Whole Pumpkin Planted in Ground – November 2021

Mark 4:26-29 (TLB) (26) “Here is another story illustrating what the Kingdom of God is like: “A farmer sowed his field (27) and went away, and as the days went by, the seeds grew and grew without his help. (28) For the soil made the seeds grow. First a leaf blade pushed through, and later the heads of wheat formed, and finally the grain ripened, (29) and then the farmer came at once with his sickle and harvested it.”

You Have Authority

At the very end of the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:16-17), after Jesus’ resurrection and before He ascends to Our Father, we see Jesus giving His disciples final instructions.

Those Who Believe Shall Use My Authority

(16) Those who believe and are baptized will be saved. But those who refuse to believe will be condemned. (17) “And those who believe shall use My authority to cast out demons, and they shall speak new languages. (emphasis mine)

We see Jesus at His Last Supper, telling His disciples,

Anyone Believing in Me shall do the Same Miracles I Have Done, and Even Greater Ones

(John 14:12-13) “In solemn truth I tell you, anyone believing in Me shall do the same miracles I have done, and even greater ones, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask Him for anything, using My Name, and I will do it, for this will bring praise to the Father because of what I, the Son, will do for you. (emphasis mine)

Let’s take a look at four more passages, that bring this truth to light.

He Spoke to the Fever

In Luke 4:39, we see Jesus speaking to Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever, (39) Standing at her bedside He spoke to the fever, rebuking it, and immediately her temperature returned to normal, and she got up and prepared a meal for them! (emphasis mine)

He Spoke to the Storm

In Luke 8:24, the disciples are out in the boat with Jesus, (24) They rushed over and woke him up. “Master, Master, we are sinking!” they screamed. So He spoke to the storm: “Quiet down,” He said, and the wind and waves subsided and all was calm! (emphasis mine)

And I Know You Have Authority to Tell His Sickness To Go – and it Will Go!

The Centurian knows it in (Matthew 8:8-9), Then the officer said, “Sir, I am not worthy to have You in my home; and it isn’t necessary for You to come. If you will only stand here and say, ‘Be healed,’ my servant will get well! I know, because I am under the authority of my superior officers and I have authority over my soldiers, and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave boy, ‘Do this or that,’ and he does it. And I know you have authority to tell his sickness to go—and it will go!(emphasis mine)

How They Praised God for Giving Such Authority to a Man

In Matthew (9:8), we see some men bringing a paralyzed man to Jesus. Jesus was amazed at their faith! (8) A chill of fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen right before their eyes. How they praised God for giving such authority to a Man (Jesus)! (emphasis mine)

If we believe, we can, and we are to use His authority. We are to speak. We are to rebuke. Do we?

Saint Therese

Original Date: December 9, 2006
Revised: December 14, 2011
Re-published: June 26, 2022
(download a pdf copy)

St Therese

I originally wrote this for a Theology class I was taking at Seton Hall in 2006. Reviewing all my filed documents a few weeks back, I realized this is way too beautiful to keep it a secret from you. 

Scripture tells us a thousand years is like a day to God. I believe His will for all of us was scripted long ago.

Allow me to tell you a beautiful story that goes back at least one hundred and thirty years.

Our mentally retarded son Robert is thirty-five years old. On the day he was sent, Jesus informed a certain Saint that Robert’s progress would be very slow, his accomplishments may never show. Jesus’ Father would select a very special Mommy, a very special Daddy and was planning to build for him a very special school. It would be Catholic and it would be called “The Seton Foundation for Learning.” Jesus was smiling. He and His Father had so many plans including so many people. They must love sitting together making perfect plans like these.

In eighteen hundred and seventy three, a baby was born in France. Her name was Therese. At fifteen she entered the convent and would die just nine years later. Her mission on earth had been accomplished at twenty-four. Or so we thought. Hardly anyone knew she was ordered by her superiors to write a book about her love of Jesus. But God did. It is now amusing to think her other sisters in the convent worried she would leave no legacy.

So God chose Saint Therese to be His Project Manager. “You make it sound like she gave You a choice,” Jesus lovingly stated to His Father. Therese knew how to pray over the details.

Ninety-three years ago in Manhattan, a baby boy was born. His name was Patrick. Jesus would have him grow up and become an Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of New York. “Follow Me,” is all He had to say.

Yet, Bishop Ahern never imagined that Jesus would choose him to shepherd the Seton Foundation for Learning at age sixty-six.

