Father Francisco’s Bible Study class on the Prophets

Father Nahoi led Thursday’s Old Testament study class at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada. Father Francisco Nahoi passed out literature giving a basic timeline of the Middle East covering the time we were covering in class. This included a discussion of the New Kingdom in Egypt of around 1300-1250 B.C., which included Akhenaton, the Pharaoh who worshiped the single god he called Rah. It also included the famous King Tut.


Father mentioned it is likely that this is the time with the Hebrews came to Egypt. With their single God, El, Akhenaton and his priests would have found a kindred spirit. With the death of Akhenaton and the rise of Pharaoh Ramses, a new king rose in Egypt who did not know Joseph, or his one god. He enslaved the Hebrews.

Many scholars believe that some of the modern Jews escaped from Egypt, and other peoples joined them when they crossed the Jordon into Israel proper, including some at Jericho.

Joshua 24:11 states, “You went over the Jordan, and came to Jericho; the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite; I delivered into your hand.”

Joshua 6:5 states, “The wall of the city will fall down flat.” This shows a wall for protection and before they knew, the Hebrews were coming. The website, Jericho, states the Amorites were one of the earlier tribes. The Canaanites came, and later the Hittites came, conquering each preceding tribe. There was a need for a wall.

Tel of Jericho

Each tribe conquered, subjugated, the preceding tribe. Here is a motivation for earlier tribes to rise up with the Jewish people to overthrow the tribe conquering them. We read the story of Rahab, “Only Rahab the harlot will live, she and all that are with her, as she hid the messengers we sent.” Joshua 6:17.

The moral in this history? Jericho was a pluralistic society, as America is a pluralistic society. The predominant tribe at present is the Anglo-Saxons. The minority tribes include Hispanics, from Africa: Igbo, Congo, Somali, Tutsi, Ameru, and from America, Lakota, Sioux, and Lenape. If we do not treat our minorities well, our Rahab may well be among us.

We notice Rahab was a prostitute. This reminds us of the story in Luke 7:36-50 and in particular Luke 7:44, “Do you see this woman?” The question? “Do you see this woman, or do you see an occupation?” The same issue comes up in Genesis and Exodus. From Genesis 46:34 we learn, “All shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.”

Bronze age sword

From Exodus 1:10, “Pharaoh said, ‘Come, let us deal shrewdly with them.” The question is, “What did Pharaoh say?” The text does not say, but it is fair to conclude he reminded the Hebrews they were shepherds, people of the wrong vocation, something to abuse. The Jews, through the action of God, get even with Pharaoh, and Rahab, through the action of the Hebrews, and the action of God, gets even with the Canaanites and the Hittites. The lesson is that in all people, regardless of race, or vocation, are people, just like us.

Joshua 10 has the story of Gideon, telling how the various tribes listed as present at Jericho were not always at peace. Gideon was a tribe making peace with Israel and becoming part of the Jewish people. Not all people living in Eretz Israel after the Jewish conquest of Canaan escaped from Egypt. There were the relatives of Rahab and the tribe of Gibeon, among others.

One of the important features of this period of the Jewish Exodus and the Early Prophets and first kings was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age and other factors of terrain that affected the movement of Jewish and other peoples. Saul had a hard time fighting Philistines. They had iron weapons. The Israelis used the far softer bronze, giving the Philistines a distinct advantage. The Philistines had superior chariots as well.

Iron age Philistine sword

The people of Israel lived in the mountains. Chariots function much like the modern tank, great in the open field they tend not to function well elsewhere. This gave the Israelis a distinct advantage when fighting in the rugged mountains. Americans are learning the same lesson as they fight the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan. This gives us another lesson, not to think that our weapons will save us. No single weapon is perfect for all theaters of defense.

This being the case, our moral in today’s presentation was that we need to trust less in our technology, and more in each other, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or prior vocation. We need to define our enemies and define them well. If we do not, we may well make people who should be our friends into the enemies who destroy us.

