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Saturday, December 20, 2008


Here is the cyberversion of my homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent:
{Readings for Mass: II Sam. 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14a-16; Ps. 89:2-3,4-5,27,29; Rom. 16:25-27; Lu.1:26-38}

This season of Advent draws to a close. May it also draw us closer to Immanuel, God with us. This has been a year of profound stress and loss for many people. The commercially traditional experiences of Christmas are probably much subdued.
It is, however an opportunity to realize and experience the security, the love and mercy of God. Found in the Christ-child may we allow the infinite, yet simple love of God befriend and bless as we share..Immanuel, God with us.

David, shepherd and faithful king,
would in his cedar palace sing,
Praise, prayers
to his God
he would bring.

A life of struggle and of fear,
wilderness days,
watered with his tears.
Later years
as reigning king,
would he know
sin’s cruel sting.

Yet through the years, David, king,
Praise and prayers
to God would bring.
In cedar palace David dwelt.
But in God’s tent
David knelt.
David longed,
planned to build,
for God,
his friend,
a temple true.

David’s plans,
exchanged by God.
Who’s eternal love foresaw
and in prophets words did speak,
of the coming King of Kings,
of the holy Prince of Peace.

Immanuel, God comes
with us to dwell.
Immanuel God comes
fear and doubt to quell.
come, God.
With us befriend.
come God,
our love for you ascends.

Mary troubled with angelic words.
Pondered what within her stirred.
What was said,
fears voices told,
was impossible
and left her cold.

Angel’s eyes,
Mary’s soul did see.
And with God’s love
fears cold words
made flee.
‘Be not afraid,
your fears to face.
Be not afraid,
with love
courage take.

Mary to Elizabeth went.
in her womb
God’s Son was sent.
David’s promise
within her dwelt.
And in Elizabeth womb,
her infant felt.

God has come, Immanuel.
God has favored,
With us to dwell.
Mary among women,
you are favored.
You bring to us
our long sought Savior.

Immanuel, God comes
with us to dwell.
Immanuel God comes
fear and doubt to quell.
come, God.
With us befriend.
come God,
our love for you ascends.

Ages flow and so today,
Skeptics smirk and boldly say:
‘Where is God, this Immanuel?
Why this foolish homage pay?
Why this faith just look around?
Greed and hate,
fears abound.
A war on terror,
fueled by oil’s
crude creed.
Economic woes,
jobs and homes
do bleed.
Securities lost.
Insecurities abound.
Even while
in politics words
for hope,
for change,
many scrounge.

Immanuel you sing?
God with us you believe?
Yet how amidst this strife,
can God’s love
or hope be seen?

Immanuel, God comes
with us to dwell.
Immanuel God comes
fear and doubt to quell.
come, God.
With us befriend.
come God,
our love for you ascends.

Immanuel God is with us.
David’s promised King does reign.
Immanuel God is with us.
When Christ’s love
within our soul does reign.

Mary’s choice to believe
from all fear did her free.
Mary’s yes to God,
to our wounded world
does bring
holy friendship with
Christ the Savior
Loving friendship
with Christ the King.

Immanuel ,
be with us.
Prince of Peace,
do come.
In the stable of our needs,
be incarnate,
God’s holy Son.

As with Elizabeth,
welcoming your mother.
As with the needy,
who is our brother.
May we see.
May we care.
May we share

With deeds
with words,
we dare to face
this world’s
fear and doubt,
greed and hate.

With truth in love,
God’s hope and peace,
with Heaven’s joy,
as angels speak,

we ask,

Be with soldiers
in desert tasks.
With courage kind
may they find
Your love to heal
their scars in time.

Be with the homeless,
on the streets,
may they find
Your joy and hope.
In warmth and peace
in places where you keep.

The sick, the lonely,
aged, frail,
Immanuel , God,
with them dwell.
By our words,
with our deeds,
May all these souls
Your love to speed.

Immanuel, God comes
with us to dwell.
Immanuel God comes
fear and doubt to quell.
come, God.
With us befriend.
come God,
our love for you ascends.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Called to the Feast

The cyber-version of my homily for the 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Most of the world has been watching with great angst as the economic markets fall and struggle to recover. Many companies and individuals have experienced losses of a magnitude that shakes their very existence.
By all indications these economic struggles will be impacting virtually all aspects of life, even more than has been felt all ready. World and national leaders are seeking to reassure as they try to set a course through stormy and uncharted waters. It would be unwise not to be paying attention to all that is happening in a false hope that we might be unscathed. It would be even more unwise to make all the news and speculations the main source of our decisions, our hopes or our fears. It has been said that Wall Street is driven by two main forces: greed and fear. We need to pray and ask God to show us the wisdom of those motivations.
And, amidst the angst and gnashing of teeth, we need to stop and listen to the Good Sheperd as He calls us to come to the Feast.

