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.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Phil 4:6-9)
Saint Paul is not advocating a Pollyanna, “Don’t worry, be happy” approach to spirituality. Rather Saint Paul reminds us that we should be centered on the true, the honorable, the just, the pure, the lovely, the gracious. This is NOT passivity in the face of the many problems of the world, just the opposite: “Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.” And he adds: ”Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Turning to the disciples in private he said, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it." (Lk 10:17-24)
The Return of the 72 is an occasion of joy for Jesus as he listens to their experiences and reminds them of the blessings they have received. Today we remember Our Lady of the Rosary. The Rosary has taken many forms and reflects many styles of prayer and devotional practice in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
Alleluia (Ps 95)
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
As the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops begins in Rome, we are reminded to LISTEN. For the One we follow sends us the Spirit to guide us into all truth. It is that same Spirit which the Risen Lord breathes upon us that still guides the church in union with the Successor of Saint Peter.
Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. (Lk 10:1-12)
The Sending of the 72 reminds us that “mission” isn’t just for missionaries in foreign lands. We are all called to be “missionary disciples” by virtue of our Baptism. As Saint Francis of Assisi used to say: “Preach always, use words when necessary.”
As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." (Lk 9:57-62)
Jesus invited all sorts of people to follow him. Some folks wanted to follow Christ on their own terms. Others had legitimate excuses for delaying. But when Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) heard the Lord call him to “Rebuild my church,” he chose to follow Christ whole-heartedly and precisely in poverty. The church has never been the same since.
On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?" Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village. (Lk 9:51-56)
We church people sometimes are sometimes a bit intolerant, especially with each other. When someone crosses us, we generally react like James and John: we want to “call down fire from heaven to consume them.” Thank goodness, the Lord teaches us another way, the way of Love.
Jesus said to his disciples: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." (Mt 18:1-5, 10)
The feast of the Holy Guardian Angels reminds us how important we are in God’s eyes. For God always watches over us and cares for us through the wonderful ministry of the Angels. We all remember the prayer to the Guardian Angel: “Angel of God, my guardian dear, / to whom God's love commits me here, / ever this day be at my side, / to light and guard, to rule and guide.” Today's music video is of a very popular Latin American Catholic hymn, Ángeles de Dios. The video shows a young boy walking with his mom, and along the way he notices angels (but not with wings) watching over him and everyone.