Monday, May 18, 2020

Cry out to God with Joy

(Short Meditation for May 17, 2020 Church Bulletin)

Today is a day of joy. We hear in the entrance antiphon “Proclaim a joyful sound”. In the Collect we pray “celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy”. We are to sing out in the Responsorial Psalm “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.”

Where does this joy come from? It comes from the good news of the Gospel. In another week we will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. Today Jesus is preparing us for His ascension by reminding us that we will not be left as orphans. We know that in times of turmoil, stress, and heartache we can still make a joyful sound for God has sent us an Advocate. We have not been abandoned. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, remains with us and gives us comfort by helping us understand the words of Jesus.

Open yourself up to the Holy Spirit. Allow the love between Jesus and His Father to enter and dwell within you. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Jesus will reveal Himself to you and bring you great joy

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Salt of the Earth

(Short Catholic Social Thought for Church Bulletin)

Today we read “You are the salt of the earth". Salt is used to enhance the taste of food. To enhance is to increase. God is calling us to increase our love of Him by helping others. If we do not help others, we can be like salt that has lost its taste; we have no purpose.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Vespers

I woke up this past Sunday morning really excited and at first I could not understand why.  The day was going to be the same as my many of my past Sundays; I would assist at the Masses and teach the RCIA. These are wonderful things, especially assisting at the Mass, but I knew my excitement was coming from something different. It was only when I was fully awake that I remembered this was the week we would ordain our new Bishop. The ceremonies would begin Monday evening with Vespers, the evening prayer that Bishops, Priest, Deacons and men and women in consecrated life pray.

Vespers is part of the Divine Officer or Liturgy of the Hours.  Morning Prayers are also part of the Divine office and along with Vespers are sometimes referred to as the "hinge prayers".  Morning prayer helps us begin the day with God in our minds and on our hearts.  We recall the resurrection and begin the day by dedicating it to God.  Vespers or Evening Prayer is our opportunity to review our day, give thanks to the Lord for what He has given us and for all the good things we have done in His name that day.

Every Evening Prayer includes the Gospel Canticle, which if from the Gospel of Luke (1:46-55).  The first two verse are:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

May these two verses be a reflection of what your day has been.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Behold the Lamb

(A reflection originally written for my Church bulletin)

Lambs were animals used as sacrifice for sins. The blood of the lamb was offered to God in atonement for our sins. Jesus was the final and complete sacrifice that atones for our sins. He is the Lamb sent from God.

This is why it is important that we reflect on the words of John the Baptist and the words we hear at every Mass: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the lamb.”

The Holy Mass is where the Lord invites us to share in his Lamb. The lamb that truly does take away the sins of the world. Through reception of the Body of Christ our desire to do evil is lessened and we are united with Jesus Christ, our hope for eternal life.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Baptism calls us to Righteousness

(A reflection originally written for my Church bulletin)

How would you feel if God said to you; “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased” or “This is my beloved daughter, with whom I am well pleased.” You may think that this is impossible for we are not the Son of God. No, we are not the Son of God but each of us have been given a wonderful gift through Jesus Christ.

Jesus establishes this gift with his baptism. Jesus states he must be baptized to “fulfill all righteousness,” which is Jesus’ desire to fulfill the earthly purpose his Father has given him. Our righteousness can only start with the washing away of original sin, the sin of Adam and Eve that we are all born with. Without this cleansing we are barred from all the other graces God wishes to give us.

Recall the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John “Unless one is born of water and Spirit, one cannot enter the Kingdom of God". Later Jesus further confirms the importance of baptism when He tells the Apostles; “Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The words of Jesus should be enough for us to realize the importance of baptism.  The Church recognizes this importance and teaches us that through baptism all our sins are forgiven; original and personal sins. The Catechism also tells us baptism is the gateway to the Spirit, the door to the other sacraments and is the foundation upon which the entire Christian life is built.

We become God’s adopted children through baptism. This is the gift Jesus has given us and by it we are brought into God’s family. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults states that Baptism incorporates us into Christ and forms us into God’s people. Hence we are called and indeed are the children of God.

Live your baptism to its fullest. We are the adopted sons and daughters of God. Make God well pleased.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Third Sunday of Advent

(Modified from a reflection originally written for my Church bulletin)

When I was young, every Sunday we would drive by a drugstore on the way to Mass. This was an old-fashioned drugstore in Cedar Grove.  It had large storefront windows on which were painted seasonal scenes and where sales were advertised. Inside the drugstore there was a food counter where you could eat a meal, have pie, ice cream and even a root-beer float.

Each Sunday we would check to see what had been drawn on the drugstore windows. The best day was always the Sunday we saw Santa Claus painted on one of the store’s large windows. It was our sign that Christmas was close and it brought joy to me, my brothers and my sisters.

Today the Catholic Church brings us joy. It has changed what we see. The vestments the clergy wear are not the normal advent purple but rose in color. We light the rose colored candle on our advent wreaths. Just as that drugstore changed the depictions on its windows to advertise a different season, today the Church is advertising joy! We hear the word “Rejoice” at the beginning of the Mass and rightly we should for the advent season is more than half over. Our preparation for the coming of the Lord will not be in vain. The Responsorial Psalm tells us that the Lord keeps faith forever.
Rejoice! God is sending us his saving Word.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Using Advent as a time of Preparation

(Modified from a column originally written for my Church bulletin)

The Advent season is like that of the of the Lenten season, both seasons can have a penitential feel to them. Advent is the time for us to reassess the state of our spiritual life with the knowledge that Christ will return. We are not only to examine our spiritual readiness for the coming of Christ, but we are to make the necessary changes based on that spiritual examination.

There are numerous ways to prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ. One way is a personal sacrifice, giving up something we enjoy. This self-denial can be a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  A second way to prepare for the coming of Christ is to start or increase our own prayer life. Adding some of the beautiful traditions that have been passed down through generations is a good way to quickly increase our prayer life.

I would describe tradition as an action or a belief that is passed on from one generation to the next. It must be worthy of being continued from one generation to the next or it will stop and be forgotten. No one will continue a tradition if it does not have a deeper and desirable meaning. Each family probably has its own Advent and Christmas traditions already. It could be a certain day the Christmas tree is decorated, the use of an advent wreath or a Christmas calendar with Bible verses.  Usually family traditions have been tested by time so do not discard some of your family or Church traditions too quickly.

Whichever way you choose to prepare for Christmas make sure there is time for the spiritual side of your life.  You could be the one that starts a new tradition in your family. May this Advent season bring you many blessings as you prepare for the coming of Christ.