Called from the strife of the world to the Feast of Heaven ~
Our Sheperd King calls and would lead us from and through the strife and chaos of this world to the timeless feast of God’s Kingdom. Scripture shares this invitation to the Great Wedding Feast of the Church and her King that will culminate for all eternity upon His return. But we must realize that the invitation, this Feast is celebrated even now, this side of eternity every time we gather around the table of the Lord. It is there we received and share the riches of Christ’s Kingdom, His Word, His sacred Body, His holy Blood.
It is also important to realize that we are called to a wedding feast, a feast of love. We are not called to some worldly victory feast, or some political event. We are called to a feast of the holy redeeming love of our Savior.
This timeless wedding feast of holy love is set upon a mountain, the holy mountain of God. Scripture teaches of numerous mountains of God. We remember Mt. Sinai where God’s Law was given, Mt Tabor where Christ shared the principles of the New Covenant. We know of Mt. Zion, Jerusalem where the Holy Temple, the City of God is shown in type. Yet all these mountains lead the people of faith to the pinnacle of God’s mountain, to a humble hill called Golgotha where we come to the Cross. It is at the Cross that we are brought to the holiest Feast of Mercy, the Body, the Blood of Christ shared for us, shared for His Bride.
Called by the King ~
And it is the voice, the Word of our Sheperd King that calls us to His Feast. With all the clamor and cries of fear and worry being heard in this time it is vital we heed and listen to the Word of God, the Truth and Light that will not diminish or change. It is His call that will bring us to that abundant Table set in the presence of the enemies of fear, doubt and worry.
It is to this Feast, called by our King that we are brought to stand before His Presence. The Gospel for today would warn us that we cannot be as the guest who bothered not to wear the wedding garments. So it is for us, we must not neglect to robe ourselves with the beautiful robes of Christ’s mercy and humilty, love and grace that He so abundantly provides. God has provided. Let us avail ourselves of these garments of the Kingdom.

Called to know the His Riches of Glory ~
We will know the riches of His grace to the degree we open our hearts and hands for Him. St. Paul in his letter to the church at Phillipi reminds us that our God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. This is not about our is about our needs, what we need to live for and serve our Lord. It is about what will bring real and true fullfillment in our lives for all eternity. It is in the riches of God we realize our worth, our security, our value as a person is not in our posessions. They comprise a very small fraction of what we are about. It is in God’s wealth we discover ours. It is in the King’s Presence we discover the wealth and beauty of the soul God created. You are about so much more than anything you wll ever accumulate. And it is as we give of ourelves we learn and expereince the security of the Promises of God. We learn that we can never out-give our God.

We live at a time of intense and difficult news. We may feel called to join the chorus of world fear and woe. Yet amidst the din Christ will lead all who seek His Kingdom through the strife and sorrow to the holy mount of His grace, to the timeless feast of His holy mercy and love. Our Shepherd Kig will lead us to His Cross.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dolorosa Candles

As most of my readers are aware I have been working on an advocacy ministry for the mentally ill and their loved ones. It is called Dolorosa. To help support this labor that our Lord has given to my heart I invite you to visit a work of my hands: Dolorosa Candles at:
via the links section

This is the online candle shop for Dolorosa Candles where you can purchase 100% beeswax candles from hand-dipped tapers, votives and assorted pillars. The proceeds will help support the work of Dolorosa.

