Sunday, March 30, 2014

Advantages of Darkness (2014-03-30)

Sunday March 30, 2014 /   Lent, 4th Sunday of Lent    @ 11:30 am Mass – Mass of Pastor Installation

Title: Advantages of Darkness

[__01__]    The Gospel this Sunday is about blindness and vision, darkness and light.

I am grateful to the parish staff of Our Lady of Lourdes, to our Trustees (Dan Galate and Peg Shelley), our Finance and Pastoral Council to shed light, to illuminate me … to our Parish Anniversary Committee under whose leadership we marched together 2 weeks ago in our West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade… and in honor of Monsignor Joe Petrillo’s dream of celebrating 100 years at Lourdes.

To you, Bishop Donato, as a mentor and pastor to me both in the seminary and at St. Henry’s in Bayonne … where I learned many valuable lessons about our ministry …and to Archbishop Myers and to Msgr. Emery, our regional vicar for Essex County and Father James Manos, our dean, for their direction to me and for their care and concern for our people after the sudden loss of Monsignor Petrillo. Father Edson and I will always be grateful.

To my family, by whom I am often led from darkness to light… Thank you …

The Gospel this Sunday is about blindness and vision, darkness and light.

[__02__]   Is darkness an advantage or a disadvantage?

In the Gospel this Sunday, we are  read about a man born blind and this man’s encounter with our Lord and Savior.  This man is an adult, say at least 20 years of age, perhaps older.  For 20 years, 30 years, 40 years or more, his eyes have been closed.

Regarding this man without sight and regarding others who do have sight, Jesus says,

“I came into this world … so that those who do NOT see might [be able to ] see  … and … that those who do see might become blind.”  (John 9:39)

In other words, those in darkness would have the advantage over those who claim to be in the light, to be illuminated, to be enlightened.

Sometimes, darkness gives us an advantage.

Consider …
  • Students in classrooms, trying to answer difficult questions on final exams, we would close our eyes.

  • Players, Olympic athletes or anyone about to make a complicated move or turn … they close their eyes just before the race starts

How was the darkness an advantage to the blind man of the Gospel?   How could darkness be an advantage for you and me?

[__03__]   1. SAFETY.       Darkness gives the advantage of safety.  There is the cover or the safety of darkness. This may be literal darkness of night falling or just the figurative darkness of a secret being kept.

In the NCAA basketball tournament, each team tries to keep the other in the dark about their offense and defense and press.

In our own lives, we feel safer knowing certain accounts and files and information are locked up.  We may discuss this information very selectively, very carefully with certain people. We feel safer, knowing we can close our eyes during horror movies...   Darkness = safety and security.

[__04__]    Darkness brings us closer to other people.  This is not only true for blackout conditions and power outages.

Darkness brings us closer to God’s presence.

Recently, we gathered for 9 nights of prayer in our annual St. Joseph Novena and for 3 nights in our Triduum to Our Lady of Lourdes.

We were gathering at these times to examine our lives …

[__05__]    Many of us here remember our beloved pastor, Monsignor Joe Petrillo – Father Joe Petrillo -  for his commitment to prayer and God’s presence…
We knew …but not everyone always knew what Monsignor and Father Joe was doing..

He told me this story … and perhaps you may have heard it too … it was at a family gathering – in the house – where he was celebrating Mass.  He brought the altar and sacrament to his family at home. His mother, father, aunts, uncles cousins were adjusting to this special environment for Sunday Mass…

But, Father Joe was just being himself – right after Mass started and during the first reading, he sat down to listen and he closed his eyes…which provoked questions from his very “observant” family ….

“Joe… Joe…what are you doing…why are your eyes closed? What’s happening? What are we supposed to do… now?”

Father Joe was only trying to bring them closer together in prayer.

Darkness can bring us closer together… but it is sometimes misinterpreted.

[__06__]    Darkness can also bring us closer to God and to a better understanding of the Gospel.

In darkness, in solitude with God, we need not fear.

As we read in Psalm 27, The Lord will conceal me under the cover of his tent (Psalm 27:5).  In this darkness, we can reveal our plans to him and know his for us.

The man born blind displays this same faith. 

Meanwhile, those with sight and light behave differently.

  • The Pharisees – apparently enlightened – feel threatened by the presence of Jesus.

