Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

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February 23, 2020

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

We pray for healing among the divides of our nation and in the hateful places within our Church. May the touch of Christ Jesus bring mercy and temperance.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for love to smooth the rough edges of family life. We pray to let go of our desire to control people we love. May we learn to listen to our loved ones so to heal the common good.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for those exasperated by the daily grind. May we lift up those bowed down by hardship, financial insecurities, and long-term illness.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for our children who run and play, who use their instincts for delight and purpose. May we all learn from them the beauty of life, and the renewed joy of our spirits.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray to bring words of mercy and forgiveness along with us to our family tables and here at Mass. May God’s mercy settle into the hurts we have caused others and bring peace and stability to our schools and homes.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for those who have carried their loved ones to their graves. May all the dead rest in the security of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. In this Mass we pray for…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Cover Art and Column

Feb. 23, 2020 Bulletin Cover

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February 23, 2020

Dear Believers in the Christ,

Today’s gospel, Matthew 5:38-48, challenges us to go the distance with God. Jesus invites us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. However, it is not about the perfection of a marathon runner or a craftsman perfecting a trade or art form. This perfection is not about making a mistake or wrong cut or using the wrong color or shading in a painting. The perfection Jesus is inviting us into is that of the Father’s mercy and compassion.

We need to be careful when we hear the word, “perfection” in the gospel. Especially as Americans, we tend to hear “perfection” and think we are to create a business plan or achieve an advanced degree in order to follow Jesus. We may think faith is on our shoulders by living the catechism to the letter of the law. We want to make lists and check them twice about how we learn and live, what the appropriate actions are, and how to succeed in the faith business without really trying. All of these approaches to Jesus are not what he means by being perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.

Jesus invites us into the perfection of the Father because that is where all mercy, forgiveness and tenderness rest. In God is the fullness of all life. God is wisdom and hope and generosity. The gospel reveals to us how to enter such a mystery. We offer what we have to others, a tunic or cloak or a listening ear. We go two miles instead of one. We give time, energy and attention even when we think we lost and out of steam. We give attention and hope even on days when we most need it ourselves.

The real training ground of perfection lies in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. In fact this week, we begin the Lenten season, the real formation session of our baptismal lives. Lent is the place where we discern once again the hope for our real lives. Ash Wednesday begins the forty days of renewal and surrender to the person of Christ Jesus. Our baptismal commitments in Christ are renewed and given a deeper life as we commit ourselves to our real identity in Christ. Lent cleanses our consciences and opens new doors in our relationships with God and the Christian community. Through another Lent, we grow closer to becoming like God, the perfect source of love and wholeness.

Our perfection of faith allows us to forgive our enemies and offer peace to those who persecute us. Perfection of faith is forever surrendering to the love of God. We already belong to God in the incredible depths of our baptism. Our problem is that we think we live in the shallow end of the pool.

Please allow God’s love to flow through you as we enter this week into the gift of the Lenten season. We shall meet together when we renew our commitments once again during the Easter Vigil, where perfection will flow from the love God has for his people.

“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 Blessings to you,

Fr. Ron

 

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

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February 16, 2020

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We pray for integrity within our Catholic Church, that hope may abound for the young, and wisdom may become a ground of sincerity among our families.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for reconciliation among those we only tolerate. May we lift up our enemies to the fire of God’s love. May our bitter tongues find joy in speaking only good and kindness.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for peace along the fractures of family life. May reconciliation bring new ways to heal family members who are addicted or lonely, who are lost or frightened.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for those who cannot bear their grief any longer. May consolation be on the shoulders that bear the burdens of sorrow and loss. May those huddled in darkness stand only in the light of Christ Jesus.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for our children, who struggle in school, our young who are bored with life, and those jaded in relationships. May our young find a zeal to use their gifts for the common good and their lives to serve those most in need.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for our beloved dead. May those whom we have buried in our parish community find the light of Christ Jesus in their heavenly home. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Cover Art and Column

Feb. 16, 2020 Bulletin Cover

February 16, 2020

Dear Seekers of Wisdom,

As we progress into the liturgical year, we encounter a set of scripture readings where wisdom becomes not only the theme but also a new challenge. Wisdom is often illusive. Wisdom is seldom tacked down or certain. Wisdom requires of us much work and discernment. Wisdom is the outcome of prayer and living a life of integrity. Wisdom cannot be bought or sold. Wisdom is found when hearts are raw and restless and when they search for depth and meaning. Wisdom comes only after trial and mistakes, after hardship and even sin. We cannot find the destination of wisdom until we experience being lost or hardened by our mistakes.

We all have experienced a toddler ask the endless question, “Why?” There is no final answer to satisfy an inquisitive little person who is exploring the world. There is always another, “why” for an urchin exploring the boundaries of a new world. The question, “why”, becomes an introduction into becoming wise. However, we know as adults that becoming wise is not just a matter of asking questions about a world outside ourselves; it becomes a matter of living from an interior knowledge of the common good. In other words, wisdom is a lot of work. Integrity takes time and faith. Moving beyond a childish faith is never easy.

In today’s gospel, Matthew 5:17-37, we hear our challenge to move into wisdom as it relates to many of our relationships. Forgiveness is required of us as we move from selfishness. Offering a brother our forgiveness is an act of faith and generosity. This example is no just a commandment or a request from God. Being able to sift through our broken relationships and to discern what is just and healthy is the beginning of living our faith.

