These reflections are a result of more than 40 years of ministry as a Roman Catholic priest. Most of these years I spent in the Diocese of Charlotte which covers Western North Carolina. Now I am retired, and live in Medellín, Colombia where I continue to serve as a priest in the Archdiocese of Medellín.
VACATION TIME—Saint Charles Lwanga & Companions, June 3
Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 19)
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
After today, June 3, the Daily Reflection will be on vacation until Sunday, July 2. After tomorrow, Sunday, June 4, the weekly “Mass in Spanish with a Little Bit of English” on Facebook will also be on vacation. I will be visiting Eastern Europe: Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. Looking forward to seeing all of you again on Sunday, July 2. May God’s Word, which is sweeter than honey from the comb, fill your hearts with delight.
Friday, Week VIII, Ordinary Time
I will now praise the godly, our ancestors, in their own time, the abounding glory of the Most High’s portion, his own part, since the days of old. (Sir 44:1, 9-13)
The praise of the godly ancestors is a wonderful telling of the importance of memory: to know our own story and to remember the stories of those who have gone before us. Knowing the name of your 6th great grandmother can be an interesting tidbit to impress your friends, but without her story, then she is like those “others” of whom “there is no memory, for when they ceased, they ceased.” Today’s picture is a composite of three of my great-great grandparents.
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, May 31
Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Lk 1:39-56)
Today with Elizabeth we too can say, “Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” Mary’s response to Elizabeth is to praise God in the words of her Magnificat as she invites us to sing: “Holy is his Name.”
Saint Joan of Arc, Virgin, May 30
Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first." (Mk 10:28-31)
A hundred times more . . . houses and lands, well, not so much, but brothers and sisters and mothers and children in abundance. Hard times (persecutions) go with the territory if you stand with the people the Lord loves, but after 45 years of priestly ministry it has truly been worth it all. Saint Joan of Arc (1412-1431) would agree! Today’s picture is of my mom, Norma, standing by the statue of the execution of Saint Joan of Arc near the Church of Sant'Alessio on the Aventine Hill, Rome, January 15, 1989.
Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church—Memorial Day (USA)
When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:12-14)
The disciples gathered in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is the perfect image of the church. Although this feast day is of recent origin (2018), its rationale is as old as the Scriptures themselves. In the United States today is Memorial Day. As my grandmother taught me, this day was originally known as Decoration Day, a day to visit the cemetery to remember those who have fallen, decorate their graves, and pray for peace and for an end to war.
As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13)
If we all drink of the one Spirit, then why do we have such divisions in the Body of Christ? If Pentecost is the reversal of the Tower of Babel, then perhaps we really need to listen to the Spirit speaking to the Heart of the Church and allow the Spirit to renew the spiritual gift of service in us so that we may accomplish the work to which we are called: to proclaim the same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God.
Saint Philip Neri, May 26
Jesus said to Peter the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me." (Jn 21:15-19)
Today we have Peter being restored to ministry, “Feed my sheep.” But it’s a ministry based not on apostolic power but rather based on love, “Simon do you love me?” Saint Philip Neri (1515-1595) was committed to the renewal of secular (non-religious) priests. He began the custom of visiting the seven patriarchal basilicas of Rome. In Colombia the custom is to visit seven churches to visit the Altar of Repose on the evening of Holy Thursday.