I remember a time in my first three years of priesthood, when I was in campus ministry at the University of Kansas. At the age of 26, I was pretty much a peer with some of the students. We related very well and could be pretty honest and blunt with each other. In one particular discussion, I must have been complaining about what my pastor was wanting me to do (something I am sure Fr. Kenn can relate to), and one of the students told me that I needed “to get off my cross”.
Part of our Christian faith is the belief that our unity and community with each other in Christ is so real, so deep, so physical, and so mutually interdependent that we constitute not a cluster of different parts, but something organic and living.
Just as in any physical body there are visible aspects that can be observed with the naked eye, there are other more invisible aspects that go on under the surface and escape simple observation.
It is the same with the body of Christ.
Not knowing what is happening day by day, I am not sure what to write about, but in my 53 years of life and 27 years as a priest, this is unprecedented. It is weird and new for us all as Sunday Mass is cancelled, or you are choosing to not attend for good reason, remember that the Church is still at prayer. Abbeys of monks and nuns are carrying on their unabated rhythms of prayers. Raising their hearts and minds to God in the psalms and Holy Mass, the Church’s contemplatives continue their exalted vocation of interceding for the faithful.
When do you think of God? Whether this thought is in praise or whether it is in thanksgiving or even one of complaining, do you recognize The Lord in your midst? The Israelites were in the early stages of their 40-year journey in the desert and they have begun to quarrel amongst themselves and Moses, complaining of many things. They even tested God, asking whether he was even present. Why? Because they were not receiving what they thought they needed, but it was really about what they wanted.
It’s one of those things we know to be true on an intellectual level, but we forget it easily in personal experience. Temptation is not the same as sin.
In my many Lenten fails, I’ve learned a different way of approaching Lent. I view Lent as a time to try adding or taking away things from my life to see if I am able to improve. I make it a time, not of suffering (necessarily) but rather of increased focus on God and others and decreased focus on self and personal comfort. I have found that I can take up or give up just about anything, no matter how big or small, and use it as a reminder to pray more and love more.
Jesus focuses on the precepts of human relationships and offers insight into how God would have us act toward one another. God seems to have a preferential (but not exclusive) love for the spiritually, emotionally, and materially poor, but it seems like we humans tend to avoid confronting normal life difficulties.
Wherever two or more people gather, some sharing of germs is inevitable. When Catholics gather to celebrate the Eucharist, our first concern is sharing our gratitude, our faith and our belief in Christ among us. However, during cold and flu season, each of us has the responsibility of taking precautions to prevent the spread of illnesses by:
-Washing hands frequently and for the appropriate length of time using soap and water, or using hand sanitizing products.
-Covering up using the upper part of your sleeve or a tissue when coughing/sneezing.
Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This is depicted in the beautiful stained glass windows in our Church. It shows Mary and Joseph in the temple, with their two turtle doves, to be presented as an offering, and Simeon holding the infant Christ child.
When can we expect to experience God fully?
Do you desire to face the refiner’s fire? How are you preparing to meet Him? The Lord is coming, we learn in the scriptures today, but before we meet Him, He will burn away everything in our lives that would keep us from experiencing Him fully.
We begin our annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week. It is such a blessing to be in a parish that has our own Catholic preschool, day care and elementary school. I am very proud of our parish school and of the members of our parish who since our beginning 40 years ago, desired and sacrificed so that we might have our school. Our current school faculty and staff are committed to educating the whole child – spiritually, academically, socially and physically. We welcome all children with our primary goal to develop young Disciples of Christ within our Catholic faith tradition.