Feb 062005

Your Daily Tripod

"Your Daily Tripod" reflects the personal Fourth Day journeys of its authors and editors. We are happy to have companions like you share in this project. Our prayer is that these reflections will invite and inspire your Fourth Day journey of Piety, Study and Action as much as writing or editing them inspires our journey and brings us all close moments with Jesus and our neighbors.

“Build on the Foundation of God’s Love” by Beth DeCristofaro

Abram told Sarai:  "Your maid is in your power. Do to her whatever you please." Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her. … But the LORD's messenger told her: "Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment. I will make your descendants so numerous," added the LORD's messenger, "that they will be too many to count. Besides," the LORD's messenger said to her: "You are now pregnant and shall bear a son; you shall name him Ishmael, For the LORD has heard you, God has answered you. (Genesis 16:6, 9-11)

Jesus said to his disciples: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. … "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. … And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined." (Matthew 7:21, 24. 26-27)

Grant, O Lord, that we may always revere and love your holy name, for you never deprive of your guidance those you set firm on the foundation of you love.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever.  (Collect from the Mass of the Day)

The cliché “into each life some rain must fall” is a pretty tame description of what many people face.  Sarai faced the humiliation and indeed the devaluation of her identity due to childlessness.  And Hagar was abused for it – forced into a sexual relationship and then mistreated.  Both faced storms what could have crushed them.  Their reactions were so different.  One took her anger out on the other.  Sarai ran away but then trusted – against her lived experience – that the word of God was good and she became “grandmother” to numerous descendants.  God retained the right to disperse judgment and mercy to both women.

We also are asked to live in a way that takes responsibility for our lives in stormy or benign weather.  It is with certainty that we know storms will come.  Do we know for certain that God will be with us in the desert or the flood?  Preparing by each and every day making room for God in our lives – not just mouthing “Lord, Lord” for our own schemes - prepares us to lean on God when needed and stand strong for others when called upon.   Even if asked to stay in the storm, or a situation which seems hopeless, we can rely on God to be with us.

Is there a place in my life in which I am not shouldering the responsibility which the Lord asks of me?  Are there times I am mouthing “Lord, Lord” yet not accepting His will any deeper than my lips?  Spend time in prayer with Him. 

“Distracted or Focused?” by Sam Miller

The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great."…Abram put his faith in the LORD, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness. He then said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as a possession." "O Lord GOD," he asked, "how am I to know that I shall possess it?"…He answered him, "Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old she-goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." Abram brought him all these, split them in two, and placed each half opposite the other; but the birds he did not cut up...When the sun had set and it was dark, there appeared a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch, which passed between those pieces. It was on that occasion that the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: "To your descendants, I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the Great River the Euphrates." Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

Remain in me, as I remain in you, says the Lord;
whoever remains in me will bear much fruit.

R. Alleluia, alleluia. John 15:4A, 5B

Jesus said to his disciples: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits, you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So, by their fruits, you will know them." Matthew 7:15-20


Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the nations his deeds.
Sing to him, sing his praise,
proclaim all his wondrous deeds.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant forever.

Glory in his holy name;
rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly. (Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4)


Talk about off the wall! There I was, trying to get a handle on the Scripture message for today and all of a sudden, all I could see was that all of the readings had the numbers 1 & 5 in them, whether a chapter or verse number, all of them!! So, I naturally “googled” the number 15 and found this:

The number 15 is used as a symbol of rest. It is actually the rest from all sins that Christians have made. The 15th day of Nisan, the first Hebrew month, is the day of rest for all Christians and also for children of Israel. The 15th day of the 7th month in the Hebrew calendar is considered to be the rest day. It represents the new Millennium that will come, in which all people will have rest because of their sins made in the past. However, Jesus Christ will offer salvation to all people.

Other facts about the number 15 in the Bible: The Book of Peter contains materials from 15 books of the Old Testament. The women, who have been mentioned most frequently in the Bible, were Miriam and Abigail, and they were mentioned exactly 15 times. There are many words in the Bible that are made up of 15 letters, such as righteousnesses, administrations and many others. In the Book of Matthew 15 promises were given to Christians.

According to the Bible, the number 15 is considered to be not only a symbol of rest but also a symbol of restoration, healing, and deliverance.

Back to the “ranch” - The Lord told Abram not to fear, He was Abram’s shield and his reward would be very great. “Abram put his faith in the LORD, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness.” To “seal the deal”, God entered a covenant with Abram to give his descendants the Promised Land! Yes, I skipped over the rest of the Q&A session where God was convincing Abram that the land would be the inheritance of his own heir, not the steward of his house. Abram trusted the Lord but still needed assurance, on more than this occasion.

The Gospel’s Alleluia verse, from John 15, speaks of bearing much fruit (This is the passage of Jesus being the vine and we, His people, the branches.)

“Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit because without me you can do nothing…If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.”

I believe Abram asked to remain in the Lord and his reward WAS great indeed!

