Welcome !

Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart

 Devotion picture of the Sacred Heart with adoring Maria Droste zu Vischering und Marguerite Marie Alacoque

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves. 
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Solemnity of The Nativity Of Saint John the Baptist

Today is the Solemnity of The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist.  Today we celebrate the birth of the man who, as Saint Augustine tells us, “represents the boundaries between the two testaments, the old and the new.”  All of the events surrounding the birth of the Baptist suggest that the obscurity of the Old Testament prophesies are to be revealed and illuminated by the one who John is to proclaim, who John had already been proclaiming as he leaped in the womb of his mother Elizabeth at Mary’s arrival.  Leaping like David dancing before the Ark of the Covenant.  Even from the womb John points us past the signs to the ultimate realities.  This is why we celebrate his birth with a Solemnity!

John points us out of the wilderness, out of confusion, to the fulfillment of the words of Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah and the prophets.  Words that often were mysterious, and attain their deepest meaning only in the light of Christ’s salvific mission.  And us too, he points us past the mundane to Jesus, in whose light even the most obscure life is elevated and glorified.
Of course evil hates clarity and light.  The enemy of your soul will always try to confuse your vocation, obscure your accomplishments and highlight your failings. Even John the Baptist experienced moments of confusion and doubt as he faced down evil in his martyrdom (Matthew 11:2).  From his place of imprisonment John lived out what he had been preaching to all who would listen:   He turned to the Lord; he asked Him for reassurance and in the Lord’s response he was satisfied.  Even in his doubt he fulfilled his mission which is so beautifully portrayed in so many paintings;  in sending his messengers to Jesus, John was pointing to Him and showing us all the way out of our own confusion and self-doubt.
If your are tossed between self-condemnation and self-justification follow the pointing finger of the one who cries out in the wilderness.  Like John, go to the One who gives meaning to the obscure prophesies of the past, and the seeming vanities of this life.  Ask the Lord to show you how your life and your toil can be filled with His light and imbued with deep meaning and glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
that Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.  Isaiah 49:4-6
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,yet my reward is with the LORD,my recompense is with my God.For now the LORD has spokenwho formed me as his servant from the womb,that Jacob may be brought back to himand Israel gathered to him;and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,and my God is now my strength!It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,to raise up the tribes of Jacob,and restore the survivors of Israel;I will make you a light to the nations,that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.  Isaiah 49:4-6
Saint John the Baptist,  pray for us!

Thursday, June 19, 2014




(a reflection on John 6:51-58 by Deacon Paul Rooney)

I think perhaps everyone at one time or another has watched a TV murder mystery series, or read the books on which they were based.  For all ages, there was a series that had an amateur heroine by the name of Nancy Drew.  For older folks, “Alfred Hitchcock” will ring a pleasant bell, or “Murder, She Wrote,” starring Angela Lansbury (who played the character role called Jessica Fletcher).  That last one was so popular that it had a good run for twelve years.  Even the reruns have been ongoing, for still another fifteen years.

We all love good murder mystery stories, don’t we?  Some mystery books are transformed into screenplays that are well written: they provide you with a couple of clues along the way, and you have to be alert to discover who the culprit is before they tell you the answer.  Others are written pretty badly, because they withhold those clues, those tiny details which you need to become involved and to solve the mystery.

Here’s the problem: we have been so accustomed to think that we can always solve a mystery the logical or scientific or detective way.  After all, that’s what we see them do all the time on those programs I mentioned, or current programs like NCIS, or CSI, or Law and Order, and so on.  So, when we encounter a REAL Mystery, a mystery of our FAITH, there comes a danger for some folks: if their scientific, rational mind can’t find a solution, then they refuse to believe the TRUTH.

The TRUTH lies within the definition of Mystery, as explained to us by our Catholic theologians.  They rightly tell us that the word “Mystery” in the spiritual sense means those revealed truths that go beyond the powers of natural reason.  And that is precisely within the usage intended by the writers of the New Testament, all of whom were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

For example: last Sunday we encountered the Mystery we call the Most Holy Trinity.  Three Persons in one Godhead.  How can this possibly come about?  I don’t know!  Nobody knows!  Science says it is a pipedream, foolishness, absurd.  But it has been revealed as truth by the Holy Spirit.

Last March we celebrated the Mystery of the Incarnation.  How can a virgin twenty centuries ago possibly conceive a child without the seed of a man?  I don’t know!  Nobody knows scientifically.  Science says it is a pipedream, foolishness, absurd.  But it has been revealed to us as truth by the Holy Spirit.

This Sunday we encounter another Mystery called the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.   A few years ago when I was preaching, I held up a Large, unconsecrated host.  I said, "Do you see this?  When our Pastor, or any ordained Catholic priest says the words of consecration over this little piece of unleavened bread during the second half of our Mass, along with a cup of simple wine, the bread and the wine will become the real body and blood of Christ!"

