Sunday, September 17, 2017

"Debt Ceiling" (2017-09-17, Sunday-24)

SUNDAY 17 September 2017,  24th  Sunday
• Sirach 27:30 – 28:9 • Psalm 103  • Romans 14:7-9 • + Matthew 18:21-35 

Title:  “Debt Ceiling”

[__01__]    “Sin” in the parable of the Gospel – or “sinfulness” in the Gospel today is expressed – symbolically – as a debt that is owed, a monetary amount to be repaid.
          We read that the landowner has decided to settle accounts with his servants . Some of them owe him a great deal of money. Their credit-card balances are very burdensome. They are not solvent.
          And, so to catch the attention of his listeners, to talk with them about the account history of their sins – and their A.P.R. annual percentage rate - Jesus also reminds us that God is very merciful towards us.
          And, our Savior compares God’s mercy to this very benevolent and generous landowner and ruler.
          The ruler is a symbol of Christ, our king and we owe him big-time.

[__02__]      Peter, the Apostle, on the other hand, has a debt ceiling. The U.S. government has a debt ceiling, a maximum amount that the government can borrow.
          Peter also has a debt-ceiling or maximum number of times that he will forgive someone.  What’s the number? He says “seven” but seems more comfortable at six or five, maybe lower.
          The Gospel is inviting us to consider the magnitude of God’s mercy already in our lives rather than the magnitude of a person’s offense against us.
[__03__]       What is your or my DEBT CEILING: the maximum frequency of forgiveness?
          Is it 6, 7,  70 (seventy) ?
          It may seem hard to imagine that we would have to forgive the same person 6, 7, or 70 times.
          However, consider that if you were hurt and were troubled and began to think it over every day for a month, or two months, you are now at 60 -- 77 is around the corner.

[__04__] At the end my freshman year in college, one of my classmates and residence-hall neighbors down the corridor, approached to ask me a question.
            “I really want to buy a car this summer. Can I borrow two hundred dollars?  I’ll pay you back.”
            The academic semester had just finished and we were all moving out of the residence hall to return to our respective hometowns. I would return to New Jersey, he was returning to New York.
            I thought about it, wondering if this was a good idea, to make this loan to another kid whom I would not see for the rest of May, June, July, August.  I would see him, September, at the earliest.

[__05__]     I made the loan and gave him (classmate) the two hundred dollars ($200).  Over the next several weeks – during the summer – I realized this, maybe, had not been a great idea.
            Would I ever see this money again? Would I be paid back? Would he even return to campus in the autumn, in September?

[__06__]     Was forgiveness an option? In fact, I came to realize it was my only option.   I suggest that FORGIVENESS is not impossible, not the impossible dream. It may seem difficult or expensive, but I suggest it is the only option we can really afford.   I considered 2 aspects of the situation:   (a) PERSONAL and…. (b) PASSING OF TIME.
            First, the PERSONAL. The debt only existed on a balance sheet – as a personal effect between him and me. It was one-on-one.  And, while concerned about repayment, I wanted to keep this one-on-one.
            That is, I did not want the advice of my mother, father or my friends.
            In fact, I did not even tell my parents about this until last week.
            But, the issue was one-on-one, personal.  Revealing the issue to others was not going to be helpful. Either they would blow it out of proportion or just blow me off and see the issue as random-repayment that may or not happen. Forget about it.
            I did not want to forget. I wanted to FORGIVE.
            And, this was person-to-person. It helps to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

            Yes, over the summer, I thought about the 200-dollar loan at least 7 times, probably more like 77 or 107 times.
            However, time was also on my side. And, time is on your side when you are asked to forgive.
            Time was on my side because I had time to think. Time was on my side because I was young. And, when you are 19 or 9 or younger, four months – a summer – is a long time. As we grow older, time moves more quickly.
            But, at every age – as grown-ups, we are called to remember that a lot can happen, spiritually – personally – in a few months.
            The hurt or injury that we might believe that we cannot forgive today… we maybe able to forgive tomorrow, or in a little while.

[__07__]       Forgiveness is, at times, expensive. But even if we are trying to turn the other cheek, this does not mean that we should always look the other way.
            I believe that we can forgive and still challenge another person to change.
            When we admit our faults – or confess our sins – we are seeking forgiveness, not permissiveness or permission.
            Forgiveness does not mean that we become an “enabler” …but rather that with compassion we enable the person to “become”  … to grow, to change, to love and to know that he or she is loved.

