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.

“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 18:10)

The Holy Guardian Angels—such providential love God has for us! The little prayer we learned when we were children still holds a place in our hearts:
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. Amen.

Oh, would that my words were written down!
Would that they were inscribed in a record:
That with an iron chisel and with lead
they were cut in the rock forever!
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives,
and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust;
Whom I myself shall see:
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him,
And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.
(Job 19:23-27)

Job’s words have been cut into the rock of human memory expressing the longing to see God. Saint Thérèse, the Little Flower, who lived her own “Job moment” in her short life also expressed this longing: "I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses."

Job answered his friends and said: How can a man be justified before God?
Should one wish to contend with him,
who has withstood him and remained unscathed. (Job 9:1-3)

We continue reading the Book of Job. Job’s question is about the all-powerful God and the puny human being. Who can resist God? Who can justify himself before God?
Today is the feast of Saint Jerome, the great lover of God’s Word. He learned Hebrew so that he could translate the Scriptures from the original languages of Hebrew and Greek into a language that people could understand. We call his translation The Vulgate. As Saint Jerome said:

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.

R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.
(Psalm 138)

Today we celebrate God’s providential care for us as manifested through the angels. The names of the archangels are theophoric (the name contains the name of God): Michael (Who is like God?); Gabriel (God is my Strength); Raphael (God heals). They are the only angels named in the Bible. Michael was my confirmation name.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 16:56

MONDAY, WEEK XXVI, ORDINARY TIME

And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job,
and that there is no one on earth like him,
blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil?”
But Satan answered the LORD and said,
“Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing?
. . . .
And the LORD said to Satan,
“Behold, all that he has is in your power;
only do not lay a hand upon his person.”
So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
(Job 1:8-9,12)

A wager between the LORD and Satan. What a beginning to the Book of Job! And of course, the question that the Book of Job asks, “Why do the good suffer?” is THE question of all the scriptures of all religions. It is THE question period.

The photo is a painting of Job by Danny Helms.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 11:04

XXVI ORDINARY SUNDAY

Complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
 united in heart, thinking one thing.
 Have in you the same attitude
 that is also in Christ Jesus.
(Phil 2:2,5)

To have the mind and heart of Christ, the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus . . . Saint Paul invites us to put on Christ. That means what happens in our baptism is real. Maybe that is what the old prayer tried to teach us:

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, make our hearts like unto yours.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020 10:53

SATURDAY, WEEK XXV, ORDINARY TIME

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the evil days come
And the years approach of which you will say,
I have no pleasure in them.
Before the sun is darkened,
and the light, and the moon, and the stars,
while the clouds return after the rain;
When the guardians of the house tremble,
and the strong men are bent,
And the grinders are idle because they are few,
and they who look through the windows grow blind;
When the doors to the street are shut,
and the sound of the mill is low;
When one waits for the chirp of a bird,
but all the daughters of song are suppressed;
And one fears heights,
and perils in the street;
When the almond tree blooms,
and the locust grows sluggish
and the caper berry is without effect,
Because man goes to his lasting home,
and mourners go about the streets;
Before the silver cord is snapped
and the golden bowl is broken,
And the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the broken pulley falls into the well,
And the dust returns to the earth as it once was,
and the life breath returns to God who gave it.
(Eccl 12:1-7)

This beautiful poem about old age is a fitting conclusion to this very strange book.

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