The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Our first film of this year’s 2022 series, Fractured Fairy Tales, at St Mary’s is THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, an Orson Welles film released by RKO. The AADL has both a regular single disc release and the Criterion Collection’s restored quality version and double-disc release. We watched the latter.

With the shorter notice and communication challenges, we had fewer people, but it was nice to have discussion face-to-face, without having to run the microphone around so we could hear each other.

Without jumping in too far in description here … let’s see what people have to say about it and use the comments for discussion.

Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are here

Fr Dennis Dillon, SJ might have had this Sunday off (all Cycle C years!! — 2013, 2016, 2019). Oftentimes, having “held the fort” while his Jesuit brothers directly ministering to the students took their breaks during the summer, Fr Dennis then headed out for his time away as the school year settled in.  But we have a cameo from Fr Terry Dumas, diocesan priest and former assistant pastor, well-known and beloved, at Saint Mary Student Parish. 

I spent some time imagining a poem that D2 might have selected for September 1, 2013.

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In 2013, Fr Terry Dumas shared–

  • He entered seminary later in life — a long, amazing story and call to his vocation — and was feeling the odd guy out because of his experiences.
  • He prayed with God, sharing how he was “sick of being different.”  In their prayer-conversation, God replied, “Too bad.  You are!”  🙂  But that truth and acceptance of it was freeing to him.
  • Fr Terry became more active in helping his fellow seminarians get out in service a bit; it was not a common practice at the time apparently.  He also went out and helped teach English in prison, later having his fellow seminarians join him.
  • So, in being himself and serving others, he found himself and himself deeper in relationship with Christ.

Earlier in the year or perhaps the year prior, Fr Dennis had shared a poem at Easter — a bit different but one encompassing what he understood how suffering and the resurrection in relationship might appear at the personal scale (since Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection is/was personal, universal, and cosmic).  The poem describes the willingness to be “wrong” and offer up one’s self bound in being “right” for the love of the other, as well as God’s call of Love.  We face the challenge of taking the universal and complete offering of Jesus’ self and finding this personal expression in the moments of our own lives.

So … this poem, Listening by David Ignatow, was one that struck me at the time as consistent with the gospel and possible re-use by Fr Dennis, so I chose it for my notes.  The change of perspective isn’t about capitulating in deceit or avoidance, it is conversion — for the greater glory of God.

For those of us who pastor with or been pastored by Fr Dennis:  Kind listening … and a fun sense of humor come to the fore, over and over again.

Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are here

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homiy from the

  • August 21, 2016 10AM Mass

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The poems Fr Dennis references this year is:

In 2016, we reflected on —

  • Somehow, the readings seem appropriate with the start of the school year and the theme of “discipline,” as our summer season of adventures winds down.
  • D2 reminded us that each Cycle (A – Mark, B – Matthew, or C – Luke) is based primarily on one gospel (and the Gospel of John is used to fill in and during Triduum and other special liturgical seasons).  The gospel passage is chosen for an appropriate liturgical theme (e.g., the summery Eastertide readings are an unlikely match as Lenten readings).  Once the gospel passage for a Sunday is selected, the first reading (generally Hebrew Scriptures) is chosen to match it; and then the 2nd reading (generally a progression through one of the epistles).  As a result, the 2nd reading may or may not match the gospel & first reading.
  • First reading, Isaiah — the prophecy is God’s glory going out to all nations.  As the Jewish community spread out across the globe/lands; God is going to be active there, too; and they will come from East and West to Jerusalem (not just Jews) … as equals to Jews … and some will be called / taken as priests and Levites.  What?!?!?  At the time, this was an unfathomable notion, as the Jews (and Jews alone) were God’s chosen people.
  • All world religions face this challenge:  How can God be my God .. and everybody’s God?  It’s human nature, we each need to establish God’s Love for me, and then we are more open to God loving everyone else, too.  In the Consecration, the 2011 text changed from “My blood will be poured out for you and everyone” to “blood poured out for you and for many.”  “Many” in Hebrew means “everyone” as ancient languages often counted “1, 2, many.”
  • Jesus is someone his disciples (then and us now) must hold in the mystery of being a remarkable personal friend and savior of the world.
  • Our poem this Sunday is Mary Oliver’s Singapore.  D2 prepped us that he would physically be moving from one place in front of the sanctuary to another (say, four feet away) and back to model the structure of the written poem, in which the new experience she is having is on the left side of the page and her experience of nature & poetry to that point on the right side of the page.  Her final stanza is in the middle, her new center after this epiphany. (Alas, the online link rl found does not match the formatting of the 1990 House of Light version reprinted in New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1. that Fr Dennis found and used.)
  • “A darkness was ripped from my eyes” — Mary Oliver’s is a paraphrase of God being not just for me but for everyone.  Her poem clearly states how she doesn’t like the idea of this woman’s work, of a life compelling this sort of work, or the lack of nature’s beauty in this setting (and thus, this poem she is writing).
  • But the woman’s smile convinces her that light can be in such a job, a light that can shine out of such a life … with the result that the poem is filled with trees and birds .. they are just in a new form.
  • God is not a matter of head knowledge but in experience of all forms, our God and my God.

There was a good Charlie Brown & Snoopy image with friend and savior text … and probably all kinds of copyright violations, even by fair use standards. So, I went with the Salvadoran Good Shepherd crucifix …  🙂

Twentienth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are here

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the

  • August 18, 2019 Noon Mass
  • August 18, 2013 Noon Mass

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The poems Fr Dennis references in these years are:

In 2019, we reflected on the juxtaposition of great desire and great suffering in the gospel passage.  We likely reflected on much more, but I have not the notes!  🙂  Sorry!

In 2013, we reflected on

  • St Ignatius used “hearts on fire” and “set the world on fire” to describe the charism of the Jesuits. 
  • (rl notes the Jesuit sense of humor, as Fr James Martin, S.J., in his book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, pointed out that in the Jesuit Curiae, a statue of St Ignatius with the slogan of “Set the world on fire” on its pedestal is located right next to the fire extinguisher.)
  • D2 continued — Our readings capture some of the deep desires of our faith, desires that help lead us on and through severe challenges:
    • In the 1st Reading, Jeremiah is subject to much suffering and trials
    • In the 2nd Reading, St Paul exhorts that Jesus endures the cross in obedience for the joy to come (not causal, but in faith)
    • In the gospel reading from Luke, “set against” could also be translated as “set apart” in Greek.  We’re unsure.  But Christ’s great desire to bring us to the Kin-dom, even though he had to pass through great suffering and death is our model of longing and desire for God’s Will, God’s Love.
  • In the Cleveland Art Museum, there is a face of Jesus displaying … actually, there are lots of faces of Jesus in the Cleveland Art Museum!  So, rl found this one … And In the Very Disk of the Sun Shines the Face of Jesus Christ, 1888.  But, I am wondering if this is one of the times that Fr Dennis mentioned St Peter Repentant, one that shows Peter looking up to Christ in the Judgment Hall and meeting Mercy.  It looks like a face that has met and is meeting love and the realization that we are always already forgiven.
  • Also, the painting of The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16 October 1834 captures how people are drawn to / compelled to gather around fire.
  • In the For a Dying Tomcat poem,
    • Our offerings to Christ at the peak of our inner fire (the neighbor’s koi)
    • Our offerings to Christ as our means to act in return to Christ’s offerings begins to fade
    • Learning to rest in Christ’s arms (like a reverse pieta) as the fire now seeks to still me.
  • Christ separating us from earthly family / communities to return us to God the family.

Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are here

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homily from the

  • August 7, 2016 10AM Mass

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The poem Fr Dennis references this year is:

  • 2016 homily — Fetch by Tony Hoagland

In 2016, we reflected on —

  • This is one of those gospel readings in which we very quickly say “We got it!” to avoid listening to all the beatings.
  • In the 1st Reading, the Book of Wisdom, there are proverbs offered as a series of couplets, loosely, but generally linked.  However, they don’t have a clear sense of connection.
  • In the 2nd Reading, Abraham is known and worked as a man of faith, someone who knows God will be faithful but not how that faithfulness will manifest in his life.
  • The Jewish people began as nomads without any property of their own so they had to move their flocks.  Their experience gave them a strong sense of wandering and trusting in God to provide food and shelter along the way.
  • This experience is somewhat akin to modern era people who are homeless, who have to trust God or others to help us / to provide for us.
  • Today’s gospel shares that
    • Our heart is where our treasure is, and the need to be faithful serves us; and
    • We don’t take everything with us, just what is essential (the video, about 1minutes, is an rl addition).  🙂
  • We take all of these to re-focus on and in the Eucharist
    • Sundays are a re-focusing day and also contain our lifelong questions: What is my life about?  What am I trying to do and need God’s help?The poem, Fetch, captures how we long for love with people, animals, and God and that’s what focuses our lives.  How are we loving?Within those things that happen again and again, there is still the possibility of hope and love.
    And our image today is a fun video. Navi the Basset Hound running in slow motion. Perhaps fetching, but I doubt it. She is a Basset Hound after all! No deep meaning … just a little light-heartedness.

Transfiguration August 6

So … the Feast of the Transfiguration is … a Feast, and it fell on a Saturday this year.  It is a biggie for the message it shares, however, liturgically — it is not a Holy Day of Obligation.  But it is pretty amazing!  So, since it was one of my favorite Fr Dennis homilies when it fell on a Thursday in 2014 (Cycle A), here we go/ rachamuid!  His homily, shortened for daily mass sensibilities and kind consideration of the flock’s schedule, works for Cycle C.  

Our readings for Transfiguration are here

This is the link to the dance, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis Dillon SJ’s homilies from the

  • Thursday, August 6, 2014 5:10 Daily Mass

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The art Fr Dennis references in these years are:

In 2014, we reflected on —

  • That August 6 is the anniversary date of the Hiroshima bombing by United States Air Forces in 1945. 
  • (rl notes, to be clear, Fr Dennis was not saying nuclear detonations are emblematic of the Transfiguration!  As one of the generation growing up during WWII and devoted to life, he found it important to remember the anniversary of one of the two days human settlements were subject to nuclear attack on that scale. A very complex time of history — best not to judge but to stay in the vulnerable heart of its complexity.)
  • (but … back to Transfiguration!)
  • Transfiguration contains readings, and the gospel most particularly, of resplendence.
  • We might imagine this moment of Transfiguration akin to the Irish engagement with “thin spaces” in which the resplendent world abides closely with ours.  D2 imagine-prayed that the Transfiguration (Peter, John, and James abiding with Jesus transfigured, Moses and Elijah) might feel like a thin space to Peter, John, and James.
  • In his life, a rare personal interlude, he recounted that when he was missioned to NYC for his PhD in Film History and Criticism at NYU, he did his best to experience the city.  He and others from his Jesuit community would serve at the same Catholic Worker House that Dorothy Day served.  (He recounts one encounter in a different homily.)  But also, the arts — the hallmark of NYC.
  • He had an experience of being so Beloved, so transfigured after watching a performance of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations for the first time, that he wanted to walk rather than take the enclosed limiting subway home.  So he near bounced up the stairs out of the subway to street level.  It felt like he was walking 1/2 foot off the ground the whole way home, feeling like — yes! he could move like the dancers moved!  Of course, as he noted — he wasn’t moving like the dancers and couldn’t, but that sense of possibility arising out of our Belovedness is the gift given to us by God through Jesus and lived in the Spirit.
  • When I (rl) heard his homily and watched youtube, I was infected with the Transfiguration, too!  The next day my old legs and I dashed out on my bicycle and found myself laughing joyously as I pedaled a furious pace to slowly grind “full speed” up one of Ann Arbor’s steep hills.  It came when I walked into the Heathdale, the closest thing to a sacred grove in Ann Arbor, and was surrounded by butterflies.  It was present when my high school friends and I overlooked the night lights of “Spaceport Billings” a là STAR WARS and pledged what we were going to do.  But that chatter was immediately outshone by turning to the night sky filled with the shining backbone of the Milky Way and sharing who we are.  We are Beloved. 
  • Thanks, D2.

