NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

Friday, July 7, 2017

LOOK AT HIM, EATING WITH TAX COLLECTORS AND SINNERS --

A classic scene, teeming with a rich abundance of gossip topics.  The onlookers in the shade of the sycamore trees are floating around in the body language of the haughty finger pointers while those under the tax collector's (Matthew) roof are busy having a spirited back and forth with the "teacher" who had just recruited the despicable tax collector.  He compounded the affrontery when He joined this sinful coterie and was comfortable in their presence.

Here's how the Gospel describes the event of the day:

"As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.  

While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.  The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,  "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"  

He heard this and said,  "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,  I desire mercy, not sacrifice.  
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."  (Matt. 13; 6-9)

When you finish smiling and shaking your head and "tsk, tsk-ing" at the Pharisees, continue sitting quietly where you are and review who your guests were over the last month or so.

Do you sit comfortably at the same table with a cheating auto mechanic?  A loose pharmacist?  A divorced and remarried Catholic who is gaming the Church because of a rebellious conscience?  Do you have the neighborhood same-sex "married" couple over for cocktails now and then?  Maybe you've decided not to have your unmarried child and grandchildren come to your house any more because of their sin.  Do you patronize corporations who are blatantly immoral in their behavior regarding employees?  Are you one of those who willingly accept pirated software from your relative who has the good fortune to work for Google?  Are you one of those who refuses to consort with Christians who have Muslim friends?  
Are you one of those who seek out only the WELL because the SICK are repugnant?  And, Jesus might ask:  How do you decide who is WELL and who is SiCK?

I guess I could go on, but I won't because you, dear reader know whom it is that you accept into your life and whom it is that you exclude from your life.  I am writing this, and I know that I am one of us all...But Jesus is the one who reminds us today that we have to rise above this kind of behavior, just as He did.

Yes, don't exclude people from your life; don't kill your enemy, pray for him(her).  Remember, Jesus did not send us out to cull the wheat from the chaff; He did not commission us to sort His children out.  He sent us to love them and  baptize them.  

Remember, you heard it here from the one who forbids you to cry at his funeral.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

MY TRIP TO NEBO WITH MOSES




It has been more than a month now since I and the small family that we are were granted the time and ressources to visit the land of my birth for what could be one last time.  It turned out to be more than what I thought it would be and less than what I had dreamt.  
Ever since I have been back home in San Diego I have been living in the shadows of the experience as connected with the experience of the great Patriarch, Moses.  Specifically, I cannot shake the recurring picture of Moses standing by the right hand of God for the last time, looking out over the gorgeous expanse of the Promised Land.  I keep visiting the vision day after day, each time with a deeper appreciation for the way that God was letting Moses know that this vision was the key to his passing through the Pearly Gates for having done God's bidding for so many years and through so many harrowing moments.  There is a great measure of merciful justice in the picture that we see when we visit and bask in the simple language of Exodus:                                                                                               

1  Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the peak of Pisgah which faces Jericho, and the LORD showed him all the land 2 Gilead, and as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the Negeb, the plain (the valley of Jericho, the City of Palms), and as far as Zoar. The LORD then said to him, "This is the land about which I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you shall not cross over."  So there, in the land of Moab, Moses, the servant of the LORD, died as the LORDhad said; and he was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; to this day no one knows the place of his burial. Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated. (Emphasis mine) The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days, till they had completed the period of grief and mourning for Moses. Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands upon him; and so the Israelites gave him their obedience, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
10  Since then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 in all the signs and wonders the LORD sent him to perform in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh and all his servants and against all his land,         12 and all the great might and the awesome power that Moses displayed in the sight of all Israel.  (Deuteronomy, chapter 34)
Related image
The VIEW, North over the Land of Milk and Honey
The story says that Moses himself brought himself there and that while He was there, he and God had their final recorded encounter.  When God announced that Moses would not cross over, I just know that Moses did not let that bother him.  He had it in hs sight, in his mind and in the depths of his being.  He knew that he was seeing more than any single other leader of God's people would ever see of this gorgeous land.  Moses knew right then and there that he had delivered what God had ordered and he would take the memory of it all with him as he was seeing it in the very presence of the One who had saved him from Pharaoh and the current of the Nile.  Here they were together, celebrating their victory together before the servant would reach the maximum of the divinely decreed human life span (120 years) and the Father Creator would go on preparing the way for His Son's mandate.

