Reading for the Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Jess theses statement in LukeHear Israel/You who Struggle with God, God is Almighty, God is One. Love God with all of your hearts, with all of your Animate Being, and with all of your Measure. The issues, I command you, this day, will be upon your hearts. You will speak them distinctly (The root word means to sharpen) to your children. You will talk of them when sitting in your house, when on the road, when you lay down for the night, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 The Shemasaints love

This Mitzvah (this is the Jewish word used in the passage) I command thee this day, it is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, (the great flow of things/out there) that thou should say, ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? Nor, is it beyond the sea, that you say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it? The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that you do it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day; I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life. “Boker Chaim.” Deuteronomy 30:11-19. Luke 10:25-28

The sign from heaven is not up there, but down here.Stand in the things you learned and have been handed on to you as a treasure, knowing from you learned them. From a babe the sacred writings have been made know to you and able to make you wise to Joshua/Salvation upon the hand of Amen in Jesus/Joshua Christ. All writing in the Spirit of God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction, which is in charity.

This is how St. Paul writes the Twenty-Ninth Document of Ordinary time. Many, including Catholics, are of the opinion that children should be allowed to pick their own faith, when they are teens, or later. This is not biblical. The word for “Hearts,” in Deuteronomy 6:4, Jesus’ Great Commandment, is plural. The word for “your,” is singular. There are two explanations for this. One is that we each have multiple hearts. Jewish tradition speaks of the yetzer hatov, and the yetzer harah, the inclination to the beautiful, and to the rotten. The other is that “hearts,” refers to the entire community and therefore to a multitude of hearts, individuals. Love God with all of your hearts, including your rotten instincts.

PovertyFind the negative aspects of yourself, and find ways to love God with those also. If you are greedy, be greedy in doing good works. Drunks understand this. If you are a drunk, you have an asset. Jesus tradition also includes the Baal Teshuvah, the Master or Repentence. He takes his negative and uses it to fund other drunks and bring them to salvation.

American Flag

The other interpretation is that “hearts,” refers to the entire community. Speak of the distinctly to your children. There is no room here for empty ritual. The Jewish tradition St. Paul speaks of here includes that idea of Cavanah, that if you do not understand what you are hearing at Mass, every word of it, you did not fulfill your religious obligation. Meditate upon them all the time, as Shema says.

Shema says we should love God will all of our hearts, our animate being and with our measure. I once asked a rabbi what the difference was between blood and animate being, soul. He said they were the same thing. Blood is the only organ that touches every other organ of the body, at the same time. It touches everything. With all of our measure means that if we measure ourselves with our strength, we love God with our strength. If we measure ourselves with our wealth, we love God with that. If we measure ourselves with our patriotism, we love God with that. That means we only vote for people who universally support what God supports.

What do we give someone who literally already has everything? That is God. We respect what is his, in particular what he made in his image, each other. We need to note that God does not say we should love him with our concepts. Concepts get in the way of love. We have lawyers because they are great at defining things to death. Concepts are easily manipulated. Luke 7:44 has Jesus say, “Behold the woman. Franciscans have St. Francis and the leper. When we strip away our concepts, truly strip them away, there is nothing before us, but the woman, or the leper.

St. Francis and the leperThere are no Muslims, Jews, blacks Hispanic, Catholics, Protestants, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. There is simply this person in need. That is why Deuteronomy 30 speaks of God’s word not being in heaven or across the sea. It is in each of us. The Bible never says it is in our heads. Luke never speaks of God’s word being in her head, only in her heart. This allows her to see people for who they are.

Many say that we are opinionated because we are not conservative like them. We do not have opinions. We have what is in our heart. Deuteronomy 30 says, “Choose Life.” This is one of the 613 Jewish commandments. All life is life in potentiality. Choosing life means loving God with all of our measure, using all of our resources to make sure all people, each person before us has life in all of its glorious potential. God then calls us to be like the persistent widow, always before the judge, standing up for what is right. We all have what is right, even the crooked judge. We will lose many jobs for standing up for life with dignity for all people Conservatives do not like hearing that. We will love a few lives. Remember, Christianity did conquer Rome.

Yes, that means we need to have a Synod in our diocese in Reno. We need one to bring us back to the basics. From a babe the sacred writings have been made know to you and able to make you wise to Joshua/Salvation upon the hand of Amen in Jesus/Joshua Christ. What is the basis of these writings but Jesus Christ and his presence in the Eucharist? How does it transform us, but by making us choose life, both for ourselves and for everyone on this planet. What separates us from the Protestants, but, “All writing in the Spirit of God is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction, which is in charity.” That includes all that is handed on to us, not just the collection of books we call the Bible. The magisterium’s job is deciding the key part, “written in the Spirit of God.”