Apologies for the Featured Image quality … but that’s what Transfiguration, a deep moment of Belovedness felt like for me … based on how resonant Fr Dennis’ description of Transfiguration moments feel.

Leaf Quidditch by Lorraine Lamey

The chlorophyll has left the leaves.
A zephyr sets the branches waving farewell
to their bright or brown denizens.
The road ahead drops just right
for the tilted pitch of a Seeker’s two-wheeler.
My bicycle and I take flight coasting downhill
at a hearty speed and with precarious leanings
but not so precarious as in years past.
We sail among the drifting leaves dancing
like sunbeams in and out of my outstretched fingers.

I am transfigured with each ascension
though my pace and joints evoke the rickety-clickety clack
of an early wooden rollercoaster
hauling a full load to its peak height.
The ten minute ascent garners scarcely a two minute ride.
Push off, pedal a bit, brakes ready for the all-stop intersection,
clear?
Then pedal furiously to make up for caution.
During each descent, the leaves and wind stream by
By the fourth ascent, I am ten-years-old again
and slough off another decade from my heart and soul.
Weight, worry, and weariness whip behind me.
By the fourth ascent, I am ten-years-old again
and playing leaf quidditch on my bicycle.
In that moment of refulgent joy,
a wee brightest yellow sugar maple leaf
finds me.


Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are not here.  The Jesuits used the Memorial Mass for St Ignatius of Loyola and the readings proper to the celebration in 2016 and 2022.

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the Masses of

  • July 31, 2016 8:30AM, and
  • August 4, 2013

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The poems Fr Dennis references in these years are:

In 2016, we reflected on —

  • In the readings, Deuteronomy is death and doom; Corinthians is about the glory of God; and the Gospel of John selection is “Come and see!”
  • D2 referred back to a late 1990s NYTimes Magazine that had a series on the Me Millenium (us).
  • From 0 to 1000 CE humans built large organizations and communities, 1000-2000 CE became much more about individual identity, particularly in western civilizations.
  • This NYTimes May series explored archetypal personalities, e.g., Heloise, Faust, Jane Austen, and also … Ignatius of Loyola: The Saintly Boss.
  • He was an admirable leader who regularly danced for the younger Jesuits.
  • He was a saintly boss for his flexibility, concern for inner and outer lives of organizational members, and his heartfelt connection with people from all walks of life. (rl notes St Ignatius was one of the first religious leaders to acknowledge that women did not engage in prostitution for moral reasons but for economic reasons, and act and serve from that faith foundation.)
  • As a leader he embraced diversity, teaching, and the Spiritual Exercises (based on the insight that God is present in our imaginations.
  • He gave up the incredible joy of celebrating Mass when it began to interfere with his ability to respond and be in communion with the Eucharist. 
  • (rl took this as when our emotions of an activity undermine the very purpose of the activity, e.g., I might get so excited about toasty flannel sheets and a down comforter on a cold, snowing night, the giddiness of it all made sleep impossible.  St Ignatius’ tears and emotions took him out of the prayer space a priest needs to celebrate Mass; perhaps too much of a good thing.)

