Storm at the Sea of Galilee
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
Merry Christmas to all !!!
The Parable of the Talents
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.