Friday, October 30, 2015

Bartimaeus (2015-10-25)

SUNDAY 25 October 2015 30th Sunday

• Jeremiah 31:7-9  •Psalm 126  • Hebrews 5:1-6  •Mark 10:46-52 •

[__01__]    The blind man, Bartimaeus as standing at the side of the road. With his physical impairment, the inability to see, , he had to beg for alms, for charity.

While he did not have much MOBILITY, he did have the WIRELESS-social media of his day, a shout in the public square.

Some people would have noticed him. Perhaps, if you and I had been there, we would have paid some attention.
[*** P A U S E ***]

[__02__]      In a letter about compassion and human suffering, Pope John Paul II observes this about ANOTHER person at the roadside, at the curb, in the margin between Eagle Rock Avenue traffic and Eagle Rock Reservation.

John Paul II is writing about the person, the abandoned and forgotten man, found on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho by the Good Samaritan. He had fallen victim to robbers. (Luke 10:30)

He reminds us that “everyone who stops beside the suffering of another person … is a Good Samaritan.” (John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris, 1984, n. 28)

Are we moved to pay attention in this way? Why? Are we motivated because the situation seems interesting …. Or are we truly interested?

John Paul II summarizes, “this stopping does not mean curiosity but availability.”  (Salvifici Doloris, n. 29)

[__03__]      In our lives as followers of Christ, are we available or are we merely curious?

We might consider the words of the blind man himself, Bartimaeus. He proclaims his request to Jesus, “Master, I want to see.”  (Mark 10:41)

Do we want to see?
Are we only inquisitive from a distance?  Are we available? Do we want to see?

[__04__]    In Bartimaeus we see a person not only curious but available as a follower, committed, faithful.

He says to the Lord, “Master, I want to see.”

Of course, having received sight and visual perception,  his mobility was now improved and he had access to new media.  Time to upgrade?

 [*** P A U S E ***]

Would he not have been curious about these many options?  Yet, his commitment, his faith commitment is to Jesus by whom he has been healed.

Bartimaeus is not only curious but also available. He wants to see.

[*** P A U S E ***]

[__05__]   Do you and I want to see?

We often respond YES when the object in view brings us contentment, pleasure.

We may be curious.

Would we be available if this this not the case?

Jesus invites us not only to be curious but also to be courageous and, therefore, available to him, to serve.

However, isn’t it true that our lives as mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, neighbors call us not only to be curious but also available?

We read in the Gospel of Mark of last Sunday, “And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:44-45)

[__06__]    This service may take several forms.

For those of us who are young, in school, we are called to perseverance and courage and fidelity in our studies and to our teachers.

To go to school is  your calling, your vocation, your calling to grow into a mature adult.

This is God’s plan, not to place in you in a particular percentile but to place your gifts at the service of others.

For this, in school, we need not only to be curious, but also to be committed, to be available.

We want to see.

[__07__]   Do you and I want to see?

[*** P A U S E ***]

[__09__]     The social access and mobility for Bartimaeus improves because of his vision.   He wants to see.

St. Paul, in 2nd Corinthians, reminds us that Jesus died for us so that we might also live for others…

He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

In this regard, following God means also following after …or following up with … our neighbor.

Access to God means access to our community.  Being moved by God means being moved to love another.

If we think we cannot live without “social media” and “mobility”, we would probably be correct. This is because love of God and love of neighbor go together.  

We want to see.   [__fin__]

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Two Favorites (2015-10-18)

SUNDAY 18  October 2015 29th Sunday

• Isaiah 53:10-11 •Psalm 33  • Hebrews 4:14-16  •Mark 10:35-45 •

[__01__]    Several years ago, a friend of mine was giving a tribute to his younger brother, the younger brother who was also the youngest and the front-runner for affection and adoration.

As I recall, he said,  “Everyone loves my brother Mike. He’s the favorite in the family.”  We laughed.

“Now, my father tried a little bit to conceal this affection. He tried to be evenhanded, but we knew Mike was his favorite. Of course, Mike also followed in my father’s footsteps … Mike became a police officer in Los Angeles with the LAPD.… My father was an NYPD detective.”