[__08_]      During the summer of my two-hundred dollars, I came to the realization that I could and would forgive the debt.
          It was, perhaps, also one of my first “adult” decisions about forgiveness.
          So, I decided to forgive to not expect repayment. It was in September that Pete returned to campus.
          I did not ask about the money, but he remembered and gave me the 200 and even acknowledged my generosity.
          Receiving the 200, I felt I had received much more, I felt wealthy.
          Mercy makes us rich.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

"One on One" (2017-09-10. Sunday-23)

SUNDAY 10 September 2017, 23rd Sunday
• Ezekiel 33:7-9  • Psalm 95  • Romans 13:8-10  • 
+ Matthew 18:15-20  •

Title:  “One on One.”

[__01__]   At around 7:00 am, seven o’clock in the morning, on August 7, 1974 (Wednesday), at  over 1,000 feet and 400 meters above the ground, Philippe Petit began to walk on a high-wire tightrope from the top of the South Tower to the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  A few hours earlier, he and his team had shot an arrow, a crossbow with a rope and pulled – for hours, the heavy tightrope (cable) – into place between the North Tower and South Tower of the World Trade Center.
            For 45 minutes – forty-five minutes – Monsieur Petit was on his high-wire. The NYPD Police Department finally ordered him off the wire, arrested him …and he went to jail for a brief stay for his stunt.
            For those 45 minutes – and perhaps much longer – everyone was focused on Philippe Petit in the sky. Everyone had a connection to him, a one-on-one connection.
            Though you and I could not – and would not – walk on such a wire, with such a dramatic performance, we sense and perceive a connection to the performer, to the place …and, even, perhaps, to his arrest and punishment.
            Well, that was of course only a stunt, a high-wire act and it lasted only 45 minutes.
            The towers themselves stood for much longer, for years, decades.

[__02__]     Years later, now years after September 11, 2001, many of us still have a connection – a visual connection – in the sky and skyline to the location of the Twin Towers, the north and south towers,  One World Trade and Two World Trade.
          And, on the anniversary of 9/11, 2 bright blue lights are visible from the ground and into the atmosphere as a reminder of towers that were there.

Of course, today, 2017, the area has been repaired, restored and new One World Trade Center tower stands, along with a memorial to the many heroes and victims of the day.
          Yet, many of us have personal memories and one-on-one connections to the day, to the event.
          Many of can recall in great detail things that happened in the morning of September 11, 2001, conversations we had that day, things that happened later the same day. I can recall the professor, the philosophy class, the building, the classroom at Seton Hall, the window I looked out after hearing about the Twin Towers.  There was a one-on-one personal connection.

[__03__]    In the Gospel, this Sunday, Jesus speaks about the importance of 1-on-1 peacemaking, reconciliation.
          When you and I have difficulty, conflict with someone, we may hope/wish/pray that someone would intervene with a solution.
          Or, if we have caused a difficulty with someone else, we are often relieved if someone else tells us about it, warns us about what happened…so that we can “repair” or make up for the fault in some other way.
          It’s nice if this happens.
[__04__]    But, sometimes one-on-one is the better way and the only way.
          And, in this sense, Jesus is outlining and emphasizing certain things for us to consider.

[__05__]     First, WORDS.
If there is a conflict or difficulty – if I have trespassed against you or someone. I am called to put into words, in factual terms what has happened.
          And, in this case, the word does not mean that I am adding in my excuse for what happened … or my feeling about what happened.
          You and I have told – or heard – many personal accounts of where a person was on 9/11. And, while there is often great emotion in the telling, there is also great specificity, detail, precision.
          And, if we are to admit our faults to another person – or to God – or if we are to forgive another person, we might strive for the same precision, exactness.
          Consider – you have probably forgiven someone who has apologized to you. And, when you do, you simply state the fact of your forgiveness.
          That is, we strive to forgive without a reminder or recall of the hurt. Just the facts. The fact of forgiveness. One on one.
          It does not require the GOVERNMENT to intervene.
          It’s the Gospel.
          The Good News of Jesus himself is intervening.

