Timothy and Titus

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Timothy and Titus, early bishops whose feast we celebrate today. They are disciples and companion of Paul. Gentiles and Jewish-Gentile ethnicity. Some say wow! The right hand man of Paul, for certain they must have been important. But wait, stop and think. Paul as not revered in society, they tossed him into jail. If Paul was the criminal, they were much less. Outcasts and deviant the three of them, yet these two served Paul, in the name of the LORD. Fact from fiction, truth separated like fire tried gold. For those that pray the Liturgy of them Hours, Paul is celebrated as Apostle. The other two with the Common of Pastors. Peter the Popa , and the Church is served. Outcasts, prisoners, and warriors; they fought for the faith. Timothy and Titus did not gain respect from men, their celebration is because they taught the will of the LORD. Esteemed now, not then. One must look at them in their culture and not through the rose-colored glasses of today. They went against the grain, they challenged and provoked and served. Uncelebrated, downcast, persecuted, yet resolute. Think about the outcast and mumble the reading of today:

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the Kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

They were the seed that bore fruit, against all odds. Trampled and scattered, yet they still grew; and they did so against all odds. Let me correct myself, it was not they who grew. It was the message they spread, and scattered, and nurtured. It took hold, that word of God. For they were simple servants, let’s celebrate them. Today.

Aside

Today some friends lower a paralytic through a roof. ho-hum, what to say. Quick to the first reading. The people gripe to Solomon they need a king. The LORD gripes to Solomon, they want someone else to follow except HIM. King, false god. Presidents and politicians. That fakery versus the LORD King of All Creation.

Back to the guy lowered through the roof. Paralyzed, it’s a  social illness. Note ( this is important ) how he was blocked, by the masses. The crowds. Society, the ruling majority. “Keep a cripple a cripple.” They scream, silently. Not so silently, with pitchforks and torches.

But friends, righteously lend a hand. Disregard the kings of populism. They reach the king of all creation. Their friend healed.

Sometimes its important to recognize who the crowds are. The curious? The followers? The rebellion. Not all crowds that gathered around the Christ were in fellowship with Him. Listen to the crowd just before the cross. Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Can anyone hear that same crowd today? And today, who lowers that cripple to be healed?

Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 309  1 Sm 8:4-7, 10-22a   Mk 2:1-12

 

 

Presentation of Mary

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Here is a recycled post from 5-years ago:

According to tradition the childless Joachim and Anne, received a message from an angel that they would have a child. In fulfilling a vow for the gift of their daughter, they brought the three year old Mary to the Jerusalem Temple so that she might be consecrated to God. Tradition tells that Mary remained in the Temple until twelve years of age, at which point she was assigned to Joseph as guardian. The tradition also says that she remained in the temple to be educated in her role as the mother of God. The presentation of Mary reemphasizes the holiness of Mary as Mother of God, an importance commemorated by the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This memorial of the Presentation of Mary celebrates Mary’s dedication to God from her infancy, through the Holy Spirit, who filled her with grace at her immaculate conception. Mary’s role as mother of God did not begin with the Nativity of Christ, it begins with her immaculate conception and was strengthened at her temple presentation. In presenting herself to God and accepting Gods plan for her, she was able to accept the annunciation and all that follows. In that she is the image of church, the new temple. Through the presentation she accepted and prepared for her role as Mother of God. In a sense this is the beginning of Mary’s Advent as presenting oneself before God is the first step to receiving the Christ of the Nativity. Advent begins in 16-days.

Immaculate Mary (the Patroness of the United States), Juan Diego, and the Lost Sheep

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Here is a lightly read post from a few years back :

Sometimes what I find interesting is the clustering of readings, and saints, and seasons, memorials and feast days. It is looking at the liturgical calendar not as disconnected days, but as a continuous celebration. Yesterday it was the feast if the Immaculate Conception, today Juan Diego, and today the gospel of Jesus going for the lost sheep.