At age seventy-nine Bishop Ahern would write “Maurice and Therese – A Story of a Love” when many are retired, dead, frail and tired. It was to be Bishop’s second legacy past the age of sixty-five.

Forty-seven years ago two young priests would join a then Fr Ahern and purchase a house right on the beach on Long Beach Island. It would cost fifteen thousand dollars. One of the men would go on to become NY’s beloved Terrence Cardinal Cooke, who is himself a candidate for canonization. It would be a house where two of Jesus’ Apostles vacationed. The deal was simple. Whoever lived the longest got the house free and clear. Bishop Ahern became that person.

Twenty-eight years ago, a Staten Island family was walking along the beach in Ocean City, MD. They encountered another family with a developmentally disabled daughter much like their own. They hailed from Scranton, PA. Jesus had just selected a new Apostle by the name of John O’Connor and he blessed a Catholic special education school there. Therese’s enthusiasm was making Jesus happy. They knew what was about to happen.

Robert became the seventh student in what was God’s “very special school.” It had no money, two classes and it was one years old. It would be modeled after the Scranton school and blessed by NY’s newly named Archbishop John O’Connor.

Jesus loves the mentally retarded because he loves truth. Their places in heaven are already reserved as they do not know how to sin. We have Robert getting up from the dinner table telling his Mother his brother cooks the ham better. Yes . . . Jesus and Therese smile along with us.

Bishop always tells me God needed a fundraiser, so He blessed us with Robert.

Today, Seton educates one hundred and twenty kids, ages three to twenty-one and has three campuses. One of the seven petitions from the “Our Father,” the prayer Jesus taught us is “give us our daily bread.” Miracles happen daily.

Six years ago, Jesus asked Therese to create a fourth Seton school. “The Therese Program for Children with Autism.” Autism is at epidemic proportions. Much like my son Robert entering a school twenty years ago with seven kids and no money, this program had eight kids and no money.

Everyone fretted how they would pull it off, much like they did twenty-five years ago.

It was then that Therese had Jesus remind Bishop Ahern in prayer that the beachfront house would easily sell for a million dollars. Now they needed daily operational expenses.

Therese checked God’s plan for the day of April 17, 2006. “Bring Robert’s Daddy back, Bishop Ahern needs his fundraiser, money needs to be raised for Therese’s School on Staten Island,” You may be aware I had been estranged from the Catholic Church for five years. I was away from Seton. It was time for me to come home.

A book had been sitting on my shelf for six years. The day after Easter I picked it up and read it. It was Bishop Ahern’s book on Therese. That book has led me back to into the Catholic faith in ways I never thought imaginable. Within days, I was receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation – for the first time in more than thirty-five years. I didn’t know it at the time, but the church I visited was one of the first American churches named after Therese more than eighty years ago. Builders had chiseled in Teresa.

Amazing things have happened: a bountiful prayer life, this wonderful gathering each week, daily mass, communion, confession, forgiveness, visits to Jesus for silent adoration where His radiance glows onto you and me once again raising money for Bishop and Therese’s new school.

My studies at Seton Hall have helped me understand something I never realized before. Over nineteen years, Seton has raised more than two million dollars, doing it ten dollars at a time. A brief talk is given after communion at all parishes once a year. More than ten thousand parishioners have bought a raffle ticket, all because we are truly one in Christ at that time. Jesus makes it so easy.

One Saturday morning in late September five years ago, I attended Mass at a neighboring parish. It was the parish where Bishop Ahern had been a pastor years ago. Therese sits in an alcove. Like a bolt of lighting, the inspiration to write what I am delivering today flew into my heart.

A week later, on Therese’s feast day, I learned another story behind my new parish. Within walking distance is the old hospital (Seaview) where the cure for Tuberculosis was found, the very same disease she died from.

Jesus told Therese a disabled son would come into my life and do some really special things. Jesus never lets us down. Never!

It was quite a plan.

