Homilette for Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday of the Fifth Week in Lent

(Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; John 8:31-42)

“Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage,” wrote poet Richard Lovelace in the seventeenth century. On a metaphysical level, at least, Lovelace is correct. True freedom is a condition of the soul more than the body. It is the capacity to tell the truth even when it is difficult like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the first reading. The Jews in today’s gospel, on the other hand, evidently see freedom as absence of physical coercion.

The Jews express their adherence to a physical notion of freedom when they say that they have “never been enslaved to anyone.” They fail to understand what Jesus as well as the prophets has told them about enslavement to sin. They cannot see that in their enmity toward Jesus they demonstrate how much jealousy and pride have manacled them.

Jesus offers to free us from internal binding by sending his Holy Spirit. The Spirit enables us to pursue what is good and to resist what is evil. It is the renewal our hearts readily accept as we complete our Lenten sacrifices.

Homilette for Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Lent

(Numbers 21:4-9; John 8:21-30)

Folksinger Bob Dylan wrote a song where everyone denies responsibility for the death of a prizefighter. In “Who Killed Davey Moore?” Dylan shows how the referee, the fans, the sportswriter, the manager, and the boxer who laid the knocked the victim out all participated in the killing. Yet each of these conspirators excuses himself or themselves from blame.

Although a prizefighter may seem an unlikely figure for Jesus, we can find a comparison between Bob Dylan’s ballad and the gospel today. Just as many share the guilt of Davey Moore’s death but no one cares to admit it so too the whole world should recognize that their sins have caused the death of Jesus when he “is lifted up” on the cross, but few acknowledge their complicity.

Jesus comes to the world as the completely innocent son of God. His mission is to redeem the world of sin. He accomplishes this when he is crucified allowing everyone – ourselves as well as the people who surround him – to recognize that his or her sins have brought about his death. Those who deny involvement remain in sin. Those who admit responsibility, he forgives. There is no escaping this judgment.

Homilette for Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday of the Fifth Week in Lent

(Daniel 13:1-9.15-17.19-30.33-62; John 8:1-11)

The terms reformatory and penitentiary were popular in previous eras. They indicated a place where a juvenile delinquent or a criminal would learn how to behave well. Perhaps because of the difficulty of making this transformation, we generally speak of prisons today where criminals are more detained than rehabilitated. Still the purpose of justice is to justify, that is to rehabilitate and not to punish.

In the readings today Jesus proves himself to be a wiser administrator of justice than the sagacious Daniel because he justifies. Daniel is able to ferret out the truth in a case of malicious calumny. He reveals how two elders have lied about Susanna’s alleged adultery so that she was condemned to death. Jesus not only saves the woman caught in the act of adultery from a harsh punishment but also rehabilitates her. His judgment is as firm as it is clement. She must “’not sin any more.’”

Recalling Jesus’ justification of the woman at this late moment in Lent enables us to anticipate his justification of the world on Good Friday. Seeing Jesus as history’s only really innocent human hang on the cross, we are moved to admit complexity in the social web that condemned him. More than that, as recipients in the Eucharist of the blood flowing from Jesus’ wounds, our sins are forgiven and our spirits reinforced so that we may now live virtuously.

Homilette for Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday of the Fourth Week in Lent

(Wisdom 2:1a.12-22; John 7:1-2.10.25-30)

Few Americans have distinguished themselves more than George C. Marshall. As Army Chief of Staff during World War II, he oversaw the Army’s build-up that saved the world from Nazi and radical Japanese tyranny. Later as Secretary of State, he introduced the foreign aid plan that rebuilt the European economy and assured American prosperity. In recognition of these efforts Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet Senator Joe McCarthy attacked Marshall as feeble, stupid, and responsible for China turning Communist!

Today’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom soberly assures us that even the most righteous of people like George Marshall suffer persecution. Certainly the Gospel of John portrays Jesus as being so persecuted. By healing the hopelessly infirm, Jesus shows himself to be sent from God. By performing such acts on the Sabbath, he further reveals that the age of the Law, prohibiting all Sabbath work, has ended. The Messiah or Christ, God’s anointed Son, has arrived in his person. Believing in him, not following the Law, leads to salvation. The gospel today pictures Jewish rulers, threatened by their loss of authority to Jesus, plotting to kill him.

