Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tax the Rich; Jobs for the Poor!

Mary's Song

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and he has lifted up the lowly
He has filled the hungry with good things
and the rich he has sent away empty

This is not Socialism or Robin Hood economics; this is the heart of Christianity. It is the Song of Mary from Luke's Gospel in the very first chapter. Mary exults in the just dealing of God. If that just dealing is not brought to earth by the obedient human heart it will be provided to us by the Mighty Hand of God.

This is what the End is about. It is the purpose of God to feed the hungry with good things, and if the rich won't do that because of the hardness of their hearts, God will send them away hungry.

In order to deliver the rich from this fate we must tax them fairly. Obviously everyone should contribute to the commonwealth of the nation. The poor should give a nominal amount, the working people something more, the middle class, the upper middle class and the rich thus should contribute according to their means.

I suspect that the rich will fight this notion with all their the resources at their disposal. They will buy votes in Congress. They will buy the airwaves, and brainwash the public into thinking that the poor, the foreign, the gay and the government are the problem.

Thus we should cut all programs to the elderly, the disabled, the children in school. They will argue against regulation of the financial system. They will seek to disband the improvements to clean air, clean water. The rich will deny climate change. They will deny Evolution and other Scientific facts

They will decry governmental intrusion into our private lives except when it comes to whom we should choose to love, and how women choose to deal with their own bodies. They will call freedom of choice murder. They will call execution justice. They will deny gay folks a place in our families at work, in the military, in marriage, in school, and in church. This is the abomination!

These are all a denial of Mary's Song.

Mary wants us to tax the rich so that all Americans can get back to work.
She and her beautiful son want to heal humanity of its illness and want health care for all.

Government, poor people, foreign people, gay people are not America's problem.
The rich, the super rich, and the multi-national corporations are America's problem.
Tax them! Hire the unemployed!
Give Americans health care!

Let Mary sing her song so that every human heart may exult in the Goodness of God.
The Kingdom that is within us all demands that Mary's Song be sung by all and for all!

Happy 4th Advent!
Fr. Paul

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God is Love; pure and simple

I know what Rick Perry said.
I know what Romney said to the veteran in New Hampshire who happens to be gay.
I know what others have said of gay folks, poor folks, foreigners and so on.
But that's NOT what the Holy Writings say; because God has the final Word. God IS the final Word; the Word Who became flesh to dwell among us and this is what God says;

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. ~1 John 4

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Have Come to Bring Good News to the Rich?

To listen to the Far Right Wing in America you would think this is what Jesus said. But I checked the scroll. Wrong!
The Christ of God, The Anointed One couches his entire ministry in these words; "I have Come to Bring Good News to the POOR". They were offensive then, and Praise God, they are offensive now.
The Powers and Principalities would have us believe in Social Darwinism yet at the same time defend Creationism against scientific fact.
What they will defend is the Rich, the Super Rich and the Multi-National Corporation. They will say that Corporations are people and in the same breath blame the poor for being lazy, shiftless and good for nothing.
We are on to them, though, and know that their words are a perversion of the truth.
Thus we take to the streets, and Occupy Wall Street, and hundreds and thousands of Cities and Towns around the world.
The Powers and Principalities moved in on our encampment this morning around 5am. There was no pepper spray, just a brigade of crowd control experts and they arrested about 46 of us and charged us with trespassing. We're a classy crowd in Boston, so it was a gentle eviction as evictions go.
Do not despair Occupy; the Mother of Jesus had to go to a stable to give birth to the One who Brings Good News to the POOR.

I seem to remember that we saved the big financial institutions and corporations because they were too large to fail. But we are evicted from our tents for asking for jobs.
All we want is work.
You saved Corporations and Financial Institutions because you think they are people.
What is the American Worker?
Are we not people?
What are the poor?
Are we not people?
What of the vanishing middle class?
Are we not people?
They were too big to fail!
What of us?
Are we not People?
Are we not Critical to the Recovery?
How can we do this without jobs to pay our mortgages, our car payments, our bills, and to put food on the table for our families?
Do you care more for Corporations than you do for Real Living Persons?
We're not asking for a bail out.
Just give us jobs.
You can send the bill to those Rich People who have 99% of the money and the wealth in this country.
Don't lie to us. We will no longer stand aside and allow you to grind the poor, the worker and the American Middle class into the dust of oppression.

Thus my heart returns to the Bible, because there once was a person who valued us. Many claim him as a Savior, but few have read his words. My heart returns to the Bible because there are so many who pervert it into what they would rather hear. They want Good News for the Rich. But that's NOT what the Book says. My heart returns to the Bible, because that's where we hear Good News for the POOR!

The assigned reading from the Old Testament for most of the Christian world for this Sunday is from the Book of The Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 61. It is the very passage Jesus uses to announce his ministry. These are the words Jesus used when he read from the Prophet.
By the way, you will notice they rejected him then too!

