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Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree, that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

I know it is Sunday and I know I don’t usually blog on a Sunday morning, but lately it seems I’ve made it a habit that I don’t blog at all. I chose this quote from Friday’s morning 1st reading from the letter to the Galatians. Why? Because during a Bible study that Sarah and I participated in many years ago, it was through this line that the Holy Spirit inspired me to write the song Cursed Wood, Blessed Wood. My wife and I have used that song on Palm Sunday (and more recently for Tenebre ) ever since. It is a very emotional song and although I take credit for putting it on paper, the true credit for this work goes to the one who inspired me and pushed me to do it and that is the Holy Spirit.

I wish I could post this song for you to listen but the site won’t allow me this option. I’ll check with my daughter and see it there is a way to post it. Stay tuned. Just one more thought today; it is one that has crossed my mind several times this week. Msgr. Ramacciotti used the following line to open his homily last Sunday. He used it to talk about the Pro-Life movement; it was a very good homily but I am using it to talk about privilege.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

White Privilege has been talked about for years. I am not a supporter of this theory but never the less I will tell you that I am a privileged man. I base this comment on not only this statement shown here -the preamble to our Declaration of Independence – but also on this line from Genesis:

God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female* he created them.

These two statements define my privilege and it the same privilege that every human being on this earth shares. We are ALL endowed by our Creator – our God – and we are all equal in the eyes of God. God created me a white male – Blessed be the Lord. God created my mentor, the man who taught me to love playing the piano and the organ – as a black male – Blessed be the Lord. I am no greater that anyone else who walks the face of this earth because, again, we are all equal in the eyes of God. I pray that we can all come to the realization that we are all equal, that we are all privileged to have a God – the Creator of all things – who loves us deeply. Let me finish with this excerpt from Colossians…

10* and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.g

11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian,* slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.h

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,i

13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.j

14 And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.k

15 And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.l

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.m

17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.n

Do something great for our Lord today – PUT ON LOVE. And thank God for the privilege of being you – you who were created in His image; in His likeness; in His perfection.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can me me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may note despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!

I find great peace in our readings today; I find them rather appropriate for the day. Today is a day that my family will mourn the loss of a great man, a man who was devoted to his family. A man we will all miss in our daily lives. A man I will pray for daily not only for the repose of his soul but for his intercession for his family and friends he has left behind. Before I say anymore, take a look at our daily readings that by “chance” happen to fall on this solemn day.

Reading 1

ECCL 11:9—12:8

Rejoice, O young man, while you are young 
and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart,
the vision of your eyes;
Yet understand that as regards all this
God will bring you to judgment.
Ward off grief from your heart
and put away trouble from your presence,
though the dawn of youth is fleeting.

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the evil days come
And the years approach of which you will say,
I have no pleasure in them;
Before the sun is darkened,
and the light, and the moon, and the stars,
while the clouds return after the rain;
When the guardians of the house tremble,
and the strong men are bent,
And the grinders are idle because they are few,
and they who look through the windows grow blind;
When the doors to the street are shut,
and the sound of the mill is low;
When one waits for the chirp of a bird,
but all the daughters of song are suppressed;
And one fears heights,
and perils in the street;
When the almond tree blooms,
and the locust grows sluggish
and the caper berry is without effect,
Because man goes to his lasting home,
and mourners go about the streets;
Before the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken,
And the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the broken pulley falls into the well,
And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the life breath returns to God who gave it.

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
all things are vanity!

Responsorial Psalm

PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17

R. (1) In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight 
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge.

Alleluia

2 TIMOTHY 1:10R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Savior Christ Jesus destroyed death
and brought life to light through the Gospel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

LK 9:43B-45

While they were all amazed at his every deed,
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Pay attention to what I am telling you.
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” 
But they did not understand this saying;
its meaning was hidden from them
so that they should not understand it,
and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

The man we mourn today is the Father-in-Law of my son Jerome. We will mourn the loss of David Starzyk. David was very blessed in his life and knew this and was thankful to God for all that he had. He loved his wife Sally and his three daughters Nicole, Megan and Natalie. Sarah and I came to know David through his daughter Megan – the wife of our son Jerome. It is hard for me to go into too much detail about the life of David because I only knew him through Jerome and Megan. But what I do know is that David was a family man and had a deep love for them and a deep love for God as I previously mentioned. It is easy for me to judge the character of David because I do know his daughter.

