Sunday, August 25, 2013

Discipline (2013-08-25)

This is my homily for Sunday August 25, 2013.  I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass resumes,  August 25, 2013 @ 5:00 pm at  FDU Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck. 

READINGS: ••• Isaiah 66:18-21 ••• Psalm 117 •• Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13 ••• + Luke 13:22-30 •••
 [__01__]    Discipline.

Discipline is a theme in the Letter to the Hebrews and in the Book of the Gospel of Luke this Sunday.

This is a word calling to mind - drill instructors, coaches with whistles …or teachers with syllabi and homework for the Fall semester.

Or, perhaps, simply, a rigorous schedule.

These are not our favorite things …or at at least we perceive them as unpleasant

 [__02__]  In the letter to the Hebrews, we are reminded, however, to avoid the skepticism and dread and fear that often accompany discipline.

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews suggests that discipline can bring peace, tranquility.

Is this not our expectation and our hope as we anticipate any new commitment or project?  

That …
·        ___ A team, having practiced, is at peace – on the soccer field or basketball court … is at peace at Fairleigh Dickinson or MetLife Stadium.
_     _____   A student, having studied is calm and collected before the SAT or MCAT or midterm.

Discipline helps us to hear and respond to the bell at the beginning of class …or to the voice of conscience inside each of us.

To the Holy Spirit speaking to us.

[__03_]  In the Gospel, our Lord also speaks of discipline.  He speaks of our mental faculties and our moral character being molded, formed, refined by our passage through the “narrow gate”. (cf. Luke 13:24)

The narrow gate is a way of discipline, a method for our lives.

Certainly, we apply this to material things, to physical endeavors, to the desire to make the team, to save money, to seek a promotion.

Jesus is inviting us to practice our faith with discipline as well, saying to his disciples and to us:

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many I tell you will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”  (Luke 13:24)

[__03.01_]    Discipline invites us to practice our faith.

For example, to forgive someone. We have to be honest about how we may have been hurt or harmed.

We may have a very distinct memory of what happened.

[__04__]   Discipline, sometimes, seems only to be a system of rewards and penalties.

We – myself included - are suddenly more disciplined when there is a clear reward to be seized or penalty to be avoided.

We might say that the crowd -- about whom we read a narration by Jesus in his parable --- has a similar attitude toward discipline:

They are shouting to Jesus, to gain entry at the gate, at the “narrow gate”,  saying, “we followed the syllabus, we did our homework, we went to practice …or in the words of the Gospel…. We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.”  (Luke 13:28).

In other words, we did what we were told. And, we did what others could see.

But, Jesus is saying out our discipline – our following of the commandments – not based on the service which others can see ..or the actions which produce results.

Rather , the Lord is asking us – does our discipline – our following of the commandments really bring us peace?

Peace in our relationships to ourselves, to others, to God.

Does the discipline bring us closer to the person from whom we receive instruction or direction?

This is the great challenge for a young person and for all of us at any age.

For example, we are reminded – in the Commandments – to honor our father and our mother.

From the time we are very young, they are the ones from whom we learn a method, a sense of order, right and wrong. We receive discipline.  However, we learn to love them too.

Yet, we are called to love and honor them too.

And, through the Gospel – our relationship to our Lord – we are also learning to accept his yoke, his burden, his discipline and to grow in love for our Savior and Lord.

He may, at times, ask us to do what we had not planned ourselves.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Magnification (2013-08-15, Assumption)

This is my homily for the Assumption Feast (2013-08-15).  I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass resumes,  August 25, 2013 @ 5:00 pm at  FDU Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck. 

••• Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab ••• Psalm 45 •• 1 Corinthians 15:20-27 •• + Luke 1:39-56  ••••

[__01__] In the Gospel, Elizabeth personally and enthusiastically welcomes Mary as the “mother of my Lord.”  (Luke 1:43).

From Elizabeth, words of welcome are offered. These words are a magnification, an indication of greatness, as all personal accolades and acclaims are.

Elizabeth is honoring Mary, raising her up, explicitly indicating her status.

Magnification is a technique or technology we impose … so as to gain a better view.

Magnification comes in different styles and colors. Reading glasses would be an example. 