“My mother was a different story. She did not conceal her adoration or affection at all, letting everyone know that Mike was her favorite. She never tried to hide this.”

Then, he went on…

“In some families, this would be a problem. It would cause division, disruption …. But Mike was our favorite too. He was – and still is – the favorite in our family.”

[*** P A U S E ***]

[__02__]     What happens when someone emerges as the favorite within a particular group or family?

What happens when someone tries hard to obtain favors or to curry favor to boost his or her approval rating?

The favored one can cause disruption, discord, problems.

[__03__]     In the family of Jesus and the 12 apostles, this is the problem. James and John want to be the favorites, the favored ones with special treatment.  They do not know, however, what they are asking.

And, we read that the apostles became indignant at their request.

This was not the only time that there would be division or discussion or contradictions among the apostles, disciples and friends of Jesus.

Consider …
[ Thomas the Apostle]  He was absent during the first appearance of Jesus to the apostles. This report is not enough for Thomas who responds he needs something more: “Except I see in his hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)

A week later, Thomas believes because he sees. And, well known to us are Jesus’ words about the fact that this high-def interview and vision does not give Thomas any special or exclusive status.  Jesus says, “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29)

[__04__]    Do we not experience, at times, division in our hearts, envy or jealousy, or a lack of charity if we were to see partiality or favoritism?

St. Paul himself wrote, “There is no respect of persons with God.”  (Romans 2:11)

That is, in God’s eyes we are all equal.

[*** P A U S E ***]

[__05__]  I recall a spiritual director’s advice to those of us who might experience envy or jealousy. For example, perhaps, we see someone attain …
·       great wealth, material comfort
·       a scholarship
·       high-paying job

Or, we might imagine that another family – or married couple – has  a life of greater ease and luxury than we do.

In other words, someone enjoys a favor that we do not possess.  We may behave in a way similar to the apostles of this Gospel. We may become indignant, bitter, resentful.

What to do? This spiritual director’s advice was to pray for this person, to pray even that their wealth and advantage would increase.

As we read in Psalm 128, we could pray that person would eat the fruit of his handiwork, that he would be “happy” and “favored”.   (Psalm 128:2)

We could pray that their blessings may bring them eternal salvation and a place on the right and/or left hand of Jesus.

[*** P A U S E ***]

[__06__]    Could we not, at times, experience the bitterness of these 10 apostles, whenever we encounter the inequality or the uneven distribution of God’s gifts.

The other 10 apostles are aroused to anger by a possible injustice. Are James and John going to gain these personal-seat-licenses for themselves?  Or, as the disciples would prefer, should they be suspended for a couple of games?

Jesus intervenes and tells the apostles and tells all of us,

whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, whoever wishes to be first among you, must be the slave of all.” (Mark 10:43-44)

This was also the message of Pope Francis recently in Washington D.C. to his modern-day apostles, to the bishops of the United States And, this message applies to all of us who are called to service in the name of Christ.

The Holy Father is reminding us that being a priest, religious sister, brother, a disciple is a vocation to service, to compassion, to humility.

This calls us to experience the  struggles and difficulty which remind us of St. Paul’s letter about the paradox of the Cross, “that the foolishness of God is wiser than human strength and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)

Pope Francis writes:

Certainly it is helpful [for a priest… for example] to have the farsightedness of a leader and the shrewdness of an administrator, but we fall into decline whenever we confuse the power of strength with that powerlessness with which God has redeemed us.  [There is a] battle between light and darkness being fought in this world …the price of lasting victory is allowing ourselves to be wounded and consumed.” (Philippians 2:11) (Pope Francis, St. Matthew’s Cathedral, Washington D.C., 23 September 2015)

[__07__]   Pope Francis is reminding us that the Christian life is not about equal shares but shared sacrifice.

And, this also what motivates and animates Catholic and Christian teaching about care for the innocent, for respect for the migrant peoples for whom Europe is now a refuge, about the respect for life at all stages, about respect for unborn life, for care of the terminally ill.

In these cases, “advantages” and “favors” are also distributed unevenly. 

And, when we care for the life which God gives us we are also caring for Christ’s body, we are receiving the Holy Eucharist, and making acts of adoration – of favor – toward the poor.