Growing up we always chided our kids to be good people because their attitude towards life; their attitude towards fellow man; their attitude towards God doesn’t reflect on them but reflects back on their parents. Believing the truth in that statement, I know how a good a man David was from the reflection of his beautiful daughter Megan. Megan is kind, patient, loving, devoted, fiery, faithful. Megan is a devoted mother, wife, daughter, friend. She didn’t get those traits on her own but she learned them through her parents. She learned them through David and Sally. So the love I have for Megan because of the good she does for my son is the same love I have for David and his wife Sally because it was through their love and commitment to their family and their faith that my son was blessed. It is through Megan that I’m able to see the good man that David was. It is through Megan that I’m able to see the reflection of God in David’s life. It is for Megan (and for Sally, Nicole and Natalie) that I will thank God for bringing David Starzyk into our lives; it is for that reason that I will pray for David everyday. Rest in peace David Starzyk – you were truly a man of God, a man of prayer, a man devoted to his family.

Everything you need to know about David is captured in this picture.

Do something great for our Lord today – rejoice in His name; know that the Lords ways are not our ways, the Lords thought are not our thoughts and that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away – BLESSED BE THE LORD. As I begin to write these final “sayings” that I try to fashion my life around, know that David Starzyk lived these to their true meaning.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

May David’s soul – and the souls of all the just – through the mercy of God rest in peace.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks. I’m down sitting at my computer and my wife came in and said to me you know you haven’t posted on your blog for quite some time now. I made up some excuse, thinking that would get her off my back but I forgot that my wife is a teacher and when she hands out assignments, she expects them to get done – NOW. She did say I could do this tomorrow but even God rests on Sunday’s, so I decided to offer some insights today instead.

It has been a beautiful week this week – not just weather wise either. Last Friday, we loaded up the truck and we headed to – you guessed right – Toledo, Ohio. Well, maybe you didn’t guess right then. The daughter of the family we have been vacationing with (for many years) got married last weekend. It was a beautiful day and it was a beautiful wedding…may God bless Bridget and Nick on their vocation for the Church.

Yesterday, we loaded up the truck and, again, you guessed it, we headed to St. Gen MO to celebrate my sister-in-laws 25th wedding anniversary. On the way down, my nephew Keith called my daughter Mary and announced the birth of Keith and Sarah’s first child – a beautiful girl they named Kiara Rose. That just put the topping on the wedding cake as the anniversary Mass for Kristen and Marc was beautiful too.

So where am I going with all of this? It is quite simple. Where was it that Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, pushed Jesus into the start of His ministry here on earth? At a wedding reception – the wedding feast at Cana. So with the newly weds, the new parents and the veteran couple all celebrating this week – I got to feel the love of God present in so many ways this week. God offered me a beautiful reflection to contemplate this week. In the midst of all this tumult in our world today, I was able to share in the love of our heavenly Father in a number of ways this past week. First through the love of a young couple and their YES to God’s love through their commitment to each other; second, through the love of a young couple and their YES to their vocation and the birth of their first child – the miracle of LIFE itself; third, through the dedication of a not so young couple and their commitment to each other and to their 5 children to live through all the stresses and struggles of life only to find joy and happiness 25 years later.

Yes, we live in trying times but last week was a reminder of how beautiful life on this earth can be if you remain open to the love and will of our Father. What a great week to be alive last week.

Do something great for our Lord today – hug your wife, kiss your child, kick your cat – just joking – about the child. Be that mirror of God’s love for all around you – it promises to be a great week if you do.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if you wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God, chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.

Have you heard recently that we are in the end times? Does that stress you out? I try not to listen to those dire predictions and today’s first reading supports my stance…

We ask you, brothers and sisters,
with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
and our assembling with him,
not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly,
or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement,
or by a letter allegedly from us
to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
Let no one deceive you in any way.

To this end he has also called you through our Gospel
to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm
and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught,
either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement
and good hope through his grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen them
in every good deed and word.

The question we must all ask ourselves is not when will He come but am I ready when He does come? Am I? Are you? Give some thought to that today and if examining your conscience you don’t think you are, then what must you do to get ready? Don’t find out the hard way what the meaning of “He will come like a thief in the night…” truly is. Be ready.

