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Body and Blood of Christ.

June 6, 2021 COVID. Obligation of Mass Restored.

“Commemorates the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist" Lector Workbook, 2021.

Mark: 14:12-16, 22-26

There will be blood.

The writers of the Gospels had technique. They used literary techniques as sophisticated as any used today by writers of commercials, the New York Times, or Fox News.

They used these techniques to enhance their writing so that you might come to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

One of these techniques is known as ‘sandwiching.’

Two stories ‘sandwich’ the Last Supper narrative. These two stories were omitted in today’s Gospel reading but given the times in which we are living, it might be helpful to consider them.

Mark: 14:17-22 and 14:27-31 are the slices of bread that sandwich the pea-nut butter and jelly of Mark’s last supper (verses 22-26).

In Mark: 14:17-22, Jesus reveals that one of his own would betray him.

Imagine how Jesus must have felt.

Have you ever been betrayed: Husband or wife? Brother or sister? Teammate, partner, friend or parent?

After this depressing revelation, Jesus offers the Passover prayer but adds a twist saying that the bread is His flesh and the wine is His blood; which will initiate a new relationship between God and people.

His dysfunctional family of choice (the Apostles) eat, sing, and head out to the Garden. As they are going (vs.27-31) Jesus says: One of His own, Peter, would deny him not once, not twice, but many times and all the other disciples will have their faith shaken.

All of you will have your faith shaken!

Sandwiched between betrayals and denials.

Between scandals and greed.

Between Republicans and Democrats.

Between masks, social distancing, and COVID-19.

Between your individual rights and the common good.

All of you will have your faith shaken!

“The shepherd will be struck, and the sheep will be scattered.”

Stealing an election, Chapter 11, clergy sexual abuse, and the continuing indifference to the lynching of blacks by police have shaken my faith.

It is members of the Body of Christ who do this: Judas on the Right, Peter on the Left and the Body and Blood of Jesus in between.

Of the other ten disciples; they are silent, doubting, and entertaining conspiracies.

Oh! There will be blood, church.

Between U. S. who are betraying or silent, and U. S. who are denying and silent; there will be blood.

Between the conspiracy to betray Jesus and the denial of Jesus three times; there will be blood.

What are we to do?

Jesus takes bread, gives thanks and blessing.

Breaks the bread. Gives it to those on the right and those on the left saying;

“Take, this is my body.”

Over the wine he gives thanks and blessing saying;

“This is my blood.”

In sadness he concludes, “I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine, until the day when I drink it new, in the Kingdom of God.”

Between betrayals and denials-church, I want to be with Jesus who gives thanks and blesses and shares His broken body and spilled blood.

This is the new relationship between God who is perfect and you and I who are not.

Jesus chose Judas and Peter and the silent 10 men and women to be with Him as He has chosen you and I and all Catholic deniers and betrayers.

We are all deniers and betrayers!

And we are all the Good News of Jesus Christ, if we choose to be.

Jesus agonizes in the Garden: His friends, His enemies, His God, His mother; His body and soul.

If you have experienced agony in these last two years, you have experienced the Body and Blood of Jesus.

If you have struggled with your will, you have experienced the Body and Blood of Jesus.

If you have risen and fallen or been enraged and benumbed, you have experienced the Body and Blood of Jesus.

Jesus is the mediator of this new relationship who “cleans our conscience from dead works, to worship the living God.”

Call upon the name of the Lord and be saved!

See who you are! Become who see!

Blessed be God!

Blessed be God’s holy name!

Blessed be Jesus Christ; True God and True man!

Blessed be the Name of Jesus!

Blessed be His most Sacred Heart!

Blessed be His most Precious Blood!

Blessed be Jesus in the most holy sacrament of the altar!

Blessed be God, in His angles and in his saints!

Divine Mercy and Third Easter Sunday. 2021 B.

Divine Mercy and Third Easter Sunday. 2021 B.

He is risen! Indeed, he is risen!