Luke 4
The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
When Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
Go back to the Bible yourself sometime and see for yourself what Jesus actually said. He concluded his ministry with this statement about the judgement of the Nation. Watch out America! Watch our rich folks.

Matthew 25:31ff
The Judgement of the Nations
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’
A blessing on you Poor!
Jesus came to preach Good News to you.
Is anybody listening to what Jesus said?
Fr. Paul

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A Prayer of Self Dedication

Prayer of Self Dedication

It seems appropriate from time to time, to stop and remember that in the hubbub of life, opinion, politics, the struggle/battle for survival; there is this very simple human impulse to pray.

It is seldom we see a prayer of Self Dedication. Goggle that and see how far it gets you. Most prayer is request, petition, intercession and a wholesale shopping list of what we want God to do for us.

What then of this, what of what we offer to God by way of resolve and dedication.

As we begin this new year, let us dedicate ourselves once again in our service to God and all God's people. (Originally I composed this prayer on St. Francis Day of 2011).

A Prayer of Self Dedication
by Paul Bresnahan
New Year's Day 2017

Now in the quiet of the day, I beckon to my soul and listen.
There is only silence
It is a silence I love to return to.
Because I am not alone there.
In that silence I come to my heart of hearts.

The silence becomes a Presence.
And comes to life in a way that invites me to love.
The Presence wants to love me.
I resist that.
But the silent Presence insists.

I look again into the mirror of my soul and see the mystery
It wells up within me to gratitude.
I search for a name for the mystery.
And then I remember "God".

I discover that God is here within my heart.
And God’s heart beats within me and among us.
There is a love that speaks to me.
And extends its Heart toward me and fills me.

I find myself aware and awake.
To the joy of life and sorrow of suffering; the ugliness of hateful violence.
The noble beauty of creative art,
The sin that destroys the self and seeks to destroy others.

God’s heart moves in mine and dispels the fear.
Hear the Word of God and listen
God requires justice, love, mercy and compassion
And Jesus reaches out his arms to the farthest ends of every human heart.

And here I dedicate myself to Jesus.
In the poor and the homeless, the hungry and those who suffer.
The heart of Jesus moves in me, and the love of God
Knows no bounds.

Monday, December 05, 2011

It Gets Better, I promise!

Jamie finally couldn't take it any more. He took his own life and the bullies involved have been suspended from school for a few days, according to the Buffalo Evening News. What is worse; this precious child's death, or a slap on the wrist for the bullies who drove him to his death. Shame on Williamsville!
I've been uncomfortably close to loved ones for whom suicide seemed a way out. I've talked way into the wee hours more times than I can count. I will do that for as long as God gives me time on earth to do it.
Listen to me, God loves you so much that he gave his only beloved Son for you and for me. I even wrote a book, "Everything you need to know about sex in order to get to Heaven" to be sure you knew that you are not going to are going to heaven...AFTER you live a good long life. (If you want that book cheap, or for free, write to me)
Don't let the bullies get to you.
Don't let any self doubts get to you.
Don't let the nagging voices bring you to despair.
Get in touch with someone who you can pour your heart out to...and if you can't find anyone right away, get in touch with me.
It will certainly get better, even if you have to go through a tough patch for now.
Remember my old buddy, Winston Churchill, who was fond of saying; "If you're going through hell, remember, keep going!"
And remember, God loves you and so do I.
As for the rest of you. Stop the bullying. Stop the bullies. Don't put up with any wise cracks about gays. And for God sake, don't let politicians and religious quacks get away with their hate.
Lets talk it up folks.
Tell the kids God loves them and so do you.
Tell them right now!
Listen to their heartache.
Wipe away their tears.
And finally remember this; the basic commandment is this and it is mandatory; "LOVE ONE ANOTHER!"
That is not an opinion...that's what Jesus said before he died for ALL OF US.
I can't see how I can make that plainer or simpler.
This is a matter of life and death.
God loves you.
And so do I.
Fr. Paul

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Of Powers, Principalities and Pepper Spray

You know we're doing something right when the police use pepper spray on an 84 year old woman as pictured left, or on students lined up, unarmed and non violent, as we've seen a hundred times on TV.

These are the Powers and The Principalities: those whose power in in their billions and trillions. They line up the defenseless and the powerless and attack us with high tech torture to quell the human spirit.

But it only serves to propel us on in our struggle. The ringing words of scripture come to mind from the beginnings of the Christian Experience when the Empire that we confronted was the Roman Empire. The Empire we now confront is the Oligarchy of the American Experience.

Only thirty years ago there was an 80/20 split between the Oligarchs and the Middle/Working Class. That split is now 92/8 as a percentage. The "trickle down" promise made by Ronald Reagan, was a lie. The wealth is "trickling up".

This is why we have taken to the streets; to contend against the powers and the principalities until All Americans are working at a decent wage.

To the Streets!

Here is one of my favorite passages. Please note the section in bold.

The Whole Armour of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak. ~Ephesians 6

God bless us one and all,

Fr. Paul