On Ash Wednesday I went to Capernaum. In the video you see the dock of this town of fishermen, home of the Apostles John, James and Matthew (Peter and Andrew, as probably Philip, had also moved there from their earlier home of Bethsaida). Jesus, at the beginning of his public ministry, moved from Nazareth into Peter’s home in Capernaum, where so many episodes reported in the Gospels took place.
Today you can visit the ruins of this ancient Jewish city, the Synagogue where our Lord preached and a Church built on the house of Peter, where Jesus was living. The present-day pier on which I walk is built on top of the authentic pier of Jesus’ time, which forms its foundation.
Such a storm was certainly enough to get the boats of the time into trouble, as evidenced by the Gospels which tell of the famous storms on the lake, miraculously calmed by Jesus.
I hope the shower was good for my cleansing and even if it wasn’t I had a lot of fun!!!
I attach also my social accounts where I post usually the same stuff I post on the blog
Christmas is first and foremost the feast of goodness.
This year has been hard for everyone, and this is no time for homilies. Often we just need to understand that God is good and accepts us as we are.
Don’t buy, no to the consumerist Christmas, don’t spend, do this and that to please Jesus…. I think that God is happy if we buy, if we give each other presents, if we exaggerate a little… and even if in the end we do almost nothing of what he has taught us.
God is happy all the same because he is good.
This is the fundamental message of Christmas:
God is far more good than we ever dared to hope for
It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ [Then] the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant![k] So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Mt 25: 14-30
I am on the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus taught many parables, but the parable of the talents was taught in Jerusalem. Jesus in fact looking at the holy city from the Mount of Olives explains to the disciples the events that precede the end of the world.
“”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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
“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.