Living our faith as adults is complex. We do not just adhere to a set of rules and quickly discover wisdom. We do not just implement Jesus’ commandments and all of sudden discover that our hearts are free. We do not come to the Eucharist once and then we have all we need to live the Christian life. Instead, wisdom comes from entering into the territory of our failures, our sins, our ongoing need of conversion and change. We do not memorize catechisms and then think we have all the answers. Living faith and love in the world is not child’s play. The gospel is designed for beginners and for mature hearts. We pray and act in our world constantly being renewed in Jesus, the source of all wisdom and integrity.

Here are some questions to consider:

What is the role of forgiveness in your life? How have broken relationships allowed you to grow in faith?

How would you define, “wisdom?” How do you grow into such a place of faith?

What are the most challenging aspects of wisdom?

Let us all live toward the horizon of love, satisfaction and integrity. Perhaps some day, we shall make our homes in the wisdom God has for us all.

Peace,

Fr. Ron

 

 

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

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February 9, 2020

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Prayers of the Faithful

We pray to become salt for the world by offering bread for the hungry, shelter for the lost, and support for the weary. May faith become real among our families and those who need the basics of human life.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for all who lead our country. May our leaders not turn their backs on people who need healthcare, adequate housing and sufficient education.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray to become light in the darkness of people’s grief. May we listen to the stories of loss and misunderstandings among those we love, and among those who worship here.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for a light of compassion for those wearied by winter darkness or depression. We pray we may become salt for people who have lost hope and contentment.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray with steadfast hearts that God may offer lavish mercy to the poor in spirit. May we not put our lights under a bushel basket or hide our hearts in fear and worry but learn to serve people with our gifts that come from God.

We pray to the Lord

We pray for our beloved dead who now rest in eternal light. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Cover Art and Column

Feb. 9, 2020 Bulletin Cover

February 9, 2020

Dear Followers of Jesus,

Today’s gospel, Matthew 5:13-16, is short and familiar. However, it is full of challenge and hope for us as believers. We listen to Jesus say to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world…”

At first glance, we may think we are mistaken. We may believe that Jesus is saying to us that he is the light of the world and that he is the salt of the earth. However, that is not his intention. He says to us that we are the salt of the earth and we are the light of the world.

This gospel helps us live the Christian life. Our lives matter to the world. Every life matters on the earth. Our baptism is not for us alone, it is not just for our personal salvation. We belong to him on earth and our responsibility is to find a way into the richness of his life so that we can live for others.

One of the essential messages of Vatican II was to bring a new dignity to our lives as the baptized. We have inherited the gift of the Holy Spirit within our hearts. God is with us no matter what. We have a responsibility on earth that comes from Jesus to live a life that is beyond our selfishness, beyond our own weariness, beyond our own egos. We are challenged to proclaim to the world that God is invested in the human condition through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit beginning from our baptism. The Church is not fortress to protect; it is about people who reveal to the world the dignity of all human life. We are salt and light, not people whom self protect from the complexities of life.

Sometimes we get caught thinking that baptism is our ticket to heaven and we don’t have to worry about the other guy. “I have mine and he should pull himself up by his own bootstraps and get his act together”. This happens especially when we become so divided in our world, in our nation, and even within our own families. One remedy to such divisive thinking is to ponder Jesus’ words today that we are light and salt. Our gifts, our talents and our faith are intertwined with others. We belong to God in baptism and we also belong to one another.

It is difficult to surrender to such an idea that we are salt and light when the issues of our Church and world seem to be out of our control. For example, the clerical sex crimes and cover-ups simply wear us down. In fact, we don’t want to be part of the Church when we hear of such sin and corruption. However, our belief in Christ Jesus is never easy. Our responsibility is to turn salt and light in to prophecy and justice. Salt does not just sit on the table. It must become an active ingredient to change lives, to become hope for other people. Light is not just to illumine our own journey, but we must lead others out of the dark.

We are challenged not to put our light under a bushel basket or hide it in our selfishness. People will be drawn to the light when it is consistent, warm and inviting. People will be drawn to our hearts when they see a new trust and gentleness that comes from God. How shall we allow our lights to reveal a new path of healing for our world?

Peace and all good,

Fr. Ron

 

 

The Presentation of the Lord: Prayers of the Faithful

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February 2, 2020

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

Prayers of the Faithful

We pray our faith leaders may possess the patience and integrity of Simeon and Anna. May hope spring up within all humanity from laying our eyes first upon the face of Christ Jesus.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for the Diocese of Colorado Springs, for its mission and future. May we manifest Christ Jesus in our prayer, and service to those in need.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for true wisdom to emerge in our decision making so that our children and grandchildren may be wrapped in the arms of justice and sure peace, in meaning and reconciliation throughout our world.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray to see the face of Jesus among the timid and the shy, among people discouraged by lack of jobs, ill health and threats of divorce and severe grief. May our hearts be laid bear for the needs of our sisters and brothers.

We pray to the Lord.

We pray for the courage to fast and pray as we wait for Jesus to be manifest in threats of war, violence, and hatred. May Simeon and Anna become models of faith and may their glances upon Jesus teach us how to be grateful forever.

We pray to the Lord

We pray that our lives may bring peace and consolation to those who grieve here on earth. May the dead be not forgotten within our lives of faith. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.