Keep on Climbing – First Sunday of Advent-2022

“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2).


A very long time ago, while I was in college, a group of my classmates decided to go up to the White Mountains, and climb one of them. Which one, I cannot remember, I want to believe it was one of the smaller ones. I was invited to join in this “adventure.” Now keep in mind, I was much heavier than I am now, and I was definitely out of shape. But I went anyway.


Now it was fall, the leaves on trees in New Hampshire were just coming into their peak color. We had rented a large cabin for the weekend, we slept on the floor in sleeping bags, and the next morning, we began our hike.


It did not take long for me to realize that this may not have been one of my brighter ideas. I was starting to have having problems; I told them to leave me, I was going to sit on some rocks by the trail, and I would join them on their way down. They were not having it. They literally dragged me up to the summit. And when we made it to the top; and I could catch my breath; I looked out over the mountain range. It was one of those rare days when everything was crisp and clear, and beautiful. The foliage was in full color; you could see the beauty of the mountain range for miles. And I thank God for getting me up there.


We are all at the beginning of another Advent season, the first of two penitential periods on the Church’s calendar. A time of preparation, a time of reflection, a time for penance, a time of renewal. We are all called to make that journey up to “the mountain of the Lord’s House.” To reach where God dwells. It is a journey, a climb that began the moment we were born; the moment we were baptized and confirmed. But how many of us take this journey seriously? Or have we come to believe that this journey is too much for us, that we will just stop here and “rest.” But Jesus is not willing to give up us, He continually calls us again and again, to go forward! He gives us His body and blood to refresh us, to strengthen us; and the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire us, show us the path we are called to travel, and give us that kick in the pants to get up, and get going. And the Father waits for us patiently, lovingly.

Now there are many paths up that mountain, and we each have our own unique journey to make. And Advent is a perfect time to reflect on how our journey, how our life of faith is going. And we can see if a course correction is needed; to and determine what might be holding us back, and what needs to be jettisoned. Advent is an opportunity to refresh our soul, and begin the journey again, reaching for the top, and experiencing the glory and love of God!


“So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to All!

Arrangement by Peg Jones
I thank you, Lord,with all my heart;
you have heard the words of my mouth.
in the presence of the angels I praise you.
I bow down toward your holy temple.

I give thanks to your name
for you have exalted over all
your name and your promise.
On the day I called, you have answered me;
you increased the strength of my soul.

The Lord is high, yet looks on the lowly,
and the haughty God knows from afar.
You give me life though I walk amid affliction;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes.

With your right hand you save me;
the Lord will accomplish this for me.
O Lord, your merciful love is eternal;
discard not the work of your hands.


From Psalm 38

Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Patroness of the Secular Franciscan Order

Born in the year, 1207, she was the daughter of the King of Hungary. At age three, she was betrothed to the Prince of Thuringia (part of Germany). Growing up, she began developing a strong prayer life and desire to help the poor. Married to Prince Louis, they would have four children.

She was known to be a loving mother, a person of deep faith, of prayer, and great charity. She endowed a hospital and regularly provided food for the poor in her city. And she believed that giving charity should be a hands on experience. She could be seen both serving food to the poor, and caring for the sick.

She encountered Franciscan friars; and was impressed with them and their way of life. She joined the lay Franciscans; now known as the Secular Franciscan Order. Her desire to live humbly, helping the poor, did not win her friends among the nobles of her husband’s court. When he died on his way back from the Crusades, they took advantage of the moment. They stripped her of her rightful assets, and cast her and her children from the palace.

She lived in poor accommodations, continued her charitable work. Finally, her supporters were able obtain better living quarters, supplies and clothing. She continued her work among the poor.

She passed away in 1231. Four years later, she was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. She would be named as patroness of the Secular Franciscans; and of Catholic Charities.

Father, you helped Elizabeth of Hungary to recognize and honor Christ in the poor of the world.

Let her prayers help us to serve our brothers and sisters in trouble and need.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reign with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen!

From the Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blessed in the Liturgy of Hours.

Feast Day of All Saints

God of our ancestors who set their hearts on you, of those who fell asleep in peace, and of those who won the martyrs’ violent crown: we are surrounded by these witnesses as by clouds of fragrant incense. In this age we would be counted in this communion of all the saints; keep us always in their good and blessed company. In their midst we make every prayer though Christ who is our Lord forever and ever. Amen.

From Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers.

“Zacchaeus, Come Down…“ Homily – Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Church

“Tax collector; MA Dept. Of Revenue, Internal Revenue Service, Revenooer, IRS.” Feeling your tempers rising up just little bit right now?Nothing causes a New Englander’s blood pressure to rise than the subject of taxes, and those who collect them. We had this little thing called the “Revolutionary War,” over it. But why are we still feeling this animosity, because after all, folks, these departments are made up of public employees, people like you and me. And believe it or they serve the public welfare! They are the ones who collect and disperse the funds needed for our towns, cities, states and nation to function. When you come right down to it, they work for us. Now in the time of Jesus, the tax collectors served not the people, but the Empire of Rome. Funds raised locally were for Roman roads, to extend Rome’s power and authority, to pay for occupying Roman legions and officials; and enrich Rome itself. Little went to common folk of Palestine. Except of course, the tax collectors, who, once they reached the goals set for them, would claim the rest as their pay, some, like Zacchaeus, became quite wealthy.