We are living the words of service which Jesus tells to the apostles in this Gospel and later when he says that we can extend God’s “favor” to others, “as often as you did to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did to me.”  (Matthew 25:31)


Monday, October 12, 2015

What Good Must I Do? (2015-10-11)

11 October 2015 /   28th Sunday, Year B
Wisdom 7:7-11 ●   Psalm 90 ● Hebrews 4:12-13 ● Mark 10:17-30

[__01__] When I was a senior in college, I had the opportunity to be a reporter for our weekly college newspaper.

I covered one of our two soccer teams, the men’s team. I seem to recall that there was absolutely no competition to be the reporter covering for the soccer team… the sports editors took care of the football team. I also wrote about squash later that year.

I would attend the games, take notes, interview the players and the coach and write an article once a week.

In this assignment, I received a great INTRODUCTION to the work of a reporter, of a writer. I was just being introduced, but still learning something about:

·       ___Writing for a deadline
·       ___Taking criticism
·       ___  Interviewing and asking questions, how to ask questions.


Yet, I felt valued as a contributor to the team and to our college by this writing assignment.  One of the coaches also emphasized to me the value of these articles to the student body in general. That is, more of us --- the students – would be motivated to come out and support our classmates, based on what we read in the newspaper.

That’s the good news about my experience, a lesson of teamwork of contribution to a larger cause and a corporate effort.

We read in the Book of Ecclesiastes about the strength of a team …
a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him — a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”  (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

And in the book of Psalms about elevating ourselves above our own agendas…

when my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”  Psalm 61:2)

I was also grateful to part of the team.

That’s the GOOD NEWS.

However, this was not my objective, my college senior-year strategy.

I had hoped to play on this particular soccer team and had been practicing by playing on a lower-level team during my sophomore year and on another team during my junior year.

Yet, I knew that this team was different and more would be expected … training camp was difficult.

It was the first time in my life …though not the last … that I would use Ben-Gay cream on my lower extremities for relief of the muscle ache and pain. I did not miss any practices.

Pushing myself, I was asking, “what good must I do to make this team?”

It was, in a sense, a renunciation.

What can I give up, sacrifice to be on this team?

I was disappointed to learn that I was not going to make the team. Yet, I was also able to see – through my new experience as a reporter – that I had a contribution to make.

I was called to renounce something – that is my desire to be part of the team … to give up something, in order to be part of the team in a different way.

[__02__]  “Practice” and the importance of practice and perseverance are also the responses to the question of the rich young man, the rich young ruler in the Gospel of Mark this Sunday.

The young man had approached Jesus and asked for directions.

This request – this question – about directions has both a spiritual and geographic theme.

“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

Or, we might say, “how do I reach? How do I get to heaven?”

The answer of Jesus gives the young man and you and me a challenge.

The practice of our faith also invites us not only to confinement to something solitary … such as…

·       Give me strength to make the soccer team, play midfield, preferably on the right …

·       Give me the strength to attain a particular grade, GPA, or salary.

·       Give me time alone in solitude.

They are certainly acceptable petitions. However, sometimes, what we are praying for or asking for is not the CONSTANCY or the STEADFASTNESS of God …but rather the CONSTANCY or PERMANENCE of our own plans.

God, please don’t change anything.

And, the rich young man – we might say – had a plan to which he presumed was acceptable. The rich young man might be similar to an author trying to get a book into Barnes and Noble or on AMAZON.COM. I wrote the manuscript…I just need a publisher.

The practice of our faith, however, is not based only on what I can achieve or accomplish …or what I have done…or what I have saved on my hard drive.

We might even say that the practice of any true commitment is not limited by my desire or design.

_____One remains mother or father to one’s children …. Even if they have grown..even if we have had the painful tragedy of their death.

And, isn’t marriage also based on a trust and confidence in the other person whether we are together or apart?

____The practice of a faithful commitment is not limited to places or studios or workshops or training camps.

_____And, this involves … as Jesus says … both our YES to him and our NO …our renunciation to things or people which take us away from him.

