Monday, February 18, 2019

Brother's Keeper

Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.” When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He answered, “I do not know.  Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Are we?  Many of us say "no."  Our Pope and Jesus say "yes."

In Migrants and Refugees: Witnesses to Hope, Pope Francis looks at the pressing witness needed in response to the growing occurrence of human migration. 

Follow along with Fr. Michael Czerny, SJ, undersecretary for migrants and refugees at the Vatican, as he introduces Pope Francis’s words, which include the pope’s annual messages on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and key homilies. 

Then, take a dynamic look at the political, economic, humanitarian, and social needs that arise in connection with migration. Consider, alongside the pope, the response required to the experience of men, women, and children who have risked everything to move to another country as well as the needs of communities that welcome new migrants. 

Migrants and Refugees: Witnesses to Hope will give strength, encouragement, and conviction to those who have a heart for migrants and refugees and for the communities who receive them. It will prove a great resource for community leaders, church leaders, lay Catholics, parishioners, families, and all affected by or concerned about the effects of migration on peoples.

Deacon David Pierce

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Blessings And Woes

Blessings. We bless our food.  Blessings are offered in this Church for marriages, engaged couples, for the dying, for children, for many reasons. When we sneeze, we might hear, “God bless you.” We bless dogs and just about every kind of animal. We are very ecumenical. Today we focus on blessings – the Beatitudes that begin with “blessed are you or blessed are they.”

New England sports fans are blessed especially with the Patriots and Red Sox.  Most important, those living in America are truly blessed with freedom, liberty, and opportunity.  That’s all of us who will celebrate President’s Day tomorrow honoring and celebrating the life and achievements of George Washington, the first President of the United States and the Father of our country.

We are a blessed great nation under God made quite clear to us through the pledge of allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Good Eats

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”  

When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) “But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”

This reading from Mark speaks to all us: “Watch our tongues!”  They betray what’s inside that often is better left unsaid.

We all should “eat” that which makes us better human beings.  What we view and what we read should steer us away from hatred, evil, etc. and towards the good.   Very fortunately our Gospel is good “eats.”

Deacon David Pierce

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Tin Man

Anthony Teixeira, a talented Christ the King’s cantor, appeared in this weekend’s production of The Wizard of Oz by the Cape Cod Symphony and the Cotuit Center for the Arts.  He played the Tin Man with the style and sound we’ve all come to expect of Anthony.  And, he wielded a pretty mean ax.   I attended a packed-audience performance on Saturday. 

We all know the Tin Man wanted a heart.   Inside he was hollow – empty.   Here’s what the Wizard told him: “Back where I come from, there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds.  They are called phila-, er, er, philanth-er, good-deed doers!  And their hearts are no bigger than yours.  But! – They have one thing you haven’t got.  A testimonial! 

Therefore, in consideration of your kindness, I take pleasure at this time in presenting you with a small token of our esteem and affection.  And remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others."

Today’s Gospel according to Mark reads in part, “After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there.  As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.  They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 

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."

Jesus was – and still is – much loved by others.   Anthony, our Tin Man, is immediately recognizable, is kind, and is loved as well.  We thank him for what he gives to Christ the King – his time, talent, and love. 

Deacon David Pierce

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Scapegoats

Deacon Lemay recently shared this Father Richard Rohr meditation.  I provide it here.  Thanks Bob!

The Scapegoat Mechanism
Friday, February 8, 2019

The scapegoating ritual described in Leviticus 16 offers a helpful perspective on Jesus’ death. On the “Day of Atonement” the high priest, Aaron, was instructed to symbolically lay all the sins of the people on one unfortunate goat, and the people would then beat the animal until it fled into the desert. It was a vivid symbolic act that helped to unite and free the children of Israel. Instead of owning their faults, this ritual allowed people to export them elsewhere—in this case onto an innocent animal.

The image of the scapegoat powerfully mirrors the universal, but largely unconscious, human need to transfer our guilt onto something or someone else by singling that other out for unmerited negative treatment. French philosopher and historian RenĂ© Girard (1923–2015) demonstrated that the scapegoat mechanism is foundational for the formation of most social groups and cultures.

