Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Prayers of the Faithful

fullsizeoutput_1e88

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

fullsizeoutput_1e88

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

Version 2

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.

 

 

 

 

The Presentation of the Lord 2020: Cover art and column

Feb. 2, 2020 Bulletin Cover

February 2, 2020

Presentation of the Lord

Today, we celebrate the Presentation of the Lord. This celebration is forty days after Christmas. It is inserted into the liturgical calendar even though we have moved on from the Christmas season. This year, February 2, falls on Sunday and overrides a Sunday in Ordinary Time. However, there are spiritual gems to be found in this encounter with Jesus being presented in the temple.

Simeon and Anna are two of my favorite people in the gospels. They both possess a quiet fidelity of prayer and presence. They are both old and now have found their lives in the spotlight in the temple. They have lived their entire lives waiting for this moment. Their hearts are full, their lives are now complete, and their spirits are invigorated by the presence of Jesus, the Messiah. It has been worth the wait. Being in the presence of Jesus must have been overwhelming for them. Imagine the stirrings in the hearts of these two people who waited in prayer for such a sight and such miracle.

The purpose of their lives was to wait for this encounter with Jesus. They knew from their prayer that Jesus was the one who would set their hearts ablaze. His face would become the beacon of light for all people. In Jesus, they would find salvation, forgiveness and love. Their prophetic witness was rock solid, their posture of prayer was full of integrity. They gave their lives to prayer, to this searching, for they did not want to miss the vision they longed for. They waited patiently within the walls of the temple.

Imbedded in the gospel are the words of Simeon, the Nunc Dimittis, which have become a prayer the Church prays during Night Prayer. These words are filled with yearning, with prophecy and trust. Here is the text and translation from today’s gospel:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel.”

 This gospel text provides great hope for us. If we place ourselves in this gospel text, we can imagine what it would have been like to spend our lifetime in prayer waiting for the real presence of Jesus. We may ask ourselves today some questions:

What am I waiting for in life? What brings true hope for my soul? What do I wait for beyond fleeting or impulsive desires?

Am I really searching to discover God? Or am I waiting to simply protect myself? Or am I waiting to simply justify my own prejudice or worldview as I pray?

How can I search for God as a prophetic witness to justice, to love and hope for all people?

Can I become what I wait for, that is, how can I become the face of God to other people?

These two great prophets, Simeon and Anna, wait for their salvation and the salvation of the world in Christ Jesus. We do the same. The Real Presence of Jesus Christ is manifest to us every day in our house of prayer in the Eucharist. I pray we may all be attentive as we wait for our own salvation and the salvation of all who need God.

Blessings,

Fr. Ron

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Prayers of the Faithful

fullsizeoutput_1e88

January 26, 2020

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Let us pray for all who preach the Good News and all who lead us in faith. May we adhere to our call to follow Christ Jesus with love for all people.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray to lift up those who are bent down in grief and loss, those who cannot face the day because of depression or fear, and those who face illness and disease.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for all who are burdened by addiction and the family members who are burdened by such a disease. May God offer us a net of healing.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our government leaders and officials that they may offer hope for all who are burdened by life. May we learn from people who need a net of compassion.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for courage and strength to answer the call of Jesus to live in the depths of faith and trust. May we be called into service for people who most need us.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our beloved dead, for our family members and friends who have reached the eternal shore. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.