  _____ [__03__] The young man walks away, does he not? He is not ready to renounce, to sell all that he has.

[__04_]   I would suggest, however, that our lives as Christians are full of renunciations. That is, on a daily basis, in small ways, we are following Jesus’s command.

This is NOT easy.

But, for example, consider the renunciations some of us are called to make. We may have succeeded and responded in a way different from the rich young man of the Gospel.


FORGIVENESS/MERCY: if someone were to wrong me, to do me wrong, can I forgive? Can I forgive not only for the other person’s well-being but also for my own?

Can I sell all that I have? 

[__05__] Are there not also many situations in which we are called to TRUST others, to trust the judgment of others?

For young people, for all of us living under the watch and guard of our parents / families, we are called to trust them, their guidance, their rules and to respond generously.

Doing so, we say “I love  you” by renouncing our own agenda …and we sell all that we have.

The first letter of St. John reminds us that the more we love, the less reason we have to be afraid:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)

[__06_-@OUR LADY OF LOURDES_]   This Sunday – this month of October – we are also gather in a special way to pray for priests, the vocation of the Catholic priesthood and give thanks for the priests we have been edified by in our lives.

This Sunday – after 11:30 am Mass in Connor Hall – all are welcome to the special video presentation about the life and contributions of our beloved pastor, Monsignor Joe Petrillo, to Our Lady of Lourdes and to all of us as individuals, as families, and as priests of the parish.

In Monsignor Joe, we also see his example, his readiness and ability to renounce everything to serve us, to mourn with us, to celebrate with us for over thirteen years.

 [__08__] In today’s Gospel, this particular man at this particular moment will NOT “sell all that he has”. He will not give up everything.

Yet, we also do not know, for certain, his future.

Jesus is teaching us that our discipleship is not defined only by what we receive but also by what we are willing to give up, to practice.

Jesus does not / did not require all of his disciples – then or now – to “sell all that they have” …to liquidate all of their assets .. Yet, he is reminding us that whenever we make a commitment, we are giving something way and he invites us to consider what we are gaining – and what we might gain – in return.   [__fin__

La Buena Noticia. Los Misterios del Rosario (2015-10-04)

Lecturas:     4 octubre 2015, domingo 27

• Genesis 2:18-24  • Salmo 128 • Hebreos 2:9-11  • Marcos 10:2-16 •

[__01__] ¿ Nos miramos las noticias ? ¿O vivimos la noticia? ¿Vivimos la Buena Nueva del EVANGELIO de Jesucristo?

Somos muy conscientes , rodeado no sólo por las advertencias de inundaciones costeras de Huracán Joaquín sino también nadamos en los océanos de datos, ¨PIXELS – MEGAPIXELS¨ ,  y dispositivos (devices).

[__02__]     Tal vez, es imposible permanecer seco en medio de las olas que se aproximan de las emisiones de noticias o pasar hambre cuando hay tantos sabrosas ¨sound bites¨.  Apenas puedo resistir.

Tal vez, nuestra situación es similar a la de empleo , en el Libro de Job. Él no tenía una señal (WIRELESS) , pero había muchos portadores de información, derecho a la puerta de su casa .

Cada uno de ellos estaba repleto con una actualización más importante que la anterior , y dijo:  ¨sólo yo pude escapar para comunicártelo. ¨  (Job 1:15)

Las emisoras de noticias del mundo también quieren la exclusiva , la primicia .

[__03__]    Pero , Dios , nos trae la noticia de nuestro Salvador no quiere que usted - o yo - a ver como un observador pasivo . No estamos llamados simplemente para ver la Buena Nueva del Evangelio, sino para vivir la emisión.

 El mes de octubre, y el día de la fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Rosario de 7 de octubre nos recuerda que podemos recibir la Buena Nueva al meditar sobre estos misterios ... y no sólo meditar ... pero al meditar , podemos imitar lo que contienen y contienen lo que prometer . ( La oración del Rosario ) .

[__04__]   En la MISA, recordamos también que podemos recibir y aplicar la Buena Nueva del Evangelio a través de los misterios del Rosario a nuestras vidas.