In 2013, we reflected on —

  • Fr Dennis read Fr General Arturo Sosa S.J.’s Letter to the Jesuits — humble in tone, as we would hope, and grateful for Pope Francis celebrating a humble yet engaged Eucharist, in the mystery of the Sacrament at the Jesuit mothership, Gesu Church in downtown Rome.  Pope Francis then offered a votive candle to St Ignatius; prayed at the altar of Saint Francis Xavier across the way.  He ended with visiting the remains of Father General Pedro Arrupe, S.J.  In essence, he prayed his way through the history of the Society of Jesus since its founding.
  • D2 ended with W.H. Auden’s First Things First poem.  A poem about being grateful for what we have and abiding in that gratitude.
  • He also included a David Brooks op-ed column on THE SEARCHERS, a John Ford 1956 film which we had watched in the St Mary’s Summer Film series of that year (created and shepherded by guess who! That’s right — D2!)  The gist was that the film captured one generation’s story “about men who are caught on the wrong side of a historical transition” and used that as context for 1/5 of 25 to 54-year-old men are out of the work force (compared to 4% around 50 years ago). 
  • rl notes that Mr. Brooks engaged with the impact of gender and race on these numbers in passing, if at all.  Still, a thoughtful piece of writing.

In the summers of 2017 and 2018 I took a class through Loyola University Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies that had an intensive field study portion in Rome and environs for about ten days.  Both times I spent much of my free time with the masses and side chapels in the Church of Gesù, as well as the rooms of St Ignatius.  With the former, which also included a side chapel for Oscar Romero, including the Missal he was using when he was martyred, you feel and see the lived experience of the Jesuits through history attempting to walk with Jesus.  The regular display in the apse is the circumcision of Jesus, that “bloodletting” would have satisfied the sacrificial requirement … however, it is the Passion in which he shows how greatly God loves and humbles God’s self to witness Love.  Hence, a large statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is presented in the apse (replacing the circumcision).   While most of us will not be called to that sort of sacrifice and even fewer to answer it, we can all turn to the Sacred Heart to live more fully in God’s Love.  And that is the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam the Society of Jesus kinship is formed of and to.

Our image today is a mural in El Paisnal, El Salvador, seen in this Jan. 29 photo by Rhina Guidos, that features Blessed Oscar Romero and town native Fr. Rutilio Grande, S.J. surrounded by rural men, women and children, the community the Jesuit Father Grande served from 1972 until his March 12, 1977, assassination. Fr. Grande spoke of his dream of a communal table where everyone, including the poor, had a place to eat and a right to have a say in matters that affected them. Catholic News Service photo by Rhina Guidos.

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are here

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the

  • July 28, 2019 Mass

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The poem Fr Dennis references in these years are:

In 2019, we reflected simply on —

  • God’s goodness
  • God’s gifts
  • and God’s good gifts

which D2 thought expressed particularly well in Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ’s poem, Pied Beauty on this the 175th birthday of GMH!

For those who may be unfamiliar with GMH, he was a Jesuit priest, a convert to Catholicism.  In this case, wiki pegs our attraction to his poetry:

His prosody – notably his concept of sprung rhythm – established him as an innovator, as did his praise of God through vivid use of imagery and nature.

The Poetry Foundation‘s description is really thorough.

And Natalie Merchant captures the mystery and enchantment of his Spring and Fall poem by setting it to music, in her album of children’s music.

This blog is brief, as I’m dashing out to my eight-day silent retreat (prayers appreciated!), but the readings and the poem capture it all. 

In today’s (Monday’s) excerpt from Psalm 50, “[You who] offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me; …”  Indeed, how absolutely wonderful, isn’t it?!? —

we can serve God with praise; praise of all that God gives, all that makes us alive, keeps us alive, and resurrects.  Whatta God!  🙂

Playing fox kits seems ample praise today!

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are here.  Sorry for the delay and rapid release of several weeks … the long trip to Montana followed by 8-day silent retreat whooshed July away!

