Author: strose

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

One of the things that we can readily see when we think about God and creation is that God seems to love variety. Just think about our own state here in New Hampshire at the northern most point of it we have almost boreal forest and 2 1/2 hours south will put you on the beach next to the ocean. As a result  there is a wide variety of trees, creatures, insects, terrain, soil — all of which seem to fit a specific niche that in turn contributes to the health of the state, and the larger environment. We see the same variety and specialization in the spiritual world as well saraphim, cherubim, principalities, angels and archangels. This weekend on the Assumption of Mary we have an opportunity to focus on one of God’s most unique, beautiful and important creations our Blessed Mother Mary. The liturgy this weekend invites us to think deeply about who Mary is, what she has done and what she continues to do for us to this very day. 

Blessed Mary is born of two parents just like you and me. However, God did something just a little different in her formation because she was not touched by the corruption of original sin. Based on this observation, it is apparent that God had something very specific in mind for Mary. This does not mean however that she was predestined to say yes to everything that God would offer or desire. Like us, Mary was given a free will, and we see this will exercised as she is greeted by the angel who proposes what God would like to do. She could’ve said no, but she didn’t. Instead, she gives her consent and becomes the vessel by which God will be made flesh. Just let that sink in for a moment — Mary’s womb becomes the place where the God, who created all that is, will reside for nine months; Mary’s womb becomes the vessel by which love, in its most perfect form, lives. Mary must have been an extraordinary person with extraordinary capabilities to be the vessel of God’s supreme love and presence. Mary must also be an incredible woman of faith and trust in God‘s goodness because when she said yes she had no idea where it would lead or what it would require. She had no idea that towards the end of her pregnancy she and her husband would have to trek many miles from home for a census. She had no way of knowing that she would give birth to her child in a manger far from her home. She was not even given the option of the comfort of family after she gave birth because she and her husband had to go to a foreign land in order to protect their son from those who wanted to kill him.

Scriptures to tell us that Joseph, Mary and Jesus did move back closer to home and lived a pretty ordinary life. Mary is present as Jesus makes his way into his ministry. She saved a young couple from social embarrassment when she realizes at a wedding that the wine is going to run out and and then request of her son Jesus that he address this problem of the wine and she instructs the stewards to listen to him and follow his directions. Once again, Mary is present in Jesus‘s life when she meets him as Jesus carries his cross and stands beneath that cross during his passion. Can you imagine the kind of strength and faith it must have taken for her to stand there, watching her flesh and blood die such a violent death? All through this there is no evidence that Mary becomes upset or angry with what happens to her son. It is our belief that at the end of her life that Mary is assumed into heaven, body and soul, where she hears our prayers and brings them to the attention of her son that are suffering and pain may be relieved. In addition to that, Mary is the for us the model of what it means to be a truly well-ordered human being, a model of perfect discipleship, perseverance, complete acceptance and trust in the will of God.

This weekend, Heavenly Father, we thank you for this most precious gift our Blessed Mother Mary and for her continued intercessions for us. Out of gratitude we lift our voices to you as we say:

Hail, Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Readings for Sunday, August 15, 2021

Tuesday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

This passage of scripture from Genesis is one that always sets my imagination in motion. There’s something very interesting about this notion that as we wrestle with the divine, we become the people and the person of God… that we are transformed. For me, coming to understand and living out the ways of God are much like a wrestling match. I’m not necessarily contending with God, but with the various impulses and communications that compete for my attention and action. In a very gradual daily way it seems to get a little bit easier, but I’m fairly confident I won’t make it all the way there on this side of heaven. If you too share this struggle, may the grace of God guide us on the path that we are traveling and ultimately lead us to the freedom of His love.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
    I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

God loves everything and everyone he has created. As such, God does not want to be separated from anything that he has created. Throughout salvation history, God has labored tirelessly to bring the human family back into his loving arms. We see this effort today as Jesus reaches out to those who have wandered away or never been aware of this great love. Like Jesus articulates today this a manifestation of the mercy God extends to each of us and we in turn are called to offer to each other. Jesus will live out this message in all the dimensions of his earthly ministry but especially as he willingly and intentionally bears the cross as the perfect remedy to all that keeps us from this divine friendship.

In name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

God heard the boy’s cry,
and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven:

What is the matter, Hagar?
Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his.
Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand;
for I will make of him a great nation.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

For the last three years I’ve had the privilege of working with young people in school settings. During this work, I have very often confronted or been confronted by how children are affected and often pay the price for adult decisions. We see such a situation in our first reading today. It’s very interesting how God handles the situation and it fits not only the literature about early childhood resilience but also about the incredible mercy of God. The resiliency literature stresses time and again that the impact of a childhood trauma can often be mitigated by the presence of one supportive affirming adult.

As we see in this reading today, God supports children and walks with them in a very particular way — sometimes sending an adult to help rescue the soul and life of a child. As we walk through this day and as we make decisions may we think about the consequences of our choices and how we are being called to be agents of God’s mercy for most vulnerable among us.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,

Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.

Jesus answered him,

Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.

Another of his disciples said to him,

Lord, let me go first and bury my father.

But Jesus answered him,

Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.

Matthew 8:18-22

The peace of the Lord be with you.

In his time with us here on earth Jesus regularly challenged conventional ways of thinking and acting. In doing so he was not trying to be contrary or controversial, he was trying to help us to better understand how things are naturally and appropriately ordered.

