But I’m Not Even Sick

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32nd Sunday Ordinary Time cycle A

Each one of us is going to die and we all know it and the readings we have for this weekend are about this very fact.  In the early years of the Church it was thought that the second coming of Jesus was going to be very soon, that Christ would return within their lifetimes, therefore Paul writes about those who have already “fallen asleep” and those “who are left until the coming of the Lord.”  The end will surely come for each and every one of us some sooner and some later and we do not know “the day nor the hour.”  The Gospel message is very clear for us, even in the form of a parable, that some of us will be ready as the wise virgins were and some of us will not be ready as the foolish virgins were.  This being so, what steps might we take to ensure that we have the “extra oil’ for our “lamps” when the Lord comes for us.  It is interesting to note that oils are used in four of the seven sacraments of the Church, with no less than 2 oils used in Baptism alone, our first sacrament of initiation.  In pointing to the sacraments we see, as Catholics, an important connection between ourselves and God, what better way to be ready to “meet our Maker” than participating in the gifts that He has given us in order to stay close to Him during our time on Earth.  Being faithful to the Mass so that we can receive our Lord weekly in Communion and not just when it is convenient for us but even if it takes a great effort, demonstrates our love of God and enriches our souls with grace.  Becoming regular attendees of the sacrament of Penance, not obsessively but regularly, helps us to reorder our lives in a way that moves ourselves away from our sins and toward God.  Having regular prayer lives, communicating ourselves to God and being attentive to His responses is another way to ensure we are keeping our lives on the right track.  In short keeping ourselves close to God here on Earth is a very good way to ensure that we will be with Him in eternity. Amen.

Your Servant in Christ,

Deacon Bill

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Who Are You Pointing At?

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29th Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle A

Over the past few Sundays we have been listening to Jesus preach in parables to the chief priests, Pharisees and elders of the people, telling them, in essence, that they will be replaced as the leaders of God’s chosen people and that the leadership will be handed over to others.  In the second reading from Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, Paul tells the people of the church that they were chosen by God.  I believe that this point of being “chosen people” is not something that we think about as much as we should.  Christ came into the world in order to bring about the Kingdom of God, to establish that kingdom Jesus chose His followers, the apostles, to be the ones who will begin to build His kingdom, the church, here on earth.  Saint Paul, also chosen by Christ Himself, tells his followers that they did not come into the Church merely by hearing the word of God preached to them but that they were also chosen by God to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Last Saturday over one hundred of our children and some adults received that same gift of the Holy Spirit at the sacrament of Confirmation, these were also chosen by God to become fully initiated Catholics into the Kingdom of God.  The very fact that God not only chooses us but calls us to mission as well, should make us keenly aware of our need to discern what the will of God is in our lives.  Since we are chosen and called we should be attentive of the situations that God puts us in and use our free will to choose to do the most good the most loving response that we can make, thus making our lives rich and productive ones in the Kingdom of God!

Your Servant in Christ

Deacon Bill

That is a Persistent Woman

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A reflection on Matthew 15:21-28

How is your prayer life?  We all need to ask this question of ourselves from time to time lest we get into a rut of repetitive, trite or disingenuous prayer.  The Canaanite woman in the Gospel today gives us a very good example of how to approach God with our needs.  When the woman approaches Jesus initially, she apparently has heard of his fame as a healer and calls him by the title “Lord, Son of David.”  When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray he opened with “Our Father,” just as the Canaanite woman used the proper address for Jesus so we to use the identifier of our relationship to God daring to call Him our Father. The Canaanite woman is also persistent in her plea to Jesus even as she is ignored by Jesus and even when he refers to her as a household pet compared to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, she is still determined in her response.  Jesus himself told us to be persistent in our prayers to the Father when he states, “will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night?” (Luke 18:8)  The final characteristic of prayer that the Canaanite woman has is that of humility.  The worst footing that we can be on with our Creator is the idea that He owes us something, on the contrary it is us who owes everything to our God, and there is nothing that we possess that He has not given us.  Just as the tax collector in the Temple we should bow our heads, acknowledge ourselves as sinners before our Father and ask of His forgiveness.  Remember there is always time for prayer even if it is a quick “thank you God” so let us imitate the Canaanite woman in the Gospel and pray with all of your heart.

Your Servant in Christ

Deacon Bill

Food for Forever

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The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 2017

Christ waits for us.  Christ waits for us as we work, as we play, as we sleep, He is ever there, patient and at the ready.  There is never a time in our lives that Christ is not present for us to turn to even in our darkest of times.  The Lord is faithful the Lord is true to His promises and the Lord is persistent in His search for His prodigal people.  We have but to turn to Him even in our sinfulness and He will be there for us.