  • The parents of the man born blind – also with 20/20 vision physically – are afraid to be associated with Jesus and are afraid of the Pharisees.

The man with the greatest confidence in God is the one who cannot see.

Darkness brings us closer to our Savior.

[__07__]     Do we, however, always experience “darkness” as an advantage…. ?

Sometimes, darkness puts at a disadvantage …

Sinfulness – our personal sins – can turn the lights out, cut us off, leave us in the dark.

Discovering our faults can be a time of doubt, uncertainty …or if we were hurt / injured by the sin, the fault of someone else, we may be in the dark.

Yet, this dark place is exactly where the Lord meets us. It is from an emotionally dark place in another country, the Prodigal Son returns home.    It is well after closing time… at night, when the Messiah is born in Bethlehem …from the darkness of the tomb, Jesus rises.

In our faith journey, it is darkest before the dawn.

Also, the darkness of sin invites us to consider God/Jesus Christ as the real light of the world.

If we continue in a particularly sinful, selfish way, the lights may be on…but, as we say…  is anybody home?

Continuing down a path of sin, could I not be blinded by the brightness of comfort, convenience, or a false independence?

Meanwhile, repentance …which sometimes requires closing our eyes, reflection… darkness… is what offers us real light and Jesus as the light of the world, your world, my world. This is mercy and grace.

I offer you the words of Psalm 139..which remind us, of the constant light of Christ within us … this was the light that the blind man of the Gospel knew as his real advantage, as his salvation.

We read in Psalm 139 this prayer to God, “even darkness is not dark for you and night shines as clear as the day.” (Psalm 139:12)  [__fin__ 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Trespassing? (2014-03-23, Lent)

[__01__]   We read this Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Lent, the Gospel traditionally titled, “The Woman at the Well” or…. “The Samaritan Woman at the Well.”

Jesus is a visitor on private Samaritan property – a Jewish visitor in the land of Samaria.

What I’d like to reflect on this Sunday are …

  1. “Private Property Rights”  What do we try to guard…how do we try to protect our property … our resources?

  1. The Visitor or “Trespasser” on private property… what’s the next move? Call 9-1-1?

[__02__]     First, “private property”.

This Samaritan woman is surprised – alarmed … saying, “How can you [a Jew] ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”  (John 4:__)

Of Jesus, she might ask, where is his passport, visa, credentials? What possible right would he have, as an outsider, to this well, to this spring of water deep underground, built by the patriarch Jacob?

Well water, or underground springs or sources, are often found on private property. Have we not observed that, during a drought, some residents are under “drought and water restrictions” and some are not.

That is, even the though the public reservoir may be at a low point, the springs underground are still plentiful.

Golf courses do it this way… keeping their fairways and putting surfaces green while everyone else waits for a good thunderstorm.

[__03__]    Jesus is asking – and surprising – this Samaritan woman, asking for water from a private well. He’s on private Samaritan property.

At times, we are being asked by God to give from our own “private resources” to serve others.

Here, I’m not strictly referring to a donation of money to a charitable cause.

Rather, we may be asked to give of our patience, our time, our knowledge, to someone in need. Perhaps, this other person would not know of our “underground” assets.

At such times, we are often tempted to close the gate to trespassers.    And, we are called to pray – is this request of God, is this Jesus asking for some of the water which I happens to be in my reserve, my well?

Do I use private boundaries to define only what I will protect…or can I use these boundaries to define what I can give away freely?

[__04__]   Secondly,  The Visitor or “Trespasser” on private property… what’s the next move? Call 9-1-1?

The Samaritan woman calls 9-1-1, makes an urgent call, feels an urgent calling – vocation – as a result of the Lord’s visit.

However, she is not calling 9-1-1 to have him arrested… she is, in a spiritual sense, calling 9-1-1 to make his presence known urgently to others.

Encountering Jesus as Messiah, this woman feels moved to share this good news with others.

We read that she leaves her water jar and goes into town.

She becomes a missionary, an evangelizer, bringing the good news of the Gospel.

Also, leaving her water jar behind, she is no longer protecting this private resource. Go ahead, have a drink….

[__05-conclusion__]   Jesus crosses a border, being perceived as a trespasser at first in the Gospel.

When we are at prayer, God takes us, outside of our comfort zone. Or, the Lord enters into our comfort zone.