[__06__]    Many lives were lost at Ground Zero as the towers came down.
          Yet, thousands of lives were also saved. This was not because there was anticipation or the perfect disaster recovery plan.  But, lives were saved because of the heroic actions and presence of so many NYPD, Port Authority, New York City Firefighters.
          People who did not have to be on the front line left their desks in midtown to be downtown, to be down n the trenches.
          And, it was because of many individual one-on-one decisions by firefighters, police, emergency responders, by co-workers, by bosses, by assistants, by executives and ordinary workers, by neighbors, and by perfect strangers who came together one-on-one for the good of all
          Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Pray for Us.
[__08__]    [__09__]      [__10__]       [__11_]       [__fin__]    

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Back to School. (2017-09-03, Sunday-22)

SUNDAY 3 September August 2017, 22nd Sunday
• Jeremiah 20:7-9  • Psalm 63 • Romans 12:1-2 •  + Matthew 16:21-27  

Title:  “Back to School”

[__01__]   Back to school. Going back to school is different from summer.  But, we have this one PAUSE  [ ▌▌] button of Labor Day before the PLAY [ ►] (or FAST FORWARD [ ►►] of September.

Peter is back to school this Sunday, being educated on meaning, on the mission, and on the Messiah.

Last Sunday – when it was still summertime – Peter had the correct answer to our Savior’s question of “Who do you say that I am?”  (Matthew 16:15). This was Part One.

Peter answers correctly on Part One:  “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  (Matthew 16:16)

Peter is singled out and is distinguished from the other apostles because of his inspired answer, being told: “Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you [or, we might say… that Peter – you did not come up with this purely through your own study and intellect], but my Heavenly Father.”  (Matthew 16:17)

[__02__]     This Sunday, Peter is back to school.  It’s Part Two (2). It’s a different story. And, Peter has pressed an incorrect key.
          That is, he is told that in addition to success and salvation through Jesus Christ, there will also be suffering.
          Back to school always involves suffering. And, Jesus is trying to caution us – and also console us – that suffering, testing, sorrow, difficulty is universal. It will affect all of us.
[__03__]    Back to school.
In my junior year of college, I had the fortunate Fall / Autumn experience to study at a university in England. This was a study group for American students, from the United States.
          All of us were American citizens and from various colleges around the country. We were of different backgrounds.
          What seemed to be a universal experience, a common denominator for all of us was the adjustment to the language and accent of England the U.K.
          It is an old saying that we are “two countries separated by a common language.”  One example is that if you say something is “quite good” in  West Orange, you are giving praise, affirmation, stating the excellence.  If you say a the entrée or appetizer is “quite good” in Westminster and London, you mean it’s really not that good. It’s not a compliment to the chef.
          So, among all of us as students, there was a universal confusion about many things.
          And, there was a universal adjustment not only to vocabulary and slang (idiomatic expressions) but also to the accent.
          The same thing happens to a British person coming to the U.S. Universally, they lose some of the their British accent and gain some of the American accent.
          And, we changed the way that we spoke, because we were listening and speaking to teachers with a British accent.
[__04__]    I noticed that my own speaking changed and endured as a change for several months after I returned to the States.
          This was somewhat annoying to family and friends in New Jersey.  It did not happen overnight. The accent took a while to acquire…and took a while to disappear. It is now gone, I assure you.
[__05__]     However, one of my classmates somehow managed to pick up the British accent within 2 days of arriving.  But, she was constantly addressing everyone around her with British slang.  I’m not sure how this happened so fast. Maybe she was smarter than the rest of us… or was hers a superficial demonstration?
          Everyone knew she still had a U.S. passport.

[__06__]    Back to school. It was a universal and commonly shared experience.  And, the only way to avoid this was to stay in your dorm room for several months and not go to class which is always an option in college and watch lots of sports, movies and television from the States.
          It was a universal experience.

[__07__]    Learning a language is something we do, not in isolation, but in community, in relationships with others.
          It is universally shared.
          I’d like to suggest that our understanding – and learning – about suffering and sorrow is also a common experience, universally shared. It also takes time, often more than one semester or school year.
[__08__]    Peter the Apostle is not so sure. He wants to dismiss the role of suffering and the cross.
          By the way, Peter is not seeking an exemption – or free pass – for himself. Rather, he is saying that Jesus – as Messiah – should not have to suffer.
          But, suffering is universally and often universally shared and known.