We speak of Subsidiarity and Solidarity. What is the former but not doing for another what he is capable of doing for himself? What is Solidarity, but doing everything else. We need a frank discussion to decide the basics and from the basics what is in our hearts, how do find the right tension between the two. Let us work for that Synod.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Twenty Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time

statue-of-liberty-chainsThe word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal importance. This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we persevere, we shall also reign with him.

Édouard René de Laboulaye the president of the French Anti-Slavery Society first proposed the Statue of Liberty. The project is traced to a conversation between Édouard René de Laboulaye, and Frédéric Bartholdi, a sculptor in mid-1865. The Civil War ended this year. The word of God is not chained.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps, They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: His day is marching on.

Jess theses statement in LukeWhose day? The Lord’s Day. What is his righteous sentence? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

In our reading for Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time we read, “He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Being born in this nation means nothing in God’s eye. What matters is that we hear his righteous sentence. We are all equal, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or sex. We are all created equal. We are also a nation of immigrants. We read in our Fourth Commandment, “Remember that you too were once slaves in the land of Egypt/Oppression/Europe/Ireland/the sweatshops of the northern factories, the plantations of the south, and the LORD, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD, your God, has commanded you to observe Sabbath.”

Pro-lifeRemember you were once oppressed. We all have endured oppression in our lives, all of us. In the Eucharist we did with Christ. We die liturgically in the anamnesis, we rise in the partaking of the host. The words of the Battle Hymn sing in us:

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: “As ye deal with my condemner’s, so with you my grace shall deal”; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat; Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.

God does sift our hearts. We stand for the oppressed, those trying to cross some silly wall to find sufficient food, clothing, and shelter for their young, for the minority in the Deep South who does not have a birth certificate because he was born of mid-wives who did not know to get one, and for those who suffer. If we do not, if we are not swift to answer Him, well, we are sifted out.

AnnaIn the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.

Does the glory in his bosom transfigure us, make us into God’s image. If it does, we fight to make men free, in Aleppo Syria, in Mexico City, in Ferguson Missouri, in Florida, in the dozens of cities where minorities are killed because they have too much melanin in their skin, or the speak funny, or they look funny, or they do not think like us, or are we sifted. That is the question today.

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary or flame, Choreography and listening the great Chorus of life.

emmitt-tillThe apostles told Kyrie, “Increase our faith.” Kyrie replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would listen to you.

Much time can be spent on this, trying to figure out how literal we should take it. After much thought, we find the key word is “Faith.” Faith, in Hebrew is “Amen,” or rather “Emmett.” The German etymology is not far from the original Hebrew meaning. The German word Emmett, means to be whole. The Hebrew comes from Aleph, meaning the beginning, who is God, the middle, who is the water of baptism, and the end, which is the cross. Together, it means the true cosmic whole. True faith means being in complete contact with reality.

Jess theses statement in LukeThere is no increasing faith. It is being in touch with the whole. In opposition to this is Psychosis, or an abnormal condition of the Psych, or the soul. It is one not in complete touch with everything. The healthy condition is the complete contact with reality, body, mind, and soul. If we are one with reality, reality listens to us, because we listen to it. We know how it naturally responds, and this is what we ask it to do, to be itself, to become itself.

When we separate from reality, the result is what Habakkuk warns us about, “I cry for help
but you do not listen!” When we listen, the trees listen to us. “I cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not intervene.” When we do not listen, we do not know to intervene. We close our eyes, and we are deaf. Being in touch with reality means seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling all that is in it. It is very sensual. There is no room for violence when we are too busy taking our time to use all of our senses with it.

aleppo“Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.” The short answer is that when we do see, we do not act. There is violence in our world. We do not see the suffering of others. They become desperate, and when they become desperate, they act out, generally acting upon the wrong people.

St. Paul tells Timothy in our Second Reading for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, “stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.” The Greeks give us an interesting word, “Choreography.” It is related to a similar English word, “Chorus.” They both come from a Greek idea, the Divine Dance, the dance of the Trinity, which the Trinity asks us to emulate. That divine dance is like a flame. Like a fire, the flames are sometimes one with the fire, and sometimes they rise above it, into separate flames. God calls us to be like that. When we see suffering, God calls us to rise above the mass of embers below and to act. Stir the flame of God’s gift, which burns within us.8919_1243228163516_2601477_n

In the anamnesis of the Eucharist, we remember Jesus’ death, and his resurrection. We remember what it was like to be with Christ as he hung on the cross when the Pharisees told him to come down from that cross. The implication of the Pharisee’s remarks is that Jesus chooses to be there, and he does. They do not know who he is, and therefore they do not know what they do. Jesus hangs on the cross, to them, as an ordinary person, and as an ordinary person, he chooses to be there. In the anamnesis of the Eucharist, we remember what it is like to be told that we chose our lot when we suffer, so they are not responsible. We remember, we abandon that excuse for inaction and like a flame that cannot help but to burn we do something.