Magnification can help us to survive, to live… to detect a typographical error or some other 

[__02__]  The state of the magnifying or magnification art, today, may entice us or frighten us.  For example, Google map satellites that allow us an aerial view of our homes, or the home we just visited or used to live in. This is enticing.
Or, frightening..  Who is, for example, listening to my conversations?  Could someone detect  or magnify my COMPLETE Social Security Number based on a small fragment of 4 digits or fewer.
Magnification can be risky …

 [__03_]  Mary herself responds to the greeting of Elizabeth with hero won magnification, the prayer we traditionally call the MAGNIFICAT …
“my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” (Luke 1:46, NAB) or, also …
“my soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46, Douay-Rheims)

[__03.01]   Mary is the first magnifier of the Lord’s physical presence. And, we are also called to magnify the original … to magnify the original presence and gift of God’s grace within us to others.
What does this AUTHENTIC MAGNIFICAITON entail for you and for me? What is the state of the art…spiritually?
We are, on the one hand, aware of what physical and material magnification is…

 [__04_]   Magnification is, at times, only a superficial aspect for visual special effect.   This is external.
The IMAX large screen at the cinema of Garden State Plaza would be one example. We receive superficial magnification, a hyperbole of dimension and sound.   
Such magnification is inviting… enticing. Of course, it is natural that we might enjoy some entertainment on the big screen, in its oversize form.
The comfort or enjoyment of this magnification will be temporary. The magnification is also provided by someone else.

[__05__] Magnification.
I’d like to reflect on what we mean by magnification from within. Internally.
Mary as the mother of our Savior speaks of magnifying God’s presence.

 [__06__]  Magnification is a technique by which we examine something small … or far away or …otherwise invisible.

In a spiritual sense, Mary magnified God’s presence which – until the birth of our Savior – 
also had appeared quite distant, quite invisible.

And, isn’t it true that sometimes our choices to be virtuous – to choose justice – also will cause our actions to be noticed, magnified, seen?

We might prefer to be unseen – or un-magnified.

Consider that you or I might work in an environment, an office, or to be part of a class or team at school – in which others do not share our faith or values or ethics.

They may not know our limits, boundaries, choices.

But … we can make them known by what we do nor do not do.

Consider the choice to be the one church goer in a family  …or in any other way that we may “stand out” or be noticed for our values. Or, we may be the one person among our friends choosing to go home early, to be honest.

Magnification is taking place magnified. However, we are not being magnified in a superficial IMAX-big-screen fashion. It is internal, happening inside.

Rather, we are magnifying God’s presence. Magnification, then, is not an effect, after the fact.

Rather, magnification is our reason, our cause, beforehand.

And through the sacraments of the Church and the grace of God, we learn to magnify his presence each day.    [__fin__]

Monday, August 5, 2013

Diversification (2013-08-04)

This is my homily for  August 4 2013, (18th Sunday).   I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass resumes,  August 25, 2013 @ 5:00 pm at  FDU Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck. ***
TITLE: “Diversification"
August 4, 2013  /  18th Sunday   /  •• Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23 •• Psalm 90 ••  Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11 •• + Luke 12:13-21

[__01]   In our Gospel reading from Luke, chapter 12, someone approaches Jesus to ask about wealth and inheritance. He wants some protection, safeguard of his inheritance.  If were to plan for the future, we would diversify, to protect our resources.

 [__02] As a country, we have NATURAL resources in many different places and many different kinds.

As a families and individuals, we have assets in different institutions, in different types of investments. We try to manage our wealth.

“Wealth”, then, could be the property of Yellowstone, Yosemite, or the Grand Canyon … manifest and spread in different places

“Wealth” could be our personal home and assets.

And, we want to diversify.  As the saying goes, we try not to put all of our precious eggs in one carry-on or knapsack-basket.

[__03]   Also, for airline travel leaving JFK or Newark, we are also told, “don’t check all of your valuables, all of your clothing.  ‘Diversify’ … hold on to valued items lest they be 
misplaced or delayed on the baggage carousel. Carry some of them  on.”