Here is more information about this work:
Dolorosa works to:
Overcome the stigma of the mental illness and afflictions.
Provide information and education about mental illness and afflictions for those experiencing mental afflictions, their loved ones, faith communities and community groups., through literature, workshops and retreats.
To help develop accessible, integrated care that enables the afflicted, loved ones, medical professionals, faith communities and others to work together for the health of mind, soul, body and spirit.
Dolorosa recognizes that caring for the mental health of the whole person includes caring for the mind, soul, body and spirit in an integrated response of all these components.
Dolorosa is Catholic in spirituality yet recognizes, respects and encourages the sharing of all faiths in responding to the need for better care of the mentally afflicted. Dolorosa refers to the Latin word expressed in the “Via Dolorosa”, or the Way of Suffering, the Way of the Cross Of Christ. It also can be translated “the way of roses”. It recognizes the real suffering mental afflictions can bring to the individual and their loved ones. But it also recognizes the beauty and worth of the individual, regardless of their afflictions. It sees that suffering can have purpose, positive worth and beauty, regardless of the thorns.
Mental afflictions may refer to:
Mental illness, Dual-diagnosis with substance abuse; Brain injury; Traumatic Psychological injury; Mental disabilities; Life stress, anxiety and depression. While these issues are very distinct and differ they share common problems of stigma and the need for accessible, integrated care. They all affect the mind, the psyche, the human soul.
Lighting candles…
Of faith to overcome doubt,
Of knowledge to
overwhelm ignorance,
of hope to quell despair,
of love to conquer fear.
Your prayers and support for Dolorosa would be blessing to many. If you are interested in hearing more or helping please let me know via the this blog's email link.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Open Letter to Senator Obama

An open letter to Senator Barack Obama:

Dear Senator Obama;

I listened carefully to your acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention and was very deeply moved. I sense you understand the need for these United States of America to once again be a united people of courage, caring and sharing LIFE in the spirit that has made America great.
I have been undecided in this most important of elections of recent times. After hearing your speech and studying your positions on many issues I felt ready to make a decision.
Except for one issue in which you refuse to honestly explain or discuss your position. The issue of abortion is too important to hide under the wraps of fancy political double talk. As a former Republican I am now a Democrat (a Democrat for Life).
Will you please answer these questions?
How could you be so instrumental in Illinois when you brought about the defeat of the a law that would have allowed the saving of infants born alive during an abortion?
How can you accept the support of the abortion mill, Planned Parenthood? Documented evidence is available of PPH's founder, Margaret Sanger's position on eugenics and the racist targeting of blacks as an inferior people? Or even their recent tapped phone conversations accepting donations to help abort black babies?
Any of these questions and points can be easily researched via the internet. I encourage all readers to simply Google these topics and study for yourself. The choice is yours.
Why can't you even consider the concept of requiring full and clear information being required as to what is being aborted and how it is done to the unborn and the impact it has on women before an abortion is chosen. What is wrong with fully educated choice?
I purposefully chose the picture attached to this letter as an honest example of the information pro-abortion people are so afraid of sharing, or viewing.
I want to give you my vote Senator but until you honestly and courageously answer these questions and convince me how your decisions are right, that will not happen.
I also wrote a letter to you at your campaign headquarters a couple of months ago seeking the same information. While not surprised, I had no reply.
For the sake of this nation and of life, please answer the questions.

Harry J. Martin

Monday, July 14, 2008

Souls, Soils Seeds & The Sower

The cyber-version of my homily for the 15th Sunday Ordinary Time

Today we share the Parable of the Sower. This familiar “earthly story with a heavenly meaning” helps us to realize the power of the seed of God’s Word and the opportunity we have as we allow our Lord to transform and care for the soils of our soul.
When my wife and I were first married we lived at our church camp in the foothills of Western Washington. We wanted to have a vegetable garden. We figured with my gardening and Randi’s kitchen skills we could put up some good food for our pantry. The best place for a garden was a sunny area next to the house. Water was available and the ground had been fallow for years. However it had also been a path/driveway/parking area for a long time. So the soil, already very rocky, proved very resistant for my pick and shovel to make into a fertile garden. So…. I went and got our camp backhoe and dug, deeply, the rocky scrape ground into garden soil. Turning over the soil, I moved rocks building them into a wall around the garden. I then went to the horse barn and brought loads of aged manure to work into the ground. That rocky garden plot was probably one of the best vegetable gardens we have had over the years. And, as often is the case in the garden, it was a precious place of prayerful learning from the Master Gardener.