[__09__]     As a country, we are back to school, learning about suffering. Profoundly and particularly does this apply to the police, the firefighters, rescue works and emergency workers of Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey.
          It also applies to the victims and the homeless individuals and families of Harvey.
          Suffering, at times, reminds us not only of our own personal vulnerability but of the vulnerability and fragility of everyone. 
          Many a firefighter and rescue worker have taken risks with their own lives and health.
          Sergeant Steve Perez, Houston Police Department, gave up his life trying get to work in a flood condition.
          Meanwhile, many adults and families have had to wait while children and elderly people were rescued.
          And, while you and I might not suffer the loss of our home today, we are called to give back perhaps simply by our own prayer and sacrifice.
          When we sit back to our next meal, or turn the key in our front door, could we not surrender a petition for our brothers and sisters? Or, in the spirit of a Lenten sacrifice, maybe we could offer up – or give up – something by fasting or eating less over the next few days. We can take up our cross not only by giving money or making statements publicly but also by what we do in private. Suffering is universal.

[__10__]      Telling us about the cross and about suffering, Jesus is also reminding us that we are not alone.
          And, rather than asking “why me”, I might ask… “why not me ?”
          Jesus is reminding us that suffering – and sorrow – bring us closer to him.
          But we do believe that the heroic actions of many rescue workers are inspired by God. They take us back to school and teach us by their actions that God is love.

[__11_]      Several years – maybe 10 or 12 years after my year in England, I was in touch with a friend of mine from that time. 
          I received an email and he had been living in London for several years, married and working for a British company.  Like a native, he wrote to me with all the British spellings, spelling, e.g., COLOR = C-O-L-O-U-R …
Outwardly, his accent had not really changed that much over the years. But, in his mind, he had certainly acquired the language, the facility, the ease with everything British.

          Outwardly, you and I may appear to be the same to others, But, internally – spiritually – we are changed and also learning the language of the cross, the Word of salvation, as we go back to school each day.  [__fin__]   

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Taken. (2017-08-27, Sunday-21)

SUNDAY 27 August 2017, 21st Sunday
• Isaiah 22:19-23 6-7  • Psalm 138 • Romans 11:33-36, •  + Matthew 16:13-20  •

Title:  “TAKEN”

[__01__]   In the 19th century, and later in the 1990’s, Les Miserables became quite the sensation, a French Revolution story of justice and heroism.
            In a famous secene from Les Miserables,   the silverware – all the knives, the forks, the spoons – are stolen by a visitor to the parish rectory in a small town in France.
            The thief is Jean Valjean, the victim of the crime is the local Catholic bishop/priest who welcomed Jean Valjean as a guest into the rectory for dinner and a night’s rest.
            The bishop was actually warned not to feed Jean, not to take him in. He does so anyway.
            Jean Valjean enjoys a delicious meal and then has a night’s rest in a guest room.
            The next morning, the housekeeper is searching for the basket for the silverware. The bishop is working in his garden, outside the house and says…Oh, here it is. And, he retrieved the basket from one of the flower-beds.
            And, the housekeeper is relieved at first.
            Then she asks. But this is empty, where is the silver.
            So, it’s the silver you are worrying about, I cannot help you with that.
            Then, he reminds the housekeeper, In the first place, was it really ours?

►►► When we think of possessions and property, we naturally think of ownership and rights.  Making a donation out of love, we share… In our minds and in our bank accounts, we know what belongs to us.
            In our minds, we also know – by whom – we may have been offended or hurt or “trespassed against.”
            We recognize trespassers on our front lawn. We recognize trespassers who offend us in other ways.
            The Gospel is reminding us to forgive because MERCY is a gift that we all share. It is not ours to hold on to …but to give away.   ◄◄◄
[__02__]    The visitor and guest – Jean Valjean – is suspected from the beginning.  He did not stick around for breakfast but left in the middle of the night. A short time later, that morning, the police haul him into the rectory. The silverware is in his knapsack.
          At this point, the bishop says to him… why didn’t you take the candlesticks too. I told you to take it all …
          This, of course, leaves the housekeeper and the police dumbounded.
          Jean VAljean is also confused, but relieved.
          The bishop tells him, “Do not forget, do not ever forget, that you have promised me to use the money to make yourself an honest man.”
          Hugo writes further: [Jean] Valjean, who did not recall having made any promise was silent.
          It seems that another person made this promise for him.
          This also reminds us that within  FORGIVENESS and MERCY is always a challenge to the sinner – to you and to me – to convert ourselves to God’s goodness.
          Forgiveness is a challenge not a license.
►►►By word and example, promises are also made for us. Mothers and fathers not only register their children for school but also promise compliance, behavior, homework…

Mothers, fathers, godmothers, godfathers – at baptism – promise – make a profession of faith – for their children.