Los misterios del Rosario nos recuerdan que el Evangelio Buena Nueva también " nos encuentra " ... " nos sigue la pista ", incluso si no estábamos totalmente en sintonía , aunque nos perdimos la emisión. Cada misterio se puede aplicar a algún aspecto de nuestras vidas.

Nuestro salavador, Jesús  ¨sólo él pudo escapar para nos comunicárlo. ¨  (Job 1:15)

[__05__]     El primero mistero gozoso. La Anunciación.

En cualquier anuncio, estamos llamados a escuchar, para ajustarnos a algún evento nuevo , una nueva realidad. Para María , este fue el nacimiento del Hijo de Dios , con medios limitados de apoyo.

¿Cómo recibimos anuncios ?   El anuncio podría ser una transición importante en nuestras vidas. El Señor no rechaza las preguntas de María o nuestras preguntas .    Podemos observar que las preguntas de María se hizo primero en privado, en la contemplación ante Dios .

¿Cuál es su inclinación con una noticia poco familiar ? Sé que el mío ... es a menudo para comprobar o consultar con el mayor número de personas posible.

La Anunciación nos recuerda que debemos volver a Dios

[__06__]      El segundo misterio gozoso. La Visitación.

Recibir , ajustándose a una noticia , necesitamos amistad, apoyo , intimidad con alguien que comparte nuestra lucha. La visita fue un tiempo de preparación para la Madre Santísima , Nuestra Señora.  Además, se trataba de un momento para que ella se afirmó , al ser aclamado , dio la bienvenida.

Y , nos estamos también llamados a afirmar a edificar a otros , como Elizabeth hizo por María.

Y , ¿no es la humildad que me permite reconocer el bien en otra persona ?

Si me siento orgulloso y unido a mis logros ( reales o imaginarios ) , me resulta más difícil de afirmar a otros a ser una bendición para otros .

[__07__] El tercero misterio gozoso. La Navidad (Natividad?).

Después de María " se ajusta " a la Buena Nueva y se prepara por su visita a Isabel, María da a luz a nuestro Salvador en Navidad.

Ahora , la noticia es público, no privado. Sin embargo , la noticia no es universalmente bienvenida. Podemos ser llamados a seguir los caminos de Dios o hablar la palabra de Dios , incluso si somos rechazados , perseguidos .

Evangelio Buena Noticia de hoy da una enseñanza pura y clara sobre la santidad del matrimonio y la razón de la permanencia y la indisolubilidad del matrimonio entre un hombre y una mujer . No todo el mundo va a ofrecer UN BABY SHOWER a este bebé con regalos ...

Neverthless , se hizo el anuncio .

Y , en la visita del Santo Padre a los EE.UU., la Natividad es un misterio para nosotros considerar .

¿No era la Natividad especialmente evidente cuando Francisco se puso delante de todo el Congreso y el Senado y en la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas?

La Natividad de Washington y Nueva York nos recuerda que Jesús vive y muere , incluso para aquellos que no creen en él.

Esta es una buena noticia , pero también es un misterio gozoso .

Un misterio gozoso que continúa cada día , que tratamos de presentar a Jesús al mundo ("el cuarto misterio gozoso " ) , para presentar a Jesús en Liberty Middle School, West Orange High School, Mount Saint Dominic Academy , Seton Hall Prep, St . Peter´s Prep ... .o Rutgers o escuela Redwood .

y cada día que tratamos de encontrar a su amor , su palabra en circunstancias confusas ("el quinto misterio gozoso") .

[__08__]     Los misterios gozosos del rosario nos recuerdan que debemos perseverar en la oración , para vivir las buenas nuevas y recordar que estos misterios no son HISTORIA .

Más bien son el eterno presente de nuestro Salvador , que Dios está vivo y nos llama cada día a considerar que él nos está llamando a

ANUNCIAN su presencia por nuestro amor , la honestidad , el arrepentimiento.

VISITA - con él en la oración para que podamos saber lo que es bueno en nosotros mismos y en otro.

BIENVENIDA SU NACIMIENTO , aunque otros rechazan nuestra fe o ideales

Él nos llama a presentarlo al mundo.

Él nos llama a encontrarlo cada día .

Nuestra Señora del Rosario , ruega por nosotros .   [__fin__]