Thursday, December 10, 2020

Prepare for the Lord, not the world

(Spiritual Reflection for November 13, 2020 Church Bulletin)

“Who are you?” It is the question John the Baptist is asked by the priest from Jerusalem and the Levites in today’s Gospel. John answers first by telling us who he is not; “I am not the Christ.” John the Baptist then tells his inquisitors who he is: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert.” John is quoting from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah. He is giving an answer the priest and Levites will recognize. John the Baptist further elaborates on his answer by stating there is one coming after him that he is not even worthy to untie the strap of his sandal. 

How would you answer if asked “Who are you?” Maybe we would give our name or give our occupation. Our answer could describe how we see ourselves; father, mother, husband, wife. During these last days of this Advent season I would suggest we first answer the question that Jesus asked his disciples “But who do you say that I am?” 

We answer Jesus' question by our actions and thoughts. Does the spirit of our Lord God permeate our every waking moment? Our very souls should proclaim the greatness of the Lord. On this Gaudete Sunday we should rejoice in God our Savior. When asked "Who are you", let your answer to the question Jesus ask his disciples, describe who you are.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Patience and prayer lead to God

(Column for December 6, 2020 Church Bulletin)

It was only a few weeks ago that I could walk through our Cathedral’s prayer garden for the Sunday evening Mass, and it would be daylight. I could see the blue sky and hear birds chirping.  A couple of weeks later, around the time of Thanksgiving, I would walk through the Cathedral’s garden at the same time and be in semi-darkness. The sky was the deep dark dull blue of dusk and even the little light the sky was willing to let go of was blocked by the Cathedral.  Now when I walk through the garden on Sunday evenings it is night and the sky is dark. It may not be cold, and the calendar may not say it is the winter season, but my eyes tell me it is. 

We tend to judge things that happen around us by how they affect our senses or our emotions. My senses tell me the days are shorter and nights come earlier so emotionally for me it is winter. Since I am prepared for wintertime, a wonderful cool day in the summer is but a dreaded warm, muggy day in the winter. 
Our senses and our emotions affect how we see other things, and this includes God. It is why some days God seems so far away and on other days He seems so very close to us. 

We cannot let our own emotions and senses interpret or dictate our relationship with God. Our readings remind us that God responds to our prayers, not in our time but in His. God shows patience, for His desire is that we do not perish. God gives us the opportunity to repent and to change. That is the beauty of Advent; it prepares us for the coming of Christ. It gives us the opportunity to make straight the path Jesus takes to our hearts.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Wisdom is allowing God to guide you

When you search on the Internet for the word “Wisdom” part of the definition that comes up is: the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Our reading today tell us of the importance of using good judgment and knowledge when we make decisions. To emphasize the need for wisdom, Jesus gives us the parable of the ten virgins that reinforces this need. Will we be like the five virgins who are not ready when the Lord comes for them? Will our decisions have been unwise; without prudence and Christian discernment?

The Book of Wisdom reminds us that if we search for wisdom, she will be waiting for us. She will take away our apprehension and will guide us with prudence in our decisions. This is never more important than today when we have so many different sources trying to influence the decisions we make. Some sources will be helpful but never forget our discernment in decision making must include the teachings of Jesus guided by the Holy Spirit and the Church.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

The Song of the Vineyard

(Short Meditation for October 4, 2020 Church Bulletin)

Our first reading for this Sunday is called The Song of the Vineyard. In this reading a man has a vineyard and has built a watchtower and a winepress for it. He cultivates the ground and plants the choicest grapes but the harvest is that of wild rotten grapes.

It is very easy to see ourselves as these rotten grapes but consider another lesson we can learn from this story. The man in the story has worked his vineyard, does all he can do and still his plans do not come to fruition. Many of us would become frustrated as Isaiah feels and would want to tear down the wall around our own vineyard and let our work be trampled down.

That is not what Jesus would want us to do. Our second reading from The Letter to the Philippians reminds us that for the times which seem the darkest and hardest, we should pray to God with our petitions and in thanksgiving. We are to keep our hearts and minds on those things that we know to be true, honorable and pure. When we do this, our hardships will be lessened, our anxieties will be washed away and the peace of God will be in our hearts.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The New Commandment

(Short Meditation for September 13, 2020 Church Bulletin)

Paul’s Letter to the Romans in today’s scripture readings could remind us of the “New Commandment”. During their last meal together before his death, Jesus tells his disciples “I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (Jn 13:34)

In the part of his letter to the Romans that we read today, Paul writes that we do not live for ourselves; “if we live, we live for the Lord”. How do we live for the Lord? We live for the Lord by following his new commandment and imitating the life of Jesus. We love others as the Lord has loved us. We forgive those who have wronged us, we help those less fortunate, we care for the sick and we pray for those who need our prayers.

Following the giving of his new commandment, Jesus states in the very next verse: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Does our life reflect that discipleship?

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.