Letters from Antioch, the healing of Maria and her lesson from the roses

When Salvador returned to the other side of the lake, a crowd waiting for him welcomed him. A man named Allen Vey, a deacon at St. Bonaventure Church, came forward. He fell at the feet of Salvador and begged him to come to his humble home. He had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying.

Traveling along with Salvador, the crowds almost crushed him. A particular woman, a Catholic lady, did break through. Her name was Mira and she had open and bloody sores caused by active AIDS for twelve years.

Traveling to the other side of the lake again

She spent tens of thousands of dollars on the project of relieving the symptoms, but with no success. With every drop of blood that dripped from her sores, she could feel another drop of life leave her body. If only she could touch the magic cord, this would heal her. She did touch the cord, and she was.

Salvador asked, “Who touched me?”

While all were denying it, Lee Stone informed Salvador, “Sir, I would like to remind you that the crowds are nearly crushing you to death.”

Salvador responded, “Someone has touched me. I know that I have been touched because power has left me.”

The woman, Mira realized that Salvador found out what she did. She came forward from the vague background with fear in her eyes, trembling. She thought that stealing this healing from the Mighty Savior would bring death. She told the whole truth, hoping for leniency.

Franciscan belt with three knots

Salvador asked her, “My dear Mira, do you not live up to your name? Do you not see you were not reaching for a magic cord, but for a relation with Pop? It is your faith in Pop and your renewed relation with him, which has brought you back to life. Go in peace. Be healed of your weakness.”

Mira looked confused by this.

She asked, “What faith? I am but a poor and uneducated person who has not attended catechism since age twelve.”

Salvador exclaimed, Mira, Mira! You are far more educated than the best theologian at the university.”

“I have no degree and have no formal study since age twelve,” Mira reiterated.

Salvador interjected, “Your experience and your pain is your study. Theologians, in their offices, have not studied nearly as well as you. I now ask you to see the pain of others, and listen for the pain of others. Place your hand on them for me.”

Maria's roses

Mira tore a branch off a rose and smelled the petals that were on its end. She looked at Salvador with tears in her eyes. She then looked into the eyes of Salvador and said, “I am ignorant, I do not understand what faith is, so if I did have it, I would not know it. How can I be a faith healer if I have no faith?”

Salvador asked Mira, “May I run a test to see if you have any faith?”

Mira said, “Yes.”

Salvador asked, “What happens when you retaliate against those angry with you by calling them names?”

“They call you and your parents’ uglier names, and when you attack people, you most often get the wrong person for the wrong reason. It is far better to try and find out where they are coming from and address that.”

Salvador simply taught us, “Strong and eternal are the pure of heart; they will see Pop in everything around them. Faith is truth. Truth is being immersed in the wholeness of Pop’s creation, seeing it, hearing it, smelling it and feeling it. Most important, it is seeing and feeling Pop’s hand in every part of it, the pleasant and the unpleasant.”

Original Tzizit

Salvador looked at Mira and asked her, “Look at the rose you smell. Yes, the smell is sweet. Pop sent the rose so you can enjoy its sweet fragrance. Do stop and smell this one, and all the others. I only ask that you not tear the plant. It hurts the plant, when you tear it limbs off. See the blood as it flows from what is left of the torn limb. Touch it and heal it.”

“I do not have your healing hand,” Mira protested.

Salvador pointed out, “You do not need some magic touch. What I ask is that you look, listen, and touch. As people relate their pain, you will relate your pain to theirs. Tell people about your pain. They will see their pain in yours. Now, you can relate your healing. This is the touch they need. Daughter, your faith saved you; go in peace.”

Our New Testament Class with Reverend Dangel Part 2, healing the paralytic

Reverend Mr. Bob Dangel, our deacon, led our class on the New Testament at 6 P.M. on Wednesday September 28 at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada. Among the topics discussed were the healing of the paralytic, catechesis of our young children, and the proper preparation before Mass.