This made them, him, very unpopular, I am sure. But I get the sense, of where Zaccheus was in this stage of his life; he was beginning to have second thoughts of where it going. He was questioning the course it was following. I would speculate that he was beginning to question his relationship with God. I would like to think that he was becoming a seeker, wishing to know what his life was really meant to be. I suspect that he may have started hearing reports about this man from the Galilee and what he was preaching. And when the opportunity arose, he went out to see what this Jesus was all about.

And you all know the rest of the story. He risked life and limb climbing a tree, in order to catch a glimpse of this man from Nazareth. And, Zacchaeus, had what our evangelical brethren would call a “come to Jesus” moment. Literally! And it changed his life forever!

Now, what about us? Have any of us experienced a “come to Jesus” moment? I would say that we all have, every time we gather together to celebrate Mass. When Father consecrates the bread and the wine, when it becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus; when we go up to receive Jesus in Holy Communion; it can be a transformative experience for all of us. Now the experience may be different for each of us, it may be intense, it may be ordinary. But each encounter with Christ, each experience we have, has the potential to make us different, like Zacchaeus! And the way we live the Gospel life, the way we put into practice the teachings of Jesus, can possibly help others experience their own “come to Jesus” experience!

Praises of God

Your are holy, Lord, the only God, and your deeds are wonderful.

You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High,
You are almighty.
You, holy Father, are
King of heaven and earth.

You are Three and One,
Lord God, all good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good,
Lord God, living and true.

You are love,
You are wisdom,
You are humility,
You are endurance.
You are rest,
You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches,
And you suffice for us.

You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector,
You are our guardian and defender.
You are courage.
You are our haven and our hope.

You are our faith,
Our great consolation.
You are our eternal life,
Great and wonderful Lord,
God almighty,
Merciful Saviour.

Composed by Saint Francis of Assisi

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. From His Admonitions.

IX. True Love

The Lord says: “Love your enemies [do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and blame you] (Mt 5:44). That person truly loves his enemy who is not upset at any injury which is done to himself, but out of love for God is disturbed at the sin of the other’s soul. And let him show his love for the other by his deeds.

Give a Hearing to the Poor

“My child, do not mock the life of the poor; do not keep needy eyes waiting.

Give a hearing to the poor, and return their greeting with deference; Deliver the oppressed from their oppressors; right judgment should not be repugnant to you. Be like a father to orphans, and take the place of a husband to widows. Then God will call you his child, and he will be merciful to you and deliver you from the pit.” Book of Sirach 4: 1, 8-10

Came across this Scripture passage in a prayer book I have. It seems appropriate for our present times. With high inflation, just about everyone is feeling the pinch when it comes to purchasing the necessities of life. But we cannot forget, that the poor, the homeless, and the refugee feels it more deeply.

So we are called to dig deeper into our pockets. And not just our own pockets, but our communities pockets. Find the resources needed, to help all of our brothers and sisters! And if we give with an open heart, God will be there for, to support us; to embrace in love.

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time Homily

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish is were already blazing!” Luke 12: 49


Listening or reading this Gospel verse can be very jarring! We are so used to the gentle Jesus; not the one revealed in today’s Gospel. This Jesus wants to set the world ablaze. We look at this statement from the point of view of a country that has already been ablaze from numerous, destructive forest fires. We have witnessed numerous, fierce house fires in our neighborhoods. Fire is destructive, so how can Jesus say he wants to set the world blazing?


Let us look at this another way; that Jesus wishes to set the world ablaze with the fire of the Holy Spirit! Jesus wants to transform the world, with the Holy Spirit working through us. We need to accept the Holy Spirit within us; to guide us; to energize us. All of us, in what ever way Jesus calls us, are to help bring the transformative fire of God, to our communities, our workplaces, our churches, our homes, and within ourselves!


Now, we maybe all called to various levels of works or actions, and for many us, it was a call to just daily living of the Gospel, of lives of prayer, of acts of simple charity is all what is demanded of us. And it does not matter if our actions are big or small; simple or very involved; have you ever seen a steel wielder’s torch? It may produce a small flame, but it’s heat is so intense that it melts metal, cuts through steel. No matter what God may ask of us; whether it is large or small; we share what we have received. Whether by word or action, whether with a large group or small. We perform the work we have been given; we do the best we can to proclaim the Good News, by our works, our words, and yes, even just by our prayers.
Now, there may be disappointments, especially in the times we finds ourselves in, church attendance is dropping, many of our friends and family members no longer practice the faith, indeed, they are thuise who are hostile to the Church. But so was the experience of the early disciples, and the early Christians. Within their own families, they found discord, disputes, and divisions. But just as our Risen Lord was with the Apostles, the first disciple; He is with us here and now, and into the future.


I have a favorite story about a Desert Father that I would like share in closing. Now the Desert Fathers and Mothers were early Christian hermits who lived in the Egyptian wilderness. They lived in simple huts, prayed and fasted often. Now, one day, one of these hermits approached Abba Joseph, who was known for his holiness, with a question. “I have followed my rule of life faithfully, what more is required of me?” Abba Joseph lifted his hands into the air, and spread his fingers. Suddenly, each of his fingertips was aflame. Abba Joseph said to the young hermit, “If you will, you can become flame!” Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will help become flame, to shine the light of the Gospel throughout our community, Commonwealth, our Nation!