Monthly Archives: May 2017

Friday, May 5

In our first reading (Acts 9:1-20) we read about the familiar story of the conversion of St. Paul. Jesus intervened in a very dramatic way. After identifying himself, he struck Saul blind and advised him to go to Damascus and wait for a sign. That sign came in the person of Ananias who was sent by the Lord to cure his blindness. His eyes were opened and he was baptized. From that time he became Paul, the great preacher to the Gentiles. How many times have we been blinded to the things right in front of us, specifically our faith and how we translate that faith in our lives and our relationships with others?

In the Gospel reading for today (John 6:52-59)the people were arguing and trying to understand how Jesus could give us his flesh to eat. They looked at this as canibalism. Jesus tries to explain it in his capacity as Son of God and Son of Man. The point is that, in Jesus, God has enfleshed himself in our humanity. So, in an unexplainable way, fully known only to God, we now have a physical body and blood relationship with our Lord. God the Father, always caring about the welfare of his children, gives us a special food and drink necessary for our salvation. We should see Christ – body and blood, soul and divinity, in this special food which is offered to us at every Mass and be thankful for this very special presence of God among us.

Peace in the Holy Land

I watched with interest today at the Press Statements at the White House with President Trump and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Both spoke of their hopes for peace in the Holy Land. Earlier this year Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel visited with Pres. Trump.

While all of the talk was good to hear, I certainly hope that one day there will be peace in the Holy Land. It can be done but it will be very difficult to achieve.

Listening to this, I recalled my own experiences during my many visits to the Holy Land.. I especially remember one day at the Temple Gate in Jerusalem when I had a chance encounter with two elderly men. One was a rabbi, the other a Palestine and they knew I was a priest. In discussing all of the violence and problems in the area, both men told me the same thing. 

They said that all they wanted, and what most of the people wanted, was to live in peace; to be able to raise their children without fear; to enjoy family life; to be able work; to live in a spirit of peace and friendship. I wondered why that wasn’t being achieved. They both said it was the politicians on both sides. The people wanted none of the violence and constant tensions.

So that was from both sides of the story, which if you look at what they said, are pretty much both the same. I have heard pretty much the same thing from similar people around Israel and Palestine. 

Hopefully the politicians on both sides will listen to their own people, their average citizens; and just maybe, if they do, peace will finally come to a land too long suffering. 

Praying for Priests of Palm Beach

I have learned that the priests of the Diocese of Palm Beach are having their annual convocation this week. Since I am not a priest of Palm Beach, but a priest of San Angelo, I will not be present. However, I hope that everyone, especially those in the local area, will say some extra prayers this week for these priests, and indeed, all priests.

May 1: Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

Today the Church celebrates the optional feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

This feast was declared in 1955 by Pope Pius XII. At that time most of the Communist and Totalitarian celebrated May Day – The Day of the Worker. The Church, by this feast, is declaring the dignity of human labor, as opposed to seeing labor as something forced upon us, to the benefit of the state and basically no one else. The dignity of labor recognizes the right of every human being to a decent job, wages, and the ability to take care of one’s family and other obligations. We should strive that every person has some type of honorable employment. We see work as a key theme in the Christian life.

Here is a prayer I found for this feast:

Saint Joseph, patron and pattern of all who are devoted to their work, obtain for me the grace to work in the spirit of penance, in order thereby to atone for my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting my devotion to duty before my own inclinations; to work with thankfulness and joy, deeming it an honor to be employed and to develop, by my work, the gifts that I have received from Almighty God; to work with order, peace, moderation and penance, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.