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the

  • July 21, 2013

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The poems Fr Dennis references in these years are:

This must have been one of my early or lighter notetaking Sundays, perhaps one of my first.

In 2013, we reflected on such wonderful readings and good insights.  Thanks, D2!  —

  • In the first reading,
    • Abraham and Sarah are hosting a trio of Angels, some think the Trinity.  (A quick biblical note, “the Trinity” is not mentioned in the Christian or Hebrew Scriptures; the Trinity is a theological understanding of God that developed over time and from the scriptures — including this one and the multiple “Trinitarian formulations” in Christian scripture, e.g., invocations of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)
    • In Gen 18:1, “the Lord appeared to Abraham” and in Gen 18:2, “… Abraham saw three men standing nearby” and then addresses them as “Sir” in 18:3.
    • But the emphasis of the first reading (and the other two) is hospitality and invitation.  Abraham portrays the urgency of presence and welcome, in accordance with custom of the time and with later Christian scripture proclaiming “Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Heb 13:2).
  • In the gospel of Luke,
    • the story also emphasizes hospitality and prayer, with presence being the key to either ministry or engagement.  The acts of hospitality and the motions of prayer do not fulfill hospitality and prayer without our heartfelt or mindful presence in these efforts.
    • Martha is “anxious and worried about many things” (Lk 10:41), while Mary is present with Jesus in breaking open scripture.
    • Mary could have been worried about violating social norms of women and religion, but she remained present to Love.  Martha could have been present to hospitality as Abraham was, who served his guests, and then “waited on them under the tree while they ate” (Gen 18:8).
  • In Martha Manning’s Undercurrents: A Life Beneath the Surface
    • Fr Dennis thought that Martha Manning’s book captured the sense of balance for each of us in our Martha and Mary.
    • This is the memoir of an ordinary woman—a mother, a daughter, a psychologist, a wife—who tells the tale of her spiraling descent into a severe, debilitating depression. Undercurrents pioneers a new literature about women and depression that offers a vision of action instead of victimhood, hope instead of despair.
    • We need faith that nothing is “taken away” when we rest, that is part of the contemplative nature of the Kin-dom.

For myself, I found the enthusiasm of Abraham in hospitality — in light of he and Sarah’s challenges in Jewish culture of the day from wandering, being landless for so long, and childless — captured in Mary Oliver’s poem Why I Wake Early, when she writes a poem of gratitude and ends, “Watch now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”  These choices not only bless and uphold wandering angels, they bless and uphold us.

Similarly, for the gospel, the invitation to and teaching of presence by Jesus, was captured in Mary Oliver’s Freshen the Flowers, She Said, in which she ends a poem about being present to fluffing cut flowers in a vase with “… Fifteen minutes of music // with nothing playing.”  

Andrei Rublev’s Trinity (not the tennis player or the film) or dinner at Mamre is the lead picture, but how could I not include daisies after going on such a run with Mary Oliver?!  🙂

Fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Our readings for Sunday are here

These are the poems, my notes, and interpretations of Fr Dennis’ homilies from the

  • July 10, 2016 5PM Mass
  • July 14, 2013

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The poems Fr Dennis references in these years are:

  • 2016 homily — Still, I Give Thanks by Marie Reynolds
  • 2013 homily — an uncaptured Dorothy Day quote

In 2016, we reflected on such wonderful readings and good insights.  Thanks, D2!  🙂 —