[__04] In the Gospel, a man approaches Jesus. The man is concerned about what he is carrying, what he wants to hold on to. He is concerned about his material wealth.
But, our Lord is asking him, “in what ways are you wealthy?”
“In what ways are you and I wealthy?”
Are we spiritually wealthy?
And, could we be more diversified?
Could we take a different view of our assets, and of our faith, our confidence in God?

[__05-“PRAYER SECTION”]  Our own faith, our own practice of the Catholic faith 
invites us to take a long term view, a long time horizon.
This long term view applies to our experience of forgiveness, of reconciliation.
Forgiveness is for the long term.
This does not mean that we will forget the trespass or sin against us.
But, we are called to a long time horizon, in forgiveness and reconciliation.

[__05.01] Also, in a spiritual sense, we are called to persevere, to persist.
We ask God to help us to grow even after we have sinned.
"The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

This is the Good News of our wealth management

[__05.02-]   We are also called to consider this principle of diversification when we consider à strengths, talents, and effectiveness.

That is, we are called to ask WHOSE strengths, whose talents, and whose effectiveness are 
really at work in any of our projects, our needs?

Is it my own strength, my own doing?

We are called to trust in God’s grace …and this the Good News also our diversification and wealth management.


Our practice of the Catholic faith also calls us to take a diversified view of sacrifice and of “fasting.”

Isn’t it true that the sacrifice of yesterday is not exactly the same as that of today?

Yesterday, the sacrifice might have been a down payment of time. Today, the sacrifice might be a down payment of time.

In these moments of sacrifice, we lose a little …or we may lose more than a little.

But, we are, as Jesus advises à growing rich in what matters to God.

And, in this sense, when we are fasting when we are sacrificing, we are uniting our losses to Christ on the Cross, to his suffering and death.

Certainly, we try to unite our gains to him, to give thanks to God for good things and to pray for material help for ourselves and our families.

Diversification also invites us to unite our losses to Christ.

This is part of the Good News of fasting , the Good News of our wealth management.

This diversification is a return on investment… the R.O.I…. which enables us to give charitably.

By almsgiving or charitable giving, I’m not referring to the donations or pledges we make according to the IRS or 501(c)3 code.

I am suggesting that there are contributions to our family life, our work life, our contributions to be punctual, to be cheerful… to be forgiving of the other’s faults.

In all of these things, we are growing a and are capitalized, we are invested…and we hope that we are rich in what matters to God.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Surrender (2013 - 07 - 28)

St. Peter’s River Edge -  2013-07-28,  17th Sunday, year C


(__001)   Abraham approaches God. Abraham does not want to surrender.

He is persistent. We know  that that surrender is not limited to arenas of sport, the Electoral College[1], or American Idol.

These are some other examples we might think of naturally.

1st – to avoid surrender after the Declaration of Independence and the rebellion of 1776, George Washington and his soldiers were often (constantly?) on the run. They used the bridge at New Bridge Landing here in River Edge on their retreat.  They did not want to surrender to the British.

2nd -- Meanwhile, last Sunday … on the golf course, Phil Mickelson of the United States did not to surrender in Scotland, to a British or any other player.

(__002) In the Gospel of this Sunday, the disciples of our Lord and Savior are learning about surrender.

The same question arises – to whom are they surrendering?  To whom do we surrender?[2]
If we were to surrender, we would want to know the identity, the strength of the other person, of the other side.

(__003) In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus  teaches his disciples –and us –the Lord’s prayer.

Then, Jesus offers us the further “information” …. About the terms of surrender.

This is the the parable of the late-night – after-dark visitor. Would you or I want to sign this peace treaty?

A visitor goes late at night to see a friend.

It is dark, it is midnight, his friend is asleep.

Will this request be granted?

(__004)  Would you, would I, wish to wake up…or to be disrupted – day or night – by such a last minute request?

Of course, this request causes discomfort and  inconvenience.

And, discomfort and  inconvenience are reasons we might use to justify a rejection.  We might screen this call, this caller, drop the call, or ignore the text or email.

Sorry…I did not get your message in time.

(__005) Yet, in the Gospel,Jesus offers reasons to receive the call, open the door, open the email and respond in the affirmative, to respond YES, positively.

(__005.a)  The first reason is, perhaps, easy, simple, obvious.

FRIENDSHIP. For some people, we are pleased to help.  They may even, in the future, reward us, pay us back.

