Storehouse of memories

therichfoolI am away from the parish doing an appeal for Franciscan Mission Service. I thought it good to leave you with some words from another time reflecting on our Sunday readings.


Inheritance and riches being stored up – certainly two strong images from this Sunday’s gospel. Themes not uncommon in the gospels. St. Luke also tells the story of the man who comes to Jesus and asks, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  After learning from the man that he had followed all the commandments Jesus tells him, “There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. (Luke 18) It is a recurring message from Jesus that wealth, riches – in themselves not bad – just have a way of getting in the way of the true inheritance. The man goes away sad – he just can’t let go of his wealth, can’t let go of the one thing that keeps him from following Jesus. He is likely a good person – both in his own mind and in the thoughts of others – yet there is a hidden, unseen greed operative in his life. A covert greed that has become, as St. Paul says, an idolatry keeping him away from true and right worship. Continue reading

What satisfies

rich_foolYou may or may not have noticed, but I am not around this weekend. I am at the beach…sort of. This weekend, as we receive and welcome Father Ricky Bermas of the Diocese of Legazpi in the Philippines for our part in the Diocesan Mission Cooperative, St. Jerome’s of Largo is receiving me on behalf of Franciscan Mission Service (FMS).

FMS sends lay people on modern mission. As Franciscan followers of Christ, they build partnerships with Catholic women and men who are inspired to live and serve in solidarity with economically poor communities across the globe – and to bring the transformative experience of mission to North American societies and churches as advocates for peace, justice, reconciliation, and care of creation. Back in the day, I served with FMS in Kenya. Continue reading

Rich Fool: the parable

rich_foolThe parable is not, however, unique to Jesus – consider this passage from Sirach 11:18-19

18 A man may become rich through a miser’s life, and this is his allotted reward: 19 When he says: “I have found rest, now I will feast on my possessions,” He does not know how long it will be till he dies and leaves them to others.

It is possible Jesus’ parable finds it roots in Sirach even if it is not directly dependent upon it. The parable stands within the Wisdom tradition of Israel in which it is held that having or seeking wealth can be a person’s downfall (cf. Ps 49:1-20; Sir 31:1-11 – as well as outside the canon of Scripture in 1 Enoch 97:8-10; 98:3). Continue reading

Rich Fool: greed

rich_fool“Take care to guard against all greed” The text uses two verbs (horate & phylassesthe) in the present tense imperatives, i.e., continual action, in other words “continually take care” and “continually guard yourself from.”  Perhaps this is a Lucan warning that the human condition is akin to alcoholics and their desire for alcohol, we are never cured of our greediness. We are always in recovery; always in need to watch out for and to guard ourselves from this evil power in our lives. Continue reading

Rich Fool: inheritance

rich_foolThe dispute and the parable appears only in Luke among the gospels, situated within the ongoing travel narrative as Jesus and the disciples move ever forward towards Jerusalem.

Although the inheritance in question (v.13) is not specifically mentioned as land, given the parable’s setting (v.16) one might safely assume land was the issue.  Perhaps a word or two on land and inheritance. For the OT laws of inheritance, see Num. 27:1–11; 36:7–9; Deut. 21:16–17 – shown at the end of this document. Continue reading

Rich fool: context

rich_fool13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” 14 He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” 15 Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.  17 He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ 18 And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods 19 and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!” 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ 21 Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” Continue reading

Prayer and Memory

English: Lords Prayer in Aramaic(Syriac)

As a priest I am frequently asked questions from people who are people of prayer, but suddenly find themselves in the deep end of the pool of life: illness, love lost, love found, death, financial ruin, crises of faith – and more. And they are looking at me as though I am the lifeguard of prayer ready to throw them a life ring… They are waiting for me to respond, to give clarity and certainty, reassurance, and hope… and many times, it the pastoral encounter which stirs up my own memories … Continue reading

St. Francis and the Lord’s Prayer

A Prayer Inspired by the Our Father
(Expositio in Pater Noster)

 O Our Father most holy
Our Creator, Redeemer, Consoler and Savior:

Who are in heaven:
In the angels and the saints,
enlightening them to know, for You, Lord are light;
inflaming them to love, for You, Lord, are love;
dwelling in them and filling them with happiness,
for You, Lord, are Supreme Good, the Eternal Good,
from Whom all good comes
without Whom there is no good.

Holy be Your Name
May knowledge of You become clearer in us
that we may know
the breadth  of Your blessings
the length of Your promises
the height of Your majesty
the depth of Your judgments.

Your kingdom come:
That You may rule in us through Your grace
and enable us to come to Your kingdom
where there is clear vision of You,
the perfect love of You,
blessed companionship with You,
eternal enjoyment of You.

Your will be done on earth as in heaven:
That we may love You
with our whole heart by always thinking of You,
with our whole soul by always desiring You,
with our whole mind by always directing all our intention to You,
and by seeking Your glory in everything,
with all our whole strength by exerting
all our energies and affections of body and soul
in the service of Your love and of noting else;
and we may love our neighbor as ourselves
by drawing them all to Your love with our whole strength,
by rejoicing in the good of others as in our own,
by suffering with others at their misfortunes,
and by giving offense to no one.

Give us this day:
in remembrance, understanding, and reverence
of that love which our Lord Jesus Christ had for us
and of those things that He said and did and suffered for us.

our daily Bread:
Your own beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ

Forgive us our trespasses:
through Your ineffable mercy
through the power of the passion of Your beloved Son
and through the merits and the intercessions
of the every blessed Virgin and all Your elect.

As we forgive those who trespass against us:
And what we do not completely forgive,
make us Lord, forgive completely
that we may truly love our enemies because of You
and we may fervently intercede for them before You,
returning no one evil for evil
and we may strive to help everyone in You.

And lead us not into temptation:
hidden or obvious,
sudden or persistent.

But deliver us from evil:
past,
present,
and to come.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.
[1]


[1] St. Francis of Assisi, “A Prayer Inspired by the Our Father” in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, eds. Regis Armstrong, JA Wayne Hellman, and William J Short (New York: New City Press, 1999) pp. 158-60

 

How do you see them?

#blacklivesmatterWhat did you think when you saw the image above? I have been thinking about how we see things over the last several weeks. Certainly the horrific news of violence and death here in the USA from Orlando, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas have grabbed the local headlines. In the aftermath of those events, questions have been raised about how we the people see things – or don’t see things – or choose to see things. Continue reading