Often in thinking of this parable we are brought to think that we are to be only and always the rich fertile soil. Yet Jesus, a man of the earth and familiar with the realities of life makes clear that this is about real times and places of life. Our souls will know, in the course of a lifetime’s journey, the soils and places of the soul. Jesus, the Christ also helps us to learn we are called to be souls whose soil is made fertile in the fruitful understanding of the Word of God.
Path soil is shallow and while often receptive to seeds of grace will usually result in shallow-rooted plants easily lost when the evil one comes along to steal away the Word of God. Much like the crows or blue jays that will feast their way through a newly sown garden the seeds of grace intended by God can be lost.
Rocky ground also is not initially well suited for a rich and fertile garden. When the heat and scorching wind burn with trials and persecutions seedlings of faith and untested hopes may quickly wither and die. But when worked by the nail-scarred hands of the Master Gardener the stoniest, hardest of hearts can be made rich and fruitful.
Briar patches overgrown with the thorny worries and cares of this life can quickly overwhelm and crowd out that which the gardener intends to flourish. So often we allow our pride and possessions to choke out the seeds of God’s Word. Possessions, material or otherwise (pride, greed, lusts, anger) can choke out the Truth and peace sown by the Spirit of God.
However the fertile soil of the soul that has been broken up and nourished by waters of baptism and works of faith-filled penance, then nourished by grace will provide fertile, deep soil. The seed of God’s Word can grow to full, fruitful abundance. It is in this place that the soul comes to understand the Word of God.
It is in the simplicity of that word, understanding, that we also find our hope for those times when we are facing places of shallow, path-like, or rocky, and overgrown brier-filled life.
Jesus longs for people to receive and understand His Word. Christ recognized and confronted the reality that people often have in their lives times when the soil of their soul is shallow, easily robbed. He faces the rocky hardness of hearts beaten by forces of testing and oppression. He felt the thorny thickets of pride and self-important arrogance found in many of the learned and powerful of that time and ours. Yet, He calls us to fruitful faith, as we believe and understand His Word.
The Greek word found here in the Gospel describes a growing understanding and faith of mind and heart. This is not just intellectual attainment or proud accomplishments of knowledge. Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, ironically, yet with wisdom, defined understanding as simply: “to stand under”. It is the working of the grace of God when the experience of God’s Word opens blinded eyes and deaf ears of the mind and heart. The Greek roots of the word translated “understanding” define a sending under, of union with, that which we want to comprehend.
This is when the light bulb comes on”.or when we “hear it for the first time” in the heart and mind of faith.
The Prophet Isaiah defined the Holy Spirit as the “ Spirit of Understanding”. Following the Spirit of God, we are lead to the Cross, to Christ and that there our understanding grows in the Truth and power of God’s Word that will return, with us, to Heaven fruitful in grace and mercy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lord have Mercy

We face floods of catastrophic proportions in the midwest.
A fire season in California of profound and dangerous intensity has started and it isn't even summer.
Drought conditions are impacting food production here in California and throughout the world.
Fuel and economic chaos is impacting every nation and family, most with stress and loss. While the very wealthy are generally growing richer.
The moral morass of this nation and much of the world is a battleground of fears prejudice and greed with selective judgement and condemnation while souls starve not just for food, but for for acceptance, respect and love.
The Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2009 will be $2,650 Billion Dollars. 54% ($1,449. Billion will go for military spending. 46% ($1,210. Billion will go for domestic needs. This nation's military spending eclipses beyond comprehension any other nation on earth. When this nation invaded Iraq in March of 2003 someone asked my thoughts. Before I could even form any significant thoughts I heard myself say.."This nation needs to pray for mercy."
Christ's message was really quite simple in the Upper Room. As He faced the hate and doubts of the world He gave us His Body, His Blood. While John the Beloved trusted in His embrace God, come in the Flesh said:
"This is My Commandment, Love one another as I have loved you..." {John 13:34}

Lord Have Mercy...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Feast of Corpus Christi ~ Reflections

The Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated this past Sunday. In our parish it was also First Communion weekend. The Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist was one of the pivotal reasons I entered into full communion as a Roman Catholic. Yet I felt this Sunday that for numerous reasons, Christ’s Presence is hidden.
We become so engrossed in the externals of our faith. For some this means focusing upon the tradition and ritual as it is expected and understood. Processions, certain songs (In English or Latin), and for the sacrament of First Holy Communion, clothing and gestures all fill the time and heart with the stuff, the externals of what should be a simple and genuine faith and love.
Others may not focus upon the seeming older traditions but instead will focus on the Body of Christ as THE PEOPLE OF GOD, emphasis on THE PEOPLE. With this focus we often experience so much awareness of the community we lose ……our communion, with Christ.
Perhaps, now that the celebrations are past we can simply remember their intent and and simply celebrate…Christ.
“Sweetheart of Jesus, be my love”

