“Rise and do not be afraid!”

Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord

6 August 2017

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. His face shone like the sun and his clothing became white as light. And Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared conversing with Jesus. Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord it is good that we are here. If you wish I can make three tents; one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”   While Peter was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they went prostrate and were very much afraid. Jesus came to them and touched them saying, “Rise and do not be afraid.” When they raised their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus alone. Gospel: Matthew 17:1-9

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IMG_5979Every time we come to the Eucharist, we go up the mountain and experience the transfiguration and the glory of God. Sometimes our clouds of anxiety, depression, fear, addictions or worldly affairs prevent us from seeing the love of God. That is so sad.

I am a licensed mental health counselor and I counsel part time at a psychiatric hospital in Jacksonville. Many of the people have serious addictions that require treatment plans and a commitment to sobriety. It is like some of the things that we fast from during lent. Many of us give up sugar with a secret benefit of losing weight. There is nothing wrong with that, except after Lent we begin to realize that nothing has changed and it sometimes gets worse. We relapse and fail to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

When we listen to Jesus and do a fast that he suggests, we would be foolish to stop that fast after Easter Sunday. God is very clear in saying, “This, rather is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly; setting free the oppressed, sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.” In other words, Jesus is taking us up the mountain with Peter, James and John to undergo a reality check. At Queen of Peace in Gainesville they say: “The Mass never ends, we take it with us. Thanks be to God.” After Mass today, we are changed forever. We have heard the Word of God! When an addict quits drugs, alcohol, or internet porn, they can never go back. If they do, we call it relapse. Most addicts go through many relapses before they find total peace and sobriety. We do it one day at a time and humbly admit our weakness.

In order to heal we ask addicts to go to anonymous meetings (90 meetings in 90 days). This is so they can replace a bad habit with a good habit. (Lent and Easter combined can transfigure us, but most of us stop after 40 days and neglect the 50 days of Easter to listen to Jesus for 90 days). It is like seat-belts. Why do we wear seat-belts? Some will say safety, but when I was a kid we didn’t have seat-belts in the car. We knew wearing a seat-belt increased the chances of surviving an accident, but we didn’t take it serious until the introduction of an annoying ding, blue lights in our rear-view mirror, or slogans like, “click it or ticket”. The mountain transfiguration with Jesus is a wake-up call to take this Eucharist seriously, to listen to Jesus. Eternal life depends on it.

When I look at the group of men or women before me, they are detoxed from their destructive behavior. They are balanced. Sometimes I play my flute and ask them to breathe in… and breathe out… After I play, it seems that their anxiety and depression are momentarily balanced and they seem quite normal. I believe they are normal. We all need depression to sleep and we all need anxiety to wake up. It is when they are out of balance that trouble snowballs. They need to take this calm and serenity out into the world even when they are triggered or tempted. We must stay calm when we encounter the Cross.

We are like a little toddler having a temper tantrum because Mom is weaning the child off of breast milk. The key to recovery of any addiction, including getting into bad relationships, is to wean our selves off. Even if an alcoholic misses an AA meeting, he or she will be fine if he simply puts on the seat-belt of sobriety in the morning. All of us need to be weaned off of worldly things and mean it when we say, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We need to go up the mountain and then listen to God asking us to listen to his Beloved Son.

Beloved, this Eucharist must somehow further the mission of Jesus and not our own pursuits. Our partaking of the Body and Blood of Jesus must always be good news for the poor, the oppressed, the homeless and the addicted. Jesus in me tells me to continue to visit those imprisoned by addictions and to be an instrument of God’s peace to console, to understand and to love. In the book, The Imitation of Christ, we hear, “Jesus has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His Cross. He has many seekers of consolation, but few of tribulation. He finds many companions at His feasting, but few of His fasting. All desire to rejoice with Him; few are willing to endure anything for Him. Many follow Jesus as far as the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of His Passion. Many reverence His miracles, but few will follow the shame of His Cross. Many love Jesus as long as no adversities befall them. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them but for a brief time, they begin to complain or become overly despondent in mind.” (Thomas A Kempis)

Jesus is trying to wean us so that we too hear God’s voice, “You are my Beloved”

We all must wrestle with God from time to time, just like a child being weaned wrestles with its mother.  So when Jesus comes to us and touches us, let’s listen to him…

“Rise and do not be afraid!”

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Daniel 7:9-14 ~ As the visions during the night continued, I saw:

Psalm 97 ~ The heavens proclaim his justice, and all peoples see his glory

2 Peter 1:16-19 ~ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.

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“My Son, you are the sacrifice!” God

IMG_539814th Sunday in Ordinary Time

9 July 2017  ~ St. Monica & St. John the Evangelist Catholic Communities

Zechariah 9:9-10 ~ “See, your king shall come to you, a just savior is he, meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.