Our meeting was in the shadow of St. Francis, the man who touched the leper

In discussing the healing of the paralytic, we discussed the idea that the paralytic was the victim of child abuse. What paralyzed the child were a combination of fear and the lack of confidence coming from believing the abuser, that whatever the child does is somehow wrong. Jesus comes preaching confession, a turning of the mind toward God. Jesus also comes with a very Jewish understanding of the Jewish Creed, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Jesus’ Great Commandment, St. Mark 12:28-31. “Hear Israel/those who quarrel with God, God is Almighty, God is One. Love God with all of your hearts, (The word for “hearts” is plural, and the word for “your” is singular,) with all of your animate being, with all of your measure.

Jewish tradition gives two reasons for “hearts” being plural, and “your” being singular. They both apply in the healing of the paralytic. The first is that we both have two hearts. There is the heart/desire to do what is good/pleasing to God, and there is the desire to do what is rotten. We are to love God with both. The second is that “hearts” refers to “Israel,” the community, multiple hearts working together as one, E Pluribus Unum.

Jesus comes to empower the less fortunate

Jesus asks the Pharisees/the Separate Ones, “What is easier to say, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven,” or “Pick up your mat and go home.” If we look at both choices, they both have seven syllabi. Neither is easier to say. Both choices reflect an attitude toward leadership. As Deacon Bob correctly pointed out, the first choice imparts grace, gratitude, a releasing of all the guilt that came from believing he was always wrong. This grace propels the child onward and gives him the direction he needs to continue onward. He needs no more instruction of Jesus. Jesus needs to expend no more syllabi. The count ends at seven.

The second choice is, “Pick up your mat and go home.” The child is empowered to pick up his mat and go home, maybe. The child’s parents told him whatever he did was wrong. The child fears even in this simple task, his leaders will tell him he is doing even this wrong. Out of fear and insecurity, he may not even be able to do this. He will need to be coddled to do even this, with more syllabi expended. When he does get home, with no empowerment to act on his own, he will need more instruction, more syllabi. The count does not end at seven.

By asking, “Who is able to forgive sins,” implying there is sin; the Pharisees display an attitude showing participation in the abuse. The abuse continues; the symptoms remain. Jesus comes with a new attitude, and a new result. The grace Jesus gives empowers the child. The problem is that to act, the child must not only believe whatever he did wrong is forgiven, but that his effort, expanded in the past but failed, will be successful now. Jesus cannot cause the child to believe that. Only the community can.

Reverend Mr. Bob Dangel correctly pointed out that the story does not tell us whether the community helps the paralyzed child. The point given was, this is because we are that community. We answer that question, not with our words, but with our actions. Millions of people in our nation, thousands here in Reno Nevada are victims of abuse, from parents, and abusive management in our factories and other places of employment. We answer that question every time we act, or refuse to act to rectify abuse and bring the victim back into society. The passage begins, “Hear Israel.” Are we a community who acts, or are we communities like the Pharisees that continue to act on the blame?

Our New Testament Class with Reverend Bob Dangel Favorite sacraments, the Physical Presence and heaven

Reverend Bob Dangel, our deacon, led our class on the New Testament at 6 P.M. on Wednesday September 28 at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada. Among the topics discussed were the healing of the paralytic, favorite sacraments, the Physical Presence in the Sacraments, and catechesis of our young children.

Entering the class, those attending saw copies of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greet, Latin, and Latin. This reminded the class that our tradition goes back all the way to Jesus, and to Moses.

Reverend Bob presented the view that his favorite sacrament was confession, as this purifies us and brings us back into the community. The next view presented was that the Mass with the sacrament of the Eucharist is a favorite. It related to confession. The bonding brings us to community. The passage from the Bible was Deuteronomy 5:1-6. The selection emphasized was “It is not to your fathers that I cut this Social Contract, but with you, each of you, standing here, this day.” The passage continues after a few verses, Remember, “I am God your Mighty Judge who rescued you from land of oppression, the house of menial labor.”

One favorite sacrament is confession when we return to God.

We remember our oppression and our rescue. We relive our rescue experience through the Passion of Jesus Christ we relive it for the first time, each time, we celebrate the Mass. Through the transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-8, we find the first reading in the presence on the mountain of Moses, the second reading relives the presence of Elijah, and Jesus is present through the Gospel. We feel the presence of the descending cloud, the booming thunder of the mountain as it belches gases, and watch as the mountain swallows our friends. Through the experience of this event, our participation with Jesus as he undergoes the Passion, we die with Christ, and we rise with Christ.