When we pursue what is good, we will sometimes find our efforts criticized and our intentions misconstrued. It happened to Jesus, and as his followers, we can expect it to happen to us. But suffering persecution is no reason to give up doing what is right. We might check our work and question our motives to assure that they are properly ordered. If they are, then there is reason to stay the course. After all, Jesus promises the Kingdom of heaven to those who suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness.

Homilette for Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday of the Fourth Week in Lent

(Exodus 32:7-14; John 5:31-47)

“The world is too much with us,” the poet William Wordsworth lamented two hundred years ago. If anything, the presence of the mundane has increased in the interim. Because of its inherent goodness, the world has been glorified and idolized. Many people make gods out of its characteristic representatives -- money, sex, and power.

Of course, the condition is much more than two centuries old. It befalls the Israelites in the desert as the reading from Exodus today indicates. The golden calf stands at once for God and a pagan deity. Its representation of power and glory is supposed to convey the idea of the awesomeness of God. But defying God’s prohibition of craven images, the calf becomes a testament to the human will’s tendency to chuck God aside in order to pursue its own desires.

As Moses pleads with God for mercy toward the stiff-necked people, Jesus argues with the people to accept the testimony of their invisible God. In a significant albeit gentle way Jesus has demonstrated that he is from God. His words contain wisdom and his deeds bring relief to the poor. But the people, forever seeking demonstrations of dominance, fail to recognize his prophecy. We must not be so blinded by the glitter of the world. We must let go of inordinate desire for money, sex, and power. We must seek Jesus’ wisdom and goodness.

Homilette for Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord

(Isaiah 7:10-14.8:10; Hebrews 10:4-11; Luke 1:26-38)

In the novel All We Know of Heaven, author Rémy Rougeau, O.S.B., describes how a monk (possibly himself) receives his vocation. It happens literally by a star falling from heaven. Observing the night sky, a boy sees a shooting star land near his home. He is what we might call “a good boy,” but not remarkably more devout than others. When he goes to investigate, the lad finds the fallen meteor. Thinking over its significance, he concludes that the meteor is a sign from God telling him that he has a vocation. A number of years later, he joins a Cistercian monastery.

Luke’s gospel today tells a similar story. Mary has a religious experience. She is devout although the extent of her sanctity is perhaps not evident. An angel tells Mary of her special vocation to be the mother of Jesus Christ. Like the boy pondering the significance of the meteor, Mary questions whether the angel really intends the message for her. After all, she is not married. When the angel assures her that God will provide whatever she lacks, Mary does not hesitate to accept.

We have all probably had an experience that we would call “religious.” Perhaps it was a dream or a conversation with a special person. We probably don’t consider ourselves better than any other person, yet God seems to have shown us His special favor. Like Mary and like the monk in Rémy Rougeau’s novel, let us not fail to ponder what God wants us to do.

Homiltte for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

(Ezekiel 47:1-9 and12; John 5:1-16)

“Food grows where water flows.” The agricultural lobby posts signs in rural highways with such messages as this. They remind the public that we should not take water for granted. It may fall from the sky, but often costly government programs have to preserve and channel water if it is to nurture life.

Both readings today illustrate the life-giving power of water. In the reading from the prophet Ezekiel the Temple waters flow to produce abundant plant and aquatic life. We should see this water as a kind of grace that provides both nutrition and healing for God’s people. In the reading from the Gospel of John the crippled man cannot avail himself of the Temple waters so Jesus heals him directly. Jesus becomes a more reliable fount of grace than the Temple waters which stir only intermittently and whose effectiveness fades.

Jesus is present to us in many ways but especially through the seven sacraments. Partaking in them, we receive his Holy Spirit who builds up everlasting life in us. We should avail ourselves of the Eucharist at least weekly, of Reconciliation regularly, and of the other five as the occasion calls for them.

