Saturday, May 7, 2022
Sunday, January 30, 2022
Saturday, January 1, 2022
The Gospel today is rich with symbols:
• The Journey,
• the Personalities from distant lands,
• the star, its disappearance and reappearance,
• the gifts,
• the difficulties,
• the dream….
All have a unique meaning, especially for Christians, and if contemplated can lead us to where it led the Magi:
To Faith in Christ.
Faith is indeed a long journey, a life-long one.
This Faith journey leads us from the security of the “Lands” we are familiar with, to a far-off place where the rules of the game are very different.
It requires courage to set out on such a journey when we could stick to the comfort and security of home and do “just what everyone else does.”
It requires us to persevere and continue the journey, especially when it is not clear where we are going…. because with all real journeys of faith, more often than not, the specific route and destination is unclear.
But where does such faith come from?
I think we all understand that it can’t be purchased, or even earned.
Faith in Christ is a grace; or rather it is the grace of all graces.
A gift given to us.
But this gift is not to be kept for ourselves, it comes with responsibility.
I was once told that to whom much had been given, much is expected.
We are all called to share this gift.
And in sharing this gift, this gift of faith, our primary responsibility is to be a personal witness of what it contains.
We are responsible for doing what we can in the sphere of our own lives so that the light of Christ shines through us to others.
• However, someone who is constantly bad-humored, or self-centered, or continually sad, is not a sign that God lives within them.
• Nor someone whose behavior and conversation is coarse and lewd and who profanes everything he sets his eyes upon or turns his tongue toward, he is not a sign that the sacredness and the beauty of God is within him.
• Nor someone who destroys her neighbor’s reputation on a daily basis; She will not inspire others to say, “Look how they love one another.”
• Nor will someone who lives only to have more of the “stuff” of this world, be likely to make people catch a glimpse of the world to come.
We must honestly ask ourselves: “What or who do I represent to those around me?
And am I, a transparent window into what can be seen as the City of God?”
Today’s readings also show us that Christ is for all, for everyone.
And that the church must be a city placed on a mountain top so all can see and all can come.
This church involves each of us.
Every Christian, and more so, every Catholic is this church.
Each one of us is the church in the sense of being the place where Christ dwells and is to be revealed to those who do not know him.
So let us ask ourselves,
“Do I really believe that I am the dwelling place of God?”
“Do I have such faith?”
Many of us were born into a Christian family and it is difficult to appreciate how great the gift of “Faith” actually is.
It is easy to take for granted, and we often fail to exercise it.
And as we fail to recognize and utilize this gift, it can grow weak, and then we are only capable of short journeys with few or no difficulties.
Perhaps we can’t even travel past the everyday obstacles to find Christ our Lord.
Whether it is due:
• to a health problem, an addiction?
• or that difficult sister-in-law, or brother-in-law?
• or that particular habit your wife or husband has?
We have such little “strength of faith” that we can so easily lose our way.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Many people think of the New Year as a time for a new start, and for some it is, but in reality, we have all been on a journey for years,
• and we choose who or what we are searching for,
• who or what we follow,
• and who or what we desire.
The Magi have shown us through example, that when Christ calls, and we focus on Him rather than on ourselves, we can persevere.
Even at times when the star seems hidden, with faith it will reappear, and as we journey in faith we will come upon –
“The Savior of the World.”
So, in conclusion……this gift of faith that has been given to each and every one of us awaits a response.
And like the Magi, God speaks personally to us as well, if only we will listen and believe!
Now that the scriptures have been reflected upon more deeply, this short passage from today’s reading might now make a little more sense and inspire us:
Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!
Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the Lord shines,
and over you appears His glory.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Twenty-Eight Sunday Ordinary Time – Deacon Pat
One of the many struggles of sharing the gospels, the good news of becoming a Christian with someone, is getting them to see that there is a cost of making the decision to become a disciple of Christ.
So often, the focus is more on the reward that awaits them, and they never stop to think about what this decision will cost.
When someone does not understand the price to be paid when choosing to become a Christian, difficulties will arise when they find themselves in situations that are demanding, situations that can eventually cost them a great deal.
It is in such times that one’s faith is put to the test.
In these circumstances, some disciples turn from the path of righteousness and head back into the world from which they had escaped.
In the Gospel today, we can see just such a situation when Jesus is approached by a young man who seems to be interested in doing what is right in regards to salvation.