Another favorite sacrament is the Eucharist in the Mass.

The class discussed near-death experiences as they relate to this experience. We die with Christ, just as people who under near-death experiences undergo a very traumatic experience. We also discussed how people who undergo near-death experiences undergo a complete change of personality. They no longer fear death. Been there, done that. It was nice there. We are eager to undergo that experience again. In order to get there, we must become like the loving presence that was there. When people who undergo this experience return to earth, they are eager to share that sense of peace with others. They become loving, caring, people.

This brought us to a discussion of heaven. The group discussed many views of the place. One of the more interesting was the view that the Hebrew word for heaven literally means, “The of Waters.” Waters flow, as was discussed, as do days. Day and Water in Hebrew are the same word, as was mentioned. We can find heaven here on earth. The view presented by several people in the room was the need constantly to strive to create heaven on earth, and find it in our brothers and sisters.

Deacon Bob asked the group if this means there is no heaven other than the heaven here on earth. The point made was that in the Mass we say, “Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again.” There is also that wonderful place where people who undergo near-death experiences go.

Deacon Bob discussed heaven as being a place where God fills us with compassion and we live in the tranquil communion of heaven. Another example given was that of a movie theater. God fills each of us with compassion and God shows us movies of our lives. If we lived lives of compassion, it is a great movie. If we lived miserly lives, it is a horror movie and we are in hell.

Deacon Bob asked, “What of those like the thief in the Gospel of St. Luke?” The reply was that God edits the film if we repent, even at the last instant. God removes all the bad aspects of our lives and we see a great film. One question asked was, “How can God expect us to behave ourselves in heaven, care for each other in heaven, get along with each other and make heaven a tranquil place, if we do not do those things down here?” The point made was that we must get in practice down here, because if we do not, God may not want us up there. If we practice, we will have earth down here and at the second coming.

Psalm 49, Matthew 24, and Romans 12. How do they apply to our world? Part 2

After we understand who Korach, writer of Psalm 49 is we can read the Psalm attributed to the sons of Korach, the sons who learned the hard lesson from their father:

Hear this, all you peoples; give ear, all who dwell in the underground world, low and high, rich and poor. My mouth will speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart will build you up. Why should I fear in the days of rot, when the crookedness of those who would supplant me surrounds me, of those trusting in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches? A brother cannot redeem a Mensch. You cannot give to God Kippur… wise men die, the fool and the brutish perish together, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever; their dwelling-places to all generations they call their lands after their own names.

The most bullish of our leaders will one day be but silent beasts, dressing on our dinner table, and so will those be who follow them. We should neither fear them, fight them, nor follow them. All bring the same end.

Adam does not reign in his importance; he is like the silent beasts. This is the way of the foolish, and of those approving their sayings.

In our world, we look at the richest 5% of the population bringing home 20% of all income, and the 20% bringing home half of all income while 50% of the population lives on 20% of all income. We see the 50 million people in this country who do not have enough food to feed themselves and their families while 20% of the population controls 85% of all wealth.

There is the temptation to take the route of Korach. There is the temptation to make ourselves the leaders, or appoint leaders to ourselves like Korach who claim they will be the great democratic leaders who will fix things.

Matthew 24 comes with a very interesting warning and we are well advised to heed it:

Learn the warning from the Mount of Olives

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and asked, “Tell us, when will this happen, what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus replied to them, “See that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah;’ they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed. These things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place.

The passage continues. The warning is in the implied words. Who will tell the people of wars and reports of wars? Who will tell us of nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom? Who will tell us about these famines, and earthquakes and what they mean? It is these false Messiahs. They will do so that that we will vote for them so that they will fulfill their prophecy and bring these disasters.

We look at the end of Psalm 49, “Man that is weighty does not understand; he is like the silent beasts. God is in control We are to look to our vocation, our calling, the way God calls us to profess our faith and do that. If someone comes preaching that they, whoever they are, are a threat to us, run for the hills, hide in the caves. Do not fear the person you are told is a threat. Fear the person giving the report. Then all will go well with you.

