Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

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October 20, 2019

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us pray for persistence in our Church to serve those who cry out in need. May we listen with faithful ears and deep respect for the gospel and people’s needs.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for persistence, conviction and zeal in our efforts to live our faith. May God’s love form our lives and reveal our gifts to help others.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who have given up on prayer. May our lives support the basic needs of people who have little money or power.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for those whose prayers have never been answered. May our faces bowed down in disappointment be lifted high with hope for tomorrow.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to release our lives of false judgment. May we not shame those whose opinions are different than our own. May we not use words, fists or guns to condemn people.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us release our loved ones in death to the glory of their home in heaven. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article from Give Us This Day, Published by Liturgical Press, October 2019

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When Truth Collapses Around Us

I often feel like a lost child when I climb the one step into our pulpit. This step is daunting unless I remember that I belong to God and to my faith-filled ancestors. I proclaim the Gospel and preach on the backs of Abraham and people who journeyed through fear, including the disciples who climbed Calvary to see Jesus. Bearing the weight of the Gospel in my body rouses fear in me.

Our day is no different from when the disciples faced such fear. Jesus is concerned that testifying to his death and resurrection will not be easy. This testimony emerges from the deep experiences of humanity where division and hatred also live. Truth is never effortlessly proclaimed and never easily taken to heart. When the Gospel flows from our mouths to ears of great resistance, truth often falls to the ground and withers, but it never dies.

Jesus offers us remedy when truth collapses around us. The Holy Spirit is as alive within our generation as it was for the disciples and for the martyrs whom we celebrate today. The Holy Spirit flows even more deeply into our lives than fear, so our words may thrive on the firm ground of love and compassion. When our hearts are open to the Spirit, our words will testify to this truth: only when the poor have shelter and the hungry are fed will love and justice find a true home.

Fr. Ron Raab

Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC, is pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs. Learn more at http://www.ronaldraab.com.

 

 

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Bulletin Column

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October 20, 2019

Dear Followers of Jesus,

Luke 18:1-8 today invites us to pray without becoming weary. This parable of the widow who finally wore down the judge is a story of how we are to remain consistent in our life of prayer. God, however, is not a dishonest judge. God showers us with compelling love that changes our hearts. Showing up for prayer is often our greatest resistance.

This story invites us to remain persistent in our relationship with God. Prayer first of all is a relationship. Prayer is not a commodity. It is not a slot machine in heaven where we purchase what we need and hope for the best. God is not an aspirin in the sky to take our pain away. God is not a judge with whom we constantly bargain. We don’t pray and make promises that we won’t sin to get an answer to prayer that we want.

Mass, the Eucharist, is our greatest prayer. When we come together as community, we worship God who invites us into mystical union with the Trinity. We receive Christ Jesus in his Real Presence. We become what we eat. We live what we become. The entire Mass is addressed to the Father. We literally stand next to Christ Jesus offering our lives to the Father as Christ offered his life, his passion, his death and his resurrection. Our prayer is in union with Christ Jesus, an eternal offering of love, mercy and compassion.

As Christians, we are slow to realize such a gift of our prayer. We are slow to absorb such a reality that we belong to Christ Jesus. This is our true identity. This is our true life on earth. Sometimes we even fear this reality. God gets too close to us and we don’t know how to love back. So we search the world landing on other identities. We may drink too much or use drugs as an identity. We may grow fearful and angry and live in such a place for years. We may believe that happiness lies outside our selves. This may lead us to sex addiction or hoarding or other addictions and never realizing that real life comes to us from the inside out. Our hearts may grow cold and lonely in the meantime.

The Eucharist will never mean anything to us unless we have a life of deep, honest personal prayer. Our Christian identity cannot be fostered for only an hour on Sunday. Prayer is a relationship with God that is like any other relationship. Prayer is a gift, initiated by God, but we have to do our part by showing up to such a gift of mercy. Prayer challenges us. Prayer is a call to change. Prayer invites us into living a more deeply human life. When we invite God into our hearts, we begin to view life differently. We may not always get what we think we want, but our hearts grow wider into seeing life more abundantly. In prayer, we view the real needs of all humanity. We see our children differently. We view people who are different from us with new eyes. We see our own foibles and silliness with a greater humility.

Believe in God. Believe in all humanity. Believe in your life as a person of prayer. Believe in the Mass.

Peace,

Fr. Ron

 

 

 

 

The Twenty- Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

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October 13, 2019

Let us pray for vigorous leadership in our Church. May our voices ring with thanksgiving for the beauty of faith and life.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us come back to the face of Jesus with grateful hearts. May we never stray from the voice and face of our Master who gives us hope and wholeness.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us touch the suffering of those who cannot bear their pain. May we seek God’s healing for those who cannot help themselves, for those especially in need of healthy relationships, sobriety and mental health.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for those with severe acne, those with skin cancer, those who have suffered any disease, burn or disfigurement of the skin. For God’s healing touch.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to approach Jesus with only gratitude no matter how much suffering has taken its toll. May our misfortunes, our divorces, our negative attitudes and words, be transformed into thanksgiving.

We pray to the Lord

Let us pray for our beloved dead. May our praise of salvation reach our heavenly home. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

The Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Bulletin column

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October 13, 2019

Dear Believers in Christ Jesus,

In Luke 17: 11-19, we listen to the leper who was healed and who came back to Jesus in gratitude. This is a powerful story. Sometimes we overlook its importance and its challenge to us today. Jesus poses this story because as we peal away its layers, it has rich and profound meaning for our lives of faith.

