Monday, December 25, 2023

                                     Christmas Greetings for 2023.
I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a continuing mysterious understanding of The Mystery we are in the process of celebrating. The mystery of The Incarnation is intimately bound up with the mystery of who we are. To deepen our understanding of The Incarnation, leads to an ongoing deepening  reverence for who we are, and a consequence a deepening reverence for all the  dynamic community of sisters and brothers. As we evolve as human beings our, sacred dignity is ever so slowly revealed us. We take a long time to be grown in the understanding of the sacred, the spiritual that is both hidden and revealed in us and in each sacramental moment we are privileged to live. We are always challenged to live life to the fullest, not just eke out a mere existence. Because of "the changing movements of the human heart" the challenge to live life and life it to the fullest is the challenge to be met, and through mercy-full grace, we find we are up to the challenge. As St.Paul writes "we are never tested beyond our strength". Many times I have to share with The Gracious One, maybe a deeper analysis of my strength is required before the next test is met. 
         This Christmas of 2023 we find that Bethlehem City is, a disaster area. Much of it is in rubble. Visitors are not encouraged. So what are we to do ? Well we journey within and visit with fresh insights the disastrous rubble that is our Bethlehem, a challenging reality within each one of our depths. It will always be, in the rubble caused by our weaknesses and brokennesses. This is where The Savior, the revelation of mercy-full love is always encountered. From this encounter between grace and our human condition something new is slowly revealed to us. We get just little glimpses of the possibility that is our destiny. These little glimpses are enough to strengthen our resolve not to give up the quest, but to journey ever deeper in the unknown. From this faith-filled journey a deeper encounter with The Unknown is gifted to us. " This, pearl pf great price" when we discover it, is, not for ourselves but for those who will be placed on our paths. 
                         We must always remember that it was the shepherds, the outcasts of society, that the Good news was revealed to. Those shepherds of the Gospel are to be found within ourselves. That part we do not readily accept must be bathed with the unconditioned, consoling mercy-full grace, love The Infant has come to reveal. This mercy-all love is so awe-full that many of us find it really difficult to accept. We are afraid of the unknown which will occur. We want certainty, each step ion the way.  This Mysterious Gift is always being offered to us, so we need to be challenged, to be awakened. Let this Christmas season be the start, even be the fear-filled first step into a "new freedom and a new happiness". What is found in the rubble is what is used to build a new reality. A reality that is so mysterious we will be at the end of our days, and have yet to understand The Gift that came from the rubble. Reverence your rubble. Reverence the shepherds within. Seek to awaken daily to the new and vitalizing strength that is mysterious seeping into you lived life.
                      May 2024 be a year of new horizons. Break free of the restrictions preventing you from realizing your full potential true sacred dignity. May this new reality lead you to an ever deeper understanding of The Reality. Please keep this senior senior citizen in your prayers. Love prayers and blessings. Great grandpa Joe. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

 WOW !!! WOW !!!! What an exciting and challenging  time we have been  chosen  to live in. We are not here by accident. We have been chosen, so that, the great mystery, that is creation, may be continually penetrated by us, and new and vitalizing gifts be conveyed, bestowed on all of creation. We are all traveling towards a horizon. A place of  continual NEWNESS. A Place where, " new heavens and new earths " will be revealed, and a new ways of thinking and a new ways of responding to life will come to be. " O Beauty, ever ancient, ever new" you have again blessed us with the message of mercy-full love, essential for the continued journeying of ALL your children. We are all "a chosen race", blessed broken and given. It is through our brokenness we are graced, and the mystery continues. "My being proclaims the goodness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices."

          What a fitting scriptures we were gifted with last Sunday. The were to prepare us all for transforming, and prophetic Message from Pope Francis. What we have hoped and dreamed to happen did happen. We are witnessing one of the most  transformative moments in the history of our Catholic Church. We have been made to face that the church as one, holy,Catholic, and Apostolic is in the process of becoming all of these. We are not there yet, we are "on the way". We are now empowered to bless the  loving union of gay and lesbian couples. We can now bless the loving unions of divorced and remarried couples. We are now empowered to celebrate The Divine Presence already present in the love of all. "Where Love is, there God is." are no longer just words written in a book, they have jumped off the page are are now breaking even into the consciousness of all who share this most human of all trails.

We have to heed the warning in Thessalonian's " Do NOT quench the Spirit.Do not despise prophetic utterances.Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil." Already the nay sayers have hit the news wires in opposition to our prophetic Pope. we put put on the 'Armour of truth" and speak loud and strong in support of Francis, and all of our sisters and brothers who will become more aware of The Sacred and Mysterious Divine inherent in the essential goodness of their deepest reality. WE cannot stand on the side lines and just observe. We must become active participants in the recognitions and celebrations that are about to happen. A systemic event  has occurred  in the ongoing evolution of our Catholic Faith. The Spirit is ever guiding us beyond our present horizons into the new, the unknown, where The Unknown is encountered in mysterious life, "that is lived to the fullest".

         May the coming celebration of the Mystery of Incarnation deepen our understanding of the sacramental diamention of all of creation. A new chapter, is to be written. May your loving actions contribute to its creation. The Christ Child Whose coming is to be celebrated, is NOW present in  all the realities of your life. May your moment to moment encounters lead to "the new heavens and new earths' where all are empowered to live a life of freedom. May The Spirit enlighten you, so the path you trudge may be the one already chosen for you. Mary for her to fulfill her destiny she had to utter " Be it done to me according to Your will".  We are the Marys of the gospel that is in its actualization. Let us pray for the courage to utter with trembling lips " Your Will be done",  not the will of fear-filled me.


