About Friar Musings

Franciscan friar and Catholic priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in downtown Tampa, FL.

Amos: Prophet to Israel

Last week’s first readings were like an introduction to the Kings and Prophets. This week, the first reading begins to focus, not on the Books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, but on the individual books of various prophets. Here is the “lineup” of first readings in the week to come:

  • Week of June 29 – Amos
  • Week of July 6 – Hosea
  • Week of July 13 – Isaiah
  • Week of July 20 – Micah & Jeremiah
  • Week of July 27 – Jeremiah

There are some breaks for the celebration of feast days, e.g., July 29, Sts Peter and Paul and July 3rd, St. Thomas the Apostle, but otherwise, it is a deep dive into the works and words of the prophets. Continue reading

Complain or Pray

From Pope Francis’ homily on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul:

“It is pointless, even tedious, for Christians to waste their time complaining about the world, about society, about everything that is not right. Complaints change nothing. Let us remember that complaining is the second door that closes us off from the Holy Spirit, as I said on Pentecost Sunday. The first is narcissism, the second discouragement, the third pessimism. Narcissism makes you look at yourself constantly in a mirror; discouragement leads to complaining and pessimism to thinking everything is dark and bleak. These three attitudes close the door to the Holy Spirit. Those Christians did not cast blame; rather, they prayed.

We today can ask: “Are we protecting our unity, our unity in the Church, with prayer? Are we praying for one another?” What would happen if we prayed more and complained less, if we had a more tranquil tongue? The same thing that happened to Peter in prison: now as then, so many closed doors would be opened, so many chains that bind would be broken… (cf. Acts 12:10-17).

Let us ask for the grace to be able to pray for one another. Saint Paul urged Christians to pray for everyone, especially those who govern (cf. 1 Tim 2:1-3). “But this governor is…,” and there are many adjectives. I will not mention them, because this is neither the time nor the place to mention adjectives that we hear directed against those who govern. Let God judge them; let us pray for those who govern! Let us pray: for they need prayer. This is a task that the Lord has entrusted to us. Are we carrying it out?  Or do we simply talk, abuse and do nothing? God expects that when we pray we will also be mindful of those who do not think as we do, those who have slammed the door in our face, those whom we find it hard to forgive. Only prayer unlocks chains, as it did for Peter; only prayer paves the way to unity.

Childlike

Next Sunday is the celebration of the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

25 At that time Jesus said in reply, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. 26 Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him. 28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:25-30) Continue reading

Making Your Life Count

The readings from daily Mass this week past should have been labeled “King and Prophet week.” Every day the first readings was a narrative about one of the Kings of Israel or Judah, a summary of their reign, and the proclamation of the prophets which came before them with the living Word of God. Prophets like Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah; as well as prophets whose names are unfamiliar to us; and prophets whose names were not recorded in Sacred Scripture. Kings that might not be familiar to you, but are a cast of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Two of the best were part of the narrative: Hezekiah and Josiah – kings held in almost the same esteem as King David – godly men who understood their role as leader – to lead the people of God more deeply into the covenant life and promises of God. Two of the worst were recounted: Hoshea the last of the northern kings and Zedekiah, the last of the Kings of Judah. They ruled with iniquity as had most of their predecessors.  When they disappeared into exile, the time of Kings passed and all of Israel and Judah followed int exile, the promised land lost. Continue reading

Naval Deployment and Pandemic

Here is an interesting link to an AP-wire story by Lolita Bador on how the pandemic is affection naval deployments: “The two U.S. warships in the Middle East weren’t aiming to break a record. But when the coronavirus made ship stops in foreign countries too risky, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS San Jacinto were ordered to keep moving and avoid all port visits. On Thursday, as they steamed through the North Arabian Sea, they notched their 161st consecutive day at sea, breaking the previous Navy record of 160 days. And they’re on pace to crush it, since they won’t hit land again until they get home to Virginia later this year.” You can find the entire article here.

Forgiving God

Sunday is a day when it is easy to find a priest if you want to mention, ask, or chat about something. Most topics are simple and straight forward, but once in a while someone asks a question that is very different from the others. It is then that the conversation is too important to have on the sidewalk but is better suited to a moment when time is more available and others are not waiting to chat or to simply offer their greetings.

Some time ago, a person asked if I thought there are “Times we need to forgive God?” My first reaction was, “Sorry, could you repeat that?” Definitely one of those “Can we talk about this in the office?” questions. That is when the person let me know they were a visitor. The best I could offer in the moment was, “I will have to think about that.” Continue reading

Iniquity

When was the last time you used the word “iniquity?” Admittedly, it is not one of those words that leaps to one’s mind. It sounds somewhat archaic and perhaps reserved to a fire-and-brimstone preacher. Iniquity is not exactly the same as sin. Iniquity describes something as being wicked or immoral in nature or character. It is not an action like sin, but rather the character of the action”. We have a hint of that in the phrase “the iniquity of my sin” (Psalms 32:5). Iniquity can be described as the essence of wrongdoing or evil. Continue reading

Being Made Clean

In today’s gospel, we hear about the encounter between Jesus and a leper: “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” [Jesus] stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I will do it. Be made clean.” Clearly about a physical cleansing. But all week has been about “cleansing” of different varieties.

The first readings all week (except Wednesday’s Nativity of John the Baptist) have been about God making clean the people of God. Monday the Kingdom of Israel (the 10 northern tribes who broke away  from the throne of King David) was conquered by Assyria (722 BCE) as either the kings nor the people remembered or cared about the Covenant with God. And it wasn’t for lack of prophets being sent to let them know, repent or God will “clean house.” Continue reading