Homilette for Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

(Isaiah 65:17-21; John 4:43-54)

The Prospect of Immortality was written over forty years ago in an age of extravagant optimism. It describes the possibility of deep-freezing people at death so that they may be thawed when cures for their ailments are discovered. Since then, to my knowledge, there have been no accounts of successful revitalization. However, there have been reports of rotting cadavers of people who paid to have their dead bodies frozen.

It has been said that no one will get out of this world alive. Then what of our belief in the resurrection? In the first reading, Isaiah offers the springboard to this belief. God -- the prophet tells us -- will create a new earth where people will live hundreds of years. We believe that this new creation has been realized in Jesus Christ. He saves people from death as we see in the gospel today. He restores life as we read in the story of Lazarus and his sisters. And he will rise from the dead to eternal glory. We can assure ourselves that there is no “prospect of immortality” besides the hope of the resurrected Jesus redeeming us from death.

Homilette for Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday of the Third Week of Lent

(Hosea 14:2-10; Matthew 12:28-34)

Elvis Presley sang a famous song titled, “Words.” “It's only words,” he crooned, “and words are all I have to take your heart away.” In the first reading today, the prophet Hosea tells us to woo God’s heart with words. “Take with you words,” the prophet says, “and return to the Lord.” Our words are like a radio broadcast. We do not have to climb any mountains or cross any seas to reach Him. We only have to say that we are sorry for having offended Him.

But our words must be truthful. Sometimes we use them deceptively or, at least, in ways that do not match our abilities. “I would do anything for you,” a university student told his girlfriend. “Would you go to the library with me Friday night?” she asked. “I would,” he replied, “but I am busy at that time.” For our words to be truthful, we have to commit ourselves to what they say.

The step between words on the lips and commitment in the heart is all that is missing from the scribe’s entering the Kingdom of God in the gospel. Jesus is not criticizing the man when he says that is he is “not far from the Kingdom of God.” He only means that the scribe’s approval of Jesus’ commandments is not enough for salvation. He must take Jesus’ words to heart and put them into practice. As St. Paul writes to the Romans, both confession with the mouth and belief in the heart are necessary to be saved.

Homilette for Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(II Samuel 7:4-5a.12-14a.16; Romans 4:13.16-18.22; Matthew 1:16.18-21.24a)

An exquisite picture of St. Joseph hangs in the Louvre Museum of Paris. Painted by the French master, Georges de La Tour, the painting shows an old but powerful Joseph next to Jesus as a boy of six or seven years. Jesus is holding a candle but at the same time seems to radiate his own light. Joseph is bowed over his carpentry, but he also may be indicating his submission to Jesus, his son and Lord. The painting portrays all the grace intimated in today’s gospel.

The gospel of Matthew describes Joseph as “righteous.” This means that he observes the Jewish law. But Joseph’s righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees as Jesus will later demand of his disciples. When he learns that Mary is pregnant, he does not make a public case against her so that he might retain her dowry but plans to “divorce her quietly.”

Interfering with his plan, the angel tells Joseph to give Mary and her son a home. In doing so, he bestows on Jesus both a name and a royal lineage – very significant theological concerns. For most of us, however, Joseph stands out more for his example of virtue. He humbly surrenders to God’s will. He works diligently at his trade. He provides for his family. And, most amazing in our age that so glorifies sex, he does not seek physical intimacy with his wife.

Homilette for Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday of the Third Week in Lent

(Deuteronomy 4:1.5-9; Matthew 5:17-19)

When was the last time you ate a ham sandwich or had to work on Saturday? Did you feel guilty for doing it? Of course, you were breaking a tenet of the Mosaic Law which, in today’s gospel, Jesus seems to say is still in effect. Should we start revising our menus and changing our work week?

Of course, that is not necessary. But we must reflect on what Jesus means when he tells us, “...until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter, not the smallest part of a letter of the law will pass away, until all things have taken place.” Perhaps he is using exaggerated language that he does not mean literally as when he says, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out”? Or perhaps he intends these words only for the Twelve, all Jews, who were quite used to keeping the Law?