Much fruit? Good fruit? Either way, I know I can’t produce any useful fruit without remaining in Jesus, standing in the rich soil that is nourished by His Word and trusting in His presence and guidance allways!!


Dear Lord, may my focus remain in You that what I say and do will bear good fruit. In Jesus’ name, I pray! Amen!!

“The Road That Leads to Life” by Melanie Rigney (@melanierigney)

“I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth; if anyone could count the dust of the earth, your descendants too might be counted.” (Genesis 13:16)

He who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord. (Psalm 15:1b)

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." (Matthew 7:13-14)


Lord, You are loving but Your margin of error is small for those who do not come to You with a contrite heart. Help me never to fear to seek Your forgiveness so that I may start anew.


Entering through the narrow gate at the end is what most of us want, because it leads to the promise of eternal life and joy in the Lord. We hear the message that only a few will make it, but we’re pretty sure we will be among them because we’ve been baptized and confirmed and we’re not homicidal maniacs and sadists or anything like that.

We look at lists like the one Gallup put together of Americans’ most admired people of the 20th century, a list that included the likes of Mother Teresa, John Paul II, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela. We know we’re not as good or holy as any of them, but it’s not like we’re Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot, so we feel pretty good about that.

But here’s the thing. Every one of those people, like us, had at least a rudimentary knowledge of what would be required to enter through the narrow gate: Love the Lord with all their being, and reflect that love in the way we interact with others and treat ourselves. Some did their best to meet their requirements; others, not so much. And every hour, every day, we find ourselves facing the same choices they did, albeit in less public ways:

·         Do we kill the spirit in those around us with harshness and judgment or do we feed it with love?

·         Do we isolate ourselves from those who don’t look like, think like, or talk like us, or do we engage and help?

·         Do we question why the Lord isn’t fixing our relationship, financial, or medical problems, or do we choose love and trust rather than bitterness and despair?

The choice is ours: the easy, wide road, or the one with all those restrictions that leads to life. Which will you choose?


Identify your most admired person of 2019, famous or otherwise. What can you learn from the way he or she is walking the constricted road?

Reach to The Ends of the Earth


It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.Isaiah 49:6

So, they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, "John is his name," and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Luke 1:62-64


The servant’s vocation (we learn in the notes to the NABRE) extends beyond the restoration of Israel in order to bring the knowledge of Israel’s God to the rest of the earth. Isaiah’s prophecy echoes when Joseph and Mary engage Simeon and Anna in the temple.  The encounter with Baby Jesus frees Simeon from his temple-vigil:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32

While Isaiah 49 foretells the truth Jesus will bring to the world, this selection on the Nativity of John the Baptist paves the way for Jesus to come along.


Replace the “you” in Isaiah’s reading with your own name and the passage takes on a whole new meaning in our action.

It is too little, he says, for Anthony to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make Anthony a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

It is too little, he says, for Beth to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make Beth a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

It is too little, he says, for Melanie to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make Melanie a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

It is too little, he says, for Michael to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make Michael a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.   

Try it. You may never think about the ACTION leg of the Cursillo Tripod the same way ever again.

“Do This” by Diane Bayne

Brothers and sisters: I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." (1 Cor 11:22-23)

Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured...Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied.  And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets. (Luke 9:11B, 16-17)


O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament

has left us a memorial of Your Passion, grant us, we pray,

so to revere the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood

that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of Your redemption.

Who lives and reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. 


The following study meditation is taken from the discussion by Caroline Pignat before the readings for Corpus Christi Sunday on June 23, 2019:

Jesus could have turned the stones into bread; he could have made it rain manna.  Instead, he made it the disciples’ responsibility to meet the crowd’s need.  How did they respond?  With faithfulness.  Logic may have said the task was impossible, but they stepped out in faith because Jesus asked. They gave it their all and even though their faith wasn’t nearly enough, they still brought it in faith –trusting that Jesus could make the difference.


Continuing the above discussion by Caroline Pignat:

        What “impossible task” might Jesus ask of us this week?  To whom is he asking us to give?  How will we respond?  If we focus on our few loaves and fish, we only see what is lacking.  We feel unprepared and eventually, we talk ourselves out of acting.  It isn’t enough anyway.  What difference would it make?  But if we focus on Jesus, and give him our all, we become part of the difference he will make.  In today’s celebration bring Jesus your fish and loaves.  Give him your all, and trust that in him all are fed, that all are filled.  

My Grace Is Sufficient

[B]ut he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 COR 12:9-10

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil."  Matthew 6:33-34


If I were a rich man,

Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.

All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.

If I were a wealthy man.

I wouldn't have to work hard.

Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.

If I were a biddy biddy rich,

Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man.

I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,

Right in the middle of the town.

A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.

There would be one long staircase just going up,

And one even longer coming down,

And one more leading nowhere, just for show.


As I inch closer to completing my 62nd revolution around the sun, thoughts turn more to retirement planning than to worry about the next restricting at the office.  Have we saved enough?  What will we do for healthcare? Where will we live? 