Saturday, December 16, 2023

" Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your, God. Speak tenderly..." thus the scriptures speak to us. Comforting another person, demands  both a silent  presence, and  the ability to listen patiently, with no judgments. To comfort another we need to show real empathy. To be able to enter another's pain and accept  the powerlessness over being able to change the reality of  another's suffering. We humans will run away from pain as far as we can. There are all sorts of medicators available to us. Some are healthy, while others are destructive. We are easily tempted to take the easier softer way, rather than, face what is the healthy solution to the pain we are enduring. We need persons of experience who can walk, talk, and  also be a listening compassionate listening presence. We need a Presence, that has the power to transform the pain of our wounds into being a compassionate place of comfort for others. That Presence has come, is journeying within, so we can continue the hard work of  making "the rugged" roads the other are destined to to face, a smooth, safe  path. Who He was, we have been chosen, to be.

                 The historical Jesus entered a troubled world. He was not born in a palace, but in a stable. He, though the revelation of The Divine power, was destined to learn and earn  like the rest of the human race. His historical human journey was so real it held up to us as, The Way, to live. Not only to live, but have the "fullness of life". Anthony Padavano gave us these word in the 1960's " We have to make Jesus human, and to make ourselves as human as He was." I wonder what the words of John O'Shea means for you and I today,"Jesus's story is our story today". Do we, or can face the challenge of journeying each Advent  into a new and a more vital understand of the life's journey of the vulnerable Babe of Bethlehem ?. An understanding that will result in concrete change in the way we respond to the call to be the living  human presence of The Divine Presence ? The Mystery of The Incarnation is well from which we will draw life enhancing water, grace. This water will refresh us, strengthen us, empower us, to be Well,The Tabernacle, for all who need a safe refuge from the storms.The Historical Rabbi Jesus stilled the storm that threatened the boat He and His Apostles were in, how do we use His Presence today to help still the existential raging storms all humans have to face? These storms are to be becalmed within ourselves first. The we can be the carriers, the bearers, be evangelizers like the shepherds, of the good news, the Savior of the world has been, and He is within all human beings. All have the a unique  part of, the message. We will tell it in honesty, and truth. When creation ceases to exist then will the final chapter be completed.Until then, The Story, continues It's revelation.

               The Divine, is, The Mystery. We are, because of creation, mystery too. Mystery will never be solved. All we can do is respond  the call to go ever deeper into darkness of faith. From that journey a new and a brighter light will shine upon all creation. A light that is to be the comfort and consolation most needed by all who journey into dark valleys. That light will lead to mountaintops, where we all will enjoy the freedom of being surrounded by endless horizons, not boundaries. Prayers for the courage to let go of certainty, so we are free to be led into, The Unknown ,and Unknowable Whose Incarnation is within our unknown depths. 


Tuesday, December 5, 2023

      Advent 2023 must be, what the liturgical has been created to be, a time of attention, wonder , and awe.These must not be words on a page but must be action words that are validated by this Advent Season. Many of todays commentators bemoan the inhuman conditions so many of our sisters, brothers and their children are forced to live in, no ,no, rather they are forced to live in. We are all in danger of taking out an existence rather than live the life The Babe of Bethlehem envisioned. "He emptied  Himself of His Godhead", why did he take such a radical step, He entered into all that it means to be human,"so that we may have life and have it to the fullest". Was that a pipe dream ? So  this wish dose  not become just  become an idea, giving no life, but instead must the vitalizing force that will re-enchant, re-reenergize ,re-vitalize our bruised and battered human condition. He has come for all the broken-hearted. The lost sheep He will lovingly seek out. These "beloved" lost sheep will be rescued and from their place of distress. Those not able to make it on their own will be carried on His broad shoulders. The Prophet Jesus did not come to establish an ideology, He came to offer a new way of living, a new way of being.

               The Christmas lights are begging to penetrate the darkness of these cold nights. The Christmas gifts, and trees are being sought out, and, hopefully purchased. The crib scenes are prepared, and the ornaments are being carefully unwrapped, after surviving another wrapped up adventure. Now we have to face tis reality, "unless we find all the above within our hearts, first, then Christmas trees, gifts, lights, and gatherings will do nothing but further deepen all those thoughts and feelings that are the lot of the alone and abandoned. To the least of our brothers and sisters we are commissioned to go to " feed the hungry, clothe the naked, offer refreshing water to the thirsty. The sick we must visit ,as well as those in prisons." all this must be on our agendas to make sure The Infant did not make His journey in vain.

         Wonder and amazement are both required of us to make the mission of The Infant a life giving reality. We must as the Gospel says " be alert, be watch-full, be on guard". For what ? For that which will re-enchant, re-vitalize, re-energize, us first, and then the creation we have been destined to inhabit since the beginning of time. For this most challenging mission we have, within our depths, all that is necessary . We must pay attention, be alert to the challenges presented and go deep to tap into all the strength we need. Yes,all you need is within you. ". All is sacred, all is holy, which gives meaning to "life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived". "By reason of creation, and still more by reason of the Incarnation, there is nothing  profane for those who know how to see." Out of the depths of my poverty I  cry out,"Lord that I too may see"