In this regard, when we make a promise or commitment, we are also promising to set an example, to teach others by what we say and do.
            Firefighters and emergency personnel in Texas promise to care for their community and people in the recent hurricane, storm, on the Gulf of Mexico coast.   The government may promise to care for them. But, it will take the individual witness – and teaching – of many to complete the lesson… to complete the protecti of lives, homes …and to do the homework…  ◄◄◄        

[__03__]    In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus speaks to Peter and the apostles about the forgiveness of sins:
“whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven, whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven.”  (Matthew 16:___)

          Sometimes, we think of forgiveness in terms of a transaction, maybe similar to paying RENT, or borrowing money.
          That is, I am forgiven of my debts as long as I pay everything back.  I will own my home as long as I pay off the mortgage. Then, I will not have this burden on me.
          And, sin – and sinfulness – is also a burden.
[__04__]    However, isn’t it true that you and I have been “forgiven” in certain instances, even when we realized only much later our faults and failings.
          Jean Valjean is on a journey toward forgiveness and mercy.
          But, he is not yet ready to make a promise.
          Someone else has to make the promise for him.
          The person from whom he stole made the promise.

          Jesus speaks about forgiveness as more than relief but rather as a relocation.
          In the Gospel of John, we read:  “In my father’s house, there are many mansions. If not, I would have told you, because I go to prepare a place for you.”  (John 14:2)
          Or, we might say that he makes the promise for us, a promise of mercy, even before we ask.

[__05__]    You and I are called to recognize those times when we are lost, alone, in need of God’s help,when we need not only to be forgiven but also to be taken back or relocated.
          The journey of Valjean in Les Miserables unfolds in many episodes of relocation and rescue
          Or we might  need to consider, to pray for, whom we might be called to forgive – take back – so that we can be the allies and apostles of our Savior extending mercy to others.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stealing Home (#Charlottesville) (2017-08-20, Sunday-20)

SUNDAY 20 August 2017, 20th Sunday
Ordinary Time
 • Isaiah 56:1, 6-7  • Psalm 67 • Romans 11:13-15, 29-32 •  + Matthew 15:21-28  •

Title:  “Stealing Home”

[__01__]    The 1955 baseball World Series.  In the top of the 8th inning, in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series, at Yankee Stadium, the Brooklyn Dodgers were playing the New York Yankees.
The Yankees had the lead, 6 to 4. There were two outs and the Dodgers had one runner on 3rd base. The runner on 3rd base was -- Jackie Robinson.
          The Yankee left-handed pitcher was Whitey Ford. Thus, Ford had his back turned to 3rd base and Jackie Robinson who was a fast runner and base stealer.  After Whitey Ford’s first pitch to the batter (there was 1-0 count), Jackie Robinson started running towards home plate.
          This was a risky move, i.e., to steal home. Yet, Robinson did make it safely and scored a run. Robinson had stolen home against the mighty New York Yankees and our own, catcher Yogi Berra, of Montclair.
          The Dodgers beat the Yankees in the 1955 World Series in 7 games.

[__02__]    In the years 1947 – 1955 and beyond, Jackie Robinson did more than steal home – or steal 2nd or 3rd.  His excellence earned him a place in the MLB Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
          And, most importantly, he was the first baseball player to break the so-called “color line.”
          That is, he was the first black ballplayer, playing 2B, second base, for the Dodgers of Brooklyn and, later, of Los Angeles.

[__03__]     Jackie Robinson was one of many in our nation how stood up for equal rights, for dignity of every person, not only by what he said and did but also by what he chose not to say and chose not to do.
          In the 2013 movie, “42”, we learn about the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson. We see him enduring taunts and death threats too by those who did not want him to play – much less, succeed – in baseball, the American pastime.
          Robinson left mark by accepting that this role was to work and to struggle but to do so without REVENGE or RETALIATION.

[__04__]    Robinson’s peacefulness and tranquility enabled not only to score with home runs and runs-batted-in and but also to win over hearts and minds and respect.
          Are we not called to go and do likewise?

[__05__]    The recent tragic events in Charlottesville highlight the continued presence of rhetoric and racism and violence in our communities.
          Meanwhile, the official response -- that has been perceived by many -- by civil leadership has unleashed a nationwide debate which has created a certain moral ambiguity – or moral equivocation.
          As a Catholic and a priest, I share – I daresay we all – reject all forms of hatred, violence, white supremacy and racism.