The presence of Christ in our lives never takes a more meaningful form than that of His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity that we receive in the Holy Eucharist.  The Communion line offers us a wonderful analogy of how Christ abides with His people in our lives.  The procession that we partake in on our way to receive the Eucharist should be a time of prayer, praise and worship.  We reflect on the areas of our lives that need more Christ in them.  We celebrate with our fellow worshipers the life giving food that we are about to receive, the food that gives us life eternal.  We receive the Eucharist with a reverence and awe due to our Creator and King, and we do all of this together as that other body of Christ, His Church, His people.  After the Mass is completed the words “go in peace” reach our ears, urging us to take Christ out into the world and for us to be Christ for all of those that we meet on our path.

This celebration of the Body and Blood of Christ is the celebration of our faith at its pinnacle, in what Vatican II called, “the source and summit” of our spiritual lives.  May we be worthy of such a gift and may we be thankful to God for this treasure.  Amen.

Your servant in Christ,

Deacon Bill

What is Your Part in the Resurrection?

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As we move through the middle of Easter we have the opportunity to continue to reflect on The Resurrection.  When we celebrate this season every year we are not merely celebrating an event that happened a long time in the past.  We assuredly are celebrating something that started a long time ago with the resurrection of Christ which was the event that changed everything.  What we are celebrating is nothing less than the salvation of the world, a world that has been, is being, and always will be transformed by the incarnation of God who became man, who suffered, died and rose from the dead in order that we may have eternal life with Him in Heaven!  The plan that was set forth by God from the beginning of time is accomplished, done, finished and completed in the saving work of Jesus Christ, that is, the part that God had to do.  For our part the only thing that God asks us to do is to believe and to behave as if we do indeed believe and even in this part of the plan we are aided by God. God has given us His Church, that body of Christ on earth, the Church in which we are spiritually nourished.  The Church in which we take an active participation in the worship of God our Father, Jesus our Brother and the Holy Spirit our Advocate and then go forth from that worship to keep the mission that has been entrusted to us, to bring the message of Christ to a world that is in such desperate need of the truth of Easter!

Your servant in Christ,

Deacon Bill

Indeed He is Risen!

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Easter is a wonderful season to ponder and pray about our relationship with our Lord and Savior.  It is through the resurrection of Jesus that our own salvation and eternal life in heaven is even made possible. As Saint Paul states, concerning the resurrection, that if Jesus was not raised from the dead then his preaching was in vain and our faith is in vain.  In fact if Jesus was not raised from the dead then for over two thousand years all Christians have been fools including you and I.  Now of course Paul, having experienced the risen Christ knew very well that Jesus was raised from the dead and all of those Christians throughout the centuries believed in the resurrection as well.  So if we believe in the resurrection of our Lord there is only one thing to do and that is to make our faith the pillar upon which the rest of our lives rest.  Jesus must take precedence over every other thing in our lives not only as an example of how we should live our lives but also as a brother with whom we are the sons and daughters of God our Father.

If we make these connections with our belief in the resurrection we can truly rejoice now, for He is risen and has freed us from the power of death!  All praise and glory be to God our Father, His Son our Lord and Savior through the Holy Spirit one God forever and ever.  Amen!

Your servant in Christ,

Deacon Bill

The Devil Made Me Do IT

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1st Sunday Lent                On this first Sunday of Lent we are presented with two very familiar and interesting readings in the first reading from Genesis and the Gospel from Matthew.  Our first reading is the account of “The Fall,” the sin of Adam and Eve who were given paradise but ended up choosing to go against the will of God by succumbing to the temptations of the devil.  In the Gospel reading we have Jesus, the new Adam, who is also tempted by the devil but the results are very different in this case.  Indeed this time the one being tempted was God made man but Jesus was fully human as well and had all of the weaknesses that each one of us have.  For each one of the temptations that the devil places before Jesus he responds to by quoting scripture, the Word of God.  The responses which Jesus gives to Satan demonstrates the continuity of that which Jesus represents as the fulfillment of something old and the beginning of something new.  Jesus is the fulfillment of all of the law and the prophets that came before him, he is also the herald of the Kingdom of God, that living entity, His Church!               So as we proceed through our journey this Lenten season let us remember what we are a part of, we are the Body of Christ. As members of that body we are called to do our part, to turn away from sin and truly believe in the Gospel, that Good News which binds us together and gives us mission, sending us out into the world to share that message and to bring the world back to God.

 

Your servant in Christ,

Deacon Bill