Back to the primacy of Peter. I posted a YouTube video from Bishop Sheen yesterday. Bishop Sheen also wrote a beautiful reflection on his thoughts about the role of the Pope for our Church. Please take time today to read and reflect on this.

The Voice of Peter by Bishop Fulton Sheen

The father and mother of a family suffer for their children; the priest bears the wounds of his parishioners, but into that chalice held by the Vicar of Christ seeps all the sorrows, such as those caused by disciples: some walk with Him no more, or who leave the Eucharistic Banquet and go out into the night.

Do something great for our Lord today – hear His voice through our Holy Father here on earth. Be strong in these times of struggle – do not leave the Eucharistic Banquet and go out into the night but be nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lamb – our hope and our salvation.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you, man of God, chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be glory forever.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you. Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom and speak of your might.

I know it has been a couple of weeks since my last post – my apologies. This week I would to spend some time contemplating yesterday’s Gospel. Yesterday Jesus gave the “keys to the Kingdom” to Peter – the rock upon which the Church would be built.

Most people who read this blog know that I am a cradle Catholic and have no problems sharing that with anyone who asks what faith I profess. I believe that the Catholic church is the Church established by Jesus for us to follow in His ways and yesterday’s Gospel is the basis of that belief. Today I would like to share someone else’s thoughts on this topic, a man I believe is destined to be elevated as a saint for the works he did here for us promoting God’s greatness; one who gave his life to the work of the Lord…Bishop Fulton Sheen. This is a rather long talk about Peter – the Vicar of Christ, but it is so beautiful in its content; I hope you take the time to listen to this more than once.

Peter – the Vicar of Christ

Do something great for our Lord today – spend some time in reflection about the origins of your church.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! 
How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord
or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given the Lord anything
that he may be repaid?

For from him and through him and for him are all things. 
To him be glory forever. Amen.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be glory forever.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair not become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

Congrats to my daughter and her husband – Cecilia and Garrett.  Cecilia went into the hospital Sunday morning to be induced and just a short time later, Monday afternoon (roughly 30 hours of labor), they welcomed their first child into this world…a little girl name Skyler Grace who weighed in at 6lbs 10oz and is 20″ long.  Needless to say I am again, proud as can be and in awe of our God and the continued blessings He has given Sarah and I.

And if having the child wasn’t enough excitement for the family, our son in law Garrett checked himself into the hospital soon after the birth due to kidney stones.  He claims they gave them a BOGO coupon and it expired on Friday so he needed to take advantage of it now.

I am asked at times like what kind of wisdom and guidance can  I offer to the new parents.  My advice is simple.  You have a father who loves you very much and will always be there for you in good times and bad.  He will always be there with you at those 3 AM feedings, when you’re so exhausted that you can hardly function.  He is with you when the baby stumbles and scrapes her knee; when she loses her first tooth; when she starts school; when she goes to her first prom.  Whatever it is in life, your father will always be with you and your child.  As much as I would like to brag that I am that father, I am not.  God is that Father and God will be with you and your child at all times.  Seek His advice; thank Him daily for His blessings – your child.  Make Him part of your family; pray to Him each and every day – when you wake in the morning, before each meal and when you head to bed each night.  God has blessed with this child; God has blessed you with HIS child.  It is an awesome responsibility to be a parent and it is an experience I have cherished and loved doing for quite some time now.  So the best advice I can give is the 3 P’s…Patience, Prayer and Praise.  As long as you do these 3 things, you will flourish as a Mom and Dad.

Garrett and Cecilia – congratulations.  I love you both very much and I thank the Lord everyday for having you two – and now three – in my life.

Do something great for our Lord today – thank Him for creating you in His image and likeness.  Thank Him for life.  Thank Him because we are all beautifully and wonderfully made.  I will also add, thank You making me a grandparent – it is so much easier to enjoy the young ones when I’m not the one getting up for the 3 AM wake up call.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God, chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

I will hear what God proclaims; the LORD — for he proclaims peace. Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him, glory dwelling in our land.

