Short Thoughts 07 02 17
This is the last of my regular bulletin articles. Many years ago I began writing for our bulletin. Over that time period, I have been sharing my thoughts and reflections. I hope throughout the years that I have given you some insights and some food for thought. For me writing is a form of prayer. It gives me the chance to take a few moments to be open to and reflect upon what God has in mind for me. While I do not know the exact direction my life will take, I do know that the hand of God will place opportunities in front of me. I just need to be open to God’s hand as He leads me and convinces me to just do. Thank you for reading.
Short Thoughts 06 25 17
By now many of you have heard that I am retiring from St. James. While it is true as of June 30, 2017 I am retiring as an employed member of the pastoral staff, I will continue to be a deacon here at St. James. I will be present on weekends to assist at the Masses and will continue to perform various ministries both within and outside of the parish. Most importantly, I will continue to be available to serve the many parishioners I have come to know over the years that I have been associated with St. James. Even though I will no longer have formal office hours here at St. James, I am still available to meet with and give support to you. Should you need to contact me; the office will know how to reach me. So why am I retiring? We all know and understand that there comes a time when you feel the need to slow down. Over the past couple of years I have been reflecting upon this and feel that time is now. What will I do? Maybe I will make up some of that lost time with Sharon, my wife. I consider retiring not stopping, but rather changing gears. Thank you, St. James, for continuing to be a part of my life.
Short Thoughts 06 18 17
Today we celebrate the Body and Blood of Christ. A few weeks ago I wrote and spoke about the Holy Spirit as being that motivator for us to open and use the gift of Easter. I suggested that the Holy Spirit was the cultivator of the seed of Christ that was planted within us. Today, we might consider the Body and Blood of Christ to be the nourishment to help that seed of Christ to grow and mature within us. The Body and Blood of Christ becomes the energy to open the gift of Christ and to put that gift into use. We know that Christ comes to us spiritually in the Eucharist. However, the Eucharist also becomes a physical reminder that Christ is part of our life. As we eat the Body and drink the Blood of Christ, we actually feel His presence physically within our bodies. In its physical touch and its taste, the Eucharist reminds us that we are spiritually nourished by the glorified Jesus to be Christ to those whom we meet every day.
Short Thoughts 06 11 17
Have you ever thought about the paradox of this state or place we call heaven? If heaven is a state of unbounded love in communion with God, then that love as the image of God must be expressed through limitless compassion, understanding, mercy, forgiveness and sharing. Given our human nature, how is each of us going to do it? How could I totally love some one who has harmed me? How would I welcome someone who has gone out of their way to offend me? How am I able to accept the person who I think should never be in heaven, because of what he or she did in their life? In other words how is heaven going to work with people like me in it despite all my preconceptions? I don’t know but I am sure that God has it all worked out. Perhaps making heaven real for us is what purgatory is all about. Maybe purgatory is not so much about being purified of past sins and their effects, but rather simply a period of learning to love, to accept and to welcome as God does without reservation or question. Somehow we must learn to be the true image and likeness of God to live in the presence of God.
Short Thoughts 06 04 17
Today we celebrate Pentecost. We remember how the Holy Spirit came to the apostles. The Spirit gave them the courage and insight to actually carry out the mission Jesus gave them. The apostles still were confused after Jesus rose and ascended into heaven and needed a push to go out and do that work. The always foresighted Jesus knew that his apostles would need a dramatic sign to get them moving. To me, that is why the Holy Spirit came upon them in tongues of fire…to light a fire under them. Now they were able to take Jesus’ message from being heard by just a few people, to being proclaimed and carried out to all of humanity. The coming of the Holy Spirit was not just for them. While the Spirit might not descend upon us in the appearance of tongues of fire, the Spirit is deep down within us. We just need to light a fire within ourselves to feel his presence. The tongues of fire within us are those burning desires to live the good news of Jesus everyday through words and actions.
Short Thoughts 05 28 17
Today we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. The Son of God always was with the Father in heaven. But in a special way Jesus, the Son of God, becomes human, leaves this world and goes into the heavenly realm. He physically leaves this world, no longer seen as that man who died and rose. Tradition, however, does teach us that the glorified Jesus will return physically at the last judgment. Jesus ascended to heaven with a glorified body that somehow still had physical attributes. To me this completes the resurrection process for us. I believe that somehow we too will retain some type of physical attributes after our own personal resurrection. In eternal life, we will be in the presence of God not only spiritually, but also like our brother Jesus with a glorified body. Our bodies are a part of who we are. Jesus’ ascension shows us that our bodies will have a share in eternal life. His ascension indicates that our bodies are not to be discarded like empty jars.
Short Thoughts 05 21 17
As we move through the Easter season, the focus of our gospel readings moves from the Resurrection to how the Risen Christ will remain in our lives. While Pentecost is still two weeks away, our gospel tells us that the Father will send the Spirit of truth. Jesus does not want to leave us to fend for ourselves on our own. He knows that we need divine help us to continue on the path that He laid out for us. The Spirit that is sent into our lives is meant not to simply be a physical presence around us, but rather a personal presence within us. If we are open, we are infused with the Spirit of Christ and He will live in and through us. We accomplish that when we follow Jesus’ commands by loving God and neighbor. As we recognize the outpouring of God into our lives, we feel the need to share it with others. Jesus the Christ will always be with us. All we need to do is look within and see His essence deep within us to help us any time.
Short Thoughts 05 14 17
Today’s gospel is often read at funerals. I believe that it is chosen because it is a gospel of hope and trust. At the passing of a loved one from this life to the next, there is an air of uncertainty. The gospel reading conveys a sense of comfort for the mourners in attendance that their loved one is not only in a better place, but also fulfilled in eternal life. We know with a certain hope that each of us has a prepared place in eternal life. Hope… because we do not fully understand what to expect, but certainty… in that Jesus has promised it. We trust in Christ Jesus since He has not only paved the way but will also accompany us that journey to our everlasting home. But the reading is not just for funerals as it reminds us that Jesus gives direction and meaning today and everyday.
Short Thoughts 05 07 17
Every year we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. It is good to be reminded that we need someone who will watch over us, look out for our best interests, and be our guide and protector. Of course, spiritually Christ Jesus does just that. He came to show us the way to eternal life caring for us along the way. He taught us, died for us and rose for our sake. He never leaves alone us to fend for ourselves as He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us as our advocate, protector and guide for all time. However, being the good shepherd is not just reserved for Jesus. Each of us can be a good shepherd in the spirit of Jesus. We all have a chance to look out for someone. We can be a guide to, a mentor of, or a protector for any number of our brothers and sisters. Let Christ flow though you, as you look out for and help one another in your daily lives.
Short Thoughts 04 30 17
Today we hear the gospel passage of the Road to Emmaus. The risen Jesus met two of His disciples. They were journeying home after witnessing His death and hearing about His resurrection. Their minds and hearts were filled with conflict and perplexity. They needed comfort and resolution. Traveling along with them, Jesus touched them with His words and actions. He opened their eyes to the meaning of the Emmanuel – “God with us” – in their lives. He gave them what they needed. The Risen Lord, Jesus the Christ, would always be with them. This wonderful passage teaches us how Christ is not bound by time or limited by space. Christ was there for the disciples on the road and is here for us today. Christ is ever-present and all we have to do is open our hearts and let him in. We invite him walk with us, teach us and fill us with the essence of God every day of our lives. We just need to open our eyes as the disciples did in Emmaus.