We need another group to be against to form our group! For example, many in the United States scapegoat refugees who are seeking asylum, falsely accusing them of being criminals. This pattern is seen in many facets of our society and our private, inner lives—so much so that we might call it “the sin of the world” (note that “sin” is singular in John 1:29).

Monday, February 4, 2019

Super!

From Hebrews today: ‘Brothers and sisters: What more shall I say?  I have not time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms,  did what was righteous, obtained the promises; they closed the mouths of lions, put out raging fires, escaped the devouring sword; out of weakness they were made powerful, became strong in battle, and turned back foreign invaders…”

As an alternative: “‘Brothers and sisters: What more shall I say?  I have not time to tell of Brady, Gronkowski, Belichick, Edelman, McCourty(s), Kraft, Michel, White, Hightower and Flowers who conquered the kingdom of LA, did what was asked of them, obtained the promises of fans; they closed the mouths of lions and rams, put out raging fires, escaped the devouring sword; no weakness they were powerful, became stronger in battle, and turned back West Coast foreign invaders…”

Another great Super Bowl win!  Thanks Pats!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

We're Called to Be Prophets ~ Fr. Edward Healey

February 3, 2019, Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings for today's Homily 

To watch Mass in its entirety click The Mass

Love Never Fails

Brothers and sisters: Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts.  But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Rallying Cry

The Super Bowl is tomorrow.   Once again, we who are blessed with a winning and talented team of Patriots athletes and coaches will watch and hope for more success.  Tomorrow’s first reading from Jeremiah (1:4-5, 17-19) might be our rallying cry.

The word of the LORD came to me, saying:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I dedicated you,
a great team for New England I appointed you.

Gird your loins;
stand up and tell them
all that I command you.
Do not be not crushed on their account,
as if I would leave you crushed before them;
for it is I this day
who have made you a fortified city,
a pillar of iron, a wall of brass,
against the whole land of Patriots haters:
against LA’s kings and princes,
against its priests, people, and Rams
They will fight against you but not prevail over you,
for I am with you to deliver you to ring number 6, says the LORD.

Ok, so it’s not quite the reading as written.  But if Jeremiah lived today and in New England (Mashpee?), this might be his rallying cry.  It sure is mine.

Deacon David Pierce

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Love Over Law

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying: This is the covenant I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord: "I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds,"

Quite the curious statement!  I prefer the fact that the Holy Spirit puts love in our hearts – not laws.  Some would say laws are made to broken – or gotten around because they were made by man and are often unjust and used by the powerful to subjugate the weak – the poor, for example.  Others would say, laws create order.  Of course they do when respected, enforced, and when they are just.

Love, on the other hand, should fill our hearts and be written on our minds.   That is the real covenant – love of God with all our hearts, minds, and souls.

Deacon David Pierce

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Pick Heads Of Grain

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?" 

He said to them,"Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?" Then he said to them, "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."

Let’s pick some heads of grain.  By this I mean let’s agree that women should be deacons and even priests.  Gender is not the determinate.   It’s the commitment to God and people that should tip the balance in favor of such changes, certainly deacons.  Then again, the obstacle to such change is the doctrine called apostolic succession.  Consider the following from writer Lisa McClain:

Monday, January 28, 2019

Divided We Fall

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, "How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him.  

But no one can enter a strong man's house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man.  Then he can plunder his house.   Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin." For they had said, "He has an unclean spirit." 

Our government shutdown is over – for a few weeks, perhaps.  Our kingdom is divided against itself.  Jesus said that sort of kingdom cannot stand.   Alarming but true words spoken by our Savior.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Fulfilled?

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day.  He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.  He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. 

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

Jesus read the words of Isaiah from the scroll, and then he said he had fulfilled that passage.  How many of us would be able to read from the scroll – from our Bible – and say the same things?   Have we brought glad tidings to the poor?   And why not because our Church has a preferential option for the poor.

WE Are the Body of Christ ~ Msgr. Daniel Hoye

January 27, 2019, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings for today's Homily 

To watch Mass in its entirety click The Mass