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.
Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives and my fellow prisoners;
they are prominent among the Apostles and they were in Christ before me.
. . . .
I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord. (Rom 16:3-9,22-27)
We come to the conclusion of Paul’s great Letter to the Romans. His salutations to various members of the community are very interesting . . . especially, Andronicus and Junia . . . as Paul says, they are “prominent among the Apostles.” Junia is a woman! But for me the most fascinating interjection in the conclusion of this letter is Tertius, the scribe who is receiving the dictation from the apostle and photobombs Paul’s conclusion: ”Hi y’all!”
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.” (Lk 16:1-8)
The Parable of the Dishonest Steward must have left the disciples and the church scratching their heads! Perhaps if the parable has something to do with the Kingdom of God then we better learn how to deal with the world prudently, freely forgiving debts. Of course, we church people have never quite gotten the hang of this forgiveness thing.
Brothers and sisters: None of us lives for oneself, and no one dies for oneself.
For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord;
so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
For this is why Christ died and came to life, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. (Rom 14:7-12)
We are the Lord’s . . . of infinite value, infinite worth. We have dignity, not of our own making, but because we belong to Christ. Saint Charles benefitted from nepotism. His uncle, the pope, appointed him archbishop of Milan and cardinal. At the ecumenical council of Trent, Saint Charles voted to reform the church and to abolish nepotism. He was also responsible for inventing seminaries to educate clergy. Up to that time seminaries didn’t exist in the church, and clergy were basically uneducated, all of which resulted in the Protestant Reformation. Saint Charles can also claim the founding of the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine (CCD), Sunday School in other words. For one who came up in the ranks by nepotism, he didn’t do too bad. And he was an excellent pastor to his people.
The commandments, You shall not commit adultery;
you shall not kill; you shall not steal;
you shall not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be,
are summed up in this saying, namely,
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom 13:8-10)
As often as “Love your neighbor” appears in the Scriptures, you would think that we would have learned the lesson by now. Thank goodness for Saint Martin de Porres! Saint Martin teaches us that caring for others, no matter their race, is what love is all about.
The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them. (Wisdom 3:1-9)
Lux aeterna luceat eis,
Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem aeternam dona eis,
Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
May eternal light shine upon them,
O Lord, with your saints in eternity,
for you are merciful.
Grant them eternal rest, O Lord,
and let eternal light shine upon them.
(Text from the Liturgy, music by Elgar)
Today's picture is of my family plot in Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama.
“Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 7:2-4,9-14)
The festival of the heavenly Jerusalem invites us to remember and give thanks to God for all the holy men and women who have touched our lives and have gone before us.
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind, and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mk 12:28b-34)
The trick question about the greatest commandment is answered with Jesus linking love of God with love of neighbor, and saying they are the same thing. And we have been struggling with this teaching ever since.