The Most Holy Trinity: Prayers of the Faithful

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June 16, 2019: The Most Holy Trinity

Let us seek God who pours into our hearts love and integrity for our Church and for all people on earth. May we live as messengers of such gifts.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us seek God who pours into our hearts the ability to aid people living with injustice and fatigue. May we work from the heart of the Trinity for right relationships on earth.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us seek God who pours into our hearts the knowledge and fidelity of the Gospel so to lift up the suffering, to welcome the migrant, and to visit the prisoner.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us seek God who pours into our hearts love for our fathers, our grandfathers, stepfathers, foster fathers and single fathers. May we remain grateful for our dads both living and deceased.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us seek God who pours into our hearts a love for a healthy community within the Church, a source of peace for all disturbed by war, hatred and violence.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us seek God who pours into our hearts the healing we need in our grief and loss. We pray for our beloved dead and in this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

The Most Holy Trinity: Bulletin cover art and column

June 16, 2019 Bulletin CoverDear Believers in the Christ,

We have celebrated the Lenten season, renewing our own baptisms at Easter. Pentecost is a gift in which we know peace, forgiveness and the mission of the Church. Today, we celebrate the Trinity, a summary of what we have celebrated in the past couple of months.

The Trinity is a reminder that God thrives in community. For us to follow God means that we also must thrive in community. When we arrive at our church door on Sunday, the first thing we do is to put our fingers into water and mark our bodies with the sign of salvation, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This marking is not a throwaway gesture. This gesture symbolizes that we belong to God first of all. We carry within our lives the beauty and the hopefulness of our loving God who created us, redeemed us, and promises to be with us for all eternity. We belong to God in all of our humanness, our frailty and our incredible love and integrity.

We also mark our bodies with the Sign of Cross because we belong to one another. This image of God, our community, is incredibly beautiful. In other words, we live as God lives. We live on the earth being united to one another as the three persons of God— Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the gift of our baptism. This is our renewed life of baptism fully alive. This is the reason we have celebrated once again the glory of the Easter season and Pentecost.

This is also why we believe in the beauty of all life. We respect the integrity of human life because we all hold within us the dignity of God. We belong to one another through the miracle of God’s life within us. This is rich and whole; this belonging motivates us to become people who imitate God in the world. We learn to put into practice who God is, so we heal relationships, we lift up the poor, we forgive our family members and the stranger and we stoop low to be humbled by our mistakes.

The gospel tells us that the truth God gives us is revealed to us in moments at a time. We cannot bear it all at once. We live and grow as all creation. We have seasons of good and letting go; we bear fruit and know times of darkness. God reveals such love and goodness as we mature. Our task as Christians is to learn and to become wise in all we do. Sometimes we grow weary and lose sight of such a mystery. This is where violence and hatred overtakes our concerns, anger and rage at not getting our own way becomes real. If we can live and pray daily in our life of God, we grow in hope. Where there is love there is hope. We must overcome our human instincts to be violent and revengeful and instead learn to be people who reflect the community, the love and the hope of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

 

Pentecost Sunday 2019: Prayers of the Faithful

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June 9, 2019

Pentecost

Let us be guided by the strong wind of the Holy Spirit within our Church. May we seek a new integrity among the clergy, a new openness to the dignity of life, and to seek out the lost among us.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us be guided by the strong wind of the Holy Spirit this Pentecost to lift up the leadership of the baptized, and to lift up all who work to sustain the Church’s mission of service and healing.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us be guided by the strong wind of justice for people, for an end of racism in our cities, for an end of misogyny, for an end of xenophobia. May we build a Church on unity and hope for all people.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us be guided by the strong wind of healing by the Holy Spirit for all people who face difficulties in marriage, those who struggle to raise and support their young children, and for people who cannot care for their ailing parents.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us be guided by the strong wind of integrity and peace, especially for our bishops and clergy and for all who make decisions within our institutions. May we rely solely on the gift on a new Pentecost.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us be guided by the strong wind of prayer for our dead whom we have loved on earth. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

Pentecost Sunday 2019: Bulletin cover art and column

June 9, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of Jesus,

We celebrate Pentecost today. I know I say this often, but Pentecost in my favorite feast in the Church. Today’s gospel, John 20:19-23, invites us into great love and trust.

Pentecost reveals the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. After Jesus left this earth, after the Resurrection and the Ascension, he readied our hearts for the power, love and sustaining life of the Holy Spirit. He did not want us to be alone. He desired for us, even in our restless hearts, to remain one in him and with the Father.

The Holy Spirit creates hope within our lives on earth. In this passage from John, which we heard on the Second Sunday of Easter, Jesus reveals immediately after the Resurrection, the gift of the Holy Spirit. I can’t imagine that the disciples locked up in fear behind closed doors really understood such a gift. In John’s gospel, Pentecost happens immediately, while other texts tell the story of Pentecost much later.

I want to believe that the Holy Spirit comes to us in immediate fear. When we find our lives locked up in uncertainty of a recent cancer diagnosis, or the fear of abuse from a family member, or the threat of losing another job, the Holy Spirit comes directly to our aid. We are the family of God in the world and I believe God’s family, the Trinity, guides us into living fearless and beautiful lives. Our role in this activity of God is to be open, receptive and inviting to the Holy Spirit so that God may accomplish within us great love and comfort.

