October 24, 2020

FREE AT LAST


California has withdrawn a law that went into effect last January 1.

It forbade freelance writers, editors and photographers from providing more than 34 content submissions to a media organization per year unless the organization hired the freelancer as a salaried employee.

Patheos is a media organization, and I am a freelancer.

 So I had to limit my posts there to 34 per year, or 1 post about every 10 days.

Now that the law is no longer in effect, there is no limit to the frequency of my posting at Patheos.

So, for the time being, I don't need to use "Monk Notes" here to get around the limits of the California law.

Please find me at my Patheos column, "Turn. Love. Repeat."

October 11, 2020

The "Wedding Garment" Is Not About New Clothes to Wear, but New Ways of Being


Matthew 22:1-14 for the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time.


The King’s invitation to his son’s wedding feast is all grace, graciousness and gratis.

The invitation is to all, bad or good, but all must come dressed worthily for a wedding.

Openness, but also conditionality: the same contrast and tension were present when Christ first began to preach in public.

Openness: The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Conditionality: Repent and believe in the Gospel!

The kingdom of heaven is open, but to walk into it is repentance: met├ínoia— a new mind— a challenge to one’s old ways of feeling, reasoning, choosing, acting and living.

Repentance is the worthy wedding garment.

To get one means to work, earn, save, spend, buy and put on a new way that challenges one’s old ways.

Heaven is open, and everyone has an invitation.

To step into heaven’s doors means to put aside what is old, and to work and spend to put on what is new.

The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Repent and believe in the Gospel!

God wants more and better for us than we can imagine.

He calls us to change into a wedding garment.

He alone makes it possible, but wants us to take up and do what he has made possible.

God in Christ lavishes on us a possibility and a reality better than anything else: he lavishes on us his very own self.

As our Creed at Mass puts it: For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven.

He left heaven behind to be with us and like us in joy and sorrow, in life and death, in all things but sin.

In his Eucharistic Body and Blood, God opens for us the wedding feast of the kingdom of heaven, but if we do nothing we lock ourselves out.

There is hope for us in the Eucharist of Christ the Bridegroom, who for us all and for our salvation was tied up, thrown out of the holy city, stripped of his garment and crucified.

For us he suffered, died, was buried and descended into hell.

On the third day he rose from the dead, in the garment of nuptial Flesh and Blood made forever undying and glorious.

So, in his Eucharist, Christ lives, suffers, fulfills and surpasses the whole parable in today’s Gospel.

Here in the supreme goodness and love of his Eucharist, Christ clothes us with the wedding garment of his own ever-living, glorious Flesh and Blood.

The resurrection of God the Son in our humanity, our flesh, and blood is the Royal Wedding.

God the Spirit gives everlasting life and glory to our flesh and blood in Christ.

The Spirit is the Lord, the Giver of Life.

It falls to us to take hold, wear and live the life God freely gives.

This is the wedding feast, the supper of the Lamb.

Let us approach with joy and hope, but also with faithful love that repents.

Let us live what we receive, so that the Father may recognize us clothed with Christ his Son both now and in the life of the world to come.

 

Turn. Love. Repeat.

 

October 10, 2020

Is She "Blessed or Not?


 

Luke 11:27-28 for Saturday of the Twenty-Seventh Week in Ordinary Time.

While Jesus was speaking,

a woman from the crowd called out and said to him,

“Blessed is the womb that carried you

and the breasts at which you nursed.”

He replied, “Rather BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD AND OBSERVE IT.”

In its first pages, this Gospel shows that Mary the mother of Christ was a BLESSED hearer and observer of the word of God.

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth to speak the word of God to Mary.

Gabriel gave her a godly BLESSING. [Lk. 1:28-30]

Hail, O Full of Grace!

The Lord is with you.

Mary, YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD.

To have FAVOR with God is the heart and soul of all BLESSEDNESS and is the greatest of BLESSINGS.

It is the beginning and fulfillment of salvation.

Mary was the first in the Gospels and Christian history upon whom the word of salvation was pronounced.

You have found favor with God.

You will conceive in your womb and bear a son.

The Holy Spirit will overshadow you.

Therefore the child will be the Son of God. [Lk. 1:30,31,35]

To this word of God Mary chose freely to answer: Behold, I am the slave of the Lord— let it be to me according to your word. [Lk. 1:38]

She did indeed hear the word of God and observe it.

BLESSED are those who hear the word of God and observe it.

After overshadowing Mary, the Holy Spirit rushed upon Mary’s kinswoman Elizabeth, as the Gospel tells.

Using Elizabeth’s voice, GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT called out to Mary.

BLESSED are you among women,

and BLESSED is the fruit of your womb! [Lk. 1:42]

BLESSED is she who believed in the fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord! [Lk. 1:45]

Those are the words of GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT, not the words of the nameless woman in the crowd of today’s Gospel.

BLESSED is Mary who did indeed hear the word of God and observe it.

That is Gospel truth.

There is still more in the Gospel about Mary’s faithful obedience.

After Christ ascended into heaven, his disciples heeded his bidding to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Word of the Lord says ALL of them— THE WHOLE OF CHRISTIANITYwith one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with ... Mary the mother of Jesus. [Acts 1:14]

Years before the rest of Christianity was born, Mary in Nazareth was the one to whom the powerful, overshadowing Holy Spirit had already come.

Mary, woman of the Spirit, Mary in the midst of the praying Church, still calls down the Spirit upon the disciples of her Son.

Mary’s history and faith are signs of hope for us.

The Word of the Lord about Mary shows what happens when a human person does indeed willingly hear the word of God and observe it.

The Word of the Lord about Mary shows that the Spirit comes to us when we give our own word to God and observe God’s Word.

When the Spirit comes to us in our obedience, then the Son of God and his Flesh and Blood— both his Church and his Eucharist— come into the world as God’s saving work.

In the Eucharist, the Son of God comes to us in person, in Flesh and Blood, in the power of the Spirit, offering each of US what the angel said of Mary.

HAIL, O FULL OF GRACE!

THE LORD IS WITH YOU.

YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR WITH GOD.

In his Eucharist, Christ gives us favor and BLESSING by nursing us with his Blood and bearing us in his Body.

His BLESSING, however, is also a command: Do this in memory of me.

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.

 

Turn. Love. Repeat.