There is a much more probable explanation why the Church does not keep the full Mosaic Law. As Jesus predicts, “...heaven and earth (have) pass(ed) away” with his death and resurrection. All things have now been made new. We have been given the Holy Spirit to live a new righteousness that surpasses that of those struggling under the law. Do we radiate the Holy Spirit living within us? We do when we act not just in conformity with a law, i.e., not just out of fear of being punished, but out of love for God who has made us and provides for us daily.

Homilette for Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday of the Third Lent in Lent

(Daniel 3:25.34-43; Matthew 18:21-35)

When former president Gerald Ford died in 2007, commentators remembered him with surprising admiration. They recognized his pardoning his predecessor Richard Nixon for criminal activity in the Watergate affair as his greatest achievement. Even Ted Kennedy admitted that although he had disagreed with the decision at first, the pardon did a distinctive service to the country. It helped heal a nation badly divided over ideology and shocked over wrongdoing at the highest levels.

Would that public figures be more willing to practice today what they admire in past heroes! Instead we usually hear them demand resignation, impeachment, or apology from those who violate their principles. In the gospel Jesus tells his disciples that it should not be that way with us. We must be ready to forgive when people repent of their misdeeds. Rather than clamor for retribution, we should pray that our offenders take note of their wrongdoing, ask forgiveness, and make proper amends.

Mercy becomes us. Shakespeare writes that an “earthly power doth then show likest God's,
when mercy seasons justice.” It even makes us better appreciated in our society as in the case of President Ford. In forgiving, of course, we must not abandon the norms of justice. Compensation to the wronged is usually due, and the offender should be resolved not to offend again. But practiced rightly, mercy like “the gentle rain from heaven” – as Shakespeare put it -- benefits everyone.


Homilette for Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday of the Third Week of Lent

(II Kings 5:1-15ab; Luke 4:24-30)

The hymn “This Is My Song” recognizes that everyone’s homeland has green clover and blue skies. It is only right then, the hymn intimates, that we pray to God to bless every land and not just our own. He is, after all, the Creator of the whole universe. We see in today’s gospel that the Jews of Jesus’ hometown have difficulty assimilating this truth.

When Jesus returns to Nazareth, the people expect him to work wonders there. Having heard of what he has done in other places, they think that he should do as much for his own people. But this expectation defies what being a prophet means. By definition a prophet serves God first and foremost. Only when a prophet discerns that God wants the village leper healed or the son of a local widow raised from the dead can he validly assist these people. Unlike politicians, a prophet’s mission is not local but universal.

Our concerns as Jesus’ followers must also rise above the here and now. We are to pray fervently for workers in China as well as our own who have lost their jobs because of the economic downturn. We are to send relief to victims of natural disaster in other places as we would certainly do if a tornado or earthquake traumatized a neighboring city. Such care recognizes God as creator and father of all.

Homilette for Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday of Second Week in Lent

(Genesis 37:3-4.12-13a.17b-28a; Matthew 21:33-43.45-46)

We often see the Joseph of Genesis as a proto-type of Joseph in the New Testament. Both are righteous men; both sojourn in Egypt, and both have dreams. However, pairing the Old Testament reading with the gospel today reveals Joseph as a symbol of Jesus as well. Like Joseph, Jesus is betrayed by his own people, handed over to foreigners, and suffers even though he is completely innocent.

Both the story of Joseph and that of Jesus turns out glorious. Joseph thrives in captivity and Jesus rises from the dead. Each reminds us that howsoever the severity of our suffering, faithfulness to God will end in a blessing.

Homilette for Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday of the Second Week in Lent

(Jeremiah 17:5-10; Luke 16:19-31)

“The line between good and evil,” the Russian novelist and humanitarian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn remarked, “is not drawn between nations or parties, but through every human heart.” We can understand this truth as saying that every one of us has a heart partly corrupted so that it awaits renewal. Executing that renewal is our Lenten project. Similarly, every one has in part a heart palpitating with generosity. Experiencing the growth of that vibrant sector is a source of Easter rejoicing. In the first reading the prophet Jeremiah laments a heart so rotten that it is beyond remedy. In the gospel Jesus gives us an example – the rich man who ignores the beggar at his door.