  • In the first reading,
    • Moses is letting the people know that these are not obscure sets of law; they are close and within in us and in our hearts.  The early lines (Dt 30:10) state the law as the Will of God, and the remainder (Dt 30:11-14) capture the mystical, personal relationship with God.
    • rl is reminded of Jeremiah’s prophecy from God in J 31:33, that the Love of God will be written in our hearts and Saint Gregory of Nazianzus’ Oration 14 Love of the Poor (~370 C.E., in which he exhorts that we are made in the image of God (Imago Dei) when we love human beings, preferentially the poor.
    • All this returns to D2’s point:  We know what to do, God has placed it there inside us.  It’s the doing that is before us.
  • In the second reading of Colossians
    • It reads almost like a hymn to Jesus.  He is both the inspiration for the Creation, and he sums it all up.
    • But the apostles and disciples know him as a human being — the humanity behind the divinity of which this “hymn” sings.
    • So few words are used compared to the impact of them.
  • In the gospel of Luke,
    • How we interpret the parable of the Good Samaritan now has grown from its early interpretations, instead
      • Jesus = Good Samaritan
      • Adam = wounded/sick man, victim of the devil himself
    • In this understanding, then, the priest (law) and the Levite (prophets) pass by because only Jesus is compassion AND human’s death and resurrection.
    • In the parable, wine and oil are used to heal the wounded traveler, like Jesus comes to us in the wine and oil of the sacraments.
    • It all hinges on Mercy, “neighbor” is the one who shows Mercy.  We receive it and give it because we have been saved.  We do so (we mercify, or however you make “mercy” a verb!) out of gratitude, but also only because of having received the grace of Mercy from God.
    • In the text, the scholar of the law correctly captures that we need both love of God one-on-one and love in community (that’s why we pray the “Our Father,” not the “my Father”).
    • The parable makes one thing clear about God’s Mercy, the mercy that we are to live and are graced with:  exclude no one.
  • The poem by Marie Reynolds is
    • set in the context of her cancer treatments,
    • focuses on joy as the insatiable appetite for life and gratitude (“Thanks for my feet, my fingers, …”), hopes (“I want to see my mother again,” “I want my doctor to use the word ‘cure’ just once”), for others (“for the hands that position me, their measurements and marking pens”)
    • Early in the poem she gives “thanks for the scrub jay’s audacious cries …” and at the end she “close[s] my eyes and think[s] of the jay.”
  • Fr Dennis found
    • Jesus (“J” “jay”) in the lines “We wear the same raiment: blood, bone, muscle.”  This is akin to how Jesus shares our blood, bone, and muscle.
    • And this invisible bird — “invisible feathers, invisible wings” that give “a quickening, felt deep within the body, vigorous and fleeting” offer how in our soul, the sense of hope, wanting to live is the Spirit abiding in us.
  • Fr Eric Sundrup, SJ in the 10AM Mass gets a cameo with one of his insights from the parable that walking to help is (often) walking into danger, and we are to “go and do likewise.” <gulp>  However, when we do so out of the gratitude for the gifts we’ve received and the grace of mercy, we are made “safe” from the inside by the Eucharist.  In other words, we can be in consolation that we are in the right place at the right time, regardless of earthly outcome.

In 2013, we reflected on —

  • The readings offer the wonderful tension between God’s Will, as manifested in the law, and the mystical personal relationship, as manifested in the person of Jesus Christ.
  • Fr Dennis offered a Dorothy Day poem/note/quote indicating how grateful she was to know Jesus in prayer and in the poor.  Please take it as the art of Fr Dennis’ homilies that this was seamless in oration, and now clunky being resurrected in my deficient notes!  But Dorothy Day attended daily mass and had her own repeated presences in prayer with Jesus throughout the day.  The point being the same as made in the first reading — God and God’s Will, Love, and Mercy are not “out there,” they are in “here” (she wrote gesturing to her heart).
  • He then suggested Ignatian contemplation of the Good Samaritan parable, becoming alive in the scene and invoking your senses to see what God might have stand out for you at this time and place in your life.  (rl thinks that’s one of the great beauties of Ignatian contemplation:  God can reach you through scripture and connect it with your daily life, but do so uniquely across the experiences and days of your life without changing the words of the scripture passage you read.)

I chose a simple image of the Good Samaritan parable by James Tissot.  Most of his originals are tiny!  But the detail and sense of richness is large. He only used settings and human models of the region of scripture.