When we are in touch with reality, all of reality, we strive to create a harmony with it. When we do that, the world listens. Many complain that people do not listen to the church, the Kyrie Oikos, the House of Christ.

Pro-lifeIn the Gospel, Jesus ends by telling us, “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” We are part of reality, no matter how hard we try to hide that fact by hiding in gated communities, putting mud on our faces, and moving to the suburbs to separate ourselves from the poor, the outcast, the disenfranchised from society. Remember, those who are separated from society, from the poor, the outcast, the things we do not want to see, have removed their soul from it. A soul separated from reality is Psychotic, and that is not healthy.


The Rich Man and Lazarus: Lessons for Our Time

Jess theses statement in LukeAbraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’” Reading for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ Reading for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house; I have five brothers… Reading for the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We often do not see, or understanding what the rich man in this story is doing with his requests. Lazarus is short for Eliezer, “my God is help”. In the Old Testament, this is the name of both a servant of Abraham and one of the sons of Moses. The rich man puts his trust in those who are underneath him. Even in hell itself, the rich man expects the poor who were underneath him on earth to serve him in the afterlife.


The rich man in this story does not understand Jewish tradition. “The master of a Hebrew bondman must place him on an equality with himself in meat and drink, in lodging and in bed-clothes, and must act toward him in a brotherly manner; for Scripture always speaks of him as “thy brother.” Ḳiddushin. 20a of the Jewish Mishnah in the Jewish Talmud writes, “Whoever buys a Hebrew servant buys a master for himself.”

When it comes to income inequality, “Before accounting for taxes and transfers, the U.S. ranked 10th in income inequality; among the countries with more unequal income distributions were France, the U.K. and Ireland. But after taking taxes and transfers into account, the U.S. had the second-highest level of inequality, behind only Chile.”

Our employees are associates, but most top level executives have not a clue as to how their employees live their lives, while working for them, and on their time off. “Whoever buys a servant buys a master. He buys someone he is going to be responsible for. When an employer hires someone, he hires someone he is going to be responsible for. That means management by walking around. That means knowing the names, not just of your employees, but of their wives, and their children. Surely it means knowing something of their jobs.

Lazarus is God’s helper. He fulfills Torah in whatever limited ability he has in this life. He acquires Abraham’s bosom. The rich man neglects Torah in this life, and in the process, neglects it in the next. Some argue that it is OK to pollute the environment in this world. After all, the second coming is at hand. They forget Genesis where God commands Adam and Eve to guard and keep the garden. God never rescinds that command. If we cannot guard and keep this planet, why should God give us the next one?Elijah revives the son

Rabbi Jonathan would say: Whoever fulfills the Torah in poverty, will ultimately fulfill it in wealth; and whoever neglects the Torah in wealth, will ultimately neglect it in poverty.

Against your will you are formed, against your will you are born, against your will you live, against your will you die, and against your will you are destined to give a judgment and accounting before the king, king of all kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.

We grandly think we are Christians, a word that means, “Like Christ.” We drive our SUVs, and live in grand houses in gated communities to make sure we do not see the many  Lazarus of this world. Those who fit this mold need to hear Jesus’ warning, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Well, we believe that Christ rose from the dead. Are we persuaded by him? Jesus tells us, “They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

What do they say, “I am the NAME your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt/Oppression, out of the house of slavery… Remember that you too were once servants in the land of Egypt/Oppression, and the NAME, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. Deuteronomy 5:15 (the Ten Commandments.) when your son asks you, “What do these decrees and statutes and ordinances mean?” which the NAME, our God, has enjoined on you, you shall say to your son, “We were once servants of Pharaoh in Egypt/Oppression. The NAME brought us out of Egypt/Oppression with a strong hand. He wrought before our eyes signs and wonders, great and dire, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and his whole house. He brought us from there to bring us in and give us the land he had promised on oath to our ancestors. Deuteronomy 6, right after Jesus Great Commandment.

Simons mother in lawWe then read, “This is our Justice.” Our justice is remembering oppression in our lives. When we see others suffering, doing something about it.

“You might say in your heart, “It is my own power and the strength of my own hand that has got me this wealth.” Remember then the NAME, your God, for he is the one who gives you the power to get wealth, by fulfilling, as he has now done, the covenant he swore to your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 8.

The so-called Protestant work ethic and rugged individualism is idolatry of self. God is our helper, not ourselves. The power to get wealth is dependent upon the first rule of loving God first and neighbor second. It is remembering oppression, liturgically, in the Mass, in the liturgy of the Eucharist.

The NAME, your God, is the God of gods, the NAME of masters, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving them food and clothing. So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10

There is no room here for building great walls to separate us from them, whoever “them,” is.

This all means being God’s helper, guarding and keeping his planet, in particular what is made in his image, each other. As Rabbi Hillel once said about Torah, “All the rest is commentary; now go study.”