Thursday, June 14, 2012


Today, finally, after two weeks of computer challenges, I was able to have the problemsssss!!! resolved.

I wish to inform you that Prayer on the Hill will be going on a summer retreat once again.  It is time for me to give some serious time to some R & R as well as time for personal prayers and reflection.

The postings will resume on Sunday, September 16, 2012.  During the time of absence, I might suggest that you review some of the previous reflections if you feel the need to have an infusion of Prayer on the Hill.

This announcement will remain posted until September 16th ... or if there are other announcements that might be of interest to you.

I thank you for your continued interest in this mission.  It has been a great consolation to see the increased number of readers in this past year.

May God be with you throughout the summer.

Fr. Milt Jordan

Friday, June 8, 2012


Getting up too early to post is dangerous!
Sitting down to read my breviary, I realized that I had listed the postings for this week as 
days the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time!!!
As many of you know, it is the NINTH week.
More sleep in order.  
Sorry but grateful the Holy Spirit caught me!
Friday of the Eighth Week Ordinary Time

The words from the heart and soul of St. Paul to Timothy offer a reminder to all of the importance of Scripture.  It is a key to the treasure chest that contains the "gold" of prayer.  Take note of Paul's understanding of the value of the Scriptures when praying:  "... from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."  It is in the Sacred Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments that we have a pathway to understanding Jesus Christ.  

How often there is the challenge to say to ourselves that "a course in Scripture is an experience that I have never had.  Learning about Jesus this way is almost impossible for me."  Yet Paul continues in his letter to Timothy, " ... All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness ...."

Another weekend is upon us.  Yes, it might be time to cut grass, work in the garden, clean up the house or drive to the lake or to the beach.  However, it might just be the time also to allot a half hour to reading Sacred Scripture.  Coming to have a deeper relationship with Jesus is next to impossible if the wisdom of Jesus himself and other writers of the sacred letters and thoughts are not given entrance to our hearts and minds.  Were an announcement appearing in our daily papers or on the Internet or TV broadcasts that there was a certain part of a book that would lead to gold, the bookstores would be jammed, the Internet would be clogged.  Yet this is precisely what St. Paul is "advertising" when he describes sacred Scripture as a power that can offer "wisdom for salvation."  It is worth the reading time!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday in the Eighth Week Ordinary Time

In today's gospel, please take note of one word that Jesus uses to share with us the expectations of the Father for each of us.  We are called to love God with a great degree of intensity: with ALL that we are.  These words bring my mind and to my Jesuit colleagues and others who share some affinity with St. Ignatius Loyola the prayer that the Jesuit founder composed for his sons and those who followed him in their prayer life.  Let me share it with you.

Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty
my memory
my understanding
my entire will.
All that I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours;
do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace:
that is enough for me.

As you link this prayer with the words of today's gospel reading, you have the opportunity to consider what parts of your life do you wrap in human teflon, protecting yourself from the powerful graces that the Holy Spirit sends to you each day.  I might suggest printing this prayer and making it a part of your early morning offering to God and then again as your day is winding down and you might be thinking of all that occurred during the day. This prayer well serves as an offering to the Father of all that you accomplished during the day and is a prayer as you evaluate your performance in God's earthly kingdom. What a powerful final sentence to end and begin each day:

Give me only your love and your grace
that is enough for me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

We live in an age when we encounter moments somewhat similar to what Jesus is experiencing in the gospel reading for today.  Jesus is questioned about resurrection of the dead.  Here is his response to the challenge of the woman who married the many brothers in one family after each of the brothers married her and each on eventually died.

"Are you not misled
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?

Do not we have a similar situation enter our lives when family or friends, work colleagues or even strangers who learn of our faith ask questions about our faith?  There is a great difference between a genuine question of inquiry about our faith and a question that either seeks to present embarrassment or an effort to make the faith appear weak or useless.

Take for example the many beliefs we hold because we accept the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Likewise, are not the teachings of our Church challenged or ridiculed?  Same-sex marriage and contraception are two "hot buttons" that become challenges to Catholics by many who wish knowingly or even unknowingly to mock our faith.  Recall the challenges to the faith following the reports of paedophilia and the ridicule and insults thrown at the many priests who labor in the vineyard with fidelity to God, the Church and the people of God.

Sometimes I hear individuals attempt to respond to such genuine questions as well as those that are less than genuine with an answer such as "I really don't know what the Church is teaching now."   An answer such as that only demonstrates the individual Catholic's lack of interest in his/her Church.  With the Internet so available and two publications of a current Catechism available to anyone who can read, there seems little excuse for Catholics not being well informed about their faith or what the Church seeks to teach her followers.  To know precisely what the Church teaches today the Vatican has made remarkable strides in producing many avenues through the Internet for Catholics and non-Catholics alike to know for certain what the Church teaches, what the past and present Holy Fathers have taught.

We might adapt Jesus quizzing response to the challengers as a question to us today when we fail to understand what the Church teaches whether we agree with the Church's stance on issues or not.

"Are you not misled by some public media responses
because you do not know the Scriptures, the power of God
of the teachings of the Church?"

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday in the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Today's gospel might well be addressed to our culture, our society at large.  Isn't the moral and ethical picture that we find before us today also a contest with God just as we read in the gospel today?  In essence isn't every sinful action whether it be categorized by the Church or ourselves as "venial" or "serious" a testing of God and his goodness to us, his merciful love for us.

The Pharisees and Herodians mentioned in the gospel are testing what Jesus was teaching:  the truth!  Isn't the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ a manifestation of the truth for us?  Each of us, looking at his/her life, can we not see that those moments of failure are the embodiment of an evil spirit challenging the graces of God that have been bestowed on us?  Isn't sin also our challenging God proclaiming that we are stronger that God or know better than God?