For the Immaculate Conception, I can ponder its teaching of Mary conceived without the stain of original sin, and I can think of Mary as the Patron of a new “immaculate world.” Mary, the model of the new Eve is also patron of a New World. Into that New World comes the European missionaries who carry Christ across the seas, as Mary carried Christ in her womb. The fruit of those missionaries is Juan Diego, and through Juan comes a new title for Mary that is Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It is Immaculate Mary that is the model for Church, and it is that Church brings her Son to this new world. In that lies a mission, the Churches evangelical mission, and a responsibility; to bring Christ as Mary did which is to serve God and not our individual selfish needs. Immaculate Mary is indeed born without sin.

In thinking of that Immaculate Mary and the journey to the new world, I can also ponder in the back of my mind Jesus going after the lost sheep. In His journey for these sheep, many times he too journeyed by boat across the Sea of Galilee where he cured many, and conquered many demons. To go back to the boats of Europe sailing to the new world, I think did their mission emulate Jesus’s and did they faithfully follow the guidance of Immaculate Mary? That’s a complicated question, but in many ways they did work under the guidance of Mary of that title and many times they did not. Man is sinful, and bears that burden of original sin. Many times they brought their demons rather than chase them out, it’s the sinful nature of man.

The counter argument then is this; was the New World Immaculate before those Christian explorers arrived? Again, one for the scholars but I would guess not; they too were human and bore that stain of original sin. And then there is Juan Diego, caught between both those worlds who discovers Mary, Immaculate Mary in Our Lady of Guadalupe. Jesus saved a sheep through the intercession of his Mother. I wonder then as those Europeans who entered this New World, I wonder how many of them were brought salvation anew through their encounters with people like Juan Diego? It’s a ramble, and a journey. The truth though is that Immaculate Mary does the journey with us. She is present in the Old and the New World, and ever Immaculate to guide us on our little rambles through life.

Father Isaac Jogues, Father John de Brébeuf and their companions.

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“Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

In the Acts of the Apostles Luke tells of the beginning of the spreading of the New Testament throughout the ancient world. While spreading this gospel message had its difficulties, the Apostles were familiar with the variety of cultures and philosophies and languages of that day.It was the world they knew, even though it was about to undergo the miraculous transformation that is the New Testament. In the light of these Acts of the Apostles, ponder the “acts” of Father Isaac Jogues,  Father John de Brébeuf and their companions.

They were Jesuit Priests from France, bringing the New Testament to a new continent,and a new world of which they had no experience. North America of the 1600’s was entirely different from Europe. It was a vast wilderness sparsely colonised by small groups of Europeans. It’s indigenous peoples were so culturally different from  Europeans. The Iroquois and Huron Indians of New York and New England had a cultural lifestyle different from anything in Europe. Their language was totally unrelated from the languages of the Jesuits, and their clothing like nothing they had ever seen.

In Luke’s  Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles could present Christ to the pagans in their own language, and explain Christ to people with cultures and beliefs they knew. Saint Isaac Jogues did not have this luxury, yet knew these people were children of God and worthy of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Knowing that, they were determined to use every resource to deliver that message. In delivering that message they were tortured, and imprisoned. Isaac Jogues wrote of his torture: “These tortures are very great, but God is still greater, and immense.” To prevent Fr. Jogues from consecrating the host his captors cut off several fingers. Escaping torture and being sent back to France, St. Jogues still had the need to deliver the gospel of Christ to these Indian people despite the language  and cultural barriers. Despite a hostile reception and despite torture.

In the return trip to the new world Fathers Isaac Jogues,  John de Brébeuf and their companions were eventually martyred. Yet in death, they were not defeated. Ten years later, Kateri Tekakwitha was born in the same village where Isaac was martyred. She is Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, a young woman born of Indian heritage. Saint Kateri was also ridiculed for desiring to follow that gospel message Isaac Jogues and his companions had delivered. She is the Jesuit victory, the victory of Christ. Many of the Indian tribes, especially in eastern Maine, embraced that Gospel of Jesus delivered by  saints Isaac Jogues, John de Brébeuf ,and their companions; and they continue to follow that gospel today. Those Jesuits knew these indigenous people of a new world were children of God and worthy of the gospel message of Jesus Christ.