Psalm 145 ~ I will praise your name forever, my king and my God..

St. Paul to Romans 8:9-13 ~ You are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you.

Gospel according to Matthew 10:37-42 ~ At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

                  Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

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2000 years before Jesus, Abraham was asked to carry a pretty heavy cross even before he knew what crucifixion was. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac who was just about 12 years old. Isaac was more than willing to go with his Father alone, like any child would love to go on an adventure with their Dad. He just didn’t know he would be the one who would be killed!

When they got to the place of sacrifice after three exciting days, Isaac was confused. His father said very little and there was something missing. The “little one” was beginning to understand hidden things. Abraham told the servants that he and the boy were going up the mountain to pray and that they would come back to them.

So Abraham put the wood for the fire on Isaac’s shoulders while he carried the fire and the knife. Isaac labored and was burdened with his yoke. Abraham also labored and was burdened with an emotional and spiritual yoke. Have you ever felt burdened like this?

As the wood shifted on Isaac’s shoulders and he nearly fell over, he called out, “Father!” Abraham answered, “Yes my son.” Thinking that his father might be forgetful in his old age, Isaac asked, “Dad, here is the wood on my shoulders and you have the fire. Where is the sacrifice?”

Abraham answered, “My son, God will provide.”

Isaac trusted his father, but must have been paralyzed with fear when his father started to tie his hands and feet and place him on the wood he carried. This was terrifying, but at the last second, his father lowered the knife to plunge into his son’s heart.

He unties Isaac. And then grabs a ram caught in the thicket.

Fast forward 2000 years. It is the Passover feast when all Jews sacrifice and feast on a lamb. Jesus, the Lamb of God, is caught in the thicket in the Garden of Gethsemane. The burden of his emotional cross is crushing. Many of his disciples have abandoned him, one has betrayed him, and his closest friend is about to deny him three times. His physical cross would be horrifying.

Jesus cries out on that very dark night, “Father!” God answers, “Yes my beloved son.” Jesus questions God, “Father, here is the wood of the Cross I am about to carry and here is the fire of the people’s anger… Where is the sacrifice?”

God, the Father answered, “My beloved Son, you ARE the sacrifice.”

Jesus answered, “Okay. Not my will, but your will be done.”

Let us ask ourselves if our burdens and weariness come from anxieties and worries over worldly attachments. God does provide a lighter load in the shape of a cross, but Mercy and love for others lightens the load.

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St. Monica & St. John the Evangelist

IMG_5403I am so excited to be called to minister to the beautiful people of St. Monica in Palatka and St. John the Evangelist in Interlachen. I begin this Saturday, July 1st. It will be the 13th week in Ordinary Time. Here are the readings:

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 4:8-16 ~ “I know that Elisha is a holy man of God. Since he visits us often, let us arrange a little room on the roof and furnish it for him with a bed, table, chair, and lamp, so that when he comes to us he can stay there.”

Psalm 89 ~ Forever I will sing, the goodness of the Lord.

St. Paul to Romans 6:3-4, 8-11 ~ Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? …If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.

Gospel according to Matthew 10:37-42 ~ Jesus said to his Apostles: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds one’s life will lose it and whoever loses one’s life for my sake will find it.

     “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of water to one of these little ones to drink because the little one is a disciple—amen, I say to you, that one will surely not lose one’s reward.”

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If you are in the neighborhood, come join us. I will be preaching at all the Masses.

St. Monica Masses:  Saturday Vigil @ 4:30 pm, Sunday at 9 am

St. John the Evangelist: Sunday @ 11:30 am and 2 pm (Spanish)

 

It has been a whirlwind since I left Queen of Peace Catholic Community in Gainesville.

~Wedding of Clay and Alicia at the Cathedral of St. Augustine

Graduation of my niece Rachael from my Alma Mater in Daytona Beach

~ Faith and sharing with the theme of BLESSED< BEAUTIFUL< BROKEN<BELOVED

Ordination to Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle of our classmate at St. Meinrad pre-theolgy class…

~ Ordination of a fellow Coast Guar officer to Richmond diocese ~ Father Miguel

 

Funeral of my beloved classmate and priest… Greg Ryan

And then a trip to Aix-en-Provence FRance and Paris… Normandy, Mont St. Michel, and Liseaux

Divine Mercy Sunday

dscf9385Gospel: John 20:19-31

On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they say the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

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This is Divine Mercy Sunday. We give away mercy, just like Jesus. Beyond locked doors and fear, we proclaim, “Peace be with you” to our enemies and betrayers. Have you?

What a wonderful day it is. If we forgive others we are forgiven.