In the gospel reading, Jesus is trying to help someone see that he is more than just a teacher and he is challenging some social conventions that are major parts of Jewish and Greek culture about the care for the dead. For our own sake there is nothing more important than glorifying God in our interactions, thoughts, and daily practices. As Bishop Baron frequently points out it is not that God needs these things, but that we need them — as they help us to be more fully human.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, June 28, 2021

Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

The lamp of the body is the eye.
If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;
but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness.
And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.

The peace of the Lord be with you.

In the first reading today Paul boasts of his weakness and how in his weakness it allows the greatness and strength of Christ shine through. One of my weaknesses is I like stuff and have a lot of stuff. If you’re like me in that regard then Jesus‘s words probably really speak to you as well. I have to ask myself why do I collect all these things when I know eventually I’m going to have to leave them behind? I know that it ends up costing me more time and labor but still I persist. Not everything I buy or accumulate is unnecessary but sometimes I get caught up in the thrill of the chase.T his is not reason to despair. For as I said above Saint Paul says of these moments of weakness we very often can find our strength by turning to Jesus for his help and guidance.

Dear Jesus help me to understand that some of my accumulation and collecting is really this longing for the peace and fullness that comes from having you in my life. Help me to remember that when the impulse to spend comes again. Help me as your Gospel indicates today to store up treasures in heaven that nothing can touch or destroy.

In the name of the Father, the So,n and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Friday, June 18, 2021

Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

You have heard that it was said,
    You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

— Matthew 5:43-48

The peace of the Lord be with you. Today, Jesus tells us that we cannot allow resentment and revenge fill our hearts if we are going to be sons and daughters of God. To be a reflection of God’s family, we must be vessels of love and mercy. As the passage reminds us, God does not withhold good things from those who do evil, or those who reject His ways. Personally, I do not know how God works these things out, but Jesus is reminding us today that figuring that out is not our job. We are called to be conduits of God‘s love.

May God grace us with the patience and understanding to do this worthily and well today.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

You have heard that it was said,
    An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one to him as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand him your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

Matthew 5:38-42

The peace of the Lord be with you.

Jesus affirms something for us today that we all already know. We all know that life can be difficult. In the Gospel today, Jesus instructs us about how to deal with difficulty. By encouraging us not to respond with violence or threats he’s helping us to come to a place of acceptance. Once we are at this place of acceptance we often become much more teachable and creative about how to approach difficulties. In Godly terms this would mean hearing the Spirit. When we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, these dark moments become times of creativity and acceptance where the glory of God shines through because we realize that he is never far from us.

God is walking with us, helping us to face the challenges that come our way with dignity and integrity.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Monday, June 14, 2021

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Each weekend our readings come from different time and seek to address different needs that have happened in the course salvation history. In our Old Testament reading, Ezekiel is inspired to write as the chosen people are experiencing what it’s like to be ruled by a foreign power during the Babylonian exile. The second Reading, from 1 Corinthian’s, takes place as Paul is traveling throughout Greece spreading the good news about Jesus and what it means to be one of his followers. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is tasked with the difficult situation of trying to put into words that we can understand, what is meant by the kingdom of God.

That is precisely the focus of our readings this weekend the building and the meaning of the kingdom of God. Those words we heard from Ezekiel, tell of how God is going to eventually end a period of exile and restore the leadership to the line of David. Saint Paul, in Corinthians, is describing a tension that exists between the “present and the future as this kingdom of God is being revealed”. This is all pulled together as Jesus describes how the planting of a seed, and the growth of a plant from that seed, is like how God works in the world.

In this parable, Jesus seems to emphasize that we won’t necessarily understand or be able to comprehend what God is doing — that much of the work by God will seem to us like it is random, and that just happens or occurs on its own. Bishop Barron, in his commentary on this parable, emphasizes that this process will be gradual and slow. He says this is a gradual unfolding will happen so we can comfortably grow into what God is giving to us. Bishop Barron further emphasizes that God is inviting us to participate — he does not just want us to stand by. He wants us to use our gifts, talents, and intelligence to be co-creators with God. This kingdom is still unfolding and it is not something that we have to wait to experience after death. No, it is something that is happening now — that we can enjoy now. This kingdom is something that is not only happening to us — as individuals, but it is happening in our community, and throughout the world. Ultimately, the kingdom of God is not so much a thing or a process but a relationship… perhaps even a series of relationships. A relationship to God — yes; but also a relationship to each other, and all created things. A relationship, to which, we must give our consent. In closing I would like to offer you these words from Father Thomas Keating from the prologue of his book Intimacy with God.

Readings for Sunday, June 13, 2021

Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Jesus said to his disciples:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

The peace of the Lord be with you. Have you ever been traveling and missed a turn or an exit which made it more difficult or took you longer to get to your desired destination? Have you ever been putting something together and missed a critical step that made it impossible to go any further? This is what Jesus is getting at this morning. If the law and its fulfillment were created, and the prophets sent by God, then God intended them to help us move through life less encumbered. Like the trip and the project above each element is critical to the outcome. Jesus is our mentor, coach, teacher, and guide who helps us with these good, orderly directions. Directions that lead to a perfect and everlasting love. Enjoy this day.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Readings for Wednesday, June 9, 2021