The Sign of the Son of Man
“”Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Mt 24
The miracle of water changed into wine happened by a woman, and even my meeting with Fr. Eamon Kelly, would not have happened without the intercession of a very dear friend.
In this time of Coronavirus, I received a visit to my hermitage from a Jewish friend.
Multiply Our Love
The lyric video:
Read below the story of this song.
Listen to the Soundcloud version in full HD, and download for free the HD version clicking on the arrow in the right corner:
On the following link you find the song on Spotify, you can add it to one of your playlists, there are also the links to many other online stores as Apple Music, I-Tunes, Google play, Amazon, and Bandcamp. The song is free, except in some online stores where I could not choose otherwise.
In the spring of 2019, I had the grace of living in the holy place of the multiplication of loaves and fishes in Tabgha, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Commentary on the Our Father
By becoming a teacher of prayer and a model of humility, Jesus taught us and prayed this prayer himself
Our Father who art in heaven
Jesus invites us to turn to God as a Father. God is not distant, but he takes care of us as a Father and wants a loving and trusting relationship from us, not detached, just like a father to his child.
The Father is not mine alone, but ours. In praying Jesus wants us to grow in the awareness of being brothers, children of a unique Father and in mutual love. For the same reason the questions of the Our Father are in the plural and not in the singular “give us our bread” “forgive us” … in this way we realize that the profit or harm of any other brother is also ours and we take to heart the fate of our brothers and sisters.
The Father is also in heaven, that is, he is higher and incomparable to all that exists, this reminds us of divine transcendence.
Hallowed be thy Name
God and his person should be given the place and holiness that belongs to him in the world, the first. Animals sanctify him, Creation sanctifies him, but we men often rebel and do not accept the reality of God nor sanctify his Name and as soon as something goes wrong the men immediately take it out on the eternal Father. He is always and only love, he has never done any evil deeds, nor will he ever do it from the beginning of creation to the end of the world and for all eternity. Men rebel against divine decrees, are incapable of gratitude and do not see the many benefits they have received from God, but are afflicted by the scandal of evil. Instead of blessing God and his wonderful works, they naively curse and mock him and do not sanctify his name, without realizing that one day, by force or love, they will have to surrender and sanctify the divine Name, or be thrown into eternal torment together to demons.
This is my first song release. It is a Christian worship song, my version of the Our Father, the Lord’s prayer.
Everything was made and produced by me at my hermitage. The video shows views of the Sea of Galilee and surroundings, where the words of the Our Father where pronounced by Jesus. These words, some of the most important that we will never hear in our life, should be imprinted in our hearts and increase the love for our heavenly Father.
The YouTube lyric video:
Listen to the Soundcloud version in full HD, and download for free the HD version clicking on the arrow in the right corner:
On the following link you find the song on Spotify, you can add it to one of your playlists, there are also the links to many other online stores as Apple Music, I-Tunes, Google play, Amazon, and Bandcamp.
The song is free, except in some online stores where I could not choose otherwise.
If you like to sing this song at your Church, I am very happy! I add the lyrics and chords:
D D/C# Bm7 Bm7/A
Our Father, who art in heaven,
G9 D/F# Em7/9 Asus4
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done
G9 D/F# Em7/9 Asus4
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
C9 Bm7-11 Em7-11/Bb Asus4
and forgive us our trespasses
Em7-9 D/F# Asus4
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
C9 Bm7-11 Em7-11/Bb Asus4
and lead us not into temptation,
Em7-9 D/F# G9 Asus4 D
but deliver us from evil.
According to almost all biblical scholars this is the most ancient and original form of this prayer, the verses “for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever” were added later in the early Christian era.
Both forms are to be considered inspired by the Holy Spirit and correct to use. The shorter form though, is the one that most likely Jesus pronounced when he taught this prayer to his disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
THE PARABLE OF THE WICKED TENANTS
I made a video commentary on Mk 12: 1-12, the meditation is carried out from the Sea of Galilee in Israel, where a large part of the evangelical episodes took place. This is a reflection that was asked to me by the Youth Ministry of the Church of Siena.