There seems to be a lot of shouting going on today.  But don’t look for God in the loud shouts of man.  God will speak to you in whispers…Matthew tells us that…”What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”  We heard this proclaimed in our first reading from this morning too…

At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter.
Then the LORD said to him,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by.”
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound…God came to Elijah in a tiny whispering sound.  Hearing that reading proclaimed a couple of times this morning, the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear and a beautiful thought came into my mind.  God still comes to us, just like Elijah in the days of old.  It happens during the Eucharistic prayer…when Father speaks the words of Christ and says “do this in memory of Me” and he elevates the Body and then the Chalice of Sacred Blood.  All in the church is quiet at that moment and what happens…God comes to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  It isn’t with loud shouts of acclamation or booming sounds of Thunder, it is in the simple act of elevating the Host and the Chalice and during  that brief moment of reflection – He quietly enters.  What a beautiful Mass I had this morning reflecting on that.

Do something great for our Lord today – look for Him in the quiet whispers of your life – He will be there waiting for you.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

My wife is in LA visiting our daughter, our son-in-law and on Sunday morning, our newest grandchild – please remember them in your prayers this weekend.  Cecilia and Garrett are about to experience one of the most awesome things in life and that is being a parent.  Sarah and I had 8 children and didn’t not take the experience of childbirth for granted at any time.  We understood fully that each child was God’s blessing and we understood fully our responsibility in raising this child not only as ours, but God’s.  It was in having our children that we were able to better understand the message of today’s Gospel.  I would hazard a guess that most parents came to understand the meaning of taking up His cross, denying yourself and following Christ after having a child (or multiple children).  Childbirth is a life changing experience.  Your priorities are no longer focused on what is best for ME but what is best for the family.  Your work takes on a different meaning; your marriage takes on a different meaning; your commitment to God and Church takes on a different meaning.  Is it easy?  Nope.  Sleep changes, schedule changes, lifestyle changes – life itself takes on a different purpose.  Is it worth it?  Oh my gosh – YES.  The memories, the shared experiences, the wins and losses, grade school, high school, college, sports, vacations, weddings, grandchildren.  Good times, bad times, you know I’ve had my share…wait, I think somebody already coined that phrase.  It’s hard to sum up 31 years of parenthood in 300 words or less, but it’s amazing that (one) how quickly it goes by and (B), how this experience has brought me closer to God.  Our God is an awesome God and in my life, it has been my honor to be the father of my children – all of whom remind me of just how awesome God is.

Good luck Garrett and Cecilia.  Late nights, early mornings and a whole lot of special times are coming your way…

Do something great for our Lord today – deny yourself and take up your cross.  Find that path to God and follow it daily.  Oh, and it’s your turn to get up and see what the baby is crying about now…how many bottles can one child drink in a night?

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.

Today my youngest son leaves the house and heads for college.  He has opted not live in a dorm but has rented a small apartment and will live by himself – close to campus.  I have mixed emotions about this.  I am proud of him for taking on this responsibility but I am also a little worried about how he will manage between the classes and the necessity to work in order to pay his bills.  So I went to today’s readings hoping to find something obvious in them to help alleviate these anxieties.  I read them, thought about them and was coming up with nothing so I did what I always do when I’m not sure I’m getting the true meaning from the Gospel, I seek the wisdom of someone else and today, as in many other days, it was Bishop Barron.  Take a look at Bishop Barron’s reflection from this morning…

Friends, the Gospel for today is the account of the persistent Canaanite woman. Like all of the “hard” Gospel stories, it packs a spiritual punch.

God’s salvific purposes are for the whole world. Israel was chosen so that they would be a vehicle for the salvation of all. Therefore, Jesus’ primary mission is indeed to his fellow Jews, but throughout the Gospels, there are hints that his ministry has a wider purpose.

When Jesus entered a pagan territory, a Canaanite woman called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” She represents the longing of the world for the justice, the mercy, and the love of God. She senses correctly where this is to be found. She embodies the hunger of lost humanity.

Jesus’ responses move from silence, to an indirect rebuke, to an outright insult. And rolling with the punches, the woman responds with faith that pleases the Lord. Is Jesus testing the woman in order that she might know just how great her faith is? That was St. Augustine’s explanation for why God sometimes says no to repeated prayer. And this is why perseverance in prayer is so strongly recommended in the great tradition.

After reading this, I now know what I must do in order for my son Tony to be successful; and it’s the same thing Tony must do in order to make his mission at school a success – we must both be persistent with our prayer; we must both persevere and be diligent in asking God to provide for Tony.  Our prayers may not be answered in the time and manner with which we would like, but in staying true to the message Jesus gives us in the Gospel this morning, persistence will pay off and God will provide.