Certainly the rich man is not punished just for having wealth. That would be like criticizing a healthy person for not taking sick leave. But wealth as well as health has attendant obligations which Pope Paul VI once called a “social mortgage.” The rich must share some of their resources so that the needy not lose their human dignity. Jesus in this Gospel of Luke never tires reminding his disciples of this responsibility.

Donating to the poor carries some risks. A beggar may squander our beneficence on liquor, and even some highly regarded charities have misused contributions. But we must not allow these concerns to trump God’s call to generosity. Prudence indicates who deserves our offerings and how much is appropriate for us to give. Failure to comply with the dictates of prudence may nudge our heart more to the side of corruption.

Homilette for Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday of the Second Week in Lent

(Matthew 20:17-28)

The great virtuoso violinist Ishak Perlman tells the story of a woman asking him to listen to her son play the violin. When Perlman rather reluctantly agreed, the mother took out a tape recorder and played a cassette. Perlman marveled at the beautiful music. “He sounds just like Ya Ya Haifitz,” Perlman exclaimed. “That is Ya Ya Haifitz,” the mother replied, “and my son plays just like that.”

Children may allow their parents to exaggerate their abilities. Evidently James and John do not mind their mother soliciting Jesus for places ahead of Peter and the rest of the disciples in the coming Kingdom. But the brothers’ hidden self-esteem does not impress Jesus. He is interested in whether they are willing to suffer for the sake of that Kingdom.

Lent is the season for us to get a grip on our pride. Most of us generally think too much of ourselves. Rather than compare ourselves downwards by noting how we may be better than others in this or that, we should compare ourselves with the saints whose devotion we can hardly hope to emulate. Then we will see how exalted self-esteem betrays a firm trust in God and how our depreciation of others indicates a failure to love.

Homilette for Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday of the Second Week in Lent

(Isaiah 1:10.16-20; Matthew 23:1-12)

The gospel today should hit church-goers between the eyes. Jesus is criticizing the Pharisees, the religious zealots who give religion a bad name. They are pompous about practicing religion and hardly charitable toward other people. The passage implicitly asks us if we may not be women and men of the Pharisees. Do we like to be seen in church and to gossip about people after Mass? Do we complain intolerantly about other races and religions and turn a blind eye to the serious shortcomings of our own practice of faith? If so, we would be among the biggest of sinners in Jesus’ eyes.

An antidote to Pharisaism is frequent confession. Of course, people who think of themselves as good usually have little felt need of confession. They are like inmates of a prison whom the governor of a large state once visited. When he arrived at the prison, he was besieged with requests for a pardon. Everyone said that there were not guilty of the crime for which they were imprisoned. The governor held an assembly in which he asked if any inmate was justly sent to prison. Only one inmate raised his hand. Then the governor said he was going to pardon that man so that he wouldn’t corrupt all the others.

Most of us sin regularly at least by thoughtlessness and ingratitude. These sins may not be scarlet red but just a sickening pink that should also distress us.

Homilette for Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday of the Second Week in Lent

(Luke 6:36-38)

Three years ago a gunman entered an Amish school near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and took a number of young girls as hostages. He bound them with plastic ties and half an hour later murdered five of them. He then took his own life.

The violence, of course, disturbed the whole country. But much more remarkable was what happened afterwards. The Amish community, true to their arduous compliance with Scripture, extended forgiveness to the family of the assassin. The widow of the murderer, deeply touched by the community’s charity, later wrote them in open letter, "Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need.”

In the gospel today Jesus calls us to be merciful. It has been pointed out that where in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus calls his disciples to be perfect, Luke shows him emphasizing mercy as if mercy is the perfection of God. When we are called upon to forgive a really serious offense, it certainly seems like a monumental task. As the poet Alexander Pope put it, “To err is human; to forgive divine.”

