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.
R. Alleluia, alleluia. Tell us Mary, what did you see on the way? I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb. R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The "apostle to the apostles"—that’s Mary Magdalene. Despite all the attempts by early church fathers to connect her to the “adulterous woman,” Mary Magdalene is the first to see the Risen Lord. Of course, at first she thought he was the gardener (!), until he called her by name, and she recognized him, and then he gave her the apostolic mission to “go and tell” the others. Mary Magdalene still proclaims: “I saw the glory of the risen Christ, I saw his empty tomb.”
Be amazed at this, O heavens, and shudder with sheer horror, says the LORD. Two evils have my people done: they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water. (Jer 2:1-3, 7-8, 12-13)
Broken cisterns that hold no water . . . a fairly good description of us when our spiritual life runs dry. As the Psalmist reminds us: “With you is the fountain of life, O Lord.” No wonder Jesus says to the Samaritan Woman, “whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become (in him) a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Today’s picture is of the Fountain of Eternal Life in Cleveland, Ohio.
The word of the LORD came to me thus: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. “Ah, Lord GOD!” I said,
"I know not how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD answered me, Say not, “I am too young.” To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak. Have no fear before them, because I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD. (Jer 1:1, 4-10)
As the Call of Jeremiah reminds us, God calls whom God wills . . . it doesn’t matter our age or our preparation. God promises to be with us. Today is Colombian Independence Day . . . which began on this day in 1810 and eventually led to an end of the European domination of Latin America. Today's photo is of the Basilica of Chiquinquirá, the national shrine of Colombia.
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. Someone told him, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.” But he said in reply to the one who told him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Mt 12:46-50)
To do the will of God means we are members of God’s new family in Christ. As someone once said, “God is my father, Jesus is my brother, Mary is my mother—with relatives like that, I can’t be all bad!”
You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Mi 6:1-4, 6-8)
Justice and mercy are not optional—they are essential. And the prophets always remind us of what is essential.
Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." (Lk 10:38-42)
Martha’s sister, Mary, chose to serve the Lord by sitting at his feet and listening to his words something only male disciples would do. Martha wanted the Lord to tell her sister that her place was in the kitchen. Instead the Lord praised Mary’s choice. Maybe one day the church will too.
Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches; In the morning light they accomplish it when it lies within their power. They covet fields, and seize them; houses, and they take them; They cheat an owner of his house, a man of his inheritance. (Mi 2:1-5)
We begin the Prophet Micah today. As with all the prophets, justice for the poor is a major theme. It wasn’t that Israel lacked religious devotion, they were very religious, but they lacked justice and so won the condemnation of the prophets. Today is the feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel which is celebrated not only by the Dominicans but by all the religious orders who celebrate this day in honor of their devotion to the Mother of God (today is also the feast of Our Lady of Einsiedeln, celebrated by Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Indiana).