We read in Psalm 139 ….

LORD, you have probed me, you know me:  you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar. You sift through my travels and my rest; with all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all. Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me.”  (Psalm 139:1-5)

Arriving in Samaria, Jesus is on private property and also speaking to the woman about her life…. Perhaps, this makes her uncomfortable for a while.

She might prefer, at first, to guard her well, her water source and her history.

However, her conversion – change – comes because she is willing to accept a new source of water, a new source of refreshment, a new way of life.

[__06_]   Jesus also invites us to do things that might seem uncomfortable or impossible.   We are invited, in particular, to pray for the things that seem impossible…

And, also, to welcome into our private lives, which invites us to –

  • Repent of our sins
  • Forgive the faults of others
  • Bear patiently the wrongs and sins of others.

All of this draws us away from the privacy of our well, and may take us into the center of town, the center of attention, the center of our family or workplace to share the good news by our words and by our actions. [__fin__]   

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Joseph: Visible, Silent, Responsible (2014-03-19)

19 March 2014  St. Joseph’s Novena talk  @ Our Lady of Lourdes, West Orange.

[__01__]   In the letter of St. James, we read,  about the connection between faith and action, about confidence in God and our works …

“If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works” (James 2:15-17)

A connection exists, in life, between what we believe and what we do.

Doesn’t this also remind us to be seen…not necessarily to win awards or popularity …but to be a witness?

It is good news to be seen.

[__02__]   Our Lord, in his ministry in Galilee and Jerusalem, arrives not simply to scrutinize and take notes on religion and worship on the Jerusalem authorites…then return to heaven.

He arrives also so that he is seen and recognized. Our Lord wants us to see him, know him, have a relationship with him.

Doesn’t this start early in life for the young Savior? At 12 years of age, on a family pilgrimage/trip for the Passover, the young Jesus separates himself from his family, his elders intentionally so as to be seen in the Temple.

Jesus goes not to take notes from the back of the classroom, but to stand before the podium and blackboard, to be noticed, identified, revealed.

And, we know – at 12 years of age – it is very important that we are not ignored, that we are seen.

Jesus himself says that no one lights a lamp and places it under a bushel basket but rather places the lamp on a lampstand for all to see. (cf. Matthew 5:15)

It is Good News to be seen.

Yet, isn’t it true that Jesus and his disciples – are not merely seen?

They are also heard, they proclaim, they write books and letters of the Bible. St. Paul writes many letters.

The notable exception among all of these disciples is St. Joseph. From him, we hear no words. He is seen and not heard.

Nevertheless, it is good news to be seen.

[__03__]     I’d like to reflect on our own Christian life and calling, using St. Joseph’s life as an example.

  • First – to achieve visibility.
  • Secondly – to cultivate silence
  • Thirdly – to take responsibility

To achieve visibility, to cultivate silence, and to take responsibility.

Joseph gives us an example of visibility, silence, and responsibility.

[__04__]    First, visibility.

It is good for us to be visible.  Coming to church, to Sunday Mass, to our St. Joseph Novena, we allow ourselves to be visible – explicitly – before God.

Now does God – as Father, Son, Holy Spirit – not also see us in our home, at our table, in the car, at school, on the bus?

Yes, sure. But, sometimes, we are not quite as aware of his glance, not quite aware that we are in his presence …or not aware that we are on the spiritual-divine radar screen as we are in church.

We come to church..yes, to be seen.

St. Francis de Sales uses an analogy from the world of royalty and politics.

For example, doesn’t the President or monarch or prime minister of a country desire to see …his or supporters, people ..

Certainly, these leaders draw crowds.
Francis de Sales writes:  “what number of courtiers appear a hundred times at court without any hope of a word from their king, but merely pay their homage and be seen [or… just noticed…glanced at] ?”[1]

Isn’t this true at a U.S. Presidential Inauguration, in Washington DC, in Trenton, or at the State of the Union …and on red carpets everywhere?  

The supporter – or lobbyist – or voter – is seen, waved at … over here ..over here…

[__05__]    We come to prayer, first to be seen…not by our neighbors on Valley Way or Main Street …but to be seen by God.

We may, at first during our prayer, receive no special revelations, no dreams to be interpreted (as St. Joseph had), or any words at all.

