The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Monday, March 24, 2003
Mission Notes: Day Two

The Readings
On Day two of the mission, Tuesday, we will tell the story of the Prodigal son found in
Luke 15:1, 11-32

Homily Notes

I really wish you were here for the mission talks today. This is one of my favorite stories to tell. Jesus was such a master story teller. The word-picture he paints of his father in this story is so rich and detailed it takes time and reflection to understand the depth of the Father’s extravagant love. Couples who have witnessed me tell this story on Retrouvaille weekends know the passion I can put into its re-telling.

There are many examples in scriptures of Jesus healing presence, the one asked for forgiveness from the cross, the woman who washed Jesus feet, the woman accused of adultery, the chief sinners and tax collectors, especially Zacchaeus.

Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector (read chief sinner) in the town. He was collecting taxes for the foreign occupying force, and was a traitor to the Jewish people, therefore he was unclean and unfit for the temple, and anyone who would associate with him would make themselves unclean for the temple. Zacchaeus was curious, he wanted to see Jesus. Jesus immediately invited himself into Zacchaeus' home. He didn't ask for him to change, he didn't say, "I'll come to your house if only you change." No, he was invited to the kingdom, and because of that he was able to change. Jesus forgave him even before he asked, and because of that he was able to change. Every act of Jesus in the scriptures was like this. Heal first and ask questions later. His healing and forgiveness gives us the ability to make the change that we long to make in order to live as his people. His desire is for us even before we awaken to this desire.

In the parable of the prodigal son, the first son, an overt sinner, treated his father as if he were dead, violated the command to honor one's father, associated with a pagan gentile, and abandons all principles of morality and honesty, making his living in a sinful way. A polite way for a middle easterner to get rid of unwanted hangers-on is to assign a task they will surely refuse. This younger son knew no laws he would follow and did not refuse the task, even though it went against every family and religious tradition. Jesus describes a sinner who had sunk so low as to hunger and thirst for the food of pigs. Even in repentance and change it was his own self interest which is apparent.

The elder brother, a covert sinner, address his father with no title, declares he is not really part of the family("my" friend, this son of "yours"), he also treats his father as if he wants him dead, he only carried out orders and did not give of any love of his own.

What was the Father's desire for these two reprobates? What were his actions?

For the first son, it was a robe (sign of honor), a ring (symbol of authority), shoes (sign of a free person), and a feast (sign of joy).

For the elder son, the story is left open. What will the elder brother decide? That is for the elder brothers and sisters who are hearing the story to decide. Notice the story ends with the father himself not at the feast, but arguing in the darkness with the elder brother. So if you are out in the dark, not sure if you want to join this party or not, remember, the father is closest to you, constantly extending a faithful invitation to the feast.

• What prevents me from forgiving those who have hurt me?
• Are there any benefits to holding a grudge?
• How can the Church, the family of God, help me to be more forgiving?

I cannot get the link to work, but scroll down to the Saturday of the Second Week of Lent for more on the Prodigal son.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:53 PM link
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The Annunciation

The Readings
Isaiah 7: 10 14 The virgin will be with child, and bear a son.
Ps 40 Here I am Lord, I come to do your will
Hebrews 10:4 10 I have come to do your will O God
Luke 1:26 38 I am the Handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.

St. Gaspar
Think no longer about the past. Do not be the cause of your own crosses. Live joyfully with the Center of every good gift ... the will of God. May this be our mystical food, our comfort, our every good. Let us live in God, for God and with God.
(to Mother Maria Nazzarena De Castris, July 18, 1834, Letter 2752, Strokes of the Pen V, pg 142)

So, let us leave everything in the hands of God and, in this regard, we will be doing everything to fulfill the divine will.
(to Ignazio Lesinelli, August 28, 1835, Letter 2961, Strokes of the Pen V, pg 143)

