his new idea. The first thing he discovered was that the glue used in sandpaper was also too strong—it ripped the wet paint right off. And so he began experimenting with the adhesive recipe, trying to make the rubber resin a little less sticky. This took him several months. He then had to find the right backing. Most adhesives were applied to woven fabrics, but Drew’s experience as a sandpaper salesman led him to focus on a backing of paper. Unfortunately, he couldn’t think of a way to store the sticky sheets; they kept sticking together, forming a crumpled stack. After two months of struggle, Drew was ordered by his boss to stop working on the project.

   But Drew refused to give up. Although he was stumped, he still stayed past closing time at work, testing out different varieties of backing and recipes for glue. And then, late one night in his office, everything changed… Drew grasped the solution to his sticky problem. The idea was simple: Instead of applying the adhesive to square sheets of paper that needed to be stacked, it could be applied to a thin strip of paper that was then rolled up, like a spool of ribbon. The mechanics could unwind the necessary amount of sticky paper and attach it directly to the car, allowing them to paint without tack or glue. Drew called it masking tape.

   Nobody knows where this revelation came from.

   In retrospect, the idea for a roll of tape seems incredibly obvious; t’s hard to imagine a world where stickiness is limited to glue and tack and sticky sheets. Sure enough, the product was an instant hit in the marketplace, and not only among car mechanics. By 1928, Drew’s company was selling more masking tape than sandpaper. The Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company is now called 3M.

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   The problem with us prophets is that too often we are abrasive when we share the Good News of Jesus the Christ. We need to realize that we are simply “masking tape” and nothing more. St. Paul speaks of the thorn in the flesh that God gifted him with. The thorn is to prevent him from becoming prideful. So often in ministry, we get full of ourselves when we falsely believe we have been the catalyst of bringing someone to Christ.  Saint Paul reminds us that it is in our weakness that we are strong.  We are all merely only masking tape. Once we do our work, we are to be thrown away.

 

   If we are honest with ourselves, we tend to be like glue that rips off part of people. Before we talk to Jesus about a person, we need to talk to Jesus about that person. I always say, “Jesus, give me the words to say to so and so, but if I need to keep my big mouth shut, please shut it!”

 

   A good sign that we are doing God’s work is that we will suffer persecution, ridicule, insults and the like. The real temptation of Satan is that we think we are doing God’s work without the persecution. So where is my (or your) persecution.

 

   Jesus, our Lord and Savior, was rejected by his own country, church and family. How could we possibly expect anything different for ourselves? Many are called, but few are chosen. Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.

 

 

Jesus said that:

A prophet is without honor except in his/her native place (country)

And among own kin (church)

or own house (family).

 

And yet God has anointed us all with the Spirit of God. The spirit is like a glue that does not rip off the paint of another person. Our anointing is like masking tape. We use the sticky stuff of love, joy and peace…patience, kindness and gentleness….generosity, self-control and patience.

I hope we can al realize that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. We are merely like masking tape to be thrown out after we do our job. However, the really Good News is that God will raise us up out of love!

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May your week be blessed as you explore your understanding of being God’s prophet…and all the persecution and weakness that goes with it.

 

Love, joy, peace,

Father Ron Moses +Image

We Remember, We Celebrate

We Remember, We Celebrate

 

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Here it is another Memorial Day Weekend. When you read this, the day will have passed.  And yet it is still here with us. This past weekend, I remembered an old song that we sang often at church. It was referring to the death of Jesus, but I think we could relate it to those who died defending our country against enemies foreign or domestic.

 

We remember how you loved us, through your death,

And still we celebrate for you are with us here.

And we believe that we will see you

In your glory, beloved

We remember

We celebrate

We believe!

 

And so we remember those who gave their lives serving our great country that sometimes is misguided and forgetful of our core values. It is love that will continue to bind us. They loved us by gifting us with their deaths. Their families have also loved us through the great sacrifice of grief.

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   I will be at Faith & Sharing this week from Tuesday until Saturday noon. Bishop John Snyder started Faith & Sharing in our diocese over 31 years ago for those living with mental and physical disabilities and their families. It is an awesome week. I will be co-animating with Sister Maureen Kelley, OP as I have for the past 10 years. The week is inter-denominational, but we do celebrate Eucharist every day. This year, Bishop Snyder will be with us on Friday. By the end of the week, we can’t tell who is “labeled mentally disabled.” God is Good!

 

Then there are about seven weeks where children are able to go on I Am Special Camps for children to be paired up 24/7 to young adults for each week. Young people rock.

