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Psalm 105 Comes to the Parking Lot

51365386 2082442375156139 972139205767462912 n Hard as it is to believe in the midst of July, but planning is well underway in Milwaukee for responding to extreme cold events this winter, and what will be done to bring our brothers and sisters to safety. Last year’s threshold for opening a warming center was 20 degrees or below, and/or blizzard conditions. This year the Continuum of Care for the city and county hope to open warming centers at 32 degrees of below. Funding has to be identified, and sites. The Saint Ben’s site of Capuchin Community Services will likely be a part of the response. Why? Ask Abraham. In today’s First Reading, the Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, the motivations or interior thoughts or internal struggles of Abraham are never revealed, rather, he “sees, judges, acts,” to use the formula of liberation theology, and he welcomes the strangers passing through his promised land. He has the capacity – note that he has flocks and servants and surplus – but more important, he has the desire to offer hospitality. And it is so for us.

Now boarding

Element5-digital-ue2t1tcfsn8-unsplash How was your 4th? Yeah? Good. Mine? Eh. But thanks for asking. 41 million Americans traveled for the 4th of July holiday, some 80% of whom drove to their destination. In today’s Gospel, Luke Chapter 10, Jesus assembles a sort of “advance team,” forming a cadre of disciples “whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit” (v. 1). There was as yet no Yelp. To go forth as a disciple – now that’s a high call. Discipleship presupposes a relationship with God, and from that relationships is formed trust and connection such that the one chosen can and will carry out the mission. How else does one go forth, particularly in a contemporary context? Consider these main groupings: tourist; road warrior; pilgrim; and missionary.

“How can I, unless someone instructs me?” (Acts 8: 31)

The readings for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time use imagery and ideas that are readily made contemporary, especially when they’re plugged into our society and economy. Begin with Elisha and Elijah, and Elijah’s command by God to mentor Elisha. Mentorships are experiencing a mild revival; employers are figuring out (again) that in many situations “one size fits one,” and that some skills can only be learned in time and through practice and repetition. The worth of receiving guidance from someone who has attained mastery is slowly being restored as a public good.

Guacamole costs extra

Guacamole I lean on Pope Francis’s insight – and let it guide all ministry – that realities are greater than ideas, from Evangelii Gaudium. Jesus knows this and he shows it to his apostles in the Gospel today, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. The plan, the idea for looking after the five thousand, is to have the people fend for themselves in the nearby farms and villages? It is a terrible plan. The reality? The reality is that the ministers have fishes and loaves. “Give them some food yourselves” (Luke 9:13), Jesus tells them. And he takes it from there.