We are now in the season of the Resurrection. From now until the Day of the Holy Spirit we will hear testimonies of encounters with the risen Lord Jesus. We have six inspired testimonies. They are the four Gospels, the letters and Acts of the Apostles, and the Jesus movement we call the Church.

The witness of these inspired writings and the living Tradition of the Catholic Church are the foundational source of our Catholic Christian faith. What these writings tell us is that three days after the crucifixion and death of Jesus of Nazareth, his followers began to have experiences that they could only describe as “Jesus is risen.” “I have seen the Lord.”

Whatever the experience was, the six sources agree that “with great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” Empowered by that Holy Spirit, the Jesus movement from them to you continues to testify: “Jesus is risen! Indeed He is risen!”

In this apocalyptic decade of the 2020’s this is some hard stuff to believe.

What had happened to those ordinary women and working class fishermen? What had changed them? Where did they get the ‘faith’ to suffer joyfully for a man who a few days ago had died by the conspiracy of religion, politics, and nationalism?

Somehow as the bible testifies, these people, these women had heard a voice call their name and they recognized who called them.

Somehow, these women received unbelievable news in a fantastic way, and they ran to tell it.

Somehow the fearful men put their fingers into the nail pierced hands and put their hands in the wounded side –and believed!

Somehow, listening to the texts explained and seeing the bread blessed, broken and handed over eyes were opened and mouths declared: “My Lord and my God!”

These rejected people who normally would not with each other connect, connected through their encounter with the risen Jesus, and having connected -Jews and pagans, masters and servants, Africans, Asians, Romans- they became the Community of Believers – of one heart and one mind, and you and I are here today friends of the friends of the friends of Jesus!

Because of these encounters -these testimonies- many friends of Jesus joyfully faced persecution. They were un-friended and dis-connected from the popular and the famous but in this Way, they testified that Jesus is risen. Their testimony became the testimony of a community of believers, which became the testimony of a Christian movement, which became the witness of the Catholic Church, which becomes the testimony of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish!

Luke, and Pete, and Magdalene’s testimony now becomes your testimony and the stone that was rejected has become the corner stone!

With a secure connection to the Holy Spirit you testify that Jesus lives and you practice militant love of your enemy, strangers and your neighbor.

The second reading however tells us that there was division in the “Community of believers.” There were some in the community who disagreed with John, saying “I know Jesus and I am a good person without sin.”

But 1 John 2:1-5 says to know Jesus is to keep God’s commandments. And the commandments boil down to forgive one another as you by God have been forgiven. If you don’t love each other then you do not know Jesus; you are a liar says the letter from St. John.

The lector workbook (p.169) puts it this way:

“The tone of the first Letter of John suggests a Christian community that had recently experienced an [ugly divorce] over [catechism] and practice. Feelings within the community …are still raw. Apparently some who once belonged to the community -opponents of the author of this letter- were saying that they know God…and they have no sin. The author is fierce in his refutation of these claims, charging them with being liars and walking in darkness.”

So while the community of believers written about in Luke were of one heart and one mind practicing distributive justice, the community written of by 1 John is divided over catechism and practice and many have left the community. Think about them. Think about us.

To be of one heart and one mind means that you testify that Jesus Christ is risen and your testimony agrees with the four Gospels, the Letters of the Apostles and the Living Tradition of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Consider the testimony of Mary Magdalene.

At the tomb Mary did not recognize the risen Lord until he called her name.

When God calls your name, God calls the whole of your being.

When God calls you by name God calls your past, your future and your present self; your body, mind and soul.

As Mother Mary sang, “My soul proclaims the greatness of God, my existence rejoices in God my savior” and so when Jesus called her name He called her completely and she recognized, he is risen! Indeed he is risen.

This is God’s amazing grace and Mercy divine!

It is so real most people are not aware of it.

It is so intimate most people don’t feel it.

It is so flavorful most people don’t taste it.

It is so complete, most people don’t know that they are connected in it.

It is so simple smart people miscalculate it.

It is Divine Mercy and grace amazing: Jesus is Risen, the tomb is empty and the Community of Believers is of one mind and one heart!