Litany of Praise

(download in pdf format)

Praise You, Jesus (repeat):

1. You are my life, my love.

2. You are the Name above all Names. (Ephesians 1:21) (Philippians 2:9) 

3. You are Emmanuel, God with us.

4. You are the King of Kings.

5. You are the King of Creation. (John 1:10)

6. You are the King of the Universe.

7. You are the Lord of Lords.

8. You are the Almighty.

9. You are the Christ. (Mark 8:29)

10. You are Christ, the King.

11. You are the Lamb of God. (John 1:29)

12. You are the Lion of Judah.

13. You are the Bright Morning Star.

14. You are our Champion and Shield.

15. You are our Strength and our Song.

16. You are the Way for our Life.

17. You are the only Truth. (John 1:14, 17)

18. You are the Real Life.

19. You are the Wonderful Counselor.

20. You are the Prince of Peace.

21. You are the Light of the World. (John 1:4, 9)

22. You are the Living Word. (Hebrews 4:12) (John 1:14)

23. You are the Redeemer.

24. You are the Messiah. (John 4:25) (Mark 8:29)

25. You are the Anointed One. (John 4:25)

26. You are the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 12:6) 

27. You are the Good Shepherd.

28. You are the Sheepgate.

29. You are the Lord of Hosts.

30. You are the Rock of all Ages.

31. You are our Hiding Place.

32. You are the Savior of the World.

33. You are the Strong Tower.

34. You are the Mountain Refuge. 

35. You are the Bread of Life.

36. You are the Font of all Holiness.

37. You are the Living Water. (John 4:10) 

38. You are the True Vine.

39. You are my Spouse, my Maker.

40. You are our Fortress.

41. You are the Deliverer

42. You are our Victory.

43. You are our Salvation.

44. You are our Righteousness.

45. You are our Wisdom.

46. You are our Sanctification.

47. You are our Justification.

48. You are the Door.

49. You are the Great I AM. (John 4:26)

50. You are the Great High Priest 

51. You are the Cornerstone.

52. You are the Sure Foundation.

53. You are our Joy.

54. You are our Portion and Cup.

55. You are our Healing and Wholeness. 

56. You are our Covenant.

57. You are the Promise of the Father.

58. You are the Everlasting One.

59. You are the Most High God. (Psalm 92:2)

60. You are the Lamb that was Slain. (Revelation 5:12)

61. You are the Just Judge.

62. You are the Balm of Gilead.

63. You are the Mighty Warrior.

64. You are our Defense.

65. You are the Bridegroom.

66. You are our Patience.

67. You are the Solid Reality.

68. You are our Provider.

69. You are the Resurrection and the Life. 

70. You are the Alpha and Omega. 

71. You are the Beginning and the End.

72. You are all that I need.

73. You are all that I want.

74. You are Worthy of all Praise!

 

Psalm 34:2-4 – I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. My soul will glory in the LORD; let the poor hear and be glad. Magnify the LORD with me; and let us exalt his name together.

Matthew 21:16 – Jesus said to them, “Yes; and have you never read the text, ‘Out of the mouths of infants and nurslings you have brought forth praise’?”

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise.

Psalms 150:1-6 – Hallelujah! Praise God in His holy sanctuary; give praise in the mighty dome of heaven. Give praise for His mighty deeds, praise him for His great majesty. Give praise with blasts upon the horn, praise Him with harp and lyre. Give praise with tambourines and dance, praise Him with strings and pipes. Give praise with crashing cymbals, praise Him with sounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath give praise to the LORD! Hallelujah!

Psalms 92:2 – It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praise to your name, Most High,

Psalms 35:28 – Then my tongue shall recount Your justice, declare Your praise, all the day long.

Psalms 51:16-17 – Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God, and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice. Lord, you will open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

1 Peter 2:9-10 – But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were “no people” but now you are God’s people; you “had not received mercy” but now you have received mercy.

Matthew 18:3 – and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Psalms 107:22 – Let them offer a sacrifice in thanks, recount his works with shouts of joy.

Hebrew 13:15 – Through Him [then] let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess His Name.

Psalms 116:17 – I will offer a sacrifice of praise and call on the Name of the LORD.

Revelation 5:11-14 – I looked again and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.”

Revelation 7:11-12 – All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed: “Amen. Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power, and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”

Revelation 19:5 – A voice coming from the throne said: “Praise our God, all you His servants, [and] you who revere Him, small and great.”

 

Passages

Prologue (John 1:1-18)

Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)

Annunciation (Luke 1:29-37)

Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1-11)

Visitation (Luke 1:39-45)

Love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

At the Name of Jesus (Philippians 2:4-11)

Jesus’ Prayer to His Father (John 17:11-19)

Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

Creation (Genesis 1:1-2:2)

Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9) (Mark 9:2-10) (Luke 9:28-36)

 

Singular Passages

Mark 5:9

1 Peter 3:2

Colossians 1:16

Hebrews 11:1

Mark 1:15

Mark 5:36

Romans 12:1-2

Romans 5:5

John 2:5

John 3:16

Luke 24:32

1 Corinthians 1:3

 

Psalms

Psalm 1:1-4

Psalm 51:12