Jesus breathes on us today, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” We are given wisdom, knowledge, understanding, courage, counsel, reverence and a wonder and awe. Jesus tells us that we will be known by our fruit. We are like trees that offer medicine every month of the year. God continues to replenish our fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, self-control and faithfulness.

In some ways we become like the two on the road to Emaus when they didn’t recognize Jesus. Jesus says to them, “How foolish you are. How slow of heart. Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer and die and be raised. Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets he interpreted every scriptural passage that referred to him. When they urged him to stay with them, they finally recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Let us all become foolish in order to meet Jesus on the Way.

Let us be fools for Christ. Let us be joy. Let us be instruments of God’s peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love. Where there is injury, let us be pardon, despair to hope, darkness to light, sadness to joy. O Divine Master of Mercy, grant that we might not so much be consoled as to console, not so much to be understood but to understand, not so much to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Mercy Sunday is about looking within our own souls and sharing the mercy and love we have been given by Jesus when he broke through our locked doors.

We not only hunger for the Body and Blood of Jesus, our souls are thirsting for our Beloved God of Mercy and Love.

We receive God’s gifts gratefully. (Jesus and His Spirit)

We cultivate them responsibly. (You will know them by their fruits)

Share them lovingly in justice with others. (They shared everything in common)

And return them with increase to the Lord. (See how they love! People joined us.)

Jesus is like a rescue diver. “Don’t grab me!” If we grab, he will kick us, and go deep, but we will eventually learn how to swim. If we stop breathing, he will gift us with his breath, “Receive the Holy Spirit!” Let us receive Jesus in our midst.

Let us receive his breath…. Breathe in….. Breathe out…..

Good News!!!!!

Rich in What Matters to God?

     Someone in the crowed said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

     Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, “What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?” And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”

   But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

                                                                                                St. Luke: 12:13-21

What Matters to God?

The key to the parable is learning “being rich in what matters to God.”

If we are driven to saving up for retirement while avoiding the term, ‘paying it forward’, the parable could apply. If I am so anxious about my kids’ college education that I fall short of the biblical tithe, the parable could apply. If I cut-off family and friends who have hurt me, bury the bitterness or resentment away and ignore the problem to live and exist in a fragile peace… Jesus may be reaching out to me in this parable today. Our desire for fame, legacy, pictures, larger iclouds, praise or respect could all be part of our trying to tear down our barns for larger barns and storage.

Jesus became poor and yet remained abundantly rich. This matters to God.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit matter to God: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, reverence, courage and a wonder/awe in the presence of God.

Jesus says you will know them by their rich fruit. This fruit matters to God:

It matters to God that each of us here bears abundant fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, self-control, and faithfulness.

Saving up for retirement is a wise thing to do, but not very wise if we neglect the poor, the oppressed and the grieving. Is it possible that God has given us the opportunity to produce very large harvests so that we can be instruments of God’s generosity, not our own?

If you received an unexpected and large inheritance, what would God want tyou to do? What would matter to God?

Would the voice of your desires be louder than the whisper of God?

How would you rationalize quitting your job?

How would you invest that money to share your joy with Jesus in the poor?

What matters to God?

Jesus inherited God’s abundant richness, but he cashed it all in for YOU and ME?

That alone mattered to God.

What matters to God is what matters to Jesus, his beloved Son.

We matter to Jesus.

Therefore, We matter to God.

Let us go out of this church with Jesus within us. Let us in our generosity; leave the security of Heaven in Church, and bring about Heaven on Earth.

Let us grow rich in our Love for One Another.

It does matter to God that we spend time with Him. It matters that we share our ups and downs, grief and joys, frustrations and resentments, need for security and fears. God cares… a lot.

In God We Trust is on our money.

What if we trust and share our money thinking about what matters to God…

Now that is what matters to God.

Touched by the Beloved

The Big Island of Hawaii ~ 5:21 pm~ Jan 21,2004

I am sitting in a crater

It is starting to get dark

I am all alone

Steam rising

Volcanic rock, singed grass

Rosary in hand

I am being contemplated by Yahweh!?

I am so insignificant

but love raises me up

a friend of Jesus

a brother

a father

a pilgrim

 

Alone, really alone

Where sounds are quite distinct

I can really hear the sound of silence

eerie yet gentle

Kindness, gentleness, generosity,

Patience, peace, faithfulness,

Self-control, joy, and love

 

This is quite awesome.

I love you God!

 

As a child rests in his mother’s arms even so my soul

 

Ron Moses, trust in the Beloved

both now and forever

In God you Trust!

wow and ooh and o my!