Psalm 49, Matthew 24, and Romans 12. How do they apply to our world? Part 1

In reading Psalm 49, we must first understand who Korach is and what he represents. Korach is the man who fought Moses for control of the people of Israel as they wondered through the wilderness those 40 years. We read about him in Numbers 16. He is the Levite who challenges Moses, saying, “You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all dedicated, and the Personal Name is in their midst. So why do raise yourselves above the Personal Name’s assembly?”

The end of Korach

Moses spoke to Korah and to all his company, saying, “In the morning, the Personal Name will make known who is His, and who is dedicated, and He will draw them near to Him, and the one He chooses, He will draw near to Him. Do this, Korah and his company: Take for yourselves pans for incense. Place fire into them and put incense upon them before the Personal Name tomorrow, the man whom the Personal Name chooses he is the dedicated one; you have taken too much upon yourselves, sons of Levi.”

Rabbinic text makes the issue from Numbers 16 clear. Korach claims to be a supporter of democracy to the point of communism. Everyone is the same. All should be able to take the incense to the altar and sacrifice it. Moses looks and finds something else in play, “God drew you near, and all your brothers, the sons of Levi with you, and now you seek the priesthood as well?”

Korach was as most would be leaders. They claim to be great democratic leaders professing equality of all people, when in reality they profess to themselves that they are the most equal of all.

We need to know we are the sheep and he is shepherd, and who are the wolves.

St. Paul talks about the issue of Numbers 16 when he says in Romans 12, “I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, dedicated and pleasing to God, your logical public service. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”

“By the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned. As in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function. We, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them.”

It is just this last part that Korach misses. He wants to be Cohen. He wants all people to be Cohen. He wants pure equality among all men. The part that he misses is that God calls each of us to a different vocation. Vocation comes from the Latin, “stem of vocātiō, a call, summons, equivalent to vocāt past participle of vocāre  to call.” Another term we use in English is Profession. Our profession is the way we profess our faith through what we do, not on Sunday morning, but during the workweek.

Korach was correct. We may well all be equals, but we are not all salesmen, leaders, plumbers, or pipefitters. God calls us all to different tasks and God, not us, is the individual who decides those tasks.

Letters from Antioch the story of Witco, about running naked, and living with pigs

Once Salvador entered a boat with his Akicita and told them, “Let us go to the other side of the lake.” Therefore, they got into their boats, freed the masts, and set sail. While Salvador’s Akicita were pulling on ropes to steer the boats Salvador fell asleep below decks. A squall blew over the lake; they were taking in water and they were in danger.

Someone asked, “Is everybody bailing?” Lee Stone said, “No we are missing one.” Several came and shook him saying, “Professor, Professor, we are going to die!” Salvador woke up, talked sternly to the wind and the waves, and they subsided.

They went to the other side of the lake

Calm blew in as the storm went elsewhere. Salvador asked them, “Where is your understanding of the presence of the Mighty Savior? Where is your faith?” Admiration filled them. They talked amongst themselves saying, “Who then is this man. He commands even the forces of nature, winds, and sea, and they listen to him?” They sailed to the land of the Omaha, which is near Sacramento County.

As they came ashore a man from the town, a person the people called a Witco or crazy person came to greet him. He exclaimed, “What the world needs is more beer, boobs and broads. Get me some T & A and I will be fine.” He also said, “Let there be more green light on the red light…districts.”

When Salvador saw him, he ran around naked, and made all kinds of noises. Witco had marks on his feet from where the chains bound him. This is so much like the preppy proper people who are always trying to put chains on the rough people who live on the rough streets of our inner cities. These people do live like scrub cattle, always attacking those around them, fighting for the scrub grass in order to survive.

Witco yelled, “Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Let us live for today, tomorrow, with any luck, we die and this hell on earth is over.”

For a long time, he had not worn clothes, and did not live in a house, but among the mausoleums. When he saw Salvador, he cried out and fell down in front of him, with his hands outstretched and his face in the dirt.