In the video I turned particularly to Siena, but these are speeches that apply well to other cities. I hope you will enjoy it and find some kind of inspiration.
“Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;[a]
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?”
When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away”. Mark 12: 1-12
video shoot and edited, original music written and performed, mixed and mastered by Nothingless (Filippo Rossi)
Humanity is white for harvest
Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Don’t you say, ‘There are four more months and then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, look up and see the fields that are already white for harvest!” John 4
Passing through the countryside I saw these fields of barley, near Magdala, and I immediately thought of this phrase of Jesus.These fields are white for harvesting. I took this picture about ten days ago, at the end of April; in Israel the countryside is ahead of the nations further north, here it is already summer, we are even below sea level. The sun hits hard and the light is brighter than we are used to, in the central hours of the day it is blinding and all the colors of nature “whiten”.
The whitening, therefore, is not given only by the variation of the colour from the green of the unripe ear to the yellow of the mature one. The ear, which is us, is complete only if it is ripened and struck by the divine light, which is white and shining, and which it in turn reflects, as in the photo.
Humanity is white for harvest, like the cloud of the Son of Man…
“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe”. So the one seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped” Rev 14
Each of us will be harvested, and being ready for that moment is the most important thing of all.
We probably don’t have any desire and we don’t feel ready to be reaped at all. This uncertainty is beneficial because it forces us to reflect and try to improve ourselves continuously, without ever feeling that we have arrived or are completely safe.
We are fragile beings, and the Lord knows it, he sees that we laboriously walk the path of life, groping around, and he has compassion on us. And He sees very well if we do what we can, even if with poor results, or if we do not take care at all to prepare for the harvest.
Taylor Swift prays to Jesus too
“One world: Togheter at Home” is the name of the event organized by many artists led by Lady Gaga to comfort people in this time of emergency and raise funds. The timetables were designed for America, in Israel in fact the highlight was on air at 2 am… So, given the impossible time, this morning, after having done my usual prayers, as a good music lover I went to see if they had made it available on You Tube for those who missed it.
Of course I didn’t put up with the endless 8 hours of the broadcast, but I went to see what interested me.
In the end, penultimate, sang Taylor Swift who had chosen her beautiful song “Soon you’ll get better” dedicated to her parents, about the battles they have had with cancer, and specifically on her mother’s latest diagnosis.
The artists presented themselves in different ways: playful or worried, joking or serious and even a little tried. And we are all able to see when someone’s displeasure is true or it’s a pose….
Taylor was admirable, she was really sad and in a somewhat resigned tone and with a simple and honest attire she sang this song, sketching a shy smile at the end and showing a sincere suffering, a sign of her hypersensitive and compassionate soul. This was an appropriate way of showing closeness to those who in this emergency have experienced real tragedies such as the loss of loved ones, or went bankrupt and have nothing to eat.
To my surprise, while listening to the song, Taylor mentioned Jesus expressly, making an explicit profession of faith, here are some of her lyrics:
Holy orange bottles (the medicine bottles I guess), each night I pray to you
Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too
And I say to you
Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better
It is impressive to see how this time of struggle has led many to Jesus.
“For if anyone is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” Mk 8:38. “And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge him before God’s Angels” Lk 12:8
For this beautiful profession of faith Taylor will have her reward. Contrary to her collection of Grammy Awards …. which are also beautiful and deserve all our respect, the rewards that Jesus gives us are eternal and will never go out of fashion nor will there be anyone who bypasses them in the hit parade. It took just one word, just more than a syllable, to mention the name of Jesus, to transform a beautiful song into something eternal.
And if from the title of Taylor’s latest album “Lover”, from the flagship song which describes the complex and painful story with a “lover”, -with the clear desire to transform this relationship into something stable though- … one would not have expected a particular devotion, this story confirms instead that no one has the right to judge the faith of another. In the depths of every man, in fact, even when everything would suggest otherwise, there is a yearning for the Absolute that no one can suppress.
