Friday, August 10, 2018

Food For The Journey

Dear Parishioners,

First, my email has been hacked again. If I ask you for money, gift cards, or favors, please delete the email, it is not me!

If you feel stressed out, you might want to talk to the prophet Elijah. He has just won a contest with the false prophets of the pagan God, Baal. Elijah then punished them by having them killed. However, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were unhappy and wanted Elijah killed as well. So today’s first reading (1 Kgs 19:4-8) shows Elijah on the move to get away to God on Mount Sinai.

He is completely worn out, hungry, and thirsty. He is ready to die until the angel of God gave him food and drink which allowed him to walk 40 days and 40 nights to God’s mountain. In a real sense, our life is a journey to God’s mountain. We need not just food and drink; we need the bread of life, Jesus, if we are going to make it. Each week at Mass, Jesus offers us the nourishment we need, the Word of God in the scriptures and his body and blood in the Eucharist. What a great blessing! If we continue to take advantage of these gifts, we can be confident of our safe arrival no matter what difficulties we meet along the way.

Fr Carl

Friday, August 3, 2018

Reaching Our Full Potential

Dear Parishioners,

I heard a story from a colleague at the NCEON Food Pantry recently. It was about a mom and two little boys. The mom bought glow sticks for the older boy. The little one made a big fuss in the store so the mom opened up the package and gave him one. A little while later the older boy took it from the younger boy, and he started fussing again. Before the mom could say anything, the older boy bent the glow stick and handed it back to his brother. The stick was now glowing to the delight of the younger boy. The older boy told his mom that he had to break the stick so that it would glow, that was what it was supposed to do. The story goes on to say that this is also a part of our relationship with God. God gives us challenges that “break us” so that we may fulfill the reason we were created, to fulfill our purpose. The baby thought the glow stick was fine unbroken and not glowing, just as some people are content with “being” and getting by. But God uses our brokenness, uses our sickness, the divorce, the death of our spouse, parent, best friend or child, or the trauma of the accident or job loss, even though these are especially difficult and painful, to further reach our full potential in God. In our brokenness, in our sensitivity to suffering, our own and that of others, we can better see our purpose or be more useful in God’s design and plan. Remember Christ took on our sin, was broken and died on the cross, only to assure us of salvation.

Blessings,
Deacon Steve

Friday, July 27, 2018

Sharing Our Gifts

Dear Parishioners,

Last week we saw Jesus as the good shepherd (Mk 6:30-34). Even though he was tired and ready for rest, when he saw the needs of the people, he forgot his needs and ministered to them. He gave generously of his time and talent to serve them.

This week we see the generosity of God working through Elisha and Jesus (2 Kgs 4:42-44 and Jn 6:1-15). We have come to take that kind of generosity for granted sometimes. That’s why we need the Eucharist. This Greek word means “thanksgiving,” and it’s why we come to Mass each weekend—to give thanks to God. But we also come to learn what God expects from us. His generosity is the big clue. He expects us to be generous stewards of the time, talent, and treasure he has given us. From time to time, we need to ask ourselves how we can better share these gifts.

I have come to realize that the happiest people I know are not those who have the most but those who give and share the most.

Fr. Carl

Friday, July 20, 2018

How Big Is Your God?

Dear Parishioners,

I remember reading a book called How Big Is Your God? by Paul Coutinho, SJ. He says, “God is beyond names. God is tremendous, God is awesome, God is personal. God is very close to me but he is also the big thing out there, the transcendent God, the omnipotent God, the mysterious God” (pg. 58). It is easy to think we know who God is. We all have our ideas based upon what we were taught, our reading of scripture and our experience of God. But God is above all that. He is transcendent. We know God by his abundant revelation. He has revealed himself.