I have deciphered the eulogy found at the foot of the monument
"To this lad in rime, who e're thou art draw near.
Here lies the Friend most loved, the Son most dear
Who never knew joy but Friendship might divide
Or gave his Father Grief but when he died."
Believe it or not, I am sure that there is a connection between Moses and the tombstone at the head of this article.  It is a headstone that can be found in one of the many historically important graveyards of the city of Boston, Massachusetts.  I tried to make the contrast clearer, but was not very successful. This is the grave of John Hurd, Jr. Officer in the Massachusetts Regiment in the Continental Army.  He gave his life in 1784 for what was yet to become the United States of America.  He was all of 24 years old. 
This young man is one of the hundreds, if not thousands of young people who died for what we have today.  While I was standing there I was thinking of Moses.  God actually rewarded Moses by showing him that the goal had been reached.  John Hurd was never able to bask in the sight of the goal for which he fought.  

I went back to Massachusetts on the occasion of my 80th birthday.  I was there with my beloved spouse, the one whom you know as the "Voice from the Kitchen." (Isabel by name)   We had our two loving sons with us, Marc and Jo-El.  We spent a good part of two days with near family and two days in Boston.  Yes, I felt like Moses.  Now all I need are 40 more years to fill out the divine quota.  Especially the part that says that Moses was still spry at his age.  (Verse 7) 

One way or the other, I announce and decree once again, in the names of John Hurd, Moses and our loving Father Creator, there is to be No Crying at my Funeral.





Tuesday, June 20, 2017

BE PERFECT -- SOYEZ PARFAITS --

Once, to people gathered on the southern flank of a gentle slope rising from the north shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus was teaching those who had followed Him from Capernaum...

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43) You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44) But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45) that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46) For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47) And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48) So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5; 43 - 48)

This teaching is the central reflection for this day around the Catholic world.  We Catholics have heard this so often that we don't think twice about it when we hear it again.  This morning was different.  When the young priest finally closed the book, he was chuckling to himself for all to see.  I can't quote him, but the equivalent of what he said is, "You gotta be kidding me!  That's just not natural.  Hey, a person can only take so much.  Enough already.  After all, human nature has its limits."

Then, short pause.  The young and inspired homilist resumes with great conviction, "Jesus came to lift us up above nature to offer us supernatural life."  Nature is not enough.  The Law is not enough.  When Jesus said that He had come to perfect the Law not to abolish it He announced the supernaturalization of the Law.  He announced that His coming was to change our way of life from obedience to the Law to the supernatural power of Virtue.  This supernatural nature that He came to plant in us makes it possible for us to love our neighbor (who is not yet our enemy), to pray for those who persecute us, and our neighbor too.  

As if all of that is already a bit much, Jesus nails it with the command that we "...Be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect."  Whoaa, there, Big Fella...are you serious?

Yes, He is serious.  The secret is in the striving.  The honest hard driving, dynamic focus on the Divine Presence in every minute of our natural lives.  The striving is the focus on the goal--Eternal Life in the Bosom of Abraham.  Everything that we do has to be done in the shadow and glimmer of the Pearly Gates.  We do that by centering on the fire of the Burning Bush, the fire of the Tongue of Pentecost and the weight of the Cross that we pick up every single morning as we walk through life with the sound of that command pounding in the depths of our soul, "Be perfect..." 
followed by the order, "Go forth, baptizing all people...."

We all rise to the invitation to lead loving, supernatural lives side by side with Him.  If we do it well, no one will cry at our funeral...Least of all, MINE.

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Traduction:

43) "Vous avez entendu dire qu'il a été dit:" Tu aimeras ton prochain et déteste ton ennemi ". 44) Mais je te dis, aime tes ennemis, et prie pour ceux qui te persécutent, 45) afin que tu sois enfant de ton Père céleste, car il fait monter le soleil sur le mauvais et le bon, et fait tomber la pluie sur le juste et l'injuste. 46) Car si vous aimez ceux qui vous aiment, quelle récompense avez-vous? Les percepteurs ne font-ils pas la même chose? 47) Et si vous saluez seulement vos frères, qu'est-ce qui est si admirable à ce sujet? Les païens ne font-ils pas la même chose? 48) Soyez donc parfaits, tout comme votre Père céleste est parfait. (Matthieu 5; 43 à 48)

Cet enseignement est la réflexion centrale de ce jour autour du monde catholique. Nous, les catholiques, avons entendu cela si souvent que nous ne pensons pas deux fois quand nous l'entendons de nouveau. Ce matin était différent. Quand le jeune prêtre a finalement fermé le livre, il se mit à se rigoler devant tout le monde. Je ne peux pas le citer, mais l'équivalent de ce qu'il a dit est:  Ce n'est simplement pas naturel. Hé, une personne ne peut qu'en endurer jusqu’à un certain point, apres tout!  Assez déjà. Après tout, la nature humaine a ses limites. "

Ensuite, petite pause. L'homiliste, jeune et inspiré reprend avec grande conviction: "Jésus est venu nous élever au-dessus de la nature pour nous offrir une vie surnaturelle". La nature n'est pas suffisante. La loi ne suffit pas. Quand Jésus a dit qu'il était venu pour perfectionner la loi et non pas pour l'abolir, il a annoncé la "surnaturalisation" de la loi. Il a annoncé que sa venue devait changer notre mode de vie de l'obéissance à la loi au pouvoir surnaturel de la vertu. Cette nature surnaturelle qu'il est venu à planter en nous nous permet d'aimer notre prochain (qui n'est pas encore notre ennemi), de prier pour ceux qui nous persécutent et notre prochain.