This singer, with a simple word, has offered a beautiful testimony and we too can do the same thing in our lives, humble and hidden, sometimes gray, but equally important in the eyes of God. The testimonies of believers, in fact form an invisible chain, which produces a divine symphony and attracts others. And if seeing a famous person who turns to Jesus strikes us, we should reflect on the fact that each of us has met less conspicuous people in life who have spent their lives for God, perhaps your grandparents or your parents, or any other person who has offered us a testimony of faith, and this should already be enough to convince us that trusting in Jesus is the best thing we can do.
The Lord waits for us to turn to Him, waits patiently, and too many people live an existence without him, depriving themselves of the strength of his consolation, until the time comes to return.
And there is even more beautiful news here: if someone wants to talk to us, we are happier if he is a famous or important person. God does not do this, because
“man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” 1Sam 16:7
As soon as we turn to him, Jesus loves us all with exactly the same immense love. Indeed, he prefers the smallest, the humble and those who have suffered most, those who have been rejected and therefore have a special place in his heart. He prefers them, however, in a mysterious way: if we think that after all we cannot be counted among these little ones we do not have the right to feel excluded, in fact his love is immense. My immense how much is: 5 or 10?! And what is your immense: 20 or 30? Where there is something immense, nothing can be measured and no one lacks anything, indeed there is a total overabundance for each.
God is the only one capable of encompassing and embracing everything and everyone, capable of encompassing and embracing Taylor Swift, you, me and every other person who has loved and even rejected him.
What Coronavirus Covid-19 vaccine?
Take courage; it is I. Do not be afraid! Mt 14:27
In these times of calamity we are all afraid. The uncertainty of the future stands out like a boulder on our horizon… some people are already facing poverty and we all had to revise our plans. The solution to everything, the object of desire, the savior of the world, seems to be a cure for this disease, the coveted Coronavirus vaccine. Everyone, as is understandable, pray that this disease will be defeated and this terrible period will end.
Everything that is happening looks tremendously like a storm, the storm on the Sea of Galilee that Pope Francis has chosen for his meditation, listened to by millions of people connected with the media and by flocks of birds, the only spectators in St. Peter’s Square.
This is the same storm that the Apostles experienced, the storm that no man, after all, could ever escape. In the Gospels there are 2 storms. In one the boat is sinking and is covered by the waves and Jesus rebukes the Apostles: “Why are you fearful, O you little in faith?” (Mt 8).
In the other one Jesus sends the disciples forward on the boat and reaches them walking on the waters, saying to his disciples “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid!“, and Matthew reports the moment when Peter gets off the boat and walks on the waters and the Lord says to him as he is sinking in fear: “Little of faith, why did you doubt?” (Mt 14).
Each of us doubted and was afraid a lot of times. Our fears are sometimes unreasonable, but other times they are more than understandable. It is unreasonable, for example, to fear God as a severe being…which leads us to bury the talent we have received for fear of making mistakes. Jesus urges us to fight against fear, both the unreasonable and the reasonable fear. Fear makes us sick and paralyzes us, we waste a lot of time and fantasize about what might happen (but probably never will), without focusing on what is really within our reach and we can do good and beautiful today. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father. But of you, also, the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows!” (Mt 10) …
The questions that stir in everyone’s heart in these moments are distressing and full of fear: what will happen? How long will this last? Will the people I love and myself manage to survive? Will we have enough to live, or will all our dreams be shattered? Will we still be able to go to Mass or enjoy a nice walk, a trip, a movie night, a sports event, a concert, a simple visit to our friends and family? All the “entertainment” in which we sought an escape from the dramas of existence has suddenly vanished, leaving us alone with “the unbearable heaviness of being”.
Despite all the Master’s recommendations not to be afraid when “they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them… they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid” (Mk 10), and we too, we must admit, are no better than them… Jesus exhorts us to faith and to overcome our fears even when everything seems to collapse and the worst is now inevitable. Each one of us can ask God to increase his faith, then we will no longer be so easily upset by foolish fears and not even by the most reasonable ones. We will continue to experience fear, but in a different way.