In deacon formation, we were told that if we think we have a grasp of God, let it go for God is more than that. At a recent Cherish event, Fr. Vin Ariskwu of Christ the King Parish spoke about the magazine he started called The Family Apostolate, an informative and well done production certainly informed by Holy Spirit! Recently I was at a meeting where several parishioners reported on their experiences at the Divine Revelation Conference in Nova Scotia. They were on fire from the presence of the Holy Spirit at the conference. My granddaughter is back home from a month long stay in the hospital and is getting back to her old self, thank you Lord! Do we know where and how God will manifest himself in our lives? Do we really understand the creative power of God or what his sovereignty really means? His Spirit is working in the world, all over the place and has been from eternity. This is something we should glorify, be thankful for, and acknowledge clearly and strongly with our lives. Let us open ourselves up to that power of goodness that is God and trust in Him.

“Happy those whose trust is the Lord” – Psalm 40

Blessings,
Deacon Steve

Friday, July 13, 2018

Making Prophets

Dear Parishioners,

The Church is a “non profit” organization, but it is a “prophet” making organization. In other words, the Church does not exist to make money but in order to evangelize through her prophets. By the way, it’s not just Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Amos who are called by God to bring his message into the world by word and example. It’s you and me—us. In the sacrament of baptism immediately after the water is imposed, we are anointed with Holy Chrism oil. The minister then prays, “As Jesus was anointed priest, prophet, and king, so may you live always as members of his body sharing everlasting life.”

As prophets, we are not meant to travel far and wide preaching reform and repentance. We act as prophets by taking the faith we profess each week and bringing it into our life experience with others. As kings, we are meant to rule over our feelings and emotions, not letting them rule over us as we live out the Gospel message. And as priest, we are called to sacrifice our wants, desires, and comforts as we imitate and follow Jesus. Of course, like Amos (Am 7:12-15), Jesus and the disciples, we can from time to time expect rejection in this life. But when we die, the reward is out of this world!

Fr. Carl

Friday, July 6, 2018

Family

Dear Parishioners,

My wife and I recently took a trip to Alaska. It was beautiful with tall majestic mountains, silver rushing rivers, and big animals like moose walking around like they owned the place! But beyond the vast scenery espousing God’s presence, there was a theme of family everywhere we looked. We stayed with an old dear friend of ours who lives with her husband and 16-year old son. This took us back to our own children as teenagers, a little funny, a little defiant, but always engaging! There were dinners with aunts who had great spunk and humor. We stayed at a bed and breakfast with the owner and her daughter. The mom spoke about leaving soon for Las Vegas to be with her cancer stricken husband. While we were gone, our granddaughter remained in the hospital. Helping to alleviate our guilt about leaving, my wife’s sister came to help out and then my son-in-law’s parents came until we returned. The Church places much weight on the importance of family, the domestic church. It is the caring and safe place where children grow out of their vulnerability to become their own persons. Christ knew this with his support of marriage, his commandment that we love one another, and his own respect and care for his mother. He showed this when he gave her away to his beloved disciple to protect and cherish at his crucifixion. Family is the place where we all start, learning the faith, developing religious habits, and testing the tenets of sharing and communicating. It is the place where life and faith begin. Those relationships and that learning are tested hard these days. But I have my money on the family! It is a resilient and powerful institution. It stands tall and strong, like the snow capped Alaskan mountains.

Blessings,
Deacon Steve

Friday, June 29, 2018

Offer It Up

Dear Parishioners,

The mystery of human suffering and death has puzzled the human race for centuries. We understand when wicked people suffer but not when it happens to the innocent. There has to be a reason. The first reading (Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24) states that death and suffering came into the world through the devil (original sin), and once having entered the world, they don’t discriminate between the good and the bad. Otherwise, it would have been unjust for Jesus and Mary to have suffered and died. However, the suffering and death of Jesus redeemed humanity and opened the gates of heaven. It had meaning and value. So, too, can ours if we offer it up to God as a participation in the suffering and death of Jesus. When we suffer pain or disappointment in life, we can either whine and moan or “offer it up” in imitation of Jesus. If we follow our Lord’s example, we can expect to be raised up at the end of our lives. What Jesus did in the gospel with the daughter of Jairus (Mk 5:21-43), he wants to do for us.

Fr. Carl