Today’s Readings

In the 2nd Reading, St. Paul makes a clarion call to a life of Conversion:
it’s, he says,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God
.

Contained within God’s Word is the grace to will what HE wills and the power to accomplish what HE wills. We are NOT spiritual athletes with supernatural strength. No one can do what God wills without God’s grace. For, we are broken, sinful and fickle! When you come forward to receive ashes you’ll hear,
Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return or Repent and believe the Gospel.

In the Gospel, there is grace to be invisible, to be God’s secret agent in your world. So, whether you are giving alms, praying or fasting it’s not you who are seen. Rather, through those mighty weapons, God is making HIS appeal through you, to your family and those you love, to your neighbor, to your fellow workers or students. That appeal is this:

Be reconciled to God!  

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Today’s Readings

In the First Reading, the young King, Solomon, has the wisdom to ask the LORD for an understanding heart.
In the Gospel, Jesus, to whom the Lord God gave the throne of David his father (Luke 1:32) gives expression to this understanding heart when He says to His disciples:
Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while (Mark 6:31).
The coming Season of Lent can be that deserted place where we rest and listen while He teaches us many things!

On this feast . . .
Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr,
may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

 

Today’s Readings 

Who then is this, whom even wind and sea obey?
The howling winds grow calm, raging waters are still, demons tremble and depart.
All of creation obeys God, all, that is, except Man:
•   King David committed adultery; and,
murdered Uriah to hide his paternity of Bathsheba’s child.
•   Murder now, is simply the means to an end.
•   Powerful celebrities coerce, threaten, and rape women;
•   A doctor sexually abuses more than 150 female children,
and no one knows or tries to stop him?
How do these things happen?
The simple answer is that we no longer fear the LORD.
What is the result?
Nathan said to David:
•   The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin.
Mercy for the sinner; the sin is forgiven.
•   The sword shall never depart from your house.
But the justice of judgment; the sin is punished!
Oh LORD, give us Wisdom and once again let us fear you.

Goodbye Fr. Oliverio

young OliverioI am saddened at the recent passing of a wonderful man and great priest, Monsignor Francis Oliverio. Here is a photo of him as a young man assigned to St. Lucy’s Catholic Church in the Bronx, New York.

I remember as an altar boy serving at his Mass, his involvement with young people in CYO and summer camps, his chaperoning of Friday night dances (make room for the Holy Ghost ), his searching out lost youngsters in the neighborhood housing project playgrounds (and taking a few swings at softball). But most of all I remember him for this: one November night 45 years ago, after five or so years of my living in darkness, after a night of alcohol and drug abuse, he opened the rectory doors to me at 3 a.m. He invited me in and heard my confessionfather o – the sacrament that forever changed the direction of my life. He was the single most influential person in my conversion and healing. And I know that I am not the only one he helped. Dear Father, you were authentically a good and wholesome human being. You are true priest with the heart of the Good Shepherd!

May you spend eternity praying for those you helped and for their families and loved ones. I am eternally grateful for you. You will be missed by many!


Remaining what she was,
a Virgin,
she became what she was not,
a Mother.
Remaining what He was,
the Word,
became (what He was not),
Flesh.

Who are you?  This, I think, is the second most important question that one can be asked (The first in importance is Who do you say Jesus is?) The testimony of John the Baptist consists in his answering this question both negatively and positively:
I am neither the Christ nor the Prophet nor Elijah. The Baptist does not think more of himself than he should. While he may have been able to mislead his hearers into thinking more of him than they should, he would not mislead himself. I think most of you think, not too much of yourselves but too little. Listen to what St. Paul says to the Galatians: So you are no longer a slave (Gal 4:7):
Not To The Law: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to ransom those under the law (Gal 4:5).
Not To Sin: But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God (Rom 6:22).
Not To The Devil and not Even To Death: through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. (Heb 2:14-15).
The positive answer to who are you? Also is not self-deprecating . . .
I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’. He is not afraid to recognize that the Prophet Isaiah spoke of him. Who he was is intimately connected to what he does. And so the question for you remains: Who are you? Let’s go back to how St. Paul answered that: but (you are) a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God (Gal 4:7). Know your identity in Christ! Know who you are not and know who you are. It’s out of your understanding of your identity that your thoughts, words and actions flow.

Today we celebrate the mystery
that in the fulness of time,
God became flesh in human history.

Remaining what He was
– As God He has a Divine Father
but no divine mother.
He became what He was not
– As Man He has a human mother
but no human father.

All of this was only possible because,
Mary, remaining what she was,
a Virgin;
becomes what she was not,
a Mother.

Remaining what you are (human)
You become what you are not (Divine).
For you have become partakers in the Divine Nature (2 Pt. 1:4).

As the catechism of the Catholic Church teaches
the Son of God became man so that we might become God (CCC #460).

In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, at the preparation of the Chalice,
the priest or deacon prays:
By the mingling of this water and wine

May we come to share in the Divinity of Christ
Who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.

Ever Virgin –  Mother of God
Pray for us!