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Here is the cyber-version of my homily for the Feast of Pentecost:


“No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit. It is in these words that the message of God this Feast of Pentecost, is focused. When we speak of Pentecost there are many thoughts that come to mind. As a servant of Christ from the tradition of the Charismatic church many would have expectations of how or what my message should be. For others the mention of Pentecost will mean the symbols of fire, water, wind or oil. In celebrating the gift of this third Person of the Holy Trinity we struggle to understand the infinite Spirit of God in terms our human mind can embrace. Even the use of pronouns is a quandery for some. Is the Holy Spirit to be expressed as a person..or “IT”? Is the Spirit of Christ to be thought of as HE or SHE in deferrence to those who like to dwell on issues of gender? The Gift of the Holy Spirit, given to ALL believers is about more than pronouns or symbols, the gifts of tongues or emotional fervor.
It is in this holy mystery, the infinite fullness of God with which we are called to be filled, immersed, to be baptized. For it is the Holy Spirit that is given to lead us beyond our struggling selves, our futile intellect and understanding, to grow in fullness of Christ our Risen Lord. For in the the Feast of Pentecost we celebrate a profound change in the relationship of God with humanity. From special outpowerings of the Holy Spirit upon prophets and holy leaders we see the Presence of God given to ALL the faithful. We see it is the longing of our Heavenly Father that we would know the Presence of His Son through the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We all are called to EXPERIENCE the growing fullness of God in our everyday life. Let’s open our hearts to this gift as we explore some of those familar lessons of God’s Spirit.

THE POWER of HIS PEACE: God well knew that the early church would be growing in an environment and time harsh and deadly to the things of God. Our Lord well knows we live in and environment and time that is seemingly as harsh and deadly to His Kingdom. We could easily fret and worry for all the problems that face our faith, our homes, our Church. But as Christ met with His followers He gave them His Peace. So it is today that the Holy Spirit would cause each of us in our journey and place in life to grow deeply rooted in the eternal, infinte and growing Truth of Christ and His holy loving peace. As we yield to the embrace of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, in the challenges and heartaches of life we experience the hands of God rooting us ever more securely in the Rock of Christ our Risen Lord. It is in the power of God’s Spirit that we are rooted by the wood of the Cross in the empty tomb to know the promise and power of His resurrection. It is with the Holy Spirit we experience God’s “peace that surpasses all understanding” or circumstance.

THE PURPOSE OF THE BREATH of GOD: The wind, the breath, of God blew powerfully upon the disciples in that upper room. So it should be in our lives today. God may whisper His plans and purpose for us in a quiet reading of the Scriptures or a time of reflection in the garden or before His Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. God may also blast us with His intent with gusts and gales of providential circumstance. The disciples were lead to diverse peoples and places by the circumstances of struggle they faced in Jerusalem. Our instinct would lead us to nest and stay in places of ease and comfort. But in Scripture and in life we see that while we are ever to be rooted secure in the truth and peace that is Christ we also see that the Holy Spirit may well fill the sails of our life to bring us to face and grow through needs, people, places and issues that His redeeming love would seek to embrace...through us. This holy breath of God will empower us to live in the freedom that is found where the Spirit sets us free. This holy wind of God will enflame the very fire and passion that will consume our doubts, fears and sins and enflame within the fire of Christ’s love..

THE FIRE of GOD: We experience the fire of God’s passion as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to greater love in Christ through His Cross. As Christ showed His disciples His hands and side He was calling them to enter in and share in the Passion of His Holy Wounds. It is in the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit that God will take our wounds, our brokeness and by uniting them with Christ’s bring us to healing, wholeness and the Passion of His love.

This day of Pentecost may we each, together, allow the fullness of the Spirit of God to fill these humble temples with God’s Presence and power. May we each grow and share our experience of living and proclaiming Jesus is Lord, by the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Pope's Message to the United States

Pope Benedict XVI has concluded his first visit to the United States. It was fascinating to listen to the media, and various individuals, (Catholic or otherwise) with their various comments on what "the Pope said".
I was deeply moved by our Holy Father's visit. I appreciated his courage and straight forward comments on the sexual abuse scandal, his outreach to diverse faiths, and to all the people of our Catholic Church.
I was not surprised that there are those who would focus on sound bites and excerpts to prove or disprove their prejudices about the Pope, the Church or our Lord.
I am prayerfully hoping however, that the Catholic Church in the United States will truly allow the message of our Pope to bring us all closer to Christ, and each other.
If there was one consistent message in all he shared it was that we are to be a true people of Christ, allowing the Spirit of God to bring healing and unity to His Church.