How can this come about?  The scientists say it is just a pipedream, foolishness, absurd.  But it has been revealed to us as truth by Jesus himself, who instituted the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist the night before he died.  Pope Benedict XVI called the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist “the most precious treasure of the Church and of all mankind.”  And rightly so!

Those who did Not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, became scoffers both before and after the Resurrection and Pentecost.  Guess what my namesake, St. Paul told the Corinthians?  “We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”  It takes Real Faith to believe Jesus, to take him at his word, when he said at the Last Supper (as we read in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels): “Take and eat; this IS my body.”  And taking the cup of wine, he said, “This IS my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.”

You know, I find something very interesting.
  • Every Christian believes that God created the universe, with its trillions and trillions of stars and planets. Not a problem for God! He has unlimited power! 
  • Every Christian believes that God created humans and animals and so on. Not a problem for God! He has unlimited power! 
  • Every Christian believes that God can heal someone without human help. Not a problem for God! He has unlimited power! 
  • Every Christian believes that God can raise someone like Lazarus from the dead. Not a problem for God! He has unlimited power! 
  • Every Christian believes that Jesus gave divine power to his followers to cure the sick and cast out demons. Not a problem! God has unlimited power!

But Christians who are NOT Catholic or Orthodox DO have a problem when it comes to God’s unlimited powers!  They think God just is not powerful enough to grant a priest the power to transform this little piece of bread into the Body of Christ; so they “limit” God's power (or try to).  Their problem is that they are thinking scientifically, logically—after all, after the consecration it still LOOKS like bread and wine, it still TASTES like bread and wine; under the microscope it still has the PROPERTIES of bread and wine.  So they think it is just our pipedream; our foolishness; our absurdity. 

They fail to realize the Truth that Mystery remains Mystery, and calls for a Faith belief!  The Master told us himself: "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

St. John’s gospel places Jesus’ words in the context of the Multiplication of Loaves, meaning in the context of Miracle.  Well, the consecration of bread and wine into the REAL Body and Blood of Christ IS INDEED A REAL MIRACLE, and Jesus granted this power to our Pastors and to all the Ordained Priests!

I want to repeat something that we all need to grasp:  “Mystery” in the spiritual sense means those revealed truths—I repeat, revealed truths—that go beyond the powers of natural reason. 

All of us need to be careful not to take this Miraculous Sacrament for granted!  We are receiving the Real Jesus Himself when we receive Holy Communion in a Catholic Church.  So

approach the altar with the right Heart, the right Attitude.  This IS GOD, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!  He invites us to take Him within our body as food for our journey back to Him!  That is AWESOME, absolutely AWESOME!  It should fill our hearts with great JOY and GRATITUDE!

Deacon Paul Rooney


1-Fingerprint = http://baileybear.edublogs.org/pictures-relating-to-the-novel/;
2-Unconsecrated host = http://alexandrinadebalasar.pt/ficheiros/imagens/menu/historiadeumavida/hostia.png;
3-Magnifying glass = http://fuelfix.com/?attachment_id=426

Friday, June 13, 2014

Reflections for The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Sunday, June 15

By:  Judy Morss

The Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday is:
"Blessed be God the Father, and the Only Begotten Son of God, and also the Holy Spirit, for he has shown us his merciful love,"
Reading I:  Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
Responsorial Psalm:  Daniel 3:52,53,53,55,56a
Reading II:  2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Gospel:  John 3:16-18

Pope Frances said this last year, on Trinity Sunday:

"Today is the Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity. The light of Eastertide and of Pentecost renews in us every year the joy and amazement of faith: let us recognize that God is not something vague ..... He is tangible; He is not abstract but has a name: 'God is love.'  His is not a sentimental, emotional kind of love but the love of the Father who is the origin of life, the love of the Son who dies on the Cross and is raised, the love of the Spirit who renews human beings and the world."

In Exodus, God the Father came down to Moses in a cloud; He passed by Moses and cried out: 
"The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity."
In the Psalms, we acknowledge God as being blessed and respond:  
"Glory and praise forever."
2nd Corinthians tells us again of the three persons in one God with a beautiful blessing
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you."
In John's Gospel, we are reminded again that: 
"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."
If you think about it, we are always encircled by the Holy Trinity.  We begin our prayers with the sign of the Cross, saying: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."  As I have been reflecting on the wondrous mystery of the Holy Trinity, I have been thinking about the relationship I have, or could have with each of the Persons of the Trinity.

