HANGING IN THERE
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
3d ago
 Earlier this week, on the Feast of Thomas the Apostle, Our Lord sends out his apostles with the encouraging words, “But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt 24:13). The Greek word for ¨endures¨ is hupomeno. It is made up of two parts: hupo (under) and meno (to remain constantly). The idea is to persevere, to remain no matter what. Today´s heat has sapped my energy, I would like to pass on a brief study of the various NT appearances of hupomeno that I wrote for myself many years ago. I will leave it to the Holy Spirit to help you gain a lesson from it to apply to your own life ..read more
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GOD´S FAMILY
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
1w ago
 The first reading for the feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle on July 3 was from the second chapter of Ephesians. Here Paul is addressing himself to Gentile Christians, that is, people who had been converted to Christianity not from Judaism, but from pagan religion. He is assuring them that the divisions between gentile and Jew that were in force under the Old Jewish Law no longer apply: all of us, he says, whether Gentile or Jew, are all one in Christ. We are no longer  strangers or aliens to one another. Here is the passage: Brothers and sisters: You are no longer strangers ..read more
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STRETCHING EXERCISES
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
2w ago
A Coincidence? Some people say that there is no such thing as a coincidence when it comes to talking about our spiritual life. Well, in this case, it seems that the Lord arranged a beautiful “coincidence” for me in the mass readings yesterday and today. Yesterday, Friday, the gospel of Matthew tells us that when the leper asks Jesus to heal him, Jesus “stretching out his hand” touches and heals him. The Greek verb for “stretch” (ekteino) describes a very straightforward, physical action of Jesus, reaching out to touch this man. In today’s first reading for the solemnity of Saints Peter ..read more
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ARE YOU WORRIED?
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
3w ago
 The gospel  passage at today's mass (Saturday) is a treatise about worrying (Mt 6:24-34), Since the summer heat is wearing me down, I’m taking a shortcut and presenting a chapter from my book “Walking in Valleys of Darkness.”  It's no wonder that ours is sometimes called "The Age of Anxiety." Everyone, it seems, is worried about something -- or probably about a lot of things. The pressures of daily living in a complex society – balancing job and family, providing for a secure economic future, concern for the safety and education of our children leave us feeling anxious. We st ..read more
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UNFINISHED BUSINESS?
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
1M ago
  The original St. Mary's building This week we "downtown monks" spent four days on retreat with our Benedictine brothers at Saint Mary's Abbey in the beautiful, quiet hills of Morris County, about 24 miles west of Newark. For me, the best part was the opportunity to just sit and reflect and write in my prayer journal. I reflected a lot on my experience of being unfinished, and of my temptation to fill in the emptiness when it seems that God is not enough for me. I wrote that I dislike being unfinished but want to be complete -- in other words, I want to be God. Here are two pas ..read more
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CAUSING THE KINGDOM?
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
1M ago
The first reading at mass this past Tuesday was from the second letter of Peter. The letter deals in part with warnings against false teachers. A particular crisis at the time was the claim by "scoffers" that there will be no “second coming of Jesus,” and that we are not to expect any kind of “parousia.”  The first sentence of the passage caught my attention: “Beloved, wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God.” (2 Pet. 3:12) The translation formerly used at mass was“wait earnestly for the coming of the Lord" instead of "hasten the day of the Lord." This discrepancy between t ..read more
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BREAD OF LIFE
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
1M ago
  JESUS THE BREAD OF LIFE  Tomorrow's Solemnity of The Body and Blood of Christ ("Corpus Christi,' sendsme back to a theme I've blogged about before, but which I think is worth revisiting.  Let's begin with Chapter 6 of John’s gospel, the so-called “Bread of Life Chapter.” After recounting the miracle of the loaves and fishes, John continues with such familiar passages as: 35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. …48 I am the bread of life. 49Your ancestors ate the manna in t ..read more
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DO YOU BELONG?
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
1M ago
The following reflection started this past Wednesday, when I came across this phrase in the day's gospel: "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us“(Mk 9:38). "Does not follow us" seemed like such a strange expression that I went to my Greek New Testament to see what was going on. The Greek verb involved is akolouthein, a verb that appears all the time in the gospels, and is usually translated “to follow.” Let me quote from "Vine's Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words" p.245: "To be an akolouthos, "a follower ..read more
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BEING AT PENTECOST
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
2M ago
  +Last night I thought of the following guided meditation that I used to use with my students when we're studying the Pentecost event. It assumes you know the story of the descent of the Spirit in Luke's gospel. Try reading it slowly and reflectively. A large group of us disciples are in a large room. Morning light is filtering in through the closed shutters ast one end, Noise is filtering in from the street just outside the window... Children's voices, a fruit seller calling to advertise his fresh oranges. The room is dark, except for the dim glow of a single oil lamp in the corner ..read more
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Among the many ways that our faith can help us cop...
Downtown Monks
by Fr Albert
2M ago
Among the many ways that our faith can help us cope with the difficulties of life, I'd like to offer two ideas can help you and me to keep our bearings in the midst of all the terrible negativity that crowds every moment and every inch of our news media these days, from murderous wars to climate change to acts of random racist hatred. The first is the Old Testament theology of the Wilderness and the second tomorrow's feast of the Ascension. MIDBAR MOMENTS I’ve already written several times about the Hebrew word midbar, which we sometimes mistranslate as “desert.” It means ..read more
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