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   Please lift us up in prayer. Donations are always welcome for those who can’t afford the week on their own.  You can make donations through the Office of Disabilities in the Diocese of St. Augustine.

 

Have a blessed week.

God bless our Troops.

Semper Fi!

 

Love, joy, peace,

Father Ron +

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P.S. Tropical Storm Beryl caused some damage at Camp St. John so Faith & Sharing will not start until Wednesday at noon. Please pray for us. The devil works double time when we get closer to God. 

Stewards of the Voice of God: Are you listening?

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Today, the Feast of the Ascension had the Conclusion of the Gospel according to Mark.

 

Jesus said to his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

   So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.

 

Beloved, when I went to get in my car to go to the 8 and 10 am Mass, the garage door broke and I couldn’t get my car out. I was stuck. The door was too heavy to lift. In desperation, I borrowed my neighbor’s car and arrived at the church 2 minutes late, but the pastor was already going down the aisle. Yes, yes, I needed to breathe in…and breathe out…I ended up presiding at the 10 and the noon…and baptize 10-month-old Maximilian Stephen after the Mass. What a blessing that was! I was hoping to drive to Gainesville for a 25th anniversary of a parish at 2 pm, but instead, I was anxious, vulnerable and being used by Jesus at the Masses and the baptism. Maximilian and Stephen are two great Martyrs. I also needed to die to something. I needed to trust in Jesus.

 

I tell you this because I had a plan…and God had another plan (which was much better).

 

Maybe Jesus is using each of us for his healing of someone. Aren’t we asking Jesus to heal the people we love? God hears our prayers.

 

For my homily I shared about when I was about 19 years old and on my required year at sea for college, and not being able to call but once or twice from Africa to my parents. This was back in 1979-1980. Just hearing their voice filled me with joy and strength.  One time at sea, God spoke to me through the moon. It was totally beautiful and terrifying, but I didn’t clearly understand until many years later. 

 

Then, when I was sent to Fallujah Iraq, I remember calling my Father and sharing some of the stories. My father’s voice was like food for my soul. I once shared how an Iraqi Soldier came into the hospital with his buddy that was dead. When they went to bring his buddy to Mortuary Affairs instead of the hospital, he went ballistic and screaming. I walked in with this Muslim who only spoke Arabic and instantly loved him, but I couldn’t speak the language. In reality I knew the language of love.  As the “Iman” I kept saying in Arabic “Allah be praised!” He fell into the arms of the Chief (who I would baptize in a few weeks) and in my arms sobbing. I was so mad that enemies would hurt this child of God. I then instructed the translator to have him look in my eyes and breathe in and breathe out. It was like standing back and seeing Jesus use my body and comfort this beloved man in the death of his friend. He stared at me and heard every word I said through the translator. Eventually he went off.

 

At that time, I wanted to hear the voice of my mother who had died in 2000. I shared with the congregation that in a way she could hear me…and I could hear her voice. Now a days, we can talk anywhere in the world with a cell phone. I pulled mine out. I prefer voice rather than texting. Sometimes we text to each other while we are in the same building! My mother had written me an anniversary card on my 10th anniversary to priesthood. I was ordained 22 years ago today. She wrote:

 

Dear Ron, 

   We are very proud of you and love you very much. The last 10 years have been very different for you to say the least. Good, bad, indifferent, exciting, blessed, scary etc, etc. But one thing is for sure you have always been in the hands of Jesus who has to love having fun with you. Don’t you think? We hope the next ten years will be just as wonderful. 

                           Love you,

                               Mom & Dad

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I had this card from my mother when I was out in Iraq. It sits in my bible. It was like hearing her voice. Jesus is truly alive! He is in Heaven, but he is with us closer than a phone call. Every Sunday we gather together almost like in a phone booth and we call home. God, Our Father and Mother, encourages us…especially when under the burden of the Cross. God loves us and is with us always. God loves us too much to let us alone.

 

I remembered a song as I walked along the beach last night. We started singing it at church back in 1980 when I graduated from Kings Point. It goes like this. Please join with me as you hear it and believe it also:

 

We remember how you loved us, through your death

And still we celebrate for you are with us here

And we believe that we will see you, when you come

in your glory Lord, 

We remember, we celebrate, we believe

 

Here a million wounded souls

are yearning just to touch you and be healed

gather all your people, and hold them to your heart

 

We remember how you loved us….

 

 

Beloved, please have a wonderful week.  Remember to listen to the voice of God. Ask to hear His voice. You will receive His Love.

 

Love, joy, peace,

Father Ron Moses +

 

P.S. TEAR IN THE DESERT, the TV special will show again on EWTN on Memorial Day, May 28th at 5:30 pm ET. 