I will persevere in my prayers for Tony…but not just Tony – all of my children, my beautiful wife Sarah (who by the way leaves for LA today to be with Cecilia and Garrett as they bring their first child into this world on Sunday – say a prayer for them please), my extended family, friends and those with whom I have no allegiance with at all. Prayer is a powerful tool and I will remain true to its purpose and cause.

Do something great for our Lord today – humble yourself in prayer and be willing to eat the scraps of the Master for they provide the full nourishment you need to persevere in this life.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.

The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season; you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Two things are for sure in this world…taxes and death – I can’t avoid either one of them.  I not going to spend anytime talking about taxes here (although I do recommend you pay them), but I’m beginning to hear more and more from people that we are in the end times.  My thoughts about this is that I cannot avoid death, so I will always be in the end times.  With that in mind, it is of the utmost importance that I live my life accordingly and try to set an example of that to my family, friends and any who may know me.  This isn’t an easy task in our very casual world that we live in…Satan can be found in many venues these days and he is constantly lurking to lure me off that narrow path.  Yesterday’s readings and Today’s readings are a reminder of not only why I need to stay on that path, but how I can stay on that path.

Food nourishes and keeps us strong; spiritual food nourishes our spirit and keeps us strong in the faith.  Yesterday’s readings teach us the importance of eating that spiritual food and drinking that spiritual drink…

Thus says the LORD:
All you who are thirsty,
come to the water!
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.
Come to me heedfully,
listen, that you may have life.
I will renew with you the everlasting covenant,
the benefits assured to David.

The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

…Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away;
give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him,
“Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.”
Then he said, “Bring them here to me,”
and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing, broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
who in turn gave them to the crowds.
They all ate and were satisfied,
and they picked up the fragments left over—
twelve wicker baskets full…

Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy?  Only in God will my soul be at rest; only in God will I find the bread of eternal life; only in God can I drink from the cup of eternal salvation.  I need this food, this drink, to keep me moving forward on that narrow path to salvation.  Satan lies in wait and I must keep my being well nourished to deal with that reality.  St. Paul tells us yesterday how nourishing God’s bread and drink can be…

Brothers and sisters:
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

NOTHING can separate of from the love of our triune God.  NOTHING.  But in order for us to clearly understand and stay focused on that we must be well nourished in the food that God provides…Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare.  So how is it that we eat well?  How do we delight in rich fare?  Take a look at the Psalm for today as it offers a great start…

 

Responsorial Psalm

R. (68b) Lord, teach me your statutes.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Take not the word of truth from my mouth,
for in your ordinances is my hope.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Let those turn to me who fear you
and acknowledge your decrees.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Let my heart be perfect in your statutes,
that I be not put to shame.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
Sinners wait to destroy me,
but I pay heed to your decrees.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.
From your ordinances I turn not away,
for you have instructed me.
R. Lord, teach me your statutes.

Follow the statues of our loving God.  If I’ve said this once, I’ve said this a hundred times…follow the commandments of our Lord and commit to them – make them part of your everyday life.  Once you start following these you’ll come to understand these are not restrictions on your life but they are a great guidance to how live your life in the Lord.  They will lead you to God’s table of plenty.  Dedicate your life to Christ and you too will walk on water…

Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

As long as our focus is on the Lord, we can do anything in His name.  It is only when we start to let the strong winds of life frighten us that we start to sink.  Again, fear not if you’re sinking but follow the example given by Peter and cry out “Lord, save me!”  You may be chastised…Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” but you will be saved and the winds will die down…After they got into the boat, the wind died down.

Do something great for our Lord today – go to the waters of everlasting life.  Start a strong prayer life today and commit to God’s commands.  Strengthen your faith and learn to love and trust God completely.  The path is narrow and full of distractions that leads to the Lord which is why He gives us food and drink to keep us strong and on the path to eternal life.  I know the hour of taxes (April 15th, Midnight); I do not know the hour of death but I am ready for it when it happens because I choose daily to follow God and do what He commands me to do.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Lord, if You wish, You can make me clean.

But you man of God chose righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion – inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us so that in difficult moments we may not despair nor become despondent but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will which is Love and Mercy itself.