We__surrender__ due to our own desire to maintain and bolster the friendship.

(__005.b)  The second reason is the challenge to you and to me.

How do we regard the persistence, the perseverance of certain requests?

Of course, there are some –many – situations where NO is the loving response.

(__006) On the other hand, there are times when YES would be the loving response.  

Consider the person from whom we have been hurt by some trespass… they have trespassed against us.

The late-night or last-minute request may be one of repentance, of admission of guilt. This person may have, in fact, waited until the last posible moment to apologize,to admit wrongdoing.

The eleventh-hour request may be for pardon.

Also, we may discover in the darkness – literally or figuratively – that forgiveness is the only for you or for me to go back to sleep.

Surrender is Good News.

(__007)  Or … consider the compromise we are asked to make for our spouse, a child, with  Mom  or Dad, with a friend, for a person who is ill, in advanced age.

Do we always equate surrender with defeat?

For example, isn’t it true that we can lose without being completely deprived?

I think we would admit –accept that in a compromise… someone gains something..and someone loses something.

This is reality.

For example, in marriage or family life, one person is called to give in, to surrender for the good of the other.

And, doing so, one person sacrifices some comfort, convenience, Money, time.

But, in the Good News of surrender, we are trying to keep in mind the love of God, the love of the other person…which rather than creating a division or competition, unites us in comunión …and helps us gain a greater victory.

[1]   In 1st version, my typo was “Electoral Collage”  .. a more accurate term ?
[2] William of Thierry breviary, page 1764 __ let your question be a prayer, an expresión of love,and self-surrender to God.

Máximo - Mínimo (2013 julio 21)

Iglesia San Joaquin, San Joaquin de Flores, - Provincia de Heredia, Costa Rica

••  21 julio 2013 •• 16º (decimosexto) domingo del tiempo ordinario •• Génesis 18:1-10ª •• Salmo 14 ••  Colosenses 1:24-28•• Lucas 10:38-42

Yendo ellos de camino, entró en un pueblo; y una mujer, llamada Marta, le recibió en su casa.  Tenía ella una hermana llamada María, que, sentada a los pies del Señor, escuchaba su Palabra, mientras Marta estaba atareada en muchos quehaceres. Acercándose, pues, dijo: «Señor, ¿no te importa que mi hermana me deje sola en el trabajo? Dile, pues, que me ayude.» Le respondió el Señor: «Marta, Marta, te preocupas y te agitas por muchas cosas;  y hay necesidad de pocas, o mejor, de una sola. María ha elegido la parte buena, que no le será quitada. (Lucas 10: 38–42)

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply,  “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”   (Luke 10:38-42)


[__01] ¿Queremos el nivel máximo o el nivel mínimo?  O bien – la tasa máxima o la tasa mínima?      En el evangelio de este domingo, leemos sobre los 2 (dos) hermanas, Marta y Maria.     Parece que una hace el trabajo y el esfuerzo máximo;  y, la otra, mínima.
¿Queremos el valor máximo, el bienestar máximo para nuestra casa, nuestra familia – o queremos, la mínima …. La pequeña.
Claro,  queremos el nivel máximo.

[__02] La Buena Noticia del evangelio es la definición del máximo verdadero.
Tal vez, el máximo de Dios no sea el máximo de nosotros.
O bien, el máximo de Marta.

[__03]  En este momento en la vida de Jesús  …(              )…  Marta y María están en la casa. Dieron la bienvenida a Jesús, nuestro Señor y Salvador. Jesús fue un huésped en su casa.

Pero, hubo un desacuerdo sobre lo máximo y lo mínimo.

Parece que Marta quiso llevar al máximo el cuidado de la casa.  Máxima Marta.
Mientras, María – desde una perspectiva física y material – se quedó en la sala con Jesús.   María es mínima. Mínima María.

Es decir,  si vemos solo que es visible en los comportamientos de los dos, fue como así.

[__04 , Marta4.1] MARTA     -  Leemos que … Marta se multiplicaba para dar abasto con el servicio.     ¿Para que?  ¿Marta estaba contando, multiplicando, llevando el registro.?   

Es un peligro para todos, para nosotros, también.