"Our celebration today is also a sign of the impressive growth which God has given to the Church in your country in the past two hundred years. From a small flock like that described in the first reading, the Church in America has been built up in fidelity to the twin commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. In this land of freedom and opportunity, the Church has united a widely diverse flock in the profession of the faith and, through her many educational, charitable and social works, has also contributed significantly to the growth of American society as a whole.

This great accomplishment was not without its challenges. Today's first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, speaks of linguistic and cultural tensions already present within the earliest Church community. At the same time, it shows the power of the word of God, authoritatively proclaimed by the Apostles and received in faith, to create a unity which transcends the divisions arising from human limitations and weakness. Here we are reminded of a fundamental truth: that the Church's unity has no other basis than the Word of God, made flesh in Christ Jesus our Lord. All external signs of identity, all structures, associations and programs, valuable or even essential as they may be, ultimately exist only to support and foster the deeper unity which, in Christ, is God's indefectible gift to his Church."

From Pope Benedict's homily at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, April 20, 2008

Monday, March 03, 2008

Born Blind

From my homily for the Fourth Sunday of Lent:

From birth his eyes had never
seen his Mama’s face
as she held him in her arms,
with tears
for the blind mistake.

Or his Papa’s worried love
as he came through the door,
those sights his eyes,
never did behold.

He had never seen
the sun
shining gold
through the trees.

Never saw 
the birds
In Spring’s green joy
to wing.

He never saw the grapes
at violet harvest crush.
Nor see the red of wine,
to cheeks bring a blush.

He never
but felt,
those who at him
long would stare.

He heard,
but never saw
those who at his faults,
would glare.

He never saw a smile,
for a job, that he had done.
He never saw a dog
that with a child did run.

No color he liked best.
For black was all he knew.
The thought of red or green,
he could not even construe.

He never saw a friend,
with him together sit.
Never saw a laugh,
a smile,
or a loving kiss.

The awe of holy places,
in beauty white and gold,
his blinded eyes
had never to behold.

The orange and red of sunrise,
awakening in him hope,
his eyes had never seen.
Darkness only spoke.

So that day 
in darkness,
he sat along the way,
begging for the alms
that might his hunger stay.

The commotion he did hear.
A crowd was coming near.
He hoped some coins might come.
But better did he fear.
Alms of pride and arrogance,
more likely would be flung.

The crowd he heard go quiet.
A man he felt nearby.
And in the blinding darkness
The sound of spit
did fly.

He never saw the hands,
he only felt.
The mud upon his eyes,
a strange, 
but holy help.

The Voice, 
The Man,
did say, with words
of love and hope.
the pool of Siloam go,
for there to wash and pray.

He stumbled to the pool,
to the waters edge he went.
The mud
he washed away,
in faith’s
blind assent.

His eyes,
he then did open.
And looking
he then saw.
The light,
The day and
in wonder and in awe.

What followed happened quickly.
he saw,
he was seen.

The people were amazed.
To many
it seemed
but a dream.

But others were unhappy.
They did not 
They judged
this man so sinful
his seeing
they could not stand.

His critics now,
he saw,
their righteous

The man born blind,
he saw.
In humble truth,
he spoke.

“The Man who made the mud,
and to my eyes did place.
His Word I did obey.
And now before you face.

I do not understand.
But blind,
yes once,
I truly was.

But now
I know that Man,
a Prophet
is to all.”

So out they did him throw.
And hatred,
he did see.
Out into the streets,
from blindness did he flee.

Outcast once again,
alone he did go.
But streets no longer dark,
he walked, alive 
in hope.

A Man,
he then did see,
who smiling,
toward him came.

The Voice
he recognized
t’was He
the mud had made.

And looking
in His eyes,
of He who saw him blind,
he heard
His Words
and saw the Son of Man
and Love.

Lord come
to us
blind also.

So clearly
we think,
we see,
the sins, the faults
of others,
then whispers spread,
with glee.

we proudly see ,
ourselves so better 
for to be,
in holiness and deed,
in loving charity.

But. truth be told
and heard,
we’re really in a mess.
So please Lord,
Please do come,
Bring light to our darkness.

