Category Archives: Environment

Why Read the Old Testament?

Some people complain about the selections from the Old Testament we’re reading at weekday Mass these past few weeks. Too long, they say, they don’t tell us anything. They’d rather hear what Jesus is saying and doing.

Why do we read from the Old Testament? Reading from the Old Testament is a lot like reading from the New York Times or the Daily News, or following David Muir on ABC each evening. You’re not going to hear much about Jesus there either. The media gives us the news of the day as it happens and, especially these days, it’s not encouraging.

Not much encouraging news in our Old Testament reading today from the Book of Numbers either. (Numbers 13-14) Giants are out there blocking the way to the promised land. Israel’s scouts face giants as they reconnoiter the world ahead. There’s no way ahead.

Our media tells us the same: giants are blocking our way– North Korea, the Middle East, storms from climate change, political giants who seem to get in the way of a world of justice and peace. And we don’t have answers what to do.

But the Old Testament tells us more than the media. It’s salvation history. More than the story of the Jews, the Old Testament is the story of the human race and all creation on a journey, from the beginning of time to its end. Human sinfulness, tragedies and delays are there, but the story begins and ends in hope. God is there.

That makes the Old Testament stories so different from the stories the media serves up everyday. God is there from the beginning. That’s the way our selection today from the Book of Numbers begins: “The LORD said to Moses [in the desert of Paran,]‘Send men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan,
which I am giving the children of Israel.’” And God is there as his people experience the consequences of their foolishness and lack of faith.

The columnist David Brooks in the Times yesterday said he has to think less about Donald Trump or he’s going to go crazy. He needs to think more about the deeper shifts taking place in society, he says.

I wonder if thinking about the deeper shifts is enough to stop you from going crazy these days. We need hope from another source. That’s where the Old Testament and the rest of the scriptures comes in. Some prefer calling it the “First Testament.” It testifies that the first thing to keep in mind about time is that God is there, from beginning to the end. God is our Savior.

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17th Sunday a: Finding Life’s Treasures

For today’s homily, please play the video below:

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A Gift from the Holy Spirit

By Orlando Hernandez

In this Wednesday’s Gospel (Mt 11: 25-27 ) Jesus prays to His Father:

AT THAT TIME JESUS EXCLAIMED: “ I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him. “

It is lovely to hear Jesus pray. Lately, in Scripture reading and in prayer, I have come to truly relish those moments when I find myself witnessing the relationship between the Father and the Son. I almost feel invited to be part of this Divine love-dance. The requirement to participate seems to be to become as small, humble, accepting, trusting, and carefree as a child.

I used to think of the Person of the Father as the tough, judgmental, aloof one, as opposed to my Lord Jesus, the loving, forgiving, understanding “older brother”. But Christ, from the beginning of my conversion, has come to “reveal” our Father in a special way for me.

I must have been about five years old when I got very sick after emigrating to Venezuela from Cuba. It seems I had a respiratory infection that kept me out of school for a long time. My parents told me even my liver was affected, and I was jaundiced and very thin. I remember very little, but I truly believe that my Lord placed this vivid memory from that time into my heart :
At the end of a long, hot day at work, my father, Orlando Sr., had just come into our one-room apartment and sat me on his lap. I idolized the man. He had a faint “ aroma” of sweat, cigarettes, and cologne. The stubble of his beard tickled my cheek as I hugged him tightly crying “Pappy!”. He felt so refreshing against my feverish skin. I looked into his shining eyes, and the bright blue color seemed to flow like rivers and waterfalls over all that was me. I just knew that everything was going to be all right. I was delighted to be in his arms. Now I wonder, was he weeping over me?
Sixty-two years later, every time I

quietly, privately, slowly say the Lord’s Prayer, the image of this memory colors my perception of my Heavenly Father, loving, forgiving, adopting me, holding me in his powerful arms, accepting me within His blissful immensity. I truly feel like a kid. At some point during that prayer I always remember to say “ Thank you Jesus, for showing me how your Father really is.” I don’t ever want to leave this
“heaven”, this “kingdom”, this child-like trust in this Will that only wills the best for me, and for all of humanity.
“I give praise to you,Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” I love You so much! Thank You!

Orlando Hernandez

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Feast of Corpus Christi

For today’s homily, please play the video below:

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The Song of Birds

Noah
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..

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Thoughts Upon The Cross: The Fiddlehead

by Howard Hain

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“Oh Thou, before whom all words recoil…”

—Shankara, 8th century Hindu philosopher and theologian

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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 truth…

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 adore

We praise

We acclaim

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.

———

A fiddlehead

A fern

A plant

A plan

A play

Upon which

All Truth

All Beauty

All Joy

On full display.


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“Oh Thou, before Whom all words recoil…”

“…hallowed is Thy name…”

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Friday Thoughts: Joy of Minds Made Pure


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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.”

—Revelation 21:5


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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.

The seasons,

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.


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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.”

—Revelation 21:1-4


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—Howard Hain

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