But, it is good news for us to be seen. Joseph also recognized his call to be seen by Mary and Jesus, as husband, father, guardian.

[__06_]  Secondly, we are also called to silence.

In St. Joseph, we observe two important revelations which came to him when he was asleep.

St. Therese of Lisieux writes in her journal about her intimacy with God… despite – or even because – of the fact that she has fallen asleep in the convent chapel.

Thomas Merton writes this in an essay about silence:

“Silence does not exist in our lives merely for its own sake. It is ordered to something else. Silence is the mother of speech”[2]

Merton goes on to say that silence – contemplative prayer/silence – helps us to see – to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart… to penetrate between joints and marrow with the double-edged sword (cf. Hebrews 4:12)

Merton writes: “In silence, we learn to make distinctions. Those who [flee from / escape from] silence, [escape / flee] from distinctions.” They do not want to see too clearly. They prefer confusion.

A person who loves God necessarily loves silence [so as to gain a sense of discernment].”[3]

[__07__]     Silence enables Joseph to hear the word of God, to follow God’s call, and to make distinctions, to discern good from evil under very difficult circumstances.

Presumably, those able to speak would have told Joseph to take a different path, road, parkway rather than to … “take Mary your wife into your home.” (Matthew 1:20)

** pause **

[__08__]  In the Christian life, we are called upon to be seen, to be visible. We are called to cultivate silence to hear God’s word.

Thirdly, we are called to take responsibility for our actions.

In Psalm 105, we read the Lord will make his chosen one “master of all he possessed”.  This refers, ultimately to Jesus as Lord and Savior and Good Shepherd, taking care of the flock, the disciples, the Church.

Yet, in the very early days of Christ’s life, even before the birth of Christ, Joseph is the one master of the house.

Joseph is exercising this role as shepherd, guardian of the church, master of the house, master of all God’s possessions.[4]  (See Litany of St. Joseph).

[__09__]   St. Joseph is a model for leaders to follow, whether our leadership is simply to act – as an adult, as a grown up person, as mother or father, as a teacher, coach as a public servant, as a religious sister, priest….

All of us are called to some measure of leadership, authority, responsibility.

Or, if we are not called right now, perhaps we have been or will be in the future.

Joseph gives us an example of responsible leadership –

  • Guarding the good name and reputation of another - … Joseph does not want to expose Mary to the law.
  • Showing willingness to listen … to be directed … in order to give someone else direction, as a leader, we are also called to accept direction, criticism….

Of course, it is also true that we should be careful and discerning about the advice we receive. There is also a danger of receiving too many opinions, of trying to satisfy too many objectives, or of trying to please both God and Mammon… or borrowing from God to pay off Caesar.

[__10__] St. Joseph, as patron of the Christian family and as guardian of the Holy Family, reminds us to seek advice and holiness also within our families.

This does not mean that our family members are perfect or infallible …or incapable of error.

However, the family itself – for Jesus and for you and me – is the place where we first learn about love, about the importance of…

  • Visibility - Being seen, showing up [at dinner table], even if we don’t say anything

  • Silence, listening.. obeying, serving.

  • Taking responsibility for our actions.

[__11__]   In this, what we learn in our immediate family unit .. helps us to love those beyond our immediate family.  And, St. Joseph is given not only as a patron to families but to the whole Church and world?

John Henry Newman – Cardinal Newman – writes about this development of love, first in the family and the way this prepares us to love … as we meet others outside our original family or start our own families:

“the best preparation for loving the world at large, and loving it duly and wisely, is to cultivate an intimate friendship and affection towards those who are immediately about us.

.. To honour our parents is the first step towards honouring God; to love our [blood … brothers and sisters] according to the flesh, the first step towards considering all men and women men as our [brothers and sisters]” [5]

Newman points out that this was our Savior’s pattern – to love first Mary and Joseph – then to love all men and women, all of us, to give his life as a ransom for many.