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YES, JESUS!

In the last meditations of Father Anthony De Mello in The Way of Love, he begins one of his mediations:

“Think of a flabby person covered with layers of fat. That is what your mind can become—flabby, covered with layers of fat till it becomes too dull and lazy to think, to observe, to explore, to discover. It loses its alertness, its aliveness, its flexibility and goes to sleep. Look around you and you will see almost everyone with minds like that: dull, asleep, protected by layers of fat, not wanting to be disturbed or questioned into wakefulness.”

After copying this in my journal on November 29, I wrote the following:

Come, Beloved Jesus…
WAKE US UP!!! WAKE ME UP!!!

Then on Saturday morning on the memorial of St. Francis Xavier, as I was preparing to hear Confessions at St. John the Evangelist Church in Interlachen, I wrote the following:

Yes, Jesus
You have awoken my Spirit.
Yes, I will follow
and lead the way
through the darkness into your heart
although I am already within, but I didn’t know it!

O Jesus, all alone again
Bob, my brother priest helps me through the bog

You truly have come
to set a fire on the earth
and division.
You baptize me with your blood…so hot at first that I recoil

Patience, kindness, gentleness
Thanks for the fruit and sweetness
Generosity, purity, faithfulness
Thanks for the warm bread
Love, joy, peace,
Thanks for the strength and depth!

How long you must have waited for my soul to awaken
Groggy, whiney complaining

And yet, I feel and experience
how you purify me
spit on my eyes
hold me close to your breasts
like my Italian grandmother, Teresa,
pulled me in with her love and arms
It was so very uncomfortable
to breathe and think
with my face smashed into Grandma’s breasts
And yet, I now long for that uncomfortable love that conquers all

O Beloved God,
smash my face into your breasts
make me uncomfortable
call me to grow up and mature

I am here this morning
with You,
Just like three years ago
after Bishop John encouraged me
that sometimes I have to carry my cross
And then the man who ordained me
laid hands on me again
and forgave me.
As I drove down to Interlachen to hear confessions,
it hit me
the oils of Chrism flooded my eyes,
poured down on my beard (that has been long ago shaved off)
and into my heart and soul

Yes, You, O God, have ordained me
to be Your son
Your brother
and your lover
I am truly Father Ron
and I tremble at the prospect
just as every father does
as his tiny babe drawn from his loins and his beloved’s womb
is placed in his hands for the first time
Love pours like oil—a father forever
even if it costs him his life,
he will defend his wife and children
and then the world.
And now I beg forgiveness
and as I whimper my request
the words pour forth from your heart and soul
as you are tortured on the cross
“Ron, today you will be with me in Paradise!”

Today?!
Take it in. Savor it.
Be protected by these words.
Rejoice in it.
Celebrate it.
O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining
This is the day and night of Our dear Savior’s, and Our birth.
Long lay my world and our world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared,
my Father and your Father,
my Brother and your Brother,
my Lover and your Lover
and my soul felt its worth
a thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices
for yonder and here breaks
a new and glorious morn—
Fall on my knees
I hear the angel voices
“O night divine when Christ was born,
O night, O night divine”

Breathe on me Jesus
Enflame my soul
Burst my dullness and darkness
Bring Light! Bring Light!
Use me
Your will be done
Shatter my deafness, my loneliness, and my darkness
Devour me so that I might live
Breathe in…
Breathe out…
Proclaim to all the world and universe
God is with us,
Always,
Until the end of time…and beyond!!!
o my! o wow! and oooh!!!

*************************************************************************
And then on Sunday morning as I was sipping my coffee on the back porch and praying the Office of Readings, I read the words of St. John Damascene, priest and doctor, on his feast day:

“O Lord, you led me from my father’s loins and formed me in my mother’s womb. You brought me, a naked babe, into the light of day, for nature’s laws always obey your commands.
By the blessing of the Holy Spirit, you prepared my creation and my existence, not because man willed it or flesh desired it, but by your ineffable grace. The birth you prepared for me was such that it surpassed the laws of our nature. You sent me forth into the light by adopting me as your son and you enrolled me among the children of your holy and spotless Church.
You nursed me with the spiritual milk of your divine utterances. You kept me alive with the solid food of the body of Jesus Christ, your only-begotten Son and our God, and you let me drink from the chalice of his life-giving blood, poured out to save the whole world.
You loved us, O Beloved…”

Beloved, I pray you are having a wonderful Advent. I am. This week I am going to be courageous and offer you a homework assignment. Go ahead and read Psalm 104 out loud. It speaks in very poetic words and imagery of how God creates our world and all who live in it. God is an Awesome God. God is Good…ALL THE TIME!
Yes, Jesus!

Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses +

Advent of Peace


In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
(Gospel reading from Saint John (1:1-2) on Christmas Morning)

Beloved, without Advent there is no reality of Christ-Mass. Christmas is celebrated only because the LAMB of GOD was slaughtered on Good Friday after the Passover which commemorates how the Hebrew people escaped the horrible conditions of slavery in Egypt four hundred years after they were in harmony with the Pharaoh and the Egyptian people.

Moses was instructed by God to tell the people that if they wished to survive the death of their first born and enter into freedom (in the perilous desert), they first had to slaughter a lamb and smear the blood on their front doorposts the night of the seventh moon of the Jewish New Year (Yom Kippur). Remember, Jews must drain the blood of animals before eating them. Blood was sacred not only for humans, but animals as well.

The “blood” line of Jesus can be traced all the way back to Adam and Eve. In her book, Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!, Susi Pittman is clear and concise in showing the fall and the ultimate Restoration of the soul of human beings. Our hope is to be in Heaven with our Creator and Beloved for all eternity. Susi raises the question of whether animals are in Heaven also. Advent is Latin for “to come”. Advent is a time for us to hope for the coming of Heaven. Jesus, the Lamb of God, is coming for you, me, and all of His Creation. Susi shares her love of her husband, pets, wild animals and parts of our environment that have died. Her hope is in what the Sacred Scriptures exude of love, joy, peace and hope in Heaven.

In the Song of Songs, chapter 2, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet cries out with the words of Our Beloved coming for us. Jesus is in love with us and all creation. Allow ourselves to cry out this most beautiful Canticle about how Jesus’ love is stronger than death. Yes! Yes! Advent is about falling in love with our Beloved, Jesus. Christmas is about the formal engagement to our Beloved, Jesus. January 10, 2010 is the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus in which is the last day of Christmas and the first day of Ordinary Time leading up to the Passover and the Wedding Feast of Easter. It is beyond our comprehension that we will be married to God forever.

According to Saint Luke, “After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Let us hope like Noah waiting for the dove to return with an olive branch as a sign that the flood waters have receded. Isaac asked his father, “Father, here is the wood on my back, and you carry the fire and knife. Where is the sacrifice?” Abraham, with tears hidden in his soul, simply said, “My son, God will provide.” God is coming for us as Abraham holds the knife he is about to plunge into his son whom he loves more than himself. “Abraham! Abraham! Don’t kill your beloved son. I know you love me. I will provide for you everything I have. I will promise you my Son, the Lamb. As a sign of this promise, see the ram caught in the bushes. One day, My Son will come to the earth and be caught with a crown of thorns.”

Our hope is that God will fulfill His promise. But that promise means that the Blood of the Lamb will be smeared on our doorposts, our lips. And we will eat the flesh of God in the form of a gentle lamb who says, “Father! I have the wood of the cross on my shoulders and back. The fire of sin is in your beloved people. And the sword of the evil one is in their hands. I have fallen in love with these people even though they insist on slaughtering me and pasting my body on a bloody cross like the Passover almost 2000 years ago. Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing. My birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection is your one and only Christmas Gift for them. I love them, my chosen spouse, soul mate, and Beloved for all eternity. I can hardly wait to present my beloved people to you. I will even give them my most Blessed Mother Mary to them so that my mother will be their mother and we will be united as ONE for all eternity.”

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid:
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
Isaiah 11:1-10

This Advent let us hope for peace. Let us hope that the animals in the preceding passage from the prophet Isaiah will indeed be replaced with people of the world. Then sinners shall be a guest of The Lamb. Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and Christian will browse together. Republicans and Democrats shall browse together with a little child to guide them. The people of Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and the World, The South and The North, China and Russia, Cuba and the United States, Israel and Palestine, North and South Korea, shall all be neighbors. How would you place the Sunni and Shiites in this passage? Where would you put the insurrectionists and religious extremists? And where would you place yourself and your most terrifying enemy?

When we forgive those who have hurt and abused us, then the Beloved will come searching for His Beloved, YOU and ME!

Hark! my lover-here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
and come!
For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!
“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”
Song of Songs 2:8-14

O Holy Night must come! May you find your Beloved, The Best Gift Ever, this Christmas. I pray that you nurture the lamb born among wolves. May we all hope to be the guest of the Lamb. Joy to the World! The Beloved is coming!

Love, joy, peace and hope,
Father Ron Moses +