Saturday, July 13, 2013

14th Friday in Ordinary Time

Celebrated Mass on Thursday and Friday at St. Zephiran in Wayland.  One of the men in the community generally celebrates Mass there on Thursday and Friday.  As he was away for a few days I went down.  On Thursday traffic was a nightmare.  It took 40 minutes to get there, with 15 of those minutes trying to get onto Boston Post Road.  On Friday I left early.  Had lots of time to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament as the trip took 15 minutes.  But still, traffic here is better than the Beltway and 270 in D.C. 

12 July 2013
Mt 10:16-23

Today’s gospel is not one of the comforting ones.  There are no images of good shepherds, the blessedness of the poor, or anything else that might make us feel good about ourselves or about being followers of Jesus. 

Today’s gospel comes from the middle portion of a long instruction Jesus gave to the apostles before sending them off on mission. It began in the readings on Wednesday when Jesus “summoned the twelve and gave them authority over unclean spirits and to cure every disease and every illness.”  Yesterday he set the radical ground rules: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”  Today he gives the apostles a dose of reality.  He tells them what their mission is going to be like.  Preaching the gospel wasn’t easy then and it isn’t easy now.  As we are all called to preach Jesus crucified and risen from the dead, the instruction which Jesus gave to the apostles is for us as well.  Of course it has to be understood in our own setting, in this time and place. 

Here in Wayland, as well as in most of the Western world, it is not as if we are facing death or charges of blasphemy for preaching Jesus' message.  The risks are much higher in parts of India where Hindu fundamentalist are burning Christian churches, the Middle East where the Iraqi Christian community has practically vanished, and China, to name a few.  We are physically safe.  However, that physical safety does not mean that we will not be persecuted for being Catholic.  We may have to suffer the martyrdom of exclusion, of ostracism or, horror of horrors, not being considered sufficiently liberal, modern or with it, whatever IT might be. 

We live in an age where it isn’t “cool” to be religious.  Many assume that everyone supports living out of wedlock, gay marriage, abortion, and physicians giving old sick old people a prescription for a lethal dose of medication upon request.  It is a shock to some when they find out that there are those who live their religious beliefs by speaking out against such abuses.  We cannot afford to be silent when it is time to speak.  The comfort in this gospel comes from Jesus’ promise, “Do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say.  You will be given at that moment what you are to say.” 

The apostles were called to profess Jesus as coming in the name of the Father.  The apostles were called to preach the Kingdom of God here on earth.  We are called to nothing less.
Some semi-random photos from Gloucester and Taiwan
The first few are from Taiwan, specifically Sun Moon Lake trips. 

The orchids in the hallway of the hotel were simple but made a strong statement.  Asian hotels, in general, use flowers a lot better than U.S. ones in that they are not prone to the huge over-the-top sprays of flowers beloved of places like The Four Seasons. 

This is my first attempt at night photography.  Did not have a tripod then but there was a wall.  The flowers above were in the hotel to the right of the neon bedecked one.

The little boy's yellow shirt caught my eye.  We were now across the lake from the hotel at an Aboriginal village.  His concentration on whatever he was concentrating on was complete. 
The photos below were taken at the beginning and end of the whale watch on 4 July.  Had to use a high iso setting and fast shutter speed because the boat was bouncing all over the place.  Holding any kind of focus was impossible.  

The red boat was sitting in the harbor.  

 The lighthouse and jetty at the entrance to Gloucester Harbor are important in my prayer life.  During the long retreat I would walk down to the jetty and out to the very end at night if the tide was low.  Boston was visible in the distance with the lights glittering.  I would yell at God on the jetty.  In the mornings, if the tide was low, I would run to the jetty and out to the edge, a very tricky thing given the rocks.  The lighthouse is at the beginning of the jetty.

The old factory sits a bit further out in the harbor.  The only thing missing is a Burma Shave sign.  

We did see whales.  Here is proof.
+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD

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