Comme si tout cela était déjà une lourde charge, Jésus ajouta le dernier clou -- le commandement "... Soyez parfait comme notre Père céleste est parfait". Whoaa, là, Mon Pot ... est-ce que tu es sérieux?

Oui, il est sérieux. Le secret est dans l'effort. La conduite honnête et dure, le penchant dynamique sur la Présence Divine à chaque minute de notre vie naturelle. L'effort est l'astuce qui mène direct au but - La vie éternelle dans le sein d'Abraham. Tout ce que nous faisons doit être fait dans l'ombre et la lueur des Portes Celestes. Nous le faisons en nous concentrant sur le feu du Buisson Ardent, le feu de la Langue de Pentecôte et le poids de la Croix que nous ramassons chaque matinée et portons allègrement pendant que nous traversons la vie avec le son de cette commande battant au plus profond de notre Âme "Soyez parfait ..." qui est toujours suivi par "
Sortez, baptiser toutes les personnes ..."

Nous sommes inviter a mener une vie amoureuse et surnaturelle côte à côte avec Lui. Si nous le faisons bien, personne ne pleurera à nos funérailles ... et aux miennes, moins qu'a tous. 

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43) "Oísteis que fue dicho." Ama a tu prójimo y odiarás a tu enemigo "44) Pero yo les digo: Amen a sus enemigos y oren por quienes los persiguen, 45) para que seas hijos de su Padre celestial, que hace salir el sol sobre malos y buenos, y hace caer la lluvia sobre justos e injustos. 46) porque si amáis a los que os aman, ¿qué recompensa recibirán? el colectores qué no hacen lo mismo? 47) Y si saludan solamente a sus hermanos, lo que es tan maravilloso al respecto? paganos qué no hacen lo mismo? 48) Sed, pues, vosotros perfectos, así como su Padre celestial es perfecto (Mateo 5; 43 a 48).

Esta enseñanza es la idea central de este día en todo el mundo católico. Nosotros, los católicos, hemos oído esta directiva tan a menudo que no pensamos dos veces cuando oimos le enesima repeticion.  Esta mañana era diferente. Cuando el cura joven finalmente cerró el libro, se echó a reír delante de todos. No puedo citar, pero el equivalente a lo que dijo es: Seguir este consejo no es en la naturaleza humana. Oye, una persona sólo puede soportar hasta cierto punto, después de todo! Ya es suficiente. Después de todo, la naturaleza humana tiene sus límites. "

Luego se debe romper las cadenas de la naturaleza humana.  "Jesús vino para levantar encima de la naturaleza para darnos una vida sobrenatural." La naturaleza no es suficiente. La ley no es suficiente. Cuando Jesús dijo que vino a perfeccionar la ley y no a abolirla, anunció la "supernaturalizacion" de la ley. Anunció que su llegada era para cambiar nuestro estilo de vida de obediencia a la ley en el poder sobrenatural de la virtud. Esta naturaleza sobrenatural que se trataba de sembrar en nosotros nos permite amar a nuestro prójimo (que no es nuestro enemigo), orar por los que nos persiguen y nuestros vecinos.

Como si todo esto ya era una carga, Jesús añadió la final de uñas - el ordeno "... Sed perfectos como nuestro Padre celestial es perfecto." Whoaa allí, mi cuate ... lo dices en serio?

Sí, es grave. El secreto está en el esfuerzo. El manejo honesto y duro, la dinámica, a la Presencia Divina cada minuto de nuestra vida natural. El esfuerzo es el chiste que conduce directamente a la meta - la vida eterna en el seno de Abraham. Todo lo que hacemos debe ser hecho en la sombra y la luz de las puertas Celestes. Hacemos esto por nosotros centrándose en el fuego de la zarza ardiente, el fuego de la lengua Pentecostal y el peso de la cruz que recogemos cada mañana y alegremente llevamos a medida que avanzamos por la vida con el sonido de este comando superando la obscuridad de nuestra alma "Sed perfectos ..." que siempre es seguido por "Ir, bautizar a todas las personas ..."


Te invitamos a vivir una vida sobrenatural y amorosa al lado de él. Si lo hacemos bien, nadie va a llorar en tus obsequios ... y a los míos, tanto menos.