Sin embargo, tiene Marta una voluntad muy buena,  …(              )… tiene Marta un cariño muy bondadoso. Es lo máximo.

Marta quiere llevar al máximo el valor de su casa, el espacio dentro de la casa.

Marta quiere aumentar la calidad de la experiencia de su huésped, Jesús.

Por esta razón, …. Marta le dijo a Jesús, “Señor, no te importa que mi hermana me haya dejado sola con el servicio? Dile que me eche una mano.” (Lucas 10:38-42

Marta observando todos los aspectos de su casa, toda la tarea.

¿Para que?  Es su voluntad, su cariño, su amor.  

[__04 ,Marta4.2] MARTA      Marta se esmera por el trabajo de la casa.
Nosotros también. Nos preocupan muchos detalles de la casa, nos preocupamos.
Además, Marta y usted y yo examinamos[1]  la condición, …(              )… examinamos el estado de la casa, la propiedad para evitar dificultades.
Sin embargo, el Señor le advertió a Marta … y nos advierte a nosotros sobre el cuidado excesivo de las cosas materiales y físicas.

[__05]  La Buena Noticia del evangelio es la definición del máximo verdadero.

[__06]  Y más, en nuestro camino hasta el máximo verdadero, aprendemos del  mínimo también.

[__07–Maria7.1] MARIA    Sin embargo, el mínimo no es algo fácil de conseguir.

A primera vista, vemos que María trabaja al nivel mínima.  Descansa.

Parece que María evita el trabajo, las tareas de la casa.

Pero, María también tiene una voluntad, y un cariño.

Además, María lleva al máximo sus meditaciones, sus pensamientos ante nuestro Salvador. 

 [__08]  María – la mínima – está usando su concentración por la tarea espiritual.
Y las cosas espirituales también exigen energía, persistencia, concentración.

[_09.1]   POR EJEMPLO , el cuidado de nuestra familia.

Si, hay muchas tareas, trabajos.

Sin embargo, últimamente, estamos encomendando el cuerpo, el espíritu, de seres queridos a Dios.

Estamos encomendando nuestros niños, nuestros queridos de edades avanzadas[2], nuestros enfermos, a Dios.

Por ejemplo, digamos que tenemos que ir al médico o ir al hospital.
En muchas situaciones, le pedimos a Dios de llevar su máximo. Mientras, ponemos nuestra confianza en Dios.

Nuestro mínimo es nuestra oración por la paz y la tranquilidad.

Lo mínimo es la Buena Noticia.

[_09.2POR EJEMPLO … , el acto del perdón.

A veces, somos heridos por otro.

Somos la víctimas del pecado de otro, el pecado de un ser querido, alguien en la casa.

El perdón es un acto de generosidad.

Sin embargo, tal acto de generosidad no trae la luz,  ni los periodistas, ni el premio tampoco.

Tal misericordia es el regalo de Dios. Es regalo máximo.

No es mi regalo.   Podemos compartir este regalo en la medida en que evitamos la amargura, el resentimiento.

Lo mínimo es la buena noticia.

[_09.3POR EJEMPLO … , el acto de la conciencia y la fe.

En muchas situaciones, el acto de un cristiano o católico es contrario a la voluntad popular, o la opinión popular.

Hasta para los jóvenes tienen tal experiencia entre sus compañeros de clase o entre sus amigos.

Alguien los invita a hacer algo deshonesto, malo.

Entonces, ellos se alejan de la tentación.    Entonces, ellos se alejan de sus amigos.

De inmediato, tal vez, ellos se sienten pequeños – lo mínimo.

A veces, nosotros también expresamos (los??)  puntos de vista de nuestra fe, nuestra confianza en Dios y en la Iglesia.

Tal vez, seamos rechazados.    Pero, lo mínimo es la buena noticia.

[__10]   Por el ejemplo de María, tenemos una razón de descansar.

Es decir, para descansar en la presencia de Dios.

¿Descansamos para evitar nuestro trabajo? No.

Descansamos para reconocer el máximo verdadero, el poder máximo de Dios, en nuestra 
vida, en nuestra familia.

Nuestro Señor está en la sala de la casa.   [__fin]

[1] Alternativacomprobamos
[2] Que es otra expresión .. acá??