Ron Moses +   DSCF8809

 

The Following Night ~ 8 pm

 

I’m exhausted physically, spiritually and emotionally

God woke me up at 4 or 5 am…I can’t remember

Its okay, because it was my gain

 

A dark night, ah the sheer grace

I went out into the starlit darkness

My house all still

I had to resist leaving the place and time,

thinking of the future

and all the things I could do

on this incredible and diverse island called ‘paradise’

 

It turned out great

Yet, I noticed how tempting it was to leave

Here’s what happened:

 

Last year there was a lava flow into the ocean

It was hot, dangerous, fascinating and a once in a lifetime opportunity for me

I heard last night over a glass of wine that there was “nothing happening”

How wrong they were for

‘Happening’ is only the beginning

 

Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace

As a child rests in her mother’s arms

So too, even so my soul

I was awoken

I went out

Stunned by the star studded sky

I actually saw lava in the distance

Pele, the Volcano goddess, dancing in Red

 

So quiet, so, so silent

I was drawn to

the bottom of the road

where sea and land have been raging

heat of passion

But not now,

for I was alone

no other soul was awake

 

I stopped the Jeep,

I walked out over the lava now cooled

and departed from the safe trail

I could barely see,

forgot my flashlight

And then I stopped close to the sea

where the lava had erupted, yet now frozen

 

I prayed.

I started to pray without words or thoughts

It was as if I was led here without knowing it

My Father held my hand

and yet I still resisted

wanting to be somewhere else

God was patient, kind and gentle

God was loving, peaceful and joyful…

yes quite joyful

God was generous with gifts of creation and interior thoughts

God was and is faithful

and didn’t obliterate me

who in reality, i am, nothing

except when I am in the eyes of God

 

It is remarkable to me

How much God longed to meet with me…

this morning

alone?!

God loves me, and I have nothing to fear

God whispered my name:

“Ron Moses!”

Awesome.

 

And then in the middle of nowhere

on a lava flow

I obediently took off my shoes and socks

and I curled up in the arms of “Love”DSCF8816

 

I have never felt so at peace…so secure

The sun rose on me

As the Son rose within me

 

I curled up

I was just a speck in the universe, yet…

Whole

Anything else that could happen today was pure blessing.

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These pictures were taken with film that morning. Didn’t see until weeks later.

 

 

Funny, I’m at KMC Lava Lounge

(A military recreational lodging place that is inexpensive beside the crater)

Karaoke

Horrible yet wonderful

I’m sipping on wine, not annoyed, but pleasantly enjoying life.

 

This morning I made a simple altar of 7 rocks

worship, simple, pure

with my friend Jesus

I’m still almost in disbelief

Air cool

Sounds of water crashing into rock

Mysteries of Light

My Beloved turned my water into wine

Called, baptized, transfigured, devoured

with Jesus, my Beloved

“You are my beloved child, son, with you I am well pleased”

How could this be?

Because God took the initiative, that’s how

God loves us,

more than we could ever imagine

and God desires to spend lots of time with us

 

First Fruits –

Let the journey begin!

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Tapestry in Father John’s home. Father John was chaplain at Kings Point when I arrived in 1977

PACHYDERMS: One Soldier’s Experience of the Vietnam War

It is so important to learn from history and the stories of our combat veterans. I re-blog this because it is important. After reviewing Pachyderms https://www.amazon.com/Pachyderms-Danny-Buoy/dp/0989002667 , Danny allowed his story to be “repackaged” so that it became a “polished diamond”. Let us continue to love one another.war and sleep cartoon

Father Ron's Blog

By Danny Buoy
Link to Pachyderms updated

This book was updated and edited and reads well. The story is truly a diamond

Review by Ron Camarda MWSA
January 26, 2012

Life after War

Pachyderms is a diamond in the rough. The book reads like a screenplay of a movie with substance…but better. The characters come alive, albeit complex, simple and surprisingly likeable, through the mind of a very gifted and clever author. St. Augustine’s Confessions came to my mind as I finished this book. Danny looks deeply into his own heart and soul and recognizes his own faulty judgments and foibles. The book is raw and demands that you feel, think about, experience and observe the fears, terror, boredom and blunt force of an illogical war. This is accomplished through the observations of a young new recruit who was overwhelmed by the inevitable deployment to an unpopular, seductive and perplexing Vietnam War. It…

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Reflecting & Reflected

Beauty all around me

Even sickness can be beautiful

Not me this time… my friend

morning stillness

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yet still wrestling

still restless

I am very at peace and yes, happy.

Completed my license requirements

Patiently waiting for the green light and rising question

“Now what?”

Gorgeous morning

Light in the trees

Coolness of house

Attempting to meditate beyond distractions

unawakened

awakened

purgative

illuminative

dark night of the soul

union… hoping

my soul feels at home

within soulitude

and Beloved God.

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