Homilette for Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday of the First Week in Lent

(Ezekiel 18:21-28; Matthew 5:20-26)

At first God’s judgment in the passage from Ezekiel today looks unfair. What justice is there if one person transgresses the law every the day of her life, changes her ways just before she dies, and then leaves the world in good standing while another always tries to do what is right, slips up before he dies, and finds himself in very hot water? But such a question defies human experience. Humans who sin become accustomed to acting as they do and find self-justifying reasons. If a man habitually masturbates, for example, he will likely say that the act is good for him because it makes him feel better. To repent of this sin, then, requires considerable effort.

On the other hand, the person who always does what is right becomes virtuous so that violating the principles by which she lives becomes unthinkable. That person hardly “slips up” but does what is wrong through a very conscious decision. For example, people who have given God His due every Sunday will usually find a church unless they have all along been attending mass just to be seen by others.

The “scribes and the Pharisees” are the ones in Matthew’s gospel whom Jesus criticizes as doing good for show and harboring pride in their hearts. Because he dispenses the Holy Spirit to his disciples, Jesus expects better behavior from us. Indeed, he enables us to develop virtue by doing what is right because it is right despite the difficulty involved. Once we do so, we do not have to worry about slipping up before we die. Virtue will be so ingrained that doing what is right will become as normal as breathing.

Homilette for Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday of the First Week in Lent

(Esther C12:14-16; 23-25; Matthew 7:7-12)

You will not find today’s passage from the Book of Esther in most so-called Protestant Bible. Its composition in the Greek language has put it outside the Canons of Jews and Protestants. The Catholic patriarchs, however, decided that many Jewish scriptures written in the Greek or Aramaic languages deserve consideration as the inspired word of God. Today’s passage certainly indicates a custom that Jews and Christians have practiced since their origins. In times of trouble, pious people always turn to God for deliverance.

Although God certainly has no need of human attention, He has revealed Himself as a father who cares for all His children. Just about all of us have had the experience of looking for something – perhaps a lost book or even a parking place. Rather than fret over the matter, we turned to God in our need. Then, quite remarkably, we found what we were searching for. It seems to happen more often than randomness can explain. Yet it also seems that if we ever tried to test the probability, we would come out frustrated.

Homilette for Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday of the First Week in Lent

(Jonah 3:1-10; Luke 11:29-32)

Ancient Nineveh lay in the area of the current Iraqi city of Mosul. No existing historical records indicate Jonah’s preaching there, but there is a site called “Jonah’s Tomb.” Devout Muslims and curious tourists gather at the place to recall the reluctant prophet whose preaching is said to have converted a notoriously bad city of its evil ways.

The first reading shows Jonah announcing God’s wrath with Nineveh and the people responding. The author of the story emphasizes how it is a sincere, communal repentance. Not only common people but also the king and even the animals of the city fast and change heart. In the gospel Jesus calls his generation “evil” because it refuses to change accordingly despite his best efforts at preaching reform.

We too must repent of our sins wholeheartedly. This means that we don’t just say we are sorry or we don’t just go to confession. These are empty gestures if they are not accompanied by a change of attitude as well as practice. A young woman once confessed of having sexual relations with her boyfriend. “Will you promise not to have sex with him again?” the priest asked. “No,” she answered that she would not promise that. Then the priest said that he could not give her absolution. Just so, unless we promise whole-heartedly to stop taking God’s name in vain or to stop talking unjustly about others, we have not really repented of our sins.

Homilette for Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday of the First Week in Lent

(Isaiah 55: 10-11; Matthew 6:7-15)

It is said that while Charles Lindberg was making the first solo flight across the Atlantic, he began to doubt the accuracy of his instruments. Worrying that his compass was incorrectly calibrated, he was tempted to change his course. But he kept faith in the compass and successfully landed in Paris.

As a navigator trusts his compass, we put our faith in the word of God. Isaiah in the first reading tells us God’s word always accomplishes its purpose. Because Jesus utters it, the “Our Father” of the gospel today is certainly the word of God. We can utterly rely on its efficacy. The bread we long for on will be provided. The forgiveness we require will be granted. We must remember, however, to say the prayer -- not occasionally and half-heartedly but frequently and resolutely.