For today’s homily, please play the video below:
Category Archives: Environment
Around 7 AM I sit for a few minutes on the porch as the weather gets warmer. The sparrows and the doves are usually singing away, but the other day they couldn’t be seen or heard. I soon saw why: a big hawk flew by overhead.
After awhile the birds were back, singing and chirping as usual. Someone told me our ears are wired to hear the song of birds. Why? They tell us all is well, no dangerous enemies nearby.
Birds singing tell us the world’s in good hands. That’s why Noah sent a dove from the ark, I think. The dove not only brought back olive branches signifying all was well, but sang the good news to those in the closed boat.
By baptism we’re wired to hear God’s voice. We listen for God’s good news, despite the dangers. We listen for a world redeemed, a higher plan at play. Good reason to begin the day, listening to birds singing..
by Howard Hain
“Oh Thou, before whom all words recoil…”
—Shankara, 8th century Hindu philosopher and theologian
Truth is Truth is Truth.
Find it where it’s planted. Find it where it grows. Find it where it bears fruit.
Find it in the soil. Find it in the stem. Find it in the apple.
Throw it in the air
Launch it toward the sky
Watch it turn back
See it return to earth
Up, up, and away…
When the cat’s away the mice can play…
It’s a bird…
It’s not to be held by any man.
“Holy, Holy, Holy…”
“Heaven and Earth are Full of Your Glory…”
“Hosanna in the Highest!”
Try, try, and try again…
We toss up
We watch rain
Back upon us
Our own words fall
Down, down, down…
“Oh Thou, before whom all words recoil.”
The strongest heart
The loudest cry
The hardest throw
All fall short
Thus Beauty smiles
For even in failure
Praise and Grace
Go hand in hand
With growth and motion
And a music man
For what goes up
Must come down
To leave a wake
A delightful shape
No man may make
Nor no violin display.
On full display.
“Oh Thou, before Whom all words recoil…”
“…hallowed is Thy name…”
The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”
There’s a place
Where walls are made of flowers
And petals are made of uncut stones.
Where virtue grows untold
And innocence can simply be itself.
Where earth and water mix
But never make mud.
The rain continually falls,
The sun always shines,
The dew remains sight unseen.
Laughter, joyful laughter
Tills the soil.
Weeds are welcome,
No plant chokes another.
They come and go,
The temperature remains the same.
Innocence. Innocence. Innocence.
The constant refrain.
Such a place exists.
It lowers from the sky
While within a playground
Filled with screaming kids.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.”
In this Wednesday’s Gospel ( MT 16: 13-18 ) Jesus asks His disciples:
” ‘ Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘ Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Then Simon Peter said in reply,’ You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. ‘ Jesus said to him in reply,’Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.'”
Over the last week I have allowed myself to be angered and distressed by the news on TV. Out of so many things, what I found most disturbing was the underreported story that the Congress is quietly crafting nearly 100 “riders” that take away or degrade all types of environmental laws, from energy conservation, to the Endangered Species Act, to the protection of the oceans, rivers , lakes, groundwater, and air. There seems to be no way to stop these new laws from being enacted.
I feel helpless. I even feel embarrassed to ask my Lord Jesus, in prayer, “Why?” . In the darkness I feel Him asking me, ” Who do you say that I am? Am I just a nice priest or prophet to be remembered and venerated? Do you believe that I am the Son of the Living God? Don’t you trust that I am the Savior of the world? Do you have faith that I AM in charge? Don’t you know how much I love my creation?”
His soothing presence reminds me that only by loving can I begin to do anything about these problems. So I surrender myself, in hope and confidence, to His Will. Like Peter, I confess His kingship. I will be His instrument. He will show me the way.
And I am not alone. I am part of a great community of love, His Church, where I meet so many good people who want to do good for this world. We also have Peter’s successor, Pope Francis. He is a compassionate man, a rock of righteousness, a strong voice in our world, strong enough to reach the ears of the powerful. His message advocates for the poor, the oppressed, the dispossessed, and also reminds us of our urgent need to protect God’s Creation.
So, Beloved Heavenly Father, never mind my thoughts and the thoughts of men. You have given me confidence in You, and I thank You for Your Revelation: Christ lives, and loves, and cares for us . We are not floundering alone in a wild, threatening sea. We are standing on firm rock.
We may think of morning prayer as a few mumbled words or the Sign of the Cross quickly made, but the hymns, prayers and psalms of the church’s morning prayer invite us to a deeper experience as they waken us from darkness and sleep.
“Let there be light and there was light; God said it was good.” (Genesis 1, 3-4) Light was the first thing God made. True Light, which enlightens everyone, came into our world, John’s gospel says. ( John 1, 9)
At home when I can I sit on the porch for a few minutes in the early morning and watch the sun come through the tall trees lining our garden to the east. The sparrows and the doves, and sometimes a pair of cardinals, begin to gather round the bird feeder. Before I do a thing, the world gradually is bathed in light and comes awake.
Before I do a thing.
There’s an assurance in morning prayer that we shouldn’t miss. True Light has come into our world, the world of today, enlightening us all. Before we do a thing.
“What further need have we of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as deserving to die.
Some began to spit on him.
They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, “Prophesy!”
And the guards greeted him with blows.
While Peter was below in the courtyard…
I don’t want to hear myself.
I want to hear from You.
My thoughts, my concerns, my feelings, bore me terribly.
I think You are silent but I know it isn’t true.
The moon is so very full this night and so are You.
The coffee I sip is bitter.
Your Word hangs on every tree.
If only Lord we could see.
Drama. Tragedy. Puppet show. Divine Comedy.
Me, me, me, look at me!
But it is You raised up high.
For all to see.
Forgive us, Father, for we still haven’t a clue.
The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.