Yet Jesus does not ask us to become supermen. Jesus looked realistically at us and prophesied that in the last times “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk 21).
And at the hour of his perfect storm even Jesus “began to be sorrowful and agonized” (Mk 14), “in his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Lk 22). Sweating blood, doctors say, occurs only in an extreme experience of anguish and fear, the most extreme that a man can sustain. Why did Jesus exhort us so much not to be afraid, if he himself experienced anguish and fear???
Because He wants us to be happy, but He also knows very well that there are fears that no one, not even the Son of God, can avoid. There will be moments in life when by Grace we manage to be less fearful and even to overcome many of our fears. But the perfect storm comes for everyone: then the Lord does not ask us for the impossible, that is not to be afraid, but to live that fear in a new way, keeping in our heart the light of faith and the warmth of hope, in the certainty that “also the hairs of our head are all numbered“.
Sooner or later this period will pass, and then, even if we will finally be vaccinated against the Coronavirus, we will not have been able to overcome our fears. We will go back to being fearful and frightened again for the next virus or the next war or economic crisis or a tiny mosquito that prevents us from sleeping or yet another dramatic event that will happen in our lives, giving us the appointment to the next “perfect storm”.
We need the vaccine for our fears, the real one, the one that lasts forever. It’s foolish to remain so at the mercy of the waves for the rest of our lives, it’s time to believe now in Jesus’ words “Take courage; it is I. Do not be afraid!…even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows…And, behold, I am with you all the days, until the consummation of the world“.
We need a ventilator with oxygen so as not to die suffocated by our fears of today and tomorrow. “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage – I have conquered the world!” (John 16). When the hour of inevitable fear and anguish comes, we will be able to live it in the certainty that God leads and protects our lives and human history. We will be afraid, we will also sweat blood perhaps, and we will suffer again, but the light of divine warmth can never be extinguished in our hearts by no virus, no war, no poverty, no dramatic event, no fear.
Tell in the light
“What I tell you in the dark, tell in the light, and what you hear in your ears, proclaim on the roofs”
this is my first post and like every first time there is a certain emotion… “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). Each of us can create something, by God’s gift, and participate in His creative work. In the end I became convinced that I had to somehow bring out the talent I had received, but it was not easy to overcome my natural reluctance.
Jesus invites us first of all to humility, and then tells us that He is the light of the world
and that we too are this same light of the world, like a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. He speaks of our light that should shine before others and of the good works that the disciples must do so that men may glorify our Father, who is in heaven. He invites us to hidden prayer, and to be careful not to practice our righteousness before men, to be seen by them. Yet it also urges to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. He gives the example of the yeast that must leaven everything, of the salt that has lost its taste and it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. And He says again: “If these will keep silent, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40).
Jesus invites us to speak in the “light”, out in the open, transparently and frankly, and even to go up to the roof to announce what he has just whispered to us in the darkness. The messengers of the Gospel should be like this: they have nothing to do with the secrets, deceptions, hypocrisies, utilitarian calculations and diplomatic methods of this world. The messengers of the Gospel have transparent relationships with others and clearly announce a clear message. The simple and luminous message of Jesus, a message that is light and must be said in light, a message that is peace and love. The message of Jesus is a Gospel, which is good news. Some people do not accept it because the enemy steals the words sown in their hearts. Other people do not accept it because we Christians are incoherent and what we preach does not sound like “good news”, because of the historical and contemporary contradictions of the church and each of us. We are not capable of proposing Jesus to others as He is. Instead, we propose Him filtered through our categories, institutions, theologies that have become more important than God Himself, and our obsolete ecclesiastical garments…. For this reason, if we want to obey God and “tell in the light” His message, our main commitment must be to go to the heart of it, to prune it from the rust accumulated over the centuries and with simplicity, without proselytism, to propose it to others.
Lord of light, you who are light,
make all our proclamations always and only light,
so that something of you, even through us,
can reach our brothers and sisters.