He cried. “What are you going to do to me, Salvador, The Ben Adam sent by the Most High, the Mighty Savior? I beg you, do not torment me!”

Salvador ordered the anger in the man to come out of him. It had seized him many times. The county jail had bound him with chains and shackles as a restraint, but he would break these and run headlong out into the woods.

Salvador asked him, “What is your name?”

He replied, “Washington De Columbia. Please do not to order us spirits to depart to the abyss.”

He was called Legion in Palestine, and there was only one Legion in Palestine, the Roman Legions, the Capital of Rome was Rome.

Pigs fed on a nearby hill. The voices inside Washington De Columbia pleaded through him to Salvador to allow them to go into the pigs. Salvador allowed this. It was eerie. A gust of wind seemed to enter the pigs, which rushed down the steep bank and into the lake where they drowned. When the men guarding the pigs saw what had happened, they ran and reported the incident to the people of Tahoe City and to everyone they met in the rural areas.

When they returned, they came with a large crowd carrying heavy-duty flashlights and clubs. When they arrived, where Salvador was, they discovered the man who had been a Witco sitting at his feet. He was clothed and in his right mind. Angst seized them. Those who witnessed it told them how Salvador saved Witco.

They asked, “What have you done? What did you do to spook the pigs?”

Salvador responded:

Who is more important, your brother Washington who was dead but is now alive, or property which is here today and gone tomorrow? To get rid of your demons, you must join the living. Get rid of your own demons, your pigs, to clean your environment of people and things you do not want. To get rid of big government, you must get rid of the need for big government. You need to be more concerned for each other, the living. Big business people, to get rid of the legions of bureaucrats hounding you, you must get rid of your pigs.

Remember the reason that pork is not kosher. It is not because it is dirty or that some ancient people associated it with disease. Pigs are more human like than cattle. Because pigs are more humanlike, they are more able to share their diseases with humans. Pigs are humanoid, human like, without truly being human. You also refer to people with what you call sub-standard hygiene as pigs. They are humanoid, but to you, not truly human. In your fine dress, proper taste in the arts, and in life-styles, you work these people to death for maximum profit for yourselves.

You treat these people like animals while they are the bedrock that holds your society together. They are the carpenters, plumbers, sewage collectors, and sewer cleaners. Their hygiene seams substandard. They are the ones who get their hands dirty so that you can eat. Who are the real pigs?

The pig is the only non-kosher animal that is kosher on the outside, ‘it has cloven hoof,’ and is non-kosher on the inside. It does not chew the cud. You preppy proper people are the same. You look kosher on proper on the outside. Inside you are rotting bones with no concern for the human dignity of others. To get rid of the demon inside of the man, you must treat him like a man, a living man.

The townspeople retorted, “At least punish him for going naked all of these years. Is this not immoral? Does it not say in the Torah that God gave us loincloths to where, and that Noah’s sons sinned in seeing their father naked.”

Salvador responded:

Did you read in the twentieth chapter of Isaiah, ‘Isaiah went naked through the streets for three years?’ If going naked is immoral, a matter of sexual indecency, why did God give the prophet such a command?

Why did the religious authorities of his day not arrest the man long before three years were over? I say, going naked in public is not a sexual sin. Why did God give Isaiah such a command? Cloths really do make the man. In the old days, only the slaves went naked. It was more convenient for their masters. Naked slaves have no cloths to wash or wear out. Naked mammals are animals, not people, and animals have no rights.

The command to wear cloths is therefore a call for and to liberty and freedom, to be fully human in every way. It is not a call for sexual morality. This man ran naked through the graveyards because his ailment temporarily made him appear less than human.

This man is now healthy. He is fully human again. That is why you see him clothed and sane before you. In being naked, he has committed no crime. Therefore, I punish him for none.

To get rid of big government, you must get rid of the need for big government. Be more concerned for each other, the living. You must clothe the poorest among you, and you must clothe them in the dignity that comes with being a human being. Pop prefers that you do this without your Uncle Sam interfering. If he must interfere to get you to treat your brothers and sisters in Christ as brothers and sisters, let your uncle interfere.