Beloved, put your finger in the wounds of his hands, place your hand in the wound of his side; join around bread blessed, broken and handed over; run and proclaim the message of divine mercy and amazing grace!

Testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Christ is risen! Indeed he is risen! Alleluia!

Easter Homily 2021

Easter 2021 COVID-19. APRIL 3/4th.

“You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.”

You have suffered much. Friends and family have died without comfort of your face and touch. Today may be your first Eucharist in a year. Troubled has been your soul and your relationships since November third and January 6.

You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.

Troubles do not keep him from his ministry of love.

Sickness does not quarantine his touch.

Politics will not suppress his message

Death does not limit his life, you seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.

Since the beginning God has been loving you and saving you for love. Oh how the lovers of God have tested the love of God!

From Adam and Eve to Adam and Steve ours is a long and tawdry history made glorious by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth crucified -lasting and everlasting.

God the creator took the stuff of stars breathed holy spirit and fire, and you and I became -and are still becoming- image and likeness of God. Hallelujah!

The children in faith of Mary Queen of Heaven, are a jealous and contentious lot -stiff necked the Bible says. But from now through the next eight years we will need each other in faith more than ever.

Like the apostles at his crucifixion our faith will be scandalized, some will be scattered and many will say, ” I do not know, Jesus of Nazareth, crucified.”

But for you who remain faithful, do not look for him in the tomb. Find him in the wounds of your relationships, the wounds of your body and the wounds of your divided community. He goes before you!

He goes before you like Spring before Summer and where he steps is abundant life, vivid color, fragrant smells, song and dance!

When he comes into your broken will and your beaten body he comes into his kingdom.

Gathered as we are these three days -I see the resurrected body of Jesus of Nazareth, crucified.

Do not be amazed he is not in a box! He has been raised! See what you eat and become who you see.

Resurrection Domingo 2021. April 3, 2021

“Buscas a Jesús de Nazaret, el crucificado”.

Has sufrido mucho. Amigos y familiares han muerto sin el consuelo de tu rostro y tu tacto. Hoy puede ser su primera Eucaristía en un año. Turbada ha sido tu alma y tus relaciones desde el 3 de noviembre y el 6 de enero.

Buscas a Jesús de Nazaret, el crucificado.

Los problemas no lo apartan de su ministerio de amor.

La enfermedad no pone en cuarentena su toque.

La política no reprimirá su mensaje.

La muerte no limita su vida, buscas a Jesús de Nazaret, el crucificado.

Desde el principio Dios te ha estado amando y salvándote por amor. ¡Oh, cómo los que aman a Dios han probado el amor de Dios!

Desde Adán y Eva hasta Adán y Steve, la nuestra es una historia larga y de mal gusto que se hizo gloriosa por la vida, muerte y resurrección de Jesús de Nazaret, crucificado -eterna y eterna.

Dios el creador tomó la materia de las estrellas, respiró espíritu santo y fuego y tú y yo nos convertimos; y todavía son imagen y semejanza de Dios. ¡Alelujay!

Los hijos en la fe de María, Reina de los Cielos, son un grupo celoso y contencioso -dice la Biblia rígida. Pero a partir de ahora y durante los próximos ocho años, nos necesitaremos unos a otros en la fe más que nunca.

Como los apóstoles en su crucifixión, nuestra fe se escandalizará, algunos serán esparcidos y muchos dirán: “No sé, Jesús de Nazaret, crucificado”.

Pero para ustedes que permanecen fieles, Encuéntrelo en las heridas de sus relaciones, las heridas de su cuerpo y las heridas de su comunidad dividida. Él va delante de ti. .

Va delante de ti como la primavera antes del verano y donde pisa hay vida abundante, colores vivos, olores fragantes, cantos y bailes.

Cuando entra en tu voluntad quebrantada y tu cuerpo golpeado, entra en su reino.

Reunidos como estamos estos tres días, veo el cuerpo resucitado de Jesús de Nazaret, crucificado.

No se asombre, no está en una caja, ha sido resucitado.

Vea lo que come y conviértase en quien ve.