Jesus tells the young man that there is a price to be paid if he chooses to take the path he is seeking, and in the end, we see that the young man was not willing to make the sacrifice necessary to inherit eternal life.
In this story, we learn that being a disciple of Christ will cost us everything that keeps God from being first in our lives.
We also learn a lot about the man who approached Christ.
We learn that he was following the rules, but that he probably did not truly understand what was beneath the rules, the reason for the rule.
He runs up to Jesus and says, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
He did not say, “Who must I become to inherit eternal life?”
Perhaps, this young man already felt that he was doing all that was required of him by following the rules, and he only wanted Jesus to confirm what he was already doing.
He did not actually expect Jesus to tell him to do anything beyond the law, beyond the rules.
In addition, when Jesus asked more of him, he refused because that was not what he wanted to hear.
How many of us are just like this young man?
We do what we think is expected of us, we follow the rules, or maybe most of them, but don’t let Jesus ask anything more of us, or we too might refuse.
Didn’t Christ tell us that to be a Christian we cannot serve two masters, we serve either God or mammon, but we can’t serve both.
In the Gospel, the young man had two masters speaking to him:
· God in the flesh told him to sell everything;
· Mammon (The World) told him to hold onto what he had.
He couldn’t do both, so he chose to submit to the one he valued the most.
The man went away grieved.
As far as he was concerned, the choice to follow Christ was just too costly.
Many of us come to Mass to hear the word of God and focus on the promises of eternal life.
Most of us see ourselves as basically good people, believing our lives are morally good, and when we pray to God, we often ask for guidance and direction to make our lives better.
Yet, we are often caught off guard when we find that Jesus desires more than we are giving, that he desires all that we have, all that would stand in the way of serving God.
So, what do we do?
Some of us, many of us, turn away from what He is asking.
In other words, is it not true that many of us really are not seeking to change much in our lives at all?
We seek God to only confirm what we are already doing, maybe only to have Him acknowledge the rules that we have followed.
Are not many of us just like the young man in the gospel message?
But what is Christ trying to teach us?
What is the message for us today?
Isn’t he trying to say that our faith is much more than just following a set of rules?
Being a Christian will actually cost us everything that keeps God from being first in our lives.
As with the young man, it was not his wealth that was the problem, but rather the value he placed on it.
Jesus never said it was sinful to be wealthy, but he did warn us of what riches, or the pursuit of, might do.
What Jesus did, was simply state that there was one thing this young man lacked:
Jesus looked at him, loved him, and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing, Go, sell what you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven: then come, follow me.
Consider this, to lack something means something is missing, but Jesus tells him to get rid of something.
Yet, it is in the getting rid of something that Jesus says he will find the means to get something.
What this young man needed was to love God above all other things.
It was here that he would find eternal life.
How many of us need to get rid of something to get something?
Confusing, isn’t it?
How many of us completely understand Christ and his teachings for us?
Can we rightly say that we understand our faith as well as we should?
How many of us know not only what the church teaches, but also why it teaches what it does?
I believe that if more of us knew the “why” of what our church taught, and not just the “what”, our catholic church especially here in America would look much different.
So where do we begin to grow in our understanding of the faith?
Well, we have many options.
We can read the church documents, such as the documents from Vatican II, or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
We can visit trusted internet sites, listen to podcasts, or we can attend classes.
Our parish offers a variety of opportunities just look in the bulletin or listen to the invitations shared in the announcements.
There is also ACTS for men and women.
And for the men especially of the parish, we have “That Man is You” which has been life-changing for thousands across our nation.
In closing, I have two final questions for all of us to prayerfully consider. They are:
· What must I do to inherit eternal life?
· And Who must I become to inherit eternal life?
I challenge you as I challenge myself to honestly and humbly ask Christ these two important questions and then to listen to his response in the quiet of our hearts?
Once the response is heard, we will then have a choice to make.
· To act with all of our heart and soul?
· Or to be like the young man in the gospel message today, ask the question but find Christ’s response to be too costly, and just walk away?
The Choice is ours..... It’s called, “OUR FREE-WILL.”
Sunday, April 25, 2021
- The idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and what that actually means.
- How a Good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.
- How a hired man doesn’t see the sheep as his own, and runs away and abandons them at the first sign of trouble.
- How Jesus made it a point to mention that there are sheep outside of his fold, but that he needed to care for them too.
- And that he needed to lay down his life only to take it up again.