Are not the actions of two and three year old children and so often teenagers looked upon as a challenge to parental authority?  Isn't speeding, for example, an adult expression of rejection of a law?  Is sin any different?  Isn't it an expression of a person's efforts to be independent of the truth that God has put before us?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sunday, June 3, 2012
A Day of Priestly Thanksgiving

June 3, 1972 on the calendar was  Saturday.  On that day in the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, 12 men were somewhat nervous early that morning.  Within a few hours after sunrise, the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Archbishop would be making his way from his historic residence to the collegiate chapel on the Jesuit Loyola College in Baltimore.  A little after 10 AM that morning a lengthy procession of Jesuit priests began a procession from a campus building to the chapel and the standing room only congregation.  At the end of the procession Lawrence Cardinal Sheehan followed the group of twelve men dressed in white albs and a variety of white deacon’s stoles.  These men were walking not only towards a momentous event in their lives but to the doorstep of a new life that would impact not only themselves but men and women around the world.  This was the Maryland Provinces’ newest class of men who had already studied for many years, had taught several years in secondary and collegiate classrooms, worked in soup kitchens, worked with fire fighters in different cities, protested the war in VietNam, struggled with inner city housing  problems for the indigent, served in hospitals and nursing homes and had sought to bring the spirit of St. Ignatius Loyola and the Lord Jesus Christ to many different men and women and young people in almost a dozen cities on the East Coast, in the South, in India, in European cities and Rome.  Now these seemingly “seasoned” men of Ignatius were walking toward a mission and the fulfillment of a vocation that had at time teased, rewarded or challenged during their years of formation.  Ordination to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ was awaiting them as they walked down the aisle to the sound of organs, trumpets and tympani drums.  Many passed the smiling yet teary-eyed loved ones just before they entered the sanctuary steps to await the imposition of the Cardinal’s hands upon their heads ordaining them to the priesthood.  It was the moment that would begin a journey on which many of them would carry the message of Jesus Christ to then unknown places, unexpected assignments, and to challenges that would try their very being.  Yes, I was one of those men, those Jesuit Scholastics about to lie prostrate on the cold marble of the chapel floor, a few moments when the congregations would petition a lengthy litany of saints to intercede with God on behalf of these candidates and their future as Jesuit priests of the Roman Catholic Church.
Now, on this Sunday, I will mark the 40 years my classmates and I have been standing at altars around the world earnestly praying each day for countless people, numerous needs of our Church, our missions that were entrusted to us.  The Sunday will mark that day when Jesus Christ entered a unique relationship with each one of us.  It was the beginning of a journey that for me was most unusual.  After being a teacher and administrator at Jesuit Scranton University, a Pittsburgh pre-seminary Bishop's Latin Schoo,  two different Jesuit prep schools (Fordham Prep [Bronx, NY] and St. Joseph’s Prep [Philadelphia, PA]), a year working with the Gregorian Foundation in Rome and then doctoral studies at the University of Florida, my path took a turn that most Jesuit don’t anticipate.  After much prayer and many hours of discussion with a marvelous Spiritual Director, I followed his advice:  either get off the diving board or jump into the unknown depths of the waters before you.  It was at that time that I felt that God was calling me to redirect my priestly work as a member of the diocesan clergy.  It was at that time that I did spring from that challenging board and into the unknown.  It was the guidance of a Monsignor James McGrath of Philadelphia and the caring acceptance and subsequent teaching of then Archbishop James Hickey and especially the encouraging words of my Jesuit Provincial at that time, Fr. James Devereux, SJ, that I became a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington.  It was the beginning of a very different priestly ministry.  From high school and collegiate teaching and administration and “supply help” on most weekends in parishes in the Archdiocese of New York, the Dioceses of Brooklyn, Rockville Center (Long Island, NY). and St. Augustine (FL) to administration of some of the works of an Archdiocese of Washington, three Pastor assignments, and to be honored to work with Blessed Pope John Paul II for four and a half years, returning to parish life and at the age of 65, following open-heart surgery, leaving the Pastor’s role to become a Senior Priest at a Capitol Hill parish for a year and then being granted retirement.  And that began and entirely different life that has brought me to St. Matthias Parish where I am assisting its Pastor, who was the first and only Associate Pastor who had worked with me on my first assignment as a Pastor.  What a blessing this has been for me.  And each day continues to be a new mission, a new adventure serving a very diverse parish and all its works.
Clearly the Jesuit motto, AMDG, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, For the Greater Glory of God, is truly the motto that is the driving force in the 53 years since I walked into the Jesuit Novitiate in Wernersville, PA. and especially in the 40 years since Cardinal Sheehan placed his ordaining hands on my head beginning a most unusual life for me.

So, this Sunday, this fortieth anniversary, is a time when I realize more than ever the extraordinary graces God has showered on this man from St. James Parish in Mt. Rainier, MD.  When I stand at the altar in St. Matthias Church on Sunday morning, it will be an hour filled with memories, some so encouraging and others causes of pain.  It is significant for me to be in this church because I see much of the woodworking craftsmanship of my father and two of my brothers.  Most of all I will carry with me the thoughts of my Mom and Dad, sister and brothers and their families, other family, many men, women and young people who have been a part of my life --- literally thousands -- and my many missions of helping and building for the Church of Jesus Christ.  What a life God has given me thus far.  For this I am forever grateful.

The photo above reminds me each day:  there is always a road ahead until that final turn brings all of us to those gates of heaven.
I close with one request:  continue to pray for the priesthood of our Church, especially for its growth and fidelity to the vision of Jesus Christ, the great High Priest.