They kept pigs Kosher outside, not kosher inside

Great angst seized the ranchers. The entire population of the region of Tahoe City told Salvador, “Leave!”

Salvador got into a boat and we returned to where we had started. The man from whom the voices had come out begged to remain with him. Instead, Salvador told him to return home saying, “Return home, and recount what the Mighty Savior has done for you.”

The man sauntered away and told everyone he met throughout Tahoe City what Salvador had done for him.

Letters from Antioch the inter-racial couple and the call for community

Salvador and our group sauntered into St Bonaventure Church and listened to the creaking of the boards of the oak floor and people reciting their rosaries as we moved to pews near the tabernacle.

Salvador grumbled as he heard Anna Lynn talking to her boyfriend George, “Don’t tell me about the hypocrites at Mass or at Protestant liturgy. I know they are there. They are the people fighting us.”

A couple arrived early for Mass. The woman white, the man African-American. Another person present in the sanctuary was a burly white man wearing a flannel shirt, blue jeans, and cowboy boots who looked at them.

Resenting the look they had become accustomed to, they went over to correct him. They started, ‘Howdy. We were just noticing the look you were giving us.” The man responded, ‘I am sorry, I’m really not all that religious. I really didn’t see you either. You see, my car just broke down, again, and I am in here crying and asking God why, he is doing this to me, again.”

The woman asked, “What is the car doing, or not doing?”

The man retorted in disgust, “It dies at intersections and does not start again.”

The woman pointed out, “I’m a mechanic. Let me go look.”

The three went, first to her car, where she grabbed tools, and returned to his car. We followed Salvador as he watched the unfolding events.

Things are not always as they seem

The woman changed the negative battery terminal and poured some Pepsi on the positive terminal. The man in the cowboy boots tried starting the car. It started like new.

The woman informed him, “Bad terminal with some corrosion,” and entered the church.

Salvador related, “So it is to be with you. Be willing to confront, but confront with love. Things are not always, as they seem. If the man were a racist you would take this case to the priest, to the Bishop and, if necessary, to the Pope.”

Salvador commanded, “Be prepared when people confront you. Community is for growth and growth sometimes comes with pain. Sometimes, the shoe falls on the other foot. We are sometimes the people at fault. Be ready.”

Obedience? Being subservient, listening, or standing under God

Father Francisco Nahoi gave the homily at the Sunday Mass at the Cathedral in Reno Nevada for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. His homily was on obedience. Father began his homily by talking about the American problem with obedience. He pointed out that we suffered the Irish Potato famine, the revolutions of 19th Century Europe, the slavery of the south, and the sweatshops of the north.

OK, we suffered. Now what?

Feeling abuse inflicted upon us, we are less likely to be obedient in the sense we use the term. We have a problem when we read of Jesus, being obedient to death, death on the cross.

Greek has two words for “Obedient.” The first concept is ὑποτάσσω,to stand under or support someone. Corporations have hierarchies. Being second is command is not degradation. The second translates the Hebrew, “שְׁמַע” to listen, “ὑπακούω.” When Americans think of obedience, we think of being subservient, losing dignity, being an under servant. When St. Paul discusses Jesus’ obedience in the second reading, it is, “שְׁמַע” or “ὑπακούω.” Jesus listens to his father. He is the soldier who loses his life for others, and in the process gains honor.

The classic example of obedience is the escape from Egypt. Ephesians 6:1 says, “Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν ὑμῶν ἐν κυρίῳ, τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν δίκαιον.” “Children, listen to your parents in Kyrie, for this is charitable.” The exodus story presents parents who were slaves in Egypt. They made the Golden Calf. God did not deem them worthy to enter the Promised Land. God told the children to honor these parents in The Ten Commandments, the parents St. Paul tells us to listen to.

If a parent tells their children to get drunk, or use drugs, is following these parent’s instructions, honoring them? Are children taking actions to prevent parents from hurting themselves honoring them? The command is to listen, not do whatever they say.