After Jesus rose from the dead, his first words spoken to the disciples in the closed, dark room were “Peace be with you.” These words are loaded with potential and love, with concern and satisfaction. Peace is not just one thing or the other. It is not just the absence of war and violence or the calming of the human heart. It is the miracle of our relationship with God. When we are united with the Trinity, we are being guided into a new way of seeing the world and a new way of viewing people in the world. Peace is not a moment but a lifestyle of living in great trust, hope and tenderness in God. This peace is not worldly but divine; this peace is not what we do, but what God can accomplish within us.

Pentecost is the foundation of the Church. In fact, Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. The Holy Spirit guides us so that we can manifest in our world the work of Christ Jesus, the work of a beautiful and accepting community, the recognition of the love imbued in our sacraments and the service we render for the good of people. Pentecost creates community that transforms the world. The Church’s place in our world is to bring good, to work for justice in the places where justice is needed, to offer the food of the Eucharist not only in our churches but when we learn to feed the real needs of people.

Faith is not tied down in a room of fear. Faith is lived fearlessly among people who most need God. Faith is roused from the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.

Blessings this Pentecost,

Fr. Ron

The Ascension of the Lord 2019: Prayers of the Faithful

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June 2, 2019

Ascension

Let us pray to set our sights on our Church Universal, that we may work diligently to spread the Good News of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to set our sights on the needs of parents who struggle to raise their children with autism or disease or disability. May we walk among people who need strong shoulders and immense resources.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to set our sights on our desperate poor here on earth, for our families who stray from our nests, and for people who face catastrophic need from storms and floods.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to set our sights on the person of Christ Jesus living here on earth among all who most need healing, love and forgiveness. May we walk in faith, integrity and service.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to set our sights on healing and hope for people with mental illness and who may not want to live another day. May we as believers offer remedy and insight to people who question their very existence.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to set our sights on the needs of people who are ill or homebound, that we may serve to alleviate fear among those who sit at the bedsides of the dying. For our beloved dead and in this Mass we pray for…

We pray to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ascension of the Lord 2019: Bulletin cover art and column

June 2, 2019 Bulletin Cover

Dear Followers of the Christ,

Today we celebrate The Ascension of the Lord. This feast may seem confusing. In the western part of the United States, this feast is celebrated on Sunday. In the eastern United States, The Ascension of the Lord was celebrated last Thursday, the traditional forty days after Easter. The feast was moved to Sunday because it is a major feast of Jesus and could be celebrated by the majority of Catholics.

The first reading from Mass today is from the Acts of Apostles. This text, Acts 1:1-11, tells the story of the Ascension of Christ Jesus. There is one phrase that always captures my attention, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?” I am always with the disciples who must have been so intrigued and confused about all of Jesus’ actions. His death was not expected and then he rises from the dead and they wondered about the meaning of his resurrection. And now he disappears into the sky! Can you imagine what the disciples must have thought about that?

Many years ago, I had a dream about the Ascension. I was in a crowded Jerusalem street in the market place, shoulder to shoulder with people in the hustle and bustle of life. Suddenly at the end of the street amid all the people, Jesus began his ascending into heaven. As he left the ground, he turned to all the people in the crowded street. He seemed to look into all of our eyes at once, including mine. As he left, he said to all of us, “Okay, you guys, you do it, you take over.”

I always found this dream so empowering. I felt he was talking to me in this very vivid dream. As the years go by, I still believe he was speaking to every one of us who follow him. He was asking us to take his place and to do the things he did on earth. He wants us to learn how to heal people, how to invite people into forgiveness, how to raise the dead and offer his touch to the marginalized. He wants us to find in him a gracious way of being tender to people and to put down our armor that keeps people at arm’s length. He wants us to find his peace in the world by working for justice. He wants us to create community and make sure every person belongs in such a space. He wants every person to realize that no matter who they are, the Father has created them, and in the end, they will be just fine.

I believe this dream is not just whimsy. The Ascension is a call and challenge for all of us to get to work. This work means that we witness to all people that we believe in Christ Jesus who walked the earth and that his mission is worthwhile. The Ascension is not meant for us to look up into heaven and reminisce about the past. This feast means that we will focus on the ground, where the work needs to be accomplished in Christ Jesus. So get to work, everyone, and enjoy your life inspired by God for the benefit of our poor, lonely and marginalized. Don’t look up; look around.

Blessings to you,

Fr. Ron

Sixth Sunday of Easter: Prayers of the Faithful

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May 26, 2019 Sixth Sunday of Easter

Prayers of the Faithful

 

Let us pray for peace within our Church, in every faithful heart, in every effort to heal and reconcile in the name of Christ Jesus. May this Easter season transform us into a Church of love.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for peace within our families and in all of our relationships. We pray for people divided by hurt and despair. We pray for new life for those we love.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for peace among young couples seeking marriage, among our graduates deciding on their future, among all who seek new life in Easter.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for peace among those who are unsettled in their lives. May we all seek the solace and comfort of Christ Jesus in every difficult choice and decision.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for peace among those who lead us in our nation in every form of government. May hope be the rock on which our nation’s future will be built.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for peace for our loved ones who are ill and those who face depression and addiction. May Christ heal and sustain our family members. We pray for our dead. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.