Homily: 2nd Sunday Lent B. COVID-19 “Put to the test.”

Genesis 22:1-2, 9, 10-13, 15-18. Psalm 116. Rms. 8:31b-34. Mark 9:2-10

“God put Abraham to the test.”
Each of us will have our faith tested. It is not that God is testing us, rather it is that the circumstance of the fallen world of man, will test your faith.

In Jesus God submits God’s self to those same circumstances. For Abraham and for God what they love, what represents their future and what they dearly love, will be put on the altar of sacrifice. The human person made in the image and likeness of God, God’s beloved, God’s, friend, God’s hoped for presence in the universe in Jesus, is lynched from a manmade tree.

The consequences of our fallen humanity puts God’s faith in humanity to the test and the test will end in a bloody mess at the Place of the Skulls.

For Catholic Americans our faith is being put to the test. This test will go on for eight more years.

The test will reveal whether Jesus will declare solemnly “I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers (Matt.7:21-23) or “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world” (Matt. 25:34).

The circumstances of a fallen humanity -a humanity that prefers a dressed up lie to the right, and to the left of the naked truth, voting for the promises of Satan about fruit that looks good, tastes good and will make you like a god -knowing good and evil, will put our faith to the test(Gen.3: 4-6).

The circumstances of abortion and the indifference to the lynching by police of Black lives. The circumstances of sacramental marriage and liberal progressivism. The indifference of free markets to modern day Jim Crow sharecropping. Circumstances of sexual abuse of children by priests and its cover up. Circumstances of hundreds of thousand dead and dying in large part because so many of us want what we want , when we want it and act like we have the divine right of kings, submitting our will neither to man nor the God we say we serve.
These circumstances will lead enough of us to call for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus and the test will be failed.

But the psalmist sings: “I believed, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted” (psalm 116).

The experience of exile is an affliction. You have been exiled from family members -grandparents and grandkids. You have been exiled from church and in church. You have been exiled from your face and the face of others. Some of you I have only ever seen with a mask. This too is a test of our faith it is an affliction.

But you believe and believing you have come here today. Here you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, calling upon the name of the Lord. To do this the Holy Spirit is strong with you: her strength, her fortitude, her knowledge, reverence, wisdom, and counsel are with you.

You have made the sacrifice of time and treasure to be here and here, we gather to offer our praise and thanksgiving which is our correct answer and our winning prize to this time of testing.

To help us to respond to this test, I invite you to reflect on and share your responses to, the self-examination tool printed in the bulletin. Your shared responses to the Lenten self- examination will help the parish staff, Pastoral Council, Missionary Disciples and Finance Council to plan and pastor our parish now, and for the future.

Let the servants of God in the banners around us (in Assumption church) and mentioned in the bulletin be an example of what I am seeking.

The colored women Henriette Delille and Mary Lange had a personal relationship both with God and the Catholic church in a time when enslavement was normal and black lives were lynched every month. That relationship – “if God is for us, who can be against us” (Rms: 8:31b)- helped to convert to a more authentic Christianity both the Catholic church and America, one person at a time.

May it be that at the conclusion of this eight-year test, Jesus might say: “Come, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” (Matt. 25:34).

Thoughts for November

Today, as I look out across this country, I see the same fire of Satan’s rage. And it is spreading. Hatred, bitterness, violence and rancor are everywhere. People cannot civilly dialogue. Backbiting and constant criticism are the norm. Everywhere there is anger and hatred.

Satan’s rage is spreading.

We can try to throw the water of our own righteousness on it and put out the fire. But there is only one antidote. Rev. Martin Luther King told us, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Only love, only God, can drive out Satan and his hatred.

Love your enemies. Love democrats and republicans. Love Trump and Biden; Pence and Pelosi. Love the rich and love the poor. Love blacks and love whites. Love those in Antifa and love the police. Love people who are terrorists and criminals. Where there is love, there is God.

Time is short. The fire is raging. We need the emergency vaccine of love and we need it now.

by Msgr. Stephen Rosetti – Sep 26, 2020

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