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Monday, July 6, 2020

     “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another (τὸ αὐτὸ εἰς ἀλλήλους φρονοῦντες). Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble (τοῖς ταπεινοῖς συναπαγόμενοι, be led together by humble things). Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all people. If it is possible for you (εἰ δυνατὸν τὸ ἐξ ὑμῶν), live peaceably with all people.” (Rom 12: 15-18)

     Let me recognize today that we’re all “in the same boat,” – is what St. Paul is saying to me in the first part of the above-quoted passage. I should not regard my own issues or vision as “higher,” or more important, than those of others in my vicinity, lest I fail to notice, or take seriously, t...

Thursday, April 16, 2020

    “When he (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’” (Jn 13: 31-35)

     There is so much to contemplate, on this Holy and Great Thursday, the day of the Lord’s Mystical Supper, at which He establishes a “new covenant” with us (Mk 14: 24), and also foretells Peter’s denial of Him (Jn 13:...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

         

      “This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (Jn 15: 17-19)

      Thus the Lord comforts us, in those cases when we suffer rejection in “the world.” At times, we might venture to seek “love” in the wrong place; from a person or people not “our own.” And we don’t realize this, until we suffer rejection. While rejection is always painful, here the Lord reminds us that it can actually strengthen our sense of vocation, of having been “called” by Him, or “chosen out of the world,” to His specific purpose for each of us. This p...

Sunday, September 9, 2018

       “And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.’” (Mt 22: 35-40)

     …So let me put first things first today, and let myself love God, my neighbor, and myself, “before” I worry about “all the law and the prophets.” It’s easy, even if it isn’t simple.

     It’s “easy” to love God, Who loves me unconditionally, having created me, and Who continues to sustain and bless my life, regardless of how I “turned out,...

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

     “The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants—not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all, as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against...

Saturday, April 21, 2018

     “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week they went to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?’ And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, ‘Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of idleness (ἀργίας), despondency (περιεργίας), love of power (φιλαρχίας), and idle talk (ἀργολογίας).” (Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem, Part 1)

It is not sane to “love“ power or authority over others, although it is vital that some people exercise it, as their God-given vocation, – either as parents, or as political, military, or Church-leaders, or as teachers/professors, or as business-managers or executives. As St. Paul reminds us, “there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God.“ (Rom 13: 1) The response-ability (or “ability to respond“ to the call/vocation) of power is humbling and often painful, for example, when one must “parent“ a misbehaving child while wanting to be a “f...

Friday, December 15, 2017

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom 8: 35-37)

Love somehow always involves suffering, in this world. Why? Because love is a God-given gift and power, a divine force or will, which strives toward oneness (with the beloved). So it comes up against, and is invariably opposed by, “other” wills and drives in this world, which strive for division and separateness. These “other” wills seek to destroy and/or distort our God-given capacity to love; to turn it into pure and potentially-eternal “suffer...

Saturday, December 2, 2017

And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ And he said, ‘All these I have observed from my youth.’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Jesus looking at him said, ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God...

Friday, November 17, 2017

If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor th...

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