Father pointed out, when we are insecure, we grasp for control. The second reading states, “Have in you the same attitude that is in Christ, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.” Jesus does not grasp. Jesus does not try to get control. Jesus does not follow the Protestant Work Ethic, the ethic of rugged individualism.

Father Francisco ended his homily with a short discussion of Lexio Devina. The first step in Lexio Devinais Lectio, listening to all that it has to say. Continuing the listening process, we chew on the words, listening for all the words have to say. We pray about what we are reading, keeping in mind that prayer is a reflexive verb, sitting down with God, and deciding how to implement what we read in our lives.

The last part is contemplation, going to the mountain, Mount Horeb and reliving the exodus in present time. We go to the transfiguration and relive the Passion of Jesus Christ, again, for the first time. We do this through the Eucharist, experiencing the Physical Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Host.

People who undergo near-death experiences report feeling God with a sense of tranquility giving complete rest. Coming back to earth, they no longer feel the need to be in control. Going to the mountain is our near-death experience. We let go and we let God.

We can “Have the encouragement in Christ, the solace in love, to complete the joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing.” Instead of clinging for control and doing God’s job, or our neighbor’s job, we can be an integral part of community, and just do our job, in love.

Letters from Antioch, Discussions about finding that ideal bull, and discussing the midrash of the great harvest

Salvador left the crowds and entered his home. His students followed, “Please give us a detailed exposition of what you mean with the story of the weeds in the field.”

Salvador answered, “The one who scatters the beautiful seed is the Ben Adam. The field is everything you see before you. It is the civilized world. The beautiful seeds are those people who build up the nation. The weeds are those who bring unpleasantness into our world, no matter how well justified their plans seem to be.”

Bird looking for that great harvest

Salvador discussed the birds in the story, “In this story, the birds represent The Great Accuser. It is in accusation that The Great Accuser spreads his poison. The harvest is the second coming. You, the members of the leadership, are the reapers. Weeds are gathered and burned with fire at the landfill. Likewise, those who bring unpleasantness into our world will face the landfill.”

He also informed his followers about the role of his messengers, his leaders, “The Ben Adam sends his messengers. You, his messengers are to gather from his nation all causes of error and all those who perpetrate it. You will throw them into the landfill where they will weep and gnash their teeth in anger. The charitable will shine like the sun in the nation of their pop. He, who has ears to listen, let them listen.”

Looking for that Herford Bull

Salvador conversed about the rancher and his cattle, “The nation of Pop is like the five great Hereford bulls which a rancher went through all of Kansas, Iowa, California, the Washoe, and Texas looking to buy for stud with his 150 cows. He wanted the perfect calves that would produce the must succulent, juicy, and tasty meat.”

He told what happened when he found the perfect bull, “When he found just one, he forgot the other four, sold everything he had but for his cows, and purchased that bull. The word of Pop is to be tasted and savored, and not swallowed whole.”

Salvador compared his word to gold in Mexico, “The nation of Pop is like gold found in a field in the black hills of Mexico. When a man finds these ingots in a private field, he covers it up, and in his joy, he sells everything that he has and buys that field.”

Trawling at sea

Salvador added, “The nation of Pop is like the great commercial trawlers that throw nets into the sea in search of tuna to put on your table. They pull in the great tuna and with it dolphins, sharks, squid, jellyfish, and all kinds of animal life, some of which is edible and some of which is not. When the fishermen get to shore, others are paid to sort out the tuna and dispose of the rest.”

Salvador finished his contrast, “So it is to be when you study the word of Pop. Search diligently, everywhere for the word of Pop. Bring it to the church where the community can sort the fresh from the rotten. When you go out searching for friends, become real friends with all that you meet. When friendship is established invite them to Mass.”

Salvador also quoted from the Church Fathers, “It is not the nature in us which is the cause of the unpleasantness, but it is the voluntary choice which causes unpleasantness. It is the principle of love and seeing a relation with The Mighty Savior that makes men charitable. It either comes from rot to strength, or returning from progress towards strength to the flood of rot.”[1]


[1] Second Book of the Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew, Book 11, Origenes Adamantius, New Advent, Web Page, 2003