Welcome

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.

Tuesday, 09 February 2021 00:00

TUESDAY, WEEK V, ORDINARY TIME

God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.
(Gen 1:20-2:4a)

As God finishes the work of creation, God finds everything not just good, but “very good.” It’s understandable that church folks want to focus on “original sin,” but we should never forget the “original blessing.” And as God “rests” on the seventh day, we too are called to rest and appreciate the creation.

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Monday, 08 February 2021 00:00

MONDAY, WEEK V, ORDINARY TIME

God saw how good it was.
(Gen 1:1-19)

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,
they laid the sick in the marketplaces
and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;
and as many as touched it were healed.
(Mk 6:53-56)

In the time remaining before Lent, we will hear the beginning chapters of Genesis and today starts the great story of creation. As some theologians point out, the original blessing is at the beginning long before any thing that con be construed as original sin. As the Scripture tells us: “God saw how good it was.” This world and everything in it was created good. The story of people touching Jesus’ cloak to be healed is made famous by the great Sam Cooke in his gospel song.

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Sunday, 07 February 2021 00:00

V SUNDAY, ORDINARY TIME

R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
    he calls each by name.
R. Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.
(Psalm 147)

Sometimes like Job, we need to sing the Blues: “I’ll never be happy again.” But the Liturgy gently reminds us that God has not abandoned us. We can praise the Lord because God heals the brokenhearted. Even though God calls the stars by name, God still remembers us.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant, 
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen.
(Heb 13:15-17,20-21)

Today the conclusion of the Letter to the Hebrews is this beautiful blessing. When I was in language school in Cuernavaca, Mexico, we visited the Cathedral (early 16th century). I was surprised by the ancient murals (today's picture) telling the story of Saint Paul Miki and the First Martyrs of Japan. The first native born Mexican saint, Saint Felipe de Jesús, was one of the companion martyrs.

Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect hospitality,
for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
(Heb 13:1-8)

As we come to the conclusion of the Letter to the Hebrews, we are reminded of some basic truths: the importance of love and hospitality, and the unchanging center of our faith, Jesus Christ. Saint Agatha is another of the virgin martyrs of the early church. Saint Agatha is the patron saint for breast cancer.

Wednesday, 03 February 2021 00:00

WEDNESDAY, WEEK IV, ORDINARY TIME

They said, “Where did this man get all this? 
What kind of wisdom has been given him? 
What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! 
Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary,
and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? 
And are not his sisters here with us?” 
And they took offense at him. 
(Mk 6:1-6)

The issue of the family of Jesus raises lots of questions for Christians today . . . where did all these brothers and sisters come from? It’s a real conundrum for priests and parish educators. Well, the family of Jesus raised lots of questions for the early church as well, but for a different reason. For the early church the issue was who gets to belong to the family of Jesus—can Gentiles belong? Obviously, for the gospel writer we call Mark, Jesus’ family of origin was well known to the townsfolk, and they were not impressed (“Who does he think he is?”}. Perhaps for us, with a world and a church so divided, we might need to focus a bit more on the carpenter, the son of Mary, who chooses to make us his sisters and brothers.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
(Lk 2:32)

This beautiful feast of light with the procession with candles reminds us that only 40 days ago we celebrated the Nativity of the Lord. The “holy encounter” as it is called celebrates the Lord coming to meet his people. The aged Simeon and Anna have their hopes fulfilled—to see the Anointed of the Lord.

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