Friday, June 16, 2017

VIRTUE RULES THE CENTER


There is a lot to ponder here
You are invited to pause and pray
I will be back

Friday, June 9, 2017

DECISION TIME -- L'HEUR DECISIVE -- HORA DECISIVA

The hour of Truth has arrived. 

Yesterday we attended the ordination of a new bishop for the Diocese of San Diego. It was a touching and moving ceremony.  The church abounded with people of Good Will.  
After the ceremony while waiting outside the church as we prepared to leave the parking lot we spied some of the seminarians who are preparing to go home for the summer. These are seminarians who are at the college level of their educational stage. We spoke to one of them when we recognized him from our daily mass attendance. We wished him the best of everything. He announced to us  that he was leaving the program. I wished him the best of everything and assured him of our prayers. I encouraged him to remember that all is not lost and that his life had been made better and would continue to improve in the spiritual Arena as well as the human one because of the way the godhead protected him during his Seminary days.  I am writing this to you because I am inviting all of you to pray in a very special way for the seminarians like him and like those who are continuing towards the day of ordination.  All of must know that they are being supported in Prayer by the community in which they live. Former seminarians are essential collaborators in the Church's mission.  These people who are leaving are going to be very important to our Christian Community.  Dare I say, "As important as those who will stay?   It will be a different importance. It will be a different element but it will be something that God and the church need very very much. Please join us and pray for all seminarians so that they will persevere in the service of God and the church, ordained or not.

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Hier, nous avons assisté à l'ordination d'un nouvel évêque pour le diocèse de San Diego. C'était une cérémonie touchante et émouvante. L'église abondait avec des gens de bonne volonté.
Après la cérémonie en attendant a l'extérieur de l'église alors que nous nous préparions à quitter le parking, nous avons rencontre certains séminaristes qui se préparent à la maison pour l'été. Ce sont des séminaristes qui sont au niveau collégial de leur stage éducatif. Nous avons parlé à l'un d'eux lorsque nous l'avons reconnu lors de notre participation a la messe quotidienne. Nous lui souhaitâmes le meilleur de tout.  En ce moment il nous annonça qu'il quittait le programme. Je lui souhaitai le meilleur de tout et je l'ai assuré de nos prières. Je l'ai encouragé de se rappeler que tout n'est pas perdu et que sa vie a été améliorée et qu'elle continuera à s'améliorer dans l'arène spirituelle aussi bien que dans la vie seculiere en raison de la manière dont la divinité l'a protégé pendant ses jours au Séminaire. Je vous écris parce que je vous invite tous à prier de manière très spéciale pour les séminaristes comme lui et comme ceux qui continuent vers le jour de l'ordination. Tous doivent savoir qu'ils sont soutenus dans la prière par la communauté dans laquelle ils vivent. Les anciens séminaristes sont des collaborateurs essentiels dans la mission de l'Église. Ces gens qui partent seront très importants pour notre communauté chrétienne. J'ose dire: «Aussi important que ceux qui resteront,"  Cela aura une importance différente. Ce sera un élément différent, mais ce sera quelque chose que Dieu et l'Église auront beaucoup besoin. Merci de vous joindre à nous et de prier pour tous les séminaristes. Qu'ils persévéreront dans le service de Dieu et de l'église, ordonnés ou non.

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Ayer asistimos a la ordenación de un nuevo obispo para la Diócesis de San Diego. Fue una ceremonia conmovedora. La iglesia abundaba en gente de Buena Voluntad.
Después de la ceremonia mientras esperábamos fuera de la iglesia mientras nos preparábamos para dejar el estacionamiento, vimos a algunos de los seminaristas que se preparaban para irse a casa para el verano. Estos son los seminaristas que están en el nivel universitario de su etapa educativa. Hablamos con uno de ellos cuando lo reconocimos basado en nuestra asistencia diaria a las misas. Le deseamos lo mejor de todo. Nos anunció que se iba del programa. Le deseé lo mejor de todo y le aseguré nuestras oraciones. Lo animé a recordar que no todo está perdido y que su vida se había mejorado y seguiría mejorando tanto en el area espiritual como en el humana debido al modo en que la divinidad lo protegía durante sus días de Seminario. 
Les estoy escribiendo esto porque les invito a todos a orar de una manera muy especial para los seminaristas como él y como aquellos que continúan hacia el día de la ordenación. Todos deben saber que están siendo apoyados en la oración por la comunidad en la que viven. Los antiguos seminaristas son colaboradores esenciales en la misión de la Iglesia. Estas personas que están saliendo van a ser muy importantes para nuestra comunidad cristiana. Me atrevería a decir: "Tan importante como los que se quedarán.  Será de una importancia diferente, será un elemento diverso, pero será algo que Dios y la iglesia necesitan mucho. Que perseverarán en el servicio de Dios y de la iglesia, ordenados o no.