Years ago, we worried about saving for the college educations of our daughters.  Or paying off the car loan or refinancing the mortgage at a lower rate to save money. Or shopping at Costco to make the grocery bills go further.

Yet today, we are warned not to worry about such things. This is like that part of the Gospel where Christ warns the rich man that he has to give up everything he owns for the Gospel. Yikes!  I even know retired priests who have retirement homes near the beach.

These are – for me – some of the hardest passages of the Gospel to comprehend. It’s not like we can all run away and live our retirement in a monastery or convent.

As Tevye says: You made many, many poor people.  I realize, of course, it’s no shame to be poor. But it’s no great honor either. So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?  


 Most Americans vastly underestimate how rich they are compared with the rest of the world. After adjusting for cost-of-living differences, a typical American still earns an income that is 10 times the income received by the typical person in the world.[i]

According to the research done for the above reference, the average U.S. resident estimated that the global median individual income is about $20,000 a year. In fact, the real answer is about a tenth of that figure: roughly $2,100 per year. Similarly, Americans typically place themselves in the top 37 percent of the world’s income distribution. However, the vast majority of U.S. residents rank comfortably in the top 10 percent.

In light of facts like these, it makes it a little easier to contemplate a future without money woes here than if living at an average salary somewhere else around the world.

However, we also need to square our financial performance with the Gospel and develop a sense of justice with what we do with our vast fortunes.  Even today, the average sermon only touches on money when the pastor or bishop is making a pitch for the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal or some other need of the church.  We skip over the broader implications of today’s Gospel.

How can we more fully rely upon God and His sufficient grace and less on the Social Security Administration or Vanguard or Bank of America or Wall Street?

Show My Weakness

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.2 COR 11:30

"The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be."  Matthew 6:22-23


A Prayer to the Blessed Trinity by Daniel Berrigan

I'm locked into the sins of General Motors

My guts are in revolt at the culinary equivocations of General Foods

Hang over me like an evil shekinah, the missiles of General Electric.

Now we shall go from the Generals to the Particulars.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Let me shake your right hands in the above-mentioned order

Unmoved Motor, Food for Thought, Electric One.

I like you better than your earthly idols.

You seem honest and clear-minded and reasonably resolved

To make good on your promise.

Please: owe it to yourselves not less than to us,

Warn your people: beware of adulterations.

(From Daniel Berrigan, And the Risen Bread; Selected Poems, 1957–1997)


In photography, there are many choices of lenses to put on the front of my camera.  First, the normal lens takes pictures that seem close to the angle of what we see with our own two eyes. Then, there are wide-angle lenses that see much more than we can with one glance.  Finally, there are telephoto lenses which see a narrower view but also make the scene appear to be much closer than where we are standing.

Christianity, culture, and politics are like different lenses on the world. Politics allows us to see the power. Culture allows us to see the popular.  Christianity allows us to see the weak and rejected.   

Rev. Daniel Berrigan, SJ
This is illustrated in both of today’s readings. After recalling his mission, Paul boasts about his weaknesses.  Usually, people might boast about their new job.  Their new house.  How well their children are doing in school or in careers.  Weakness is usually not a subject for typical boasting in culture or in politics.  After confessing to his weakness, he takes on weakness as a source of pride.

Jesus also reiterates that we must see life through a different lens.   In this context the parable of the light of the eye reinforces the need for us get enlightenment from Jesus’ teaching on the transitory nature of earthly riches, not from those who would have us store up treasures in our Lexus or Mercedes-Benz.


Our heroes help us see life through different lenses.  Who becomes our heroes in life? Culture may tell us to follow Jay-Z, or Lebron, or Tom Brady.  Politics may tell us to follow the president, or the governor, or the mayor or the generals and admirals.  Religion holds up different examples. 

Recently, Villanova University had a conference on the life of Rev. Daniel Berrigan, SJ.  Fr. Berrigan had neither riches nor political power.  Yet, he profoundly influenced the spirituality of the people at the conference who talked about how he influenced their lives. One speaker noted:

"I have known many people who lived what one might call Jesus-shaped lives, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton among them. Dan was another," he said. "Such people remind those who encounter them of the Gospels. These are people who, in ways large and small, lay down their lives for their neighbor, including the hostile neighbor, the enemy. One can make no sense of the pivotal choices Dan made in his long life apart from the New Testament."

He continued, "His greatest gift may have been the path he opened (or in many cases re-opened) to eucharistic life and faith for people who had been estranged from almost everything."

Perhaps the biggest takeaway we can have from Christianity and Cursillo is that you can't simply sit on the sidelines.  Christianity is simply not a spectator sport.  People like Dan Berrigan and St. Paul lived their weakness giving everything for their cause.  What do they inspire you to do?

PS: Happy Summer-Solstice Birthday to @MelanieRigney

 Posted by at 8:28 am

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