My eyes do cover all,
with mud’s humility,
that at repentance’s pool
your mercy may then free
and open wide our eyes
to truly love and see
each other in Your Light
but most importantly,
Your eyes
Your smile,
Your Love,

Sunday, February 03, 2008

“Blessed are they”….a critical fundamentally, thinking, relevant Gospel

This last Sunday before Lent begins the Gospel presents us with a familiar message. In the Beatitudes Christ shared on the Sermon on the Mount we hear the oft heard and less often fully lived “Blessed are they’s” of Christ. To share in the blessings of the poor in spirit, meek, and persecuted does not fit well with the self-centered prosperity gospel that many long to hear. Even those who may hunger for what Christ is calling us to may, because of the familiarity, enter into a “yes I have heard this before” slumber.
But before we wrestle with poverty of spirit or meekness or any of the other precepts of our King we might consider the basic affirmation and promise He makes. What is it to be “blessed”?
This frequently repeated word in both Old and New Testament could accurately be expressed as…HAPPY. In the Greek of the New Testament the word can be expressing…”blessed…. happy… adorable”! It is a challenge to humanity but the simple Biblical truth is that the longing of the Sacred Heart of our Lord is to see His creation, women, men all the children of God in the happiness God longs to share and nurture in our lives. This paradox is difficult for those who thrive on a God of vengeance and wrathful purity. It is also difficult to reconcile with the poor of spirit, persecuted and struggling we see in the beatitudes.
These profound invitations and promises of God are summed up in another Gospel verse. In Luke 11:28 it is written:

But he said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

Jesus is sharing this “blessing” in response to a common trait of believers. There are those in the crowd who upon the subject of Mary, the Blessed Mother, proclaim with fervor her blessed state. It is sometimes so much easier to project and assume God’s blessings…true happiness for others. We in false humility, fear or simple doubt are reluctant to hear and heed what Jesus would say. The blessings, the happiness that God designs us to live and grow in are simply found in living His Word.

But….this brings us to the very basic question of how are we to study, to understand the Bible? Believers over the ages have struggled with this issue. By the time of Christ the Pharisees and Sadducees had developed two distinct schools of Scripture interpretation. In our day and age with the plethora of Bible versions the matter is even more pronounced. While their many distinct aspects of Bible interpretation any serious student of Scripture will probably prefer and follow on of two major approaches.

The fundamentalist and generally conservative approach will take and adhere to a literal reading and understanding. In the Beatitudes this works albeit with a real wake up call to the vitality and depth of our faith. This is healthy and needed in our faith. However this literal approach runs into a major obstacle in this same sermon for but a few verses later Jesus is saying if our hand offends us the cut it off or if our eye offends us pluck it out. In the context of dealing with temptation and the occasions of sin this would leave most of the people in the church either maimed or partially blind, if interpreted literally.

Now if we follow the critical thinking approach of studying the actual Greek or Hebrew words along with determining the actual person who “wrote” the message evaluated in context of text, time, place, custom and the personality and background of the writer we gain a rich and often much debated interpretation. This approach is valid and essential in the ongoing quest of the Truth of the Gospel. However it frequently becomes an intellectually elite school of scholars that disdain any approach other than the course of interpretation of which they approve. Many out spoken critical thinking scholars develop a pseudo-magisterium of liberal theology that is vehement in their fundamentalist fervor of refusing to acknowledge validity to any school of thought other than their own. This is a sad trait shared with their fundamentalist siblings.

All the while the strict adherence to one school of Bible study versus the other leaves many believers bewildered or excluding others and themselves from the very blessings and happiness that God longs for us all to…..share.

What is the answer? Perhaps it is in a critically thinking approach that allows that portions of Scripture are clearly meant to be received as written, literally. It is in the yielding of our body, souls (minds) and spirits in a living faith that seeks and allows the Holy Spirit of God to lead and teach us in the living and growing Truth that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we prayerfully study Christ’s message in the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 11:28 and especially John 14 -17 we hear our Lord calling us to a living relationship with He who is the Truth that sets us free to be blessed as God desires. We need to stop restricting Christ to the finite little boxes of our understanding, intellect or pride. The Gospel of the Kingdom is far to big for anyone of us to try to confine the mercy and love, the holy happiness and blessing that is Christ. It is then we experience that Christ and the Gospel are fully relevant for all ages.