[__06__]     Do we not believe that every human person is a child of God, created in his image and likeness and that we are all brothers and sisters, regardless of culture, regardless of nationality, regardless of race, language and way of life?

[__07__]    We also have shared beliefs about the importance of FORGIVING and SEEKING FORGIVENESS, about contrition, sorrow for our sins. After confession, in our Catholic prayer of absolution, the priest prays these words of consolation and reconciliation over you and me:  “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins.”  (Roman Catholic Rite of Penance)
          All of us are called to come before God to seek his FORGIVENESS and to turn away not only from RACISM and BIGOTRY but also to turn away from REVENGE and BLINDNESS rather than forgiveness?

[__08__]     Is it not easy for us to rush toward – or simply slip and fall our way into – REVENGE or RETALIATION?
          Is it not easy for REVENGE or RETALIATION to enter your heart or my heart to cause DARKNESS, to impair our VISION, our HEARING, indeed our ability to see and hear?
          Jesus sent the Holy Spirit among us so that we will not only recognize the power of goodness but also the power and presence of evil.

[__09__]    St. Augustine in his Confessions observes that he can see – in the smallest child – small examples of selfishness or sinfulness.  He is making an observation of the choices that small children will make when they do not get their way.
          And, moms & dads & teachers, do you not endeavor strenuously to correct your children, to teach them the virtues of respect, of honesty, of sacrifice, because you know this will help them to lead lives of virtue and love?
          As we read in the parable: “Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few (small) things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”  (Matthew 25:12)

[__10__]    We teach them these ways of love. And, we also teach – and learn ourselves – that love is not always easy. Love is sometimes difficult.  Love not only calls us to console the other person but also to challenge the other person.  And, to love myself, I am called to accept the challenge of conversion, and to remember that God’s ways are not my ways. 
          The boundaries of love call us to let both our YES mean YES and our NO mean NO. (cf. Matthew 5:37).
            Love is the higher road, the road less traveled and may call us to do things that do not get noticed or rewarded.
[__11__]    The cornerstone of love is the choice to forgive and to seek forgiveness.
          With love in our hearts, we can do so. That is, we can forgive and seek forgiveness. Thus, we have harmony, we are in tune, loving God and neighbor.
          But, when there is hatred, resentment, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. (cf. 1 Corinthians 13).
          It is very had to forgive and ask forgiveness with hatred or resentment in our hearts.
          St. John of the Cross writes: where there is no love, put love and you will draw out love = donde no hay amor, pon amor, y sacarás amor.
          We can – and we are called to – beg for mercy for those who sin against us, for our enemies, for those we dislike, for those who may dislike us.  where there is no love, put love and you will draw out love = donde no hay amor, pon amor, y sacarás amor.
          Thus, putting love there, this helps us to choose repentance rather than revenge, and to … avoid whatever leads us to sin.

[__12__]  With our attention on Charlottesville, we see there are individuals and groups with contrary beliefs, contrary creeds.
          The violence and reactions in the streets around the University of Virginia, led to the injury of many and the death of …
► Heather Heyer…
And of 2 Virginia State Troopers:
Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen,
Trooper Berke M. M. Bates of

[__13__]  The Catholic Church is one big parish family with many benches, many people and many countries and nationalities and cultures.
          The strength of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish is in our diversity, our respect for the other, and our welcome to everyone.
          They need not STEAL HOME to gain entry. It is through God´s steadfast love that we all are in his presence and united.
          In the Gospel this Sundya, the woman of Tyre and Sidon – of a culture separate and apart from Jesus of Galilee – does not “steal home.”  The woman symbolizes you and me in those moments when we do not get our way or when the God seems distant. She perseveres, praying, asking more questions.
          It is through God’s unyielding love that she is welcomed.

[__14__]   In ancient letter of the 2nd century, St. Justin Martyr writes about the life of people in the Mediterranean region and about how their prayerful attention to the Gospel brought them together:
Saint Justin Martyr, writing at a time when Christians were
persecuted in the 2nd century, that we grow in love of God and neighbor by our respect for the person whom we do not understand.  St. Justin Martyr writes: “we who hated and destroyed one another, and on account of their different manners would not live  with men of a different tribe, now, since the coming of Christ, live familiarly with them, and pray for our enemies, and endeavour to persuade those who hate us unjustly to live conformably to the good precepts of Christ, to the end that they may become partakers with us of the same joyful hope of a reward from God the ruler of all.”  (St. Justin Martyr, The First Apology, Ch. 14.)    [__fin__]