God the Father is our Creator and He is our Father in every sense of the word. Because of Him, I have my being and have been given a purpose in life. When I think of how my earthly father cared for me, protected me, consoled me, counseled me, I come to a deeper understanding of how my Heavenly Father does all these things for me.  He is in love with me and I am in love with Him.

Jesus, God's Son became one with me and walks with me on this earth. He has a special understanding of my humanity, my strengths, my weaknesses. When I cry out to Him, he understands me and as I long to know Him even better, He comes closer to me and is my brother and my Savior.  When I stumble, He picks me up and carries me until I can walk again on His path.  When I receive the Eucharist, He not only inhabits my soul, but my body as well. He is in love with me and I am in love with Him.

The third person, the Holy Spirit, gathers us into the Trinity of  God's love. Jesus promised us that we would not be left as orphans. The gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit help us to heal our wounds and bring peace to our existence in this amoral world.  The freely given gift of wisdom is something I so cherish.  When I sit down to read the Bible, I ask for insight and to receive whatever should come to me as I read and ponder the Word of God.  When I am asked to speak or write to a group or blog like this, I always begin by "talking to the Holy Spirit." He never fails.  He is in love with me and I am in love with Him. "Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love."

When I meditate on the Trinity, I sometimes see myself in the center of a beautiful, warm circle of love. I am transformed from the mundane life I often lead into a life filled with hope, love for others (especially those in need) and a burning fire to draw closer and closer to the perfect union of Three Persons in our One God.

With love, blessings and a hope that you will also be drawn into this circle of God's everlasting love.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Reflection for Readings for Pentecost Sunday 2014

Reading 1:  Acts 2:1-11
Psalm Response:  Psalm 104
Reading II:  1st Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13
Gospel:  John 20:19-23

This will be a reflection of personal application of how the Scriptures for this Sunday moved in my life this week, not Scriptural exegesis.  Pentecost is one of my favorite Christian holy days, right up there with Christmas and Easter.  On Christmas we celebrate receiving God's gift of Jesus coming into the world, and on Pentecost we celebrate receiving the Holy Spirit coming into the church.

In Acts, the disciples were all together in one place, and from the sky came a noise like a strong wind, and it filled the house where they were, and came to rest on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

In the Psalms, God sends his breath to the earth's creatures and they are created.  When he takes away their breath, they return to the dust.

1st Corinthians says there are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.  To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.

According to the Gospel, Jesus came and stood in the midst of the disciples, while they were locked away, hiding in fear, and said to them, "Peace be with you."  He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."  

Yesterday I was blessed to be able to attend an ordination ceremony for two priests.  One part of the ceremony involved the numerous priests present who were already ordained processing up and one by one, laying their hands upon the priests being ordained.   Each imparted a blessing of the Holy Spirit upon the newly ordained.  Each individual was given a manifestation of the Spirit, and each shared in the one Spirit.  The archbishop specially annointed the hands of the newly ordained in the Holy Spirit with these words:

The Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, guard and preserve you that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God.

I was especially touched to see the reverence with which some of the priests laid their hands on the new priests, clearly praying for them in holiness and blessing them.  I saw that each priest was an individual with different strengths and different gifts, like all of us.

I remember my own confirmation, when our priest laid his hands on my head and imparted the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit came as a strong driving wind in the account in Acts, and as the very breath of Jesus in the Gospel of John.  It is important to listen to the Holy Spirit in our own lives, and to be joyfully open to the moments when the Spirit does move.

God works in mysterious ways in our lives sometimes.  Christians speak of it often, the movements of the Spirit. The Spirit that gives us right judgement, wisdom, awe of the Lord, understanding.  I was speaking with a co-worker this week while at a funeral.  She asked me if any close relatives of mine had died.  I later returned her question, and she shared a story of a relative who had lived her in a nursing home.  She really was not close to that relative and had not visited them.  However, one day she felt she should go to visit, and did.  She had a wonderful visit.  Later that week the relative died.  She was so glad to have been able to spend some time with that person before they died, that she had gone when she did.  That prompting may have been the Holy Spirit in her, telling her to visit that day.

I remember a man who told me once that whenever he was in a difficult moment, he prayed to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit came into the situation immediately.  That witness of his moved me, and I have found it to be true in my own life.  I can ask the Holy Spirit to come and bring me the peace of Christ, and the Lord is kind to always share his presence.  In another sense his presence is with us always, abiding with us forever as Jesus promised, and sometimes the asking is what helps us to recall who we are and to accept the reality of that Holy Presence.

Holy Spirit still and sweet
Good and right and You
You surprise me with your peace
When You come I have to stop and rest
Could rest forever in the moment
Of calm and enveloping You
The One so sweetly still and true

The Gift of the Holy Spirit is indeed the greatest gift, as it is the very presence of God our creator, who gave us breath and life itself.

Happy Pentecost to all of you!