The following is all from Strokes of the Pen I, Resources 4, pg 56


1. "Let us remember that the most holy Virgin is the aqueduct of divine mercy, our advocate and, after Jesus, our hope and our protection." (from Letter No. 65 to Countess Lucrezia Ginnasi, May 10, 1813)

2. "I have entrusted our congregation and its members to Mary most holy. From heaven, she will see to its protection and will bless it lovingly." (from Letter No. 122 to Msgr. Bellisario Cristaldi, August 27, 1815)

3. "The love of Jesus Christ that I nourish for you urges me to have you participate in the delightful consolations that the Lord has given to me during the missions in Umbria which I completed today. I attribute everything to the efficacy of the Blood of Jesus Christ, the prayers of most holy Mary and St. Francis Xavier, my most beloved protector." (from Letter No. 293 to Msgr. Bellisario Christaldi, June 5, 1820)

The Reflection

We celebrate the day that God turns the world up side down. It is in Mary and through Mary that the situation of humanity and of the world has been reversed, and we have in some way re-entered into the splendor of the first creation. Mary is the instrument that links Jesus to the human race. God visits earth, comes to us where we are, and raises our humanity now to an incomparable dignity.

The greatest events, human or divine, takes place in absolute silence. The world does not notice or pay attention. The invitation comes from a messenger of God and God's Word takes flesh in the assent of a young girl.

There is nothing to prevent us from doing the will of God. No human deficiency can ever prevent us from doing God's will. Here I am, she says, I come to do your will. We gather in wonder and awe, also like St. Gaspar to fall in love with God's will. For him, her "yes" becomes the aqueduct, the font of all the graces of living water flowing to us in the sacraments.

• How does the world avoid noticing God's will?
• How do I show love for the will of God?
• When was the last time I said, “I am the servant of the Lord?”

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:49 PM link
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A Place to Stop and Pray

...hosted by the Irish Jesuits.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 7:43 PM link
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Welcome St. Anselm Parish

First of all welcome to all the readers from St. Anselm Parish in Ross, CA. This is mission week in St. Anselm parish and those who are unable to attend the morning or evening sessions are welcome to read the mission notes here and participate in the discussion.

There are two things going on this Blog/website this week.

First, there is the on-line retreat that began Ash Wednesday and will continue through Easter Sunday.

Secondly, the Mission notes for each day of the Mission will be posted along with discussion questions. You are invited to read the scripture readings and the notes and use the questions to help you reflect on their significance.

If you have any questions, please send me an

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 12:31 AM link
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Mission Notes, Day One
The focus today is Covenant: Where is God in the time of tears?

The Reading
Romans 3:21-30, Lectionary 470

Notes from the Homily
The bulk of these notes form the outline of today's mission talk.

Major points

1. Communion and community are a given. It is not something we create. It already is. We are changed, transformed by our involvement in communion.

2. Community is fundamental. One of the primary images of Jesus was that of a wedding banquet.

3. The choice for involvement is always free. The call is irrevocable. Gaspar was never put off by refusal.

4. The relationship between God and human beings is entirely reconstituted. The Blood of Christ is not some "ransom" as payment for the guilty, but is the means by which the relationship is reconstituted. The tragedy is when anyone still feels or experiences themselves as cut off.

5. The work is God's work. God accomplishes it. God's work is placed in the hands of a human being.

6. Gaspar was about "church reform." The Church is always in need of reform and today is no different

7. Gaspar did not "trust" those who sought after only the best and remained inert as long as they had no guarantee of achieving it, hiding behind the pretext that things are not or might not turn out the way they should. Gaspar did not pull back. Troubles were for him a sign of divine election for the work.

Discussion questions

1. How would you describe your covenant with God? God's with you?

2. What does it mean to be God's people? What responsibilities and privileges are involved?

3. Who may feel without hope? What events rob people of hope?

4. Who is cut off from the people in my neighborhood or city? And what is my responsibility toward them as a Christian?

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 12:19 AM link
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