First of all, the leper was pulled out of his community. He was literally cut off from relationships. Everything that had been familiar to the person who had this disease was cut off, changed and the future was eventual death. To add to such isolation, the cultural difference of the Samaritan was another barrier. The leper was isolated. The leper was far from any human touch or concern. Leprosy was also considered to be the fault of the person. Disease was considered to be the result of sin and separateness from God.

So Jesus crosses many lines in this story. In our time, it is very difficult to articulate and realize the significance of such a posture and how countercultural Jesus’ presence was at the time. He overstepped his boundaries. He reached out to break down cultural barriers that were extremely high and mighty. Jesus wanted to bring to the lepers a new hope for their lives. He desired to not only heal them physically, but to repair all the cultural isolations that the lepers were facing. He wanted them to be in community once again, not the community of being sick, but in the family relationships that had been destroyed.

Jesus breaks the cultural norms among Samaritans and Galileans as well. His presence is incredibly counter-cultural. He breaks down perceptions and walls. He hustles over people’s long-term associations with disease and power. Jesus reveals a new relationship.

So it is important to recognize that only one former leper came back to thank him for the healing. The person who came back was a Samaritan. So it is the outsider who recognizes who Jesus is and what he did for the entire group. The outsider knows healing and understands who Jesus is for his future and for his family as well. This is so often the case in the gospels. The outsider is seen in so many different stories as the person who leaps off the page to tell us who Jesus is for our own lives. The outsider becomes the insider. The outcast becomes the herald of hope. The one on the margins proclaimed the gift of salvation here on earth to those who believe they already were the insiders.

“Thank you” is a profound gift of faith. Gratitude changes us. This is the gift of change and healing. It is gratefulness that can restore us to not only faith but to the people we love. We may not identify with the leper, but we can identify being on the margins of relationships when we face a divorce, job loss or ill health. Our loneliness can become leprosy when we don’t know how to change such a reality.

Today’s story challenges us to leap over obstacles that get in our way to knowing fully who Jesus is for us. Nothing shall stand in the way if we believe in Jesus and what he can do to change our lives. Jesus heals us. Jesus restores relationships. Jesus brings to us the message of the Kingdom. So we thank him. We, too, are grateful.

Peace,

Fr. Ron

 

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time: Bulletin Column

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“The Mustard Seed,” Sketch from 2016, Ronald Raab, CSC

October 6, 2019

Dear Followers of Jesus,

In today’s gospel from Luke 17:5-10, we hear the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. I can imagine they were willing to receive even more than what they were experiencing. In following Jesus, their eyes were opened to the needs of people as Jesus touched the eyes of a blind man or ran after the lost sinner. They wanted desperately what he had. They wanted to ensure him that they had received the beauty of their calling.

We all desire Jesus. We all desire to follow at his invitation. So often we feel let down by our awkward unwillingness to put into practice what we desire. We know what we should do and who we should become, yet we do not participate in such grace. So we ask exactly what the disciples requested, “Increase our faith.”

Jesus reminded them that faith the size of a mustard seed is all you need. He tells the apostles that trees can be uprooted and planted into the sea if only we could really believe in the goodness of God and the richness of our calling. Today, Jesus reminds us of the same circumstances. We are in relationship with the Divine. What more could we possibly need than to rest in such faith and hope for our lives and our own outreach to people.

Faith is so unknown to us. Sometimes we think faith is showing up to church on Sunday or memorizing the Catholic catechism. We may ponder the meaning of faith and think we have it all figured out. We have it and others don’t. We live it and the outsiders can’t possibly have it. Yet real faith is nothing of these externals. Faith is a rich, profound relationship with God and our willingness to put our enter lives into the hands and wisdom of Christ Jesus.

Our faith is not something we accumulate. Faith, as it is lived, is revealed to us mostly when we let go of so much in our own human lives, when we let go of our plans, our bloated egos, and even our human attachments. Faith is a relationship that changes our attitudes toward what we own, how we use our resources, and how we live in relationship with people. Faith is not static; it is an ever-deepening awareness that we need God. Faith comes to us to move mountains and to open our hearts to God’s healing mercy, forgiveness and love. Faith is relationship with Divine love through prayer, attentiveness and reflection. Faith is a life full of grace and a heart willing to love in new and unbounded ways. Faith opens doors to people who most need the basics of life. Faith creates community and sustains our relationships. Faith is lived at tables and workplaces. Faith invites us into prayer and into service.

In today’s second reading from Timothy, we also hear that faith is strong and it is not a spirit of cowardice, but a conviction of love and hope. We don’t have to worry if we don’t have enough. Faith is not a commodity. Faith is simply a relationship with divine love and we wait for our hearts to be ablaze with such passion.

Blessings to you,

Fr. Ron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

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Sunday September 29, 2019

Let us pray to expend our wealth of love and compassion toward all people in need. May the weak and weary at our doors be welcomed in faith and mercy.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the end of violence and hatred at the doors of our nation. May we welcome those whose lives are burdened by hatred, division and poverty.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for those who thirst for a sip of water. May we learn to serve people most in need, especially people who long for the basics of life.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people facing uncertain futures, those who hear today about a new disease, those who live with unemployment, and people surviving unexpected divorce.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who cannot surrender to God’s love. May all people who live in the pain of arrogance discover a rich faith and unbridled mercy from Christ Jesus.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our families and strangers who have died. May the miracles of heaven welcome both the deserving and undeserving. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.