Fifth Sunday of Easter: Prayers of the Faithful

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Fifth Sunday of Easter: Prayers of the Faithful

Let us pray for our Universal Church that we may be made new in our faith, our hope and our love in Christ Jesus. May Christ’s name be proclaimed in all we do on earth.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for unity and love where division and hatred have made a home. We pray for harmony in our nation, hope within our families and love within our service toward one another.

We pray to the Lord.

Let is pray for our children and grandchildren who graduate this spring. May hope abound for our young people who step into the next chapters of life.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for farmers and growers in this spring season. We pray for farm workers who face flooding and destruction of pastures and livestock especially in the heartland of our nation.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the ill and the uncared for. May our elderly find integrity in aging, and may our sick discover the healing touch of Christ Jesus.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our beloved dead and for those who grieve here on earth. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

Fifth Sunday of Easter: My bulletin column and cover art

May 19, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of the Risen One,

We celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter today. The season unfolds with some beautiful images of Christ and what his Resurrection means for our daily lives. Every year, this season of seven weeks helps us enter into the core of what it means to be Christian. This jubilee of hope, love and peace brings us to celebrate our own baptism and the initiation sacraments for our new members of the Church as well.

Our gospel today, John 13:31-33a, 34-35, gives us a central image in which we are to find in our lives with Jesus. LOVE. This word of course is over used, and so often misinterpreted. This word is not flimsy or plastic. This word is not an excuse to not follow Jesus further or not to learn Church teaching. This word is not an excuse to enter more deeply into mystery. We cannot dismiss this word because we think we know what it means.

Jesus gave his life for us. Jesus becomes the Messiah, the Risen Christ. This foundation of love is overwhelming when we pray with intention. He healed, forgave, and raised the dead when he walked the earth, but through his resurrection, he becomes our way to feel, to understand, and know intimately the love of the Father. Jesus is the source of love, integrity, justice and peace for every human on earth and every soul in heaven.

We are connected to Jesus Christ and love itself, through our baptism. In this love, we learn to live in our world. We work diligently for justice because people deserve to have food, shelter, clean water and jobs. We work to correct the essential wrongs of people’s situations because God has first loved us. Love is not a pious bandage or a word to dismiss people’s problems. Love is meant to flow from our lives in Christ in order to heal the world and bring all people into wholeness and into the Kingdom of Heaven reflected on earth.

Love is a lifetime commitment. Love is not held for safekeeping. Love is reaching out to the sick because Jesus heals us first. Love is about justice because we capture a glimpse of heaven in the Eucharist. Love reaches out to the hopeless because we find the miracle of Jesus’ presence in our hearts. Love commands change. Love rouses humility and removes pride. Love does not build up falsehood. Love brings peace.

As Christians and Catholics, the love we possess is not meant to build us up, but to lower our gaze toward the poor and forgotten. Love is not about self-importance, but a life of spiritual self-stripping in order to discover the healing, satisfaction and tenderness of Christ Jesus.

Gracious God, help us find our way toward the love you have left us on earth in Christ Jesus. May our lives be broken open so to live our baptismal commitments toward the poor, with unbelievers, and among those who ache for justice and peace on earth. Amen

Easter Blessings,
Fr. Ron

Fourth Sunday of Easter: Prayers of the Faithful

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May 12, 2019 Fourth Sunday of Easter

Prayers of the Faithful

 

Let us pray that our Good Shepherd may wipe away every tear from our eyes and guide us into green pastures of kindness and fidelity in his name. May our Church proclaim the glory of God.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our children who receive Holy Communion for the first time and for our students who will receive the sacrament of Confirmation this week. May the Good Shepherd guide them for a lifetime of love and service within the Church.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us listen carefully to the voice of Christ Jesus and imitate his compassionate expressions, especially in times of violence, hatred and uncertainty. May we be in union with divine integrity.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our mothers, living and deceased, and women who have shepherded our spirits as teachers, mentors, and friends. We pray for single moms, foster and grand mothers and mothers who have lost their children.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who face destructive floods and storms especially in our farmlands throughout our nation. May the Good Shepherd bring green pastures and hope for those who plant and harvest our food.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our beloved dead. We pray our loved ones may now find home in a new land where God’s face and voice are fully revealed. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fourth Sunday of Easter: My bulletin column and cover art

May 12, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of the Risen Christ,

Our Easter season continues on this Fourth Sunday of Easter. This Sunday is traditionally called, “Good Shepherd Sunday.” This comforting image of the Risen Christ goes well beyond the Shepherd as leader. This image is further reaching than just our vocations in the Church.

In today’s gospel, John 10:27-36, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me…” This intimate notion of hearing Jesus’ voice is key to our entire spiritual life. Through our baptism we are given the gift of knowing Jesus and being in an intimate relationship with him for our entire lives. If we are attentive, prayerfully silent, reflective and willing, we will still hear the voice of the Master. We will still prevail in our own discipleship. We will still give our hearts over to the one who has re-created us. We will still be drawn to the voice of Jesus when we are lost, lonely or feel forgotten.

Our connection to the Risen Christ is one of intimacy. This healing relationship is for every Christian, not just for leaders, priests and professed religious. This union of souls with Christ is the foundation of our lives, and the hope for our Church. In our daily prayer, we need to not only speak our needs, but we also need time, space and emptiness to listen to Jesus.

We are called and challenged to hear Christ within the scriptures. Christ longs to be in union with our souls. His story is our story. His story of love, tenderness and hope through his passion, death and resurrection is played out in our stories of spiritual growth and maturity. We do not just listen to God’s Word at Mass on Sunday and think those words remain stuck in the past or printed in a dusty old book and then walk away. The Word of God, especially the gospel, is a river of grace that is offered to our souls every week. It is a place of refreshment and renewal.

We listen to God in our daily prayer, in our common worship and in the events of our daily lives. The Easter season reminds us that we continually belong to Christ. We are seekers of his voice and we proclaim his presence when we finally understand that he is our Shepherd and Keeper. Our ears are naturally attentive to hearing God, far beyond the noise of our daily lives and the whispers of insecurity, doubt and failure that we possess within our hearts. We ache to listen to the Good Shepherd who bends down to listen to and speak to his people.

I believe with my entire being that God cares about each of us. This care, his Shepherding, is ongoing no matter where we find pain, anguish and loneliness. His care is before us if we can truly listen to his voice, be transformed by his forgiveness and be willing to follow him with love and understanding.

Blessings in this Easter Season,

Fr. Ron