It is good news for us to see him – to see Jesus -  as he also sees us as his own.  [__fin__ 

[1] Francis De Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Part 2, Chapter 9 “Concerning Dryness in Meditation” – page 58.
[2] Merton, Thomas, No Man is an Island, “Silence”, page 260
[3] Merton, “Silence,”  p. 260
[4] See litany of St. Joseph
[5] Newman, John Henry. Parochial and Plain Sermons. Book 2, Sermon 5, “Love of Relations and Friends”, page 260

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Visibility, The Transfiguration, St. Patrick's Day (2014-03-16, Lent)

 Sunday March 16, 2014 /   Lent, 2nd Sunday of Lent & West Orange  St. Patrick's Day Parade Mass –

[__01__]   On behalf of Deacon Ernest Abad, Father Edson Costa and Our Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes, we welcome the St. Patrick’s Parade Day Chairman Joe Ryan and his committee and our honorees, Grand Marshal Jere E. Cole,  and Deputy Grand Marshals  -- Kelly Reilly, --- Gail McGeady, -- Francis Schott, Jr.

We are also delighted to welcome our Mayor  Robert Parisi. And, we thank our township officials who make this day and St. Patrick’s Day Parade possible…. In particular our
Township Council:
  • Victor Cirillo 
  • Jerry Guarino     
  • Joe Krakoviak     
  • Susan McCartney 
  • Patty Spango         
2014 marks 100 years of community and worship for Our Lady of Lourdes, we pray and march today also in memory of our late, beloved pastor, Monsignor Joseph Petrillo under whose leadership our centennial celebrations started.

Monsignor Petrillo loved and supported the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and festivities.

 [__02__]    In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus and Peter, James, John are at the top of a mountain. We read that … Jesus led his disciples up a high mountain “by themselves. And and was transfigured before them; His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light … Moses and Elijah were conversing with [Jesus].”  (Matthew 17:1-3)

Peter, James, John, - observing this – fall to the ground and turn their eyes to the ground, in fear.   The 3 apostles were seeing – in person – the divine identity of Jesus.

Earlier, Jesus had told them of the Passion and had predicted the events of the crucifixion, of which we read on Palm Sunday and Holy Week, that the Son of Man must suffer and rise from the dead. (cf. Matthew 16:21-23)

 [__03__]   Today, from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 17, we read that the three apostles – Peter, James, and John – have climbed a mountain. They have a certain physical and optical visibility. They are at a higher altitude.  However, they do not yet have this same altitude and visibility in a spiritual sense.

Yes, they were able to climb the mountain, stand on the mountain, even propose a construction project at the summit… But, in a spiritual sense, their vision is still developing.

[__04__]   There is correlation – a connection – between altitude and visibility.   The higher our location, the further we can see.

Halfway up Fairmount Terrace or Moore Terrace in our neighborhood, we can see the NY Skyline… but from Eagle Rock Reservation we can see the George Washington Bridge as well.

Power forwards and midfielders, jump higher to grab more rebounds and score more goals.   High altitude is good news for those with the balance and vision.

Jesus says this, in his encouragement to his disciples and to you and me … “Rise and do not be afraid” (Matthew 17:7)

Altitude brings visibility not only to one climbing a mountain but to any of us.  Are we ready to raise, to accept the altitude, the greater visibility?

[__05__]   For example, in the examination of our lives, the examination of our consciences, we are called to identify specific moments and times of sin and sinfulness.

At the same time, in the sacrament of penance/reconciliation – we also ask the Lord for new vision …to see not only the effects but also the causes of sin in our lives. At a higher altitude of God’s grace, we see more clearly.

[__06_]  Furthermore, in the examination of our lives, we may be tempted to compare ourselves with others  … physically … materially … rather than recall that spiritually, we are all equal before God.

I compare my strengths or my statistical achievements (whether is achievement is in finances or in winning percentage).

I may compare my successes and failures with others.

However, as St. Therese of Lisieux writes, prayer is a simple look turned toward heaven (upward). Examining our lives, honestly, we are not comparing ourselves to others, but simply striving to do God’s will.

Full Quote:  “For me prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” (Catholic Catechism 2558, St. Therese of Lisieux, Manuscrits autobiographiques C 25r.)

We are trying to see a new horizon and time horizon which is not the fiscal year, the academic year or the Spring semester …but rather eternal life.

Going up, turning our eyes and hearts up - altitude  - is good news.

[__07_]   Was this not the direction of our fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, our great grandparents, our aunts, uncles who came to this country from Ireland

They came to Ellis Island, to New York City, to Jersey City, Hoboken, Bayonne, and beyond… and certainly also to West Orange, as the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.

