Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Intercessions ~ Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

As Autumn begins/ countless trees will let go of their leaves./ In that spirit/ we pray to surrender suspicion,/ resentment,/ fanciful thinking and possessiveness./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for the conversion of those who do hateful,/ deadly things while wearing masks./ And for us to remove our own masks - revealing ourselves before God and others in humility and truth./ We pray to the Lord.

Pope Francis has said that a Third World War has begun in piecemeal./ We pray for sufferers wherever there is fighting/ and for national leaders to implement non-combative ways of resolving the world's deepest problems./ We pray to the Lord.

Saturday is the Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul - saint of charity and reformer of the clergy./ We ask for the emotional and spiritual growth of priests/ and blessings for the Church in Her charitable efforts./ We pray to the Lord.

This past week the Church kept the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows/ - Mary standing beneath the cross of Jesus./ We pray for women to be blessed and recognized in their many gifts/ and for help and healing where women suffer the loss of their children by war,/ kidnapping,/ disease,/ calamity or addiction./ We pray to the Lord.

Remembering that every Sunday is a little Easter - a day of Resurrection/ we ask for our nation to rise up out of polarization/ and any bitterness,/ selfishness, or unhealthy pride that forgets,/ marginalizes or diminishes others./ We pray to the Lord.

Calling to mind those who have died/ we ask for them to be freed of darkness/ and to enter the life of God where there is joy and light./ And for the comforting of those around the world who mourn loved ones./ We pray to the Lord.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Picking Grain and Un-knowing Jesus

Jesus happened to be passing through the wheat fields on the Sabbath, and his disciples bean to pick the heads of wheat as they made their way through. And the Pharisees said to him, "Look! Why are they doing what it is against the law to do on the Sabbath?" He said to them, "Did you never read what David did, when he was in need and hungry, he and his men? How is it that he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the Presentation Loaves, which it is against the law for anyone but the priests to eat, and gave some to his companions too?" And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, and so the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath."
Even in a little gospel reading we see that there are even bitter differences between Jesus and the leading Pharisees. They seem to follow Jesus; they watch him with scheming suspicion.  In this scene the wrangle is over the Sabbath rule of forbidden work.

The apostles are hungry and so they pick some ripe grain. They rub it between their hands and pop  it into their mouths. Ancient fast-food! The Pharisees, who have religious power, consider that action to be harvesting. When religion gets twisted up, there are people who become surveyors, assessing and judging the actions of others. These men aren't concerned that the wheat is stolen, but only that it has been harvested. You're not allowed to do that on the Sabbath rest day. 

But Jesus is careful and  smart and he answers their question with another question, which gives him an opportunity to teach them what they clearly don't know. But like many, they don't want to be taught. The Sabbath day is God's gift to us. The burdensome cycle of the frenzied money wheel is put aside and lifted, as once each week God invites us to rest. But the Sabbath is God's gift; not God himself. Human need takes precedent. Followers of religion sometimes forget this.

But then Jesus goes further and claims He is Lord of the Sabbath! Now he's really looking for trouble! He has God-authority to tell us what we may and may not do on the Sabbath. Jesus isn't just a good man, a holy man, a just man, a prophet. He invites me to know him in God's authority and Lordship. He's supreme even over the Sabbath. 

It's the time of seasonal change. It's the time of letting go as the trees of the northern hemisphere drop millions upon millions of leaves and the late summer garden surrenders its fruitfulness. To know Jesus in an evolved way, we might need to drop immature, naive or even superstitious notions of him. A kind of un-knowing. 

To know Jesus without packaged words or religious cliches. To know Jesus from an inner, felt place. To know Jesus for myself and not as something simply handed on to me by someone else. Look at the picture below: an image of the un-knowing. What then? 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Wine ~ New Wineskins

No one sews a patch of new cloth on an old garment; else the new patch tears away from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one pours new wine into old wine-skins; else the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is spilt, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. (Mark 2:21,22)
What do these two verses mean? The time of old religion is over- Jesus the Messiah is with us. Everything is new now in Christ and his fresh teaching. The old thinking cannot just be patched up, there is something new in Christ which will require an equally new way of behaving, thinking, sensing and responding.

Sad to say, this is lost on many for whom the things of Christ make for religion which is business as usual: maintaining parish properties which (factory-like) we call plants, the routine execution of sloppy liturgies, the loss of vision in preaching, religion motivated by clericalism, habit, guilt, superstition, money, power, superficiality or an excuse for hate. Saint Ambrose of Milan wrote: 
There is your brother, your sister, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.
So what are we to do?
"...have no fear of human sin. Love people, even in their sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all of God's creation. The whole and every grain of sand on it. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceivnne the divine majesty in things. Once you perceive it, you will begin to comprehend it better everyday. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love." (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov)
And how are we to go about attaining this new, inner-life direction? Years ago when I was in seminary a priest friend said to me, "Do everything you can to get Christ into your life; there is everything to take him away." 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Intercessions ~ Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

World Trade Center ~ Looking Up

This past Thursday we remembered the sad events of September 11, 2001./ We pray for those whose lives remain directly impacted by the violence of that day - those who still carry emotional and physical wounds./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for hearts that are calcified in hatred:/ the hatred of persons of other colors,/ nationalities,/ religions,/ societal levels,/ gender or orientation./ We ask for the grace to love others well./ We pray to the Lord.

For those whose work is national security./ For all who help those in need of a rescue,/ or help through trouble,/ anguish or pain./ We pray to the Lord.

Ebola is spreading throughout much of Africa./ We pray for those who are afflicted/ and for all who have the care of the sick,/ the dying,/the orphaned,/ the dead./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for Francis our Pope/ and for bishops throughout the world,/ asking for the right direction,/ safety and up-building of Church leaders./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for families and children everywhere/ mindful of the many who struggle through deep loss,/ sorrow and trauma./ For the opening of hearts and minds to the things of justice and peace./We pray to the Lord.

We hear of sorrowful death everyday - where there is tragedy,/ invasion,/ accident,/ overdose and terrorism./ For the repose of souls/ and the healed comfort of those who are fearful or in mourning./ We pray to the Lord.