They were immigrants with a vision of a hope of upward mobility a hope to climb the nearest mountain for a better life for us, their children and grandchildren.

We are also called to the same service and love to recognize the new height – the new altitude to which we are called.

Altitude and visibility are good news.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Temptations and Gravity 2014-03-09, 1st Sunday / Lent

Sunday 9 March 2014,  / 1st Sunday Lent (A)

•• Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7 ••  Psalm 51 ••  Romans 5:12-19 •• Matthew 4:1-11 

[__01__]  In this Sunday’s Gospel, the first Sunday of the 40 days of Lent, we read about the temptations of Jesus in the desert.

In the 2nd temptation, Jesus is taken to the top of the Temple building, to a high-altitude spot.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we read the suggestion of Satan, the evil spirit, to our Lord Jesus Christ, something about defying the law of gravity – the law of gravity -  from this multi-story look-out point.  “What goes up must come down.”

Is the law of gravity = good news? The evil spirit gives a hypothesis … a theory…about this gravitational force… In other words, what goes up need NOT come down… Jesus is told --

If you are the son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, he will command his angels concerning you and with their hands, they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”  (Matthew 4:6)

[__02__]  Gravity.  Gravity is an attraction.  Gravity is a law.

“that is… near the surface of the earth or the moon or any planet … this gravity is responsible for keeping objects and  people stable…. But this gravity is also a force … it is imposed on us… gravity causes objects to move toward each other” (Merriam Webster)

In common language, we refer to gravity as a law….

[__03__]    Is this “law” good news or bad news?

This is our judgment – our opinion – of laws, of legislation, of the actions of the U.S. government, the IRS … Washington DC or Trenton.

Will a particular law be
·        Good or bad
·        Beneficial or harmful
·        Constitutional or unconstitutional
·        Promote freedom or inhibit freedom.

For example, are not some our laws about “restrictions” and limits …also a way to promote freedom for everyone…

There are limits to how heavy my suitcase can be – on United Airlines…or how fast I can fly up Eagle Rock Avenue…. These laws promote freedom for everyone.  They are Good News.

[__04__]   Perhaps, the evil spirit suggests this law is bad news.

Or, at least, the Satan is suggesting that a strong person, a powerful person, a person loved by God, would  not be subject to this law. Or, this person would have – or  should have – special protection.

For example, do not ambassadors carry in their wallets special identification and “diplomatic immunity”from prosecution. They can drive as fast as they want up Eagle Rock Avenue or up Capitol Hill. They are “above the law.”

Satan, the evil spirit, implies that Jesus should be above the law … above the law of gravity.

[__05__]  Avoiding – and rejecting -- this particular temptation, Jesus tells us that we do not learn about the will of God or the ways of God – exclusively -- through spectacular actions… or free fall… or even miraculous rescue.

Certainly, there are some of us for whom a miracle or a miraculous turn of events has increased our faith …or strengthened our confidence in God.

This is wonderful… however, for many of us, we might not necessarily experience a miraculous rescue or come from behind victory in the final seconds … as  we see on ESPN SportsCenter. Check your local listings.

Satan, the evil spirit, is suggesting that such miracles or  quote-unquote “fireworks” are the way to know the ways of God. Or, to know that we are loved by God, known by God, forgiven by God.

But, isn’t it also true that we can learn the ways of God more gradually…just as we learn the ways or the  will of another person?

We accept the will of God or the will of another person when this is revealed with love, tenderness, sensitivity…over time.

For example, even in God’s love being shown in the “spectacular”…there are still many smaller revelations and contributions to the Body of Christ, to the presence of God in the world.

·        2013 Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines
·        2010 Port au Prince, Haiti earthquake
·        2001 – 9/11 in  our country and in New York

God’s love was revealed many individual efforts, many donations of food and water, many shovels in the rubble, many….

[__06__]  God is not revealed in the miraculous halt – or arrest – of a person or object in free fall …an object otherwise accelerating toward the earth’s surface.

God is revealed by our commitments, by our love… which keep us grounded.

God is not revealed in the halt (stop) of  a free fall… or  even of a disaster.   God is revealed in our efforts to recovery from this disaster…and to recover from our own brokenness and sinfulness after the fall.

Gravity is  not defied. The law of gravity still applies.  The  law of  gravity, of God, is good news.    [__fin__]